Columnist compared a political system to an economic one.

After reading Walter Williams’ syndicated column from Tuesday’s edition, I am dismayed by his apparent lack of knowledge regarding the difference between socialism and free-market capitalism.

As a professor of economics at a respected university, one would expect that he would have these facts straight. He compared a political system — socialism — with an economic system — capitalism.

Williams fails to recognize the difference between socialism and democratic socialism. In America, we already have elements of democratic socialism that are truly beneficial to our citizens, such as Medicare and Social Security. Democratic socialism is a philosophy that advocates democracy and the addressing of social problems that affect all citizens.

The key difference between socialism and democratic socialism is that democratic socialists don’t want the government to own the means of production, and socialists do. Democratic socialists believe that certain general goods such as health care should be run by the government, but they otherwise support capitalism.

Unfortunately in our country, capitalism has become heavily involved with our politics, and this fact taints our democracy and will continue to do so until we get money out of politics.

Williams labels “equality of income, sex and race balance, affordable housing and medical care” as socialistic ideas! These are serious problems that need to be addressed in our country. They are not just ideas.

All of us need to take the time to understand the difference between socialism, communism and fascism, and get clear on what democratic socialism really is and how it works in Canada, Sweden, Belgium, Finland and New Zealand, just to name a few successful examples.

It’s time for Walter Williams to go back to school and stop spreading myths to his readers. I believe his column is tainted with false information and conclusions that are not based on fact or logic.

Susan Lyle, Spartanburg

 

Early reading

Years of research show that a child’s home environment during the first five years of life, when children develop more rapidly than any other time, will significantly impact the development of his or her early language and reading skills. And one of the most important things that parents can do to support their child’s development is to read with them, which means starting when they are newborns and not even able to talk, and continuing well beyond the years that they can read by themselves.

Benefits of shared reading time include fostering the development of listening skills, spelling, reading comprehension and vocabulary, and establishing essential foundational literacy skills.

​Reading books aloud with young children also contributes to the development of their emergent literacy abilities, which are defined as the foundational skills or knowledge that children develop before learning the more conventional skills of reading and writing.

​During shared book-reading, children learn to recognize the alphabet, understand that print represents the spoken word, and learn how to hold a book, turn the page and start at the beginning. Shared book-reading also builds phonological awareness, exposes children to story structures (e.g., stories have a beginning, middle and end) and literacy conventions such as syntax and grammar that are essential for understanding texts.

​Early reading with children also helps them become early readers themselves. And reading at an early age has been shown to contribute to children’s academic successes, their critical thinking abilities and their creativity and inquisitiveness. Also, early exposure to books is proven to help increase children’s brain development and better prepares them to learn.

​Parents are by far the most important influence in children’s lives in establishing the importance of education, and that is why parental involvement is the No. 1 predictor of early literacy success and future academic achievement.

John Turner, Moore

 

Leadership skills

I am writing this letter to recommend Manning Lynch for Spartanburg County Council chair.

Manning and I grew up in construction families and started our own homebuilding companies. We served together on the board of directors of the Home Builders Association of Greater Spartanburg and as commissioners for the Spartanburg Sanitary Sewer District (SSSD). I feel this gives me a unique perspective on Manning’s leadership skills, management style and fiscal responsibility.

Manning has long been a key player in searching for solutions to the county’s land-use issues. Balancing opposing viewpoints of planning vs. property rights is tricky, but with Manning on the committee, an ordinance seems to be coming to fruition.

Manning was instrumental in making SSSD more user-friendly by changing the system’s procedures and employees’ attitude from that of a monopoly to that of a business, which depends on customer satisfaction to survive.

Manning worked toward streamlining the organization of the sewer and water systems to eliminate duplicate positions, increasing efficiency and saving money for the customers of both systems. Manning also worked diligently to expand the SSSD system where needed without over-extending into areas that could not be economically served. This greatly facilitated the creation of jobs in our county.

Every year when it was time to approve SSSD’s budget and set rates, Manning’s voice was always on the side of limiting expenses so that sewer rates could be kept as low as possible.

During Manning’s time on the commission, SSSD has consistently won awards for water quality and management, exceeded expectations on customer service surveys, and kept sewer rates lower than almost all comparable systems.

I feel that only Manning Lynch has the experience and skills necessary to lead our County Council into the future. Please vote for him on June 12.

Coby Alexander, Spartanburg

Voting preparation

Spartanburg County voters are reminded that the June 12 statewide primary is less than two weeks away.

Now is the time to update your voter registration and not wait until Election Day! If you have changed your name or your address since you last voted, make that change as soon as possible.

The in-person absentee voting precinct is now open for those voters who qualify to use the absentee process. The in-person precinct location is at the Voter Registration & Elections Office located at 366 N. Church St., Spartanburg, in Conference Room C-6.

In-person absentee voting is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day; on Saturday, June 9, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and on Monday, June 11, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Also, the voting location for the Powell Saxon Una Precinct has been changed from the Una Fire Station to Spartanburg Methodist College’s Buchheit Board Room, which is located on the campus of Spartanburg Methodist College at 400 George Fields Drive, Spartanburg. A sign will also be posted at the Una Fire Station advising voters of this change.

If you have any questions, call the Spartanburg County Elections Office at 864-596-2549.

Henry Laye, Spartanburg County director of registration and elections