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Richard Hirschi's name for me (collectivist) is badly mistaken and misleading (Mailbag, Jan. 29). Collectivists want government ownership and control of the means of production. That's not me at all — not by a mile! I want a more generous capitalism, as do most Americans. According to polls, 70 percent of us favor expanding Medicare and Social Security, not cutting them. Also, 72 percent favor a 70 percent marginal tax rate for incomes over $10 million. Does that make all of us collectivists?

Mr. Hirschi's logic misses because he is operating on a false premise that, in his words, "liberty is the only purpose of government." No proof. He just asserts it, as an article of faith. The Preamble lists five purposes of government, of which liberty is one.

Abe Lincoln said "the purpose of government is to do for the people what they can't do for themselves, or can't do as well." We can't build our own streets and sewers or dams or water systems or armies or public schools, libraries, etc., etc. Government has to do those and more. If the Russians and Chinese don't mess up our elections, maybe we can get some of that done. Let's hope!

John Goodwin

Lebanon (Feb. 2)

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