Dana Milbank’s Sept. 15 Tribune commentary titled, “Democrats have become socialists,” uses the word socialist like a sledge hammer and the ultimate pariah.

This is a common name-calling technique used to avoid having to discuss the issue at hand. So, who really is a socialist?

Do you support tax-funded: high quality K-12 public education, financial support for disabled people, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), affordable local public transportation, public libraries, medical research, federal infrastructure projects (remember I-15 work prior to the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympics), local police and fire departments and defense spending, to name just a few tax-funded, government efforts? Then you may be a closet socialist.

I forgot to mention those of you who receive Social Security and Medicare benefits as well.

If you are not a socialist, how, in good conscience, can you accept these tax-subsidized funds? Socialism is not a dirty word. It is the mechanism that funds the public good out of the great wealth that capitalism so effectively generates. Single payer universal medical coverage is probably coming, because capitalism alone doesn’t always serve the public good.

Theodore R. Kaly, Draper