Plus, our readers thank Oregon U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici for her recent thoughtful column.

At the time of the Cuban missile crisis, international heads of state met to attempt to avert a catastrophe. The room was tense and at an impasse when the Russian diplomat stood up and suggested they all take a break and tell a joke.

He started: "What's the difference between capitalism and communism? In capitalism, man exploits man. In communism, it's the other way around."

This joke reminds us that the issue is not a particular economic ideology, but how it is used. Early socialism in Germany and Russia had disastrous consequences. Yet modern socialism of the Scandinavian countries has enabled them to achieve the highest rates of happiness and health of all developed nations.

Capitalism and socialism can work very well together. Healthy societies are a mosaic of economic systems. A capitalist market regulated to achieve communal goals of a healthy environment, jobs with justice, and meeting people's basic needs blends socialism and capitalism to achieve health, justice and entrepreneurial opportunities.

The progressive taxation and federal jobs program that FDR initiated, funded infrastructure projects and enabled the United States to significantly decrease deep poverty and grow our middle class artistically.

This intense time of global climate crisis and inequality requires that we work together to develop and fund the solutions. Blending healthy, regulated, capitalist markets with a government committed to a thriving environment and human well-being is a path that can inspire the vast majority.

Working together toward a Green New Deal is a brilliant way forward.

Harriet Cooke

Southwest Portland

Kudos, Bonamici, for thoughtful column

I just read the opinion column by U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici regarding care for aging parents.

The only changes I would make to that column, if it were my own, are that my mother is 92 years old and I don't attend any congressional hearings.

I deeply appreciate Rep. Bonamici's true compassion and commitment to push the Dignity in Aging Act. Will our other members of Congress join her?

Henry Kantor

Northwest Portland

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