Purely capitalistic economies have never existed. Most western democracies have mixed economies that consist of free enterprise and government regulation that are in constant negotiation to find a reasonable balance. Sometimes government gets a leg up and other times free enterprise gets a leg up.
Both are necessary as a sturdy foundation is required for innovation and production, while that latter is necessary to support the foundation. The foundation is built and maintained through wage labor while innovation and production is created by capitalists. Both are necessary and when they are out of balance the country suffers. When business is favored we end up with a large class of working poor and when workers are overly favored innovation and production may suffer. Livable wages for all should be a national goal. Most people are not looking for handouts. Most people take pride in hard work.
Unregulated capitalists (the minority) gain unfair power and exploit the working class (the majority). They tend to prioritize profit over social good, natural resources and the environment and can become an engine of inequality, corruption and economic instability (Wikipedia capitalism). We must find a balance.
Since the 1980s the capitalist class has been favored through deregulation resulting in stagnated or lower wages and lost benefits (pension & healthcare) for the working class while prices have risen. When I was growing up the working class was the middle class, but now the working class is just surviving paycheck to paycheck. We must find fairness.
Capitalists and the governing class have formed an oligarchy in which the masses are ruled by the few and allowing the oligarchical class to abscond with the country’s wealth that was built on the back of labor. They would have us believe that anything that regulates the “free” (which does not exist) market economy is un-American or unpatriotic. They want to label anything that helps the working class as “socialism” thereby connecting it to the former Soviet Union and communism, our mortal enemies since the 1950’s. They want us to believe that socialism will steal our freedom when, in fact, it will curb their freedom to exploit the working class.
It isn’t an either/or thing. It’s about balance and fairness and not letting the rich and powerful exploit labor. Supporting affordable healthcare, housing and education for all is not unpatriotic. Don’t let regulation that provides fairness for the working class be dismissed by the label of socialism. It is a ploy by the capitalist class to maintain their control and power that exploits labor. Let’s vote for fairness and balance and don’t be fooled by labels.