In the Aug. 28 op-ed “Fellow millennials: Don’t be tempted by socialism,” conservative writer Reaghan Waites conflates two different things — let’s call them A and B — and attacks B for the faults of A.

There is A — classical socialism — which, she mentions, involves government ownership and control of the means of production, and there is B — what’s being labeled as “socialism” — that simply involves providing a social safety net. Medicare and Social Security are two very popular U.S. aspects of the latter.

Waites writes, “If a company is not providing value for customers, it will go out of business. That compels entrepreneurs to think of the customer first.” This overlooks the fact that companies haven’t often thought of the customer first. Some well-publicized current examples are the extremely high prices that Big Pharma charges for many lifesaving drugs and the unsafe 737 MAX planes that Boeing produced, two of which crashed. (People who are afraid of big government seem to implicitly trust the good intentions of corporations.)

The op-ed states, “Advocates of socialism deceptively point to nations such as Denmark and Sweden, but those nations are both ranked as free-market friendly as the U.S.” That’s because what Denmark and Sweden have isn’t classical socialism (government ownership of production), which nobody is seriously advocating here. Income inequality has been growing dramatically in the U.S.: CEO pay has increased 940% since 1978, but average employee pay has only gone up 12%. We could learn a lot from countries with more successful approaches.

Nancy Kingsley

East Lampeter Township