Walt Watson’s article America Seeking Venezuela’s Level,” published Friday in The Signal, merits a response. I visited Venezuela during the days of Hugo Chavez and met no one who did not express hate for the man. Furthermore, it was the only Third World country where I did not feel safe, and I have been to a great many of them. I, too, feel that the United States is slowly entering the Third World. Witness the gated communities, the burgeoning of alarm companies, the inability of children to walk to school safely. This is not the United States in which I grew up. The problem is that we are allowing the middle class to shrink and the distance between the rich and the poor to grow. Some of the billionaires, those who compete to enrich themselves faster than the others, who work to build the tallest towers, have little understanding of trends. Education, including the GI Bill, made this country great, but now the poor have little choice but to live in ghettos where the schools are poor and jobs are few. Yes, entitlement programs and health care systems are problems for our economy. So, too, is the negative rhetoric of the “Party of No,” which is seen by so many as doing nothing to work across the aisle and help solve the problems.