Democrats & Liberals Archives

National Health Care Solution?

My response to the first half of David Remer’s excellent article titled Past is not Prologue grew to article length so I decided to post it as an article.

David:

Excellent article. I have only made it half way through and have to comment. You wrote:

But, Medicare now faces, not 4 trillion dollars in shortfalls, but, forty trillion dollars in revenue shortfalls to sustain the program.

and:

When Republicans are in power, one set of uncompromising solutions are promoted which negate and reverse solutions implemented by Democrats. And when Democrats are in power, they in turn reverse and negate the solutions implemented by Republicans.

Your premise here is that either set of solutions would work if followed through on. I disagree. Follow through is important. Following through on a fatally flawed approach will only guarantee failure.

The "Proposal of the Physicians' Working Group for Single-Payer National Health Insurance" say it best:

For seven decades, opponents have blocked proposals for national health insurance, touting private sector solutions. Their reforms over the past quarter century have emphasized market mechanisms, endorsed the central role of private insurers, and nourished investor-ownership of care. But vows of greater efficiency, cost control, and consumer responsiveness are unfulfilled; meanwhile the ranks of the uninsured have swelled. HMOs, launched as health care’s bright hope, have raised Medicare costs by billions, and fallen to the basement of public esteem. Investor-owned hospital chains, born of the promise of efficiency, have been wracked by scandal; their costs high, their quality low. And drug firms, which have secured the highest profits and lowest taxes of any industry, price drugs out of reach of those who need them most.

Many in today’s political climate propose pushing on with the marketization of health care. They would shift more public money to private insurers; funnel Medicare through private managed care; and further fray the threadbare safety net of Medicaid, public hospitals and community clinics. These steps would fortify investors’ control of care, squander additional billions on useless paperwork, and raise barriers to care still higher.

Read the rest of their plan which is closer to Democratic perspective.

Listen, lets do a mind experiment a little like Einstein and Schroedinger used to do:

Lets do away with Medicare - the Repubs will love that. if private industry provides that service: Do you seriously think that the cost of the care that Medicare is committed to providing will be any less than $40 trillion? More than $40 trillion? Or the same? I would argue that it would cost at least $40 tril, probably more.

The Repubs are correct that doing away with Medicare would save money. It would save money by not providing needed services to millions of people who would suffer as David Remer eloquently states in his article.

If you are going to provide those services to people, it is going to cost some money. The Physicians for a National Health Program have a plan that could save some of that money - but it is going to cost some money. If you were going to provide these services to everyone in America, even with their savings, it would cost at least $40 tril.

The questions are:

Are we going to provide those services?

If so:

What is the best, fairest, most efficient way to provide them?

How are we going to pay for them?

The Repubs will remind us that providing National Health Care will result in waiting lists for care of non life threatening conditions. They are right. In Canada, people do have to wait a few months for knee replacements.

Do you think that no one is waiting for health care now? People without insurance, who cannot work because they need a knee replacement, wait their whole life - in pain - until they finally mercifully die prematurely of a heart attack because they were in too much pain to exercise. We save a lot of money though. What about the money we lose to their lack of productivity?

The Republican plan for health care works for the elite. It will only work for the elite. That is the only people that is intended to work for.

If you want to provide health care to the broader mass of American people. You are going to have to spend some money - at least 40 tril - and the only plan that will ever really work is the Democratic plan modeled on Medicare.

This is not a choice between which solution is best. This is a choice between a solution and no solution.

Do not comment on this article without reading: "Proposal of the Physicians' Working Group for Single-Payer National Health Insurance"

Posted by Ray Guest at December 23, 2007 11:42 PM
Comments
Comment #241338

The sure sign of a bad solution is a proponent of it telling you that there are only 2, or even worse, 1.

Humans are a smart species and if we were to actually remove biases and partisanship from the discussion I imagine we could find several good, quality, solutions.

But that wouldn’t advance anyone’s individual party, would it?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 24, 2007 12:56 AM
Comment #241340

Rhinehold,

True. I am sure there are many real solutions. But there are two basic approaches offered. Of those two - only one is valid.

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 24, 2007 1:02 AM
Comment #241341

One way to allow free market economics to really work would be to allow anyone to practice medicine.

I will do your knee surgery if you will do mine. I have a chain saw. That solution might work - but it is not on the table.

You got a better idea?

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 24, 2007 1:07 AM
Comment #241342

I imainge there are more, but they are just not debated because the RNC or DNC are not putting them out in their talking points…

It’s too bad we have to choose between liberty and health.

Personally, I support the motto of New Hampshire…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 24, 2007 1:09 AM
Comment #241343

Ray, I have a question though, since you seem be around.

What is the difference between a single payer system that is tax collected and paid for by the government and a single payer system that is fees paid (a small percentage of each doctor visit) and run by a private organization that is chartered by the government and then left alone with only bi-annual oversight hearings?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 24, 2007 1:13 AM
Comment #241344

Well, other than the fact that Americans still retain their liberty and we keep politics out of our healthcare system (which we have failed to do so far for the past 60 years…)

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 24, 2007 1:14 AM
Comment #241347

Excellent post Ray,


I was unaware of this group, thanks for the info.


Rhinehold,

No one is taking away your precious liberty, you can still protest by dying in the street and refusing medical care.

Posted by: googlumpus at December 24, 2007 3:36 AM
Comment #241350

googlumpus,

Does that mean you don’t want to answer my question or can’t?

And yes, the various plans do. You don’t want to accept it but that doesn’t mean the facts don’t support it.

Finally, your distaste when you wrote ‘your precious liberty’ is telling and sadly indicative of how far we have strayed from what our founding fathers risked their lives to provide for us.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 24, 2007 4:08 AM
Comment #241351

Again, the question I have is why does the government have to run the program? What specifically does bringing the government into running the program instead of setting up a non for profit organization, led by doctors, to implement a program that would manage the new crop of Healthcare Savings Accounts, that are not tied to employment, roll over each year and earn interest? It could be paid for by a surcharge on doctor and hospital visits, say 1 or 2 dollars.

Why is this not a valid solution and why does it only work if the government is involved? (Hint: I know the answer already)

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 24, 2007 4:13 AM
Comment #241356

Rhinehold,

I have no problem with a non-profit single payor system - in theory. It needs to be a single payor. That is what rings the bureaucratic waste out of the system - perhaps as much as 30%.

One of the better charities here is United Way. Several decades ago - when I was making about 30,000 per year, their director was making 90,000. It is a good charity - but… Non-profits can be profits in disguise.

The Physicians for a National Health program call for hospitals and testing facilities to become non-profit. I think pharmaceutical companies should be non-profit as well.

The physicians plan would allow people to chose their own doctors and keep politics out of health care decisions. You are concerned about government political interference in health care decisions. Currently we have corporate political interference in health care decisions. That is also political, less transparent, less democratic, driven by predatory intent.

Thanks all for your thoughtful comments.

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 24, 2007 10:22 AM
Comment #241361

Rhinehold,

I’m not sure which question you want me to answer.

As to my use of the word precious , I am referring to your nebulous overuse of the word liberty. I asked in another thread what liberties exactly you fear losing from a NHI program. You did not respond.

I recently listened to Ron Paul describe it as socialized medicine. Yeah? So What? The fear mongering through the pejorative use of the words liberty and socialism, that are intended to strike fear in the heart of red-blooded Americans, is what I find distasteful and diminish the values of real liberty.

Posted by: googlumpus at December 24, 2007 12:03 PM
Comment #241375

Rhinehold asked: “What is the difference between a single payer system that is tax collected and paid for by the government and a single payer system that is fees paid (a small percentage of each doctor visit) and run by a private organization that is chartered by the government and then left alone with only bi-annual oversight hearings?”

There are several differences. But, the biggest is that a government single payer plan does not involve a middleman taking profits and raising health care costs to cover those profits, which a middle man private single payer would. Difference: one to several trillion dollars in health care costs between 2010 and 2075, depending on the greed and monopoly power of the private intermediary. Big enough difference for you?

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 24, 2007 3:35 PM
Comment #241377

Ray, one correction: Medicare as currently operated, depending upon private profit industry care delivers, is estimated at 40 trillion in unfunded mandates.

A single payer government sponsored plan which provided Basic preventive care coverage AND which gave preferential treatment to non-profit health care deliverers, could potentially drive that unfunded mandate down from 40 trillion to 30 trillion.

But, the fact remains, our economy in the current geo-political-economic future, cannot sustain the current 9 trillion plus 30 trillion national debt. Economic collapse will certainly occur long before we hit that 39 trillion national debt level.

A single payer government sponsored universal coverage plan has the capacity to reduce overall health care costs, but, for the government and economy to survive, only Basic preventive and emergency life saving care can be afforded universally. To go beyond that level incurs the kind of unfunded mandate that is unsustainable.

And that is what is wrong with the Democrat’s plan. It offers more coverage than it can hope to pay for in tax revenues, resulting in bankrupting national debt. This can be part of a solution to prevent such lofty national debt, but, only a part. Other pieces to the solution must be devised that will dramatically lower the cost of health care delivery and a great deal of medical care will have to be electively available to those who can afford it. These are economic realities that many Democrats on the Hill have yet to come to grips with.

Republicans answer is those who can afford private insurance or self insurance should receive care and those who can’t, shouldn’t as just reward for sloth and lack of initiative. Not very Christian, and not very politically astute but, that is their plan.

Of the two, BOTH sink the nation, Democrats sink it with debt, and Republicans sink it through revolution and civil conflict that would result from media coverage of 10’s of millions of Americans and seniors dying and suffering in deplorable 3rd world type poverty and destitution, or an about face in 15 years to universal single payer or similar alternative which comes to late to save the economy form massive and bankrupting national debt.

In the end, it is hard to know which is better. In the beginning however, the Democrat’s approach has benefits which can be merged with other cost reduction actions with the potential of actually not sinking the nation if they can be found and implemented.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 24, 2007 3:52 PM
Comment #241378

Ray,

I’m glad you wrote this article and I hope to see some thoughtful debate come out of it. I believe that very few would deny that our nation is facing a health care crisis. Sadly some will, just as some choose to ignore David R. Remer’s and d.a.n.’s warnings regarding both personal and national debt, these are the times we live in ((((((((((sigh)))))))))))!

The first question that needs to be answered is whether a majority of American voters believes that “Access to comprehensive health care is a human right. It is the responsibility of society, through its government, to assure this right.” That quote comes directly from the PNHP link you provided, and I certainly believe that to be an indisputable fact.

Those who disagree might as well speak to the wall as try to argue with me because it’s a purely ideological belief, yet there are certain other considerations. If the answer to that one key question is NO then we must end Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP’s, and I would certainly hope we’d stop providing taxpayer provided insurance for ALL elected officials at every level of government.

Beyond the social impact, what effect would that have on the economy? How many Americans would suddenly find themselves burdened with their elderly or disabled parents (and/or other loved ones) health expenses? (BTW: the same is true of Social Security and the most pressing issue there is the governments ability to cough up the “trust fund” that will sustain the system for another 30 to 40 years ………. but that’s another “debt” issue that some choose to deny even exists!)

To me it all boils down to one thing beyond that; how do we provide the most bang for the buck? Recent changes to Medicare (re: Medicare Advantage Plans) during the Bush regime have proven that “privatization” costs the taxpayer anywhere from 11% to 13% more than traditional Medicare!

When it comes to illness the “best way should be the easy way” (although I was recently told that was ignorant), just go to the doctor and the pharmacy and don’t sweat it. I somehow doubt that people will intentionally get sick to try it out :^/

Posted by: KansasDem at December 24, 2007 4:51 PM
Comment #241379

David R. Remer,

You always make very good points. I’d add this as someone who worked from the age of 14 up until 51: I could easily absorb a 20% reduction in my Social Security Disability payments. I could absorb as much as a 30% reduction, but it would be uncomfortable. So, undoubtedly I KNOW that some adjustments CAN be made to salvage the future of Social Security.

The point I hope to make is that some sacrifice may be needed to salvage the USA from the dire straits we find ourselves in but WE can do it if we have the will. Right now the sacrifice is disproportionately the burden of the middle class!!!!!!!! And every indication is that will continue to get worse!!!!!!!!!!!

I believe that the current “credit crunch” may well precipitate a true change. Sadly that “change” could either create a “caste” society or the majority of this Democracy will recognize their follies and find solutions that keep us afloat.

I must admit that I have a dismal outlook. Debt and death sound a hell of a lot alike.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 24, 2007 5:26 PM
Comment #241380

David,

Thanks for the correction - that 40 tril is only the unfunded portion of the mandate.

You wrote:

A single payer government sponsored universal coverage plan has the capacity to reduce overall health care costs, but, for the government and economy to survive, only Basic preventive and emergency life saving care can be afforded universally. To go beyond that level incurs the kind of unfunded mandate that is unsustainable.

I strongly disagree. All medically necessary care must covered - no exclusions. We don’t have to cover boob jobs - but everything else.

Personally, I hate to see women mutilate their bodies like that anyway. Small boobs are perky and besides when they do a boob job, they cut the nipples off and sew them back on in a new location resulting in a total loss of sensitivity. Even, old saggy boobs are far better than that. They have served well and continue to serve well. To borrow a phrase from KansasDem: ((((((sigh)))))).

Back to the point, Physicians for National Health Care point out: As long as some medically necessary care is not covered, the private insurance industry will have something to sell and they will relentlessly use their campaign contributions and lobbying influence to undermine and sabotage the program. They will constantly lobby to get this or that procedure not covered so that people have to buy their insurance, so that they can continue their stranglehold on us.

The private health insurance beast must be killed once and for all. A wooden stake must driven through its heart. If they want to sell insurance for completely elective procedures - so be it - not a good business model.

The one thing that is missing from your analysis that total health care will bankrupt the nation is that a lot of money is already spent on health care.

A lot of that money is wasted on bureaucracy, on corporate profits for hospitals, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, MRI centers and the like. That money is already a huge tax on our economy, paid to private industry ultimately by us.

That money could be transfered into a new revenue stream to support the new program. A new revenue stream to fully fund new mandates without any new economic disruption. If General Motors doesn’t have to pay for my health care, they can afford to pay higher taxes, ect., ect.

We must pay as we go - but we can pay as we go. Other countries do it successfully. We can too.

A big piece of the puzzle is what to do with big Pharma. An article in itself.

KansasDem,

No time to respond to your comment now. I will respond later. Thanks.

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 24, 2007 6:01 PM
Comment #241381

KansasDem,

You wrote:

I must admit that I have a dismal outlook. Debt and death sound a hell of a lot alike.

I like the alliteration.

Social Security is fully funded with all of the money that we owe it. The Republican Reagan lie that Democrats swept under the rug comes home to roost.

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 24, 2007 6:18 PM
Comment #241384

Ray Guest:


Nice article. I sure don’t like the part that says that I have no choice but to join in. I understand the need to take care of the poor’s health care needs, but I am for a way that leaves me alone to figure out my own medical coverage.

There are some very simple things that would be important to me first.

Here is #1. Why do we subsidize multi millionaire’s medicare? Why do we subsidize anyone making say $80,000 in retirement income’s medicare?

I make a good inoome, and will in retirement. Before you take away my choices stop subsidizing my retirement!! I wont need it. Take that money and help the poor. I don’t want or need a government subsidy for my health care.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 24, 2007 7:42 PM
Comment #241386

“I understand the need to take care of the poor’s health care needs”

Craig,

The thing is that the “poor” are pretty well (not altogether) covered under the current Medicaid, Medicare, S-CHIP, etc. programs. The people that are falling through the holes in our safety net are those who are paying for the safety net but not quite able to rise above it.

You asked, “Why do we subsidize multi millionaire’s medicare? “

Great question! While I’m far from a millionaire I question why I receive as much Social Security Disability as I do. Of course it’s because I paid a lot into the program but, as I said before, to me it makes sense to reduce payments at high end, but ………… and this is a long but!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s time for everybody to take a big bite out of this debt sandwich!!!!!!!!!!! That includes the wars!!!!!!!!!!!!

We CANNOT continue down this path of indebtedness. Several times I was inclined to comment on David R. Remers’ last thread about the national debt but I’d read the denials and I simply knew that I could not stay within the “Rules of Participation”. Quite simply, we’re in deep shit and in order to get out WE must all sacrifice a bit.

ALL is the key word!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: KansasDem at December 24, 2007 9:04 PM
Comment #241387

Craig

Thanks for your comment. KansasDem posed the question:

The first question that needs to be answered is whether a majority of American voters believes that “Access to comprehensive health care is a human right.

I believe that it is. If it is, one way to avoid subsidizing the wealthy is to make them pay their fair share through taxes. The problem is: What is their fair share? The answer is: I don’t know. Proably more than they pay now. But figuring that out requires the wisdom of Solomon. Good luck with that. People who work hard and get ahead should be ahead. On the other hand many of these people are using our commons to get ahead; air, water, roads, and as David Remer points out in his article; political stability.

Human being evolve socially as well as genetically. It is why our species is so successful and adaptable. Long ago, we human beings through social evolution made the social contract of committing ourselves to civilization through political units larger than hunting and gathering bands.

This has involved concentrating many our resources under the control of a central authority and allowing that authority to assume responsibility for many of our needs, i.e. taxation and social saftey nets.

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 24, 2007 9:23 PM
Comment #241391

This NHI proposal sounds like a shuffling of the cards. It’s not a new solution, it’s a reconfiguration of the existing problems.

What if every doctor had a fully stocked ambulance instead of an office? This would reduce the emergency room use tremendously.

What if government paid for R&D for new drugs and then incorporated the production of the new drug. Charter a corporation to produce the new drug at 5 cents to produce and 6 cent sale price?

Why couldn’t community leaders purchase an MRI and ask a corporation to use a fee-for-use to payroll the attendant? Prevention would be much more effective if an MRI was performed on a newborn and comparative MRI’s were performed each year. If everybody had an MRI every year the cost would go down and the benefits would go up! (I’m using Algore’s terminology)

The article I was told to read before I responded is a knee-jerk reaction to the problem. It takes the existing delemma and shuffles it around and then says the government should pay for all of it.

I’m willing to listen to new approaches. Are you?

Posted by: Weary Willie at December 24, 2007 11:37 PM
Comment #241393

By the way, Merry Christmas to you all. I know he was just a man but he was a good man.

Posted by: Weary Willie at December 24, 2007 11:42 PM
Comment #241395
There are several differences. But, the biggest is that a government single payer plan does not involve a middleman taking profits and raising health care costs to cover those profits, which a middle man private single payer would.

You didn’t read my question very well then, because I asked what the difference was between a non for profit organization set up to perform this function and a governmental agency set up to perform this function.

So, try again? You say there are ‘many differences’, what are they?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 25, 2007 1:17 AM
Comment #241397
The first question that needs to be answered is whether a majority of American voters believes that “Access to comprehensive health care is a human right. It is the responsibility of society, through its government, to assure this right.”

And this is where we different on what is a right and what isn’t. Personally, I don’t believe that a right can exist if in order for it to exist other rights must be violated. Progressives differ on this important point.

Which, of course, is the case with medical care. If medical care is a right then everyone, no matter what, must be able to see a doctor at a moment’s notice without fail. If there are not enough doctors and not enough individuals are willing to become doctors then we will have to force people, against their will, to become doctors. The same with nurses, we are already seeing a nursing crunch, if we think we need to provide this care but there are not enough people to do the job then they must be pressed into service.

Nevermind that a ‘single payer’ system, like the one detailed in this article, demands that going outside of the program would be illegal. THAT is the difference between this system and a non for profit that exists to fulfill this role, the non for profit cannot use force on citizens while the government can.

It also violates a right to privacy that individuals should be able to enjoy. The debate, just in the comments of this article, already start talking about what should be covered and what shouldn’t be, getting inbetween the doctor and patient, and we haven’t even gotten the politics into the system yet. In order to determine if a medical procedure is ‘covered’ the nature of the procedure would have to be presented to the government. I’m sorry, but I do not want, nor should I be required, to tell the government, the only group that has the power to force me to do things, to know what is going on inside my body. A private matter that should exist only between my doctor and I.

I have been asked what ‘liberties’ would I lose with this plan? Well, three big ones right there, don’t you think?

Oh wait, that’s right, those little things (freedom of choice, freedom of doing what you want with your life and right to privacy) are just not important when it is a progressive agenda. We’ll rail about them when it is convenient against Bush, but if it is something we think is important they can just be pushed aside. Which is why most progressives who claim to be upset about a loss of rights under this administration just ring HOLLOW.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 25, 2007 1:30 AM
Comment #241402

I certainly can’t comment on much of whats presented here as I am not as well read on the ins and outs of the health care system. I do have my opinions; however, I will not overburden other posters with those.

I will say this. I have a dog that takes the human medicine gabapentin (generic form of neurontin). I go to Costco and purchase it for anywhere from $12.00 to $18.00 for 100 pills never more than that. I asked about it at Walmart cause I have to travel about 30 miles to get to the Costco. At Walmart 90 pills cost over $100.00. I was floored I kept saying that must be wrong, I confirmed the spelling, repeated the name more than once. She spelled it back to me. Next time I was at Costco I asked how they could sell it so much cheaper. Their response “Costco does not mark up anything in the store more than 30% some pharmacies mark up prescriptions as much as 300%”. Anybody else see the problem here?

Posted by: Carolina at December 25, 2007 8:22 AM
Comment #241403

Rhinehold, how can one debate with you when you don’t even recall what YOU said, let alone what others said. I responded to your question. Then you turn around and reply that the question I responded to was not what you asked. But, it was: AND I QUOTE:

“What is the difference between a single payer system that is tax collected and paid for by the government and a single payer system that is fees paid (a small percentage of each doctor visit) and run by a private organization that is chartered by the government and then left alone with only bi-annual oversight hearings?”

Your question refers to the difference between a government sponsored (non-profit) single payer system, and a private organization hired by the government which collects a percentage of the cost of each Dr. Visit from the patient presumably to fund nation’s health care system.

First, you did not stipulate that the private organization be a non-profit. What is the private company’s incentive above and beyond that of a government single payer agency if not profitability?

Are you seriously suggesting a flat percentage be paid by the flu shot recipient and the lung or heart transplant patient, equally? And what if the heart transplant patient doesn’t have $25,000 in cash lying around to cover their 10% of the procedural cost? Just die, and make room for someone else?

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 25, 2007 9:35 AM
Comment #241404

Ray, your last reply to me indicates you either have no appreciation for the consequences of a national debt rising to 20-30 or even 40 trillion dollars, or, you are in a state of denial regarding health care inflation underway and the incredible cost of trying to cover everything a doctor would say is needed.

What of the 50 year old writer who upon raising their right arm over their shoulder complains of serious pain due to a bone spur in the shoulder ball socket? Can they not live without having that procedure taken care of by a universal health care system, by limiting how high they raise their right arm. What if the same condition exists for a 24 year old firefighter? Is it now a medically required procedure?

Using just these two hypothetical patients, covering both doubles the cost to the government, taxpayers, and deficits. Calling the firefighter’s procedure necessary but the writer’s procedure not, cuts the cost to the government, taxpayers, and deficits by half.

IT does no good in the long run to provide universal health care while destroying the economy and government solvency which underwrites it. Those championing a universal health care system MUST get their noses into the dirt and devise a plan that is affordable and protects this nation from the unfunded 40 trillion mandate now facing Medicare. Some realistic sustainable decisions have to be made which prevent Medicare’s 40 trillion unfunded mandate from becoming a reality. That requires limiting what is covered and what is not, along actual number crunching lines.

Otherwise, it won’t pass, and even if it did, it would be a short lived policy as national debt hits and reaches past 20 trillion dollars in 12 to 15 years. Covering everyone for everything except elective cosmetic procedures is not a realistic or sustainable option.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 25, 2007 9:46 AM
Comment #241410

David,

I will read your replies later and respond… but I have a great concern about national debt. I said:

We must pay as we go - but we can pay as we go. Other countries do it successfully. We can too.

I think that our national debt is already too high. The world used to owe us money and should owe us money.

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 25, 2007 10:41 AM
Comment #241416

Rhinehold:

Please explain why I should pay taxes for schools, fire departments and police? I don’t need them, I have no kids, I have never called the police for myself, and never set fires or allow my house to deteriorate into a fire hazard. The point that I should contribute to the health of my country is no more absurd than these. As to being forced to participate, your argument is childish.

Going outside the system would be illegal. Says who?
Sure you’d have to contribute taxes to live in a country providing such a system, like Canada, but you most certainly could choose to be treated outside the system. That’s just another red herring, If you are wealthy, you have choices.

As to telling the government your health condition for payment, what do you think happens with any health insurance? There could be and likely would be, safeguards for this info. Don’t want to participate? Pay a private provider. Another childish red herring.

Again, I ask, What Liberties would you lose? Other than paying taxes for the right to live in a society that chooses not to ignore it’s poorer folks, none. You can always immigrate if you find this too repulsive. Freedom isn’t about being a hermit or ignoring your fellow man. If that’s what freedom is to you, then your really need to read our founding fathers more closely.

Posted by: googlumpus at December 25, 2007 11:54 AM
Comment #241417
I responded to your question. Then you turn around and reply that the question I responded to was not what you asked. But, it was: AND I QUOTE:

“What is the difference between a single payer system that is tax collected and paid for by the government and a single payer system that is fees paid (a small percentage of each doctor visit) and run by a private organization that is chartered by the government and then left alone with only bi-annual oversight hearings?”

Your question refers to the difference between a government sponsored (non-profit) single payer system, and a private organization hired by the government which collects a percentage of the cost of each Dr. Visit from the patient presumably to fund nation’s health care system.

First, you did not stipulate that the private organization be a non-profit. What is the private company’s incentive above and beyond that of a government single payer agency if not profitability?

I did in my second attempt at getting the question answered, which I am sure you read, but even if you didn’t you made an assumption. That’s ok, but don’t take a false assumption out on me.

However, what is the motivation behind the United Way? The Nature Conservancy? There are thousands, if not more, organization that are chartered, set up, and run as non-profit organizations because the people who set them up want them to be.

And your response was that they would be a third party, when that is precisely what the government would be as well. The only way to eliminate a third party would be to create HSAs (as we have done) and let the buyer of services and provider of services agree on prices. Any other method, government run as well, introduces a third party into the equation.

Are you seriously suggesting a flat percentage be paid by the flu shot recipient and the lung or heart transplant patient, equally? And what if the heart transplant patient doesn’t have $25,000 in cash lying around to cover their 10% of the procedural cost? Just die, and make room for someone else?

Oh dear lord, why is that so many people feel the need to resort to demagoguery when debating this issue?

{demagoguery} Yes, that’s what I’m saying David, we should just let people die. I’m a cruel heartless bastard. This of course won’t happen in a government run program, people will be treated with the best of breed medical care and never have an issue, just like our VA Hospitals. Why, I know that is where *I* go whenever I need medical attention…{/demagoguery}

These are things we can work out in the details. In case you missed it, this was my later attempt at starting this discussion.

Again, the question I have is why does the government have to run the program? What specifically does bringing the government into running the program instead of setting up a non for profit organization, led by doctors, to implement a program that would manage the new crop of Healthcare Savings Accounts, that are not tied to employment, roll over each year and earn interest? It could be paid for by a surcharge on doctor and hospital visits, say 1 or 2 dollars.

I am not tied to a percentage, obviously. In fact, let’s completely emulate the progam proffered by Ray, without all of the force and privacy issues it raises. Why would that not work?

But the problem is I seriously want to discuss the actual differences between what I am suggesting (lets hash out the points without emotion and asinine attacks) and the single-payer system that itself says has to be the only way a patient can approach a doctor once implemented. Why is the ONLY answer, as Ray says, government intervention?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 25, 2007 11:56 AM
Comment #241418

Rinehold are you for real??
I hear others compliment you on your debating skills, but these past few threads do not reveal that skill
The above is a good example —
“I did in my second attempt at getting the question answered”
But during that “second attempt” you critized him for not reading, nor responding properly to your FIRST attempt, which you yourself, now imply was flawed. — He was supposed to read your mind that you meant “non-profit”?? Oh, but then only the second attempt counts, but thats too late because he had already responded to your first attempt —

Your arguements have the same flaw that I find in others that have not thought out their proposals.
The normal rationale is “It isn’t MEANT to work that way” — sorry, but in my experience it doesn’t matter what somebody THOUGHT it MEANT, I have found that it ONLY counts what is WRITTEN. If the law says only such and such get paid, and one can present the likely (but initially unintended) extreme consequence — bet that it will happen — I have seen too much of “Sorry, but that is the rule, can’t do anything about it”.
I have also seen you advocate getting rid of “restrive government” — but never really explaining the intricacies of that — as when people tell you what that would result in, your response is “oh, but of course I didn’t mean THAT”
What do you mean Rhinehold? Do you know, or do you just keep your thinking in abstract, vague notions that could never be implemented (and therefore cannot be challanged because you constantly change the bar)?

Posted by: russ at December 25, 2007 12:22 PM
Comment #241419

Ray said: “The world used to owe us money and should owe us money.”

I don’t see how they should owe us money when we are doing the borrowing to live beyond our present means. And fashioning trade deals that for 30 years in a row have resulted in trade deficits for our nation (a net export of American wealth).

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 25, 2007 12:29 PM
Comment #241421

Rhinehold, attempting to debate you is like trying to carry on a conversation with someone on LSD. Your points keeps shifting, your past statements keep morphing, and your comments blame others for not responding to your their rambling and shifting nature.

I thank you though for the opportunity to continue to point out the indefensability of your Libertarian arguments. One does have to be a real mental and principle gymnast to live in the real world and still support many Libertarian positions which are not based in reality at all, but a perspective hinged to a return to 18th century paradigms and Colonial context.

Oh, and btw, if the Patient is the first party, the Dr. is the second party, that would make the government in a universal single payer plan a third party, and by your own words, a private company chartered by the government as a collection agency for premiums would be 4TH Party.

Just thought you needed a little help with the Arithmetic there, since you attempted to equate the government and the private company as both being 3rd parties, when by your own descriptive phrasing, the private company is a 4th party contracted with by the government (the third party).

Happy holiday!

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 25, 2007 12:39 PM
Comment #241426
He was supposed to read your mind that you meant “non-profit”?? Oh, but then only the second attempt counts, but thats too late because he had already responded to your first attempt —

1) both questions were posed before he responded to either

2) Why did he assume for profit, the question did not read that as it stated it was an organization set up by the government. When does government set up for profit organizations?

Either way, think of me what you will, I care the tiniest amout…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 25, 2007 1:10 PM
Comment #241427
a private company chartered by the government as a collection agency for premiums would be 4TH Party.

No, once set up the government would not be involved at all. I never said it would be contracted by the government, it would be set up by the government…

So, since we are not communicating well on this, let’s try a different tact.

My question posed to you:

“What is the benefit of having this run by the government, why can’t a private organization, like the United Way or Habitat for Humanity, be set up to perform this function instead?”

Now, since you ignore the freedom of choice and privacy issues that I’ve already raised, I’ll take that as acquiescense that we will have to deal with those in this ‘final solution’ offered by Ray. Wouldn’t we avoid those issues by taking the running of this plan out of the hands of government?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 25, 2007 1:17 PM
Comment #241428
I have also seen you advocate getting rid of “restrive government” — but never really explaining the intricacies of that — as when people tell you what that would result in, your response is “oh, but of course I didn’t mean THAT”

You can start here if you really are interested. Or ask me specific questions, as I stated already I was not going to get into large non-specifics with someone who made it clear on the outset he wasn’t interested.

But yeah, I have made it clear and I’ll do so again, I’m not an anarchist. I’ve also stated that the philosophy is a simple one, “be free to live your life as you wish without interferrence as long as you do not violate another’s right to the same”.

And I’ll be consistent with this despite attempts to label me as otherwise by someone who would rather set up windmills to attack and straw men to fight.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 25, 2007 1:21 PM
Comment #241429
Libertarian positions which are not based in reality at all, but a perspective hinged to a return to 18th century paradigms and Colonial context.

If thinking that liberty and freedom are dead and only exist as an 18th century belief, then so be it.

But “be free to live your life as you wish without interferrence as long as you do not violate another’s right to the same” is not a belief that died in 1932 as you seem to think it did.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 25, 2007 1:29 PM
Comment #241430

Ray
One area the PWG does not go into,for understandable reasons, is the very high recompense doctors command.They should be paid well,maybe as much as $10,000 a month,not the $10,000 a day some of them get.
One reason for this is the high cost of a medical education. Not only does this saddle many of them with large debt but it also requires a huge investment. Huge investments generally insist on huge returns. This causes some wierd market place occurances that seldom happen with other services. Seems the more doctors there are in a given area the higher the average healthcare cost become.There is a built in incentive to over treat.There are some small programs to fund medical education already,requireing those recieving the government paid education to serve in underserved areas in exchange.There is mixed results. Many doctors simply do not fulfill their obligation,prefering instead to simply pay off their education once they are practiceing. These programs should be expanded to cover ALL medical trainning for doctors.That is the only way to effectively put in place price controls on the cost of that education.Its a matter of balance and fairness. If the government esentially controls the income of phyiscians we should also reduce the cost of their trainning.Selection for trainning should be strictly by aptitude. No AA and no legacy. If its our dime we want the best.

Rhinehold

Your mis-trust of government is respectable.There are some ares where government works well though. One example is SS. You may disagree with the fundemental concept but must admit,after looking at the results,the agency itself does a pretty good(not perfect) job.They send out millions of legitamet payments,on time ,every month at about a %2 overhead as compared with private annuity disbursements that cost %20 or more.Even SS fiduciary responsibilities are handeled well. The administrators have done a good job collecting increased funding for the baby bubble etc. The SS problem does not lay with the SS Administration but with the larger federal government. I do not want to side track here.
Another example is the Postal Service. Sure you may LOL at that but on the whole they do a spectacular job reliably moving a tremendous amout of mail at a fairly reasonable cost.Those who have spent much time abroad will confirm they are one of the best in the world even with much of the most lucrative aspects cherry picked off by private carriers.
The key to both these agencies success lies with their largely autonomious status.They are insulated somewhat from political winds in their actual operation.. When we set up a heathcare single payer administration caution must be taken to do the same. We would not want some politician to attempt to gain votes by authorizing breast augmentation for example,although he could get my vote that way LOL.
The proposal Ray cited does a good job of explainning why single payer needs to be universal to work.The wealthy cannot be allowed to cherry pick their healthcare or we would wind up with a two tiered system with constant political pressure to reduce funding to the second tier where most Americans would recieve care.Its not a happy situation to bring that much government power into play but in this case is justified by the de facto failure of the market to address healthcare.
I should also point out that a single payer system is not socialized medicine. It is a compromise,a hybrid if you like. The VA is a socialized system,for example. Single payer leaves most facilities and healthcare employees in privatly held organizations and patients could choose where they wish to be treated.

Merry Xmas
BillS

Posted by: BillS at December 25, 2007 1:56 PM
Comment #241432

Ray guest:

I believe that it is. If it is, one way to avoid subsidizing the wealthy is to make them pay their fair share through taxes. The problem is: What is their fair share? The answer is: I don’t know. Proably more than they pay now. But figuring that out requires the wisdom of Solomon. Good luck with that. People who work hard and get ahead should be ahead. On the other hand many of these people are using our commons to get ahead; air, water, roads, and as David Remer points out in his article; political stability.

I don’t like when we say “Make the wealthy pay their fair share”. The wealthy pay the vast majority of taxes as it is.

I would prefer to end the subisdy of people a certain percentage over the poverty level. That would include myself. Stop subsidizing me first before you start taxing me!

I am not ultimatley opposed to universal health care. Or I should say univeral access. I am oppposed to limiting my access to health care by going to a Canadian system.

I also understand that my taxes may need to be raised at somepoint to do that. I can’t support increasing taxes on medical expentures until subsidies are stopped on the affluent. I’m for means testing.

I would like to have medicare at an option AT FULL PRICE. Medicare does many things right, inspite of the fraud contained within.

In today’s world there is no reason other than what is between our ears “expectations” for people to not work in some form until age 70.

This entire issue is a mental game. The world is simply changing in some wonderful ways. Specifically people are living longer and are healthier than their parents.

There is absolutley nothing wrong with raising retirement age other than what society expects. In fact the vast majority of people approaching retirement expect and want to continue working well into their late 60s. And you should see the numbers on the budget side flip if we enable people to do what they want to do. (work longer).

I think we need to look very seriously at revamping our work expectations. I plan to work until 70. I have several charities I want to donate to and am fortunate that my work skills should be in great demand for a long time.

Working longer is a huge posibility. I think we need to get out of the way of this desire of older workers to stay working by enabling it through tax credits and incentives.

There are many other great ideas. But until we stop subsidizing the affluent, and create a system to encourage workers to work past 65 I’m not in favor if increasing taxes on the wealthy.

Merry Christmas!!

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 25, 2007 4:15 PM
Comment #241433

Ray Guest:

I think on belief that we all share is the need to rethink health care in general and medicare/ss/medicaid etc in specific.

One issue that I do not hear much about is that boomers differ drastically than the greatest generation.

Much research is comming to bear on what boomers want to do in retirement. The big cahoonah (Not sure how to spell cahoonah) is that boomers plan to continue to work. Labor participation of workers over 65 are already starting to rise.

I guess my question to you is that should boomers continue on with this belief, how does that change your thoughts on health care?

Just to juice the pot a bit on your answer, please remember that the retired take up a huge percentage of health care expenses.

One noted writer who is Hillary Clinton’s polster says in his book micro trends is on the opposite side as David. He says that we likey wont have a fiscal problem as enough people should continue to work to pay the bills.

I’m somewhere in between David and Mark Penn

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 25, 2007 5:00 PM
Comment #241435

Craige Holmes and others
Raising the retirement age is just ducky if those with physically undemanding jobs.That is not everybody or even most of us.Going to shuffling papers , counting nickles,or sending emails back and forth is one thing.A year or two longer is no big deal. How about farm labor,the building trades,firefighting,truck driving and a thousand other occupations that wear on peoples bodies?Do you want a bunch of 70 yo firemen trying to rescue your family from a burning building? How about building your homes or bridges?True the choices one makes in carreer paths have results and these are a personal responsibilty but if the results of becomeing a construction worker for example include sinking into poverty just who is going to make that choice and who is going to build our structures?True also is the possibility of riseing to a management position. Not only is that not desired or suitable for most but just how many managers do we need? A thousand Architects can not get one bridge built, no matter how many emails they send to each other.

Posted by: Bills at December 25, 2007 5:48 PM
Comment #241437

Bills:

Thank you for your response.

Forcing people to work longer is probably not the correct solution.

Understand this fact. Over 70% of Babyboomers WANT to continue to work at least part time during retirment. It would seem to me that it is in all of our interest to encourage them to do so. I think people are usually wise enough to make their own decisions.

Let me put it this way to you. Would you rather have 1. your retirement benefits cut, 2, your taxes raised, or 3. find a way to encourage those who want to to continue to work and thus reduce the cost of medicare etc?

There are probably touch choices ahead. This one seems like low hanging fruit. There is a match between babyboomers retirement plans and the nations self interest. If we can create a way to facilitate boomer desires to work longer, it helps us all. It is not the whole answer but is a slice!!

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 25, 2007 6:02 PM
Comment #241441
Would you rather have 1. your retirement benefits cut, 2, your taxes raised, or 3. find a way to encourage those who want to to continue to work and thus reduce the cost of medicare etc?

Employers either drop coverage or force employees who are 65 to sign up for Medicare in order to continue any company insurance (which would act as a Medicare supplement)…so, working longer doesn’t have any effect on the number of people signing up for Medicare or its cost…besides, if you don’t sign up for Medicare at 65 when you become eligible, there are monetary penalties to you…

Posted by: Rachel at December 25, 2007 7:55 PM
Comment #241442

Craig…for future reference:

Kahuna

The big cahoonah (Not sure how to spell cahoonah)
Posted by: Rachel at December 25, 2007 7:57 PM
Comment #241445

Rachel:

Employers either drop coverage or force employees who are 65 to sign up for Medicare in order to continue any company insurance (which would act as a Medicare supplement)…so, working longer doesn’t have any effect on the number of people signing up for Medicare or its cost…besides, if you don’t sign up for Medicare at 65 when you become eligible, there are monetary penalties to you…

But even in the current system, retirees pay more income and SS taxes if they continue to work.

With 70% plus baby boomers saying they want to continue to work after retirement and labor shortages predicted, it seems a no brainer to facilitate it with tax incentives.

thank you for the kahuna spelling.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 25, 2007 8:47 PM
Comment #241448

Thanks all for your comments. I am going to have a hard time catching up with all of it. But I appreciate the substantive debate.

Weary Willie,
It must be hard to be so tired. You wrote:

I’m willing to listen to new approaches. Are you?

Yes I am.

Rhinehold,

Thanks for the in depth comment. You wrote:

I don’t believe that a right can exist if in order for it to exist other rights must be violated. Progressives differ on this important point.
I agree that rights need to be balanced. For example: You should have a right to smoke, but not to expose me to it.

To say that someone has a basic human right to health care does not mean that right trumps my right of choice not to be a doctor - nor does it mean that there will be no rationing.

Rationing could be carried out by putting people on a 3 month waiting list for a knee replacement. In a crisis, rationing could be and is carried out by triaging the most critically ill patients and focusing resources where they will do the most good. That is about balancing rights. Everyone has a basic right to care, but the limited resource must be shared. The question is will it be shared in an equitable way or will the haves continue to disenfranchise the have nots. Rationing can, does, and will occur.

Rights are balanced against each other all the time. The “right to life” does exist. So does the “freedom to choose” what to do with ones own body.

Now to the rest of your comment:

Where to start though gosh… I suggested above that perhaps anyone should be allowed to practice. It was half factitious - but it is a serious question. I agree that you should be able to do anything that you want with your body - including abortion.

Of course, letting anyone actually practice medicine would be a disaster. There are currently standards care that doctors - for better or worse - often for worse. Yet, the alternative to professionally set standards of care would be worse - any quack could waddle like a duck. Professional standards of care is part of our social evolution. It part of our social contract.

Those standards of care, developed by doctors and health care professionals, based on the best available scientific evidence is the what the Physicians plan would use to determine what procedures to cover. They do include cost benefit analysis.

That would be the case whether it was the government or a private non-profit corporation. Those standards are not politicized in the traditional sense of the word. Those standards of care already exist.

A patient currently makes his choices in consultation with his doctor based on the available options which are based on the standards of care. The Physician’s plan would not change that. The government would not be in between the doctor and patient any more than it already is.

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 25, 2007 9:45 PM
Comment #241460

David,

I think that I have given you the impression that I do take your concerns about political gridlock and national financial solvency seriously. I think that both of those issues are serious. I agree that, in many areas, a Democratic, Republican, Independent, or bi-partisan solution that was followed through on would work equally well.

My point was that there are some situations where one solution will work and the other will never work. I wrote this article with the opinion that health care was one of those areas. I made the statement that the choice was between solution and no solution. I am no longer sure about that.

This debate has convinced me that “solution” has to be defined. Solution = caring for tens / hundreds of millions of suffering Americans??? + National financial solvency??? - National financial solvency??? Only National financial solvency??? Solution = providing health care only for the rich and powerful elite??? So the whole question hinges how we define solution. There are as many “solutions” as there are ways of defining the word.

Defining the word in the way that I do, I think that there is only one basic solution, although your suggestion of providing only preventitive and emergency life saving care would be a big step forward - but not IMO a complete solution. I do agree that national financial solvency is more important than a complete solution. I just believe that we can have a complete solution + national financial solvency… if it is done right. The devil is in the details and the devil makes sure we never do anything right - but maybe we could get it close to right.

Left is the new right.

That said, you wrote about a 50 year old writer and fire fighter with a bone spur in their shoulder. Then you wrote:

IT does no good in the long run to provide universal health care while destroying the economy and government solvency which underwrites it.
I agree. People will die if we bankrupt our country. If we cannot take care of the fifty year old writer without deficit spending then we should define that care as not medically necessary. That would of course open a whole can of worms about private insurance, but national financial solvency is important. My argument with you is that I believe that we can take care of both the writer and the fireman without bankrupting the country.

In fact, I would argue that is less expensive to take care of both. The private insurance can of worms would drive up the cost of all care because the doctors would still have to be able code for and bill to hundreds of insurance companies and thousands of insurance plans if we don’t cover both the fireman and the writer.

There is an economy of scale as well.

Finally, covering both, gives the government more power as the only payor, (the only game in town), more power to negotiate lower procedure fees with the AMA which would function essentially as a union for doctors under the Physician’s plan. The doctors can afford to accept lower fees per procedure, because they would have lower “billing” overhead and would get paid for every procedure they perform.

Free market economics would rule. If the government set the fees too low doctors would refuse to perform procedures. Doctors would no longer need to “gouge” the rest of us to cover the cost of all of the free gratis care that they already provide to the poor. People would not need to use emergency rooms as primary care providers. Cancers would be diagnosed and treated early and more economically. We can do this. If we do it right.

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 25, 2007 11:07 PM
Comment #241467

Rhinehold

Windmills and strawmen are all they have my friend.
How can you expect to “be free to live your life as you wish without interferrence as long as you do not violate another’s right to the same,” when they believe they know whats best for you, better than you yourself knows?

Besides, if they couldn’t use govt to force others to believe as they do, they would have to actually practice what they preach, and we both know that isn’t going to happen.
As with most issues, they “say” they “care,” just not enough to change their own lifestyle to support their beliefs. If govt forces everybody to support their beliefs, they have to sacrifice less.

Posted by: kctim at December 26, 2007 9:32 AM
Comment #241469
Please explain why I should pay taxes for schools, fire departments and police? I don’t need them, I have no kids, I have never called the police for myself, and never set fires or allow my house to deteriorate into a fire hazard. The point that I should contribute to the health of my country is no more absurd than these. As to being forced to participate, your argument is childish.

Childish? In what way exactly? That I have a political philosphy of liberty that I want to be consistent with and do not wish to force what I think is the right way to live onto other people and expect them to do the same?

Government should exist to protect our rights. That is where the police come in, they are there to protect our individual rights from being violated. As for fire and education, they should not be ‘taxed’ as much as communiites should have homeowner fees (property taxes) to pay for these things. The taxes for these are not based upon income but on property that you own, if you do not wish to pay those taxes or have those provided for you, you are free to move to another community that does not charge as much or provide them at all. That is a choice you can make.

Going outside the system would be illegal. Says who?

The proposed plan. It says that in order for this program to work people who not be allowed to go outside of the system. That is why they need government involved, so that they can use the government’s power of force to ensure that the plan is not bypassed.

Sure you’d have to contribute taxes to live in a country providing such a system, like Canada, but you most certainly could choose to be treated outside the system. That’s just another red herring, If you are wealthy, you have choices.

Read the plan again, they do not want the wealthy being able to bypass the system or it would fall in upon itself.

As to telling the government your health condition for payment, what do you think happens with any health insurance?

No health insurance company can force me to do anything, they are just a private organization and have no power over me. The government is a different story, they do have that power. I only answer the one question on my census that I am required by law to answer, the rest are left blank because I do not want this information known for possible use in the future against me by an entity that can use force on me.

There could be and likely would be, safeguards for this info. Don’t want to participate? Pay a private provider. Another childish red herring.

You really might want to read what you are defending before calling other people childish…

From the proposed plan:

Private insurance that duplicates the NHI coverage would undermine the public system in several ways. (1) The market for private coverage would disappear if the public coverage were fully adequate. Hence, private insurers would continually lobby for underfunding of the public system. (2) If the wealthy could turn to private coverage, their support for adequate funding of NHI would also wane. Why pay taxes for coverage they don’t use? (3) Private coverage would encourage doctors and hospitals to provide two classes of care. (4) A fractured payment system, preserving the chaos of multiple claims data bases, would subvert quality improvement efforts, e.g. the monitoring of surgical death rates and other patterns of care. (5) Eliminating multiple payers is essential to cost containment. Only a true single payer system would realize large administrative savings. Perpetuating multiple payers - even two - would force hospitals to maintain expensive cost accounting systems to attribute costs and charges to individual patients and payers.

If you had read the article instead of trying to defend the concept of ‘taking care of our poor by force’ you might have read this part that is pretty near the first thing stated…

Again, I ask, What Liberties would you lose? Other than paying taxes for the right to live in a society that chooses not to ignore it’s poorer folks, none. You can always immigrate if you find this too repulsive. Freedom isn’t about being a hermit or ignoring your fellow man. If that’s what freedom is to you, then your really need to read our founding fathers more closely.

I don’t think it is me that is missing what our founding fathers intended. :/

As for liberties I would lose, I’ve already named three big ones.

And I am in no way suggesting that we ‘live as hermits’ or ‘ignore our fellow man’, which are childish accusations indeed. “Oh you must be a selfish bastard if you don’t want to help these people”, how boorish, rude and ignorant of what is being discussed. I work hard in my community to make it better and help other people in actually helpful ways, not just handing out money. People need real help, not handouts. But because I oppose limiting liberty (remember, liberty is absence of government interference in our lives) you assume I don’t care about people? Maybe you should stick to learning about what you are defending and leave the interpreting motives to others because you completely miss the mark here…

The best way to reduce cost in the medical field is as I have already stated, and is being implemented, the new HSAs. Of course, that requires that people become viligent and prudent of their own spending, something that we need to return to instead of leaving it all to someone else. That is what has gotten us to where we are now, not greed but removing personal responsibility from the equation. Catastrophic insurance coupled with an HSA is the best way to ensure that no matter who is running our government we still have good adequate healthcare available to us.

BTW, I love how these topics usually start out as ‘access to healthcare is a right’ which is a statement I agree with. Then we devolve into saying that PROVIDING healthcare is a right, which it is not. Because to provide healthcare to everyone requires the loss of liberty that I’ve already pointed out. It is just that my concerns are apparently ‘childish’ and ‘against our founding father’s wishes’ according to you.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 26, 2007 10:14 AM
Comment #241470

Oh, and btw…

Monopolies are bad, mmmkay?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 26, 2007 10:36 AM
Comment #241471

Rhinehold:

What this system is meant to prevent, is a parallel system that feeds off public health care, by offering falsely low rates due to cherry picking less expensive procedures and healthier patients. I don’t have a problem with outlawing predatory insurance, why do you? Let’s not confuse insurance with health care.

It would not preclude someone wealthy from flying to Mexico, India, Indonesia, as many do today, for elective procedures. I doubt it would prevent private practice, entirely. Some procedures will be disallowed and practices that cover those, I’m sure, would be permitted. The only liberty taken would be the avoidance of participation financially.

Other than not being a tax evader, no other liberty would be robbed from you. The privacy issue is BS and not an issue. There are agencies in government that do not share data. If your worried about privacy, look into law enforcement
(that agency you say protects our individual rights) or Homeland Security, there you might find some real issues rather than this scare tactic you falsely raise.

Government should exist to protect our rights. That is where the police come in, they are there to protect our individual rights from being violated. As for fire and education, they should not be ‘taxed’ as much as communiites should have homeowner fees (property taxes) to pay for these things. The taxes for these are not based upon income but on property that you own, if you do not wish to pay those taxes or have those provided for you, you are free to move to another community that does not charge as much or provide them at all. That is a choice you can make.

And again, I ask, why are these different than a government that protects the poor and middle class from predatory insurance?

I agree health care isn’t a right. However in a wealthy industrial nation, it is blatantly unfair to allow the predatory health insurance industry to prey on Americans. Every other industrialized nation understands this. Your preference apparently, though you wrap yourself in founder’s flags, is that they should just die off if they didn’t earn enough.

Portly Gentleman: At this festive time of year, Mr. Scrooge, it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time.
Ebenezer: Why? Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?
Portly Gentleman: Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.
Ebenezer: If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.

Perhaps your arguments aren’t childish, just miserly.

Posted by: googlumpus at December 26, 2007 10:46 AM
Comment #241475

Craig:

But, you didn’t answer the fact that when turning 65, everyone pretty much has to sign up for Medicare, working or not…

What is the true impact of those people still contributing to Medicare out of their earnings??? Has anyone actually researched this?? There are a good number of people retiring early and being caught without insurance…and those who can afford the insurance are sailing around the world or doing charitable work, not spending work $$ on Medicare…

What are the real numbers??

Posted by: Rachel at December 26, 2007 11:34 AM
Comment #241476

Ray, we seem to agree on far more than we disagree. The difference I see in our comments is your optimism that this can be largely accomplished without first seeing the numbers crunched, and my skepticism without first seeing the numbers crunched. Whittling a 40 trillion dollar unfunded obligation down to say 2 to 4 trillion while preserving today’s level of health care and better over the next 65 years is akin to the goal of having human colonies up and thriving on Mars in the next 65 years. Impossible? Perhaps not. But, the enormity and complexity of the task make the potential highly improbable.

One thing is certain however. If we don’t try, a calamity in human suffering will result. Therefore, the attempt must be made. That is the selling argument.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 26, 2007 11:40 AM
Comment #241478

Rhinehold said:

“No, once set up the government would not be involved at all. “

Let’s see, the government would mandate the collections, oversee the private company, adjust the rates collected as conditions warrant, obtain and award competitive bids by other private companies wanting to perform the service, and yet you contend the government would not be involved at all?

“I never said it would be contracted by the government, it would be set up by the government…”

How does that work exactly, set up a service to be performed by legal mandate of the government by a private corporation without a contract?

“So, since we are not communicating well on this,”

Obviously.


“My question posed to you:

“What is the benefit of having this run by the government, why can’t a private organization, like the United Way or Habitat for Humanity, be set up to perform this function instead?””

The Government never contracted with or for, nor “set up” the Red Cross, United Way, or Habitat for Humanity. Those are private run not for profit organizations whose only relationship with government is tax exemption in exchange for public oversight of accounting and funding. There is no public obligation to save these organizations should they fail to generate operating funds.

“Now, since you ignore the freedom of choice and privacy issues that I’ve already raised,”

The issue of human suffering on a massive scale transcends an individual’s right to prevent the society from alleviating that suffering. Not, ignored, just dismissed as an invalid argument. Those who want true independence and liberty from society’s decisions need to leave that society. To choose to live in that society is a choice to bow to the will of that society, however that will is manifested, or seek to change the public will according to one’s individual drothers, rare, but, not impossible in a democratically elected society’s government.

“Wouldn’t we avoid those issues by taking the running of this plan out of the hands of government?”

The government runs very little in this plan. It mandates by law universal coverage and mandates tax collection to underwrite the cost of the universal insurance coverage, then oversees the needed adjustments to the limits of that coverage and amount of taxation toward the end of keeping the both the government and the economy solvent while providing that universal insurance coverage. Actual medicare care is managed and delivered by the private sector.

The implication that the government will manage and administer health care is completely false. Not saying you intended to imply that, but, many on the Right do.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 26, 2007 12:03 PM
Comment #241482

“The issue of human suffering on a massive scale transcends an individual’s right to prevent the society from alleviating that suffering. Not, ignored, just dismissed as an invalid argument”

Respecting individual rights does NOT prevent society from doing anything, David.
And, dismissing ones desire to actually help others themselves, rather than wait for govt to do it for them, as an invalid argument, is ridiculous at best.
You, and others who believe as you, have the right and every chance you need, to help those you wish to help.
Those of us who believe in individual rights, deserve to have those same rights and chances.
The fact that you all refuse to do it yourselves, should not enable you all to strip that right away from others either.

Its not about “not helping others.” Its about respecting the rights of EVERYBODY and letting them act as according to their own beliefs. NOT YOUR BELIEFS!

You want us to leave because we do not accept your beliefs, but yet, we and our beliefs were here first and are what this country was founded on.

A-freakin-mazing!

You want others to use govt to force you to believe like them? YOU leave.

Posted by: kctim at December 26, 2007 1:16 PM
Comment #241484

All
Lets not leave out of the debate the fact that we are already paying much more for healthcare than any other industialized country. We are paying for it. We are just not getting it.

Posted by: BillS at December 26, 2007 1:40 PM
Comment #241485

Rachel:

But, you didn’t answer the fact that when turning 65, everyone pretty much has to sign up for Medicare, working or not…

What is the true impact of those people still contributing to Medicare out of their earnings??? Has anyone actually researched this?? There are a good number of people retiring early and being caught without insurance…and those who can afford the insurance are sailing around the world or doing charitable work, not spending work $$ on Medicare…

What are the real numbers??

Here is a quote from Microtrends. Again this is Mark Penn’s work. (A Democrat!!)

According to Eugene Steuerle, and economist with the Urban Institute, if everyone worked just one year beyond expected retirement, we’d completely offset the anticipated shortfall between benefits and taxes in the old age insurance portion of Social Security. If everyone worked five more years, the overall additional taxes to the governmenet alone would be greater than the shortfall.


There are numerous studies on this subject. If you want more info just tell me to turn on the flow.

What I think is critical to this discussion is that when we look at medicare and SS, we are using expectations of the greatest gernation which are radically different from the baby boomer generation. It’s really important that we not assume that those 20 years from now will think at all like those on medicare now.

Study after study is coming out showing that a new revolution is about to take place. Boomers are about to create a new life stage between their career jobs and complet retirement. Some are calling this new career/lifestage “Encore”.

Studies are showing that 70% of boomers want to continue to work in their retirement. (Admitedly part time).

What is actually interesting about this coming revolution is that it is actually good for boomers. Appropriate work is healthy and prolongs life. So it is healthy, good for our country fiscally and what boomers want to do.

A basic conclusion is that we probably need to start from scratch, and feel free to create a retirement medical system that is inline with the needs and goals of this new generation of retirees. By the way, the first members of this generation are eligible for SS in 6 days. First Boomers his 62 January 1, 2008.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 26, 2007 1:48 PM
Comment #241486

We are “just not getting it,” BillS?
I can see a doctor anytime I want and get medications when needed, how does that mean I am not getting healthcare?

Posted by: kctim at December 26, 2007 1:51 PM
Comment #241487

Rhinehold said: “Respecting individual rights does NOT prevent society from doing anything, David.”


Rhinehold, your comment reflects a total absence of ability to carry a logical proposition to its conclusion.

If just ONE individual’s ‘right’ is respected to exempt themselves from a national health insurance tax, preferring instead to self-insure, then that same ‘right’ must be respected for all others wishing to be exempt. That of course results in keeping the current BROKEN health care system in place, i.e., those who can afford it get it, and those who can’t, don’t, and the 40 trillion dollar unfunded Medicare mandate bankrupts the nation.

ERGO, the individual’s claimed co-called ‘right’ to be exempt from national or universal health insurance taxation/premuiums, would prevent society from implementing that universal health insurance capable of making sure no person suffers unnecessarily for lack of medical care.

So, Yes, respecting one person’s claim to a so called ‘right’ can indeed prevent the society from solving this problem facing its future.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 26, 2007 2:01 PM
Comment #241488

Craig, expanding the age of mandatory retirement, and providing incentives to seniors to remain in the work force, are no doubt going to be part of the solution.

There are a number of impediments however to this partial solution being as fully realized as one might think. Location being but one of the largest factors. Large numbers of seniors will choose to live where they family is. The jobs available to their age and condition will not be located where the senior chooses to live in a great many cases.

Transportation is another issue. Many seniors may not elect to fight the traffic and its risks, or be capable of retaining a driver’s license due to medical condition or medications.

And last, but certainly not least, is the jobs skills matching to the job market. Millions of seniors will have outdated skill sets to remain in the work force.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 26, 2007 2:12 PM
Comment #241489

That was me, not Rhinehold, David.

“your comment reflects a total absence of ability to carry a logical thought to is conclusion”

No, your refusal to give it logical thought, is what prevents you from seeing the most important conclusion which respects EVERYBODY’s right to believe and live, as they wish.

You are correct in saying if you respect ONE persons right to be exempt, then you must respect EVERYBODYs right to do the same. But you are wrong in saying we would be stuck with the same broken system that can’t be fixed.
Those members of society, who believe in this universal healthcare scam, are quite capable to fix it now. They just don’t want to sacrafice enough for what they “say” they believe is the right thing to do.

Society is not prevented from helping others one bit when individual rights are respected, it benefits.

Posted by: kctim at December 26, 2007 2:24 PM
Comment #241492

David:

Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I agree that there are issues/obstacles with the working retired.

If viewed from the side of encouragement instead of mandating I think many issues can be evaporated. If the low hanging fruit is identified and taken advantage of, we can put a huge dent in fiscal problems in the future.

What is really great about this if done correctly is that it actually prolongs life. Meaningful work is healthy later in life. It just has to be suitable for the retire.

In terms of capabilities, I am not worried about finding jobs that people in their 60’s can do. Actually there is no reason healthy people cannot work until age 70.

Counselors who help seniors transition encourage them to “retire” at about 64ish. (It’s important to know assume one size fits all here). And then find new employement. The reason for this is that we all want to avoid and ugly departure because we have a different view of our capabilities than our employers do. When rehired, we then know that our skills are appreciated.

AARP is a leader in research on this subject. Even though there is much work to do in our country we are actually a world leader on this subject because of our lack of mandatory retirement laws.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 26, 2007 3:04 PM
Comment #241493

David:

If we take Penn’s source above at his word, which is if we could keep people working 5 more years, then there is no problem with fiscal issues in terms of medicare.

And then if we assume very little works in the ideal. (Basically idealism goes to crap over time). Then we could set a national goal of increasing the retirement age by one year and thus solve 20% of the problem.

Since working in retirement can in fact healthy, and boomers want to continue to work currently, it would seem like a great goal. All our country would need to do would be to search out and eliminate obsticals that keep boomers from doing what they want to do!!

Secondly, I would really like to know how much of the problem could be solved from eliminating subsidies from the affluent. From a moral basis, I would like to know why we are subsidizing affluent retirees when many of the working poor do not have health coverage.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 26, 2007 3:15 PM
Comment #241494

Rhinehold,

You wrote:

The proposed plan. It says that in order for this program to work people who not be allowed to go outside of the system. That is why they need government involved, so that they can use the government’s power of force to ensure that the plan is not bypassed.

Correct.
The Physicians wrote:
Perpetuating multiple payers - even two - would force hospitals to maintain expensive cost accounting systems to attribute costs and charges to individual patients and payers.

In other words, your freedom to choose to be private pay or have your own insurance would infringe our freedom to have affordable national health care because it would force hospitals to track bandaids for billing purposes which would drive up the cost of my care / taxes. It is about balancing freedoms and rights to achieve the greatest freedom and the greatest good for the greatest number.

The Physicians also answer your concerns about government interference in between doctors and patients. They write:

Bureaucratic interference in clinical decision making would sharply diminish. Costs would be contained by controlling overall spending and limiting entrepreneurial incentives, obviating the need for the kind of detailed administrative oversight characteristic of current practice.

and:
Incremental changes cannot solve these problems; further reliance on market-based strategies will exacerbate them. What needs to be changed is the system itself.

You write:

No health insurance company can force me to do anything, they are just a private organization and have no power over me.

But you do share that info with your health insurance company or you don’t get treated. Further, doctors are under reporting rules and routinely report info to the police and CDC. Your concerns about privacy are well founded, but that ship has sailed, that battle is long lost. You have no privacy.

The government knowing that you had a splinter removed is not what you need to concern yourself about. The government monitoring your radical comments here - as they do - is of much deeper concern.

The government spying on Chief Justice John Roberts and President Hillary possibly finding out that he likes bathroom sex is worse. If we were to catch John Roberts liking bathroom sex with undercover police officers - no problem - it would just make some more fun for us libs. But if President Hillary found that out through these spying programs that Bush has inaugerated, she could, probably would use it to blackmail him. That is a problem. That is where your privacy concerns need to be focused. We need to protect his privacy, not yours or mine. Frankly, we are not important enough to matter. His privacy is the privacy that matters.

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 26, 2007 3:35 PM
Comment #241495
Studies are showing that 70% of boomers want to continue to work in their retirement. (Admitedly part time).

So, this means they will be earning at most half of what they earned before so they won’t be contributing nearly as much as when they worked fulltime…plus many are taking jobs that don’t pay an hourly rate anywhere near what they got for a fulltime job…perhaps you’re overestimating what retired “workers” will be contributing to Medicare???

Posted by: Rachel at December 26, 2007 4:29 PM
Comment #241497

Rachel:

So, this means they will be earning at most half of what they earned before so they won’t be contributing nearly as much as when they worked fulltime…plus many are taking jobs that don’t pay an hourly rate anywhere near what they got for a fulltime job…perhaps you’re overestimating what retired “workers” will be contributing to Medicare???

That is already figured in. Typically retirees don’t need as much income to keep their current standard of living. Again one can’t paint with one brush. Usually college expenses for kids are gone. In addition mortgage payments are a lower portion of their income because they have been paying on them for a while. They may have a small defined benefit program etc.

Delaying taking money out of retirement programs is huge. For instance just assume someone has $200,000 in retirement savings tax deferred. Lets say they earn 8% by investing in a balance of equity funds and bond funds. By delaying one year that ups their investments by $16,000 which is taxed at some future point! Delaying five years increases the balance by nearly 50% which means 50% more taxable income from this investments alone over this persons life span.

Add to that the additonal taxes from part time work and it works out to very large tax numbers.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 26, 2007 4:39 PM
Comment #241503

KCTM
The “we” I was refering to is the inclusive we. “We” as in all Americans.I understand this is a difficult concept for some to grasp but a consistant and callous disregard for the travails of our fellow Americans is a personality defect,not a relevant method of evaluating public policy proposals.

Rhinehold

The notion that single payer or any other contemplated method of achieveing universal healthcare access is a threat to freedom or liberty is simply not supported by the evidence. We are not the first industrial democracy to proceed down that path. Actually we are the last to do so. Canada is not a totalarian state. Nor is England,France, Belgium, Norway, Sweden,Germany,the Netherlands,Iceland,Poland …….. etc. Universal healthcare has been shown to co-exist with democracy and freedom worldwide.
Freedom can and is lost to other institutions besides government. An example of this fact occurs all the time. What is the difference to the heirs if an estate is forfieted to a healthcare corporation instead of to a confiscatory inheritance tax? None I would say.

Posted by: BillS at December 26, 2007 7:18 PM
Comment #241504

Rhinehold,

remember, liberty is absence of government interference in our lives

Hum, that your definition, inline with individualists and liberals conception of liberty, dubbed “negative liberty”. It’s not an universal view, as the opposite “positive liberty” attest and the concept of Liberty as a whole is very debatable.


You can’t assert *your* is the ultimate one.

May I suggest you explore the *others* concepts:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberty

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at December 26, 2007 7:29 PM
Comment #241506

I see BillS. So, since you have no idea of how I personally feel about or choose to help others myself, you must be suggesting that I have a personality defect because I do not believe as you do. Interesting concept there.

Tell me, what would be a good “method of evaluating public policy proposals?” Stripping rights of everybody in order to appease the few? Doing what some think is right and forcing others to go along with it?
Or how about this: make healthcare available to everybody (which it is) respect everybodys beliefs (which you do not) and give everybody the same opportunity to help as much as they wish or not (which we do now, but some people just don’t really believe in it THAT much)

Here’s a newsflash for you: WE, as in ALL Americans, DO have access to healthcare. Some just do not choose to take advantage of it and others choose not to help them themselves, but would rather have govt do it for them.

Posted by: kctim at December 26, 2007 9:12 PM
Comment #241509

You guys are getting pretty brainy here. Of course anything we do as a nation pretty much interferes with someone’s liberty. Every road built “adjusts” someones property rights.

I feel pretty silly screaming about my rights in the comfort of my nice home while some do not have access to basic health care.

I think if we want to bet into how many angels God can put on the head of a pin, I would just use my favorite philosopher, larry the cable guy.

“It’s time to get ‘er done.”

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 26, 2007 10:18 PM
Comment #241511
Here’s a newsflash for you: WE, as in ALL Americans, DO have access to healthcare. Some just do not choose to take advantage of it and others choose not to help them themselves, but would rather have govt do it for them.

Emergency room care is NOT the same as access to regular medical check-ups and preventative medical care…it’s too late for many patients if all they have is the ER as their only access point…

Goodness…do you really believe everyone has access to medical care???

Posted by: Rachel at December 26, 2007 10:24 PM
Comment #241512
Delaying taking money out of retirement programs is huge. For instance just assume someone has $200,000 in retirement savings tax deferred. …Add to that the additonal taxes from part time work and it works out to very large tax numbers.

And exactly how much goes to Medicare???? And, people 65, working or not, have to sign up for Medicare and insurance companies demand that Medicare is the primary insurance and any other insurance is supplementary…so where is the savings???

Posted by: Rachel at December 26, 2007 10:26 PM
Comment #241513

Rachel:


And exactly how much goes to Medicare????

With medicare projected to be in deficit spending any income tax helps reduce the deficit and indirectly helps medicare.

And, people 65, working or not, have to sign up for Medicare and insurance companies demand that Medicare is the primary insurance and any other insurance is supplementary…so where is the savings???

I don’t think that would need to change. The big advantage is that working seniors produce more tax revenue and thus indirectly help offset costs for their retirement.

Every dollar of income taxes/ss tax revenue from seniors who continue to work goes against that $40 trillion dollar deficit David continues to bring up. Every dollar.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 26, 2007 10:45 PM
Comment #241514

Ray,

Since Social Security has been brought up I thought you might appreciate this article I stumbled across today:

http://www.bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE/?p=511

One of the best I’ve read in some time.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 26, 2007 11:05 PM
Comment #241515

Rhinehold said: “remember, liberty is absence of government interference in our lives”

There is that anarchist voice again. The absence of government is anarchy. Liberty in modern times is protected and defended by government, particularly democratically elected Constitutional or Parliamentarian governments.

Government by definition, intrudes into people’s lives, by establishing rules, laws, and consequences for failing to abide them.

Do you ever ponder why the word anarchist is thrown your way so frequently, Rhinhehold? Perhaps there is a sound reason for that to be found in your comments similar to this one above.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 26, 2007 11:46 PM
Comment #241516

David:

Is the difference between a libertarian and and anarchist perception?

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 26, 2007 11:48 PM
Comment #241517

“Goodness…do you really believe everyone has access to medical care???”

Rachel,

According to our wonderful president ALL American’s DO have access. Who are we to argue ;^/

I’ve been giving the site Ray provided a thorough reading and this blows holes in many of the myths:

http://tinyurl.com/yqrqb6 (in pdf)

Sadly there is not enough support for single payer health care. To my knowledge Kucinich is the only Presidential candidate even proposing such a plan.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 26, 2007 11:53 PM
Comment #241518

kctim said like a true anarchist: “Society is not prevented from helping others one bit when individual rights are respected, it benefits.”

Every individual’s rights? Even those whose rights are defined differently than other people define them? Who defines those rights, if not the majority and the representatives of the people? And if they decided, as our founding fathers did with the ratification of the Bill of Rights, is not the precedent set for the majority and their representatives to define what rights are and what social obligations are.

As those on the Right are so fond of saying, with freedom comes responsibility. Right’s lie at the heart of freedom. Since those rights are to be protected by society at large, is not every individual obligated to the protect and defend the society which protects and defends their individual rights? As for example in the paying of taxes, obeyance of laws and rules, even when the individual feels them to be an infringement upon their freedom and individual right to have things just the way they want them for themselves and be left alone by society at large?

This issue of individual rights and society’s needs to protect its future is not an unfamiliar one to our courts. In fact, a great deal of precedence has been laid down over the centuries which establishes the good of the society outweighs the wishes of the individual. The very concept of government presumes this to be true, for every government, including our own, establishes laws that prevent any individual from usurping the government’s continuation or authority.

We may all inherit an unalienable right to life from the creator, but, it is the government that will protect life, spend it, or take it, on this corporeal earth as it deems necessary for the benefit of the nation and government overseeing it. War, the death penalty, and police powers are all testament to this true and fundamental fact that rights are defined government, regardless of whether that government is republican, authoritarian, communist, or parliamentarian.

If it were not so, our Constitution would have had no need of the Bill of Rights. It was no accident that our Constitution set forth the POWER of government first and foremost, and individual rights as amendments. Individual rights are defined differently by different people.

Like you kctim believe you should have the right to remain in America, enjoy the host of benefits and securities that attend your residency without the obligation of paying taxes the majority of voters assent to paying and keeping intact. You rail on this subject frequently here as if you think you have a right to be free of taxation, or at least those taxations which you individually find burdensome.

I hope you see the dilemma your position poses for defending itself. If indeed you pay your taxes whether you agree with them or not, you are in fact, assenting to them, in the most meaningful way one can. Which makes your objections just apparitions of desire and wishful thinking. An individual who truly believes certain taxes are an infringement on personal liberty would, as our founders did, refuse to pay them and accept the consequences for that action.

Is that principle to be found in your position kctim? Or, are you just another taxpaying assenting citizen who supports the very system they so fondly participate in idly criticizing as the great American past time.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 27, 2007 12:20 AM
Comment #241519

David:

Ok here is my question for you on anarchy. Isn’t an Anarchist simply a fundamentalist libertarian?

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 27, 2007 12:30 AM
Comment #241520
Rhinehold said: “remember, liberty is absence of government interference in our lives”

There is that anarchist voice again. The absence of government is anarchy

Sorry David, but your inability to read is the problem here, not my views.

I *NEVER* said an absence of government, I said an absence of government INTEFERENCE.

There is a difference, one you seem to be unable to comprehend, even though I explained ad naseum about a hundred times. Either you are just unwilling or unable to see that the basic libertarian philosophy, of being free to live your life without the government telling you how as long as you are not preventing another from the same, is not the same thing as having no government at all. And quite frankly, it is getting old and boring having to stop in the middle of any debate and reiterate the same point over and over again.

And no, Craig, an Anarchist is not a fundamentalist libertarian, you fail to understand as well. Government is necessary to defend the rights of individuals from others who violate those libertarian beliefs, you know the ones about letting you live your life as you wish? I had a long argument with Ian of Free Talk Live about a year ago (another anarchist passing himself off as a libertarian) on this subject and he refuses to accept that even if you don’t CALL it a government, when two or more individuals get together to stop another from violating those rights, it is a government, albeit small and possibly temporary.

The sad part about this whole debate is we are now told we either have to have a governmentally controlled healthcare system or a broken semi-government controlled, semi-corporate controlled one like we have now. No one wants to even entertain OTHER possiblities because that would not be ‘fair’ or ‘partisan’ enough.

I hear that we need this because right now poor people only avail themselves of the ER for medical care. While this is true, it is not because they have no other options, there are free clinics and other charitable organizations out there trying, but most people are not seeking medical care until the need it. If they have forethought and planning, most of them wouldn’t be in the situation they are in. And no, this is not a ‘mean’ view of poor people, I work with them every day, it is just a sad fact of life. They are either going through a depression/other mental disorder, were never tought how to take care of themsevles and just need someone to talk to, are convinced that nothing they do will matter (the man is keeping them down), don’t want to better themselves at all ever, or, a small minority, are just down on their luck and are trying their best to get back in the game.

The only people we can help with our current programs are the last group, the minority of the poor, because we are just throwing money at the situation, no one is addressing the real issues that these people have and getting them better.

So the sad result is that, again, we are going to implement a program that will do f*** all to actually help the problem while we pat ourselves on the backs for how great and giving we are by voting to take money from everyone to give it to others. People who want to use preventative medical care will do so as they are doing now and no one else will because they don’t WANT to. It is not that hard or expensive to get minor medical coverate in this country. And with the new HSAs, it makes good sense. But the fact that so many people choose not to will not change with a national healthcare system.

So what are we trying to fix? The cost? If you want the cost to go down, get the person who is purchasing the services to pay for it. Give them an incentive to shop around. Bring competition back into the system (it is gone completely these days). This proposal that Ray offers will be just like any other governmental budget, it will always increase greater than the cost of living. I’ve worked in those budget processes, at the end of the year everyone goes crazy making sure to spend ever single time of the money they were alloted so that they don’t get a cut the next year. It is bloat and governmental waste and it WILL happen in this plan.

Are we trying to get everyone medical coverage? Why not just do this via charity, find everyone who isn’t covered and who makes less than XXX and offer them medical coverage. All that needs done is a charity set up and ran as a non for profit that collects, like the United Way, and see if that works. It most likely won’t, not because we couldn’t get everyone covered but because even with medical coverage most of the people in question won’t use it…

Are we trying to increase the amount of income taken from Americans from 47% to 65%? Well, this plan would do that…

Again, the problem is not that we are discussing healthcare issues, because we aren’t. No one is debating the details, they already know what they want based on political reasons and are pushing their own agendas without even listening to each other. I’ve been told that my opinion and views just don’t matter! Because I am in the minority. I’m so glad that our country has come so far that we just don’t give a damn about minority views anymore…

Yes, other countries have these programs but they are all moving away from single-payer for many reasons. And no, they aren’t ‘facist’ states, but they are not the United States with the ideals of individual liberty as we have. Something I hold very dear, but again, as a minority it seems.

In other words, your freedom to choose to be private pay or have your own insurance would infringe our freedom to have affordable national health care because it would force hospitals to track bandaids for billing purposes which would drive up the cost of my care / taxes. It is about balancing freedoms and rights to achieve the greatest freedom and the greatest good for the greatest number.

No, it is not a balancing of rights because you’ve just created a right out of thin air. You cannot have a ‘right’ that violates another right, otherwise it isn’t a right. Rights that exist naturally must trump the desires of the government to implement programs that violate them. Let’s take a right to privacy, for example. For me to enjoy that right, I only need exist. No one has to do anything for that right to be in effect. All we need do is make sure someone doesn’t come along and violate it. The same with a right to Free Speech. I simply say what I say and all is well. It is only when someone tries to actively violate that right when government steps in and prevents that.

Now, let’s take a ‘right to have healthcare provided for you’. In order for that right to exist, other people must do something. That doesn’t sound much like a natural right to me… And if there are not enough people to become doctors (and with their salaries being set by a governmental agency, I believe you will find the numbers dwindling) the government is then going to have to FORCE people to become doctors in order to meed the increased need we are told is going to occur. Otherwise the government is not protecting that right.

But the real sad part is that kctim is right, the majority of people are willing to pay an increase in taxes to fund helping those who need help. So why no have those people get together and start a private non for profit to handle this? Why, because they don’t think that is fair, them being all nice and helpful while others are not paying as well!

It’s like the old story I’ve told before. Our welfare system is like 5 guys sitting in a park eating lunch. Another comes up and asks for money and 4 of the guys say “Sure, here’s a dollar”. They then look at the 5th guy who isn’t offering anything and say “Hey, why aren’t you giving a dollar too!?” When he says he doesn’t want to (the reason doesn’t really matter) the other 4 beat him up and take his dollar to give to the other guy.

It’s such a caring program!

I prefer to try to help people in ways that really help. Mentoring, counseling, offering people to stay in my house to help them get back on their feet. I’ve driven people to work on my off hours, I’ve provided educational and financial assistance. But I never have demanded anyone else provide charity because that is WRONG. No one should be required, at the point of a gun, to help someone else. That does nothing but cause resentment in the one being force and indifference in the one receiving the help. We see this now with our current welfare programs, the ones that very rarely help anyone, and our War on Poverty, which still has people being poor, because we only believe in platitudes and partisanship. Those of us actually out on the street helping people are being ignored and stepped upon because we could care less about ‘sounding caring’. After doing all that I do to actually help people, not just vote to make others give money, I get accused of being a selfish greedy bastard, it makes me laugh every single time, because I see who the real selfish ones are, the ones that think they have the right to force their views onto other people.

But, knowing what I know, I am really just wasting my time with these comments, no one is either understanding or listening so there’s little point in me going on. And Phillip is right and wrong. There is a difference between natural/negative rights and positive rights, I do suggest everyone read his link. It is just that it didn’t really answer the original point about liberty since the definition for liberty is found in the dictionary. He can try to dance around the subjectd all he wants but in the end what he wants to do is label something as a right that isn’t and then force others to pay for the PROVISION of that right, which goes against what the US was founded upon. And *I’m* the one who dosen’t get the founding fathers because I don’t support government run healthcare?

And yeah, if the budget it being dictated by the government, and the funding is coming from the government, it’s still government run, again playing with words doesn’t change the facts. If whoever is in charge of the agency that will oversee this decides that one procedure or another should or shouldn’t be allowed, guess what happens… You think it is hard getting your current insurance company to cover some procedure that may not be ‘standard’ or may be experimental? Let’s bring politics into in and see what happens. Think it won’t? I’ve got a bridge around here for sale for you too…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 27, 2007 1:48 AM
Comment #241521

Is demanding that a sixty plus retired man go to work a compassionate solution to anything? Sure motivates me all the more to save for my own retirement so a bunch of bickering partisans aren’t dictating how I will live at that time. Shouldn’t it be a choice? To be honest I tell everyone my goal is to work till 90. It just seems silly you call freedom sending people ,who were diligent and therefore retired , to work to pay for something youngsters are perfectly capable of paying for themselves. I raised my boys better than that.
An H.S.A account costs about the same as a monthly cable bill. These are available now.
The reason a person gets paid 90k at united way would be that they need someone skilled for that position. If you want to pay a moron minimum wage to manage a huge charity like that then it will cease to become effective. Wait… That’s what happens with government programs.
You have two choices; A budget based program, (single, double or triple payer.) or a profit based program.
Profits are dependent on demand and excellence. Budgets are based in scarcity.
. I really don’t see all those evil people out there in the professional world that libs seem to manufacture. Two of my sisters are RNs, my son and daughter in law are pharmacists. A sister and a son in law are insurance agents. I have a couple doctor friends. We ALL want a good service for every citizen.

There are three areas the French addressed that I think need addressed in America.
First; our colleges are charging obscene prices for education. They should be mandated and rationed first before our doctors and insurance companies
Second ; Liability insurance is out of control. We need reform and limits on lawsuits
Third ;We live unhealthy lifestyles in comparison to other countries. I see this incrementally getting better but the boomers are the worst. We invented junk food.

Rights is one of those words like Love that can be broadened by pious individuals to demand about any behavior or favor.
The constitution was written by men who were very cautious of government. The bill of rights was added to limit its influence to the “objects” that were written in the constitution. Benevolence was not one of them. Original intent is a moog argument concerning entitlements since there were none. They certainly didn’t consider healthcare as a right. We passed that milestone years ago and are now seeing the results of trying to pay it. I think they were a bit smarter than we are.

Posted by: Kruser at December 27, 2007 1:50 AM
Comment #241522

Craig,

I can not, nor would I attempt to, answer for David but I’ve wondered if minarchy or anarcho-capitalism don’t come closer to defining the modern Libertarian movement in America. It may be a moot point because I personally believe that following either principle would eventually lead to anarchy and a failed state.

One question I’ve asked a number of times and never had answered to my satisfaction is: can anyone point out a historical precedent for Libertarian principle? I mean just show me the historical account of one society that successfully followed the Libertarian philosophy for a century or two or three.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 27, 2007 1:59 AM
Comment #241524

KansasDem,

I would gather that about the same number have succeeded that have tried it. Now, how many have succeeded at progressivism?

The reason you don’t get an answer is because it’s a sadly stupid question, bodering on any number of fallacies…

And no, libertarianism has nothing to do with anarcho-capitalism other than they like to call themselves libertarians.

Do you really want to get into which ‘principle’ has a good track record?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 27, 2007 2:08 AM
Comment #241525

BTW, KansasDem, you do realize that the Democratic Party was founded on those very libertarian beliefs you scorn now, right? It was when the progressives (communists/socialist hybrids) took the party over during the Great Depression did you see the Democratic Party split into what you have now and the Libertarian Party. The only reason you see some libertarians (small l) involved with Republicans is because of the old saying by Matt Stone. “I hate Republicans but I REALLY F***ING HATE Democrats”.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 27, 2007 2:12 AM
Comment #241527

“It’s like the old story I’ve told before. Our welfare system is like 5 guys sitting in a park eating lunch. Another comes up and asks for money and 4 of the guys say “Sure, here’s a dollar”. They then look at the 5th guy who isn’t offering anything and say “Hey, why aren’t you giving a dollar too!?” When he says he doesn’t want to (the reason doesn’t really matter) the other 4 beat him up and take his dollar to give to the other guy.”

I’d say it’s more like 5 guys sitting down to lunch and one guy saying, “hey did you hear that Leroy’s kid has leukemia?” Then 4 of the guys each chip in a couple hundred bucks and the 5th guy doesn’t. Then the 4 guys that chipped in start shunning the 5th guy and won’t even eat lunch with him anymore. You see the 5th guy chose NOT to be a part of that society and if his kid should get sick, oh well!

Of course the complexity of OUR entire society is quite different. Besides there is not a chance in hell of us going to a single payer system anytime soon. We’ll try anything and everything first, all the while spiraling deeper and deeper into debt.

The real fun begins in only a few years when the treasury has to start making good on all those Social Security trust fund IOU’s.

BTW, I’m not 100% sold on the “plan” presented here! I’d prefer something more like “medicare for all” with the same deductibles and co-pays I have which would allow the private insurance companies to still play SOME role IF it would spare small business some expense.

Most of all I’d want to see the proposed number$$$ crunched by congress and an independent panel of unbiased accountants. (No more budget spin like we had about Medicare part D)

Posted by: KansasDem at December 27, 2007 2:48 AM
Comment #241528

“The reason you don’t get an answer is because it’s a sadly stupid question, bodering on any number of fallacies…”

How so? Just name a country (or countries) that has followed libertarian principle successfully for a few centuries or even decades! I’ve read a lot and I see a ZERO long term success rate for such policy!!!!!!!!!!!

If I’m wrong then show me! I’ve been wrong before and when I’m shown that I’m wrong I admit it! Jack can damn sure vouch for that.

While I’m a “progressive”, I believe first and foremost in the success of democracy. Sometimes the majority makes a bad decision, but once the results of that decision become apparent bad laws, and even bad amendments can be overturned.

Unfortunately those who die in bad wars are still dead, and the consequences of poor fiscal policy may take decades to recover from, but HISTORY is a pretty darn reliable guide. So give me a little history lesson on the successes of Libertarianism throughout the free world.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 27, 2007 3:16 AM
Comment #241530

From Wikipedia:

“The first well-known version of anarcho-capitalism was formulated by Austrian School economist and libertarian Murray Rothbard in the mid-twentieth century, synthesizing elements from the Austrian School of economics, classical liberalism, and nineteenth century American individualist anarchists Lysander Spooner and Benjamin Tucker (rejecting their labor theory of value and the normative implications they derived from it). In Rothbardian anarcho-capitalism, there would first be the implementation of a mutually agreed-upon libertarian “legal code which would be generally accepted, and which the courts would pledge themselves to follow.” This legal code would recognize sovereignty of the individual and the principle of non-aggression. However, in David D. Friedman’s anarcho-capitalism, “the systems of law will be produced for profit on the open market”, which he believes would lead to a generally libertarian society if not an absolute one.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarcho-capitalism

Obviously my misconception was shared by self declared libertarians, eh?

Posted by: KansasDem at December 27, 2007 4:42 AM
Comment #241532

kctm
I very carefully did not ascribe anything to you specifically.
Yes there are beleifs held by some that are not worthy of respect.


Craig Holmes
Did you caych the ruling today that employers are allowed to eliminate medical benefits for employees over 65 while continueing benefits for those under. AARP estimates 10 million people will adversly effected. No doubt medicare will be also.Another poison pill from the Bush regime to damage medicare.

Posted by: BillS at December 27, 2007 6:27 AM
Comment #241536

Craig:

How much more???

The big advantage is that working seniors produce more tax revenue and thus indirectly help offset costs for their retirement.
Posted by: Rachel at December 27, 2007 8:53 AM
Comment #241539

Let’s also lower the working age and put those lazy gamers to work paying for new social programs. They have much more energy and the untapped resource just sits in front of television playing video games.
I read there are communities putting elderly to work to pay the high property taxes too. Let’s classify the abilities of all the handicapped and disabled and put them to work also. It is the progressive solution.

Conservatives have respect for the elderly and have no problem with them enjoying their retirement or youngsters enjoying their youth.
These posts are nothing more than justification for pilfering others for a hand out. Shameful.

I live in a high welfare area and everyone is well taken care of. No one dying in the streets here. There are low cost insurance policies for the middle class. Mine pays 100 per cent. We never use it. Instead of looking at other people’s wallets how about budgeting your own?

Dependence is a scourge on society.

Respectful, law abiding citizens are anarchists for not ascribing to pilfering?

The philosophy of independence is really quite simple.

Posted by: Kruser at December 27, 2007 9:48 AM
Comment #241541

Rachel
“Goodness…do you really believe everyone has access to medical care???”

It is a fact, not a belief. There is not one person in the US who does not have some sort of access to healthcare. Do you know of someone who does not?

“Is that principle to be found in your position kctim?”

Why yes it is, David. Just like other issues I either agree or disagree with.
I agree with helping those in need, but I can do alot more, and in more productive ways, than govt can.
I disagree with abortion, but my personal beliefs on the subject do not trump a woman who must make that choice.
I could go on and on, but you already know I am consistent in my beliefs, David.

Respecting ones individual rights and freedoms does not mean no govt and it will not lead to anarchy. That is nothing but a scare tactic used to keep the sheeple in line.
It is, however, freedom. And not the quasi European democracy form we are moving to, but rather the kind of freedom this country was founded on and grew with for a 100+ years.

Posted by: kctim at December 27, 2007 9:58 AM
Comment #241542

kctim said: “I agree with helping those in need, but I can do alot more, and in more productive ways, than govt can.”

NO, you can’t, and that is the simple lie underlying your entire belief system. You as an individual in the lower 48 cannot help the individual in need in a remote village in Alaska. There are many great things charities can accomplish, but, there are also many people that choose not to serve, because the cost of serving one in a remote village in Alaska equals the cost of serving 10 in Chicago. Charity’s board of directors have a fiduciary duty to use the organization’s money in ways that accomplish the greatest good as defined by their mission.

SO, no, you can’t, in some areas, do better than government. That is a flat out misrepresentation of reality and truth, evidenced in every modern society on the planet.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 27, 2007 10:09 AM
Comment #241546

I did read the article by the way. It is full of numerous unbased assumptions. In summery: let’s eliminate bureaucracy by creating our own; only pay the workers in our system less.
Budget based or profit based. The latter has incentives. The former discourages the best and the brightest to participate. You hear all the time,” you should get into it since the money is good”. Smart people will go elsewhere.
Todays greedy doctors go to cosmetic surgery. Most people in the present system are just trying to pay off bills and acquire new technology. I hate it how libs demonize everyone. We have the finest people anywhere, both in the insurance industry and medical facilities. Health care is at present available to everyone. Some simply haven’t budgeted it in because of their quest to keep up with the Jones’s.


Posted by: Kruser at December 27, 2007 11:02 AM
Comment #241549

KansasDem:

I can not, nor would I attempt to, answer for David but I’ve wondered if minarchy or anarcho-capitalism don’t come closer to defining the modern Libertarian movement in America. It may be a moot point because I personally believe that following either principle would eventually lead to anarchy and a failed state.

One question I’ve asked a number of times and never had answered to my satisfaction is: can anyone point out a historical precedent for Libertarian principle? I mean just show me the historical account of one society that successfully followed the Libertarian philosophy for a century or two or three.


My only intention was humor. My son’High School debate team was back from college at are home watching movies. I asked them. Sure enough, they thought I was correct.

An Anarchist is simply a fundamentalist libertarian.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 27, 2007 11:43 AM
Comment #241550

Rachel:

How much more???

As I said above, Mark Penn Hillary’s polster believes that if retirment age goes up by one year that solves the SS issue. If it goes up 5 years, that solves all issues.

Right now near 70% of boomers are planning to continue to work in retirement.

This is an important piece of the pie in terms of solving the coming fiscal imbalance.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 27, 2007 11:46 AM
Comment #241551

David
The only lie is your misrepresentation of those who do not adhere to your personal belief system.
By our nature, people generally care about their fellow man and will do what they can to aid them. UNLESS, there is no reason for them to and people using govt in creating feel-good legislation, has given them that reason.

YES, I can help that village in Alaska if I so choose. Rather than sitting around bitching about how much help they need, I could easily donate my time and money and organize a drive to help them. But that would take self sacrafice and people today have been conditioned against that.
It is govt’s job to take care of them. Why should I quit drinking my latte’s, buying the latest and greatest and live a modest life in order to support what I “say” is the right thing?
People believe in helping others, they just don’t believe in it enough to do it themselves and THAT, is the simple lie underlying the feel-good govt aid programs.

Creating a more and more intrusive govt is the answer for the lazy.
Respecting individual rights and putting your money where you mouth is, is the answer for the caring.

Posted by: kctim at December 27, 2007 11:48 AM
Comment #241552

Kruser:

Not sure where you are getting the conservative thing. Mark Penn is one of Hillary’s top advisors.

There is nothing liberal or conservative about facilitating seniors who want to continue to work, achieving their goals.

Some form of work in retirement is healthy and prolongs life. It also helps fund programs. It provides needed services. It is absoluletly a win all around.

forcing them to work would be a different deal entirely.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 27, 2007 11:50 AM
Comment #241554

KCTim,

History is NOT on your side:

http://www.elderweb.com/home/node/2806

Posted by: KansasDem at December 27, 2007 12:21 PM
Comment #241555

Thanks all for bringing the excellent debate here. I am still trying to catch up with you all.

Carolina,

Way back up there, you wrote:

Their response “Costco does not mark up anything in the store more than 30% some pharmacies mark up prescriptions as much as 300%”. Anybody else see the problem here?

Yes, I see the problem. I think that the problem is even worse.

Costco is an absolutely excellent corporation. They have a different, more enlightened, business model. Everyone should drive 30 miles to shop there.

I think that the markup is even greater than 300%. I think that they really mean 30% and 300% profit margin which would include deductions for all related business expenses so the actual markup over cost is probably well over 1000%.

A 300% profit margin is ridiculous and predatory. But, Walmart, evil superhuman giant that they are, is probably still less expensive than many pharmacies.

That is the problem with private industry. It is predatory by nature, design, and intent. To allow superhuman predatory sociopathic beasts monopolistic control over life and death is foolhardy. They will exploit the situation. They are designed and chartered to exploit the situation.

For all of that, private industry is dynamic and Costco shows a different way. Their business model is about building good will. They will eventually be bought out by predators who will make good use of their established good will.

The Physician’s plan mentions the problem with big for profit pharma but they offer no solutions. The Physician’s group apparently does not know how to untie that knot and niether do I. We need to harness the dynamism of corporations to the needs of mankind. But these are extremely dangerous predatory superhuman beasts.

Nexium is an example of part of the problem. It is virtually identical to Prilosec (now generic omeprazole). Nexium and Prilosec are virtually identical, but the patent expired Prilosec. So we consumers pay how many hundreds of millions to cover the cost to reformulate Prilosec into Nexium with no meaningful improvement in health benefits. Then we pay how many hundreds of millions more to advertise “the little purple pill” so that we will all ask our doctor for it. Then, we the consumer, pay how many hundreds of millions more for the drug reps to wine and dine doctors and nurses.

My wife is a retired nurse. Every ink pen in this house has a drug logo on it. Nice, high quality, ink pens. The drug reps are hoping the nurse will say to the doctor: Do you want me to call in Nexium.

Then we pay the pharmacy a 300% profit margin. All of this for a drug that is no better than cheap generic omeprazole.

So the drug companies are spending much of their dynamism to develop replacements for perfectly good blockbuster drugs whose patents are expiring rather than to develop fundamentally new drugs that we really need. It is profit driven - not need driven. See: Consumers Sue Pharmaceutical Company Over Misleading Nexium Campaign

The FDA is now funded by the drug companies. So it now works for them. It no longer works for us. It is corrupted, infiltrated, and controlled by the drug companies. See:With COX-2 decision, no longer any doubt about FDA corruption and U.S. drug racket


Posted by: Ray Guest at December 27, 2007 12:28 PM
Comment #241556

Then the Bush regime passes a law that makes it illegal for the government to even ask drug companies for a lower price. Don’t even ask!!!

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 27, 2007 12:30 PM
Comment #241565

Craig:

As I said above, Mark Penn Hillary’s polster believes that if retirment age goes up by one year that solves the SS issue. If it goes up 5 years, that solves all issues.

Right now near 70% of boomers are planning to continue to work in retirement.

We’re talking about Medicare, due to go bankrupt within the next decade…Social Security is OK until mid-century…

Even if 70% of us continue to work, we’ll be working fewer hours and at jobs that pay less than what we’re currently earning…

How does this “save” Medicare when we all have to sign up for it when we turn 65???

Posted by: Rachel at December 27, 2007 1:52 PM
Comment #241568

Rachel:

I don’t think it will “save” medcare. I think it is a slice of the pie because it will increase revenue above projections. More revenue is part of the solution.

Multiple solutions are needed to “save” medicare. The most important of which is health care costs.

However, current assumptions on the problem are most likely are too pessimistic. Boomers continuing to work is not in most projections.

We need to build on this desire to work. It is a good thing.

More revenue to tax is a good thing when looking at a fiscal problem.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 27, 2007 2:16 PM
Comment #241569

K-Dem
How exactly does it prove me wrong?
I agree veterans deserve benefits for serving.
I agree, as they did then, that it is not the federals govt job.

We are a wealthier nation than we were then. The average family went day to day with just the basics and people had no real chances to invest and plan back then. Today, the average family throws away more food and money than they need and everybody can plan for their future.
We do not need to trample rights in order to evolve as a country.

Posted by: kctim at December 27, 2007 2:20 PM
Comment #241571

Rachel:

Even if 70% of us continue to work, we’ll be working fewer hours and at jobs that pay less than what we’re currently earning…

70% choosing to work instead of choosing to retire. If these 70% all retired they would not be working and paying taxes on their income from work.

If on the other hand they choose to work, they earn money which is taxed which increases tax revenues which helps with the problem. It means less of a problem in the same way that if you work more you have more income for your own financial issues.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 27, 2007 2:35 PM
Comment #241577
If these 70% all retired they would not be working and paying taxes on their income from work.

Even being retired, one pays income taxes on social security, 401Ks, pensions…but one doesn’t pay Medicare on non-work income…the far majority of retirees who work earn much less and work many fewer hours than they did when fulltime…exactly what this impact will be, especially since all retirees 65 and over will be on Medicare (receiving services with Medicare as their primary coverage)is probably quite negligible…especially since Medicare is in deep and immediate fiscal trouble.

Posted by: Rachel at December 27, 2007 3:57 PM
Comment #241578

Rachel:

Even being retired, one pays income taxes on social security, 401Ks, pensions…but one doesn’t pay Medicare on non-work income…the far majority of retirees who work earn much less and work many fewer hours than they did when fulltime…exactly what this impact will be, especially since all retirees 65 and over will be on Medicare (receiving services with Medicare as their primary coverage)is probably quite negligible…especially since Medicare is in deep and immediate fiscal trouble.

More people working means more income, which means more taxes which means we need to borrow less to meet our promises to future retirees.
Experts tell us it is more than negligible, rather it is substantial to the tune of erasing 20% of the fiscal problem for every additional year boomers work past scheduled time for retirement.

It is in our nations best interest to get out of the way and facilitate this longer working trend.

Basic point: More revenue helps the problem we are discussing here today.


Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 27, 2007 4:09 PM
Comment #241580

“Today, the average family throws away more food and money than they need and everybody can plan for their future.”

kctim,

We clearly live in two different worlds. When Bush took office he loved to brag that the USA was the worlds ONLY superpower. Well, golly - gosh - gee-whiz, we attained that position while providing at least some form of national safety net.

I guess if we’d continued to salt our elderly away in poor houses, on poor farms, or in asylums we could have reached the position of super-double-duper-power. Or maybe we would have been shunned as the worlds largest, but very dangerous, banana republic.

Aside from the personal suffering, what do you suppose the financial impact on society would be with no safety net? How many “two wage earner” families would have to choose to have one or the other stay home to care for the parents?

History is a great indicator, you know —— “been there, done that”. To suggest that people are now more charitable than a century ago just flies in the face of reality. Please, just show me the historical model you rely on as an indicator of libertarian success.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 27, 2007 4:33 PM
Comment #241582

K-Dem

I am sure that we do live in two different worlds K-Dem. You live in the one where you believe the US economy is in a depression because of the Republicans and I live in the one where 2007 isn’t really much different than 1997.

The US and its people are wealthier than they were back then. People have more money to give than they did back then and they would have even more if the govt didn’t steal so much from them.

“what do you suppose the financial impact on society would be with no safety net?”

MORE people saving.
MORE people investing.
MORE people plannin.
MORE people helping others.
LESS people dependent.

The financial impact? Govt needing less money because it was running govt, not lives. Govt needing less money means the people have more money AND their rights would still be respected.

“How many “two wage earner” families would have to choose to have one or the other stay home to care for the parents?”

Probably as many “two wage earners” who believe they need two wages so they can keep up with the neighbors. I don’t know.
What I do know is that people today, believe their lifestyle should not change because their parents are the govts burden, and that is wrong.
I also know that the financial burden of taking care of ones parents would be less, if people were not encouraged by govt to not save for their own retirement.

“To suggest that people are now more charitable than a century ago just flies in the face of reality.”

I do not know how charitable people were a hundred years ago. But I do know that we have more disposable income than they did, there are more of us, we are more concentrated and that we are very charitable. Especially those who are religious.

“Please, just show me the historical model you rely on as an indicator of libertarian success”

I do not believe it is fair to libertarians to label me as one and I don’t try to act like I know what they are all about.
I am an average joe who respects the rights of others and who wishes they would do the same.
MY model? The US Constitution.

Posted by: kctim at December 27, 2007 5:35 PM
Comment #241610

“we are very charitable. Especially those who are religious.”

`Gospel of wealth’ facing scrutiny
http://tinyurl.com/269e4q

BTW, I used a small “l” in libertarian. The principles you espouse are “right”-libertarian in nature.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 27, 2007 11:11 PM
Comment #241624
I’d say it’s more like 5 guys sitting down to lunch and one guy saying, “hey did you hear that Leroy’s kid has leukemia?” Then 4 of the guys each chip in a couple hundred bucks and the 5th guy doesn’t. Then the 4 guys that chipped in start shunning the 5th guy and won’t even eat lunch with him anymore. You see the 5th guy chose NOT to be a part of that society and if his kid should get sick, oh well!

That’s an interesting look into your view of society, unfortunately it is absolutely nothing like current reality. Let me address three major problems.

1) In our welfare system no one knows (or seems to care) what the issue is that is causing the person to need help, or indeed if they even need help at all. All someone has to do is meet basic requirements, like a verifiable income below the poverty line for example, and they get x amount of dollars, no questions asked.

2) In our welfare system no one knows (or seems to care) why the fifth person doesn’t want to, or can’t, help. It is assumed that the person is greedy or selfish. Nevermind it could be that he has already been helping other people on his own and is short this month, or could have a kid with lukemia already and is doing everything he can to support his own family, working two jobs, etc. It simply does not matter.

3) If the fifth person does not give, he is not ‘shunned’. I’ll ask you to try this experiment. I’ll assume for the sake of argument that you do not support the Iraq war. This year, figure out the percentage of your tax dollar going to the war and do not send that to the IRS. Simply tell them they can have everything else, but you are not sending in XXX dollars as a protest for the Iraq war and you choose not to fund it. Now, be very strong about this and do not pay them no matter how much they call or ask for it. Tell me, will you be ‘shunned’ or ‘beaten up’? What will happen to you do you think?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 28, 2007 8:39 AM
Comment #241625
While I’m a “progressive”, I believe first and foremost in the success of democracy. Sometimes the majority makes a bad decision, but once the results of that decision become apparent bad laws, and even bad amendments can be overturned.

You make it sould like I don’t believe in ‘democracy’ either. Funny…

But you are somewhat correct, unfettered democracy, or ‘mob rule’ is not in place in the US, thank god. Imagine what trouble I would get in for taking the lord’s name in vain there if it were, eh?

You see, you agree there as well. I seriously doubt that you are for complete mob rule. The majority of people in the US want Christianity to be the state religion. THANKFULLY, the will of the majority cannot override the rights of the minority or it would be the case, wouldn’t it? All libertarianism is is the acceptance that you should not have the power to tell your neighbor how to live their lives. When it comes to other matters, matters that are not related to how you live your life, choose your job, choose where to live, spend your money, associate with your friends, etc, the state should have no say. But when people need to interface or those rights need to be defended, the government should be involved.

As for

Sometimes the majority makes a bad decision, but once the results of that decision become apparent bad laws, and even bad amendments can be overturned

I can only sit back and chuckle. I have a whole book at my desk that lists all kinds of bad and stupid laws on the books currently all around the US… I would post some of it but the DMCA and Patriot Act block me from doing so and I don’t want to have to be subject to the RICO statutes…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 28, 2007 8:47 AM
Comment #241626
Obviously my misconception was shared by self declared libertarians, eh?

I believe that is what I stated when I mentioned some anarcho-capitalists wrongly call themselves libertarians…

I can call myself anything I want, perhaps I am a pirate!, but that does not make it accurate, does it?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 28, 2007 8:50 AM
Comment #241627

kctim laughably posited that his personal resources can effectively compete with the federal government’s collective resources in aiding people living thousands of miles from where kctim lives.

Your comment kctim completely did an end run around the criticism of your position that charities have a fiduciary duty to put their funds to work where the greatest number can be aided per dollar spent. That precludes such charities reaching certain folks in need whose reach drives up the cost of aid delivered. They won’t provide assistance to a rural family with $100 when that same $100 would provide the same assistance to 3 urban families.

Thanks for the chuckle though, kctim. When folks defending indefensible propositions are cornered by the logical or factual pitfalls in their stand, they end up right here, with a statement so outlandish and preposterous as to give the room a good laugh. Some such folks go on to become comedians or entertainers like Rush Limbaugh.

The government of every civilized nation on earth uses tax revenues to aid and assist some of the less fortunate in their societies. Such universalism does not become universal without inescapable reasons. If charities were the whole answer, government aid would not be universal, nor in the self-interest of tax payers. But, government aid is universal and the vast majority of tax payers throughout the world believe government aid to the less fortunate where charities cannot or will not provide, is both justified and a positive thing.

There is a reason tax revolts are not common in the media. The simple equation, no government = no taxes = anarchy = you are on your own to protect yourself from adversity, is an equation the vast majority in the world reject.

A government which protects and defends its citizens from much adversity is one which can, and must tax its citizens to provide the revenues necessary to protect and defend its citizens from much adversity. Taxes are like innoculations. No one likes getting shots, but, they willingly and voluntarily incur them to protect themselves from far more serious sufferings.

The degree to which a government is successful and supported by its people is correlated with how well that government protects and defends its citizens from inordinate adversity caused by predators, cheats and thieves, and economic hardship. The American government, to date, has become one of the most successful governments on the planet, in great part due to its ability to tax and spend to insure its citizens against adversities like the Soviet Union, diseases, hunger and homelessness, and predators within.

What your position does not understand and refuses to accept is the fact that the majority of people don’t mind being taxed provided their taxes are put to good use protecting and defending them. That is why the chief complaint by taxpayers is not paying taxes, even Huckabee fans endorse paying taxes, their chief complaint is the waste of tax dollars on purposes that do NOT protect and defend them from adversity.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 28, 2007 8:54 AM
Comment #241635

You are in the habit of broadening terms to include your agenda. Anarchy is simply the absence of organized government. A direct democracy can be close to anarchy (mob rule). We have a representative republic where executive and judicial branches examine popular ideas and approve them if they are feasible. This hinders anarchy.
The ability to choose the charitable organization we participate in rather than having it confiscated for a “Popular” or government one is no where near anarchy. It is called “choice”. If ktim wants his money to be used by a national organization that believes as he does, more power to him. The red cross did much during our wars and it is a private charity. We should be able to chose organizations according to their merit. Government programs take that away and are allowed to confiscate and go about their merry wasteful ways. Large national organizations exist and can do as much as any so called “government “ program. They really should stay out of the benevolence business.

Posted by: Kruser at December 28, 2007 10:08 AM
Comment #241636

KDem
“The principles you espouse are “right”-libertarian in nature”

Ok, was just clearing it. I didn’t want to give the impression that I am trying to pass off Libertarian beliefs as being the same as mine.

David
You intentionally leave out the probability that people who care and who actually help, live in or near those places that are “thousands of miles away.”

My comment was also not an “end around.” You just don’t like it so you intentionally refuse to see where I said that those who cared could help them instead of waiting for govt or others to help them.

How many “governments of every civilized nation on earth” are run as ours was meant to be? None. Some are similar, but they are not the same. We are unique and comparing our govt to others is ridiculous.

I realize charities are not the whole answer, but I believe people, not govt, are the largest part of that answer.

“the vast majority of tax payers throughout the world believe government aid to the less fortunate where charities cannot or will not provide, is both justified and a positive thing”

Vast majority huh? Then why does the thought of respecting individual freedoms scare you so much?
If the “vast majority” of you believe donating to govt is so justified and positive, then why do you care if such a small minority are allowed to help how they think is best?
Could it be because that “vast majority” would soon disappear when asked to put their money where their mouth is?

“their chief complaint is the waste of tax dollars on purposes that do NOT protect and defend them from adversity”

And that is where the heart of our disagreement resides, David.
Your idea of protecting and defending them from adversity is having govt take care of them by doing it for them.
By doing this, I believe we are creating dependence which places an even heavier burden on an even greater number of people.

Two different beliefs with two different ways of handling the situation.
Legislating beliefs is wrong and both sides should respect the others right to help in their own way which they deem best.
I do, you do not.

Posted by: kctim at December 28, 2007 10:29 AM
Comment #241640

“Tell me, will you be ‘shunned’ or ‘beaten up’? What will happen to you do you think?”

Rhinehold,

Neither.

For instance the way our system is set up those who do not contribute enough (or at all) to Social Security still qualify for SSI (which is the “welfare” arm of the system). Therefor no one is “shunned” by society as a whole. As I said our society is more complex than one consisting of six people.

If that failure to contribute through taxation is “willful” you’ll probably end up charged with income tax evasion and be “taken care of” in the Federal Prison system. It would be much wiser to just vote for candidates that most closely adhere to your beliefs regarding fair taxation and appropriate expenditure of revenue.

“The majority of people in the US want Christianity to be the state religion. THANKFULLY, the will of the majority cannot override the rights of the minority or it would be the case, wouldn’t it?”

Freedom of religion is an “enumerated right”. Tax evasion and/or tax resistance is not a protected “right”, rather we follow the principle of “no taxation without representation” so, by all means, keep trying to change that representation. Vote as you see fit ……… I certainly will.

Democracy is wonderful.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 28, 2007 11:54 AM
Comment #241647
Neither.

Bullshit. That you can’t even honestly answer this question is telling. You don’t pay your taxes, you go to jail, your property is seized and resold at auction and you may very well die in the process. You are not ‘shunned’.

As I said our society is more complex than one consisting of six people.

My analogy still holds, yours is complete fantasy. Our welfare system is the 4 people taking money from the 5th person to give to the 6th against the will of the 5th. There is no other way to describe it.

Freedom of religion is an “enumerated right”.

Ah, you’re one of those. Tell me, what do the 9th and 10th amendments mean to you? Also, do you beleive that the US Constitution is a document detailing the limits of government or the starting points of governmental power?

Do you want to know what Jefferson said about those very things? Hamilton?

Hamilton and other Federalists believed in the British system of common law which did not define or quantify natural rights. They believed that adding a Bill of Rights to the Constitution would limit their rights to those listed in the Constitution. This is the primary reason the Ninth Amendment was included.

The 9th amendment was put into place precisely for people like you. Isn’t it nice to know that you were thought of over 200 years ago?

But let’s go further into Jeffersonian thoughts about minority rights…

“Bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate would be oppression.”

“The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations of society.”

And Taxation

“To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father’s has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association—‘the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.’”

“If the overgrown wealth of an individual is deemed dangerous to the State, the best corrective is the law of equal inheritance to all in equal degree; and the better, as this enforces a law of nature, while extra-taxation violates it.”

“[If government have] a right of demanding ad libitum and of taxing us themselves to the full amount of their demand if we do not comply with it, [this would leave] us without anything we can call property.

And the phrase ‘general welfare’ used in the Constitution

“They are not to do anything they please to provide for the general welfare, but only to lay taxes for that purpose. To consider the latter phrase not as describing the purpose of the first, but as giving a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which might be for the good of the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and, as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please… Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them. It was intended to lace them up straitly within the enumerated powers and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect.”

“I hope our courts will never countenance the sweeping pretensions which have been set up under the words ‘general defence and public welfare.’ These words only express the motives which induced the Convention to give to the ordinary legislature certain specified powers which they enumerate, and which they thought might be trusted to the ordinary legislature, and not to give them the unspecified also; or why any specification? They could not be so awkward in language as to mean, as we say, ‘all and some.’ And should this construction prevail, all limits to the federal government are done away.”

You may have a veiw of how the government should run in your utopia, but ignoring how it was set up and is suppose to exist doesn’t make those nasty facts go away. Sure, it is not as easy, not being able to oppress the minority of their natural rights, ones not specifically enumerated in the bill of rights, but it was never SUPPOSE to be easy. Anything that the government does outside of the constitution should have a constitutional amendment passed to allow it, not simply ignore the constitution and enact it anyway.

Democracy is a wonderful thing, when limits are put into place to prevent oppression. To not have them would be very fascist indeed…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 28, 2007 12:57 PM
Comment #241649

BTW, the reason that the federalists believed that the Constitution was not a listing of all rights was because it was a different kind of document. They did not see citizens giving up all rights to government and then having them enumerated back to them.

It has been several times truly remarked, that bills of rights are in their origin, stipulations between kings and their subjects, abridgments of prerogative in favor of privilege, reservations of rights not surrendered to the prince. Such was Magna Carta, obtained by the Barons, sword in hand, from king John…It is evident, therefore, that according to their primitive signification, they have no application to constitutions professedly founded upon the power of the people, and executed by their immediate representatives and servants. Here, in strictness, the people surrender nothing, and as they retain every thing, they have no need of particular reservations. “We the people of the United States, to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.” Here is a better recognition of popular rights than volumes of those aphorisms which make the principal figure in several of our state bills of rights, and which would sound much better in a treatise of ethics than in a constitution of government….

I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and in the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers which are not granted; and on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why for instance, should it be said, that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power.

Hamilton was a smart smart man here… We now have the very government that men like he and Jefferson warned against. We allow the government to control our media (FCC) our children (DoE) soon our bodies (National Healthcare) and trick us into thinking we are actually helping our fellow man when we are keeping them oppressed instead.

And we have not grown as a country for decades, we are slowing down our creation of new ideals, new technologies, new wealth. We refuse to learn from the history books, because we allow our government to control that, and allow ourselves to repeat our past mistakes. We continue to spend more than we bring in, which is already a mind-boggling 47% of all income created in the country.

Soon, a new FDR will be in place to attack business anew, causing us to slide even further into mediocracy and live the law of the Lowest Common Denominator, all while we pat ourselves on the back and tell us how we are taking care of each other. By not demanding more and better from ourselves and our fellow countrymen, as Kennedy urged, we will soon be a subjecated country to another (probably China, possibly another) and and society as we know it will become meaningless and feral once again. Watch ‘Idiocracy’ if you want to know what I’m talking about…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 28, 2007 1:12 PM
Comment #241652

BTW, I am not saying that the income tax is not constitutional, it clearly is. It is wrong, IMO, but not unconstitutional. No one has a right to not pay their taxes, this is not what I am suggesting. It is your statement that if something isn’t enumerated it isn’t a right that I am talking about.

As for our welfare system, I still contend that it does more harm than good, as can be seen by the creation of a whole ‘welfare class’ of people since it was created. When you institutionalize something that should be a personal, individual responsibility, you change the way people see and view those who need help. The US has more people who are poor and dependant upon the government for their livelyhood than in any time in the past, yet we see the very implementation of our welfare state as the solution, not the problem. People need different types of help, from monetary, to mentoring, to loan forgiveness, etc. But the main thing that they need, the personal contact and knowing that they are cared for, the feeling of being a part of a community of peopel, is completely missing in an anticeptic bureaucratic institution.

We need a better way, one that does not create animosity between all of us. One that does not exist in an eternal state of class warfare. One that does not allow our politicians to use us as political tools in their quest for power. And as human beings, I think it is posible, but it requires more people accepting that while what we have was a temporary measure to get us to here, we need a better way moving forward. And that is certainly not something that I see coming from either ‘main’ party.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 28, 2007 1:30 PM
Comment #241653


By the year 2050, at least 40 percent of the American people will be jobless and on the dole. Advances in technology will virtually end the necessity for cheap labor.

Posted by: jlw at December 28, 2007 1:38 PM
Comment #241657

Our welfare system seems to not be addressing the problem, is too big of a snow ball now.

Posted by: joaquin at December 28, 2007 1:58 PM
Comment #241660

“Bullshit. That you can’t even honestly answer this question is telling.”

Rhinehold,

I DID answer honestly. I find your comparison of taxation and the enforcement thereof with 4 guys playing “Robin Hood” to be ……. uh what’s the word you used to describe Jason’s recent article in the center column, oh yeah …… MORONIC!

You know, you have many people to convince:

“Nearly two-thirds of voters polled said the United States should adopt a universal health insurance program “in which everyone is covered under a program like Medicare that is run by the government and financed by taxpayers.” Fewer, but still a majority at 54 percent, said they supported a single-payer system whereby all Americans would get their health insurance through a taxpayer-financed government plan.”

http://tinyurl.com/38ojzl

So keep on trying.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 28, 2007 2:39 PM
Comment #241661

“Jason’s recent article”

Oops! Should have been “Joel’s recent article”.

My apologies.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 28, 2007 2:46 PM
Comment #241662

No, you tried to change the question and answer it the way you wanted. You did not answer my specific question, to you, about you not paying your taxes and whether or not you would be ‘shunned’ or ‘beaten up’ as the four did to the fifth in my analogy. Instead you answer ‘neither’ and never actually tell me what the result would be.

You may find my comparison to the government forcibly taking money from those who do not want to pay it to give it to someone else as something other than that, but it is essentially that. That you find an accurate depiction of the basics of what goes on in our welfare system as moronic leads to my point exactly.

A majority of people voted to use the one single function that government has that no other private organization has, the legal use of force on its citizenry, to take money from one group of people and give it to another against their will.

People can’t even be honest with themselves when they are being oppressive or using the power of force of the government against others. And if they can’t, then oppression will most undoubtedly be the end result. You wrongfully claim that libertarians policies will lead to anarchy, but there is ample evidence to suggest that progressive policies will lead to oppression and loss of liberty, and not eventually but much sooner…

BTW, I don’t really see how it matters if ‘nearly two-thirds of voters want something’, if it is not right to do I will not support it. Just as nearly two-thirds of voters think we should block gay marriage or think we should support a national religion, might doesn’t make right, as it were.

For what it is worth, I think that a ‘single payer system’ as described in this article will most likely be found unconstitutional if passed, it was even found unconstitutional by Canada’s Constitution recently, and I somehow doubt that they are more interested in individual rights than the US.

Perhaps I am wrong, maybe we have turned that corner where individual rights in the US are a thing of history…

Of course, perhaps the unknown author of this following quote was accurate, as it appears he may have been.

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years.
Posted by: Rhinehold at December 28, 2007 3:10 PM
Comment #241663

Rhinehold
You are totaling missing the mass of evidence. There are many, many countries with universal,government healthcare that have been and remain vibrant democracies.


DR et al

Another consideration is the the distinct possibility that universal healthcare would not cost any more and potentially less than we are spending now.It is just not possible to say at this point. It depends on how the cost are are shifted and the effectiveness of preventive measures. We do know that we spend more per capita than any other industrial country and recieve poorer service per capita to boot.The latter is shown by any public health measurement one wishes to employ. Infant mortality,life span,sick days etc.

Posted by: BillS at December 28, 2007 3:47 PM
Comment #241664

jlw said: “By the year 2050, at least 40 percent of the American people will be jobless and on the dole. Advances in technology will virtually end the necessity for cheap labor.”

That depends on whether our failing educational systems continue to churn out ill-prepared adults qualified for nothing more than manual cheap labor. There will always be a market for cheap manual labor. The question is one of supply and demand. Will we continue to churn out far more unqualified, uneducated numbers into the work force at 3, 4 or 5 times the supply of demand for cheap manual labor? Appears likely, but, it we could turn this around, potentially. Not likely, or even probable, but, possible.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 28, 2007 4:16 PM
Comment #241665
You are totaling missing the mass of evidence. There are many, many countries with universal,government healthcare that have been and remain vibrant democracies.

How many have a strong protection of personal liberty? None? Oh well…

That’s my point BillS. We are no longer the country that made us great, we are now just following the path of the others. No longer are we leading, we are following. No longer do we talk about developing a solution that is better or takes personal liberty into account, instead we just try to copy what others have done ahead of us, ensuring we start to lose those liberties they no longer have and incurr the debt and level of government spending/decrease in personal wealth that they are seeing…

Of course, if none of this is important to you, as it appears it no longer is to the majority of citizens of the US, then feel free to move forward with whaterver plans you intend to implement, just try not to trample on my last remaining liberties in the process. Not that I could stop you, at least…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 28, 2007 4:29 PM
Comment #241666

Rhinehold,

Way back up there, you wrote:

This of course won’t happen in a government run program, people will be treated with the best of breed medical care and never have an issue, just like our VA Hospitals.

and:

I am not tied to a percentage, obviously. In fact, let’s completely emulate the progam proffered by Ray, without all of the force and privacy issues it raises. Why would that not work?

The care at VA hospitals is excellent. See: The Best Care Anywhere

There are in fact greater privacy concerns with private industry than there is with the government. One of the things that the Bush Regime has done to make an end run around the last shred of the Constitution that they have not yet shredded is to outsource their spying to private industry like Choice Point. Private industry has virtually constraints.

If you want the government to have less access to your medical records - share your medical records with the government - they still have a few rules and constraints to follow.

If you want the government to have more access to your medical records - share your medical records with private industry - they have virtually no rules and constraints to follow and they can turn around and sell the data to the government with total impunity.

See:ChoicePoint

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 28, 2007 4:33 PM
Comment #241667

Yea Rhinehold! Quit thinking about the US Constitution and start thinking about all the “vibrant democracies” in the world.

“Perhaps I am wrong, maybe we have turned that corner where individual rights in the US are a thing of history…”

Yes, we have turned that corner. Luckily, as long as we live our life as they think we should, they still allow us the individual rights they think we should have.

Posted by: kctim at December 28, 2007 4:36 PM
Comment #241668

David,

I wrote: “The world used to owe us money and should owe us money.”

I was wishing for the good old days when we used to be fiscally responsible and produced more than we consumed. Those days of course are long gone.

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 28, 2007 4:37 PM
Comment #241670
The care at VA hospitals is excellent

Your link doesn’t work, but being a disabled veteran and in a family of veterans, many of which avoid the VA because of… well, to be nice, because we value our health, I find your assertion interesting.

If you want the government to have less access to your medical records - share your medical records with the government - they still have a few rules and constraints to follow.

Actually, the private companies have several very serious laws to follow regarding privacy and the government is the person who enforces them, something they are very good about, thank you.

As for mainting the information, well, I’m one of those recent disabled veterans who got a nice official letter in the mail last year being told that my private medical information was out there, somewhere… So far no private practice doctor, who have more reason to fear the government than the government who can’t police itself out of a wet paper bag, have never had anything like this happen to my information. They also can’t afford the bad press, which the government really could care less about anymore.

And who was it that was caught using IRS returns to blackmail political opponents?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 28, 2007 4:48 PM
Comment #241671

Craig,

You wrote:

There are many other great ideas. But until we stop subsidizing the affluent, and create a system to encourage workers to work past 65 I’m not in favor if increasing taxes on the wealthy.

I disagree with much of what you wrote in this but will wait to respond, hoping that others have addressed the issues already.

I agree that the retirement age should be raised. Social Security is appropriately indexed to inflation and wages. Retirement age should be indexed to life expectancy - perhaps raised one year for each 2 year increase in expectancy.

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 28, 2007 4:53 PM
Comment #241672

From your ChoicePoint link, they had 163,000 records stolen and because of that they took a number of steps to improve its data privacy practices, which were noted in the media, where some reports state that the company should now be considered an industry leader in data privacy

Meanwhile, Federal agents had to work hard, trying to recover personal data on more than 26 million U.S. veterans after an apparently random burglary at the home of a computer analyst.

The result from this? The promise of free credit report monitoring for one year. Which was soon recinded. No other fallout, no one fired, no changes at all.

Yeah, I think I’ll stick with keeping my information away from the government as much as possible.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 28, 2007 4:56 PM
Comment #241673
Social Security is appropriately indexd to inflation and wages

You know, I get a little tired of being told that SS is a retirement plan when it can barely muster up a 1% return on investment. I say, either admit that it is just a way to take care of old people who were unable to plan for their own retirement and just pay them or work to increase the rate of return on the money invested so that it isn’t such a horrible cost to those investing who are losing so much money compared to what they COULD have earned by just buying TBills, Money Market Funds or even a simple savings account…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 28, 2007 4:59 PM
Comment #241674

To further my point:

The incident cost ChoicePoint millions of dollars. The company reported charges of US$11.4 million related to the incident in the first six months of 2005, including US$2 million to notify victims of the incident and US$9.4 million in legal and professional fees. Changes to business practices to avoid further breaches were expected to cost the company between $15 million and $20 million in sales during 2005 and to reduce earnings per share by 10 cents to 12 cents.

In January 2006 ChoicePoint was fined US$15 million by the Federal Trade Commission: US$10 million in civil penalties and US$5 million to compensate victims of the security breach. In addition, ChoicePoint was required to take steps to better secure personal information.

Cost of the loss of information on 26 MILLION disabled veterans?

0 dollars.

Changes made in how the Federal Government stores and handles personal infomation?

0 changes.

Larry Craig was going to call hearings once it was ‘appropriate’ but I don’t think he’ll be doing so now…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 28, 2007 5:15 PM
Comment #241675

kctim,

You wrote:

We are “just not getting it,” BillS?
I can see a doctor anytime I want and get medications when needed, how does that mean I am not getting healthcare?
YOU are getting health care. The Canadian system, and the system proposed here, would make you wait a few months for a knee replacement. But… in order for you to greedily get an unnecessarily instantaneous knee replacement, millions and millions of others, who need one, will never get one.

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 28, 2007 5:19 PM
Comment #241677

kctim,

You wrote:

Society is not prevented from helping others one bit when individual rights are respected, it benefits.

Bologna, The U.S., like all countries is a big sophisticated tribe. Claiming the right to belong to a tribe and to claim the rights and benefits of belonging to that tribe, while also claiming the right to refuse to contribute to the tribe… is bologna. Any smaller, less sophisticated tribe, would simply throw you out.

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 28, 2007 5:28 PM
Comment #241678

Sorry, millions and millions of people do not get the necessary knee replacements that they want?

Your source for this hyperbole is?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 28, 2007 5:30 PM
Comment #241679

Ray,

So you are admitting that the purpose of US welfare is forcing people to help others against their will, right?

KansasDem seems to think otherwise…

BTW, Different people can contribute to a society differently. Not all equally and not all the same. Yet we try to force that here in the US, don’t we? And in doing so, are we really serving the ‘tribe’ good? Has the number of people dependant upon the government gone up or down in the past 40 years?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 28, 2007 5:33 PM
Comment #241680

Yes Ray, I am getting health care. Why? Because I save for it.
By preparing for something like to happen, I can get a knee replacement when I need one, instead of suffering for the few months it would take govt to give me permission to get one.
By preparing for something like that to happen, I am not overburdening others.

Now, could you please explain to me why me living a VERY modest lifestyle in order to be prepared and not wanting to unnecessarily suffer in pain for months, makes me greedy?

Posted by: kctim at December 28, 2007 5:40 PM
Comment #241681

kctim,

You mean, you work hard and put away a little bit each month to either a healthcare program or savings to handle possible events like this in the future instead of spending it on something else you probably don’t really need?

That’s just silly talk, you could have the government do all of that for you…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 28, 2007 6:18 PM
Comment #241690

kctim, Rhinehold,

My hyperbolic comment was an attempt to find a visceral way for you to see the error of your logic.

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 28, 2007 10:47 PM
Comment #241692

Back to the logical approach. Your theory does justify self-centered hedonism. As you correctly point out, it justifies self-reliance. My life experience has taught me that many, perhaps most people will use it to justify self-centered hedonism. Most human beings are simply not that socially evolved yet. If they were we would be ready for a Marxist/ Socialist transformation and that form of government would be viable if the majority of people were driven by self-reliance, personal responsibility, and inner morality. Peoiple would want to help and support one another. But that is not the world that we live in.

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 28, 2007 10:56 PM
Comment #241693
viable if the majority of people were driven by self-reliance, personal responsibility, and inner morality. Peoiple would want to help and support one another. But that is not the world that we live in

It is where I live…if someone needs help, everyone’s there to help…clothing and supplies when everything is lost in a fire…bake sales & dances to help someone pay catastrophic medical expenses…snowblowing someone’s sidewalk and driveway when they’re laid up after surgery or an accident…

People DO help…most people are good and decent and moral…unfortunately the only people who make the news are the few who do not have those qualities…get to know your neighbors…they’re good people.

Posted by: Rachel at December 28, 2007 11:12 PM
Comment #241694

Craig:

And those figures come from….where???

The same people who lied about the cost of Part D of Medicare? Those who said the Iraq invasion would pay for itself?

Who???

Posted by: Rachel at December 28, 2007 11:16 PM
Comment #241695

I was trying to help you see our basic human tribal need for collective inter-dependence. Small, intrinsically highly democratic, primitive tribal, societies where people feel their direct connection to one another function very well as essentially Marxist / Socialist systems. “From each according to his ability - to each according to his need.” It is in our large spiritually bankrupt, socially alienated and alienating societies that Marxism fails as system of government precisely because we have lost the tribal human connectedness and collective inter-dependence of primitive societies. Libertarianism is used by most people to deny our social connectedness / inter-dependence and to claim our absolute independence form one another. As long as I don’t actually step on your toes, I am “free” to do anything I want without regard for your human needs. Meet your own needs or die - not my problem = good boundaries + a cold heart. That is where the philosophy leads, or is taken by most people. Of course, I am equally “free” to dedicate my life to helping you. A primitive tribal is also libertarian. That is what Marxism is: do your own thing for the greater good of all. But in our spiritually bankrupt alienating modern society, what percentage of the people are going to dedicate themselves to helping and what percentage is going to dedicate themselves to predatory pursuits. Libertarianism fails for the same reasons that Marxism fails.

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 28, 2007 11:19 PM
Comment #241698

Philippe Houdoin,

Thanks for providing that link on the concepts of positive and negative liberty. It is very enlightening. We sort of need a balance of both types. Rhinehold and kctim want to go to just one extreme and as wiki article pointed out that leads to tyranny exactly for the reasons that mention in my last comment here.

Philippe’s Link again: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberty

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 28, 2007 11:43 PM
Comment #241699

KansasDem,

Thanks for the excellent link on Social Security. I have stated these opinions before, but they provide the detailed facts to back them up. Here is the link again:http://www.bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE/?p=511

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 28, 2007 11:58 PM
Comment #241700

KansasDem,

That is another excellent link on health care. It is a must read. I repost your link here:MYTHS AS BARRIERS TO HEALTH CARE REFORM
IN THE UNITED STATES

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 29, 2007 12:05 AM
Comment #241702

Goodnight all. I can’t get caught up with ya.

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 29, 2007 12:11 AM
Comment #241703

Rachel:


And those figures come from….where???

The same people who lied about the cost of Part D of Medicare? Those who said the Iraq invasion would pay for itself?

Who???


As I said I believe twice above:

Mark Penn. He is a key advisor of Hillary Clinton.

there are multiple other sourses if you want to look at them. All the way from AARP to Merrill Lynch. The same statistics keep showing up. I thought it would be most appropriate to use a democratic source on this side of the debate.

It’s all over the place. Just google baby boomer retirement or encore. AARP is a great source.

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 29, 2007 12:28 AM
Comment #241719

The fundamental differences between the Christian point of view and the liberal point of view are as follows: Liberals are close to oppressive religions in their principles. First the elite define a “need”. Then establish a hierarchy that alone can fulfill that need, afterward fund it through compulsion. Charities formed on these principles have become corrupt and wasteful through out history. They assume for argument that everyone is greedy and that their hierarchy alone can save the world.
The conservative view is base in the universal truths Jesus taught. He is certainly anti hierarchy and pro personal responsibility. They wanted him to be King and he said “the kingdom of heaven is in your heart”. He gave numerous parables including the good Samaritan that showed the indifference of government agencies and the responsibility of individuals to give. “Give and it will be given unto you” was another of his teachings. Paul the apostle taught “each man should give what he has determined in his heart, not of compulsion but freely.” A vast majority of New Testament giving was to the poor. None of it was by compulsion. Conservatives believe in having a benevolent society. Compulsion creates indifferent citizens and a hierarchy. True benevolence makes the givers better people. High taxes and entitlements take away the resources for this environment. It creates dependants instead of givers. As I read in this column every week, the attitude produced is “What can we take from the rich?” instead of “what can I do?”

My father recently died of cancer in poverty due to alcohol addiction. A private charity paid his bills. Two surgeries and his chemotherapy. This is a reality in the “now” and not a platitude or a crisis mongering statistic.


Posted by: Kruser at December 29, 2007 10:34 AM
Comment #241724

Kruser,

Don’t know what to say.

I did not realize that the conservatives had the market cornered on Christianity too. Personally, I am nihilistic atheist, who thinks that Jesus was a great spiritually enlightened leader (like the Buddha before him), whose teachings have been grossly distorted and misinterpreted by organized religion for the last 1999 years - but those doggone monopolistic conservatives corner the market on everything - even religion now.

It is time to take this country back. Conservative fundamentalist Christian extremists have had it long enough. They want an apocalypse and they are very close to creating one. Let them rapture themselves - leave the rest of us alone. We can have a 1000 years of peace without them.

Fundamentalism leads to problems in all areas of life: Christianity, Islam ism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Marxism, Libertarianism, liberalism, conservatism… …if it has an ism or an anity and you are talking to a fundamentalist, you are talking to a whacked out nut job (That is the DSM4 criteria for defining a fundamentalist).

They have defined liberal as a dirty word. It is time to define fundamentalist as a dirty word.

I guess only Republicans are going to Heaven. The rest of us may as well have some fun while we are here.

The Republicans must be God’s chosen people.

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 29, 2007 12:24 PM
Comment #241726

Fundamentalism starts with an F. Its root word is four letters. It is a dirty word. After all, it was the Christians who gave us Fornication Under Carnal Knowledge.

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 29, 2007 12:36 PM
Comment #241752

Kruser,


The sad reality is if you are poor you will not receive the diagnostic and preventive care that a monied, insured person will.

The end result, like your father, is that he is much more likely to die much earlier from undiagnosed cancer and untreated alcoholism.

Perhaps you missed this recent article.

Charity is nice, but doesn’t do the job. You are still free to ignore your health and die an early, unecessary death, if you like.

We live in a society that pays for many conveniences. The internet, electrical wires, gas, sewer, and water pipes, your education, and roads were all funded through taxes and fees. If you wish to move to the Alaskan Tundra and live without these modern conveniences you are free to do so. Alaska still has homestead property, I believe, and even pay a state surplus rather than has a state tax. Since you will have virtually no income eating the moose you shot, you will contribute no federal tax.

Rather than gripe at those of us who deal with reality and modern economics, you can read your bible from your whale oil lantern, in your frozen log cabin, and I presume be happy. Until the grizzlies eat you, of course.

Posted by: googlumpus at December 29, 2007 8:54 PM
Comment #241759
Rather than gripe at those of us who deal with reality

The last thing I’ve seen here is anyone dealing with reality. The reality is that health insurance is actually pretty cheap. Most people who are poor are that way because they don’t look to the future or plan ahead, they live in the now. These are not the type of people who are going to use the healthcare, even given to them, because it requires actually doing something with forethought. Unless we make it illegal not to go to the doctor every so often, like we did with education? There are a myriad of free clinics that will tell you they do not see anyone for ‘preventative’ reasons, the whole argument falls flat.

BTW, I will say that whoever wrongly stated that we are a hedenistic society is completely dead wrong. This country gives more now to charity than it ever has, we are becomming more and more caring each decade, thanks to the technologies that have advanced, like the car, train, automobile, internet, that have brought us all closer together to each other. People are begging to actually help, and unfortunately our ancient welfare system makes it harder to do so and promotes those who do want to ignore those who need help since they are ‘already doing something’ they turn a blind eye.

Just look at any issue that is brought to people’s attention, the outpouring of help, money, food, clothing, etc is on massive scale. People really really really want to help. I say we let them help in a way that actually helps, not just helps one party or another politically.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 30, 2007 12:31 AM
Comment #241762

http://www.pnhp.org/reader/Section%208%20-%20Myth%20Busters/Myths%20as%20Barriers%20(Geyman).pdf

Rhinehold
Above ,again, is the link provided by KD. You must have missed it otherwise your comments would not be so filled with ignorance.

Posted by: BillS at December 30, 2007 1:34 AM
Comment #241766

Rhinehold:

You sound very much like Sgrooge!!

CH

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 30, 2007 6:08 AM
Comment #241770

Rhinehold,

The reality is that health insurance is actually pretty cheap.

Ever try to make a major claim, Rhinehold?

Are you camparing the cost to gold bullion or the cost of healthcare around the world?

Perhaps this explains your delusional posts.

Most people who are poor are that way because they don’t look to the future or plan ahead, they live in the now. These are not the type of people who are going to use the healthcare, even given to them, because it requires actually doing something with forethought.

Glad you’re not about classism or anything. I suppose you won’t object to me saying that most wealthy people are elitist, money grabbing whores, who predate on others.

Posted by: googlumpugus at December 30, 2007 10:10 AM
Comment #241773

“we are becomming more and more caring each decade”

Really?

“Thursday, 27 December 2007
United Way to cease operation in county

“During the past several years, Marion County volunteers have attempted to establish a United Way organization to support charitable agencies in the county. During this, county businesses and individual community members have been asked to financially support this effort.

“Recently it has become apparent that our county is not willing to provide the support necessary to sustain this agency. It is with extreme regret that the United Way in Marion County board of directors has decided to dissolve the organization effective Dec. 31. Funds remaining with United Way in Marion County will be distributed to those agencies funded during 2007.

“The board of directors would like to thank community members who have faithfully supported the efforts of United Way. Board members have been consistently impressed by the need in our county and the level of service provided by our participating agencies. We are disappointed that it was not possible to sustain this organization and we would encourage the community to support our agencies through director contributions.

“(Signed) United Way in Marion County Board of Directors”

Posted by: KansasDem at December 30, 2007 11:48 AM
Comment #241774

Oops, forgot to provide a link:

http://www.hillsborofreepress.com/content/view/18086333/44/

Posted by: KansasDem at December 30, 2007 11:52 AM
Comment #241775

Something that astounds me is how little we’ve actually debated true options in this thread. If it’s true that a majority of American’s want universal health care, and I believe it is, then it’s inevitable that we will move in that direction when the majority grows large enough. Such is the nature of a democracy.

A good example might be my unpopular stance on immigration. While my opinion hasn’t changed I know it’s the wrong stance at the wrong time. I’ve lightened up to the point of asking only that we recognize “illegal aliens” are people, not vermin. Whatever we do must be respectful of their human rights.

(Please, lets save that debate for an immigration thread)

The point is the government is already paying about 60% of all health care expenses in the USA. That’s bound to increase, not decrease, so let’s figure out how to provide the most “bang for the buck”.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 30, 2007 12:05 PM
Comment #241798

Rhinehold,

Could not even finish reading your comment because because you wrote:

The last thing I’ve seen here is anyone dealing with reality. The reality is that health insurance is actually pretty cheap. Most people who are poor are that way because they don’t look to the future or plan ahead, they live in the now.
Yea… …reality is that simple. You are really dealing with reality here. Gosh. I did not know dealing with reality was that simple or I would have dealt with it long ago.

A person’s socio-economic status has nothing to do with being born with the last name of Bush. A person’s socio-economic status has nothing to do with growing up in a crack house. A person’s socio-economic status has nothing to do with eating lead based paint chips from the rich slum lords house when they were a baby. A person’s socio-economic status has nothing to do with growing up in a drug addicted, gang dominated inner city school. No. Those and one hundred thousand million billion trillion (100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) other life changing variables that affect the course of one’s life have nothing to do with a person’s socio-economic status. How incredibly prescient and insightful of you to be able to cancel all of those variables out for each individual in the entire American population and condense it all down to your simple straight forward and insightful statement above.

To think, as a nihilistic atheist, I thought that a problem of that magnitude would require the entire mind of God for even just one person. Yet you are able to instantly and accurately judge an entire country full of people. Amazing.

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 30, 2007 8:23 PM
Comment #241799

Rhinehold,

I made it to the second paragraph and then you wrote:

like the car, train, automobile, internet, that have brought us all closer together to each other.

Please, the car that allows us to live hundreds of miles apart from our family and loved ones brings us closer. The car that seals us in an airtight sound proof cocoon and traps us in traffic jams 4 hours a day brings us closer to our fellow man. The car that isolates us from the same fellow man that we used walk down the street with and talk to until we got on different buses with different fellow men brings us closer.

I am not going to bother reading the rest of your comment. There is no point.

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 30, 2007 8:37 PM
Comment #241801

I have allowed some of your comments - that struck me as absurd - to make me angry.

None the less, Thanks all for your comments.

Even an absurd comment pushes the bar of understanding forward.

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 30, 2007 8:58 PM
Comment #241807
You must have missed it otherwise your comments would not be so filled with ignorance.

I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that this bible was all-knowing and infallable, of course, perhaps you could point out which parts of my statements are ‘illogical’ based against this partisan document since I agree with some of the arguments it makes and disagree with others, so it makes it a little hard to know what the f*** you are talking about.

Just chalk it up to my apparent hatred of poor people…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 30, 2007 11:44 PM
Comment #241808
You sound very much like Sgrooge!!

How so? I didn’t realize Dickens wrote about forcing Scrooge to be charitable by force, I kind of figured the whole point was the came about to the reazliation that he should be charitable through his own understanding (though admittedly still selfish reasons) not because he had a gun pointed to his head.

I personally take in people who need help into my home and house and feed them, work with several charities in my local area, mentor as many people as I can that want it, for free, and have won awards for my charity work…

Yet, because I don’t agree with forcing people, at the point of a gun, to be caring of their fellow man, for a variety of reasons that no one here will either challenge or recognize, I’m to be labelled a ‘Scrooge’?

You’ll forgive me if your ‘obersvation’ holds no sway with me. Perhaps it scares off enough critics you have, but I am not one of those people…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 30, 2007 11:49 PM
Comment #241809
Glad you’re not about classism or anything. I suppose you won’t object to me saying that most wealthy people are elitist, money grabbing whores, who predate on others.

You could say it, but it isn’t true. Perhaps that is part of the problem, it seems that progressives live in this view of the world where the rich feed off of the poor and the poor are only the way they are because they weren’t born to the right people.

Now, in Middle Age Europe, that was the case. Even a few hundred years ago it was probably more accurate than not. But it is completely ignorant of what we have in the US now. We have created a whole class of people who will never be able to better themselves, not because of the rich but because of government giving what they think is help. Instead of a few bucks each month, most people who are actually looking to better their own lives need something else. They need someone to talk to (therapy, depression, axiety issues, dependancy, etc) or show them what works best (mentoring), forgiving of bad decisions, help with money management, learning the lessons of future planning and how today’s decisions impact their future lives, etc.

Instead, though, we think we help people by offering them some cash and people who really don’t care (most progressives) feel like they are able to help without actually having to help. Instead, they can feel good at night because they are fulfilling their goal of ‘getting the evil rich bastards’ out of some sense of 500 year old injustices and society.

How do you explain the continual increase in poor and dependant people in the US while we are become a richer nation? Is it because we aren’t helping enough? Over 70% of our national budget, I’ll repeat that OVER 70% OF OUR NATIONAL BUDGET goes to welfare redistribution programs. Yet we still have poor people? We still have hungry people? 45% of the income in the US goes to federal government. How much is too much with progressives? Is 100% too much? I doubt it. And all the while no one will really be helped, the money will just be redistributed completely. Nothing will have changed, because the problem is NOT about starting money.

But I’m rambling and I’m sure I’ve been tuned out already because I don’t think that forcing people to be charitable by putting a gun to their head is a moral thing to do. Makes me a selfish bastard I suppose…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 31, 2007 12:00 AM
Comment #241812
“we are becomming more and more caring each decade”

Really?

Yeah, really. You think that a report of one charity having problems in one county in the United States counters the continual record number of charitable contributions across the whole country, the outpouring of help that people give whenever presented with a need, etc?

Most individual business leaders are congnizant of being members of a community and doing what they can to help. It is good PR and more and more people who go into business are good people to begin with. Jackasses just don’t make it as far as often anymore (yes, some do, but they are becoming the rare occasion, not the norm.)

Of course, I know that this counters the whole basis for progressive politics, but what are you going to do, hmm? Oh yea, lie and misdirect (oh, and call anyone who disagrees with you a delusional selfish bastard).

The real problem is that most progressives are politically aligned as such because they believe, in their hearts, that people at their very base level are selfish bastards. So they need government to keep them from not being so. So trying to convince them that most people really are good and empathic to others at their base level just doesn’t make any headway because it is an attempt to chip away at the very base of their beliefs. It would be like trying to tell the pope that Jesus was just another guy born of a woman who had sex before she was married (the definition of the term virgin in biblical times)… It just would be shouted down as ‘ignorant’ or ‘blasphemic’, etc.

And of course, there hasn’t been a discussion with a progressive that I’ve had where I wasn’t called selfish (these comments included) because of the one assertion that forcing people to be charitable by putting a gun to their head is immoral…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 31, 2007 12:10 AM
Comment #241813
Something that astounds me is how little we’ve actually debated true options in this thread.

Well, as this thread was about there not being any options, that sort of makes sense, doesn’t it?

And I have offered solutions, but mine don’t ‘count’ because they don’t involve increasing governmental control of our lives…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 31, 2007 12:13 AM
Comment #241815
Most human beings are simply not that socially evolved yet.

See, a perfect example

If they were we would be ready for a Marxist/ Socialist transformation and that form of government would be viable if the majority of people were driven by self-reliance, personal responsibility, and inner morality. Peoiple would want to help and support one another. But that is not the world that we live in.

No, there would be no need for a Marxist/Socialist transformation because the only need for that type of government is to force people to conform to those views.

Remember, the only advantage government has is FORCE. Other than that, it is no different than any other organization that can exist. So if you are for forcing people to conform to the societal views, continue on. Otherwise, perhaps you should take a took at what you are actually supporting?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 31, 2007 12:20 AM
Comment #241817
Could not even finish reading your comment

It’s a shame that someone else expressing a different world view than you can cause you to be that upset, but that is the main reason I believe that we should not using the government to enforce those worldviews on others, through force…

How incredibly prescient and insightful of you to be able to cancel all of those variables out for each individual in the entire American population and condense it all down to your simple straight forward and insightful statement above.

All of those things are why we start out at different places and have different things to overcome. But in the US they all CAN be overcome, if the person is willing and can get access to the right help, not the type of non-help that our current welfare system offers.

If you want to help someone, really help them, do as I do and find those people and provide mentoring to them. All it takes is time. If you can help with money, that’s great too, but don’t just hand it to people who ask and then walk away, because what they really need you aren’t giving them when you do that.

As for me being ‘godlike’, that assertion is laughable. I just have experience on my side through the decades of my work with poor people (and having started with many of the obstacles you discuss personally).

Identifying what people really need and how best to help them is not selfishness. Forcing others to be charitable while not actually helping the majority of people who need it, well, that’s a whole new level of selfishness IMO…

I am not going to bother reading the rest of your comment. There is no point.

Yeah, when operating with a closed mind or with preconceived notions, hearing opposing viewpoints are really not worth the effort, I agree.

My point is accurate, the world is a smaller place, we don’t lose contact with people when we are farther away from them as we once did, disasters that occur hundreds of miles away are no longer happening to ‘someone else’ but people who know and can help. We are becomming more closer. But I agree, by removing the responsibility of each of us to help our fellow man from each of us and turning that function over to the bureacracy, a mindless and faceless one that helps few, other than politicans who use it for powerplays, we are learning, unfortunately, to ignore those that need help because ‘I pay my taxes’.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 31, 2007 12:30 AM
Comment #241839

Rhinehold,

Thanks for your comments. I will try to respond later.

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 31, 2007 11:41 AM
Comment #241843

“You think that a report of one charity having problems in one county in the United States counters the continual record number of charitable contributions across the whole country, the outpouring of help that people give whenever presented with a need, etc?”

Rhinehold,

That was one example (from my local bird cage liner). You’d have to have been living in a cave not to have read the many articles about the need far outweighing the resources of food banks throughout the USA. Of course I’m sure your answer would be to end food stamps …….. then more people would give more to the food banks.

Also your budget numbers reflect the typical conservative lies. This is a much better representation of the truth:

http://www.warresisters.org/piechart.htm

Here’s another more detailed breakdown:

http://tinyurl.com/55s2u

I’m not going to bother going into great detail, but just remember that Social Security is NOT part of the general budget and there IS a surplus, although it’s been stolen and must be repaid.

Regarding “your plan” for health care, please show us some actual numbers. The plan Ray put forward crunches all the numbers and ALL Americans would be covered. Wouldn’t it be wonderful, for instance, if a veteran could walk into any mental health clinic to get help?

I could go on but I see no point. It’s impossible to argue with ideology.

Posted by: KansasDem at December 31, 2007 12:44 PM
Comment #241844

Just one more link:

http://tinyurl.com/636wh

Posted by: KansasDem at December 31, 2007 12:47 PM
Comment #241864

KansasDem,

Your link shows where the money to solve the national health care problem is being wasted.

From your link they said global military expenditures in 2005 were $1.1 trillion - half of which were U.S.

It is a good thing that we are spending half, since the Bush regime has turned it into us against the world.

But, that aside. Round it up for easy math to $1.2 trillion divide by 2 for our share of that waste and get $600 billion. Divide the $600 billion by the 300 million there are of us poor American souls. Billion is 10 to the 9, million is 10 to the 6, you will have 3 zeros left led by a 2 ($2000 per American this year.) That would go a long way toward solving the national health care problem especially when added to the money that we already spend on health care.

I dare say that would solve it.

I will concede that we need a military. But if we were peaceable people, would our military need enough money spent on it to match every other military in the entire world combined at the same time? A little over kill maybe??? The kinder, gentler, compassionate conservative Republicans do like their killin though… That must be why they don’t want national health care. It is another way to kill people.

There will be “crying and gnashing of teeth” by the Republicans over my suggestion that they like the killin. One twenty second (1/22) of the world’s people spends half the money. If they don’t like the killin, why do they want to spend that much money on it?

Is this about defense? Or feeding the military industrial complex? Do we need to spend this much money? Or does Dick Cheney’s Haliburton need for us to spend this much money?

IMO, the answers are obvious.

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 31, 2007 4:26 PM
Comment #241868

Rhinehold,

You wrote:

You could say it, but it isn’t true. Perhaps that is part of the problem, it seems that progressives live in this view of the world where the rich feed off of the poor and the poor are only the way they are because they weren’t born to the right people.

The rich do predate the poor. They are winning the class war. America is richer for the rich. Poorer for the poor. It is not rocket science, or even military science, to figure out who is winning that war.

Further, to assume that life circumstances have no bearing on one’s opportunities is naive as I pointed out in an earlier comment.

You are fond of saying that no one is challenging your underlying premises. This belief - that everyone has an intrinsic ability to over come every disadvantage and triumph over adversity is a corner stone premise of your position. It has been challenged and you have repeatedly ignored the challenge.

Some people can overcome everything. Some people can overcome something. Some people can not overcome anything. The biggest determinate of a person’s life circumstances is the family that they grew up in. If a person’s family was poor, they are probably poor. Paris Hilton is rich.

There is in many families, a trans-generational cycle. It often alternates in cycles from one generation to the next. For example, a father may “make it out” by compulsively working, only to emotionally neglect his children, who will subsequently wind up living right back in poverty.

Family dysfunction rolls down through the generations and it is very difficult to really overcome.

Some gifted, lucky people, who happened to have the right teacher at the right time will overcome it. Some families will overcome it, maybe, it ten generations.

Poverty is intractable and national health care will not eliminate it. Poverty will not eliminated by throwing money at it. Poverty will not be eliminated by charity. Poverty will not be eliminated by private enterprise. While poverty will not be eliminated throwing money at it, it certainly will not be eliminated by not spending money.

National health care is one piece of the puzzle. For one thing, it will provide psychotherapy. This will help dysfunctional families and individual people break the trans-generational cycle of poverty and dysfunction and increase the chances that people will really overcome and triumph.

Your assumption that everyone can triumph and is therefore “to blame” for their own poverty is absurd.

It is like alcoholism. No alcoholic will recover without taking personal responsibility for his drinking. No alcoholic will recover without first admitting that he is powerless over alcohol. It is paradoxical. We do not help an alcoholic by telling him that he can control his drinking. We help an alcoholic by accepting that he cannot control it and telling him that, then we tell him that it is his responsibility to get the help that he needs and here is the program.

It is the same with poor people and frankly, the 12 steps would help them. But they need practical help too. We cannot save them from poverty, but telling them to save themselves from something that they are truly powerless over is ridiculous. We need to recognize and accept that they are powerless over it (for myriad of reasons - personal, social, environmental, physical, genetic, and political). We need to tell them that they are powerless over it. Then we need to tell them that it is their responsibility to get the help that they need. That help needs to be available. Here are the programs that you poor person can use to get the help that you need in order to lift yourself, and your descendants out of poverty.

National health care needs to be one of those programs.

You want to “deal with” reality. Charity and good works will never get it done without government involvement.

Your second assumption that charity and predatory private enterprise can get it done is also absurd.

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 31, 2007 5:41 PM
Comment #241870

Rhinehold,

They need someone to talk to (therapy, depression, axiety issues, dependancy, etc) or show them what works best (mentoring), forgiving of bad decisions, help with money management, learning the lessons of future planning and how today’s decisions impact their future lives, etc.

Do you think any of those items (therapy, depression, axiety issues, dependancy, etc) might fall under healthcare? Thanks for confirming the problem. I agree.

I’ll repeat that OVER 70% OF OUR NATIONAL BUDGET goes to welfare redistribution programs.

If you mean wealth distribution, I’ll agree. If you mean welfare, try again. Let’s wean corporate america off this income redistribution. Who collects the bulk of farm aid? Who avoids the largest percentage of taxation? Is Social Security, which is not means tested, welfare? Is debt service welfare?

Nice round number…too bad it’s fictitious.

Posted by: googlumpus at December 31, 2007 5:55 PM
Comment #241872

Rhinehold,

You wrote:

Yeah, really. You think that a report of one charity having problems in one county in the United States counters the continual record number of charitable contributions across the whole country, the outpouring of help that people give whenever presented with a need, etc?

Not seeing this one either. I live in poverty stricken Michigan and the contributions to the charity that volunteer at are way down. We stopped doing some of the fund raisers because because they were not even worth doing anymore.

One of the reasons that contributions are down is this conservative notion that people’s poverty is their own fault.

America donates the smallest per capita amount of any country. We spend our money on killing machines.

But, whether we are more generous or less is just an opinion. I think we are less. One thing is clear, charity will not solve the national health care problem.

Posted by: Ray Guest at December 31, 2007 6:05 PM
Comment #241879
If you mean wealth distribution, I’ll agree

I did, it was a slip while writing while I was tired.

So, you think that 70% of our national budget should be nothing but wealth redistribution?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 31, 2007 9:04 PM
Comment #241880
Your assumption that everyone can triumph and is therefore “to blame” for their own poverty is absurd.

Except it is reality.

Let’s take Oprah Winfrey for example. She had one of the worst situations growing up and was able to move beyond those obstacles and achieve the reality of being the wealthiest woman in the world.

There are millions upon millions of people who have been born in the worst situations possible and have risen above it. Myself, I was born to a sheet metal worker who was rarely home because he had to do what he could to work, we didn’t eat out much, we had one used car and I was the first of 5 children. It was not an easy road at all. Yet, he was able through smart living to purchase a home (totally paid off now) on 10 acres, build a new house (the original house was really barely standing when we moved in) with our own hands and my parents did their best to teach me that I was the only one who I could count on and that I should never let myself down. I was able to put myself through college (though I never actually finished) and eventually am making about 3 to 4 times the money that my father ever made while he was working.

Was I born with a silver spoon in my mouth? No. Was I born of the intellencia? No, I was the first in my family, entire family, to attend college. Was I given help by relatives? Nothing more than some meals here and there and a place to stay when needed.

No, like millions of other people I found my obstacles as something to get beyond, not limit me.

We live in the United States where your class, your past and even your race or gender will not hold you back from achieving what you want, if you want it. It is not a platatude, it is not a slogan. It is reality. And the fact that you mock that view, the view that this country is founded upon, explains so much more than anything else I could have written does, about how you view other people and how progressives in general view society.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 31, 2007 9:14 PM
Comment #241882
The rich do predate the poor.

How exactly? Do they force people to do things that they don’t want to do? That are against their own best interests? Do they have armies and/or private thugs that go around door to door making sure that they get an extra 5 bucks that a family might have? What is the benefit to the rich in making the poor become dependant upon the state?

They are winning the class war.

The ONLY ones winning the class war are the ones fighting it, the Democrat and Republican parties. The fact that the citizens of the US have to suffer the collateral damage is our own fault for not kicking the bastards out decades ago.

America is richer for the rich. Poorer for the poor.

But why? You make a statement of effect and attempt to assume cause without ever backing it up simply because it fits your preconceived view of life. It certainly fits your politics but it doesn’t help you grow as a person or help the people who really need it.

Have you thought that perhaps GOVERNMENT is causing the problem?

It is not rocket science, or even military science, to figure out who is winning that war.

Yup, the politicians, all getting richer and more powerful every year by selling us marching bands when we need so many other things

We’ve got trouble…

You are fond of saying that no one is challenging your underlying premises. This belief - that everyone has an intrinsic ability to over come every disadvantage and triumph over adversity is a corner stone premise of your position. It has been challenged and you have repeatedly ignored the challenge.

It has not been challenged. You can say that my view is absurd, but that is not a challenge. You make no effort to debate the facts surrounding it, just say ‘I couldn’t read any more because you said xxx’.

There is a difference between equality of opportunity and equality of result. As a progressive, I doubt you’ll ever understand the real difference between the two.

Some people can overcome everything. Some people can overcome something. Some people can not overcome anything. The biggest determinate of a person’s life circumstances is the family that they grew up in. If a person’s family was poor, they are probably poor.

Yet, that is NOT backed up by reality.

For example:

Many academic studies have found remarkably consistent results that suggest there is substantial income mobility in the United States. For example:

A 1992 Treasury Department study showed that between 1979 and 1988, 86 percent of those in the bottom income quintile moved to a higher quintile, and 35 percent in the top income quintile moved to a lower quintile.

A 1995 Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas report showed that almost three-fourths of those in the bottom quintile in 1975 were in a higher quintile by 1991, and almost 40 percent in the top quintile moved down to a lower quintile over the same period.

A 1996 Urban Institute study showed that large numbers of Americans move into a new income quintile, with estimates ranging from 25 percent to 40 percent in a single year. The same study found even higher mobility rates over longer periods: about 45 percent over five years and 60 percent over 9-year and 17-year periods.

In 1998, the Census Bureau reported that, on average, over 41 percent of Americans increased their inflation-adjusted income by 5 percent or more per year from 1984 to 1994. The primary reasons for changes in income from year to year were changes in marital status, changes in the number of workers in the household, and moving into or out of full-time, year-round employment.

A 2000 Economic Policy Institute study showed that almost 60 percent of Americans in the lowest income quintile in 1969 were in a higher quintile in 1996, and over 61 percent in the highest income quintile had moved down into a lower income quintile during the same period.

The direction of income mobility is also important. The upward movement of workers in the second-lowest and middle-income quintiles is larger than the downward movement. From 1969 to 1994, the income of 53 percent of workers in the second-lowest income quintile had increased enough to move them up into a higher income quintile, and 38.7 percent of workers in the middle quintile had moved up compared to 37.9 who moved down.

CONCLUSION

Much of the debate and political rhetoric on tax relief have focused on how much income the top one-fifth or 1 percent of families would receive versus the bottom one-fifth and other fifths. Yet this approach is statistically meaningless because the mix of individuals and families who make up the various income groups changes constantly.

The fact is that the U.S. economy, while not without its problems, remains dynamic, open, and productive enough to enable Americans to rise as far and as fast as their dreams, hard work, and perseverance will take them.

Of course, you could try to provide actual facts and figures to dispute these…

Some gifted, lucky people, who happened to have the right teacher at the right time will overcome it. Some families will overcome it, maybe, it ten generations.

What a bleak and factually wrong outlook you have on humanity, it’s little wonder you think that force is the only answer to solve our nation’s ills. The only thing that can stop someone, other than their own demons and lack of ambition, is an entity that can force them into staying put. An entity like, say, government who actually has that power…

Poverty is intractable and national health care will not eliminate it.

Thanks for admitting that.

Poverty will not eliminated by throwing money at it. Poverty will not be eliminated by charity. Poverty will not be eliminated by private enterprise. While poverty will not be eliminated throwing money at it, it certainly will not be eliminated by not spending money.

Thank you for making my point for me, btw. If our welfare system will not and can not eliminate poverty or even make a dent, why do we persist in doing it? And the argument that whether we spend money on it or not will accomplish nothing, so we should spend money on it doesn’t seem to make much sense to me.

National health care is one piece of the puzzle. For one thing, it will provide psychotherapy. This will help dysfunctional families and individual people break the trans-generational cycle of poverty and dysfunction and increase the chances that people will really overcome and triumph.

Except you agree no one can FORCE anyone to not be an alcoholic. This is the same thing. These services are already available and not being utilized because the people who need them do not think they need them.

This must be accepted and they must want to change. Once they do, we should be able to provide that for them, and we do, but it can be done without force of either the charitable or the needy. We cannot force people to be charitable (not without increasing the class warfare that politicians want us to continue) or the needy (those who need help but will not accept that they need it).

Instead, we have people like you that tell our poorest and neediest that there is nothing that they can to do overcome their lot in life, here’s some money that will keep you dependant upon those of us who have made it thanks to our rich parents, please don’t rob us, thanks!

What inspiration! What opportunity!

You want to tell people that they can’t get out of poverty on their own. That can only happen, as you have agreed, once they choose to make it happen. Once they have chosen to make it happen, they can do it. Until they do, they can’t. Some may need help, others will not, we see that in the millions of stories of people who do succeed without assistance.

BUT that assistance needs to be given freely, not forcibly taken as it is now. Taking money from someone at the point of a gun is wrong. Force is wrong. Especially force of our own fellow citizens. Only when they are violating the rights of another citizen should before be used, not until.

Only if you do not accept that forcing someone else to do something that you think they should do is immoral will this all seem ok. Only the eschewing of liberty will allow this view to be acceptable in the hearts and minds of an individual. By your arguments, I take it that you don’t have a problem with this. IF so, where does it end? When will I not be able to eat a McDonald’s hamburger, smoke a cigar, drink a bottle of tequila, watch television with the lights off, etc?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 31, 2007 9:53 PM
Comment #241883
just remember that Social Security is NOT part of the general budget

So, your argument is that SS should not be counted because it isn’t funded from the general fund, do we still pay that money each year? Or is it paid for in pixie dust?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 31, 2007 9:55 PM
Comment #241893

Rhinehold,

Thanks for your comment. I don’t have to read it all and fully respond tonight. I will try to, tomorrow. But you wrote:

Let’s take Oprah Winfrey for example. She had one of the worst situations growing up and was able to move beyond those obstacles and achieve the reality of being the wealthiest woman in the world.
This goes to the crux of our disagreement anyway.

Oprah is great.

We may simply have to agree to disagree, since you are disregarding and ignoring what I have already said and there is no point in talking in circles and repeating ourselves too much. I will repeat myself here, a little bit, for emphasis and clarity.

It was not simply a rhetorical device when I said: There are a hundred thousand million billion trillion variables that effect each and every life. There are literally that many, and in fact, infinitely more. Any one of those variables could make a decisive difference. In practice, the vast majority of them do cancel out. But which ones?

You look at 20 variables effecting Oprah’s life and declare that if she can do it, anyone can do it.

For example, as a rhetorical device, as a though experiment, lets compare person DV23 to person QM69. Lets say that DV23 is better than QM69 because DV23 has more money and he is a libertarian. QM69 is a homeless drunk Democrat.

Both DV and QM are male. Both were sexually abused - homosexually abused - when they were seven years old. They were both born in 1950 - DV23 in May - QM69 in January in Detroit Michigan. Neither ate lead based paint chips. Both went to inner city Detroit public schools. Both were from broken homes. They were both physically abused in their crib when they were 7 days old (shaken baby syndrome). Also, when they were 7 days old, wind blew in their face for the first time. Even though they were born five months apart, lets assume that they were identical genetic twins. Its a friggin miracle. Lets assume that all of the other one hundred, thousand, million, billion, trillion variables were in fact identical - not physically possible - but just for fun lets just assume…

Their lives were identical. If DV23 could make it QM69 should have been able to make it. The only difference is the month that they were born. How significant could that be? Oh but wait, the wind that blew in QM’s face was bitter cold. He started to cry. It was a fine spring day and the wind that blew in DV’s face was warm. He started to laugh.

These innocent babies were forming their first impressions of the world. Later that day when QM was shaken in his crib he made decisions about the the nature of the world. He decided that the world was a dangerous place - that is was dangerous to “cry” for help. His diaper had needed changing.

Later that day when DV was shaken he also made decisions about the nature of the world. He also decided that it was dangerous to “cry” for help. His diaper had needed changing too. But he remembered that the world was not always dangerous - sometimes it was nice.

DV and QM do not remember those decisions. But those decisions have played a roll in the back ground of every decision that they have made since. One tiny difference - warm air / cold air - all the difference in the world.

In practice of course, most differences do cancel out but which ones? Oprah is great. She is successful because she is successful. You simply cannot judge another person based on 20 variables - based on 1000… based on a million… You simply cannot accurately / reliably judge another person - period!!!

I am a nihilistic atheist, but the bible may contain a bit of wisdom. It says: “Judge not lest ye be judged.”

Let’s consider this from a different perspective. To say that Oprah “making it” means that anyone can make is using anecdotal evidence. Anecdotal evidence proves nothing. You criticized KansasDem for the same thing earlier in this thread. He pointed out that there was also plenty of non-anecdotal evidence supporting his contention.

This boils down to a belief system. You apparently believe that anyone can make it - no matter what has happened to them and that any help that they might need is or would be available from charity or private enterprise.

I think that my belief system is more sophisticated, nuanced and realistic. Some people can make it. Some help is available. Some people need more help than is available. Some people need more help than private enterprise could or would ever provide. Some people can not make it no matter how much help they receive. I think that the magnitude and nature of the problem are such that the government needs to be involved.

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 1, 2008 3:20 AM
Comment #241897

“This boils down to a belief system. You apparently believe that anyone can make it - no matter what has happened to them and that any help that they might need is or would be available from charity or private enterprise.

I think that my belief system is more sophisticated, nuanced and realistic. Some people can make it. Some help is available. Some people need more help than is available. Some people need more help than private enterprise could or would ever provide. Some people can not make it no matter how much help they receive. I think that the magnitude and nature of the problem are such that the government needs to be involved.”


Ray, The difference in your beliefs is that Rhinehold’s belief does not directly afect me. Your belief does directly affect me by confiscating my private property to give to others.

I think it boils down to who owns the fruits of a person’s labor. Rhinehold appears to believe the individual owns it and you seem to believe that the government should own it.


Posted by: BOHICA at January 1, 2008 8:46 AM
Comment #241902
I think that the magnitude and nature of the problem are such that the government needs to be involved.

Why? What is it specifically that only governnment can do to help these people that individual charities, non for profit organizations and private industry cannot?

I am genuinely curious if there is something that I’m missing here because the only thing that I know of that government can do that these others can’t is use force on individual citizens.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 1, 2008 1:51 PM
Comment #241906

Rhinehold,

I am still trying to get back to your larger comment above, but you wrote:

Why? What is it specifically that only governnment can do to help these people that individual charities, non for profit organizations and private industry cannot?

I am genuinely curious if there is something that I’m missing here because the only thing that I know of that government can do that these others can’t is use force on individual citizens.
I agree with hearty disagreement.

It is physically possible for charity and private enterprise to do this. No disagreement there. It could be done that way. It will not get done that way.

Private enterprise will pursue predatory objectives and will never get there - never. They would sell universal health care in a heart beat, but your heart would stop beating when you saw the bill.

Charity will never gain control of enough resources to adequately address the problem. They are and will be corrupt. Government is and will be corrupt too. But with transparency and over sight it is far less corrupt than private industry and charities ever thought of being, even in their most honest wet dreams. Charities are not targeted and marshaled to address one problem. So any resources that they do obtain will be directed in a shot gun pattern toward many divergent and often counter productive problems. Charity will never get the job of national health care done.

You express concern that government aid will create learned helplessness in populations - that people will become dependent on it. This is a problem to a certain extent. It is much worse for charities.

I have did year around volunteer work for a charity for the last 4 years. I also contribute fair share plus to United Way. I don’t really believe in charity so I have mixed feelings about it.

Receiving charity was one the worst things that happened to me in my childhood. Receiving charity is extremely disempowering. Nothing says that you are weak, helpless, and pathetic more loudly then receiving the pity of others.

The effect that this and related depredations of my childhood had on me was to make me independent and self reliant to a fault. Independence and self reliance are strengths. But every strength taken to extreme is a weakness. Not being able to ask for help when you need it is a weakness. Not being able to accept help when you need is a weakness. This weakness has caused profound life damaging consequences in my life and the life’s of other people that I have touched. Economically, there is no doubt that I would be a multimillionaire many times over if I had the ability to ask for help when I needed it.

I have many character flaws. This one cripples my ability to heal and compensate for all of the others.

This I trace first and foremost to receiving charity - gifts and food for Christmas. I hated it. It made me feel horrible. I did not need their gifts. I did not need their food. Hunger is better than that - actual real starvation would be a little worse - maybe.

We also received welfare in 1956 when you really had to be poor to receive it. The cheese was good. Everything else was nasty. I did not like receiving welfare, it wounded me in the same way as receiving charity, but not nearly as much as receiving charity.

Welfare is an entitlement, an empowerment. It recognizes your temporary need but also affirms your value and power as a person or family. Charity dis-empowers, codifies, and affirms, your pathetic weakness and helplessness. Here, you are thirsty - lick the sweat off my gonads.

I understand, as a sophisticated adult, that people who donate time and money to charity sometimes have love and good intentions in their heart but charities are far more debilitating than government assistance.

On the other hand, people do need help.

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 1, 2008 3:31 PM
Comment #241911

Ray,

Your comments concerning charity vs welfare make little sense to me at all. In both cases you are receiving charity, but in on case it is given because people care, the other is taken by force to be given to you.

Government assistance is far more debiligtating than personal charity. You are failing to convince me otherwise. Personal charity does not involve the use of force, there is far less corruption in charities than in the government, and it doesn’t involve politics to boot.

Why is the use of force less debilitating than not? You are making statements that are in opposition to common sense without anything to adequately explain why…

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 1, 2008 5:03 PM
Comment #241912
It is physically possible for charity and private enterprise to do this. No disagreement there. It could be done that way. It will not get done that way.

It does not get done that way in government either. So you are still not explaining to me what government has that private organizations do not.

As for business being predatory, protection of individuals is what the government does well. Unfortunately, it is the worst police of itself as you can possibly imagine. The best situation is using the government to police business but not getting involved in providing services unless it abolustely needs to.

It is also why individuals need to be involved and reject what you see as predatory practices. Don’t like what you are getting charged? Go somewhere else. It’s how a free market works. You either have to operate within the free market or eliminate it and go to a statist economy, you can’t have a mix of both without the issues we see today.

As for your view in the past of charity, I’ve recieved both myself and I was far more wanting personal charity of my neighbors than I ever wanted of a faceless nameless organization that got their funding through the use of a gun…

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 1, 2008 5:09 PM
Comment #241918

Rhinehold,

Different belief systems.

My personal experience is anecdotal and of course proves nothing. My experience of charity was more debilitating but who knows when the wind blew on my face…

It makes sense to me and many people also see charity as debilitating. They can both be debilitating - but are sometimes necessary.

The government does have the ability to use force. Every strength is a weakness. Every weakness is a strength. The strength to use force is both what is good and what is bad about the government. That is the social contract that most of us agreed to. Not you of course. No problem though, the NSA has their eye on you.

I will assert, but not bother to do the exhaustive research to support because there are bigger fish to fry, that the facts do not support your assertion that charities are less corrupt than government. It would be difficult or impossible to prove either way. Corruption would have to be defined and every example from government and charity would have to be known (they are not), understood, quantified, and compared. The impossibility of judging an individual person would pale by comparison. So we are left with, at best, educated belief. IMO, government is better but campaign finance does muddy the issue. Those doggone bridges to no where…

We have to work with what we have. Charity and private enterprise are not going to get the job done. Private enterprise and charity have had 70 years to get the job done. They haven’t done it yet. Are we there yet? How much longer is this going to take? How long is this so called free market of yours goiung to take?

You wrote:

You either have to operate within the free market or eliminate it and go to a statist economy, you can’t have a mix of both without the issues we see today.

This statement is simply ridiculous. There is no mixed economy now. There is no free market now. What there is, is a corporatist, (soft furry fascist), economy where corporations have printed “free market economics” on the other side of the mission accomplished banner and use power of campaign finance to control the government and the power of force of the government to enforce monopolistic control over the means of production and consumption. It is all bologna. The word bologna is spelled with:
a BU,an LL,an SH,and an IT.

By comparison, a statist system where the government was actually in control of these super human predatory beast would be great. By comparison that is…

The ability of the government to use force is not a problem if we control the government. The problem is that we have lost control of the government. Private enterprises are predatory superhuman beasts and they control the government through campaign finance. Yet you want to empower these predatory beasts even more.

Universal spiritual law, (as well as Freudian repetition compulsion) says that you always draw to yourself the things that you fear most. You fear the government using its power against you. Yet you wish to empower the super human predatory beasts who would actually use the government’s power against you.

Free market economics might work. Free market economics might solve the problem - if we had free market economics. It might work if we had a mixed system. The only thing that free market economics has to do with the current system is the words “free market economics” printed on the back of the “mission Accomplished” banner. Free market economics do not build “bridges to no where.” There are no free market economics is this system - none. Private enterprise does not want free market economics. Campaign finance and the privately owned federal reserve are just the opposite of free market economics.

I will support free market economic solutions for a while for you, if you do 2 impossible things for me first. Pass a constitutional amendment that strips person hood status from corporations. Reform campaign finance law to prevent corporations or private enterprise from contributing any money to elections or participating in public politics in any way (just like your beloved charities), and make all elections publically financed.

You do those 2 things first and I will support free market solutions for a while…

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 1, 2008 6:23 PM
Comment #241919

Ray,

I am on board with not teating corporation as individuals and preventing corporations or private enterprise from contributing money to elections, this should be done by individuals only, but I cannot condone publically financed elections. This is almost no different than forced charity, to have forced candidate support. I should not be forced to support a candidate I do not support…

However, if we keep donations to individuals and limited to how much an individual can donate AND eliminate all matching funds… I would be there with that (as this is how the Libertarian party operates today)

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 1, 2008 6:48 PM
Comment #241923

Ah hell, let the Red Cross do it:

http://tinyurl.com/c3dl9

Posted by: KansasDem at January 1, 2008 7:54 PM
Comment #241926

LOL, I know why you use tinyurl now for your links, KD.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 1, 2008 8:13 PM
Comment #241927

BTW, for every ‘scandal’ you can post relating to private industry, I can followup with larger scandals by government, the main difference being that the private industry has to actually follow the law or face penalties as well as losing business due to bad PR. The government has no penalties or fears as this so continue to make larger and, because of their ability to use force, far more nefarious violations…

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 1, 2008 8:17 PM
Comment #241928
Well, so it is with many issues today, such as welfare. Among the first objections to the idea of a market society is that the poor will suffer and have no one to care for them. One response is that private charity can handle it, and yet we look around and see private charities handling only comparatively small tasks. The sector just isn’t big enough to pick up where government leaves off.

This is where imagination is required. The problem is that government services have crowded out private ones and reduced private-sector services beyond what they would be in a free market. Before the age of the welfare state, charities in the 19th century were a vast operation comparable in size to the largest industries. They expanded according to need. They were mostly provided by the churches through donations, and the ethic was there: everyone gave a portion of the family budget to the charitable sector. A nun like Mother Cabrini ran a charitable empire.

But then in the progressive era, ideology changed. Charity came to be considered a public good, something to be professionalized. The state began to encroach on territory once reserved to the private sector. And as the welfare state grew throughout the 20th century, the comparative size of the private sector shrank. As bad off as we are in the United States, it is nothing compared with Europe, the continent that gave birth to charitable services. Today, few Europeans donate a dime to charity, because everyone is of the belief that this is a government service. Moreover, after high taxes and high prices, there isn’t much left over to donate.

It is the same in every area the government has monopolized. Until Fed-Ex and UPS came along to exploit a loophole in the letter of the law, people couldn’t imagine how the private sector could deliver mail. There are many similar blind spots today in the area of justice provision, security, schooling, medical care, monetary policy, and coinage services. People are aghast at the suggestion that the market should provide all these, but only because it requires mental experiments and a bit of imagination to see how it is possible.

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 1, 2008 8:21 PM
Comment #241933

Rhinehold,

You asked me if I thought it is OK if 70% of the Federal Budget used for wealth redistribution is O.K.

I do not know, truthfully. It is interesting to listen to you and Ray discuss your philosohpical differences about human nature.

I see humans as falling under a mathematical model, the infamous Bell Curve.

There will always be poor and always be rich. I’m mostly interested in how a government responds to the mid, thick section of the curve. The middle class.

In the history of US capitalism there is a pattern of wealth distribution that cycles. What has spurred economic growth is associated with a redistribution of wealth to the middleclass. The big thick part of the Bell Curve.

What you seem to fail to realize is that any economic system is a system of wealth redistribution. Some flows to the rich, some flows to the middleclassl, some trickles down to the poor.

You object to governmental wealth redistribution but aver heavily for market driven, capitalistci wealth redistribution. You believe it is more effective, less unfair, and somehow more just, or at least that seems to be your premise.

I have lived among wealthy people, and lower and upper middle class folks. I’ve listened in my 50 years to their life stories and watched them live their lives. I find them no different as a rule.

The more successful always have a “bootstraps” story and lean toward republican ideals. They justify their success by this story. They frequently diminish the help they’ve recieved along the way.

The poor often have hard luck stories and justify their failures by it. They frequently blame the world for not helping them more. Sometimes it’s true, sometimes it’s self defeating behavior.

I’ve known good and bad souls in both extremes.

In the Merck Manual, there is a caveat given to physicians in making value judgements as to a patients societal success or failure. This is prone to change as society values change and has little intrinsic meaning in scientific evaluation of a patients coping abilities. A non judgmental approach is best suited for succesful treatment.

What is the role of government? Does it change when society changes? Does a rural, territorial government have different responsibilities than an urban, population stressed society?

I personally think there is a middle ground. Government has a role in wealth redistribution, as does capitalism, and I think it is quite clear in the day of modern medicine, in a modern economy that an inefficient, for profit operation of medical services is questionable at best, and
seemingly resolved in most of the industrialized world as a poor solution.

Capitalism has had it’s chance to work and clearly failed.

It is time for common sense to intervene.

As to a percentage of budget dedicated to wealth redistribution, I only know that in the last 30 years the wealth redistribution has been away from the middle class. Some has raised the status of the very poor. Most has raised the status of the very rich.

What percentage do you think is right?

Posted by: googlumpugus at January 1, 2008 11:44 PM
Comment #241935
You object to governmental wealth redistribution but aver heavily for market driven, capitalistci wealth redistribution. You believe it is more effective, less unfair, and somehow more just, or at least that seems to be your premise.

Yes, because there is no force upon the individual in the free market (hence free). The government requires applying force to individuals instead of monitoring business as it’s role should be.

As for Capitalism failing, that is actually a joke statement if I’ve heard it. Why do you say this? If, for example, you are blaming the Depression on the free market, you might want to re-examine the actual causes of it and look to government sticking its nose in where it didn’t belong…

So if you do have some ‘proof’ that capitalism has failed and government succeeds (which it clearly doesn’t when looking at the last 50 years in regards to education and poverty) I would love to debate those with you…

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 1, 2008 11:49 PM
Comment #241936

BTW, Ray, KansasDem and I all agree that our healthcare system has been anything but freemarket for 70 years. It is not being run by anything resembling a free market or a socialist system. It needs to be one or the other. One requires the use of force on the citizens, the other demands the individual responsibility for an individual’s direct result of what they get.

Which one do you think I support?

Posted by: Rhinehold at January 1, 2008 11:52 PM
Comment #241993

“Which one do you think I support?”

The exact opposite of what I support, and the beauty of America is that we can disagree without resorting to violence.

Posted by: KansasDem at January 2, 2008 6:54 PM
Comment #241997

Rhinehold,

You wrote:

BTW, for every ‘scandal’ you can post relating to private industry, I can followup with larger scandals by government, the main difference being that the private industry has to actually follow the law or face penalties as well as losing business due to bad PR.

Just a quick unimportant question: How many of those government scandals did not involve private industry in some form?

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 2, 2008 8:03 PM
Comment #241999

Rhinehold,

You wrote:

People are aghast at the suggestion that the market should provide all these, but only because it requires mental experiments and a bit of imagination to see how it is possible.

This is not going to happen politically anyway, but I would give it a try,if, and only if, private industry was stripped of its political power first… That comes first.

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 2, 2008 8:12 PM
Comment #242000

googlumpugus,

You wrote:

There will always be poor and always be rich. I’m mostly interested in how a government responds to the mid, thick section of the curve. The middle class.
and:
I personally think there is a middle ground. Government has a role in wealth redistribution, as does capitalism, and I think it is quite clear in the day of modern medicine, in a modern economy that an inefficient, for profit operation of medical services is questionable at best, and
seemingly resolved in most of the industrialized world as a poor solution.
and:
As to a percentage of budget dedicated to wealth redistribution, I only know that in the last 30 years the wealth redistribution has been away from the middle class. Some has raised the status of the very poor. Most has raised the status of the very rich.

Thanks for your common sense post and bringing this discussion back to health care. We have strayed too far afield. We have different world views. While those are worth exploring so as to understand where each other is coming from, they are deeply ingrained and no converts will be won.

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 2, 2008 8:25 PM
Comment #242005

Rhinehold,

I want argue with your last post, it wasn’t the government that caused the great depression, it wasn’t the free market either. It was private industry monopolizing the free market.

BTW: The Federal Reserve is a private enterprise.

See:Zeitgeist - The Movie: Federal Reserve (Part 1 of 5)
See also:link text“>Zeitgeist - The Movie: Federal Reserve (Part 2 of 5)

BTW: You strip private industry of its political power, I will support doing away with: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Welfair, Workfair, the FDA, the National Labor Relations Board, OSHA, the Department of Agriculture, NASA - says the liberal tongue in cheek - with private industry disempowered; the American people will recreate all of these bigger, better, faster and stronger than ever.

But this thread is about health care.

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 2, 2008 8:55 PM
Comment #242006

Screwed up the link:
Zeitgeist - The Movie: Federal Reserve (Part 2 of 5)

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 2, 2008 8:59 PM
Comment #242172

I think the citizens have been cheated. A health care for all should not be portrayed as socialist therefore a bad one.

Posted by: joaquin at January 4, 2008 11:41 AM
Comment #242894

joaquin,

Yes and no. There is nothing wrong with socialized medicine. We should not run away from it when they throw that red herring at us. The roads, urban water and sewer systems, police departments, uniform military, and fire departments are all socialized and they work fine.

Posted by: Ray Guest at January 13, 2008 7:55 PM
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