Third Party & Independents Archives

October 22, 2007

NY Times: Not Enough Taxes.

A New York Times editorial this morning says America isn’t collecting enough taxes. The editorial argues that this leaves America unable to compete against other industrialized nations. Where the government’s of China, India, and European nations provide their citizens with health care, their companies, free of the cost of employee health care, are able to make competitive products at a lower cost than in the U.S.

It is a staggeringly sound argument. And this real world economic fact of life must be reckoned with. By raising taxes and providing basic and preventive health care, our government will make our American companies more competitive in the global marketplace. This reality, that foreign producing nations gain competitive advantage against American producers by offering government sponsored health care, strikes at the morality of Republican and Libertarian positions on health care.

The position of U.S. conservative economics is that individuals should provide their own private health care with whatever means at their disposal or, do without until it becomes life threatening and requires a public assistance visit to the Emergency Room. For 47 million, or 15% of current Americans, that means doing without health insurance and preventive health care, and waiting for their medical condition and suffering to become so severe as to warrant treatment on the public's tax dollar in the Emergency Room, at 4 to 10 times the cost. It is impossible to find any compassion in this kind of conservative policy.

The whole notion that health care should be allowed to "trickle down" to citizens if the nation's economy is booming, and citizens should just die or suffer when the economy suffers at the hands of government and private industry policy, puts foreign nations on a far higher moral rung than the U.S. In America our founding documents speak of "promoting the general welfare" of its citizens, but, conservatives find ever creative ways to circumvent that goal when it comes to citizen health care.

Sen. John McCain in last night's debate responded to the health care issue much as a Democrat or foreign nation's system would with one important Republican exception. He spoke of our having the highest quality health care in world. But, he failed to mention that the best care is available only to the wealthiest. He also neglected to mention that American hospitals kill 80,000 Americans each year through malpractice and mistreatment, in part, due to the haste required by medical personnel to treat the maximum number of patients as fast as possible, to produce the highest profit margins for the investors and corporate heads.

McCain also failed to mention that small but increasing numbers of western citizens are electing to go to India for major surgical and medical treatment due to the fact that their tourist medical industry provides top notch care at between 3 to 20 times lower cost than would be incurred in the U.S. McCain did acknowledge that the U.S. must bring the cost of health care down but he is short on details as to how to accomplish that little trick.

But, when McCain recommended removing the employer's tax (Medicare), he was saying what the NY Times article is saying, that companies should not bear the costs of health care. But, that is where McCain's ideas part company with what foreign nation's are doing. He recommends that the government give individuals and families tax credits of $2500 for individuals and $5000 for families. In so doing, he straddles the fence trying to get back over on the conservative side. In other words, he is saying take taxes from Americans with one hand, and give a portion back with the other, leaving citizens to come up with their own devices should their health care spending exceed the tax rebate. There is an illogical and non-sensical nature to this proposal. He is a Republican candidate, after all.

The rest of the Republican candidates are anchored in the typical Republican view that health care is essentially a private affair, if you can afford it. Romney says each state should devise their own system or none, but health care should not be a federal concern. While Republicans agree that corporations and companies should not foot the bill for health care, which would make them more internationally competitive, they don't address the humanity issue of 10's of millions of Americans having to do without.

For the past 20 years on average, health care costs have increased 2% more than real wage increases for the poor and middle class. Which accounts, in part, for why the number of uninsured Americans has been rising. Leaving Americans to suffer or die for lack of affordable preventive health care, is by foreign nation standards, unconscionable. Yet, this is precisely what Republicans advocate, not in campaign words of course, but, in the consequences of their policy proposals.

America does indeed, for purely economic reasons, need to relieve American companies of the burden of providing health care insurance, or face the perpetual loss of jobs and opportunities to overseas growing economies and companies. But, the answer is not to leave the American citizen to suffer maladies until they warrant a life threatening stage in the Emergency Room where, if they survive, the cost to the taxpayer will be 10's of times higher than had they been treated before the condition became an emergency.

The Republican view of health care, lacking compassion for suffering, points directly to the need for another kind of health care system. It points to a non-profit system, with the American people as the insurer. And yes, this would mean higher taxes in exchange for a more competitive economy.

Government not-for-profit underwriting (government sponsored basic health insurance), which eliminates the costs of profits to insurance companies and lowers overhead costs, would go a long way to reduce the inflation of health care costs in America. To catch up to the rest of the industrialized world, the single payer system could contract with non-profit medical delivery organizations, clinics, and hospitals first and foremost, provided they are quality delivery organizations, as another method of lowering overall health care costs for Americans. Which would provide incentives for even more non-profit medical treatment centers to be created.

And let's be clear, a single payer not-for-profit health care system, which offers only basic and preventive health care, does not preclude the private medical and insurance industries competing for the plethora of other elective, or more highly specialized medical services, which the wealthier citizenry may purchase. That market will remain, contrary to the scare tactic rhetoric by Republicans that quality care will disappear.

Posted by David R. Remer at October 22, 2007 08:00 AM
Comments
Comment #236620

David,
It is the embedded cost of all sorts of taxes politicians try to hide from us specifically by taxing companies that makes American companies uncompetitive, along with the burden of government inefficiency on the economy. Our overall effective tax rates exceed those of our European trade rivals now.
If those new taxes are not directly offset by an improvement in the efficiency of medical services delivery we will only be adding to the drag of inefficiency that is our government’s signal talent. What in any Democratic proposal will reduce the paperwork, tort burdens, defensive medicine, and bureaucratic bloat that lays unreasonable costs on our economy?

I personally would benefit greatly from a single-payer system, but I don’t really think the nation would.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 22, 2007 10:07 AM
Comment #236625

It’s a mentality issue.

Should we abandon our current (or more recent) view of self-sufficiency with low governmental force/intrusion in our lives or give up that view/freedom and become a single management society where we all have to follow the same boilerplate lifestyles, limiting failure and success and accepting mediocracy, in order to gain maximum economic efficiency?

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2007 10:39 AM
Comment #236626

Lee, where are you getting your information from on tax rates? As the NYT article reports:

According to a report from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, a think tank run by the industrialized countries, the taxes collected last year by federal, state and local governments in the United States amounted to 28.2 percent of gross domestic product. That rate was one of the lowest among wealthy countries — about five percentage points of G.D.P. lower than Canada’s, and more than eight points lower than New Zealand’s. And Danes, Germans and Slovaks paid more in taxes, as a share of their economies.

Lee said: “If those new taxes are not directly offset by an improvement in the efficiency of medical services delivery we will only be adding to the drag of inefficiency that is our government’s signal talent.”

The efficiency of medical services delivery would not change significantly just because the insurance premium payer included all Americans. Hence, your entire argument on this point is moot. You appear to be using a for profit micro-economic model on a non-profit single payer system. It is a misapplication. The deliverers of health care would not change, same doctors, same nurses, same qualifications, same educational standards.

The consequence would be that all taxpayers would pay for health insurance universal coverage, as opposed to the current model in which millions don’t pay at all. Hence, under the universal government insurance plan, the cost for the benefits would actually go down.

And if the government contracted with not for profit health care delivery organizations first, a portion of the malpractice would abate along with the associated costs of that malpractice resulting in serious injury or death. Thus the cost of health care overall could drop, though by how much and how significantly remains to be seen. Not for profit deliverers however, are absent the incentive to process too many patients in too little time for profit increases, resulting in malpractice behavior.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2007 10:42 AM
Comment #236627

Rhinehold, freedom in America has never meant freedom to cause harm or, to debilitate the nation, which the current medical system in America portends. To ignore those without means and their pain and suffering when remedies to alleviate that pain and suffering exists, causes harm. And failure to address the growing international competitive advantage over American companies will increasingly debilitate our economy. Failure to fashion a solution to the Medicare crisis shall also constitute the most enormous breach of contract between our government and its people since the Civil War.

Ideological purist idealism has its place, but, there are real world problems here that need to be addressed by, and for, all Americans. And they require real world solutions which will lack, as all political solutions do, a level of perfection called forth by ideological purism. The Constitution promises political and religious freedom. It never promises that individuals can elect to opt out of the society at large while enjoying the benefits afforded by that society. The Civil War was evidence of that fact.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2007 10:53 AM
Comment #236628

Oddly, China and India aren’t even mentioned in that editorial. To put our government-sponsored healthcare on par with China and India’s, we’ll only have to raise taxes enough to buy everybody a nice cup of herbal tea.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at October 22, 2007 10:53 AM
Comment #236629

Sorry, Loyal Opp, but, your comment lacks awareness of the 37 tourist hospitals born in India and spreading throughout the East which caters to western and other nation’s clientele. Here is just one of a number of hyperlinks on the topic. Canadians are electing Indian tourist hospitals at a growing rate over American elective procedures because the quality is comparable and the cost is radically lower, and includes travel accommodations in the price.

China is a whole other ball of wax. They are an emerging economy without a centralized or even ubiquitous private sector modern health care system in place. There is no comparing America’s health care system with China’s absence of a system.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2007 10:59 AM
Comment #236630

David

Do you really think an ordinary citizen of China or India gets anywhere near the level of American care? I experience Euro medicine. It is a lot like we get if we go to the County Hospital in the U.S. Not bad, but not so good.

Health care is an issue in the U.S. for lots of reasons. Other places have defacto rationing. This is not always a bad idea. We spend fortunes keeping people alive for a few extra months. I wonder if anybody has ever figured that out.

I do not know if you saw John Stossel interview Michael Moore. Stossel pointed out that another reason health care is so expensive is fat guys and lazy folk. We have more of them in the U.S., although the others are catching up.

Creating another entitlement w/o dealing with the fatso, wimps and those who refuse to shuffle off the mortal coil when the Lord intends will just break the bank.

Posted by: Jack at October 22, 2007 10:59 AM
Comment #236631

david


“For 47 million, or 15% of current Americans, that means doing without health insurance and preventive health care, and waiting for their medical”

just curious how many of the uninsured acounted for in these figures actually choose not to have health insurance, as many younger people just choose not to spend the money, myself included when i was much younger? the other question would be how many just happen to be between jobs with what would be only a momentary lapse in coverage? i don’t always believe that those who advocate a single payer system, are honest about what thses figures actually represent.

Posted by: dbs at October 22, 2007 11:01 AM
Comment #236632
Ideological purist idealism has its place, but, there are real world problems here that need to be addressed by, and for, all Americans. And they require real world solutions which will lack, as all political solutions do, a level of perfection called forth by ideological purism.

And it is the idealogical purists that are saying the ONLY way to fix the problems we have is to create a governmental agency and raise taxes.

The first thing that has to occur is to investigate and educate on what the cause of the problems are and find a way to fix them without governmental intervention (which is one of the REASONS for the current problem, btw) if possible. Only if one is not found then we can look torwards altering the Constitution to allow for the fixes being discussed. But to make the leap over that initial step is to simply ‘dump’ that way of looking at how our society works, or did work at least until recently…

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2007 11:04 AM
Comment #236633

dbs asked: “just curious how many of the uninsured acounted for in these figures actually choose not to have health insurance, “

I will answer your question with another. Who in their right mind would choose NOT to have health care insurance if they could afford it?

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2007 11:04 AM
Comment #236634
just curious how many of the uninsured acounted for in these figures actually choose not to have health insurance

Addressing this is NOT politically saavy. It won’t be done.

BTW, I’ve seen just today on television two different ads for healthcare insurance, provided to all (no one can be denied) for a maximum of 160 per month for individuals and 240 a month for families.

Now, why are there so many people without health INSURANCE (everyone has access to healthcare, can we stop with the invalid wordplay for a small bit)? I mean, if it is available to everyone, no one can be turned down, what is the issue?

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2007 11:06 AM
Comment #236636

Jack asked: “Do you really think an ordinary citizen of China or India gets anywhere near the level of American care?”

In some ways, the Chinese get better care, in other ways far worse, if any at all. American medical research is spending 100’s of millions on Chinese medical technology centuries old which works, and for which our own system has no comparable results. Acupuncture for example is now covered by most American HMO’s.

And yes, for the Brahman class in India they do receive some of the best medical care available in the world, right there in India. See my references above to India’s tourist Medical industry, which caters specifically to foreign citizens seeking quality care at remarkably lower cost, including a growing number of Canadians and some Americans.

The per capita quality of care in India or China is nowhere close to the quality of care in America. But, then, their medical systems are growing and improving while ours is poised to bankrupt our nation.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2007 11:11 AM
Comment #236637

Rhinehold said: “BTW, I’ve seen just today on television two different ads for healthcare insurance, provided to all (no one can be denied) for a maximum of 160 per month for individuals and 240 a month for families.”

I suggest you review those companies benefits and breadth of coverage before you believe marketing and advertising as being the holy grail of truth and honesty. For a family taking home only $1500 per month, $240 is a huge expense after housing, transportation, energy bills, phone, food, school costs, clothing, and a little something on Christmas or Hannukah for the children.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2007 11:16 AM
Comment #236640
BTW, I’ve seen just today on television two different ads for healthcare insurance, provided to all (no one can be denied) for a maximum of 160 per month for individuals and 240 a month for families.
Do you recall their names? That sounds too good to be true. Posted by: d.a.n at October 22, 2007 11:24 AM
Comment #236641

D.a.n, your comment about taxation was unpublished for being off topic. This article is about the Republican approach to health care and the NYTimes article.

Posted by: Watchblog Managing Editor at October 22, 2007 11:31 AM
Comment #236643

david

“I will answer your question with another. Who in their right mind would choose NOT to have health care insurance if they could afford it? “

many people, especially younger people in exellent health. i myself didn’t think or worry much about it when i was in my 20s. i know it now sounds somewhat foolish even to me, but young healthy folks often don’t much think about thier own mortality. i’ve often heard this fact being cited in studies accounting for a portion of those uninsured. i also believe that many are between jobs, and are also cited as part of the uninsured. i know before i became self employed i would have an occasional lapse in coverage when i was between jobs, or waiting out a probationary period before my benefits were available.

i’m not nessarily questioning the need for universal coverage, although i don’t really believe it’s the best idea. what i question is the actual number of people who want health care and can’t get it. i think if the numbers were broken down, we might find this isn’t nearly the crisis some would have us believe. that’s why i asked you those questions. you seem to research things pretty thoroughly, and thought you might have those figures.

Posted by: dbs at October 22, 2007 11:33 AM
Comment #236645

David,

So, you are saying the PROBLEM is that there are some lower income families that have a hard time with healthcare, not that there is an overall healthcare crisis and that people just can’t get health insurance, right?

Isn’t this what we ALREADY pay Medicaid and Medicare for?

What, in your opinion, is the healthcare issue in the US that needs further governmental intervention that isn’t related to simply enforcing a change of view from a self-sufficient society to a dependant society?

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2007 11:36 AM
Comment #236646

I agree with DBS, I did not have health insurance when I was under 30. Remember, when we break down what insurance is, it is just a gambling scheme. The insurance companies are gambling that you will need less health care than you are paying in premiums, or they wouldn’t be able to make a profit. You, on the other hand, are willing to pay more for your healthcare than you might actually need to spend ‘in case’ something were to happen. If nothing happens, you’ve overpaid.

Some people choose not to play this game. They are willing to incur the long term financial problems of bancruptcy or paying off healthcare debt in order to bank on their preventative health care habits and stay healthy enough to not need it, in return take that money they would be spending on increased premiums and invest/earn interest on that money so when they DO need it later in life, as most often happens, they can afford to pay for it out of pocket and not give it to a large healthcare company (or the government).

In fact, we have a new option of healthcare where I work that is basically this approach. I open a tax-deffered medical savings account and put money into it (up to a max each year) and that money is ROLLED OVER each year if I don’t use it as well as earns interest. It is like a medical 401k. I still pay a premium, a very low one, that is there to cover me for catastrophic healthcare and preventative medical procedures/visits/etc. Everything else is paid out of this medical account and what I don’t spend I still retain for future healthcare issues.

It is plans like this (that I was talking about 15 years ago) that will be the real saviour of the ‘healthcare crisis’, helping keep costs down by putting the paying decision back in the hands of the consumer and still covering people for catastrophic issues. Unfortunately, the idiologs, who want to change how people view the purpose and function of our government, are going to fight this trend tooth and nail and, as this article is an example of, tell us we need to pay more in taxes because we are too individually greedy.

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2007 11:45 AM
Comment #236647

david

here’s a link i found.

http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba/ba484/

Posted by: dbs at October 22, 2007 11:54 AM
Comment #236652

nyt commentary said.


“According to a report from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, a think tank run by the industrialized countries, the taxes collected last year by federal, state and local governments in the United States amounted to 28.2 percent of gross domestic product. That rate was one of the lowest among wealthy countries —”

does this include all taxes collected? taxes we find on our utility bills, and so on? what about the hidden taxes, often called fees. if you were to add all these little dings we get, that many who advocate higher taxes being needed don’t talk about, i think you might find it paints an entirely different picture.

Posted by: dbs at October 22, 2007 12:19 PM
Comment #236654

dbs said: “many people, especially younger people in exellent health.”

Most young people are need of dental care, no? Are young people immune from injuries? No. In fact, younger people are higher risk for injury, especially younger drivers and sports oriented young people. When injured, without insurance, their treatment is paid for by the tax payer, giving them a free ride if they are unemployed, since they paid no premiums. If they work, they pay a percent of their Medicare/Medicaid taxes and their employer pays the rest. And removing the employer from this participation is what this article is partly about.

If it is a citizen’s right to be treated by an Emergency Room for life or limb threatening disease or trauma, which the law and courts have established, it is also every citizen’s responsibility to pay the costs of insuring that right, don’t you think? I do.

And if the single payer plan can help create more and more cost effective not-for-profit health care delivery organizations, America benefits by driving down the unfunded mandate cost of Medicare/Medicaid or, universal health care premiums in the bargain.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2007 12:25 PM
Comment #236655

Rhinehold, that is good for you that you can afford to elect a health care plan and insurance. But, your anecdotal story does not address the 47 million who can’t afford it, nor the growing cost of the medical needs of the 70+ million baby boomers in their post career end of life years, millions of whom will be bankrupted by medical bills previously incurred.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2007 12:28 PM
Comment #236656

dbs asked: “does this include all taxes collected? taxes we find on our utility bills, and so on? what about the hidden taxes, often called fees.”

Yes, it appears to cover those, since they say they include “taxes collected last year by federal, state and local governments”. Taxes in utility bills are still taxes. Taxes on gasoline are still taxes collected. Taxes on phone bills are still taxes collected by one of those levels of government.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2007 12:31 PM
Comment #236658

david

my point was that when taken into consideration, these #s of uninsured might look quite different.
as far as i know you cannot turn someone away in an emegency situation, however non-emergency care is an entirely different story. you are usually reqired to fill out a form which states payment is due when service is rendered, which includes personal info such as a soc. sec. #. the exception to this would be illegal aliens who i would guess make up the bulk of nonpayers of non-emergency services. emergency rooms are not required by law to render free non-emergency services to those not able, or willing to pay. how might these factors change this so-called healthcare crisis?

Posted by: dbs at October 22, 2007 12:42 PM
Comment #236659
But, your anecdotal story does not address the 47 million who can’t afford it,

47 million can’t afford healthcare AND are not eligible for coverage under Medicaid and Medicare?

Mind if I see some numbers on that one, David?

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2007 12:43 PM
Comment #236660

BTW David, you’re the one claiming that they can’t afford it, so the burden of proof that they can’t is going to have to fall upon you, I’m afraid. I personally do not believe it, not because I don’t think that health insurance can be expensive, but because I see many people who say that they can’t ‘afford’ something quite happily have car payments and cell phones…

Are we missing something though, is the level we stop putting people on medicare too low? Should we increase the level to compensate or are we approaching this from a national level that does not take into account localized cost of living standards?

And, even so, is this a statement that we need to completely alter our society and view/function of government or should we just identify and fix the problems that exist?

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2007 12:49 PM
Comment #236661

david

i would venture to say if we were to isolate the gov’t waste of our tax money, and many of these other expenses i’ve mentioned you would find we are not under taxed at all. in fact we may even have a surplus of revenue. IMO until we adress, and eliminate most of the gov’t waste, there is no accurate way to asses weather we’re under taxed or not.

Posted by: dbs at October 22, 2007 12:49 PM
Comment #236663

A single payer health care system, similar to Medicare, if comprehensive would spread out the quality of healthcare. Currently we all know that the quality of healhcare is roughly proportional to income level. Is that how a modern, rich country should work? Poor people and lower middle income people suffering in poor health brings down the whole nation. As an upper middle class citizen, I’m willing to pay higher taxes and indeed, even see my health go downhill a little, if the truly needy, can get theirs improved.
It is not just healthcare that we need higher taxes for. All government agencies that help the individual in this country have suffered from a decrease in funds - form the EPA to OSHA.
The problem is not big government it’s little government.
Oh, and don’t worry about bigger government chipping away at our freedoms. Just open your eyes to what has happened over the last 6 years.

Posted by: DrTom at October 22, 2007 12:56 PM
Comment #236664
Is that how a modern, rich country should work?

DrTom, it’s how they all work. France, Canada and the UK all have better healthcare options for those who can afford it.

If you are truly willing to pay higher taxes to help, why not take that money and give it to a charitable organization that does the same thing? Or are you of the opinion that you have the right to force other people to make the same decision you have come to?

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2007 01:03 PM
Comment #236669
Do you really think an ordinary citizen of China or India gets anywhere near the level of American care?

If one lives in the inner city of a major urban area, very rural areas, or on a reservation, the answer is a resounding “YES”! As the cost of medical insurance keeps rising and employers discontinue offering its availability as a benefit, more and more people will be answering your question in the affirmative.

Something needs to be done to turn insurance companies into highly monitored non-profit businesses…playing profit with people’s health is immoral.

Posted by: Rachel at October 22, 2007 02:05 PM
Comment #236675

I’ll try to get around some of the rhetoric that you’ve posted, Rachel, and ask some questions.

1) Why not have a voluntary non-profit organization that offers health insurance, why does it have to be a government run program?

2) Which is worse, performing a service and being compensated for that service (and risks associated with providing it) or injecting politics into our healthcare system? No one says that someone HAS to have health insurance (other than Hillary) so I’m not sure how people who choose to use a health insurance provider is being harmed and immoral?

Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2007 02:28 PM
Comment #236679

“Something needs to be done to turn insurance companies into highly monitored non-profit businesses…playing profit with people’s health is immoral.”

we already have these, thier called charities. insurance is a business, and businesses are supposed to make money, or they don’t opperate for long. are you also saying doctors should work for free?

those who feel socialism is so wonderful, should go live in a socialist country for a while, then come back and tell us all how wonderful it really is.

Posted by: dbs at October 22, 2007 02:54 PM
Comment #236681
NY Times: Not Enough Taxes - A New York Times editorial this morning says America isn’t collecting enough taxes.
Medicare is driving up healthcare costs by shifting costs to non-Medicare recipients. Some doctors won’t take any, or are taking fewer and fewer Medicare patients. What are the doctors taking Medicare patients doing?: Raising costs for non-Medicare patients. Another negative side-effect of government meddling. The healthcare system is plagued with too many middlemen. Regarding the uninsured number: The Census Bureau report “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2005,” puts the initial number of uninsured citizens living in the country at 37.09 million, and 9.487 uninsured non-citizens.
  • Posted by: d.a.n at October 22, 2007 03:07 PM
    Comment #236688

    dbs, St. Jude’s Children’s and Research Hospital has been non-profit from its inception, that is decades and decades ago. Your comment has a serious ignoring of the facts and information flaw.

    I have lived in the largest and wealthiest socialized capitalist system in the world for 57 years. Socialized highway systems, socialized public education, socialized military, socialized Veteran’s Administration, socialized FCC, FDA, CIA, NSA, FBI, NASA, NIA, and thousands of socialized police departments, socialized fire departments, socialized library system, socialized Congress and Judiciary, socialized Federal Reserve System, socialized Treasury Department, Commerce Department, 50 socialized state governments and thousands of socialized local governments all of which are paid for by socialized taxation providing services to those in need of those services whether they want those services or not.

    Non-profit organizations pay their employees just like for profit organizations. There are more than 600,000 non-profit organizations in America and nearly all have paid employees. A little homework on the subject might improve the credibility of your comments on this topic.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2007 04:50 PM
    Comment #236690

    Rhinehold, the laws of this nation make it a crime to neglect the health of a dependent or person in one’s care. The laws require Emergency Rooms to accept any patient with life threatening circumstances regardless of ability to pay. When the society undertakes such laws, that society has an obligation to insure funding for such services. The charity system in all modern democratic societies was rejected as a failed system between 1900 and the 1940’s, when relied upon exclusively to meet legally mandated obligations. History has its reasons.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2007 04:58 PM
    Comment #236691
    Socialized highway systems

    Falling apart

    socialized public education

    Educations standards consistently falling and failing our children

    socialized Veteran’s Administration

    Consistently failing our veterans, scaling back benefits or removing them entirely and providing healthcare for only the poorest of veterans (any vet with any money goes to a real doctor/hospital)

    socialized FCC

    Political control of communication, one of the prime examples of how a tolitarian government can control the citizenry

    FDA

    Making drugs illegal for people who desperately need them for their helthcare, witholding potentially miraculous drugs from sick and dying citizens

    …..

    And now we want to entrust our healthcare to the people who all too often think that a giant invisible man in the sky controls whether we live or die based on if we offend him or not. Adding politics into decisions that should be left to the patient and the doctor ALONE is not the best method of helping people… IMO.

    Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2007 05:03 PM
    Comment #236693
    Rhinehold, the laws of this nation make it a crime to neglect the health of a dependent or person in one’s care. The laws require Emergency Rooms to accept any patient with life threatening circumstances regardless of ability to pay.

    Yes, they did and I agree. But that does not mean we don’t try to get them to pay first or look for charities to step in at that time and pay for the service later. In fact, it very rarely gets passed onto the taxpayer, it more often then not gets passed to other patients equally, which means that those close to the line are saddles with the burden as well. I would prefer that people offer extra funds to charities and those charities go into the hospitals and eventually pay those bills for those who can’t, it’s the cleanest and best way and requires no politics or force.

    When the society undertakes such laws, that society has an obligation to insure funding for such services.

    Which we don’t do. Nice of us, isn’t it?

    The charity system in all modern democratic societies was rejected as a failed system between 1900 and the 1940’s, when relied upon exclusively to meet legally mandated obligations.

    Legally mandidated obligations of a charity? I think you’re mixing your rhetoric, David.

    History has its reasons.

    Yup, ideologous like the progressives are a large reason as well. Controlling history classes through politics is not the best way to ensure that we know the whys and hows of our recent history it looks like.

    But, you don’t think charity can do the job, I think it can. I live in the present and not the past, as you seem to do, and realize that our society is a different, more enlightened and ‘smaller’ society where people who can are EAGERLY wanting to help voluntarily.

    So, I propose a compromise. How about we enact an amendment to the tax code that for every dollar spent on charities by individuals EQUALS one less dollar of taxes they have to pay up to the amount of their taxes used to pay for welfare.

    Then, we will be spending the same on welfare as we are now, the government picking up the slack if there is a lull in charitiy (which I doubt will happen in this day and age) and people can feel much more comfortable with taking back some of their liberties and helping people because they want to, not because they are forced to.

    Are you in?

    Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2007 05:11 PM
    Comment #236694

    david


    “Non-profit organizations pay their employees just like for profit organizations. There are more than 600,000 non-profit organizations in America and nearly all have paid employees.”

    all these socialized institutions you speak of also pay thier employees. the difference is they pay them with tax $ taken by threat of gov’t force. i’m not saying the gov’t has absolutely no use. what i am saying is that in many cases private business, or non-profit organizations can perform these funtions more efficiently because thier very existence depends on it. on the other hand if the gov’t pisses away tax $, it’s very hard to take that money away from them.

    “A little homework on the subject might improve the credibility of your comments on this topic.”

    thanks for the advice david. i don’t believe i’ve ever attacked you personally, in fact i’ve actually complimented you on some of the articles you’ve posted, although i don’t totally agree with this one. whats up with that remark?


    Posted by: dbs at October 22, 2007 05:16 PM
    Comment #236696
    whats up with that remark?

    SOP unfortunately, David’s logic is infallable don’t you know?

    Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2007 05:20 PM
    Comment #236698

    David:

    This is exactly why previous articles about America’s downfall are premature. With health issues coming over the horizon we can always tax our way out the way the Europeans do. I have made this same argument to you many different times.

    America is NOT on brink of financial ruin because there are many governments operating with higher taxes that America is without collapse. Proof that Medicare will not bankrupt us all is in fact EUROPE.

    We need to do better however. The problem with all of the economies in the NY times article is that they are slow growing. I would challenge the New York Times to find economies with higher long term GDP rates of growth and higher taxation.

    You correctly point out that tax cuts DO NOT pay for themselves. However they to PARTIALLY pay for themselves. Meaning that lower taxation does boost economic activity and thus produce SOME more taxes to offset PART of the tax cut.

    The reverse is also true. Raising taxes slows the economy and reduces SOME revenue. We need to COUNT THE COST. Raising taxes WILL slow down the economy. I will offer the LONG TERM growth rates of the countries the NY Times used compared to the long term gdp growth rates of America as evidence.

    Posted by: Craig Holmes at October 22, 2007 05:38 PM
    Comment #236701

    I’m not at all sure the federal government running the healthcare system is a good idea.
    Not when it seems to run everytning else so badly (e.g. Medicare, borrowed spent $12.8 trillion of Social Security with a 77 million baby-boomer bubble approaching, regressive taxes, massive debt, excessive money creating, waste, pork-barrel, illegal immigration, and bloated government growing ever larger).

    It may have one advantage: eliminates one middleman (insurance companies).
    But it will most certainly introduce more problems too.
    Can the federal government manage a healthcare system?
    Can we expect the federal government to run it like they run Medicare and Social Security?
    It borrowed and spent $12.8 Billion of Social Security, making it pay-as-you-go just when 77 million baby boomers will start drawing from it.
    And Medicare is distorting costs for people that don’t even collect Medicare.

    Why can’t healthcare providers start dealing directly with people? Because if healthcare providers continue to choose to look to the government and insurance companies as guarantors of payment, they can expect to continue to be squeezed by government and insurance companies.

    Insurance isn’t really insurance any more. People go to the doctor and expect someone else to pickup 70% of the bill. Do you take your car for an oil-change and expect the mechanic or someone else to pick up 70% of the bill?

    The big question is, should government provide healthcare for everyone?
    Some that believe healthcare is a human and/or civil right may think so.

    At any rate, it’s not easy trying to live at the expense of everyone else.

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 22, 2007 06:43 PM
    Comment #236712

    dbs said: “the difference is they pay them with tax $ taken by threat of gov’t force.”

    Wrong! Government taxes are taken by the consent of the majority of the governed. I suggest that if you don’t like taxes, you convince the majority of Americans to stop reelecting the incumbents who perpetuate them. Surely, if the majority of Americans did not assent to current taxation, they would vote out the incumbent politicians who maintain those taxes.

    Only a minority of Americans want to spend 200 billion in deficit spending on the war in Iraq this year and still have their taxes cut, as well. For any government policy there will be a minority who don’t agree with it. The first amendment protects their right to try to convince the majority of voters over to their way of thinking. Rather clever system that, don’t you think?

    Democratic Elections 101.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2007 08:43 PM
    Comment #236713

    Rhinehold said: “SOP unfortunately, David’s logic is infallable don’t you know?”

    Thanks. Though only 99% valid. I have made an occasional error in logic over these last several years of writing. Thankfully, others made me aware of them so I could correct them. That is after all, how anyone gets good at anything, by learning from their errors.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2007 08:47 PM
    Comment #236714

    And the majority of citizens think that we live in a Christian state and want to legislate their own view of morality.

    The ‘majority’ argument falls flat, David, because it can only be brought out and used when it backs YOUR particular argument and ignored when you want to go against the majority, like you’ve done so many times before.

    Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2007 08:48 PM
    Comment #236715

    BTW, it is a simple fact that the ONLY think that the government can do that a charity or private organization cannot do is use force on the citizens. We authorize the government to use that power of the police force for things that we need, we should *NOT* be using it for things that we ‘want but could do other ways’. That is by biggest problem with progressives, they know that the only way to get their policies in place is to use the power of force to do so.

    Could we use the police force to regulate and force the citizens to all eat the same way and use preventative care the way that the doctors want us to and avoid bad foods, etc. We *could*.

    But is that the type of society we want to willingly enter into? Perhaps it is. Perhaps that is exactly what the progressives want, to make everyone beg and scrape from those in charge to get what they want and play us against each other in order to keep their power…

    But I’ll do as you suggest, make sure to do my best to convince the MAJORITY of people that this is not the path that they ultimately want to go down.

    Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2007 08:53 PM
    Comment #236716

    Craig said: “America is NOT on brink of financial ruin because there are many governments operating with higher taxes that America is without collapse.”

    The problem comes with Americans refusing to give up anything to make room for something else. Raising taxes for health care logically demands cutting spending elsewhere by taxpayers. In case you haven’t been watching, the aggregate consumers are in not in the position to bail out the economy as they did in 2001 - 2003. What are consumers willing to quit spending on, in order to afford the health care rising costs? In Europe, they consider health care a human right. In America we have the Republicans and Libertarians who believe quite the opposite, that health care is a matter of personal preference in savings behavior.

    “Proof that Medicare will not bankrupt us all is in fact EUROPE.”

    Wrong. Medicare will bankrupt our government IF we continue to spend as we do on all the other “indispensable” activities our government engages in like fighting two front wars and assuming the role of World Cop with 712 military bases, outposts, and checkpoints around the globe, for example.

    I agree with you Craig, America can afford universal health care, but, only if it cuts back on other spending priorities. I don’t see any sign yet that America is willing to reorganize its spending priorities. Do you? Being forced into it is very much like waiting for an abcessed tooth to become systemic septicemia before going to the emergency room. The cure can be too late, and by far vastly more expensive than a planned rational decision approach to the problem.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2007 09:01 PM
    Comment #236717

    Rhinehold said: “The ‘majority’ argument falls flat, David, because it can only be brought out and used when it backs YOUR particular argument and ignored when you want to go against the majority, like you’ve done so many times before.”

    You will have to quote - otherwise, I find your accusation immaturely inaccurate as in sour grapes. I don’t always agree with the majority’s decisions, but, I do abide by its decisions, because I believe it is in my and the nation’s best interest to do so, up to the point that the majority attempts to illegally or unconstitutionally deprive me or mine of what is legally or constitutionally mine.

    Let me give an example from past writings. If the government exercises eminent domain to take my home for fair compensation for a regional dam that will provide needed water and power to the population of the entire region, I have no problem. If the government attempts to exercise eminent domain to take my house for fair compensation only to sell my land to a developer of upscale housing communities, they will indeed have a fight on their hands.

    The logic in my writings has failed to appeal to you in the past, so, I don’t expect you will accept it as given. But, that is not my deficiency in expression or application of logic.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2007 09:10 PM
    Comment #236718

    But David, what you say they will have a fight on their hands is CONSTITUTIONAL. Currently, if the government uses eminent domain to take your house for fair compensation only to sell it to a developer, they are acting within their rights, with the support of the majority AND within their constitutional rights as we both know.

    So, you would be doing just what you say you never would do.

    And it’s MY logic that is faulty?

    Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2007 09:21 PM
    Comment #236719

    Rhinehold said: “We authorize the government to use that power of the police force for things that we need,”

    That covers a lot of it. The Securities and Exchange Commission has the force of law. It also has the assent of Wall Street and the investor public as a need. The majority of Americans believe we need universal affordable health care in this wealthiest of nations. No difference. The need is defined by consensus and assent through the legal and constitutional processes of government.

    Your objections simply arise out of your disagreement with that consensus and assent of the majority. Which lies at the heart of conservative thinking that the majority cannot be entrusted with decisions about what is best for them, requiring a more Platonic or Hamiltonian Republic in which the more elite should make the decisions in accordance with their own beliefs as to what is best for themselves and the majority.

    Fortunately, Madison recognized the need for compromise and consensus between the elite representatives of the Republic and the masses of the electorate, and he created an interdependent structure to our government in which the masses of the majority and the elite representatives could not function long without the other.

    It was brilliant. A system that would go out of balance, for sure, but which had self correcting mechanisms built in, to insure the sustainability of the integral relationship between governors and governed, each forced to play the role of the other when either goes out of bounds. This dynamic is playing out in a host of ways at this particular moment in American history making.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2007 09:31 PM
    Comment #236721

    Rhinehold said: “Currently, if the government uses eminent domain to take your house for fair compensation only to sell it to a developer, they are acting within their rights”

    Your comment reflects an ignorance of the legal concept of eminent domain, which is to be exercised for the greater public good, not the profitability of one preferred citizen over another. Our judicial history on this topic is voluminous. And yes, there are those who continue to litigate in favor of one citizen’s rights over another through eminent domain. But, overall, our judiciary protects the original intent of eminent domain application.

    I am sure they have perfected this in Heaven. But, on this earth, it is best mere mortals can come up with.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2007 09:40 PM
    Comment #236722
    Which lies at the heart of conservative thinking that the majority cannot be entrusted with decisions about what is best for them, requiring a more Platonic or Hamiltonian Republic in which the more elite should make the decisions in accordance with their own beliefs as to what is best for themselves and the majority.

    What a crock of horseshit.

    First, you know I don’t have conservative thinking, I’m a classic liberal.

    Second, my view is that unless there is a need, we should allow individuals to make decisions concerning their own life. No where have you ever seen me suggest that a smaller group of elite determine how anyone live their lives, it should be left to the individual and, when necessary, the majority.

    Third, Madison never once thought that the majority should override the minority when it came to decisions that should be left up to themselves, as we can tell from what he sought after with the 9th and 10th amendments. We disagree on that, you suggest that it’s all different now, I say that he was right then and it still applies.

    Unless we have a need for something to be forced upon others (defense of rights, defense of the country, etc) we should allow people to live their own lives, make their own decisions, etc. You disagree with this view, of course. And when it comes back to bite you in a very personal way, as you want to ignore the point I just made previously, you stand up to the majority and rule of law and get your gun out to defend your rights, which are not legally in place at that time, but you feel still exist.

    It’s the same with most other people as well, they rail against the majority when it comes to what they want to do personally, but want to use that same system to force what they think OTHERS should be doing. It is only those of us who see that the ONLY way to ensure that we are free to lives our lives with as much personal freedom as we want we have to allow others to have theirs as well, even if we disagree with the decisions they make.

    Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2007 09:46 PM
    Comment #236725
    We authorize the government to use that power of the police force for things that we need, we should *NOT* by using it for things that we ‘want but could do other ways
    It’s legalized plunder.

    I think any civilized society should help the truly needy. However, that’s not what is going on any more. What we have now is a very few fleecing the many, and the many being bribed with their own tax dollars.

    And even though Medicare is broke, $12.8 Trillion has been borrowed and spent out of Social Security (making it pay-as-you-go), the National Debt is over $9 Trillion, the politicians continue to make more promises they can’t keep.

    want, to make everyone beg and scrape from those in charge to get what they want and play us against each other in order to keep their power…
    No doubt about it. We even reward them for it with perpetual re-election.

    If government had some discipline and priorities, it might be able to provide some medical safety net. But since it doesn’t, creating another vast government system will most likely be another mess. And when we get enough messes, the whole mess will finally collapse.

    Craig wrote: America is NOT on brink of financial ruin because there are many governments operating with higher taxes that America is without collapse.
    That depends. It doesn’t hinge only on taxes. Unemployment rate in the Great Depression was 25%. Some say it can’t happen again. If we stay on the current path of spending, borrowing, printing money (873% inflation since 1950), starting unnecessary wars, running up massive debt ($42 Trillion or more nationwide), fleecing voters, bribing voters with their own tax dollars, and selling out American works, then it isn’t at all far fetched.
  • Posted by: d.a.n at October 22, 2007 09:50 PM
    Comment #236726
    Your comment reflects an ignorance of the legal concept of eminent domain, which is to be exercised for the greater public good, not the profitability of one preferred citizen over another. Our judicial history on this topic is voluminous. And yes, there are those who continue to litigate in favor of one citizen’s rights over another through eminent domain. But, overall, our judiciary protects the original intent of eminent domain application.

    David,

    It’s getting tiring, being told that I have some ‘ignorance on the subject’ when we BOTH talked about this at length when the latest decision was handed down.

    The Supreme Court has determined that the practice is constitutional. So, thereby according to your definition, it must be constitutional. Where is this decision overriden? What makes this different now when those people lost their houses for that very thing?

    Seriously David, I can tell when you are backed against your own logic, you come out swinging that your debate opponent is ‘illogic’, ‘ignorant’ or just plain delusional.

    The fact is, in the article I wrote after the decision was announced, you said

    These are the kinds of laws and decisions that our Founding Fathers went to Revolution over. Let the Revolution begin. I have never owned semi-automatic weapons, but, the time has come. I have spent the last 6 years of my life developing 5 acres of raw land into a homestead, and built a two story home with my own two hands and assistance from my wife and daughter. I pay my taxes and give government everything it legally asks of me regarding my home. But, I will defend against anyone who tries to take it away from me, my wife and daughter for ANY price.

    I built this property to pass something of real value to my daughter, and the value built into it is far, far greater than a sum of money. Let the Revolution begin. Anyone else served with imminent domain papers by state or local authorities, email me at editor@poliwatch.org, I will do what I can to assist you.

    It is time for patriotic Americans to bind together to halt this runaway government which has no respect for individuals or rights. It is time for Americans to take the power away from those who would use power to profit themselves at high costs to others. It is time to defend ourselves against those would subvert our Constitution and spirit of the Founding Father’s intent to protect the public against the evils of power in government.

    So, I leave it to you.

    If the government were to come and take your land using Eminent domain laws that they’ve been told they most definately can use, are you going to abide by the government or stand tall against it?

    And how is that different in ANY way from what we are talking about?

    Other than it is affecting you personally?

    Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2007 09:58 PM
    Comment #236727

    david


    “Your comment reflects an ignorance of the legal concept of eminent domain, which is to be exercised for the greater public good,”


    actually it is to be exercised only for public use. that means a school, roadway, or other needed public use, and only when there are no other options.

    “not the profitability of one preferred citizen over another.”

    unfortunately in many cases it isn’t the preferred citizen, but the revenue generated by the use of the citizen seeking to have it taken. this is not public use.

    the greater public good, and public use are two very different things, and the first can can be anything the gov’t desires, while the latter is very specific. the two are not the same thing.

    Posted by: dbs at October 22, 2007 10:18 PM
    Comment #236728

    David:

    In your initial article, you point out that the Constitution states “to promote general welfare”. I would like to point out that there is a huge difference in promoting and providing. Please tell me if your opinion is that any of the founding fathers clearly meant that the purpose of the state was provide general welfare. IMHO most of the founding fathers would have balked at the idea of you taking my personal property and giving it away to someone else in the name of “providing” general welfare. If whatever monies I earn belong to the state first and not to myself, then that is exactly what you are doing by taking it to provide for someone else.

    In a later post, you say,” Rhinehold, freedom in America has never meant freedom to cause harm or, to debilitate the nation, which the current medical system in America portends. To ignore those without means and their pain and suffering when remedies to alleviate that pain and suffering exists, causes harm.” I would have to ask you then why not pass a federal law requiring anyone making $1 more than the SCHIP qualification upper limit to purchase major medical insurance? Make it a class “a” felony not to choose to be insured if you have the means. Seeing how this would mean that the poor are covered and everyone that has the means are covered, then we can cap the profit margin the big corporations and achieve the same goals you have stated on reducing the health costs in America. This would do no harm to the state, no harm to the collective. That basically is what you say I have no right to do.

    As I read your position, I do not have the right to choose how to spend the money that I have legally earned because it may hurt the collective. I only have the right to control my assets in a way that does no harm to the government nor the popolous as a whole. If this is the case, then the right of the collective, or state supercede the rights of the individual. What ideals were this country founded on? What hobbies, automobiles, and houses may I own? What calorie intake may I have? How many push ups and sit up do I have to do to benefit the whole? Who has the right to determine what legal activities I may partake in without harming the collective state?

    I challange you to explain to me how my proposal to force the entire population of our country to purchace something under threat of imprisonment is in any significant way different from forcing me to pay taxes to achieve the same goal(under the threat of imprisonment).

    Jack then stated,”Creating another entitlement w/o dealing with the fatso, wimps and those who refuse to shuffle off the mortal coil when the Lord intends will just break the bank.” Let’s face it, when the state makes the jump from “promoting” to “providing” health care, budget woes will always be political decisions and at some point the government will have to deny life saving medical care due to a cost benefit analysis. If you are not willing to live a certain way, a politician will decide if you deserve to live or not. That means that the state will have the right to decide if you deserve the right to life. Please explain to me what founding fathers’ intentions lead to this conclusion. I know that these are NOT your words, but can you deny that if the state takes the rights of the citizens to insure(please look up this word and its meaning) themselves, then how can the state deny the responsibility of cost analysis? At that point, the state weighs the style of life versus the economy. Please tell me which founding father advocated this.

    In a latter reply from you, you say,”I will answer your question with another. Who in their right mind would choose NOT to have health care insurance if they could afford it? If you want real names, I can provide you with names of my family members that have deemed that not having insurance is worth a dollar an hour. But to be general, the answer is those that deny the need for it. Why should I have provide a “need” to someone that for whatever reason sees it as a “want”?. If the state has the right to provide “needs”, then the state has the right to determine what “needs” are and therefore adjust what our “Rights” are without our consent. Again I ask you does the state have the right to take my personal property to provide for someone that does not see a “need’ to provide it for themselves? Why do you not take the stance that the “need” has priorty AND that those that have the means but don’t provide for it should be punnished in the stead of those that do? Why should I have the responsibility to provide for those that are willing to gamble? Should I or any other citizen be required to provide for a riverboat gambler that bet his inside straight draw against a full house?

    In fact you answer another question by saying, ” In fact, younger people are higher risk for injury, especially younger drivers and sports oriented young people. When injured, without insurance, their treatment is paid for by the tax payer, giving them a free ride if they are unemployed, since they paid no premiums. If they work, they pay a percent of their Medicare/Medicaid taxes and their employer pays the rest. And removing the employer from this participation is what this article is partly about. If it is a citizen’s right to be treated by an Emergency Room for life or limb threatening disease or trauma, which the law and courts have established, it is also every citizen’s responsibility to pay the costs of insuring that right, don’t you think? I do.” If then, it is the responsibility of everyone to provide for their own medical insurance, then why should it be my responsibility to provide for those that refuse to provide for themselves? By your own example, why should I have to pay for someone that has the responsibility, but refuses to live up to it? Why punnish the responsible for the actions of the irresponsible? What in the Constitution compels me to take the responsibility of the irresponsible?

    I believe that we should provide for those that cannot provide for themselves, but I should not provide for those that CHOOSE not to provide for themselves! Sir, I submit to you that your ideals force me to do just that. I also submit to you that socalized medicine and retirement programs do just that. I also challange you to show where our founding fathers intended me to do just that.

    I am not a registered member of any party, and I project my income to be about 60k this year. By any definition, I am not rich. I do play by the rules, work hard and take care of me and mine. I ask you, sir, why should I have to bear the burden of those with similar means and lesser reguard to my responsibilities? What ideals of our founding fathers should compel me to provide for those that have the chance to provide for themselves but choose not to? And out of curoisity, at what income level should a citizen be responsible for his/her self and their family? And at what income level are they more beholding to the collective? And finally, what Constitutional authority do you believe the state has the right to take my property to provide….excuse me, promote general welfare? At what point does my rights cease to exist due to the welfare of the economy, state and others?

    Posted by: submarinesforever at October 22, 2007 10:22 PM
    Comment #236729

    submarines asked: “Please tell me if your opinion is that any of the founding fathers clearly meant that the purpose of the state was provide general welfare.”

    The Preamble to the Constitution says: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    The question is, do you believe the signers of the Constitution either erred or lied in putting those words in the Constitution? They are there. That’s a fact. To ‘promote the general welfare’ refers to the state of the people of the nation. If you have a different interpretation, please share it.

    You asked: “I would have to ask you then why not pass a federal law requiring anyone making $1 more than the SCHIP qualification upper limit to purchase major medical insurance?”

    Would the lawmakers propose it? Would the people assent to it by not voting out the politicians who voted for it? That process is also in the Constitution. Ask the lawmakers why not. I can’t answer for Congress.

    You said: “As I read your position, I do not have the right to choose how to spend the money that I have legally earned because it may hurt the collective.”

    You have a right to spend your money on anything the law allows. For example, you may not spend your money on heroine without the expectation that the collective will enforce its laws against your behavior. This is the principle behind “the rule of law” and a Constitutional government from which other laws emanate, with the assent of the governed, or, in the absence of dissent of the governed which removes politicians from office who promote a law dissented against. Pretty clever guy that Madison, don’t you think?

    Note that our system is designed NOT to prevent you from breaking the law, but, to exact retribution or corrective measures IF you do. This is one of the key principles that separates our constitutional government form a dictatorial or communist regime, in which the state is free to preemptively act against citizens BEFORE they break the law. Under our system, due process protections prevent such actions of government, for the most part (Bush et.al. excepted, temporarily, while their outlaw measures wind through the courts.)

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2007 10:42 PM
    Comment #236731
    The question is, do you believe the signers of the Constitution either erred or lied in putting those words in the Constitution? They are there. That’s a fact. To ‘promote the general welfare’ refers to the state of the people of the nation. If you have a different interpretation, please share it.

    Well, I was going to comment, but I think Jefferson said it best.

    “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.” —Thomas Jefferson Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2007 10:50 PM
    Comment #236734

    When eminent domain is used—even for the public good—it’s rarely if ever done according to the expressed “will of the majority.” This is an area of law which is mostly fought out in the courts and indirectly if at all at the ballot box.

    Despite it’s seriousness, it’s just not of those “sexy” issues that the public is able to easily grasp. Ask a citizen if they think the government should be able to take and use privately-owned land, they’ll likely say no. Ask them, however, if they think we should have interstate highways (impossible without using eminent domain) then they’ll likely say yes.

    The fact is, however, that eminent domain is extremely easy to abuse and frequently is. There are a number of infamous cases when a more-powerful state or municipal government has used it to eliminate economic competition from neighboring areas by seizing property, closing businesses, or otherwise jockeying for power. I know of a case near where I live where a large lumber mill was in the process of choosing whether to locate their operation in one of two neighboring towns. One of the towns was very small, so the larger of the two towns, which was also the county seat, simply used eminent domain to close every single business and drive every single citizen in the smaller town off their property on the pretext of needing their land for a water project. The mill opened in the larger town, and the water project never happened.

    Bringing this back to medicine: this is EXACTLY why the Democratic party will never offer a credible or workable overhaul of health care. There are numerous special interests agendas at work int that party. One might credibly allege that the Republicans are unduly influenced by pharmaceutical and insurance companies, but the Democrats are at LEAST as much in the service of the unions and trial lawyers. If you think that the Democrats would ever advance any health care legislation which wasn’t first vetted and approved by their special interest friends, then you’re just not paying attention.

    Posted by: Loyal Opposition at October 22, 2007 10:52 PM
    Comment #236736

    That’s the real problem with using the government, LO. Once you inject politics into any system, you skew the system to be more readily used by those seeking to do ill than good. And our current government is a great example of exactly that. Worse, once they put these laws into place ‘on our behalf’ they are there until removed, enforced by the governmental power of compulsion.

    Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2007 10:58 PM
    Comment #236737

    dbs said: “actually it is to be exercised only for public use. that means a school, roadway, or other needed public use,”

    Is that not in the public interest and therefore for the public benefit or good? Sounds like idle semantic difference here.

    dbs said: “the greater public good, and public use are two very different things, and the first can can be anything the gov’t desires, while the latter is very specific. the two are not the same thing.”

    If they aren’t the same thing, it is because the voting public charged with the responsibility for insuring the public good with their vote aren’t living up to their responsibility. The intent of the founders to give the vote ONLY to white male landowners of their time was expressly for the purpose of insuring the voters would be mostly educated (read and write) have a vested interest in the actions of government politicians, and who would be most likely to exercise an anti-incumbent vote when politicians acted outside of the public good. Adam Smith called this “enlightened self interest”, a responsibility abdicated by ever more voters, with the rise of political parties who assured voters they would they didn’t have to shoulder that responsibility, the party would do it for them.

    One of the shortcomings of Madison and others was the failure to anticipate and correct for political parties. But, since political parties didn’t exist before 1787, and they had no experience with this kind of Constitutional democratic republic, it was a failure that is understandable. There was no comparable system or democracy in the world at the time the founders drafted ours.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2007 11:01 PM
    Comment #236741

    Rhinehold quoted Jefferson: “Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them.”

    Quite right. Which is why the necessity of elections for political office, as to give the voters redress by removal of representatives who indeed overstep those bounds of assent. Jefferson and Madison and most others were believers in the responsibility and power of the voters to hold elected leaders accountable through the anti-incumbent vote option. The electoral college was a special circumstance of course, in which a compromise had to be struck between the interests of the individual states vs the interests of majority, given the huge inequalities of population in the several states.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2007 11:13 PM
    Comment #236742

    Rhinehold said: “The Supreme Court has determined that the practice is constitutional. So, thereby according to your definition, it must be constitutional. Where is this decision overriden? What makes this different now when those people lost their houses for that very thing?”

    Rhinehold, c’mon, your comment seems to rest on the projection that I believe the Supreme Court is infallible. It is not. It is in fact, constitutional because the Supreme Court ruled. However, that does not mean the Supreme Court was right. The Volsted Act was Constitutional, until it wasn’t anymore by repeal.

    Do not confuse Constitutional with Correct or Appropriate by other measures. Our Constitution upheld the owning of slaves too! Didn’t make slavery right, did it?

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2007 11:18 PM
    Comment #236743

    Rhinehold said: “Once you inject politics into any system, you skew the system to be more readily used by those seeking to do ill than good. And our current government is a great example of exactly that. Worse, once they put these laws into place ‘on our behalf’ they are there until removed, enforced by the governmental power of compulsion.”

    Once you inject political parties into the system, all manner of abberations occur. But, let us not forget that the Constitution says: “in order to form a more perfect union”. It does not say ‘in order to form a perfect union’.

    There is no perfection to be found in any form of government that would be viewed as such by all of a society’s people. To create a government that could remain intact with non-violent means of addressing the conflicts that are inevitable between the governors and the governed, was the goal of the founding fathers. And they were largely successful. The Civil War and the riots of the 1930’s and 1960’s are notable exceptions. A more perfect union, not a perfect union. The perfect union awaits in the afterlife.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2007 11:25 PM
    Comment #236744

    David,

    I agree completely. But it does make it the law of the land. Remember that phrase, the one you used against me to argue that the Libertarians were wrong in their opposition to other supreme court decisions in the past?

    The FACT is, right now using eminent domain to take land from one individual and giving it to another because of the increase in tax revenue is constitutional and the law of the land. And you are saying you won’t follow that law, when earlier you said you wouldn’t do just that.

    I don’t always agree with the majority’s decisions, but, I do abide by its decisions, because I believe it is in my and the nation’s best interest to do so, up to the point that the majority attempts to illegally or unconstitutionally deprive me or mine of what is legally or constitutionally mine.
    Posted by: Rhinehold at October 22, 2007 11:26 PM
    Comment #236745

    David:

    I don’t think realligning spending priorities is what is going to happen.

    Democrats have been successful in making the case that the rich are under taxed. In addition the gap between rich and poor has expanded to historically high levels. In further addition the number of uninsured had become a huge problem and is getting worse. The force of these and other issues line up to the say that the rich are going to get taxed to pay for health care for the uninsured and I don’t see how that will be stopped.

    Ideally I would like to see why our medical is costing such a high percentage of GDP. I suspect that it is a result of affluence meaning the wealthy are “bidding up” the cost. There must be a reason supply isn’t catching up with demand.

    If we can’t attact “the real reasaon” (imbalance between supply and demand) then I think we need to look at offering tax credits payed of by the increased taxes on the wealthy. (These tax credits would only be used to purchase health insurance.) Hopefully this would minimize involvement of the government in medicine

    Posted by: Craig Holmes at October 22, 2007 11:27 PM
    Comment #236746

    Rhinehold said: “The FACT is, right now using eminent domain to take land from one individual and giving it to another because of the increase in tax revenue is constitutional and the law of the land. And you are saying you won’t follow that law, when earlier you said you wouldn’t do just that.”

    Yes, that is precisely what I am saying. As I explained before, my home was not purchased. It is far more than a piece of fungible property. My wife and daughter and I sacrificed enormously to build this home with our own six hands over a 12 year period, which is 3/4 of my daughter’s entire lifespan. I would not abide the Supreme Court’s decision to take this property from me for market value only to profit a developer who strikes a bargain with politicians to increase tax revenues.

    If the government seeks my property for a public good, fine, provided the public is calling for the eminent domain project. It is quite something else again, if it is the developer calling for the eminent domain project. That I would fight. To me, this is a monumental difference and rational for taking under eminent domain.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 22, 2007 11:36 PM
    Comment #236749

    Craig said: “I don’t think realligning spending priorities is what is going to happen.”

    I think you may be well and regretfully right.

    I agree entirely with your comment, Craig. I would offer in addition an explanation for some of the health care inflation in a word, ‘oligopoly’. In this case the oligopoly of investors in for profit medical insurance and delivery corporations. Capitalism is a great and powerful for managing economic issues, but, it is far from perfect. And it becomes even less perfect when monopolists or oligopolists get in bed with government regulators and lawmakers rigging the system for unlimited profitability for an item in demand that leaves the consumer with NO choice about whether or not to demand the service.

    Necessary medical services are not like other commodities or services which the consumer can elect to purchase, or not, based on their budgetary position. Trauma and disease medical services leave the consumer with no choice but to consume at whatever price is asked. In this manner, necessary medical services in the for-profit sector enjoys a kind of defacto monopoly, even though there are many providers.

    The effect of monopoly is leave the consumer no choice in the decision of whether to purchase this product or another. There is no other. Similarly, with necessary medical services, there is no choice in the decision over whether or not to seek the service. And if investors of for-profit medical delivery services competitively lend their investment dollar to the highest profit return concern, you immediately generate a race to the top for the highest pricing of medical services by all for-profit companies.

    This is why I advocate for a non-profit basic and non-elective medical provider system which only the US government can bring about through a single pay insurance plan that contracts with non-profit health care deliverers first and foremost and not with for-profit deliverers where there is a choice, quality being equal of course. Over time, such a policy would result in the population having access to quality non-profit medical care for necessary and preventive basic health care.

    And the for-profit sector would remain intact for elective and cutting edge specialized medical care delivery which, the single payer universal insurance plan will not, and should not cover, thereby keeping the cost of universal public health care insurance premiums as low as possible.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 23, 2007 12:00 AM
    Comment #236750

    David, this feeling you acknowledge that you’d have if the government proposed taking away what you created with all of your honest hard work is EXACTLY the same feeling many of us have when we hear those in government (or the New York Times) saying that there are not enough taxes.

    If some dark day (god forbid) the government decides that the public good would be better served by tearing down the house your family built with its own six hands and erecting a sewage-treatment on that spot instead, then maybe you’ll understand why so many of us don’t want the government taking away more of our money to create a health care system we don’t want, when we’re more than satisfied with the care we already get.

    A lot of people probably don’t live in as nice a house as you do. Some of those same people without housing “equal” to yours probably don’t have health coverage “equal” to mine.

    I’ll give them more of my money (and let a health care system I’m satisfied with be changed in the process) when you give them your house.

    Posted by: Loyal Opposition at October 23, 2007 12:09 AM
    Comment #236751

    Loyal Opp said: “When eminent domain is used—even for the public good—it’s rarely if ever done according to the expressed “will of the majority.” This is an area of law which is mostly fought out in the courts and indirectly if at all at the ballot box.”

    Sadly, this is largely true. But, that is a failing of our educational system, our voters to hold politicians accountable at election time, and the political parties and wealthy special interests who use 100’s of millions of dollars in marketing and advertising each election cycle to seduce uneducated voters into: “Just trust us, we know what’s best for you, and its too complicated for you to understand anyway.”

    Keeping the electorate dumb and ignorant in America while other nations like Japan, India, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Indonesia work feverishly to vastly improve education, was an effective political strategy for many, many decades.

    But, it always carried a future price, which is only beginning to be exacted today. And everyone in America is going to have to pay that price, now, (or leave America as Haliburton is doing), the rich and poor, weak and powerful, voter and non-voter alike will pay the price. And the price will continue to be paid for at least the next 50 years, if not the rest of this century.

    America promotes an overload of information, but, reserves knowledge and wisdom education for only a small minority, many of whom will use it for personal advantage as leaders, instead of the national or public benefit. The price for this will be high indeed, and as long lived as our current 32% interest credit card industry revolving accounts issued to the lower middle class.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 23, 2007 12:18 AM
    Comment #236752

    David:

    I have thought of a “two tiered” system. Basically a government run canadian style system along with a paid for system like we have now.

    Much of medicine is pretty basic. (or seems to me to be). It would seem we can give a basic level to everyone. I don’t like taking away medical system that are working for others. For instance the best way the government can help me is to leave me alone.

    What I don’t like about that approach is that it increases government spending.

    I wonder about a straight tax credit for health insurance. Have your health insurance company send a form each year like a 1099, and then have a tax credit for the amount. Pay for it with taxes from the wealthy. Basically it would be a direct transfer of funds from the wealthy to the poor with thegovenment being to transfer agent.

    In “theory” government expenses would not rise but insurance companies would do well.

    I don’t think I would support this approach even thought I am sorting of suggesting it, WITHOUT a serious effort at attacking the root issue (supply not meeting demand).

    Posted by: Craig Holmes at October 23, 2007 12:23 AM
    Comment #236755

    Loyal Opp, you apparently missed my previous comment where I explained that if the public in my county needed my property for a necessary new sewage treatment plant, I would not fight it, but yield it up for a fair market price.

    That is the difference between our two positions. I am not opposed to eminent domain, provided that the public interest and public demand is behind the invocation.

    What I would fight is if a developer as a special interest worked the back rooms of my representatives to persuade my representatives to use eminent domain to sell my land to the developer for the developer’s profit motives. That I would fight with everything I have.

    This corruption of government by wealthy special interests from the local to the federal levels of government harms individual rights, because it is not motivated or created by public demand or need, but by single entity profit or power motives, whether that entity be an individual, a corporation, or an entire corporate industry.

    Though some say George Soros or Rupert Mudoch corrupt our politics with political donations, I disagree. Their donations are motivated by their political and philosophical views of what constitutes common and public good. Which is vastly different from Exxon Mobil hiring scientists to cast doubt on the global climate change research for purely profit and power motives which will harm the common and the public good for private investor and executive gain.

    Our government was designed to protect and defend individual rights within the Bill of Rights. But outside the Bill of Rights, it was designed to protect and defend the collective well being of the individual states, and the union of those states, through a system of division of power and structurally forced consensus in order to resolve disputes and govern.

    It was by no means a perfect design as the Civil War attests. But, it remains as the oldest living democratic form of government on the earth today, and a model which about half of the other nations of the world have adopted in a scant 220 years.

    It was a miraculous achievement for humanity and human history, but it was never meant to hold time still, stuck in the 18th century context. Our system of government has seen its weaknesses and flaws exploited to the point of becoming self-destructive. And the American people and their leaders have precious little time to compensate for and fix those weaknesses and flaws, before the option to rescind the powers of self-destruction is no longer possible.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 23, 2007 12:46 AM
    Comment #236771

    David:

    You said,”The question is, do you believe the signers of the Constitution either erred or lied in putting those words in the Constitution? They are there. That’s a fact. To ‘promote the general welfare’ refers to the state of the people of the nation. If you have a different interpretation, please share it. ” I believe that the founding fathers knew what they wanted to say and did not err in their words. I also believe that that they had a command of the English language and were able to say what they meant. If you agree with my opinion of the founding fathers, then explain to me how they were unable to differentiate between the words provide and promote. As you noted they used both words and these words are not interchangeable. Had they meant to “provide for general welfare” they would have said so. If you think different, please explain.

    I challenge you show where any of the founding fathers intended the state to take personal property from a citizen to give it to another due to a person’s lack of responsibility to provide for himself when he has the means.

    You said,”You have a right to spend your money on anything the law allows. For example, you may not spend your money on heroine without the expectation that the collective will enforce its laws against your behavior. This is the principle behind “the rule of law” and a Constitutional government from which other laws emanate, with the assent of the governed, or, in the absence of dissent of the governed which removes politicians from office who promote a law dissented against. Pretty clever guy that Madison, don’t you think?” Yes Madison was very clever indeed. He authored a constitution that limits the state in its actions against an individual’s rights. In your example, if I choose to partake in an illegal activity, I risk the loss of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness after due process of the law. I would have the right to a trial by a jury of my peers and if then they find me guilty, then these sanctions would be levied upon me. How many of those steps will be followed when the state takes my property to provide for someone that will not provide for themselves? Explain why a law abiding citizen, not even accused less convicted of a crime(or just irresponsibility in this case), should have his property siezed because someone else is? That sir, is “rule of man” not “rule of law” and to confuse the two principles is equivalent to confusing promote with provide.

    Yes sir Madison was a very clever man and I have to ask you if this issue were before him, which way do you think he would decide? Would he take my personal property from me to give it to someone that will not provide for him/herself?

    Posted by: submarinesforever at October 23, 2007 09:49 AM
    Comment #236774

    david

    “Is that not in the public interest and therefore for the public benefit or good? Sounds like idle semantic difference here.”

    in one case public use, the public actually uses the property, ie a school or road. in the other case the greater good would IMO allow the taking of private property for just about any reason, including it will bring in more tax revenue. this is not what i believe the founders had in mind. i wouldn’t say those are idle semantic differences.


    “If they aren’t the same thing, it is because the voting public charged with the responsibility for insuring the public good with their vote aren’t living up to their responsibility.”

    won’t get any argument out of me on this one.

    Posted by: dbs at October 23, 2007 10:25 AM
    Comment #236776

    david

    “Yes, that is precisely what I am saying. As I explained before, my home was not purchased. It is far more than a piece of fungible property. My wife and daughter and I sacrificed enormously to build this home with our own six hands over a 12 year period, which is 3/4 of my daughter’s entire lifespan. I would not abide the Supreme Court’s decision to take this property from me for market value only to profit a developer who strikes a bargain with politicians to increase tax revenues.”


    i understand completely david, and i agree’ but the gov’t would then remove you by force, even though the taking IMO would be unconstitutional. the same can be said about excesive taxes, or gun control for that matter. this is what happens when the majority is allowed to decide what the minority must do with thier property, be it income, realestate, or tangeble goods.

    what do we do when the courts turn the constitution on it’s head. remember it was the liberal justices in the supreme court that made up the majority decision in Kelo vs New London. that same decision would allow the gov’t to take your home for almost any reason including generating more tax revenue for the gov’t. these people will serve there for the rest of thier lives.

    Posted by: dbs at October 23, 2007 10:48 AM
    Comment #236778

    Rhinehold,

    I have so many issues with your plethora of posts that I’m just gonna pick on you…don’t you feel special? :-)

    1) The real issue is not the people who are on Medicaid, but the people that fall into the crevasse between Medicaid and employer insurance. I couldn’t find national figures, but in NY state, the number is over a quarter of a million. Extrapolated out based on population, that means perhaps as many as 4.5 million people in the United States fall into the crack. Do you really think that isn’t an issue?

    2) No one can legally be turned down for medical care, but paying for it afterwards is the problem. Do you know how much more you have to pay for an emergency room visit if you don’t have insurance than if you do? I do, from experience. It’s about triple, give or take. The uninsured get screwed, because so many of them can’t afford to pay.

    3) Yes, many younger people go without insurance, but doing so is neither smart nor safe. A friend of mine went down that road, and was fine until he got a serious eye infection and had to go to the emergency room. It cost him so much that he almost got evicted from his apartment. He’s still paying on it, and that was nearly 2 years ago.

    4) You said…

    I personally do not believe it, not because I don’t think that health insurance can be expensive, but because I see many people who say that they can’t ‘afford’ something quite happily have car payments and cell phones…

    First, cell phones are no more expensive than land lines nowadays, and a lot of people forgo the latter and go with the former, since they are more convenient. Would you be willing to go without a phone completely? Second, try finding a reliable car you don’t have to make payments on. Or a job you don’t need a reliable car to get to.

    5) Most medical savings plans are bigger scams than health insurance. I’ve never seen one that pays you interest as well as rolling over, and the one my wife’s former employer offered had no rollover whatsoever, so it was just money down the toilet. I suppose you could argue that she was working for a bad company and should have found a better job, but a better job would have better health coverage in general, rendering saving plans moot.

    6) Do you really believe that medical charities are somehow immune to the corruption and waste that affects the government? Seems a trifle naive to me. Usually it’s the government keeping the private sector from screwing everyone, historically speaking. Don’t believe me? I have two words for you: Gilded Age.

    7) As far as your idea of charitable contributions discounting what you pay into Medicaid, are you really up to dealing with the complications of that? You are for smaller government, right? And which charities would count and which wouldn’t? How about Habitat for Humanity, which does most of it’s work outside the US?

    Seems to me that you are far from the “classic liberal” you claim to be. More Libertarian than liberal, from my point of view.

    L

    Posted by: leatherankh at October 23, 2007 11:01 AM
    Comment #236782

    leatherankh


    “No one can legally be turned down for medical care”

    No one can legally be turned down for emergency medical care. as far as i know, no has the legal obligation to provide free non-emergency medical care. in most cases you sign a form before services are rendered that states payment is do when services are rendered.

    “Do you really believe that medical charities are somehow immune to the corruption and waste that affects the government?”

    obviously not, but the difference is you can choose to stop giving money to a charity, but you can’t tell the gov’t that you will no longer pay that portion of your taxes.


    ” Yes, many younger people go without insurance, but doing so is neither smart nor safe”

    this may be the case, but that is an individual choice. it is not for you or i to decide.


    http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba/ba484/

    Posted by: dbs at October 23, 2007 12:52 PM
    Comment #236785

    dbs replied to: “” Yes, many younger people go without insurance, but doing so is neither smart nor safe””

    “this may be the case, but that is an individual choice. it is not for you or i to decide.”

    Yes it is if the Congress seeks to salvage the nation’s economic future by lowering the cost of Medicare and Medicaid safety nets by offering universal single payer basic health insurance with contractual preferences for non-profit medical care delivery organizations.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 23, 2007 01:35 PM
    Comment #236786

    dbs, regarding the courts, I can only hope for an Article V convention and to lobby the public of my state and districts to push their delegates to amend the lifetime appointment of SC Justices. It was a fine idea for a new idealistic system of jurisprudence, but, it has become political, and therefore, no longer warrants lifetime appointments. That is one of those aspects of our government that is like toothpaste, once it is squeezed out, there is no putting it back in.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 23, 2007 01:43 PM
    Comment #236787

    submarines said: “Had they meant to “provide for general welfare” they would have said so. If you think different, please explain.”

    Provide means an obligation to deliver. Promote means foster or create the conditions for. I think you would have to agree that in the world of politics, the two words can be rendered synonymous under certain conditions, though clearly under other circumstances, they are not, at all.

    But the real point is, such promotion of the general welfare for the people is a task to be defined by each generation in history and changing times. Therefore, defining what promotion means is up to the people’s Congress and the President with judicial oversight. The founders were quite aware that their Constitution could not anticipate the course of human history or prophesize the needs of the future, thereby leaving much to be decided by the people’s representatives in addition to the amendment process and Article V convention provisions specifically for these purposes.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 23, 2007 01:54 PM
    Comment #236788

    submarines said: “I challenge you show where any of the founding fathers intended the state to take personal property from a citizen to give it to another due to a person’s lack of responsibility to provide for himself when he has the means.”

    I believe the Constitution quite clearly states that with due process, the government can take anything it wants, including one’s life. Some of the founding father’s were quite clear on this topic in both the Constitution and the Federalist Papers. If, with due process, and the state’s rights doctrine, the government can take a person’s life, it can certainly take property from one person and give it to another provided due process is observed.

    The concept of property transfer for grievances is older than the Constitution in Common Law and is not barred by the Constitution except for the condition that due process must be observed in the taking and transfer. The courts especially were endowed with this power, and Congres too where Article 1, Section 8 says:

    “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;”

    I think the Congress has the power under this article to deal with the economic disaster that looms large with the 44 trillion dollar unfunded mandate created by demographics, under the words above “provide for the general Welfare of the United States.”

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 23, 2007 02:12 PM
    Comment #236803

    One of the biggest problems conservatives have is that socialized medicine is providing some great benefits to it’s citizens. Many of our trading partners have for instance better:

    1. Customer satisfaction.
    2. Lower cost.
    3. Higher life expectancy
    4. Lower infant mortality.

    Where America is predominant is in:

    1. Medical care on demand.
    2. Research and Development.

    We earn far more Nobel prizes for instance in medicine than our partners.

    The right better figure out real soon how to fix medicine in America or it’s going social.

    We are the highest price, and receive the least in health benefit of just about any of our devoloped partners.

    Posted by: Craig Holmes1 at October 23, 2007 06:00 PM
    Comment #236806

    Too many middle men taking big fat cuts. So, how many people work in the medical insurance business?

    Posted by: d.a.n at October 23, 2007 06:55 PM
    Comment #236822

    Rachel

    playing profit with people’s health is immoral.

    I have a good friend who recently received a check from an insurance company for $14,000. Both his parents died within the last 5 years leaving him with a nice little sum of money. This check however was totally unexpected. It turns out his father had purchased insurance policies on three aids patients. The deal was that the value of the return decreased for each year they remained alive. I can not give you the specifics as even my friend did not know them. We both thought the whole process a bit morbid. I was shocked to think that one can gamble on the life of a person they have no association with. These were not family members, friends or acquaintances.

    I agree wholeheartedly that oversight in the industry is necessary. Here in Illinois we must have auto insurance to legally drive. I personally do not have a problem with that. But I do have a problem with rising premiums simply because someone made a claim. It is something we must have but are penalized for after using. I can understand rising premiums for those who are considered high risk. But for someone who has an accident or perhaps only a speeding ticket once every ten years this is not right. I have to believe that the mandatory insurance is the result of the insurance lobbyist industry. As I see it something we must have is a form of regulation. If we are to be regulated then shouldn’t the provider also be regulated. Once again we have a double standard that falls in favor of those with the money and the means.

    Posted by: RickIL at October 24, 2007 08:58 AM
    Comment #236827

    RickIL

    “But for someone who has an accident or perhaps only a speeding ticket once every ten years this is not right.”

    i believe most insurance co.s will forgive a ticket or an accident, if your driving record has otherwise been excellent. this would not apply to an accident where you’re at fault and there are major injuries or a fatality, or a dui. i don’t think you’de argue with that though.

    “But I do have a problem with rising premiums simply because someone made a claim.”

    rise in premium are affected by a lot of things, one would obviously be the increase in repair cost, and another would be an increase in the total # of claims in a given time frame.

    risk is spread across the entire pool of those insured. if you were to put it solely on the back of those who had accidents, they would most likely no longer be able to afford ins, as the cost would be astronomical. the pool would also get smaller and smaller, maybe to the point where you would also have to pay so much for ins. as to make it unatainable, or to a point where it was no longer worth the trouble to be in the ins business in the first place. ins. cost generally go down when there are more players in the game, and they have to compete for a larger share of thr mkt. ins. is after all just a #s game. you gamble on the belief you’ll take in more than you pay out in order to have something left over.

    Posted by: dbs at October 24, 2007 11:22 AM
    Comment #236837

    dbs, good answers on the insurance stuff. One of the big problems I see with rising premiums is our politicians treating driver’s licenses as a right, instead of privilege, and failing to incarcerate those driving w/o a license which has been revoked (a rarer occurrence these days).

    Second is the lack of ubiquitous Defensive Driver training in this country. High School curriculums should make these mandatory, and any person receiving a speeding, failure to yield, or dui citation should be required at their own expense to attend Defensive Driving class. Additionally, Defensive Driving classes must have testing on the material and pass/fail assessment’s made.

    These are state issues, but, I am convinced that given our highly mobile society, that these provisions be required by the states in order to qualify for federal highway dollars.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 24, 2007 12:54 PM
    Comment #236872

    dbs

    I understand the formulas the insurance industry uses. My problem lies with the fact that they are as a whole enjoying record profits. Even after Katrina and all other claims. If they were indeed losing money or even close to breaking even I could understand the need for rate increases. But this is not the case. I have an excellent driving record but I guarantee you that about once every two years my rates are going to increase. My most recent one was a 20% increase. When asked why the large increase the answer was that this is the trend in my state. Bull crap!! Well my policy is about up and I will be looking for a new provider. I can also guarantee you that I will find the same coverages for much less. They will low ball me a quote to get me in and then in another two years they will lay an increase on me. And the cycle will start again. They as you say are an insurance industry. There whole business is based on gambling. There is risk in gambling. They should not be guaranteed a profit or be allowed unquestionable rate increases to guarantee further profits. Especially in light of record profits. Coverage is something that I must have to legally drive. I feel that because I must have it I should also be guaranteed a fair an equitable price. The gambling industry is highly regulated in my state, and I would guess in most states. Since insurance is nothing more than gambling why should the industry be any different?

    It is because money talks and the rest of us walk.

    Posted by: RickIL at October 24, 2007 05:58 PM
    Comment #236883

    RickIL


    “There is risk in gambling. They should not be guaranteed a profit”

    i feel your pain,but without profit they cannot remain in business. as is any business some gov’t oversight is needed, but too much regulation will drive down the # of providers in the market, leaving them set any price they see fit. the only thing that will IMO keep the rates as low as possible is to attract as many players to the mkt. as possible, so they must compete agressively for business.

    “Coverage is something that I must have to legally drive. I feel that because I must have it I should also be guaranteed a fair an equitable price”

    driving is a privilege, not a right, although i realize in this day and age it is also a nessecity. if you have the gov’t regulate how much profit a private co. may charge, you will end up with far fewer choices in product, as many providers will choose to no longer offer coverage. this is what happened in my state, as a result premiums increased and coverage dropped. in a nutshell IMO, over regulation by gov’t usually creates shortages.


    Posted by: dbs at October 24, 2007 07:48 PM
    Comment #236887

    RickIL

    maybe i should’ve said this before, but i don’t agree with some of the policies insurance co.s use such as denying a legitimate claim the first time it’s filed, just to see if they can get away with not paying it. i do agree that insurance co.s should act in good faith, but lets face they often don’t.

    Posted by: dbs at October 24, 2007 08:43 PM
    Comment #236924

    dbs, the problem with insurance companies is that they are regulated by state insurance commissioners for the most part, and voters know even less about their state governments than they do national.

    There simply is no substitute for voter awareness. Term limits, watchdogs, whistle blowers, media, all are poor substitutes for voter interest and awareness of the goings on inside government. And American’s lack of education in these matters begins in grade school and is perpetuated right through colleges and universtities, as if by some grand design. But, there is no grand design, or conspiracy, per se, there is just distraction, ignorance, and political rewards to an apathetic and ignorant public about government, civics, and current events.

    And this is the strongest argument made for a national education system and standards, which nearly every other democracy in the world today has, to their credit and net benefit.

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 25, 2007 10:27 AM
    Comment #236927

    dbs, USAA, United Services Automobile Association is one of the top 5 insurers in America, (a little known fact). But, they are non-profit, meaning they are a coporation in which the policy holders insure each other, and no investors take a skim off the premiums.

    USAA began as an insurance company of and for US military officers who could not find insurance for their deployments overseas. So, they decided to insure each other through a non-profit company owned by the policy holders. A half century later, the company has grown and branched out, and now insures not only officers, but, enlisted and all their dependents, and other sectors of the general public, and insure homes and issue renter’s policies, and personal property policies like boats and valuables. Still non-profit. Still, no investors. But, now, if I recall correctly, the third largest personal property insurer in the U.S.

    USAA now also owns for profit enterprises as well such real estate and investment companies. But, the notion that insurance MUST be a profit oriented venture is disproven by USAA’s history. Just as St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital is one of the more famous hospitals in America, providing more treatment per dollar than for-profit centers, because they are non-profit and each dollar of revenue spends more on health care and none to investor profits.

    America can find non-profit solutions to some of its national problems. But, with special interests lobbying government with for-profit agendas, the non-profit option is rarely even raised for consideration in addressing issues like spiraling health care inflation or non-profit retirement accounts as a supplement to Social Security.

    If Bush had promoted non-profit private retirement accounts as a Social Security reform, he very likely would have weakened much of the opposition. But, that option does not even occur to lobbied politicians. There is no profit in it. :-(

    Posted by: David R. Remer at October 25, 2007 10:41 AM
    Comment #236928

    david

    i didn’t realize that type ins. organization existed. it sounds to me to be the ins. equivilent of a credit union, not a bad idea. credit unions definitely forced banks to rethink thier operating practices. the biggest hurdle to offering this type of thing to the general public would be the intense efforts of the ins. industry to stop it. this would definitely add that needed competition to the market in order to make rates far more competitive. thanks for the info.

    Posted by: dbs at October 25, 2007 10:58 AM
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