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Author Topic: Should we really copy Europe?
Daruma28
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quote:
Should we really copy Europe?
By Dr. Walter Williams
Posted: November 22, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern

Some Americans {i.e. Demolibs} look to European countries such as France, Germany and its Scandinavian neighbors and suggest that we adopt some of their economic policies. I agree – we should look at Europe for the lessons they can teach us. Dr. Daniel Mitchell, research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, does just that in his paper titled "Fiscal Policy Lessons from Europe."

Government spending exceeds 50 percent of the GDP in France and Sweden and more than 45 percent in Germany and Italy, compared to U.S. federal, state and local spending of just under 36 percent. Government spending encourages people to rely on handouts rather than individual initiative, and the higher taxes to finance the handouts reduce incentives to work, save and invest. The European results shouldn't surprise anyone. U.S. per capita output in 2003 was $39,700, almost 40 percent higher than the average of $28,700 for European nations.

Over the last decade, the U.S. economy has grown twice as fast as European economies. In 2006, European unemployment averaged 8 percent, while the U.S. average was 4.7 percent. What's more, the percentage of Americans without a job for more than 12 months was 12.7 percent, while in Europe it was 42.6 percent. Since 1970, 57 million new jobs were created in the U.S., and just 4 million were created in Europe.

Dr. Mitchell cites a comparative study by Timbro, a Swedish think tank, showing that European countries rank with the poorest U.S. states in terms of living standards, roughly equal to Arkansas and Montana and only slightly ahead of West Virginia and Mississippi. Average living space in Europe is just under 1,000 square feet for the average household, while U.S. households enjoy an average of 1,875 square feet, and poor households 1,200 square feet. In terms of income levels, productivity, employment levels and R&D investment, according to Eurochambres (The Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry), it would take Europe about two decades to catch up with us, assuming we didn't grow further.

We don't have to rely on these statistics to make us not want to be like Europeans; just watch where the foot traffic and money flow. Some 400,000 European science and technology graduates live in the U.S. European migration to our country rose by 16 percent during the 1990s. In 1980, the Bureau of Economic Analysis put foreign direct investment in the U.S. at $127 billion. Today, it's more than $1.7 trillion. In 1980, there was $90 billion of foreign portfolio investment – government and private securities – in the U.S. Today, there's more than $4.6 trillion, much of it coming from Europeans who find our investment climate more attractive.

What's the European response to its self-made economic malaise? They don't repeal the laws that make for a poor investment climate. Instead, through the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD, they attack low-tax jurisdictions. Why? To support its welfare state, European nations must have high taxes, but if Europeans, as private citizens and businessmen, relocate, invest and save in other jurisdictions, it means less money is available to be taxed.

Dr. Mitchell addresses this issue through his research at the Center for Freedom and Prosperity. The OECD has a blacklist for countries they've identified as "tax havens." The blacklisted countries include Hong Kong, Macao, Malaysia (Labuan) and Singapore. Also targeted are Andorra, Brunei, Costa Rica, Dubai, Guatemala, Liberia, Liechtenstein, the Marshall Islands, Monaco, the Philippines and Uruguay. The blacklisted jurisdictions have strong financial privacy laws and low or zero rates of tax.

The OECD member countries want the so-called tax havens to change their laws to help them identify the earnings of their citizens. Most of all, OECD wants these countries to legislate higher taxes so as to reduce their appeal. A suggestion that we should be more like Europe is the same as one suggesting that we should be poorer.

I agree wholeheartedly with Dr. Williams here. I think this issue takes on even greater relevance, now that the Dems have taken control of congress and will once again have power to implement their socialist policies.

Of course, like most Demolib policies, they weill be promoted and sold to the masses under the guise of emotional/guilt-laden appeals of "caring" for the "poor and disenfranchised" etc.

But one REALLY needs to look at the real world outcomes and question the claims and hyperbole...when someone advocates socialist policies by claiming that opponents to those socialist policies are "cruel and uncaring" what exactly is so benevolent and morally just of the real world results - rather than simply evaluating the claims and intentions of those arguing for socialism?

i.e. - when someone says we need universal healthcare coverage, and than say that anyone who doesn't support it WANTS the poor to suffer without medical care, we need to evaluate just exactly what results actually occur under the implementation of such a system rather than the rhetoric.

Because one from my position (pro-free market/anti-socialism) could just as easily say that all you Demolib socialists are cruel hearted and enjoy watching people suffer because people who are sick and ill would be forced to go on 6 month waiting lists for medical procedures that could have otherwise obtained within days or weeks under our current free market system.

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Colin JM0397
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I recall an article, an editorial, in the newspapers about 10 yrs ago by the then PM of Sweden. It was a warning to quit while we were ahead and not copy their socialist ways...

I've searched for it a few times, but keep coming up empty. [Frown]
It was a great piece.

[ November 22, 2006, 03:42 PM: Message edited by: jm0397 ]

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RickyB
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Daruma, it isn't either-or. Different countries in Europe have different systems, with different strengths and weaknesses. There are enough free market countries with at least some sort of universal healthcare.

Please understand: Should you choose, you could join a private HMO (which will cost more than the universal healthcare tax), and be exempt from the tax. You would not have to wait. You really must understand that the way healthcare is organized in the US has some very deep problems. Medical emergencies can and do ruin people financially in a way they don't in other countries.

I pay less than $25 bucks a month for my private, but tightly regulated "sick fund" (HMO). I get unlimited doctor visits and specialists for no extra cost, many procedures for cheap and medications for very cheap. Every person in Israel is required by law to belong to one of these sick funds. We pay a small tax (rolled into the social security tax) to fund it, plus the monthly fee charged by the fund itself. There are 4-5 significant ones (we're only 7 million), and they differ in what they offer. It's a very good system and the US would benefit greatly from adopting one like it.

Oh - and the affluent still go to private hospitals if they want. One of the best private hospitals in Israel is so reasonably priced that even my wife went there for an exam (which turned up negative, thank the goddess) when she felt her fund wasn't referring her fast enough. See? No dread socialist lines.

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javelin
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quote:
Medical emergencies can and do ruin people financially in a way they don't in other countries.
Yep, here they ruin you financially. There, you just die. [Big Grin] [Wink]
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Wayward Son
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quote:
It's a very good system and the US would benefit greatly from adopting one like it.
Yeah, but we're only talking about Europe here. And if it doesn't work in Europe, obviously it will never work. So forget about it! [Wink]
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Richard Dey
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OTOH, the US has luxurious welfare for women and the Veterans Administration for men; both are closeted scandals.

Equivalent social services in Europe are not nearly so corrupt, not even in Italy where busybodies squeal on each other if they're obtaining social benefits that they don't deserve!

The VA isn't a scandal? How about this one. William Norton couldn't make it through basic training, couldn't make it in the real world -- even after he became a saint in AA, and gets well over $1500 a month cash, complete medical, dental, and burial coverage, and last year obtained a 'settlement' of $275,000 for pain and suffering. In less than 10 months he had blown the quarter million on a new truck, a motorcycle, and odds and ends of bling. Now he's right back where he started: at the Old Soldiers Home on $30 a day after everything else is covered. He's in his 30s.

Mr Grady, fully capable of functioning in the real world, prefers to drink beer, bum cigarettes, and expose himself to school buses. Mr. Reagan put an end to his act. He is no longer allowed to check into the VA for a month and then claim full veterans' coverage so he's put up in a 'shelter', retains all coverage and benefits, and -- with >$30,000 p/a in disposable income is constantly broke.

Mr Rothwell, from a high-income family with a house in Needham, a summer house in Scituate, and a winter home in Florida, is addicted to cracked cocaine -- it just means highly refined, like his own tastes -- and scratch tickets. He is completely taken care of by the taxpayers. The only reason his lawyers maintain him on $15 per day is because he would otherwise blow up in ecstasy, another one of his pleasures.

I could go on, but the issue here is fugging laziness. None of these guys can left a rake, can put his chair back in after eating, make his own bed, wash his own clothes, or replace a toilet paper roll when it runs out in their hands!

And don't get me started on The Welfare Palace again -- and I have only worse stories coming in about similar low-income housing built near our prisons for the convenience of those living on the dole.

I think that, before we start modeling ourselves on the European system -- which does indeed work in some countries, like the Netherlands and Denmark, we need to clean up our own act. Socialism doesn't work well with corruption; and corruption is what we've got in the billions.

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Jesse
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Daruma, you understand that "Europe" includes former Warsaw Pact states that are still recovering from the evils of communism, right? This causes "standard of living" pictures that are much the same as ours would be if we had just started absorbing Mexico 15 years ago.

Not everyone really cares about the same things you do. Not everyone considers the maximum opportunity to increase their earnings to be more important than whether the kid down the street is living on macaronni. For some of us, whether or not other people are sleeping under bridges is a quality of life issue.

Props to the author, though, for making massive foriegn debt sound like something that the Europeans should be aiming for.

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RickyB
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"Yep, here they ruin you financially. There, you just die. [Big Grin]"

See? That is just focking bullshyt! Can you show proof that in western Europe people die from "waiting for their turn for a procedure" more than they do in the US? More than they do in the US for not having access or being able to afford the procedure? I strongly, strongly doubt that.

I think you will find that, just as is the case with infant mortality, the lack of access causes far more deaths than any red tape.

Wayward - there are European countries with systems that work well, too.

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kenmeer livermaile
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American access to medicine is exaggerated. Access to emergency procedures, yes, which is part of what's bankrupting our system, But access to regular care to prevent need for emergency procedures, no.
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javelin
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"Yep, here they ruin you financially. There, you just die. [Big Grin]"

See? That is just focking bullshyt! Can you show proof that in western Europe people die from "waiting for their turn for a procedure" more than they do in the US? More than they do in the US for not having access or being able to afford the procedure? I strongly, strongly doubt that.

I think you will find that, just as is the case with infant mortality, the lack of access causes far more deaths than any red tape.

Wayward - there are European countries with systems that work well, too.

It is B.S. Same level of hyperbole, in many ways, but B.S. nonetheless - thus the [Big Grin]
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RickyB
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"American access to medicine is exaggerated. Access to emergency procedures, yes, which is part of what's bankrupting our system, But access to regular care to prevent need for emergency procedures, no."

Exactly!

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Daruma28
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quote:
Not everyone really cares about the same things you do. Not everyone considers the maximum opportunity to increase their earnings to be more important than whether the kid down the street is living on macaronni. For some of us, whether or not other people are sleeping under bridges is a quality of life issue.
See Jesse, this is EXACTLY what I was referring to.

Your starting point for arguing for socialized medicine is based on the erroneous assumption that just because I am pro-free market/anti-socialist (i.e. libertarian) when it comes to our health care system, YOU care about the people sleeping under the bridges, and I do not.

I just think your idea promotes dependance and kills the drive for personal initiative, (which is why I am against most socialist ideas to begin with), yet you and everyone else that argues like you all assume that you are caring and full of compassion, and because I disagree on the methods of dealing with the problems, I'm the "cruel, heartless, greedy bastard" only concerned with gaining wealth.

Although those types of argumentative tactics may give you and others a sense of moral superiority, I'm here to tell you that sorry, I just don't buy it.

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RickyB
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Daruma, there are people out there working 10 hour days who have no health insurance. And you cannot say "well, just be smarter about your life choices" because your enture economic system depends, in part, on such people existing and working for such low compensation.

You talk about "promoting dependence". People ain't gonna be livin' large just because they have access to a doctor. This ain't food stamps that can be sold for cash (a hugely overrated phenomenon back in the welfare reform debates, but never mind). Not every safety net turns people into driveless zombies. That's why I said it doesn't have to be either-or. The swedes used (still do to large degree) that they would have pretty much everything handed to them. Healthcare isn't everything. It's a bare necessity.

So yes, we think we care more, because we want to reduce the number of people currently dying in the U.S., whereas you can only say your way is better for these people in theory.

Jesse's system (and mine, and the rest of us dread lefties) promotes less children dying from lack of what is often very simple healthcare. Less adults dying and becoming disabled and leaving their kids destitute. That right there beats anything at all you might say. I mean, look me in the eye and tell me it's worth it to have kids die or orphaned to make sure their parents don't get the wrong idea and think it's ok to wait for a handout.

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Daruma28
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But you see Ricky, you too are starting from the exact same assumption.

I tell you that the free market capitalist system of healthcare has resulted in the highest standard of medical care in all of human history, and that in my opinion, socialism degrades, hinders and actually hurts that continued development...yet you argue that because I'm opposed to the ideas and policies you and "the dread lefties" want to implement, that I want kids to die or be orphaned.

I can look you in the eye and tell you that although you think the ideas you promote will "save all of the kids" I tell you that what YOU propose is the very thing that will lead to a crippling of the development of what is the highest technological achievements in medicine in human history.

In my view, there is no such thing as a universal RIGHT or ENTITLEMENT to healthcare. But because I believe that does not mean I want more people to die or more orphans made, just so the rich can get richer.

Because if we want to get down to brass tacks, I say the socialist advocates are playing a shell game by appealing to emotions and claiming they care for the poor, elderly and youth to implement their socialist policies...when in reality, what they really seek is to increase the centralized power of the Federal Government.

There are plenty of things that could be better about the free market system (for one thing, we already have too much socialism in our current system), but just because there are problems (as there are in ANY system) doesn't mean advocating for the free market system means I want kids to die or become orphaned.

So let's just speak plainly here - you all think I'm a cruel, heartless greedy bastard that want little kids to die or be orphaned for opposing socialized medicine, and I think you guys are gullible, useful idiots that have bought into the propaganda and lies of the socialist politicians that want to grab more power to wield in Washington.

I'm glad we understand each other so well... [Big Grin]

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Jesse
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Daruma, we already had this fight, so put away your straw man. I thought we had this all settled.

You think maximum "economic opportunity" provides the greatest good. 'Member, we hashed that all out about two years ago?

Me, I'm arguing against whether the metrics presented accurately describe "quality of life" for the people whose lifes we're talking about in their own terms. I have no desire at all to own a home over 1,200 square feet, and still wouldn't if I hit the Lotto. If I had to pick between a TV and library card, I'd take the library card.

Different cultures have different priorities. This isn't cultural relativism in the nasty sense, "Oh, well, they sacrafice virgins, but that's ok, we can't judge them", it's just a willingness to recognize the fact that not everyone has the same priorities.

These standards don't include public park space, or museum prices, or the price of travel, or the value of reduced stress, or a hundred other factors that other people may value differently than you.

I'm not saying you want kids to starve, or even that you don't care. I think that you believe (correct me if I'm wrong) that even if a lot of people suffered during a transitional period your ideal free-market would result in a lot less human suffering in the long run.

Whatever their growth rate, Western European countries are able to provide almost all of their population with adequate food, shelter, housing, and medical care along with a modicum of recreational activities and educational opportunity. Their populations aren't really growing, so they should be cool for a while, neh?

Maybe they care more about everyone having access to health care technology available now than whether anything else is ever developed. Sure, maybe it stifles new breakthroughs, but hey, that's their call.

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RickyB
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"I tell you that the free market capitalist system of healthcare has resulted in the highest standard of medical care in all of human history,"

For those who can afford! Don't you get it? That standard will still be there for those who can afford.

Now, as for stifling breakthroughs - I described Israel's system. Israel is second to no country in the entire world in the number of hi-tech startups per capita. Poof goes that argument.

[ November 22, 2006, 07:42 PM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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kenmeer livermaile
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Capitalism has made for societies developing great some great meditech but not so great distribution access systems.

"Maybe they care more about everyone having access to health care technology available now than whether anything else is ever developed. Sure, maybe it stifles new breakthroughs, but hey, that's their call."

Europe has seen more than its share of social injustice, nyet? Europe is also, I note, the Big Nest of capitalism. THey done that dance; they know how it works. They also know how socialism (and communism) works. THey have a wider frame of reference for picking and choosing than we Americans do.

They are democracis like America. They CHOOSE this stuff. You know: socialized medicine. I have a friend in The Netherlands who adores America but loves his Dutch health care program.

What you see in Europe is ALSO part of a free market. A political free market. Rather than look down at our noses at them, we might just try and take a look, especially since sometimes we have to stand on our heads in order to look down our noses at them.

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RickyB
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No Daruma, I don't think you're cruel. I think you're refusing to see how your positions cause suffering. You're not evil, you're just duped into serving it [Big Grin]

Seriously: I think I have proved that healthcare availability can be greatly expanded without necessarily impacting economic productivity (for instance, people will miss a lot less days out sick if able to address health problems when they start, rather than when they become disabling).

You refuse to see that the current systems has the undeniable effect of denying basic care to many, including children. There are systems that solve that, and do not have to entail paying people not to work, which is what you're so afraid of.

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LetterRip
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Daruma28,

quote:
I tell you that the free market capitalist system of healthcare has resulted in the highest standard of medical care in all of human history
Pretty much all of the medical advancements we have seen in surgery, diagnostics, prosthetics, treatments, and pharmaceuticals have been either military, public health, or general research publicly funded advances. How are you attributing that to the 'free market capitalist system'? Research hospitals tend to be the ones that adopt the new and cutting edge procedures and diagnostic methods quickest as well. HMO and insurance companies tend to fight the adoption and usage of new technologies not encourage them.

LetterRip

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TommySama
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Once again I feel this is a misguided argument. Why raise taxes to pay for extremely high medical costs when we could reform our flawed medical system instead. Most (well, all, but this is anecdotal evidence I guess) of the people I have spoken to who work in hospitals and the likes say that A GRIP of money is wasted on unnecessary equipment which gets lost and stolen because it isn't properly stored or recorded. Morons are paid to be managers who cannot complete even the simplest tasks.


I'm curious, how much would taxes have to increase for a universal healthcare system?

I don't mean to sound cruel or evil (which I am) but why am I required to pay for some kid down the streets surgery through my taxes anyways? It reminds me of the argument someone gave me for why abortion for rape victims should be legal (while all the rest of abortions illegal). You didn't do anything to get the child there, so its not your responsibility. Just like if a starving kid begs you for food you don't have to help him, even if he'll die.

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TommySama
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"Now, as for stifling breakthroughs - I described Israel's system. Israel is second to no country in the entire world in the number of hi-tech startups per capita. Poof goes that argument."

Yeah but you're ignoring the obvious reason for that. It's full of Jews. Reminds me of a joke I heard on Prairie Home Companion... "In many cultures, there are different beliefs about when life begins. For christians it is at conceptions, for atheists at birth; but for the jewish tradition, life doesn't begin until the embryo graduates from medical school.

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TommySama
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"Whatever their growth rate, Western European countries are able to provide almost all of their population with adequate food, shelter, housing, and medical care along with a modicum of recreational activities and educational opportunity. Their populations aren't really growing, so they should be cool for a while, neh?

Maybe they care more about everyone having access to health care technology available now than whether anything else is ever developed. Sure, maybe it stifles new breakthroughs, but hey, that's their call."

Now it's our call. From this post, though, I get the idea that you cannot have universal health care unless if you take the whole socialist grab bag. Again, how much does this cost your average worker? If we begin taxing the sh*t out of college students along with everyone else, will the state than have to supplement tuition for students. Will the state have to pay for way more peoples housing because they can no longer pay the rent along with universal healthcare?

I'm serious too, how much would it cost? Is this cost going to cause more problems that can only be solved by more socialism and taxing? If it doesn't, why am I responsible for other people and their children?

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Cytania
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Not sure how we keep sidetracking to Israel since it isn't strictly part of Europe (how it gets into the Eurovision song contest I'll never know).

I'm a bit dubious about measurement of living standards. Floorspace is an odd measure, here in the UK houses are small but that's very much a product of numerous policies restricting building on virgin countryside. However I balk at the suggestion all EU states are down with the poorest US states. Has Arkansas got the food of France or the climate of Spain? There's much more to living than metrics.

Europe embarasses the US by showing that higher levels of welfare are sustainable in the longterm. France is going through some woe at the moment but look at Germany, it's absorbed a Communist neighbour and is bearing up. The UK economy is in rude health.

At least Europe has paid for it's pension provisions. US seniors are heading into a crisis where no one is saving for their old age.

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RickyB
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"I don't mean to sound cruel or evil (which I am) but why am I required to pay for some kid down the streets surgery through my taxes anyways?"

Because if you don't, his dad will steal from you to fund it. That's what you people don't get. Even if you have the money to hide in a gated community, you still suffer when the masses do.

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Everard
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Alternatively, because when YOU are unemployed for 3 months which many well educated middle class americans often are, and get in a massive car accident that requires major surgery and an extensive hospital stay, then you will also be covered.
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RickyB
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"From this post, though, I get the idea that you cannot have universal health care unless if you take the whole socialist grab bag."

That's just it - this is not true.

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Eric
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Just throwing this out here...

Surprise, surprise? Republicans spent record sums on the poor

quote:
In 2001, President Bush and the GOP Congress spent $285.7 billion on 33 anti-poverty programs. By 2005, that sum had grown $111.2 billion to a total of $396.9 billion. That 39 percent boost far outstripped that period's 10 percent cumulative inflation.
Discuss.
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Ivan
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Daruma-

You said:

"I tell you that the free market capitalist system of healthcare has resulted in the highest standard of medical care in all of human history."

Do you have a link to support this? Everything I've heard says basically that European socialist countries provide significantly better medical care than the US does.

Also, how did an article about economic growth in socialist vs. capitalist countries become about healthcare?

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DaveS
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Re, Eric's post: The report is available here. It's hard to line numbers up, but they don't look much different from the government's numbers on this WH site. It's hard to know what it all means, and I don't have the tools to figure it out, but poverty is up and health care access is down during the same periods. I've read elsewhere that some of the growth has returned us to spending levels comparable to the early/mid '90s, with general inflation and other costs taken into account.

If I'm reading the WH site correctly, it also shows that discretionary spending fell or stayed the same in the budget for nearly all non-military areas going from 2005-2006, except for Medicare.

FWIW, the author of the Heritage report is the same Brian Riedl who has been sounding alarm bells about runaway deficits, pork barrel spending that doesn't match tax cuts, and impending need for budget cuts.

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flydye45
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First, a small dig at Daruma's post. One wonders at the comparison in incomes if one includes the costs of health care. I spend about 10% of my income on health care through my company [Mad] . I'm not sure how Williams did his calculations (pre or post tax) but that could change things dramatically.

I've been shopping for health insurance lately. It is a tedious process. Covering a woman and three kids with a variable deductible can cost as little as $185 a month. Adding a Dad will bring it up about $100 or so dollars. This is not an incredible policy, but will provide several benefits.

First and most importantly, it will put the person in the network, thus making them qualified for enormous discounts in their health care costs. It seems that health care professionals "pad" their normal costs so they can tell the insurance company that they are getting a great discount. Obviously this has something to do with health care scare. Upfront pricing is inflated, actual costs paid are not.

Second, they are covered for catastrophic incidents in their families at a low cost. I won't even go into the glories of HSA's. (Okay, I will! Tax free going in, tax free coming out. All capital gains untaxed. More money into YOUR account instead of premiums, increasing net worth. Nominal penalties for accessing the money for non medical reasons [taxed as income with an added 10% ding] I couldn't help myself)

Third, pharmaceutical discounts. Generics are great.

Now, this presupposes a healthy family. What about someone with recurring conditions or health problems? Most states have HIPAA laws which protect those who are ill, forcing insurance companies to cover them, cumbersome but there. Medicaid and Medicare are also options. Meanwhile the rest of the family can buy a normal policy even cheaper (fewer members). And every job which offers health care HAS to accept everyone, including the blind quadriplegic kid who is on dialysis.

Affordable healthcare is out there. You have to look.

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DaveS
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Eric,
quote:
Discuss.
What do you have to say about this? Is it wasted spending, too much, just right...?
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Richard Dey
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Oz: American access to medicine is exaggerated. Access to emergency procedures, yes, which is part of what's bankrupting our system, But access to regular care to prevent need for emergency procedures, no.

RB: Exactly.

Dey: Exactly!

And the dissue* over drugs/medicine is that we have put the nation's worst drug addicts, our physicians, in charge of the cooky jar.

* dissue = a dissed issue.

At best what one gets from a GP these days is a referral to a specialist. Well, that means you can wind up seeing a dozen doctors for an identified bump, each MD taking his cut.

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Eric
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DaveS,

I'd personally like to see some spending on catastrophic health care. It's easy enough to get basic care, IMHO.

As an example...the husband of a colleague of mine had a bad car accident, and he's now paralyzed from the neck down. She had to fight tooth and nail to get 24 hour in-home care for him, without which she'd have had to quit working in order to care for him herself. With him no longer able to work, that would have meant personal bankruptcy.

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canadian
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A Universal Healthcare system in a thriving capitalist society...

Only in Canada you, say?

Pity.

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TommySama
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"Alternatively, because when YOU are unemployed for 3 months which many well educated middle class americans often are, and get in a massive car accident that requires major surgery and an extensive hospital stay, then you will also be covered."

Or I won't be and I can just be in debt my whole life. A slightly lower standard of living is better than not living, neh?

I'm not opposed to some sort of legislation that says money will be diverted towards huge accidents, but I'd like to see medical reform so it's not so damn expensive. I still don't see why I should be responsible to pay for other peoples kids health insurance. It's bad enough we funnel money into the school system for it to be totally wasted on lame teachers, 'small learning communities', and the football team.

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DaveS
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Eric, I wholeheartedly agree. Universal healthcare verging on socialized medicine isn't so bad when the free market alternatives aren't going to step in to help out when you really need it.

I wish there were someone around here who knows how all of the increased spending decisions were reached. Other than foodstamps, I don't know what the money was supposed to do. Another mystery is where all of the $100B+ Bush authorized for New Orleans recovery has been going.

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TommySama
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
"From this post, though, I get the idea that you cannot have universal health care unless if you take the whole socialist grab bag."

That's just it - this is not true.

Well that's how he made it sound. Nobody's still answered my question. Cause and effect to me sounds like: huge tax increase; many poor families lose their homes or apartments; need state support; more taxes; etc.

I know it sounds really nice to have something to fall back on in an emergency, but, like I said, I STILL haven't found a place to rent in St. Paul thats cheap enough for me to afford. Tax increases just make that worse

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RickyB
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flydye, I'm glad you find that affordable. I pay a hell of a lot less (both in a percentage of income and absolute dollars) and have every single benefit you described.
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Jesse
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Tommy, everyone else would be paying the same taxes. Landlords are subject to the rule of supply and demand just like everyone else, they can't charge more than the market will bear either.

If everyone trying to rent a place on the same budget you are has to pay for national health care, rental prices will drop or vacancies will increase and they'll lose money.


-
My truck got tagged while parked, by a hit and run jerk, and the first body shop I went to quoted 1,600. I basically looked at them like they ought to be wearing helmets and they said "What do you care, the insurance pays for it." I said, no, it's not covered, and suddenly they dropped the price to 900.

I got it done by a friends brother for half of that. When it comes to auto repairs, the price is higher for the insured. The difference is, body work is optional and medical treatment isn't.

When treating the uninsured, doctors and hospitals assume they won't get paid, so they charge a hugely inflated rate in order to get such a large write-off that they essentially make their money back.

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DaveS
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TommySama, I sympathize with you, but imagine if you got sick or in an accident and needed long term care. If you have to depend on only yourself, you're screwed. I have only once been sick enough to need hospitalization, and was grateful for what my insurance covered. Over time, I've come to think of the premiums I pay as a form of "paying it forward" for someone else who needs it, maybe you. One day, I'm sure I'll need it again, and I hope it will again be there for me! Socialized medicine sounds bad (like "liberal"), but there are things that <you name it here> can do that we all need.
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