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Old 08-24-2009, 01:10 PM   #101
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Perfect signature for this discussion Scott
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Old 08-24-2009, 02:03 PM   #102
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You'll get no argument from me here. China is a shining example of a functional socio-capitalist state. But a lot of their success really has less to do with socialism as with eco-nationalism almost to the point of xenophobia. The Chinese government disproportionately taxes imported goods, erects barriers to foreign ownership of property and businesses, grants favorable status to businesses engaged in export trade, and so on.

The downside of this, of course, is a reduced standard of living and equivalent purchasing power per capita for the majority of their citizens. Imagine, for a moment, what would happen if it were no longer legal to purchase washing machines, TVs, avocados, clothing, etc., unless those items were manufactured in the US or Canada. Since those countries have much higher manufacturing costs than the countries that currently produce those things for us (owing not just to wages, but also to business costs such as EPA / OSHA compliance, worker's comp and other benefits, etc), then the price of almost everything we buy would skyrocket, and as a result, the divide which currently exists between those who own summer homes and those who do not would suddenly extend to cover those who own washing machines and those who do not.
I was not speaking of China at all. China is more along the lines of a export oriented developing country. They are an experiment that if you provide prosperity people won't care about not having freedom.

I was speaking of market socialism in the nature of the Scandinavian countries. They have larger - get this - usable income (post-tax income), standard of living, ect than American low taxation style models. The American model supports faster growth(and likewise less stable) and more mobile labor forces at the cost of quite a few on the lower end of the spectrum and skewed resource distribution.

And you must realize I'm not saying this is the ideal American future at all. I just want to see an end to the rampant socialism-phobia in the US because mixed systems can and do work. If it works for this situation, then so be it. However if the private method is a better fit, then so be it. Its moderation and its the key for all parts of life. Radical systems say in line with full blown Socialism and full blown Capitalism have their short fallings just like anything radical. I can't see why we can't balance the two.

And on the issue of healthcare, a public option is just another competitor. If the govt can offer it more cheaply then so be it. Costs are driven down.
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Old 08-24-2009, 03:19 PM   #103
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I was speaking of market socialism in the nature of the Scandinavian countries. They have larger - get this - usable income (post-tax income), standard of living, ect than American low taxation style models.
I'd honestly be interested in learning more about the relevant economic models of which you speak.

From an anecdotal standpoint, I can say that when I lived in an apartment in San Diego, several of my neighbors were Europeans who lived in CA either on a part-time basis (work visa) or a permanent basis (LPR). Two were from Great Britain, one was from Norway, one was from France, and one was from Denmark.

With the exception of the Frenchman, every one of them bemoaned the cost of living in their home country, everything from housing to automobiles to clothes. And mind you, they were comparing to Southern California prices, where $400,000 for a 3/2 home in a completely average neighborhood is a steal and we just kinda shrugged when gasoline topped $5 a gallon.


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And on the issue of healthcare, a public option is just another competitor. If the govt can offer it more cheaply then so be it. Costs are driven down.
That is precisely the opposite of what will happen.

Do we all concur that the Fed, as a broad generalization is less efficient at providing services than private companies (the UPS / USPS argument)?


This being America, where everyone has a right to the best of everything, putting any portion of healthcare directly under Federal control will increase the total cost of healthcare as a whole, and it's the administrative costs that will do it. Even if there is a 10% decrease in lab costs owing to a reduction in the number of "frivolous" tests ordered by PCPs, in order to create that reduction in the first place you have to have an oversight committee reviewing and signing off on everything. Given our litigious nature, and the tendency of bureaucracy to expand to fill the space available, these administrative costs will grow until they exceed whatever savings they generated, while at the same time overall quality of care goes down due to the very reduction in the number and type of diagnostic procedures that this particular bureaucracy was convened to effect in the first place.


As to the idea that the public option will be "just another competitor", that makes no more sense than saying that public housing is "just another competitor." It has nothing at all to do with the price of tea in China. When a great divide (real or perceived) exists between the quality or desireability of two related products or services, then the two are not in competition with one another, and the price of one does not affect the price of the other.


Here in Manhattan, for example, they have a lot of apartment buildings. All of them have a floor, walls, a ceiling, and for the most part, running water and electricity. Some of these apartments are located in neighborhoods which are considered to be "desirable", and others are not.

Even if any two given apartments are functionally identical (both have working heat & A/C, both are near the #1 and A/C subway lines, neither have rats or parking, etc) the apartment in Chelsea will always cost more than the apartment in Harlem, it will be perceived in a different light, and it will tend to attract a different demographic of potential resident. The two apartment buildings both provide the same service, however they are not in competition with one another any more than Chevy is in competition with Lamborghini.

But what if Chevrolet were partly owned by the US and Canadian governments, and government money was used to subsidize their production and service? Well, then anybody who buys a Chevy is getting a pretty good deal, since a part of the cost of their vehicle is being paid for by everyone who pays taxes in the US and Canada. But what about the person who wants something better than a Chevy? No problem, sir, the Lamborghini dealership is right this way. But wait- not only is nobody going to subsidize his purchase of a new Gallardo, but he's also getting zero value for the money he paid in taxes that bought the other guys Chevrolet!

(Wait, I've just confused fantasy with reality, haven't I?)



The point is, with public healthcare as an option, it will not be a competitor to private healthcare. It will simply result in the creation of a caste system.
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Old 08-24-2009, 03:26 PM   #104
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I was speaking of market socialism in the nature of the Scandinavian countries. They have larger - get this - usable income (post-tax income), standard of living, ect than American low taxation style models. The American model supports faster growth(and likewise less stable) and more mobile labor forces at the cost of quite a few on the lower end of the spectrum and skewed resource distribution.

And you must realize I'm not saying this is the ideal American future at all. I just want to see an end to the rampant socialism-phobia in the US because mixed systems can and do work. If it works for this situation, then so be it. However if the private method is a better fit, then so be it. Its moderation and its the key for all parts of life. Radical systems say in line with full blown Socialism and full blown Capitalism have their short fallings just like anything radical. I can't see why we can't balance the two.

And on the issue of healthcare, a public option is just another competitor. If the govt can offer it more cheaply then so be it. Costs are driven down.
Those of us who value freedom and liberty wish that those of you who desire Scandinavian/European/Canadian/Cuban style socialism would just go to places where that already exists and leave America's laws alone and let us be a purely free country. I'm not saying that in a derogatory way, but a pleasant, matter-of-fact sort of way. Please don't misread the way I mean that. Leave us at least one free country on the face of this earth for those who wish to be free.

EDIT: +1 to everything Joe said.
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Old 08-24-2009, 04:08 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by sixshooter View Post
Those of us who value freedom and liberty wish that those of you who desire Scandinavian/European/Canadian/Cuban style socialism would just go to places where that already exists and leave America's laws alone and let us be a purely free country. I'm not saying that in a derogatory way, but a pleasant, matter-of-fact sort of way. Please don't misread the way I mean that. Leave us at least one free country on the face of this earth for those who wish to be free.
Quite an idea, but really the freedom and liberty people dont have any more right to this country than any other citizen. Not to mention that no amount of disclaimer or apology will stifle the elitist overtones that suggest the freedom and liberty people know what is right and everyone else does not.
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Old 08-24-2009, 09:15 PM   #106
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I've done a little research, and I believe I have the solution to all of America's socio-economic woes.


1: Mandatory abortions for all unwed mothers.

2: Capital punishment for all felony offenses. Strict limit of one appeal per conviction, six month time limit.

3: Four year lifetime cap on all social welfare programs, including disability / Medicaid. The amount of aid disbursed per person per year shall be correspondingly increased so as to afford the recipient a reasonable standard of living, cover the costs of public college tuition (associate's / technical level), etc.

4: When you turn 70, you go onto a raft and get floated out into the sunset.

5: Medicare and Social Security are abolished (unnecessary, due to #4 above).

6: America's stockpile of ERW munitions are used to prepare the eastern portion of Africa for resettlement. Failure by any able-bodied adult, unable otherwise to be domiciled and sustained by personal wealth, investment income, or the support of family, to maintain lawful employment (except as per #3) is punishable by Transportation.

7: The states of Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and South Carolina are hereby expelled from the Union and ceded to Mexico, in exchange for the Baja peninsula. The status of New Jersey is reduced to that of protectorate.

I think that pretty much covers it. Give it one generation, and we'll be in the clear.
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Old 08-24-2009, 10:01 PM   #107
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I like this. Except I will lead a rebellion in Florida to make us our own Republic.

Officially renamed to Gunshine State.
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Old 08-24-2009, 10:03 PM   #108
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Originally Posted by sixshooter View Post
Those of us who value freedom and liberty wish that those of you who desire Scandinavian/European/Canadian/Cuban style socialism would just go to places where that already exists and leave America's laws alone and let us be a purely free country. I'm not saying that in a derogatory way, but a pleasant, matter-of-fact sort of way. Please don't misread the way I mean that. Leave us at least one free country on the face of this earth for those who wish to be free.
Long story short, in many aspects this country is "less free" than many others. If you consider economic freedom to be the end all be all, move to Hong Kong or Singapore.
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Old 08-24-2009, 10:04 PM   #109
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the freedom and liberty people dont have any more right to this country than any other citizen.
That is just it though. I do not think I have a right to this country anymore than the next person, but when you start passing legistlation to infringe on my rights via taxes and subsidies, my response will be to go get it somewhere else.

The right to take away from my liberty to give more to others has gone from simply helping the truely unfortunate, to flat out stealing from me. I am tired of it.

You are always taught to work hard and you can become anything you want. Well you can, then the public criminalizes having "too much" money, and taxes the hell out of you while making you look like a bastard for driving a BMW.

I don't believe that this country has become socialist, but I believe there are some characteristics of it that overstep some serious boundries. The persistant social outcry of us becoming socialist really hinders the ability of someone to have a good discussion about the aspects of our, still market driven, economy without seeming like a nut. Everyone I talk to is so extreme to one side or the other, that it drives me insane. I can think of two decent conversations in the last year over politics that wasn't completely regurgitated bullshit they didn't even understand.
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Old 08-24-2009, 11:03 PM   #110
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Quite an idea, but really the freedom and liberty people don't have any more right to this country than any other citizen. Not to mention that no amount of disclaimer or apology will stifle the elitist overtones that suggest the freedom and liberty people know what is right and everyone else does not.
The freedom and liberty people did know what was right beyond the understanding of many in this country. They were the founding fathers. I can't help that what they started has been perverted into the way our government exists today. And I will gladly accept their elitism that believed in the inherent goodness of man's freedom over the elitists that want to force people to behave in their "do as I say but not as I do" socialist forced experiment. "All animals are equal, but some are more equal" seems to always pervade the elite socialists' mantra. The party faithful always live better than the proletariat, who should always be controlled, eh?

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That is just it though. I do not think I have a right to this country anymore than the next person, but when you start passing legislation to infringe on my rights via taxes and subsidies, my response will be to go get it somewhere else.

The right to take away from my liberty to give more to others has gone from simply helping the truly unfortunate, to flat out stealing from me. I am tired of it.

You are always taught to work hard and you can become anything you want. Well you can, then the public criminalizes having "too much" money, and taxes the hell out of you while making you look like a bastard for driving a BMW.

I don't believe that this country has become socialist, but I believe there are some characteristics of it that overstep some serious boundaries.
Amen, brother.
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Old 08-24-2009, 11:56 PM   #111
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The freedom and liberty people did know what was right beyond the understanding of many in this country. They were the founding fathers. I can't help that what they started has been perverted into the way our government exists today. And I will gladly accept their elitism that believed in the inherent goodness of man's freedom over the elitists that want to force people to behave in their "do as I say but not as I do" socialist forced experiment. "All animals are equal, but some are more equal" seems to always pervade the elite socialists' mantra. The party faithful always live better than the proletariat, who should always be controlled, eh?
Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that the rights of individuals must never be restricted in any way. And the Constitution explicitly states that Congress can collect taxes for the general welfare. That strongly implies a mild socialist agenda right there. The founding fathers understood that some infrastructure is required to have a functioning society.

There's also a lot of nasty **** in the Declaration of Indepdence that we dont have to deal with anymore. The government we have today is hardly a tyranny. We have representation and the ability to petition the government. We all get to vote for the legislators and executives and laws that are passed.

Tonights Rhetorical Question: How is a "socialist forced experiment" any different than an anarcho-capitalist forced expieriment?
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Old 08-25-2009, 09:22 AM   #112
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One is awesome, the other is not?
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Old 08-25-2009, 01:00 PM   #113
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Y8s,
Are you referring to Article 1, Section 8, Paragraph 1 of the Constitution of The United States of America, where it is written:

"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;"?

How exactly do you equate "general Welfare of the United States" with selective welfare of certain chosen individuals? Those two concepts do not even resemble each other, and are obviously not what is being referred to in that paragraph. But if you take any phrase out of context, it is certain that it can be made to appear to be something it is not.

Have you ever read "1984" by George Orwell? It is one of the more poignant books I read in my youth. It should be required reading in school.
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Old 08-25-2009, 01:15 PM   #114
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How exactly do you equate "general Welfare of the United States" with selective welfare of certain chosen individuals?
Playing Devil's Advocate:

If a large (and presumably homogeneous) segment of the population, for whatever reason, finds themselves in a condition of abject and continuous poverty, then certain things can be expected to occur in the area surrounding said population. A increase in the rate of property crimes, an increase in the rate of violent crimes, an increase in the abuse of alcohol and drugs, a decrease in the average level of education, a decrease in the vitality of local businesses, etc.

So long as all of these people are confined to a specific area which is at some remove from the rest of the population (as per post # 106 above), then your point is valid. However, so long as these people are distributed throughout the US (presumably in clusters, located in or adjacent to major urban centers) then the deleterious effects of their behavior has a generally harmful effect upon "the general Welfare of the United States"

Are social programs of fiscal disbursement such as welfare a reasonable solution to this problem? That's not really relevant to the question at hand.
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Old 08-25-2009, 01:19 PM   #115
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Mine is the only clunker the Audi dealer is working with so they have no experience with the CARS system. We're on the fourth time through with the clunker. Govt keeps saying they need something else signed or presented. Typical of the Gov't when the find an issue in the application they immediately kick it out of the system. We correct it, goes back in the system, they find the next issue and kick it out again. Would have saved everyone, including the Gov't, a whole lot of time, money and effort if they had given us a complete list of corrections the first time through!

Hooray for bureaucracies!
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Old 08-25-2009, 01:30 PM   #116
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Sounds efficient.............
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Old 08-25-2009, 01:32 PM   #117
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Sounds efficient.............
Hey! What if government was in charge of healthcare? That would be awesome right?
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Old 08-25-2009, 01:44 PM   #118
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Y8s,
Are you referring to Article 1, Section 8, Paragraph 1 of the Constitution of The United States of America, where it is written:

"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;"?

How exactly do you equate "general Welfare of the United States" with selective welfare of certain chosen individuals? Those two concepts do not even resemble each other, and are obviously not what is being referred to in that paragraph. But if you take any phrase out of context, it is certain that it can be made to appear to be something it is not.

Have you ever read "1984" by George Orwell? It is one of the more poignant books I read in my youth. It should be required reading in school.
Joe makes a good point about general welfare. Maybe you and I dont need government support, but some people do (deserving it is a totally different discussion). And the people that do can drag us down like a big anchor.

I personally feel that having a healthy, educated base is absolutely critical to having a strong country. I dont think that the people who can't quite make it on their own should be dragging the rest of us down. I'm willing to invest in that to some degree.

And yes, I read 1984 probably about 20 years ago.

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Mine is the only clunker the Audi dealer is working with so they have no experience with the CARS system. We're on the fourth time through with the clunker. Govt keeps saying they need something else signed or presented. Typical of the Gov't when the find an issue in the application they immediately kick it out of the system. We correct it, goes back in the system, they find the next issue and kick it out again. Would have saved everyone, including the Gov't, a whole lot of time, money and effort if they had given us a complete list of corrections the first time through!

Hooray for bureaucracies!
Sounds like my fiancee's dealings with her health insurance company only she's hardly the "only one".
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Old 08-25-2009, 02:09 PM   #119
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Perfect signature for this discussion Scott
Why, because It's a good example of how two private, for-profit companies force the Gov't run "competition" to provide better services, but at a horrendous loss because it is failboat? So in turn, it's the private business that is too much competition for the Gov't run company and not the other way around? Huh, funny.
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Old 08-25-2009, 02:41 PM   #120
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I personally feel that having a healthy, educated base is absolutely critical to having a strong country. I dont think that the people who can't quite make it on their own should be dragging the rest of us down. I'm willing to invest in that to some degree.
Right. That's where you start getting into the problem of implementation.

Giving small amounts of money to these folks clearly isn't having a significant effect insofar as permitting them to educate themselves and thereby elevate their status.

Giving large amounts of money to them probably isn't going to help much either. They'll still be uneducated and unproductive, but they'll have nicer TV sets and be able to justify buying The Glenlivet instead of MD 20/20 or Thunderbird.

Giving them guaranteed tuition and board for the two year degree program of their choice might help a few, but we already offered them 13 years of free education, and we'd need to realistically asses what percentage of them actually bothered to take advantage of that first.

Can we kill 'em? No, that'd probably result in somebody invading our country and liberating us from our corrupt government (and then occupying us for a long time).

Can we force 'em to become elevated? Ever try to teach Latin to a pig? It accomplishes nothing, and annoys the pig.

Shame there's no big, empty, unsettled island in the southern hemisphere where we can just ship 'em off to. Damn British used that one up...


Quote:
And yes, I read 1984 probably about 20 years ago.
1984, Fahrenheit 451, and Animal Farm. None are a particularly long read, but they are good food for thought.

They were required reading for me,somewhere around age 10-12 if I recall correctly. My father had some rather strong feelings concerning modern socialism, for obvious reasons.
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