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TheHeight of Hypocrisy

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JenniferMaxwell
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50 posted 02-28-2010 01:48 PM       View Profile for JenniferMaxwell   Email JenniferMaxwell   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for JenniferMaxwell

I wonder if personal experience is what determines how we feel. If I’d served in Nam or Iraq and experienced first hand the horrors of war, I’m sure I’d be standing up for lifetime bennies for every serviceperson, who, regardless of actual duty, by signing up, showed they were willing to put their life on the line, as Balladeer said. My experience has been quite different. I know first hand the suffering of the poor, elderly, disabled. The courage it takes for some of them just to face another day is, in my eyes, often heroic.
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51 posted 02-28-2010 02:35 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Jennifer, you are absolutely right. What we basically have to guide us IS our own experiences, which should also answer Ron's question to me.

Ron, you are saying that I consider that I'm right and everyone else is wrong? That makes it sound like I am the only one with my opinion and the rest of the world thinks differently. I really don't consider that a valid assumption.

Of course I'm giving my opinion. That's what we do here. If you have a different one, that's fine with me. You will follow yours and I will follow mine. I'm not going to try to change yours and chances are you won't change mine. We simply present our own way of thinking here and where our thoughts come from. I do agree with Grinch that health care is not a right but a service. If he had simply asked that instead of tossing "affordable" in there, I would have said so.

The thread was about hypocricy...the Democrats screaming bloody murder over the same tactics they are threatening to use now.
Grinch
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52 posted 02-28-2010 04:15 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
I do agree with Grinch that health care is not a right but a service.


Superb, we’re in agreement, though for a while there it was a bit like pulling teeth.



Now we’ve established that health care isn’t a right all we need to do is to work out how to dismantle Medicare and those other subsidised systems that nobody has a right to. With the spiralling cost of Medicare and Medicaid etc. removed, the fiscal tsunami threatening to erode your GDP is averted and the economy saved.

That was simple – job done- next stop social security.

.
Bob K
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53 posted 02-28-2010 06:14 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


     And that last exchange, friends, is why I suggested that we pass any health care amendment first.  

     The right wing appears interested in dismantling any sort of security net that benefits the disadvantaged.  I say this because I do not see equal right wing fervor directed toward advantages for the wealthy.  Perhaps some of the folks here would like to end some of these corporate welfare deals and the laws that enable them.  The law that enables banks to own insurance companies, for example, and laws that allow companies to log public lands.

     I happen to favor there being a VA, and favor it being fully funded for those who have been in the service.  Sorry guys, I think we do owe a debt, and I think that what you folks are talking about is trying to find a way of welching on a debt by picking it apart like lawyers.  Soldiers are instruments of national foreign policy, and they accept a special set of conditions during the time that they act in this capacity, including certain abridgments of their civil liberties.  Their ability to go where they wish when they wish and for the reasons they wish — never absolute of course — are seriously curtailed.  And they must accept orders which have behind them the force of law from people that would not ordinarily have any right to issue such orders.  The list goes on.

     The fact that the VA is there for backup for the rest of their lives is certainly one of the inducements.

     Even so, the government does try to deny services to people who believe they need them.  Sometimes they are right, I suppose, often they are wrong.  Sometimes lives can be lost when they are wrong.  Overall the VA program makes a lot of lives a lot better than they would be if the program weren't there.

     And what, I inquire, do you folks visualize the result would be of dismantling the entitlements system.  You suggest that it might stop the drag on the gnp.  I would ask you how, and then I would ask you what it would do to the bankruptcy rate and loan default rate, and what it would do to the cost of credit?  Many of these people are now able to be consumers at this point; what would such a change in the entitlements programs do to their ability to consume products?  What would happen to the medical sector?  These are interesting speculative questions that you have left untouched, and I would enjoy hearing your speculations on some of the possible answers.

     I ask this, not because I have thought out answers myself; I don't.  But because I hope that the discussion would spur my own thinking in that direction.

    

Grinch
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54 posted 02-28-2010 07:15 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

What would the effect be?

Well tax rates could drop substantially, increasing the amount of cash available for consumers to spend. Health care costs would rise without the massive input of government money but that’ll just lead to employers dropping health benefits and hopefully using the money to employ workers they couldn’t afford to employ when they had to pay health care costs. Alternatively, wages could be raised in place of employee health benefits further increasing money for consumer spending.

Anyone who couldn’t afford health care simply wouldn’t get it, remember it’s not a right it’s a service and like any other service if you can’t pay for it you shouldn’t get it. No pay, no play and no credit.

VA health care? That should go too. Pay the armed forces more money and let them sort their own health care out – Though Ron’s suggestion makes a lot of sense – pay for their health care while they’re serving and for any future costs for injuries sustained while serving.

The biggest consequence though would be that your country might just avoid bankruptcy if it sheds the massive costs that you can’t afford, which was the whole point of reforming health care in the first place.

Of course all the above is based on Mike and I being correct when we say that access to health care isn’t a right, if it is a right that’s a whole different ballgame. You could test that by introducing a proposed amendment to the Bill of Rights as I suggested earlier. If it was defeated universal health care is the most viable option, if it didn’t scrapping Medicare etc. is the obvious solution.

Until that happens health care isn't a fundamental right.

.
Local Rebel
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55 posted 02-28-2010 08:51 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

So then, a disabled person has a right to park close to the door of a hospital, but doesn't have the right to the health care inside the hospital?  The right to park close to the door at Wal Mart but not health care?  The right to force an employer to accommodate his disability but not to health care?  

And where exactly did George Herbert Walker Bush get off mandating the private sector to furnish those parking spaces?

The question isn't if it's a right but who pays for it.  We have many rights that we're required to fund, one way or another.  In fact -- we're required to fund all of our rights.  This one is no different.  The only question for all of our rights is how do they get funded?

I say -- invade Russia!!

But really -- where is the role of government?  To furnish our rights when they are in short supply -  that doesn't mean that it's free -- it just means that we actually have to pay for the government instead of expecting China to do it -- a task that would be easy enough if we merely rolled back Reaganomics.
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56 posted 02-28-2010 09:44 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

We have now reached Oz....or the fabled land of your choice. We've arrived at disabled parking spaces?

Yes, I guess those signs cost a lot of money, probably thousands of dollars when you add them up. What other expenses are there? Well, a non-disabled person would have to walk a few feet farther. I guess that could be considered cruel and the shoe leather wasted from those extra steps could also add up to another expense. Personally, I have no problem with disabled receiving that extra step (or non-step) of courtesy. I think it's one of the things that make our country what it is. I've never really heard anyone complain about it before, no outcries, no mass rallies, no calls for George Bush to be tarred and feathered for mandating them. Any comparison between the right to park near Wal-Mart and health care is a stretch that would give Elastic Man a hard time.
Bob K
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57 posted 02-28-2010 10:49 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     So here we have Mike voting against his own interests.

     Mike now has no health insurance.  He has just been through two substantial bouts of illness, and there is no VA because the VA is one of those entitlements you all were talking about and tummy trouble was not a service connected illness anyway.  At least that's what a government who is taking the no entitlements sort of position you folks are talking about is more or less obligated to say.  Is Mike now dead?  How has Mike managed to get the money to pay for the operations, the complications from the operations, the post surgical care, the rehabilitation, the medication, the nursing coverage and the time he's had to take away from work?

     Some of it, entitlements or no entitlements, he will never see again.  Will Mike be alive today or not?  If yes, what will account for that.  Does Mike want to go back to the fabulous health care system we had during the 20's and the 30's, where G.P.'s would take out your appendix on the dining room table for a sawbuck, take your chances with the mortality rate on your own?

     Heck, for five hundred, I might even try a shot at the operation myself.  Never tried it before, but I hear it can't be all that hard.  That's what competition's all about, isn't it?   If Mike survived, he'd probably save a tub of dough.

     Then, of course, the calculations that Grinch makes don't take into account what the cost is to the society of having a very large number of sick people running around untreated.  

     The reason we treat sick people in civilized societies is not only because we're swell folks. We like to think we're swell folks, of course, and a lot of us are, and it's nice to think that there's the reason that we support health care among the poor and the disadvantaged.  But that's very short sighted thinking.  When people who cannot afford health care get ill, they become part of a group of folks who become a reservoir for illnesses in the society.  As the living conditions get worse for that group, the environment conditions in turn become more congenial for endemic and epidemic illnesses.  Polio makes a resurgence in such conditions, where people are too poor to get education (another of those entitlements) or get inoculated against such illnesses.  Polio doesn't stay in one place.  Neither do many of the other illnesses that need these sort of populations to thrive upon.  TB, for example, or Cholera.

     These illnesses once they get a foothold in a society are not thrilled to leave.  They require massive public health programs in order to address them.  These are the basis for the entitlement programs of today, the knowledge that if we don't make sure that the conditions for everybody in the society don't meet and exceed a certain minimum level, the society as a whole disintegrates periodically into illness and the chaos that comes with it.  Removing some of the barriers that stand between humanity and Plague, traditionally on of the four Horsemen, is basically . . .  ill considered.

     What percentage of GNP does National health take in the U.K., Grinch?  I ask because you so often have the facts at your fingertips.  Does it eat up a sixth of your GNP?  Are your health care costs wildly out of control?  What about France, just an grueling swim away?

     I remain convinced that a large part of our problems here remain linked to the lock that insurance companies have on the practice of medicine and to the absurd mark-up that drug companies tack onto drugs.  Perhaps if they were willing to research drugs that didn't have to be blockbusters in addition to the stuff they're doing, the government could give them a longer patent on the non-blockbuster drugs in return?  Of course the field is ripe for fraud no matter what you do.
Ron
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58 posted 02-28-2010 10:56 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Wow, where do I start?  

Jennifer, I was in the service just about the same time Mike was. A year or two later, perhaps, since I'm at least twenty years younger. Maybe thirty, Mike? I also lived on the streets for a short time in 1980 and, like many, had to struggle to get back on my feet. So my personal experience includes both side of that street and I feel the same way about both them; entitlements don't help people except in the short term. People get addicted to help in much the same way they get addicted to heroin or alcohol. And, I believe, to much the same effect.

Color me an equal opportunity pragmatist?  

quote:
That was simple – job done- next stop social security.

Social security should be first on the list, Grinch.

quote:
And that last exchange, friends, is why I suggested that we pass any health care amendment first.

Constitutional amendments are a whole lot harder to pass than filibusters are to break, Bob. I rather strongly suspect that's why Grinch suggested it. His point, I believe, is that if it's not in the Bill of Rights it's not a right. Not for anyone!

Passing an amendment first essentially defeats any possible health care reform. As well it should.

quote:
Sorry guys, I think we do owe a debt, and I think that what you folks are talking about is trying to find a way of welching on a debt by picking it apart like lawyers.

Of course we owe our veterans a debt, Bob. And that debt continues to be paid every single day they have a free country in which to live. It's why we fought. It's why many died.

If a guy rushes into a burning building and pulls you out, Bob, trying to pass him ten bucks isn't a good way to say thank you. Frankly, it's just an insult. If your honestly know any soldier who was induced into risking his life for a metaphorical sawbuck, trust me, he's not the one you owe for his service.

And before someone asks, upping your tip to a hundred, or even a hundred thousand, isn't the right answer, either.

quote:
And what, I inquire, do you folks visualize the result would be of dismantling the entitlements system.

I have, Bob. It would encourage a lot of people who depend on the entitlements to stand on their own two feet again. That, I think, would be a good thing.

Not all people who depend on entitlements would be able to rise to stand, of course. And that's where a good thing gets a whole lot better. Getting rid of entitlements would encourage people to start helping people again. Family. Friends. Churches. Neighborhoods and communities. Instead of shoving that job off on an impersonal bureaucracy, the job of helping each other would be put back where it belongs. The people who need help would benefit tremendously, but the people who GIVE the help would benefit even more.

Ultimately, entitlements rob people of the help they need and rob everyone else of the help they need to give.

quote:
So then, a disabled person has a right to park close to the door of a hospital, but doesn't have the right to the health care inside the hospital?

Of course, Reb. Just like a disabled person has a right to park close to the grocery store, but doesn't have the right to load up a shopping cart and walk out the door without paying for it. Disabled parking and other such courtesies are an attempt to give everyone equal access, or at least as equal as we can make it without a laying on of hands.

That doesn't have anything at all to do with getting people to pay your bills for you?


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59 posted 02-28-2010 11:08 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I confess I don't know a lot about social security, even though I'm just a year away from it. What I do know is that social security taxes has been taken out of my paychecks for the last 40+ years. It has always seemed to me that social security was pretending to be generous by giving back what the government has taken from you. I would hardly consider that an entitlement.
Bob K
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60 posted 03-01-2010 02:13 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Mike,

          The thing that may allow you to believe that it isn't generous is perhaps never actually having done the math.  I don't expect that actually doing the math would stop you from bad mouthing the program, mind you; but it would certainly deny you the reality of that particular complaint.

Sincerely, Bob Kaven
Ron
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61 posted 03-01-2010 02:45 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Mike, Bernie Madoff was recently sentenced for running his own social security scheme. You know, where you use the money that just came in to pay off the earlier investors so the ball can keep rolling just a little longer? Trouble is, as Madoff discovered, that ball won't roll up hill forever.

Bob, of course SS is generous. People are frequently generous with someone else's money.
Bob K
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62 posted 03-01-2010 03:26 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


Constitutional amendments are a whole lot harder to pass than filibusters are to break, Bob. I rather strongly suspect that's why Grinch suggested it. His point, I believe, is that if it's not in the Bill of Rights it's not a right. Not for anyone!

Passing an amendment first essentially defeats any possible health care reform. As well it should.


     Even rights in The Bill of Rights are very slippery.  They seem to have a way of being there one minute and vanishing the next.  The whole business about people having a right to be secure in their property and the various elements upon which the necessity of warrants has been based seems to have been seeping out the door over the last ten or fifteen years.  The Posse Comitatus business is being munched away.  We could go on all day.  A new set of rights has been set up that seems alien in nature.  All of a sudden companies can be people.  They can have the rights of people, but oddly can't be put in jail and have a very interesting set of tax privileges that people such as you and I don't seem to have.  They may also have achieved something like immortality, which is something that people haven't achieved yet, so they never have to deal with the various legal ramifications of death.  And they can exercise free speech, though they have no mouths and the notion of them having a single body that might be jailed for serious misbehavior is laughable.  They have all the privileges and none of the responsibilities.  Oh goody.  And they may have in fact created a second class of citizen, a sort of super citizen with more voice in government and policy than that of the ordinary citizen.

     The entire nature of rights in this country is up for grabs.

     The rights of corporations may be considerably wider in many ways than the rights of regular citizens.  They are based only tenuously in the bill of rights.  They take their legitimacy  from the nature of money itself, because quite a few of these companies are multi-nationals and still have the same rights here.  News Corp, for example, is owned by Rupert Murdoch, an American in name only, and a Saudi Prince who functions as a stand in for the Saudi Royal family.  It is a multi-national and it does its best to promote a lot of global oil and fuel interests and the politics that seem most likely to make those politics work out.

     Passing a health care amendment may be impossible, by the way.  But I think that the Democrats shouldn't drop the current attempt to pass the current legislation for less of an incentive.  They have nothing to gain by doing so; and they've already given up almost everything that would have made the legislation worth fighting for in the first place.  This way, if they get it passed, they might be able to get some sort of single payer rider inserted at some future date.  It would be less effort than starting from scratch and trying to build it in.

quote:
Bob:
Sorry guys, I think we do owe a debt, and I think that what you folks are talking about is trying to find a way of welching on a debt by picking it apart like lawyers.




quote:
Ron:
Of course we owe our veterans a debt, Bob. And that debt continues to be paid every single day they have a free country in which to live. It's why we fought. It's why many died.

If a guy rushes into a burning building and pulls you out, Bob, trying to pass him ten bucks isn't a good way to say thank you. Frankly, it's just an insult. If your honestly know any soldier who was induced into risking his life for a metaphorical sawbuck, trust me, he's not the one you owe for his service.

And before someone asks, upping your tip to a hundred, or even a hundred thousand, isn't the right answer, either.



     My dad agreed with you, Ron.

      He was a WWII vet, and flew C-47s into Yugoslavia and other places that were occupied to bring in supplies and take out wounded partisans.  Also other things.  He figured that he did something that needed to be done, and that doing it was enough.  He didn't want anything from Uncle Sam.  He figured he made enough money to pay his own way, and that's what he used for his own health expenses and for those health expenses in our family.  He figured some vets weren't lucky enough to be able to do that, and he thought that it was wonderful that the VA system was there for them.  Not everybody was as lucky as he was.  

     I knew he worked like a dog, and he knew it too, and so did everybody else.  But he never lost sight of the fact that no matter how hard you work, a large part of what happens to you is simply luck, good luck or bad luck, and that you can feel better about yourself when you work hard, but there are plenty of hard working guys who died died in the gutter for one reason or another.  He knew some of them, and so do I.

     And there are some people that wars simply wreck, Ron.  Wars throw sand in some people's mechanisms, and there's nothing that's going to clean it out.  No matter how hard they work at it, no matter how sincere they are.  If you haven't seen folks like that, I don't know what I can say to you.  You're plainly an observant guy with open eyes and a reasonable mind.  I can't explain how I could see something like that and you would not.  I suspect you would probably chalk it up to something different, some different cause, or something.

     I asked how you folks would envision the result of the end of the entitlements system, and I've got to say thank you for giving a solid shot at the answer.  Here's what you said:

quote:

      It would encourage a lot of people who depend on the entitlements to stand on their own two feet again. That, I think, would be a good thing.

Not all people who depend on entitlements would be able to rise to stand, of course. And that's where a good thing gets a whole lot better. Getting rid of entitlements would encourage people to start helping people again. Family. Friends. Churches. Neighborhoods and communities. Instead of shoving that job off on an impersonal bureaucracy, the job of helping each other would be put back where it belongs. The people who need help would benefit tremendously, but the people who GIVE the help would benefit even more.

Ultimately, entitlements rob people of the help they need and rob everyone else of the help they need to give.




     Well, I think that's certainly a possibility, Ron, but there isn't much evidence for it.

     The reason I say that is because we have a substantial amount of history to look at in which there were no government programs to deal with this sort of thing.  There are a lot of folks, and I mean perfectly well meaning folks, who say the same sort of thing that I hear you saying here, but they set the notion forward as if we don't have hundreds of years of experience with societies which don't have this sort of government program to provide some minimal level of support to people in need.

     The answers that a lot of the Libertarian and Conservative folk give when asked about how to deal with the poor or the suffering is almost always very close to yours, and it is tremendously well meaning and idealistic.  It acts as though we don't have experience with trying this sort of solution before.  The facts were that private charities were terribly ineffective.  The problems were massively larger than anything they could even hope to begin to cope with.  Before that, in England, debtor's prisons were a common solution, and many people died there from malnutrition and disease.

     In the 19th century, conditions in the slum areas in many of the larger cities were so horrific that police didn't dare go into many of them, even in groups of three or four for fear of not coming out.  Try looking up some data on the Five Points area of New York.  The book on which the movie The Gangs of New York was based was non-fiction and pretty well researched.    It wasn't until actual government programs began to put money into sanitation and building codes and fire codes that some of the most basic horror began to subside.  There were of horrific number of endemic diseases that periodically ravaged these areas, in part due to slumlords and lack of housing codes, in part due to lack of medical care for such diseases as cholera, and in part for lack of basic social work support for family structure.

     Don't take my word for this, I urge you.  I want you to doubt me enough to do some of the basic research for yourself so that you can see.

     The assumption that if you take supports away from people at the edge will motivate them to get moving on their own has some truth to it.  It was true for you, right?  But it is only true for people who do not think of themselves as helpless and hopeless, and whose only open courses of action, therefore, are the courses of last resort:  Those things that desperate people do when they cannot believe that anything they plan will work out, courses of violence and impulse and short term gain.

     If you've lived on the street, then you've seen this happen time and time again.

     And remember, most of the time when people are desperate, they don't particularly care how they get the wherewithal to pay their bills.  All they want is a moment where they aren't being hounded, and a warm place to sleep and a full belly.


Bob K
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63 posted 03-01-2010 03:40 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K




Dear Ron,

          I was commenting to Mike about his comment about the stinginess of Social Security.  As you are well aware, Social Security does the best it can do with the money it has and far better than stingy in relationship to what Mike's put in.  

     If you want to think of it as your money going to Mike, you've got a point.  If you want to think of it as everybody's money going out to those who need it at the moment, not so much.  And of course all those illegals are paying money into the system that they'll never see, and all of that is something that Mike will get paid as well.  Don't tell Mike about that, though; it'll complicate his thinking about illegals.

     So there needs to be a rethink of Social Security, probably the most popular program in the country. The thought that they're batting around that seems possible to me is upping the manditory retirement age.  When the program was first instituted, most people didn't live much more than a year or so beyond retirement age anyway, so it was really a pretty solid deal.  Now we've gone and decided to outlive our social security benefits.  

     Do you think this attempt to defeat the health care bill is really an attempt to bring social Security back into financial health?

Mr. Bob
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64 posted 03-01-2010 08:15 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Don't tell Mike about that, though; it'll complicate his thinking about illegals.

Bob, you are a piece of work. If you want to insult, at least come out and do it honestly, instead of going through the back door in some attempt at glibness.

Besides, I have no idea what you are saying. I made no complaint about social security at all. If you hadn't read my comment looking for something to criticize, you would have seen that. I simply said that social security is a way of giving us back our own money (and looking generous doing so) that we put into it. What part of that do you see as a complaint?
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65 posted 03-01-2010 08:32 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Getting rid of entitlements would encourage people to start helping people again. Family. Friends. Churches. Neighborhoods and communities.

You sound as if that's not being done now, Ron. I can assure you that it is. Come on down and I'll take you over to the Outreach Center, the free clinics, our church which sets up kitchens three times a week to feed the poor and uncountable other acts to aid the homeless or unemployed. Oh, never mind. I'm sure Michigan is not so far back in the Middle Ages where they don't have the same programs.   Giving and generosity is alive and well, sir. Just look at the millions raised to help the earthquake victims, who we don't even know. Not everyone is an "I've got mine..to hell with you."

The reasons why the government gives aid doesn't have as much to do with charity as with prevention. I've never been a fan of unemployment but right now I would hate to have 8 million people out there homeless and starving. That leads to crime, sir. I'm not going to complain about a few of my dollars going to help prevent someone breaking into my house to steal because they are destitute. Yes, there are those who abuse the system but there are many who are honestly helped by it in a temporary situation. For anyone espousing charity and giving, it seems strange they would be against this. True, a hundred years ago, people didn't have this. Would you like to live back then instead of now?

ps...

After re-reading my comment, I agree and disagree with it. (so what's new?) I prefer your world, Ron. I just don't think it exists.
Grinch
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66 posted 03-01-2010 09:03 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

The UK currently spends 9% of GDP on health care Bob, roughly half the amount in percentage terms that the US spends.

There’s a big difference though  between the UK and US when it comes to health care, in the UK access to affordable health care is a right for all UK citizens, it’s so solidly written into law that the government is obligated to supply access to it and wouldn’t last very long if they tried to remove it. That obligation was handed to the government of the UK by the people. By common majority, we wanted it, we demanded it and woe betide any politician who tries to take it away from us and I’d be the first to start complaining if they tried.

That might sound a little odd given my previous statements, it isn’t though, I live in a democracy and can quite happily maintain my own opinion while simultaneously supporting the choice of the majority.

The people of America need to decide what they want, the halfway house  answer you have at the moment is about as useful as a chocolate ashtray, and even less  sustainable.

.

[This message has been edited by Grinch (03-01-2010 12:56 PM).]

Huan Yi
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67 posted 03-01-2010 05:26 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.

"Mike, Bernie Madoff was recently sentenced for running his own social security scheme. You know, where you use the money that just came in to pay off the earlier investors so the ball can keep rolling just a little longer? Trouble is, as Madoff discovered, that ball won't roll up hill forever.

Bob, of course SS is generous. People are frequently generous with someone else's money"

http://article.nationalreview.com/426405/when-responsibility-doesnt-pay/mark-steyn?page=

.
Bob K
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68 posted 03-01-2010 06:10 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Mr. Steyn is positing a direct connecting between Greece and the United States that he has shown no evidence for actually existing.  He throws a lot of numbers at this gap in the hope of dazzling his readers into thinking that this connection has been established.  He has as much of a chance of establishing a connection between left wing thinking and Greece's current situation as he does in establishing the connection between right wing thinking and Greece's current situation should be wish to take his history back to the rule of the Colonels and their secret police.  You may also lay Greece's declinming population at their door, should you wish; the connection is in reality as tenuous.  It is, however, good enough for for Mr. Steyn.

     Mr. Steyn also suggests that the heart has been taken out of the German people by their leftist leanings, and this has led to their low reproductive rate.  Preoccupation with the level of reproduction of Europeans and Americans seems something of a "thing" with Mr. Steyn.  Why I would care about the rate of Liederhosen wearing Germans is a complete puzzle to me.  I do take issue with the suggestion that the Germans have lost their edge by having their productive edge bled away by taking care of the Greeks and other non-contributing members of the EU, however.

     As Mr. Stein should be very well aware indeed, it was West Germany that was the economic powerhouse of Europe, not Germany; and with reunification, West Germany took on an enormous burden in dealing with a whole society that had been segregated from the German "mainstream" for almost 50 years.  It was in terrible shape economically and it needed massive amounts of investment, much of which came from West Germany.  And that is where the economic powerhouse that was West Germany went, John; and that is where the powerhouse energy of Germany still goes, to trying to raise the corpse of East Germany from the dead.

     As for the difficulty in Europe overall, this is a global recession.

     The Republicans would focus on the suffering here, and for good reason.  We need to deal with our own problems.  But to expect the recession not to hit other countries as well, and not hit them hard, is a bit on the naive side.  Mr. Steyn is not naive.  He is using the predictable consequences of a global recession to make political hay here.  Greece has been in a fragile state since world war two, at least, and to expect it to suddenly act robust is silly.

     Mr. Steyn appears to me to be more interested in making partisan points than in understanding the situation.  He doesn't seem above distorting things a bit in order to do so.  Or perhaps he simply didn't do his research.  
Huan Yi
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69 posted 03-01-2010 07:56 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.

"Think of Greece as California: Every year an irresponsible and corrupt bureaucracy awards itself higher pay and better benefits paid for by an ever-shrinking wealth-generating class. And think of Germany as one of the less profligate, still-just-about-functioning corners of America such as my own state of New Hampshire: Responsibility doesn’t pay. You’ll wind up bailing out anyway. The problem is there are never enough of “the rich” to fund the entitlement state, because in the end it disincentivizes everything from wealth creation to self-reliance to the basic survival instinct, as represented by the fertility rate. In Greece, they’ve run out Greeks, so they’ll stick it to the Germans, like French farmers do. In Germany, the Germans have only been able to afford to subsidize French farming because they stick their defense tab to the Americans. And in America, Obama, Pelosi, and Reid are saying we need to paddle faster to catch up with the Greeks and Germans. What could go wrong?"


http://article.nationalreview.com/426405/when-responsibility-doesnt-pay/mark-steyn?pag e=  
.
Bob K
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70 posted 03-01-2010 10:48 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     I already read Mr. Steyn's article, John.  Repeating it doesn't make anything I said go away.  Nor does it substitute for actual thoughts and words of your own, which are infinitely more interesting to me than anything Mr. Steyn might say, either in the National Review or in his frequent guest hosting gigs for He Who Must Not Be Named.  He doesn't tie anything together, but simply makes a series of accusations.  The evidence for many of them, such as the ones that bring in Germany, are flimsy at best.

     Repeating such stuff doesn't turn it into gold.  It doesn't even make it better fertilizer than the last time it was spread before us.  It's the same old unsubstantiated . . . stuff.  Your thoughts and your opinions are far more interesting and generally far better thought out.  They certainly have the virtue of being more obviously heartfelt.  
Balladeer
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71 posted 03-02-2010 08:49 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

[URL=http://www.breitbart.tv/naked-emperor-news-hypocrite-harry-reids-filibuster-flip-flop/]http://www.breitbart.tv/naked-emperor-news-hypocrite-harry-reids-filibuster-flip-flop/[/ URL]


(if you get a box stating php file, just x it out and play the video)
Bob K
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72 posted 03-02-2010 08:27 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K


quote:

Don't tell Mike about that, though; it'll complicate his thinking about illegals.

Bob, you are a piece of work. If you want to insult, at least come out and do it honestly, instead of going through the back door in some attempt at glibness.

Besides, I have no idea what you are saying. I made no complaint about social security at all. If you hadn't read my comment looking for something to criticize, you would have seen that.   I simply said that social security is a way of giving us back our own money (and looking generous doing so) that we put into it. What part of that do you see as a complaint?




     Well, Mike, considering that for most of us the statement is not true, I would say quite a lot of it.  For most of us, the actual amount of money we put into social security is exhausted fairly quickly, within a matter of a couple of years.  When the bill as originally passed, the amount of money that was paid in by each retiree only had to last a very limited amount of time, since most workers tended to die within a year or two of retirement, and many didn't even make it that far.  Your statement at that time may well have made some sense, but then the government was only trying to offer a supplimental retirement program.  That's all the program is supposed to be now as well, though it's expanded considerably.

     The downside of the miracles of modern medicine is that people now tend to live considerably past the age of 65, and the money to pay for social security needs to come for someplace.  Very soon after you retire, you will have run through everything you've put in and the interest that acccumulated from that.  After you've gotten back your own dough, Mike, within a year or two, the money is emphatically not a matter of "giving us back our own money (and looking generous doing so) that we put into it."  

     It is a matter of the government and its citizens feeling and ac6ting as though they have a committment to the health and basic well being of its citizens.  And that is generous.  It is also the position supported overwhelmingly by the majority of the citizens of the United States, though everybody gripes about the price.  It is the single most popular program the government has.

     I don't know even that the government thinks that it's being generous.  It's doing what the people have decided they want done, and it's doing it pretty straightforwardly.  Both Democrats and Republicans are very careful when it comes time to mess with that porogram or any of the things related to it, though the Republicans will frequently pay more lip service to the program than actually put votes behind their statements of support.

     So, in short, just about everything that you say about social security is something that I see as a complaint.  As I recall, you wer5e even in favor of privatising it when President put that forward as one of his suggestions.  Correct me here, but I recall you saying something at the time about people should have the right to manage their own retirement money, and my response was sonmething on the order of, whatever money they have over their social security money that they want to invest on their own, they should feel free to do so.  But that the market is unpredictable, and that people have forgotten that the market can go down as well as up, and it's reasonably easy to loose your shirt in a down market.

     As I recall, you scoffed.  But of course, my memory is poor.

Ron
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quote:
But that the market is unpredictable, and that people have forgotten that the market can go down as well as up, and it's reasonably easy to loose your shirt in a down market.

LOL. And heaven forbid, Bob, people should be held responsible for what they do? I feel very sorry for those who know what's best for everyone else; it must be a very weighty burden to carry.

p.s. I haven't done the math in a long time (and it's much to late tonight), but 15.3 percent of your gross income from some fifty years of work, plus accrued interest, should last a little longer than "a year or two." Invest that same amount of money throughout your life at a decent ROI and, even paying taxes on it, you'd still retire a fairly wealthy man. Don't take my word for it, of course. Fire up a spreadsheet and figure it out for yourself. I'd be interested in listening to your results?
Bob K
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74 posted 03-03-2010 11:15 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

quote:


LOL. And heaven forbid, Bob, people should be held responsible for what they do?



That’s an interesting value, Ron:  People should be held responsible for what they do.  It sounds clear and straightforward, but it’s really shorthand for something that’s probably a bit more complex.  By the way, I agree with it when you state it in this form, but I suspect we’ll diverge when it comes to the details.

     Which people are we talking about here, Ron?  Are we talking about adults?  Are we talking about bed-ridden elders?  Are we talking about prisoners in concentration camps?  Are we talking about patients in asylums?  Are we talking about Presidents?  Are we talking about infants in arms?  Are we talking about legislators?  Are we talking about sleepwalkers?  Are we talking about those who are unconscious?  The list goes on.

     People [should be held responsible].  The use of passive voice here raises questions.  “Should” suggests that a moral necessity here, a value that is pre-supposed.  What is that pre-supposition?  Why do we need to agree to it?  What forces us to accept that it is the supposition that is the necessary condition for the actions of people?  There is no evidence at this point that this is the case.

     “[B]e held” suggests that there is some element of compulsion that needs be exerted, though it does not explain either the “why,” which will presumably be clarified once we understand the “should” that comes before, or the “by whom,” which use of the passive voice allows to go comfortably unstated.  Yet these things do need to be clarified to understand the actual meaning of the original value.  

     And how should they be held?  They should be held “responsible.”  Now there is a curious word:  Responsible, quite literally, able to respond in some fashion, but clearly this in not the meaning that is being required of “people” in this situation.  “People” may respond to losing their money in the stock market, say, in all sorts of ways; and this would fit the requirement of the stated value.
People might, for example, learn to skydive, take up knitting, become a race-car driver, retreat from the world into a life of meditation and so on.  We are not actually concerned with the responses of “the people” themselves, it appears, so much as we are concerned with the responses of those  who ”hold them responsible.”  The grammar of the statement really leaves us no other option.  If “People” “are to be held responsible,” then the variable that psychologists call “locus of control” lies outside of “the people” themselves and with those who “should be h[olding].”

     The story that people holding this particular point of view often tell about their point of view is that they are teaching people to be responsible.  This point of view is widespread in the United States today.  Oddly, the United States always seems to have fresh need for prisons, and is in a close to perpetual panic about the number of criminals within its borders.

     My contention is that this sort of point of view teaches people that control is something that comes from outside.  It is frequently savage and punitive, and it is something to be avoided as much as possible.  In effect, it teaches exactly the opposite of what it seeks to teach.  And the message it conveys is precisely the message that Ron has, at least indirectly, attributed to me:  

quote:


I feel very sorry for those who know what's best for everyone else; it must be a very weighty burden to carry.





     Oddly enough, I have a certain amount of agreement with you, Ron, in your post-script.  I stumbled upon a book a couple of years back called “The Wealthy Barber” that laid out a decent investing plan that focused on putting regular money into selected mutual funds.  The idea was that, while the fund would go up and down, if the fund was well chosen, it would go up generally over the long term at a fairly regular rate, generally at over bank interest rates, and that you could, by being regular about it, become a millionaire if you stuck with the plan.  I do wish I’d followed it, and I do think it’s a very real possibility.

     I think that it’s a retirement plan.

     I think that social security is something else entirely.  It’s a supplemental retirement account.  It’s not meant to be enough for your retirement.  It’s meant to be enough for everybody in case there’s a huge disaster, or in case your plan falls through or in case things for some odd reason don’t work out.  During the depression, a lot of retirement accounts went south, a lot of banks failed, a lot of financial services went belly up.  ROI is all very nice when there are institutions who won’t default, like a large number of some of our companies have done or threaten to do, taking their employee retirement accounts with them.  These are folks who have been responsible for themselves, Ron.

     Might I mention Enron, for example.  People had very large and, they thought, well funded and secure retirements there.

     I’d point out to you that people are no wiser in their investments in retirement plans than they are in other plans.  While you may believe that it’s fine to let people starve for having bad judgement in their financial moves, I disagree with you.  If unnecessary political upheaval is something to be avoided, and predictable economic disasters are a primary cause of political upheaval, you’d have to be foolish not to plan to minimize it.  And that’s simply on pragmatic grounds.  I find it distressing watching people starve on the streets, or suffer illness on the streets or, on occasion, die on the streets, especially when I’m reasonably certain that a substantial part of it can be prevented with decent planning.

     Given that 15.3 % to play with, some folks might do very well indeed.  A good many would lose every cent and the problem would still remain of needing to supply a safety net that would supply everybody with a certain minimum standard, because the nature of the country is that we are a country that shouldn’t play favorites, and being certain that some portion of the folks will need it at some point, it’s better that it be there for everyone should the need arise, than it not be there for those who really will need it, and have them be singled out for scorn.

     There may be less reason for the scorn, of course, but that hasn’t really stopped it all that well now, has it?

     Personally, I think we make errors both ways.  I think there’s more under our control than we are apt to think is under our control, and that there is more that is completely out of our control and attributable to chance than we would have ourselves believe.  And we seldom know which dynamic is operating most forcefully at any one time.

[This message has been edited by Bob K (03-04-2010 03:07 AM).]

 
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