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This is what is wrong with everything
DanSRose Posted: Fri Mar 28 12:02:56 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  and it makes me so angry I made myself sick thinking about it because I have no idea what to do about it
http://blog.pennlive.com/thecasualobserver/2008/03/in_case_youre_still_wondering.html




 
libra Posted: Fri Mar 28 12:38:36 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  That is sick. I HATE walmart. I stopped going there about five years ago and I refuse to shop there.
Medical Insurance practices are also to blame here, and the legal system in the United States (geared toward the big businesses) does not help.

Everything I've heard about Walmart is disgusting:
The firing of employees who consider unionization
The pressuring of other companies to sell items to Walmart at a lower price, keeping both companies from being able to pay their employees a living wage.
The general day-to-day actions in the workplace (anyone read Nickle and Dimed?)

And what that guy says about them donating millions to charity? That doesn't make a difference when they are fucking over millions of people at the same time, and they get tax write-offs on those donations.


 
DanSRose Posted: Fri Mar 28 12:49:01 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  libra said:
>(anyone read Nickle and Dimed?)

I have been in the middle of it for awhile now because of how terrifying it is at times.

The author of Nickel & Dimed wrote this last week & it reads like a bad Dan Brown novel until you look until The Family/The Fellowship (from the Harper's article & other places) and then it becomes just WTF
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barbara-ehrenreich/hillarys-nasty-pastorate_b_92361.html



 
ifihadahif Posted: Fri Mar 28 15:14:04 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I'm not sure about the accuracy of this story.
It seems to say that Wal Mart paid out in excess of $277,000.00 for medical care for this woman. That doesn't make sense. It would have been the health care provider, not Wal Mart that paid out the money for health care, and the provision they are talking about is standard practice for most health care providers. Yet somehow Wal Mart gets the blame ? WTF ??

I won a settlement when I shattered my hip two years ago and had to pay back my health care provider over twenty grand out of the settlement. I didn't blame my employer for this, they had nothing to do with it.

Wal Mart isn't fucking over anyone, they provide a great benefit to the communities they live in.
I fail to see any real difference in Wal Mart and the other big box retailers like Target, Sears, Meijer, etc.
It's called capitalism and it works.


 
libra Posted: Fri Mar 28 15:52:23 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  ifihadahif said:
>I'm not sure about the accuracy of this story.
>It seems to say that Wal Mart paid out in excess of $277,000.00 for medical care for this woman. That doesn't make sense. It would have been the health care provider, not Wal Mart that paid out the money for health care, and the provision they are talking about is standard practice for most health care providers. Yet somehow Wal Mart gets the blame ? WTF ??

They say over and over again in the article (from CNN) that it is walmart that sued the family.
It may be that Walmart is so big, they have their own health insurance (another wonderful way to extract money from their employees)


>Wal Mart isn't fucking over anyone, they provide a great benefit to the communities they live in.

Seriously? pushing small businesses to close? Not paying people a living wage? Not allowing their employees to create unions to represent their rights as employees and individuals?

>I fail to see any real difference in Wal Mart and the other big box retailers like Target, Sears, Meijer, etc.

Walmart has taken what these stores do and pushed it five steps further.

>It's called capitalism and it works.

How does it work, hif? Because it keeps people so distracted and disenfranchised that they have no way of changing the system? Because it takes money away from brain-damaged people?

How can we take a system that we have only been using for a brief period of time, and has only really been in its true form for the last fifty years or so, and act like that proves that it will work for centuries? We have no idea whether capitalism will remain constant, or whether it will eventually come crashing down at our feet.

I'd say that the fact that our natural resources are running out (and have been depleted dramatically during capitalism's rule) is a sign that this is not going to last us forever.
I think the fact that capitalism is inherently adversary to the health and safety of human beings means that it is not working. The "free market" allows cars, car seats, food, cosmetics, toys, etc, to be brought into our homes without strict enough health and safety regulations, hurting people.

Who ever said that of all of us people around the world, it is the owners of businesses (and the businesses themselves) who should have the absolute freedom and power? Is it really a good idea to hand the entire system into the hands of people who are just looking to make money, no matter how that is accomplished?

Why can't people get it into their heads that they are suffering and working day to day for a very select few people in the country, who don't give a shit about whether Suzy's toys are tainted with lead, or whether the car you just bought has faulty airbags, or whether you're being screwed over by the insurance company?

Who ever decided that the best way to go about life is to be complaicent about being screwed over by 'the system'.

People have a hard enough time raising families, dealing with hardship, getting things together day-to-day, without something out there that works to hinder then entire process. Who EVER said that this was the way it HAD to be, or has to keep being.

Things can CHANGE for the better, things can CHANGE so that people like this woman's family don't have to deal with the sadness of an injured woman and a dead son ON TOP OF Walmart trying to take their money away.


 
DanSRose Posted: Fri Mar 28 17:18:51 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  This article explains it better
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/03/25/walmart.insurance.battle/index.html

Two years ago, the lady and her family won $1 million from the trucking company that erased her short memory and left her invalid. After legal fees, the family put remaining $417,000 in a trust fund to care for her long-term medical care. Wal-Mart's own internal insurance company paid $470,000 in medical bills. It is now asking for it all back because the fine print of the policy says it can, making the policy a useless scrap of paper, saying, "Though we are an insurance policy, we can decide that you should pay us back for the medical costs". The trust has now $277,000. Wal-Mart is demanding that instead.

That is what is wrong with this, that this is of Wal-Mart's choosing to go after a former employee because they can. The woman must relive the death of her son because Cannot remember it, and they are choosing to scrape the last shreds of life this woman has left, because they can. I say "because they can" as Wal-Mart itself could have chosen not to do this.
The fine print is fine print, but the fine prints states there is a decision making process of who they force to pay them back and who doesn't.

The husband, who is recovering from prostate cancer, filed for divorce though he still is lives with her and is her caretaker in order to get more out of MedicAid.
Also note that the recovery was for damages, for pain & suffering, and for lost future earnings.


 
libra Posted: Fri Mar 28 18:40:17 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Walmart reminds me of the meatpacking factory in The Jungle.


 
FN Posted: Fri Mar 28 20:14:29 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I don't really see the problem here, if she didn't read the fine print and signed anyway then it's her fault. That's what contracts between consenting adults are for.

I also don't see the problem with them getting that money as long as they pay in excess of that in healthcare costs.


 
FN Posted: Fri Mar 28 20:16:28 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  This ofcourse aside from whether or not this is a "humane" or "good" or "right" thing to do.

It would be a "nice gesture" to let her keep it, on the other hand nothing forces them to it seems so I don't really see how that makes them evil either as long as they do their side of the deal too.


 
Aeon Posted: Fri Mar 28 21:39:10 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  i work at Sam's Club


 
libra Posted: Fri Mar 28 22:06:52 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:
>This ofcourse aside from whether or not this is a "humane" or "good" or "right" thing to do.
>
>It would be a "nice gesture" to let her keep it, on the other hand nothing forces them to it seems so I don't really see how that makes them evil either as long as they do their side of the deal too.

The main problem at the heart of this is that in the US, there are no laws that protect people from insurance plans that do these kinds of things to them.
Sure, a contract is a contract, etc. But at the heart of it, there are not a lot of jobs for this woman, Walmart's the biggest employer in her area for people with her skill-set, so she's forced to work there...she doesn't have the choice but to accept this type of insurance policy.
Yes, people should read the fine print, etc, but the insurance companies have so many loopholes that they get away with pretty much everything. (For example, the homes insured that were destroyed by Katrina).


 
Kira Posted: Sat Mar 29 00:33:19 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I would so much rather give this woman a little of my own money than bitch about the guys who screwed her over.

I wish more people would think in this way.. rather than yelling "there oughtta be a law!" I think there's a delicious sort of justice not in punishing the bully but in ignoring him altogether and doing what he refused to do, helping where it was never your responsibility to help, because what better way to snub your nose at the the immoral and the indifferent. Besides the classic boycott, I mean.

And having said all that, I will make good if somebody can point me in this lady's direction.


 
Kira Posted: Sat Mar 29 00:44:26 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  P.S. I shopped at WalMart just last week. Muahahaha!


 
Ahriman Posted: Sat Mar 29 02:10:54 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  The amount of labor violations that big corporations make is insaaaane. The Cheese is definitely near the top of that list.


 
libra Posted: Sat Mar 29 02:47:53 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Kira said:
>I would so much rather give this woman a little of my own money than bitch about the guys who screwed her over.
>
>I wish more people would think in this way.. rather than yelling "there oughtta be a law!" I think there's a delicious sort of justice not in punishing the bully but in ignoring him altogether and doing what he refused to do, helping where it was never your responsibility to help, because what better way to snub your nose at the the immoral and the indifferent. Besides the classic boycott, I mean.
>

That might be a good way to approach it on, say, the elementary school playground...but when the "bully" is a nameless, faceless corporation of people that doesn't give a shit what you think about them as long as they make more money...it doesn't work so well....
Social justice only works in small societies. That Walmart has been 'shamed' by the community does us no good.


 
ifihadahif Posted: Sat Mar 29 07:12:36 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  What Wal Mart is doing here is no different from any other insurance company in the US.
If medical bills are paid out by the insurance co. and the patient gets a settlement, the insurance co. is entitled to get some of that money back.
Why is that Wal Marts fault ?

Then Libra, you go on a rant about living wage, how capitalism is hurting everybody, lead poisoning, faulty airbags and such. None of which will ever be corrected by changing to socialism.

Do you not see that at this point in history we have achieved the highest standard of living ever because of capitalism and the incentives it provides ?

Do you believe socialism could do better ? Show me an example.

This woman was not screwed over by the system. If she had no skills, then she was lucky to be at Wal Mart.

The living wage she was paid was a fair trade for non skilled labor.

What happened to this woman is surely tragic, but tragedies are a part of the human existence and calling for radical change every time you see a tragedy is foolish.

You claim that things can change for the better. How would you change them so that there would be no more tragedies ?



 
FN Posted: Sat Mar 29 12:22:01 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  On a totally unrelated note, guess who's going to

http://www.sensation.nl/sensation2008/pre/


 
Cherry_Moon Posted: Sat Mar 29 14:10:18 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  damn it's sold out.... already

are you going chris?

it looks amazing but it's impossible to get a job there being that there is so much competition.


 
libra Posted: Sat Mar 29 17:38:16 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  ifihadahif said:
>What Wal Mart is doing here is no different from any other insurance company in the US.
>If medical bills are paid out by the insurance co. and the patient gets a settlement, the insurance co. is entitled to get some of that money back.
>Why is that Wal Marts fault ?
>

Its any insurance company's fault. Whether its Walmart or whoever. What makes it worse that it is Walmart is that they're deducting a portion of her tiny miniscule wages in order to PAY THEMSELVES. Having an in-company insurance program allows them to keep more money for themselves rather than paying it out to an insurance company.
The point is that insurance companies should not be ALLOWED to even do this. There should be regulations in place to grant more power to the little people, NOT to the big businesses.

>Then Libra, you go on a rant about living wage, how capitalism is hurting everybody, lead poisoning, faulty airbags and such. None of which will ever be corrected by changing to socialism.
>

Having stricter regulations would change these things.
Never did I say I thought socialism would solve all these problems, but I think assuming that the 'free-market' weeds out problems needs to stop.


>Do you not see that at this point in history we have achieved the highest standard of living ever because of capitalism and the incentives it provides ?

Haha. Some people have the highest standard of living. Some people. Capitalism also requires that there be a proletariat work force who don't have labor rights, who don't get paid a living wage. (and some of them live in mexico, live illegally in LA, live in china, etc).
So yea, maybe you're one of the lucky few who is born into a situation where you have a good standard of living.

Also, hif, our 'standard of living' is killing us and others all over the globe. Environmental damage, chemicals in our foods and buildings and water that give us cancer, food so lacking in nutrition that people become obese, develop heart disease, diabetes, etc. Way to go! I'm SO GLAD someone is working their ass off so that I can get a double bacon cheese-burger! (Whose meat is so riddled with antibiotics and hormones that it fucks up our bodies).

>Do you believe socialism could do better ? Show me an example.
>
Canada. I'm not saying they're doing everything perfectly, but people have access to the healthcare they need. Stricter regulations make for healthier products.
I work at a psychiatry office here. Everyone who comes in to the office has their care paid for by the MSP system. They range in socio-economic background from practically homeless to upper middle-class.
In the states, the practically homeless people would never be able to afford psychiatric care, or the medications that allow them to continue to work and support themselves. They really WOULD be homeless in the US. How does that add to the countries' GDP, economic growth, etc?

>This woman was not screwed over by the system. If she had no skills, then she was lucky to be at Wal Mart.
>
>The living wage she was paid was a fair trade for non skilled labor.
>

She was not paid a living wage! In the US, minimum wage is AT LEAST about $4 or $5 an hour UNDER what a living wage would be (my dad works for a union, so this stuff is true).
And she is not skilled because the education system in the US is one of the WORST in the industrialized world, and because college is becoming more and more expensive.

>What happened to this woman is surely tragic, but tragedies are a part of the human existence and calling for radical change every time you see a tragedy is foolish.
>
>You claim that things can change for the better. How would you change them so that there would be no more tragedies ?
>

There are never going to be NO tragedies. But what i'm saying is that our tragedies should not be compounded by the fact that major corporations are allowed to cash in on those tragedies. Insurance Companies and any other corporation should not have the legal right to do whatever they want.



 
ifihadahif Posted: Sat Mar 29 18:27:42 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  libra said:
>
>>Then Libra, you go on a rant about living wage, how capitalism is hurting everybody, lead poisoning, faulty airbags and such. None of which will ever be corrected by changing to socialism.
>>
>
>Having stricter regulations would change these things.
>Never did I say I thought socialism would solve all these problems, but I think assuming that the 'free-market' weeds out problems needs to stop.
>
Yeah, that's it, lets get the government to solve our problems, they are so efficient at everything else. Let's just regulate ourselves to death.
The most frightening words in the English language are "I'm from the government and I'm here to help".

>>Do you not see that at this point in history we have achieved the highest standard of living ever because of capitalism and the incentives it provides ?
>
>Haha. Some people have the highest standard of living. Some people. Capitalism also requires that there be a proletariat work force who don't have labor rights, who don't get paid a living wage. (and some of them live in mexico, live illegally in LA, live in china, etc).
>So yea, maybe you're one of the lucky few who is born into a situation where you have a good standard of living.
>
Even the poorest people in the US today live better than most of our grandparents did. That's the point I was trying to make. Most of the folks living on public assistance own cars and cell phones, have cable TV, etc.
Do you think it's the responsibility of the government to raise them higher ?

>Also, hif, our 'standard of living' is killing us and others all over the globe. Environmental damage, chemicals in our foods and buildings and water that give us cancer, food so lacking in nutrition that people become obese, develop heart disease, diabetes, etc. Way to go! I'm SO GLAD someone is working their ass off so that I can get a double bacon cheese-burger! (Whose meat is so riddled with antibiotics and hormones that it fucks up our bodies).
>
Yeah it's so bad that we live longer and with less health problems than our predecessors had. The heart disease, diabetes, and obesity is only our own fault and no one elses. It's because we choose to eat this crap. Wal Mart has nothing to do with that and neither does our government.

>>Do you believe socialism could do better ? Show me an example.
>>
>Canada. I'm not saying they're doing everything perfectly, but people have access to the healthcare they need. Stricter regulations make for healthier products.
>I work at a psychiatry office here. Everyone who comes in to the office has their care paid for by the MSP system. They range in socio-economic background from practically homeless to upper middle-class.
>In the states, the practically homeless people would never be able to afford psychiatric care, or the medications that allow them to continue to work and support themselves. They really WOULD be homeless in the US. How does that add to the countries' GDP, economic growth, etc?
>
Yeah, how long before they go broke providing that vaunted health care ?
They have already created a booming business here because so many Canadians are coming across the border for the health care that they cannot wait for in Canada.

>>This woman was not screwed over by the system. If she had no skills, then she was lucky to be at Wal Mart.
>>
>>The living wage she was paid was a fair trade for non skilled labor.
>>
>
>She was not paid a living wage! In the US, minimum wage is AT LEAST about $4 or $5 an hour UNDER what a living wage would be (my dad works for a union, so this stuff is true).
>And she is not skilled because the education system in the US is one of the WORST in the industrialized world, and because college is becoming more and more expensive.
>
Really ? you know that she had no chance for a better education ?
You don't have to go to college to get a better paying job. How long did she work at Wal Mart ? Did she not advance ? I wonder why not. Hell even at a fast food restaurant you can advance if you are there long enough. But that is beside the point. Are Wal Mart wages not competitive with K-Mart or Target ? You know they are, yet you aren't ranting about those guys.
The fact is, if she doesn't like the way they pay, she can go elsewhere. Unemployment is still running very low and jobs are available for those wanting to work.

>>What happened to this woman is surely tragic, but tragedies are a part of the human existence and calling for radical change every time you see a tragedy is foolish.
>>
>>You claim that things can change for the better. How would you change them so that there would be no more tragedies ?
>>
>
>There are never going to be NO tragedies. But what i'm saying is that our tragedies should not be compounded by the fact that major corporations are allowed to cash in on those tragedies. Insurance Companies and any other corporation should not have the legal right to do whatever they want.
>
Bleh


 
libra Posted: Sat Mar 29 18:57:45 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  ifihadahif said:
>libra said:
>>
>>>Then Libra, you go on a rant about living wage, how capitalism is hurting everybody, lead poisoning, faulty airbags and such. None of which will ever be corrected by changing to socialism.
>>>
>>
>>Having stricter regulations would change these things.
>>Never did I say I thought socialism would solve all these problems, but I think assuming that the 'free-market' weeds out problems needs to stop.
>>
>Yeah, that's it, lets get the government to solve our problems, they are so efficient at everything else. Let's just regulate ourselves to death.
>The most frightening words in the English language are "I'm from the government and I'm here to help".

I'd rather ask the government to help solve my problems than ask businesses that are only concerned with profits.

>
>>>Do you not see that at this point in history we have achieved the highest standard of living ever because of capitalism and the incentives it provides ?
>>
>>Haha. Some people have the highest standard of living. Some people. Capitalism also requires that there be a proletariat work force who don't have labor rights, who don't get paid a living wage. (and some of them live in mexico, live illegally in LA, live in china, etc).
>>So yea, maybe you're one of the lucky few who is born into a situation where you have a good standard of living.
>>
>Even the poorest people in the US today live better than most of our grandparents did. That's the point I was trying to make. Most of the folks living on public assistance own cars and cell phones, have cable TV, etc.
>Do you think it's the responsibility of the government to raise them higher ?

That is not true. There are some very very poor people in the United States. Look at the ghettos of Oakland, LA, Washington DC.
It is the government's responsibility to work to provide services, education, that allows people to have what can hopefully be as many chances at a good life as the people born into wealthy families.
Lets put it this way: I'd rather have my tax dollars going to services that help educate people and offer them choices to better their situation than fund this damn war.

>
>>Also, hif, our 'standard of living' is killing us and others all over the globe. Environmental damage, chemicals in our foods and buildings and water that give us cancer, food so lacking in nutrition that people become obese, develop heart disease, diabetes, etc. Way to go! I'm SO GLAD someone is working their ass off so that I can get a double bacon cheese-burger! (Whose meat is so riddled with antibiotics and hormones that it fucks up our bodies).
>>
>Yeah it's so bad that we live longer and with less health problems than our predecessors had. The heart disease, diabetes, and obesity is only our own fault and no one elses. It's because we choose to eat this crap. Wal Mart has nothing to do with that and neither does our government.

It does have to do with Walmart, it does have to do with the government. It is a fact that people who are poor are far more likely to have diet-related problems with their health. Why? Because food that is bad for you is cheaper and more accessible to poor people.
Fish, fresh meats and vegetables, whole grain breads and other products are far more expensive.

>
>>>Do you believe socialism could do better ? Show me an example.
>>>
>>Canada. I'm not saying they're doing everything perfectly, but people have access to the healthcare they need. Stricter regulations make for healthier products.
>>I work at a psychiatry office here. Everyone who comes in to the office has their care paid for by the MSP system. They range in socio-economic background from practically homeless to upper middle-class.
>>In the states, the practically homeless people would never be able to afford psychiatric care, or the medications that allow them to continue to work and support themselves. They really WOULD be homeless in the US. How does that add to the countries' GDP, economic growth, etc?
>>
>Yeah, how long before they go broke providing that vaunted health care ?
>They have already created a booming business here because so many Canadians are coming across the border for the health care that they cannot wait for in Canada.

Canadians who can afford it do occasionally cross the border...mainly for elective procedures that do have wait lists in Canada. Like I said, its not perfect. But no, they're not going broke. The taxes on liquor and cigarettes pay for the healthcare system.

>>>This woman was not screwed over by the system. If she had no skills, then she was lucky to be at Wal Mart.
>>>
>>>The living wage she was paid was a fair trade for non skilled labor.
>>>
>>
>>She was not paid a living wage! In the US, minimum wage is AT LEAST about $4 or $5 an hour UNDER what a living wage would be (my dad works for a union, so this stuff is true).
>>And she is not skilled because the education system in the US is one of the WORST in the industrialized world, and because college is becoming more and more expensive.
>>
>Really ? you know that she had no chance for a better education ?
>You don't have to go to college to get a better paying job. How long did she work at Wal Mart ? Did she not advance ? I wonder why not. Hell even at a fast food restaurant you can advance if you are there long enough. But that is beside the point. Are Wal Mart wages not competitive with K-Mart or Target ? You know they are, yet you aren't ranting about those guys.
>The fact is, if she doesn't like the way they pay, she can go elsewhere. Unemployment is still running very low and jobs are available for those wanting to work.
>

The problem is that in many communities, the choices for someone like her are between the jobs described in the book Nickel and Dimed: Hotel maid, walmart employee, fast-food worker, etc. They all have poor benefits, pay too little. Yeah, she could leave Walmart...for a job with the EXACT same circumstances.

>>>What happened to this woman is surely tragic, but tragedies are a part of the human existence and calling for radical change every time you see a tragedy is foolish.
>>>
>>>You claim that things can change for the better. How would you change them so that there would be no more tragedies ?
>>>
>>
>>There are never going to be NO tragedies. But what i'm saying is that our tragedies should not be compounded by the fact that major corporations are allowed to cash in on those tragedies. Insurance Companies and any other corporation should not have the legal right to do whatever they want.
>>
>Bleh

Do you work at an Insurance Company, Hif? Do you work in the upper echelons of a major corporation?
Are you BENEFITING at all from the free-market system we have in place? Truly, I would really like to know why you think that this system is in your best interests, or why Walmart, Target, Sears, etc are "good" for the people in the United States.



 
FN Posted: Sat Mar 29 21:10:25 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  libra said:
>Are you BENEFITING at all from the free-market system we have in place?

No offence, but you're kidding, right?


 
ifihadahif Posted: Sun Mar 30 00:16:02 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  libra said:
>ifihadahif said:
>>libra said:
>>>
>>>>Then Libra, you go on a rant about living wage, how capitalism is hurting everybody, lead poisoning, faulty airbags and such. None of which will ever be corrected by changing to socialism.
>>>>
>>>
>>>Having stricter regulations would change these things.
>>>Never did I say I thought socialism would solve all these problems, but I think assuming that the 'free-market' weeds out problems needs to stop.
>>>
>>Yeah, that's it, lets get the government to solve our problems, they are so efficient at everything else. Let's just regulate ourselves to death.
>>The most frightening words in the English language are "I'm from the government and I'm here to help".
>
>I'd rather ask the government to help solve my problems than ask businesses that are only concerned with profits.
>
Is that because the government has proven itself to be really good at solving the problems of individuals ?

Do you not realize that the standard of living you enjoy is because of profiteers ?
>>
>>>>Do you not see that at this point in history we have achieved the highest standard of living ever because of capitalism and the incentives it provides ?
>>>
>>>Haha. Some people have the highest standard of living. Some people. Capitalism also requires that there be a proletariat work force who don't have labor rights, who don't get paid a living wage. (and some of them live in mexico, live illegally in LA, live in china, etc).
>>>So yea, maybe you're one of the lucky few who is born into a situation where you have a good standard of living.
>>>
OK so tell me Libra, who in the US, other than illegals does not have labor rights ?
>>Even the poorest people in the US today live better than most of our grandparents did. That's the point I was trying to make. Most of the folks living on public assistance own cars and cell phones, have cable TV, etc.
>>Do you think it's the responsibility of the government to raise them higher ?
>
>That is not true. There are some very very poor people in the United States. Look at the ghettos of Oakland, LA, Washington DC.
>It is the government's responsibility to work to provide services, education, that allows people to have what can hopefully be as many chances at a good life as the people born into wealthy families.
>Lets put it this way: I'd rather have my tax dollars going to services that help educate people and offer them choices to better their situation than fund this damn war.
>
Actually my previous statement was very true. Maybe you should read it again.
Yes, there are some very poor people in the US and tell me, how many times have you been in either of the ghettos you cited above ? If you did visit there, please tell me how many of those people would even want the education you would provide if you could. They get more services now than anytime in the history of our country. There are now third and fourth generation welfare families in those ghettos. Still, most people living on assistance do own cars and cell phones and have cable TV.
>>
>>>Also, hif, our 'standard of living' is killing us and others all over the globe. Environmental damage, chemicals in our foods and buildings and water that give us cancer, food so lacking in nutrition that people become obese, develop heart disease, diabetes, etc. Way to go! I'm SO GLAD someone is working their ass off so that I can get a double bacon cheese-burger! (Whose meat is so riddled with antibiotics and hormones that it fucks up our bodies).
>>>
>>Yeah it's so bad that we live longer and with less health problems than our predecessors had. The heart disease, diabetes, and obesity is only our own fault and no one elses. It's because we choose to eat this crap. Wal Mart has nothing to do with that and neither does our government.
>
>It does have to do with Walmart, it does have to do with the government. It is a fact that people who are poor are far more likely to have diet-related problems with their health. Why? Because food that is bad for you is cheaper and more accessible to poor people.
>Fish, fresh meats and vegetables, whole grain breads and other products are far more expensive.
>
And you think it's the responsibility of the government to provide everyone with fresh meats and vegetable, whole grain breads and such ?
Whole grain rice and legumes are cheap and very good for you. You can get frozen meat and frozen fish that is healthy. It doesn't necessarily have to be fresh to be good for you.
And they are always on sale at Wal Mart you know.
>>
>>>>Do you believe socialism could do better ? Show me an example.
>>>>
>>>Canada. I'm not saying they're doing everything perfectly, but people have access to the healthcare they need. Stricter regulations make for healthier products.
>>>I work at a psychiatry office here. Everyone who comes in to the office has their care paid for by the MSP system. They range in socio-economic background from practically homeless to upper middle-class.
>>>In the states, the practically homeless people would never be able to afford psychiatric care, or the medications that allow them to continue to work and support themselves. They really WOULD be homeless in the US. How does that add to the countries' GDP, economic growth, etc?
>>>
>>Yeah, how long before they go broke providing that vaunted health care ?
>>They have already created a booming business here because so many Canadians are coming across the border for the health care that they cannot wait for in Canada.
>
>Canadians who can afford it do occasionally cross the border...mainly for elective procedures that do have wait lists in Canada. Like I said, its not perfect. But no, they're not going broke. The taxes on liquor and cigarettes pay for the healthcare system.
>
Yeah, how about those wait lists ?
3 months for an MRI ? 9-12 months for a heart catheterization ?
>>>>This woman was not screwed over by the system. If she had no skills, then she was lucky to be at Wal Mart.
>>>>
>>>>The living wage she was paid was a fair trade for non skilled labor.
>>>>
>>>
>>>She was not paid a living wage! In the US, minimum wage is AT LEAST about $4 or $5 an hour UNDER what a living wage would be (my dad works for a union, so this stuff is true).
>>>And she is not skilled because the education system in the US is one of the WORST in the industrialized world, and because college is becoming more and more expensive.
>>>
>>Really ? you know that she had no chance for a better education ?
>>You don't have to go to college to get a better paying job. How long did she work at Wal Mart ? Did she not advance ? I wonder why not. Hell even at a fast food restaurant you can advance if you are there long enough. But that is beside the point. Are Wal Mart wages not competitive with K-Mart or Target ? You know they are, yet you aren't ranting about those guys.
>>The fact is, if she doesn't like the way they pay, she can go elsewhere. Unemployment is still running very low and jobs are available for those wanting to work.
>>
>
>The problem is that in many communities, the choices for someone like her are between the jobs described in the book Nickel and Dimed: Hotel maid, walmart employee, fast-food worker, etc. They all have poor benefits, pay too little. Yeah, she could leave Walmart...for a job with the EXACT same circumstances.
>
Why exactly is that the problem of the government ?
And how would you go about eliminating this class of people ?
I really want to hear this, since it has yet to be accomplished in human history.

>>>>What happened to this woman is surely tragic, but tragedies are a part of the human existence and calling for radical change every time you see a tragedy is foolish.
>>>>
>>>>You claim that things can change for the better. How would you change them so that there would be no more tragedies ?
>>>>
>>>
>>>There are never going to be NO tragedies. But what i'm saying is that our tragedies should not be compounded by the fact that major corporations are allowed to cash in on those tragedies. Insurance Companies and any other corporation should not have the legal right to do whatever they want.
>>>
>>Bleh
>
>Do you work at an Insurance Company, Hif? Do you work in the upper echelons of a major corporation?
>Are you BENEFITING at all from the free-market system we have in place? Truly, I would really like to know why you think that this system is in your best interests, or why Walmart, Target, Sears, etc are "good" for the people in the United States.
>
Are you serious ?


 
Mesh Posted: Sun Mar 30 04:16:45 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:
>On a totally unrelated note, guess who's going to
>
>http://www.sensation.nl/sensation2008/pre/


Yeah, well I was *this* close to going to ultra fest http://www.ultramusicfestival.com/ in florida, but then I remembered how much florida is stupid.

Would have been awesome though.


Actually I had plane tickets and tickets and everything all ready to go, but work drew me away from it :( Oh well. My friend went to it, so I'm sure his stories will suffice.


 
libra Posted: Sun Mar 30 16:13:12 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Hi hif. Because the ‘quote in reply’ thing is getting pretty messy, I am going to respond to you freshly. I am not responding to a couple of the arguments (food safety, poor Americans), as I don’t think they’re as relevant to the larger conversation, and I would like to outline my argument in terms of the Walmart issue specifically.

1. Over the past 100-plus years there has been a concerted effort on the part of corporations to shift the legal system of the United States. What resulted were legal and court systems that favored and protected big businesses.
Corporations fought for the business to be considered an ‘individual’ in the eyes of the law, allowing them to use the bill of rights to their own benefit, and to obscure the responsibility of the corporations’ employees themselves.

With these laws that protect big business from lawsuits from individuals and small businesses, was that the ‘free-market’ (with the pressures of competition and consumer choice supposedly keeping businesses from abusing/exploiting the population), was abolished.

There is now a type of ‘reverse socialism,’ in which corporations are protected and safeguarded by the legal and court system rather than individuals, families, and small businesses. This was a slow process, but today, it has made it pretty much impossible for people to protect their own rights in the face of major corporations.
This is especially true in the case of insurance companies. Most states have legislation that does not even allow insurance companies to be sued by the people it represents.

What I am arguing, is not that the government should provide the services that the corporations are failing at, or that they should be bailing people out of every problem.
What I am suggesting is that this system should be turned around.
Our government was put in place to protect individuals. To protect the citizens of the United States from whatever it happened to be that threatened them—whether that be King George or ‘terrorists.’
What it was not put in place to do was to protect large corporations in their attempt to make as much money as possible.

You so often have asked “why is it the government’s responsibility to provide such-and-such to the people.”
That is not my argument. My argument is that the government, in being the protector of American citizens, should not be protecting corporations, nor should it allow them to exploit the American people.

In order for the group of people, like the Walmart employee, to get the things they need, there needs to be an effort to ensure that health insurance companies and their employers offer fair, decent healthcare plans to their employees.
When health care companies do not follow through with what has been promised, these families should be allowed to sue, and not barred by the legal protections in many states for insurance companies.

2. In the case of this woman, Walmart has only had to dispatch a very small part of its legal team to sue the woman for the funds (probably spending far more on this legal team’s salary than on the money they got from the brain-damaged woman).
Corporations have huge reserves of money set aside for lawsuits and have huge teams of lawyers at their disposal. It is nothing for them to take someone to court. The court system is currently filled up by corporations suing other corporations.
The last time I checked, regular American citizens did not have legal teams or millions of dollars set aside for lawsuits against corporations that infringe upon their labor rights, their health and safety. This, actually, is why the government has been given the authority it has. It is supposed to do this on our behalf.

3. Hif, I would really like to know:
Why, out of all of the millions of people in the United States working hard every day to feed their families, have you chosen to defend the Walton family? With assets measuring at $151 billion, huge legal teams at their disposal, and the protection of the American legal system, I would think that this is the last family in the world that needs the defense of regular American citizens.


Sources: Noble’s “America By Design”; Doukas’ “Worked Over”; Furner’s “Advocacy and Objectivity”; the lectures of Gordon Sherman; Piven and Cloward’s “Regulating the Poor”; Ritzer’s “McJobs: McDonalization and the Workplace”; M. Zara: “The Evolution of Corporate Legal Standing on U.S. and International Law”; J Gardner’s “The Flawed Legal Models”; J. Gray: “From the Great Transformation to the Global Free Market”; S. Ewan “Captains of Consciousness”





 
FN Posted: Sun Mar 30 17:06:58 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  libra said:
>Why, out of all of the millions of people in the United States working hard every day to feed their families, have you chosen to defend the Walton family? With assets measuring at $151 billion, huge legal teams at their disposal, and the protection of the American legal system, I would think that this is the last family in the world that needs the defense of regular American citizens.

I'm sure they're total assholes (no sarcasm) but them being rich doesn't mean they're suspect by default or that they should have doubt against them. That's not the way a legal system works, it doesn't matter whether they have 151 billion and likewise when you think "they" or their company doesn't have any fault in this why would you not "defend" them, even when they happen to be enormously rich? I don't see the connection, them being rich does not in any way make them automatical targets everybody should gang up on


 
libra Posted: Sun Mar 30 17:14:26 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:
>libra said:
>
>I'm sure they're total assholes (no sarcasm) but them being rich doesn't mean they're suspect by default or that they should have doubt against them. That's not the way a legal system works, it doesn't matter whether they have 151 billion and likewise when you think "they" or their company doesn't have any fault in this why would you not "defend" them, even when they happen to be enormously rich? I don't see the connection, them being rich does not in any way make them automatical targets everybody should gang up on

My point is not to say that we should automatically target the rich, but that (as I pointed out in the previous few paragraphs) there are an incredible number of defenses in place for the rich in comparison to the poor, and that it is almost laughable that major corporations in the US have been able to commandeer the support of millions of americans who are, in their day-to-day lives, victimized as a result of the power these corporations hold in the legal system.


 
ifihadahif Posted: Sun Mar 30 19:57:20 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  libra said:
>Hi hif. Because the ‘quote in reply’ thing is getting pretty messy, I am going to respond to you freshly. I am not responding to a couple of the arguments (food safety, poor Americans), as I don’t think they’re as relevant to the larger conversation, and I would like to outline my argument in terms of the Walmart issue specifically.
>
Hi Libra, and thank you for your fresh start here.

>1. Over the past 100-plus years there has been a concerted effort on the part of corporations to shift the legal system of the United States. What resulted were legal and court systems that favored and protected big businesses.
>Corporations fought for the business to be considered an ‘individual’ in the eyes of the law, allowing them to use the bill of rights to their own benefit, and to obscure the responsibility of the corporations’ employees themselves.
>
>With these laws that protect big business from lawsuits from individuals and small businesses, was that the ‘free-market’ (with the pressures of competition and consumer choice supposedly keeping businesses from abusing/exploiting the population), was abolished.
>
>There is now a type of ‘reverse socialism,’ in which corporations are protected and safeguarded by the legal and court system rather than individuals, families, and small businesses. This was a slow process, but today, it has made it pretty much impossible for people to protect their own rights in the face of major corporations.
>This is especially true in the case of insurance companies. Most states have legislation that does not even allow insurance companies to be sued by the people it represents.
>
>What I am arguing, is not that the government should provide the services that the corporations are failing at, or that they should be bailing people out of every problem.
>What I am suggesting is that this system should be turned around.
>Our government was put in place to protect individuals. To protect the citizens of the United States from whatever it happened to be that threatened them—whether that be King George or ‘terrorists.’
>What it was not put in place to do was to protect large corporations in their attempt to make as much money as possible.
>
It seems to me that the unions had all the power until the 1970's when their own greed ruined them. They couldn't compete with high quality inexpensive imports.
It was insane for a guy on an assembly line who put 23 screws in an automobile every few minutes to be making 25 dollars an hour. This went on for decades, how was the corporation raping this guy ?

>You so often have asked “why is it the government’s responsibility to provide such-and-such to the people.”
>That is not my argument. My argument is that the government, in being the protector of American citizens, should not be protecting corporations, nor should it allow them to exploit the American people.
>
>In order for the group of people, like the Walmart employee, to get the things they need, there needs to be an effort to ensure that health insurance companies and their employers offer fair, decent healthcare plans to their employees.
>When health care companies do not follow through with what has been promised, these families should be allowed to sue, and not barred by the legal protections in many states for insurance companies.
>
I don't get your point. What was promised to this woman that she did not get ?
I understand that her situation is a tragic and unusual one, but I don't see where they didn't deliver on what was promised to her.
Also, if an insurance company or an employer has broken the law, I don't care where you live, they can be sued.
I also don't believe it's the responsibility of the government to ensure that employers offer their employers anything at all. Employee healthcare is a benefit, not a right.
Employers only offer this so as to be competitive in the labor market.

>2. In the case of this woman, Walmart has only had to dispatch a very small part of its legal team to sue the woman for the funds (probably spending far more on this legal team’s salary than on the money they got from the brain-damaged woman).
>Corporations have huge reserves of money set aside for lawsuits and have huge teams of lawyers at their disposal. It is nothing for them to take someone to court. The court system is currently filled up by corporations suing other corporations.
>The last time I checked, regular American citizens did not have legal teams or millions of dollars set aside for lawsuits against corporations that infringe upon their labor rights, their health and safety. This, actually, is why the government has been given the authority it has. It is supposed to do this on our behalf.
>
It looks to me like you are arguing that the rich shouldn't be able to enforce the rule of law simply because they are rich.
I know you don't believe that but it sure looks that way.

>3. Hif, I would really like to know:
>Why, out of all of the millions of people in the United States working hard every day to feed their families, have you chosen to defend the Walton family? With assets measuring at $151 billion, huge legal teams at their disposal, and the protection of the American legal system, I would think that this is the last family in the world that needs the defense of regular American citizens.
>
No, the Walton family surely doen't "need" any help from me, but the size of a man's bank account has no bearing on right or wrong as far as I'm concerned.
I see Wal Mart as a good citizen in the US and this isolated case is a tragedy, but they have not broken any laws and in the end, I doubt they will take this woman's money.
Even if they do, it still won't outweigh all the good they do for the communities they serve.



 
addi Posted: Sun Mar 30 21:53:59 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  ifihadahif said:

>Do you not see that at this point in history we have achieved the highest standard of living ever because of capitalism and the incentives it provides ?

Just a little clarification on this statement...
The results of the 2007 HDI (Human Development Index) which factors in measurables such as life expectancy, literacy, education, GDP per capita and standard of living in evaluating countries. The latest rankings...
1. Iceland
2. Norway
3. Australia
4. Canada
5. Ireland
6. Sweden
7. Switzerland
8. Japan
9. Netherlands
10. France
11. Finland
12. United States

Not even in the top 10. In fact it's heading the wrong direction (dropped 4 four spots since the last rankings were compiled).
I do see however several countries listed above us that extend basic social services (heath, education, etc..) to ALL of its citizens, and governments that are extremely involved in the welfare of its citizens. And before anyone jumps on my butt about the higher tax rate in those countries, I will say take away all of those benefits and lower their tax burdens a little, and see how the citizens respond, and what it does to their standard of living. I have no problem speaking for just~imagine, or Christophe here by saying that if they had to pay $50 - $100,00 out of their own pockets (plus 7% interest) to get a higher degree....and if they had to suddenly start paying thousands of dollars themselves for basic medications and/or necessary health services for basic care...they would raise BLOODY HELL! : )

My point isn't to say I have it terrible here at all...not compared to so many people in third world countries. It's only to clarify that our standard of living is not the envy of the world, and the gap between the haves and have nots is widening each year, which is never a good sign for the future prognosis of a country's health.

Capitalism isn't inherently evil. But capitalism without oversights protecting citizens from the inevitable greed that ALWAYS surfaces when greedy ass humans can get away with it....is evil.


Gee it's good to be back back : )


 
libra Posted: Sun Mar 30 23:56:04 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  ifihadahif said:
>libra said:
>>
>It seems to me that the unions had all the power until the 1970's when their own greed ruined them. They couldn't compete with high quality inexpensive imports.
>It was insane for a guy on an assembly line who put 23 screws in an automobile every few minutes to be making 25 dollars an hour. This went on for decades, how was the corporation raping this guy ?
>

Unions had a certain amount of power in the United States for a period of time. However, that power never reached the level of power corporations had. At the current time, Unions are struggling. There is a lack in solidarity on the part of workers, and a lack of understanding about what their own labor rights are. Also, with so many jobs being outsourced to other countries, Unions are fighting not only to keep jobs here, but to keep those jobs worthwhile.
Corporations have always had an immense amount of power, through lobbying and the amount of money they spend in courts.

A note on outsourcing: Companies like Walmart have been incredibly responsible for the outsourcing of labor to other countries. Pressure put on manufacturers to lower wholesale prices forces them to find labor elsewhere. This is so that Walmart can make a bigger profit off of the items they sell. While Walmart may be somewhat beneficial to its immediate community, it causes the loss of jobs to other communities and moves labor to places where there are no labor laws to protect workers.


>I don't get your point. What was promised to this woman that she did not get ?
>I understand that her situation is a tragic and unusual one, but I don't see where they didn't deliver on what was promised to her.
>Also, if an insurance company or an employer has broken the law, I don't care where you live, they can be sued.

This is actually not true. I saw a guest lecturer who was one of the only lawyers who works to enforce laws on insurance companies explained that California was one of the few states in which lawsuits could be brought against insurance companies. In other states, calculated, restrictive laws that have been put in place due to pressure on the part of the insurance companies. It makes it virtually impossible for regular people to sue them. (and he’s worked in multiple states in this arena.)

>I also don't believe it's the responsibility of the government to ensure that employers offer their employers anything at all. Employee healthcare is a benefit, not a right.
>Employers only offer this so as to be competitive in the labor market.

My point is that there was, over a period in time, laws put in to place to protect companies. At the present time, these laws are so strong that they are disallowing any involvement on the part of regular Americans in the court system. I understand that there is a clause in her insurance contract that allows for the company to get their expenses back. My argument is that this clause should never have been allowed in there in the first place. That because the court system favors companies over individuals, there has never been a chance to re-consider what insurance companies are and are not allowed to do.

>It looks to me like you are arguing that the rich shouldn't be able to enforce the rule of law simply because they are rich.
>I know you don't believe that but it sure looks that way.

I am arguing that the legal system and court system in the United States has been co-opted by major corporations to the point where they consistently rule in favor of major corporations.
One of my professors has named this the “user theory of law”. This is the concept that it is those who use the courts who end up shifting and changing the law. When the courts are mainly used by major corporations, the precedents and legal statutes that arise from these suits work in favor of those corporations.
This has been documented over the last 100 years, with a dramatic increase in the periods since the civil rights movement, where many conservative judges were worried that the courts would be used to deal with human rights abuses, causing a swing to stricter standards in race, gender, and bill of rights cases.
This does not mean that I am arguing that rich people are not allowed to be involved in the legal system, but that there is a disparity in the access to the legal system. This is a problem, seeing as the law is put in place as protection. When only the rich have access to law, it will shift over time to favor their interests. It is becoming more and more difficult for poor people to have access to the court system.


>No, the Walton family surely doen't "need" any help from me, but the size of a man's bank account has no bearing on right or wrong as far as I'm concerned.
>I see Wal Mart as a good citizen in the US and this isolated case is a tragedy, but they have not broken any laws and in the end, I doubt they will take this woman's money.
>Even if they do, it still won't outweigh all the good they do for the communities they serve.
>

WalMart is not a citizen of the United States. Walmart is a business that is supposed to be offering a service to consumers in exchange for money.
Walmart has been charged with labor rights abuses multiple times, and it will probably continue to be charged. In 2005 it was charged with breaking Child Labor laws and fined. Walmart continues to break laws regarding the right of employees to create unions by dissuading unionization and threatening employees with termination if they consider unionization.

And, like I said above, Walmart is a key operator in the push to move jobs out of the United States and into foreign countries. I’d say that’s not very good for America.




 
Posted: Mon Mar 31 04:03:12 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  ifihadahif said:
> Employee healthcare is a benefit, not a right.
>Employers only offer this so as to be competitive in the labor market.


I've always struggled with this, and I probably always will.

How is healthcare, employee or otherwise, not an absolute human right?

It's quantifiable. It is measured. Americans die 3 years (men) and 4 years (women) younger than Canadians, 5 years younger than Brazilians, on average.

I get that there are costs involved and, more importantly, an ideology and years of negative stereotyping of universal healthcare that would need to be reversed,

but christ, when running the numbers tells you that not providing healthcare to the nation effectively prohibits them from extending their lifespan 3 years? How is that not criminal in every possible sense?

Sorry to detract from the larger argument, but I don't get to sound of about this very often. I fear getting sick in this country and, even though I have benefits through my employer, the magic number for me is still the dollar figure at which it would be cheaper to catch a plane back to Canada and see a doctor.


 
Posted: Mon Mar 31 04:06:08 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  CriminalSaint said:
>5 years younger than Brazilians, on average.

Oops! snagged that from the wrong line of data. Brazilians = Japanese. my mistake.


 
ifihadahif Posted: Mon Mar 31 06:20:49 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  CriminalSaint said:
>ifihadahif said:
>> Employee healthcare is a benefit, not a right.
>>Employers only offer this so as to be competitive in the labor market.
>
>
>I've always struggled with this, and I probably always will.
>
>How is healthcare, employee or otherwise, not an absolute human right?
>
The freedom to pursue healthcare is a right. Having healthcare that is provided by the labor of others is not your absolute right and it is not my responsibility to provide it for you.


>but christ, when running the numbers tells you that not providing healthcare to the nation effectively prohibits them from extending their lifespan 3 years? How is that not criminal in every possible sense?
>
Because the healthcare system is not the predictor of longevity you say it is.
Lifestyle has as much to do with it as anything else.
Tell me why black American men are expected to die at age 62 and white American men die in their mid 70's ?
They both use the same health care system.

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=19402&keywords=universal+health+care


 
FN Posted: Mon Mar 31 06:45:02 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  He's using facts to say something bad about non-whites! Burn the racist!


 
addi Posted: Mon Mar 31 06:59:51 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  ifihadahif said:

>The freedom to pursue healthcare is a right. Having healthcare that is provided by the labor of others is not your absolute right and it is not my responsibility to provide it for you.

yup..we do have the freedom to *pursue* good healthcare here. Whether one actually reaches that good affordable health care though is the question being asked, not the ability to pursue it. : )

>Because the healthcare system is not the predictor of longevity you say it is.
>Lifestyle has as much to do with it as anything else.

No doubt lifestyle is a factor in the overall quality of a person's health and longevity of life. But you can't minimize the importance of adequate access to regular medical exams as preventative health care in this discussion. Many don't see a doctor because of the cost untill it's too late, and then the cost of treating their illnesses in an advanced stage skyrockets. It also doesn't take into account all those that live a healthy lifestyle and end up having serious illnesses that they can't afford to treat properly.
If you look at the HDI list (earlier post) you'll notice a common demoninator of those countries ahead of the U.S. is offering their citizens basic government provided health care.


>Tell me why black American men are expected to die at age 62 and white American men die in their mid 70's ?
>They both use the same health care system.

If you really believe that all blacks historically have had the same access to proper health care as whites then you're not paying attention to the facts, hif. Taken as a whole black americans make up a higher percentage of those living under the poverty level here, and that has a direct correlation to access to good health care services.



 
addi Posted: Mon Mar 31 07:25:25 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  (taken from article on the Belgian Health care system from the Brookings Institution)

"Devoting only half as much of its GDP to health as the United States does, Belgium has created a flexible, public-private partnership to pay for and deliver health care that preserves many of the attributes that Americans desire: universal coverage; comprehensive coverage of physician services, hospital care, and prescription drugs; free choice of primary physicians and specialists; and acceptable waiting periods for non-emergency services."

You want to switch systems with us, Christophe?




 
FN Posted: Mon Mar 31 08:08:30 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  The thing is, I'm pretty sure my family and I would be able to afford it so yeah I wouldn't mind switching.

Our "social security" system (not only healthcare) is crippling our entire economy, especially now with more and more elderly people and more and more unemployed immigrants who bring in foreign wives who aren't allowed to work and fly over their elderly to be taken care of over here who never put a single € into the system.


Having said that, I say that in a state that can afford it healthcare isn't a bad thing per se, it's not the healthcare system I have issues with (even though it as well has its serious abuses which should be dealt with as harsh as possible), it's the rest of the social securities that I want to see an end or severly toned down.


 
ifihadahif Posted: Mon Mar 31 08:25:14 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  addi said:
>ifihadahif said:
>
>>The freedom to pursue healthcare is a right. Having healthcare that is provided by the labor of others is not your absolute right and it is not my responsibility to provide it for you.
>
>yup..we do have the freedom to *pursue* good healthcare here. Whether one actually reaches that good affordable health care though is the question being asked, not the ability to pursue it. : )
>
Not so my good friend, the question at hand was whether or not having health care is a basic human right or not.

>>Because the healthcare system is not the predictor of longevity you say it is.
>>Lifestyle has as much to do with it as anything else.
>
>No doubt lifestyle is a factor in the overall quality of a person's health and longevity of life. But you can't minimize the importance of adequate access to regular medical exams as preventative health care in this discussion. Many don't see a doctor because of the cost untill it's too late, and then the cost of treating their illnesses in an advanced stage skyrockets. It also doesn't take into account all those that live a healthy lifestyle and end up having serious illnesses that they can't afford to treat properly.
>If you look at the HDI list (earlier post) you'll notice a common demoninator of those countries ahead of the U.S. is offering their citizens basic government provided health care.
>
When I look at your list I see that virtually every country listed above us is very small in population and depends largely on America for military protection as they don't devote a large portion of their revenue to their own military.

Also as you point out that a lot of people don't go to their doctor until the last minute, I see that as a lifestyle choice.
>
>>Tell me why black American men are expected to die at age 62 and white American men die in their mid 70's ?
>>They both use the same health care system.
>
>If you really believe that all blacks historically have had the same access to proper health care as whites then you're not paying attention to the facts, hif. Taken as a whole black americans make up a higher percentage of those living under the poverty level here, and that has a direct correlation to access to good health care services.
>
In my lifetime, I would have to say yes, that blacks have had the same access to proper health care as whites. From hiring quotas and affirmative action, even unskilled blacks had a better than equal chance to get hired at the factories making decent wages and good benefits.
As for those living under the poverty level, it is well known that few of them stay there. Most move on and the ones that don't, well there are your 2nd and 3rd generation welfare families. And not all of them are black.
Taken as a whole, black America is the world's 9th largest economy.


 
addi Posted: Mon Mar 31 08:55:09 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Nothing is a basic human right unless you believe it is. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is only a right here because those that wrote our Constitution (influenced by the enlightenment thinkers) thought they were rights. What principles constitute "basic human rights" are subjective in nature. There is no natural law that gurantees any human rights, in the sense that there are natural laws stating that the earth revolves around the sun in a set pattern.
My point then is what kind of country do you want the U.S. to be? One that includes the "basic right" of good health care it all it's citizens, or one that says, "feel free to pursue health care as a U.S. citizen, however the quality of your service is going to depend greatly on your income; no money = substandard services. Lots of money = great health care coverage."
This is where you are I part ways. It's one example of the fundamental differences in our belief of the purpose of government.
I am not going to get you to change your views on government, and you are certainly not going to get me to change my views on what does and doesn't constitute a basic human right.
You're statement about blacks having the same access to proper health care as whites tells me we're worlds apart on our interpretation of our recent past.



 
addi Posted: Mon Mar 31 09:01:08 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:
>The thing is, I'm pretty sure my family and I would be able to afford it so yeah I wouldn't mind switching.

How convienent. Your folks have the money so it wouldn't be an issue for you...meaning you wouldn't suffer at all from the switch because you'd have the means to pay for it.
No doubt if things were not so good with your parents income that you'd come to exactly the same conclusion about switching health care systems.
; )


 
FN Posted: Mon Mar 31 10:34:16 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  There's a lot that can be said about me, but one thing I'm not is a hypocrite.

The current state of things isn't what it has always been; even if I did not have money I would still conclude that I have no responsibility towards people I don't know and vice versa, whether I would like it or not is a different matter but I'd sure as hell would not be a socialist demanding what's not mine or putting demands on people who owe me nothing.


 
addi Posted: Mon Mar 31 11:02:13 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Sorry, buddy...not buying it. Way too easy to state that position from where you're sitting.
So if I'm to believe the above statement if Belgium reversed their policy and switched to a health care system like ours, and for the sake of making my point let's say your mother is diagnosed with cancer (god forbid). The monthly bill for prescription medications necessary to help fight it is now beyond your means to pay. The expences incurred from chemotherapy treatments and other related charges puts you in debt over your head and you're forced to sell your home and other possessions just to try and keep your head above water. As it is you can only treat your mother with some of the available medicine's due to the high cost, and it's not enough to slow down the spread of the disease. Six months later you lose your mother, you lose your lifelong home, and you have creditors all over your ass demanding their money.
And you tell me you're only reaction might be not liking it.

My above example is reality here to more folks than america wants to admit...it's not a dooms-day never happens fantasy land senerio.

I'm not calling you out as a hypocrit. I just don't think if hypothetical came to reality you'd be quite that dismissive of your situation.


 
libra Posted: Mon Mar 31 11:16:59 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Chris: I know you're a very smart guy, but I don't think you have any idea of how bad it can be in the US.

Most of the people I know from Canada are shocked to hear what the healthcare system is like in the states. I know multiple Canadians who have experienced the healthcare system here and found it very lacking. It cost them a hell of a lot of money (even if they were already paying for health insurance.) Beyond the financial aspects, they said they would have definitely gotten better care in Canada and would have waited less time for appointments. Also, the insurance system in the US means a huge area of bureaucracy that is not in Canada. This means a lot of what you are paying out goes to funding the paper-pushing.


 
ifihadahif Posted: Mon Mar 31 11:43:34 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  libra said:
>Chris: I know you're a very smart guy, but I don't think you have any idea of how bad it can be in the US.
>
>Most of the people I know from Canada are shocked to hear what the healthcare system is like in the states. I know multiple Canadians who have experienced the healthcare system here and found it very lacking. It cost them a hell of a lot of money (even if they were already paying for health insurance.) Beyond the financial aspects, they said they would have definitely gotten better care in Canada and would have waited less time for appointments. Also, the insurance system in the US means a huge area of bureaucracy that is not in Canada. This means a lot of what you are paying out goes to funding the paper-pushing.
>
I'm sorry, did you say "waited less time" ?
Got "better" care ?

On what planet ?

I'm not saying the Canadian system sucks, because it probably isn't that bad, but there is too much information out there that says wait times are long and the care is OK, but not the best available.


 
ifihadahif Posted: Mon Mar 31 12:07:05 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  What Canada Tells Us About Government Health Care
By Doug Wilson
Monday, February 25, 2008

Americans may not agree on much between now and November, but we have reached a consensus about the importance of at least one issue: health care.

In a recent study by the Pew Research Center, 76 percent of registered voters said that health care was very important to their vote. Democrats ranked health care their most important issue; Independents slotted it as their second most important issue. Republicans, meanwhile, positioned health care as more important than social issues such as abortion, gay marriage and stem cell research.

This public concern has prompted political action—or at least political posturing. It seems every politician has a plan to solve our health care woes. For Democrats, the silver bullet remains universal, government-funded coverage. Both Senators Obama and Clinton have proposed regulation and tax-heavy programs to offer cradle-to-grave health care for Americans.

Ironically, these proposals come at a time when some of our other entitlements—Social Security and Medicare—stand on the brink of collapse. For example, most experts agree that Social Security will be entirely bankrupt by 2041, and that the system will show serious financial strain as early as 2017. If a business faced such dire financial straits it would cut costs, but the government continues its perpetual spending spree.

Before we allow the government to burden us with another mammoth entitlement program, however, we might well consider the plight of countries currently employing socialized medicine. And we need not look very far for an example. Since the 1960s, Canada has operated a system of socialized medicine, while also forbidding the private sector from insuring medically necessary care.

The verdict: Canadians pay more for their health care and get less. That’s according to the Fraser Institute, an independent research and educational organization based in Canada. Fraser’s recently released study, “Paying More, Getting Less: Measuring the Sustainability of Government Health Spending in Canada” calls our attention to the painful realities of government-funded health care.

How, exactly, do Canadians pay more for their health care? Taxes, naturally—and higher and higher ones at that, for there is no other way to maintain such an enormous entitlement. Consider that by 2035, six of 10 Canadian provinces will spend half of their taxpayer-generated revenue on health-related expenses.

In slow economic times, health spending tends to exceed revenue. The government responds by raising existing taxes or creating new ones; to do otherwise would lead to the neglect of other government programs like schools and roads.

By restricting the market, public health care programs create long waits for specialists and often prevent patients from pursuing new treatments. Indeed, the median wait times between a referral from a family or general doctor to a specialist for further treatment increased significantly in every Canadian province between 1997 and 2006. For many treatments and procedures, Canadians are forced to wait twice as long as doctors believe is medically advisable.

Canada’s restrictive policies have also reduced the number of various types of health professionals, limited the availability of advanced equipment and severely restricted the prescription drug choices. Consider that even after Health Canada certifies a new drug, it takes over a year for that drug to actually reach the patients who need it. Between 2004 and 2005, it took an average of 439 days for provinces to receive reimbursement for drugs, forcing patients to wait months for necessary medications.

The list could go on, but it need not. We get the picture. The question is: What are we going to do about it?

The answer lies in the marketplace. Among the more promising proposals currently before Congress is the Health Care Choice Act. The Act would allow individuals to compare and purchase health insurance across state lines. This is a very important, if often misunderstood, way of reducing health care costs. Here’s a quick primer: Because health care is primarily regulated at the state level, states can force providers to cover services and procedures (e.g., chiropractic care or fertility treatments) regardless of necessity or patient demand. Insurance companies then pass these higher costs along to every consumer, regardless of whether they want or need coverage for such procedures.

A more efficient system would allow individuals to select the health care plans of their choice. Such a plan recognizes that a 20 year old male typically has very different medical needs than a 60 year old woman. Freeing consumers to select a health care plan that meets their needs and budget, even if it is in a different state, is a common sense solution that would ease the budget crunch facing many American families. And, thankfully, the Health Care Choice Act is just one of many promising ways in which we can address our health care needs without burdening our children with another entitlement that we can’t afford.

In the end, our financial and medical futures are simply too important to be left exclusively to government control. Few people know this lesson better than Canadians themselves. Just ask the many pregnant Canadians who are forced to travel to the U.S. to deliver their children because their country has—wait for it—too few hospital beds.



 
FN Posted: Mon Mar 31 13:24:22 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  addi said:
>Sorry, buddy...not buying it. Way too easy to state that position from where you're sitting.
>So if I'm to believe the above statement if Belgium reversed their policy and switched to a health care system like ours, and for the sake of making my point let's say your mother is diagnosed with cancer (god forbid). The monthly bill for prescription medications necessary to help fight it is now beyond your means to pay. The expences incurred from chemotherapy treatments and other related charges puts you in debt over your head and you're forced to sell your home and other possessions just to try and keep your head above water. As it is you can only treat your mother with some of the available medicine's due to the high cost, and it's not enough to slow down the spread of the disease. Six months later you lose your mother, you lose your lifelong home, and you have creditors all over your ass demanding their money.
>And you tell me you're only reaction might be not liking it.


As I said, I would obviously be upset about the situation but that's a different thing entirely from demanding that other people pay for it as a right of either myself or my mother (if that system had been in place all along, as it is now my mother has put more than enough into the system to get something out of it.)

I don't know how other people handle these things, but I don't base my morals and ideological beliefs on opportunism


 
DanSRose Posted: Mon Mar 31 14:54:45 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  ifihadahif said:
>By Doug Wilson

Is this article by Doug Wilson, noted evangelical theologian, pastor, conservative author, and co-chair in California for Mitt Romney's campaign, or Douglas Wilson from Trading Spaces? Because I think I would take the word of interior designer over someone who published a pamphlet that said Southern Slavery was good for blacks. (Southern Slavery, As It Was)



 
FN Posted: Mon Mar 31 14:58:48 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  DanSRose said:
>someone who published a pamphlet that said Southern Slavery was good for blacks. (Southern Slavery, As It Was)

Haha, I actually laughed out loud


 
DanSRose Posted: Mon Mar 31 15:01:20 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Here! You can still read it, even though the publishers stopped printing it
http://southernslavery.blogspot.com/



 
ifihadahif Posted: Mon Mar 31 16:20:28 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  DanSRose said:
>ifihadahif said:
>>By Doug Wilson
>
>Is this article by Doug Wilson, noted evangelical theologian, pastor, conservative author, and co-chair in California for Mitt Romney's campaign, or Douglas Wilson from Trading Spaces? Because I think I would take the word of interior designer over someone who published a pamphlet that said Southern Slavery was good for blacks. (Southern Slavery, As It Was)
>
Are you saying the facts he cites in the above column are not actual facts simply because he published a pamphlet you heartily disagreed with ? By the way did you actually read the pamphlet ?


 
addi Posted: Mon Mar 31 19:40:36 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:

>I don't know how other people handle these things, but I don't base my morals and ideological beliefs on opportunism

I know where you're coming from, Christophe..and it's not my place to tell you what you really believe. I think you'd make a great conservative american...
...until you experienced first hand some of their domestic and especially foreign policies, and then you'd go frickin' crazy : )

Btw...my definition of "opportunism" is giving nothing and expecting something in return. When you pay a portion of your taxes into a system (such as in your homeland) it's not opportunism..it's getting back a critical need for something you already paid into.


 
DanSRose Posted: Mon Mar 31 20:36:30 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I read the pamphlet and found it absurd. The basis of their argument is slaves were content and happy being slaves. Twisting the words of the WPA into the premise that Africans (and their children, African-Americans) they were "were overwhelmingly content and pleased to be enslaved" and that they were generally okay with being less than human both under the eyes of the law and the eyes of mankind. Having personally gone through the Slave Dialogues, it is not ridulicous, but wrong and slanting toward the evil side of the spectrum, especially when a 'learned folk' says something like this: “[S]lavery produced in the South a genuine affection between the races that we believe we can say has never existed in any nation before the [Civil] War or since.”

I was also familiar with his work as this being a focus of my undergrad.


This still doesn't answer whether or not his Town Hall article on socialized medicine holds a valid argument, and I'll get to that in a bit (It is 8:36 PM and I am still at work, huzzahs all around)


 
FN Posted: Tue Apr 1 06:44:14 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  addi said:
>I know where you're coming from, Christophe..and it's not my place to tell you what you really believe. I think you'd make a great conservative american...

There's been a period in my life during which I experienced poverty and misery for 2 or 3 years, without ging into detail about it just take my word for it. I've seen and lived both sides of the spectrum (aside from extreme poverty and extreme wealth). It didn't change my mind about this at all.

Yes, I would have *liked* getting something for nothing, but I didn't feel like that was a right of mine to be exacted on others who didn't feel like it.

>...until you experienced first hand some of their domestic and especially foreign policies, and then you'd go frickin' crazy : )

I wouldn't be able to vote for "the conservative party", same goes for the socialists, I can't make my ammends with either of the 2 US parties.

But both are too much "anti-the other" instead of a self-affirmed core.

>Btw...my definition of "opportunism" is giving nothing and expecting something in return. When you pay a portion of your taxes into a system (such as in your homeland) it's not opportunism..it's getting back a critical need for something you already paid into.

op·por·tun·ist (pr-tnst, -ty-)
n.
One who takes advantage of any opportunity to achieve an end, often with no regard for principles or consequences.

If I'd change my opinions and idealogy based on what gains me the most profit, that'd be opportunism in my mind.

That's also what I said, my mother has bought the right to get something out of the system if she'd ever need it, so changing the system now would be robbery, but if she had never had to pay anything towards it the state wouldn't owe her anything either in terms of money


 
ifihadahif Posted: Tue Apr 1 08:42:09 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  DanSRose said:
>I read the pamphlet and found it absurd. The basis of their argument is slaves were content and happy being slaves. Twisting the words of the WPA into the premise that Africans (and their children, African-Americans) they were "were overwhelmingly content and pleased to be enslaved" and that they were generally okay with being less than human both under the eyes of the law and the eyes of mankind. Having personally gone through the Slave Dialogues, it is not ridulicous, but wrong and slanting toward the evil side of the spectrum, especially when a 'learned folk' says something like this: “[S]lavery produced in the South a genuine affection between the races that we believe we can say has never existed in any nation before the [Civil] War or since.”
>
>I was also familiar with his work as this being a focus of my undergrad.
>
I've not read it as yet, probably won't. You can get some lunacy from evangelicals from time to time, a la Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell, but they can also provide some insightful stuff from time to time depending on the subject matter.
>
>This still doesn't answer whether or not his Town Hall article on socialized medicine holds a valid argument, and I'll get to that in a bit (It is 8:36 PM and I am still at work, huzzahs all around)
>
For the record, I would not be totally against some type of universal healthcare if it could be done with some type of efficiency and quality never before seen in our government.
I think the options in the Town Hall article may have some merit.


 
Posted: Tue Apr 1 10:44:38 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  ifihadahif said:

>In the end, our financial and medical futures are simply too important to be left exclusively to government control. Few people know this lesson better than Canadians themselves. Just ask the many pregnant Canadians who are forced to travel to the U.S. to deliver their children because their country has—wait for it—too few hospital beds.
>

What a crock.

For what it's worth, the longest I've ever had to wait in an emergency room (on a friday night, 9pm no less) was 2 hours. Got all stitched up and on my way, no trouble. $2.75 for parking.

Our lifestyles aren't so different that we as a nation should live three years longer. Sure, there are differences having to do with lifestyle, but it seems to me that the american lifestyle is actually more careful about their health - more likely to try and prevent getting sick at all costs than to see a doctor for checkups.

The only thing that's problematic with the Canadian health care system is the proximity of the American health care system. Because 1. as a nation, your standards for M.D. graduates are lower, and 2. your privately owned health systems pay better, many would-be canadian health professionals go stateside.

I've got two friends studying in the Carribean so they can come away with an American-accepted but Canadian-shunned M.D. - doesn't that worry you in the least? More, less intelligent people getting paid large sums of money, where quality of health service is directly proportional to wealth, does not trump an efficient, low-cost system where 30million people live an average of 3 extra years.

I don't even understand the argument - sticking to your conservative guns isn't worth a thousand days of life (on average! per person!). And, if it is, what about your children? How do you think they'll view the decision not to universalize healthcare when they die three years younger than they should?

It's just frustrating, is all. I realize it more living in this country than I did from in Canada. The trouble is, the ideology that universal health is problematic runs rampant, and nobody knows why. Worse, they post TownHall.com articles by theologians pretending to know something about a) Canada, b) health care just to cause a stir and lobby their ideal candidate.

It's not funny anymore.


 
libra Posted: Tue Apr 1 11:05:26 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:
>
>op·por·tun·ist (pr-tnst, -ty-)
>n.
>One who takes advantage of any opportunity to achieve an end, often with no regard for principles or consequences.
>
>If I'd change my opinions and idealogy based on what gains me the most profit, that'd be opportunism in my mind.
>
>That's also what I said, my mother has bought the right to get something out of the system if she'd ever need it, so changing the system now would be robbery, but if she had never had to pay anything towards it the state wouldn't owe her anything either in terms of money

If this is your argument, Chris, then wouldn't Health Insurance Companies be the biggest opportunists around? Making millions off of Americans, who still have to pay out $50 co-pays every time they have to go to the doctor, or pay $75 for prescriptions?


 
addi Posted: Tue Apr 1 11:05:58 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  CriminalSaint said:

>What a crock.

Eh...what do you know, you're an american now

: )


*well said, crim


 
FN Posted: Tue Apr 1 11:08:04 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  libra said:
>If this is your argument, Chris, then wouldn't Health Insurance Companies be the biggest opportunists around?

No?


 
addi Posted: Tue Apr 1 11:15:25 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  libra said:

>If this is your argument, Chris, then wouldn't Health Insurance Companies be the biggest opportunists around? Making millions off of Americans, who still have to pay out $50 co-pays every time they have to go to the doctor, or pay $75 for prescriptions?

Don't argue with Christophe, libra. He lived for a couple years in poverty so he knows what he speaks of. Nevermind the fact that he didn't contract a life threatening illness during that brief stint, or the fact that if he had it would have all been covered by his nasty socialist government (the thoughtless bastards!)
Every night before I go to bed I get on my knees and thank jesus that I had the fortune to be born in the greatest country ever to grace this planet's history...and not in some backward place like Belgium.

; )


 
FN Posted: Tue Apr 1 11:19:59 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Turning it into a caricature doesn't take anything away from the arguement at the base of it, I've seen how stuff gets spinned by "conservatives" in the US, I figured that would count as a lesson learned.

The difference people are failing to make here is that principles and likes and dislikes can be a seperate matter. I stand by what I believe to be right and wrong and I can adequately back it up, but I don't base it on what would suit me best, because that would just be "gimme gimme gimme".


 
FN Posted: Tue Apr 1 11:22:01 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  So to clarify: would I at that point in that situation be glad that the system was there? Ofcourse. Would I have had an inalienable right to get it or pretend tha t I have that right? In no way at all.


 
addi Posted: Tue Apr 1 11:40:36 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:
>So to clarify: would I at that point in that situation be glad that the system was there? Ofcourse. Would I have had an inalienable right to get it or pretend tha t I have that right? In no way at all.

please point out anywhere in my previous posts where I refered to it as an "inalienable right", christophe. In fact on one of my posts I stated that natural (or inalienable) rights are all essentially man made.
I can't speak for others here, but to me having some kind of universal health coverage is just a good thing to have, both for its citizens and for the country itself in the long run. That's all I argueing for here.


 
addi Posted: Tue Apr 1 15:48:19 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  and you need to change your avatar pic of David Hasselhoff. Several plinkers here (and a few plonkers) have complained to me that looking at it is making them have impure thoughts.


 
FN Posted: Tue Apr 1 15:51:08 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Well, as I stated previously, my problem isn't with healthcare as much as it is with other forms of social security.

Healthcare gets abused as well but from a personal point of view I don't mind paying taxes within reasonable bounds to help out truly ill people.


But you seem to idealise welfare states way more than is warranted. Yes we have it good here but there's a lot of talk about no money left for pensions and what not once I reach that age, even my generation's parents shouldn't count on it too much. Why? Because the insane taxes strangle companies, especially small ones, and the socialists here keep drawing in more and more people with no intention at all to work and block out those that do want to work, along with making it as easy as possible for people to abuse the system, which is something that'll always happen no matter how much you think a state can control these things


 
FN Posted: Tue Apr 1 15:55:05 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I'll even up you one more, the past week I was involved in an audit on a state institution for handicapped people, working with the actual numbers and what not, I don't know how much of a better view one would be able to get at things like these than that.

Honestly, it's somewhat of a mirracle that this country hasn't already imploded when looking at the state of those numbers.

It'll have to end somewhere, and I'll predict you where: mass unemployment and even more socialists to fuck it all up even more.


 
addi Posted: Tue Apr 1 18:13:43 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:

>But you seem to idealise welfare states way more than is warranted.

Well that was just mean
: )

If I gave you that impression I'm sorry. Yes, I think goverment programs like national health are important and I'm for adding it here.
But...
I DESPISE abuse of the system by citizens, and I DESPISE government ineptness and inefficency. Common sense should tell us that it's going to happen to some degree in any government run program. However the reality is that it goes on right now here without those programs in place.

The key for me is having intelligent informed experts setting up a health care program here that makes sense for America (not Canada or Europe), because we're a different population with different issues and needs. It's also critical to have a well thought out system regulating it's use, and catching fraud as much as possible. This is just off the top of my head and not real thought out, but perhaps you have to be a tax payer (or family member of tax payers) to qualify for complete coverage. I don't know, and this is why they haven't asked me to join any committee on the topic : )
I think if we could set up a system here that would get the millions of working americans coverage (that don't have any now, or can't afford good coverage), AND have a competant watchdog program built in to catch as much abuse of the system as possible...that it would benefit the majority of us. It will never be a perfect system, but it could realistically be a much better one than we have at the present.


 
ifihadahif Posted: Tue Apr 1 18:16:34 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  addi said:
>Christophe said:
>>So to clarify: would I at that point in that situation be glad that the system was there? Ofcourse. Would I have had an inalienable right to get it or pretend tha t I have that right? In no way at all.
>
>please point out anywhere in my previous posts where I refered to it as an "inalienable right", christophe. In fact on one of my posts I stated that natural (or inalienable) rights are all essentially man made.
>I can't speak for others here, but to me having some kind of universal health coverage is just a good thing to have, both for its citizens and for the country itself in the long run. That's all I argueing for here.
>
I don't have a problem with it either, IF we could make it work. That's where I have my doubts. I don't trust the government to do it any better than all the other government programs that are floundering and sucking money.


 
FN Posted: Tue Apr 1 19:01:57 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  ifihadahif said:
>I don't have a problem with it either, IF we could make it work. That's where I have my doubts. I don't trust the government to do it any better than all the other government programs that are floundering and sucking money.

That sums up my thoughts on it as well (on healthcare, unemployment-related things is a whole different story).

The thing with government organised anything is that for one thing the labour unions are way too involved in all of it and nepotism is king when it comes to the higher posts. The wages paid are never as good as in the private sector so you never get the best people, or you'd have to start paying enormous wages on the back of taxpayers which would hardly be justifiable. Added to that that no government institution has the flexibility of a private one because they're adhering to different rules on all levels and only go bankrupt along with the country.

That's why capitalism works and communism doesn't.


 
FN Posted: Tue Apr 1 19:02:31 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Christophe said:
>That's why capitalism works and communism doesn't.

Well obviously there's about a billion other reasons, but you know what I mean


 
Mesh Posted: Wed Apr 2 01:59:44 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  *sigh* I just wish I had more time to come here and read everything these days. I really do consider it a privelage(i spelled it wrong) to be able to hear all of your different points of views on things. I consider it part of an enlightenment to be able to take in different perspectives and opinions on things and roll them all around in my head, to more round my own perceptions. Because really, just getting one or two points of view is very blah.


 
DanSRose Posted: Wed Apr 2 02:19:14 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Guilt or bad publicity? I am going with door #2
http://deepbackground.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/04/01/848981.aspx


 
libra Posted: Wed Apr 2 10:57:21 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  DanSRose said:
>Guilt or bad publicity? I am going with door #2
>http://deepbackground.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/04/01/848981.aspx


fuck.

I like how they now decide not to take it AFTER causing them hardship and costing them money for the last few years in court.
Wow, Walmart, you're just swell.


 
beetlebum Posted: Wed Apr 2 11:48:55 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Oh, Walmart. I figured that was the decision they would come to anyway, after all of that bad publicity. I'm guessing that somewhere some asshole got fired for trying to tow the line.




I don't agree with the speculation that because Americans do not have Universal Healthcare (or a system similar) they live on average three years less. I think that even speculating why Americans do not live as long requires looking at a slew of other lifestyle indicators, not just access to healthcare. The USA has the highest productivity per worker (measured in GDP per worker) in the world, ranking *significantly* higher than the UK (if UK productivity is base 100, the US is at 130 or even higher, and Canada is about 90), which itself ranks considerably higher than Canada. Americans on average take the least amount of vacation days of any industrialized country in the world, taking about 9 less days a year than Canadians, and roughly twenty less days a year than the French. Hours worked per day are on average longer than any other country in the world, something that shows up in productivity per worker rankings.

While I don't agree with this 'live to work' culture at all, and perhaps I would even concede that a bit of that work ethic has to do with the fear of not having health insurance (big grin!), I think that a difference in lifestyle can actually contribute to life expectancy-- it can't all be blamed on lack of universal healthcare. Where the 'live to work' culture comes from is hard to say and even more difficult to measure in order to compare between countries. High productivity may very well come at a price, namely, personal health. Also, the UK has a higher life expectancy and yet is absolutely TERRIBLE at preventative medicine, which is I assume what people are partly implying is a weakness in the American system when they claim that Americans go to the doctor too late (lack of preventative medicine due to high costs).



Perhaps a better indicator is not life expectancy but instead infant mortalility rate. Here is a scary article for you:
http://www.cnn.com/2006/HEALTH/parenting/05/08/mothers.index/index.html

I don't understand why our ranking in that area doesn't bother mothers and fathers more. Infant mortality rates *are* and can be *directly correlated* to quality of health care and the US does incredibly poorly on that account, and it makes me so very sad to think of all of the mums who lost their children in a system where insurance is key to getting good quality health care. Of course a hospital will deliver your baby if you do not have insurance, but prenatal preventative healthcare is almost nonexistent for the uninsured in this country. Ugh.


And whether or not you agree that having access to universal healthcare is a right, or the decent thing to do, or the shittiest idea ever, from a practical point of view (an economic, utilitarian, emotionless point of view) universal healthcare makes sense.

America spends approximately 40% more per person on healthcare than any other industrialized country with a universal healthcare system. That to me is crazy. Even if we are comparing the US with the most INEFFICIENT universal health care system, we STILL spend more. Independent AND federal studies have shown that something specific like a single payer universal health care system would actually save this country hundreds of billions of dollars, much of that due to a savings in administrative costs.

I am more libertarian than anything else-- I wouldn't appreciate paying for someone else's health care. But what the fuck, I'm doing that anyway when I pay into my ripoff of an insurance scheme, on that is FOR PROFIT and thus gouges me anyway because I have no choice but to go with the one my employer suggests to at least keep down some costs, and one that I hardly use and someone else might use for expensive cancer treatment... the whole POINT of group plans and managed care and all the rest of it is to SPREAD RISK across a pool of people so that the ones who are healthier pay more and make up for the ones who cannot pay or who are high health risks. That's why HMOs came into existence, except for with HMOs profit is a key concern so consumers get ripped of anyway. And I'm saying this for Christophe's sake, just in case he gets a little persnickety with me. I think that ideally for a libertarian everyone would pay for their own healthcare independent of a universal healthcare system or even an insurance scheme, but in the US that just isn't possible because insurance companies, while expensive for the consumer, are less expensive than paying privately because often insurance companies and hospitals were in collusion with one another to keep prices inflated-- insurance companies often negotiate with different hospital systems to determine price, and that price is always lower than what the poor schmuck on the street who wants private healthcare would pay. If insurance companies were to disappear tomorrow and the Supreme Court started being much more strict on healthcare litigation, then prices would come down, I think, to the point that most people could easily pay for a doctor's visit, and those that couldn't would still be treated, much like what was seen in the early 20th c. in America.

I guess what I'm saying is this: if you belong to even a private healthcare scheme, unless you are incredibly sickly, you are probably paying for everyone else anyway. Why not just remove the profit-seeking middleman and all of the administrative costs of having and switching private healthcare companies.

The only real argument in my mind against universal healthcare in the US is that the US government is incompetent. And, well, I don't know how much I can do about that. :)

Thank you for reading. :)


 
addi Posted: Wed Apr 2 11:57:11 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  beetlebum said:

>America spends approximately 40% more per person on healthcare than any other industrialized country with a universal healthcare system. That to me is crazy. Even if we are comparing the US with the most INEFFICIENT universal health care system, we STILL spend more. Independent AND federal studies have shown that something specific like a single payer universal health care system would actually save this country hundreds of billions of dollars, much of that due to a savings in administrative costs.

A very cogent point, Bbum. Well put.

>I am more libertarian than anything else--
I'm willing to overlook this
: )




>Thank you for reading. :)

No, thank you for writing this.


 
beetlebum Posted: Wed Apr 2 14:48:34 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Okay also one more thing, then I'll be quiet.

Obviously the machinations of healthcare in the United States are rather complicated, but I think that the very nature of insurance in this country precludes the possibility of preventative medicine, which would save money in the long run, both for the government and for the consumer (both in terms of immediate payout upon services rendered and in terms of taxation).

However, the consumer has very little power to demand preventative medicine as health care costs are so high, and in matters of life and death, consumers do not really have a choice. I suppose they do, but it's a pretty shit choice and 99% of people are going to make the choice to live. Capitalism is predicated on the idea that consumers can 'take it or leave it', meaning they can make a decision to not buy a product, not support a company, etc. and their preferences (according to what is available) determine market supply and of course, price.

However, in health care the situation is different in the sense that in some cases the consumer/patient is choosing between life and death. That can mean immediate death or it can mean a slow death (not treating Type I diabetes for example), but asking a consumer to make that choice, while I suppose it is possible, is more than a little horrifying-- particularly as there are situations where the consumer cannot make a choice. Children, for example, cannot choose for themselves whether or not to be treated. People in terrible car accidents who are immediately taken into the OR cannot make a decision for themselves if they are unconscious. At the end of the day, I think most human beings have an instinct for self-preservation, and more than that, most want to stick around on this earth for as long as possible.

So in that sense, healthcare providers will always have the upper hand, a position which can be used to inflate prices, deny services, force healthcare plans onto middle-class and poor consumers (patients). Moreover, because insurance companies have the upper hand (I would pay alot of money to make sure I didn't die, even if 90% of that were profits and it meant selling all of my worldy possessions), and because insurance companies DO operate according to capitalist principles, their profit forecast is mostly done in the short-term. Within ten years an insurance company could have a complete turnover of consumers/patients.

That means that preventative medicine, the kind that starts early and whose effects might not be seen for forty years, is not in an insurance companies best interest EVEN THOUGH it means that insurance premiums will continue to increase for consumers.

In other words, even though insurance companies really are NOT in the best interest of consumers, they are forced to use them anyway because of the monopoly that insurance companies have over health care costs, and the fact that consumers, when faced between a choice of dying tomorrow or ten years from now, will choose ten years, even if it means knowing that the consumer pays much more than would be necessary for health care industry to continue to provide superior services.

In universal health care schemes run by the government, the consumer at least has a little more power provided via the voting booth. Governments don't have to be concerned with profits beyond taking into consideration continual improvement and, of course, sustainability. If consumers are guaranteed health care, how much easier would it be to weed out the bad doctors and bad hospitals if you could go to any one of your choice! Moreover, governments, because they are insuring a person's health over a lifetime, have a vested financial interest in preventative medicine if it saves money in the long-run. Finally, whereas consumers have very little power now (do i take this crappy insurance plan or be screwed if my neighbour is driving drunk and hits me on the road?), if there are problems with the health care system they could at least make their worries known through public officials and the process of democracy. I know that in practice democracy can be a bit rubbish, but that's better than nothing.

In that sense, a socialized health care system would actually be superior to what we have now, because the underpinnings of capitalism, namely that the consumer has a choice (that isn't between life/death) and that that choice will influence supply/cost, don't really work correctly in the market structure we have currently.

Anyway. I hope that made sense. I know a hardcore capitalist could argue that death is a choice, but I doubt anyone out there would want to be confronted with that choice this afternoon.





 
addi Posted: Wed Apr 2 19:59:58 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Golly, that was so well thought out and expressed I got a boner reading it...and, trust me, that doesn't happen every five minutes like it did when I was 16 anymore.



 
libra Posted: Wed Apr 2 20:44:53 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  I <3 Beetlebum.


 
FN Posted: Thu Apr 3 03:41:21 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  As I stated before, in the case of healthcare I'm not necessarily opposed to it and I don't mind paying some taxes for it, because of the reasons meg stated above. The way in which it should happen though is where I differ greatly from socialists.

The point that anything done by the government is by default inferior in efficiency and organisation compared to private companies still remains, no matter how you look at it. Because of this as little should be done by the state as possible in my view.

So how to handle healthcare if you want to combine these two factors?

The problem can be identified as that in part the problem as far as I can tell in the US, and to a lesser extent in the EU, is that it's a downward spiral from the patient's point of view with doctors asking way too much money and the pharma industry doing the same thing which forces insurance companies to raise their prices along with it while at the same time also still wanting to make a profit. The second problem is individuals taking advantage of free anything.



So,

To expand on your healthcare-by-the-state idea, I for one am a proponent of the "kiwi-model", which basicly introduces capitalistic principles in state healthcare and uses the principles of a free market to the advantage of consumers/patients/"the people".

There are several versions of it in the Scandinavian countries which prove that, to varying extents, it works pretty well for all involved.


In short and simple terms the basic idea is this:

The state repays people for their medical costs (which is already the case here, granted, sometimes you may end up having to pay 25€ for some kind of drugs that'll last you for the term of a regular illness, or for serious operations you might have to shell out 500€-750€ and what not, but that's hardly an impossible number I reckon). The problem with just leaving it at that is that the system gets plundered this way by both individuals and companies.

What the kiwi model does is take advantage of scale in the economic sense. It thinks of the state as a consumer instead of a dictator or a slave that either sets prices or just buckles to extortion.

So on a regular (say yearly) basis, the state as a massive consumer declares what it will roughly be needing and then lets companies outbid eachother to be allowed to get the deal, best price/quality wins, which usually means a lot of generic drugs which work just as well but just don't have the brand name. Because of the massive size of such orders, the state can get the absolute best price for every single thing at rather major discounts etcetera.

Then the individual has a choice: either they use the listed state-warranted drugs which then get repaid (and are in other words indirectly "bought" by the state which acts as an intermediary between the pharmaceutical industry and millions of consumers acting as one through the state, which makes them able to squeeze out the best price) or the individual can, without any problem at all, opt for non-listed medication (say there's a generic drug for heart problems on the list but the individual for some reason only wants the same drug with a well-known brand name that isn't on the list), which then has to be paid out of his/her own pocket.

Everybody happy.



The thing is, if you let a socialist do this (like they tried over here) they fuck it up by not letting the market do its thing and skewing the whole basic principle by giving exclusive rights and what not to different kinds of companies under pressure of pharamaceutical lobbies and labour unions.


 
addi Posted: Thu Apr 3 06:19:11 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Interesting, Christophe. I'm not sure I fully understand this kiwi model, but perhaps that's because it's 6am here and my brain is trying to jump start yet.
I think you'd be pleased to know that reading your post didn't get me sexually excited.

So I'll go out on a limb and say that all of us are in agreement that universal health care is a good thing for citizens, depending on the particulars of how it's set up and regulated.



 
addi Posted: Thu Apr 3 08:43:20 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  Found a good quote from Winston Churchill:

"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries."


 
FN Posted: Thu Apr 3 12:15:38 2008 Post | Quote in Reply  
  addi said:
>Found a good quote from Winston Churchill:
>
>"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries."

I know an even better one

"Capitalism is the unequal distribution of wealth, communism is the equal distribution of poverty."


Even though it isn't accurate as communism skews the distribution of things even more than capitalism could ever dream of doing. How poor is your average communist leader.


 



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