Social Question

ETpro's avatar

Should healthcare be a right reserved for the rich?

Asked by ETpro (34469points) February 17th, 2012

Apparently, Republicans in the US Senate think so. Senator Scot Brown from my own liberal state of Massachusetts signed on as a sponsor of a bill that would allow any employer or insurer to refuse any kind of coverage that they feel violates their beliefs as a religious person, or their own personal sense of morality. The way the bill is worded, there would be nothing to prevent a corporation or insurance company from adopting the moral belief that any costly medical procedure is unethical, and therefore excluded from their coverage. Only those wealthy enough to afford expensive procedures out of pocket would have access to full medical care.

When challenged on the air about this fact, Brown offered the lame-brained excuse that if some employer or insurer did that, they would get sued! Sued for obeying the law he helped write? How would one win a lawsuit when the defendant need only point to the letter of the law? Brown is an attorney and a former prosecutor. He is either acting wilfully ignorant or he must have cheated his way through law school to make such an asinine statement as that.

What is up with the GOP? The War on Contraception, War on Science, War on Healthcare, War on Workers, War on Women, rigging voting rights to exclude demographics that typically lean Democratic, alienating Latinos with the immigration demagoguery, alienating blacks with dog whistle racism, alienating homosexuals with their War on the LGBT Community, the rush for another Middle Eastern war of choice… Have they decided that only by crapping in the hands of virtually every large voting block in America, they are going to somehow win elections? Or have they become so Balkanized, so deep in preaching only to the choir and believing everyone listens exclusively to Faux Noise, that they believe all of America agrees with all these policies?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

90 Answers

tom_g's avatar

First…go Elizabeth Warren!
Second – are you really asking this question? People still believe that they represent their interests. Blame corporate media or just some kind of mental illness, but these chumps win. They could propose cutting off heat from every house in the U.S. that is an even number, and still win if they come up with some horseshit issue and make it devisive…

“Is eating hotdogs in America’s ballparks encouraging homosexuality?”
The media runs with it. Talking heads are commenting that “some people claim that eating hotdogs or seeing someone eat a hotdog can give your kid the gay. The Democrats oppose any and all bills restricting public hotdog consumption. Do Democrats want to give your kids the gay? You decide. More at 11…”

flutherother's avatar

One of the torments of Hell is the knowledge that our sufferings are not inflicted on us out of cruelty but for ethical reasons.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Overreact much? : )
The Democrats do this just as much as, if not more than the Republicans do. A plague on both their houses!

bkcunningham's avatar

What is your definition of a right?

marinelife's avatar

Of course not.

jerv's avatar

@bkcunningham I can’t answer for @ETpro, but many people (myself included) believe that the rights laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are amongst the rights a person has merely by virtue of being born. In fact, the UN has a few things to say about Human Rights, and here is their definition

Now, Article 25, Section 1 of the UDHR reads:“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. ”

@CaptainHarley I disagree. Granted, Democrats do some nasty stuff, but not nearly on the scale that Republicans do. Democrats recognize that women, homosexuals, non-whites, and those who are not financially wealthy are also human beings. Many Republicans these days (at least the ones we here about/from) seem to consider exclusion and discrimination to be somewhere between a virtue and a duty.

bkcunningham's avatar

The UN’s Commission on Human Rights is your standard, @jerv? A commission governed by human rights violators like China, Cuba, Russia, Bahrain? I’m not being argumentative with you. I appreciate your answer. I’m just trying to understand that kind of thinking. Did you know the 2010 U.N. Women board included Saudi Arabia, Libya, Ethiopia and Pakistan?

CaptainHarley's avatar


Sorry, but I can no longer be held responsible for the bad behavior of Republicans. Nor have I undertaken responsibility for Democrat naughtiness, having become a registered Libertarian. : )

In my book, we have only one major political party: the Republicrats ( emphasis on the syllable ”-rats.” : ))

jerv's avatar

@bkcunningham I am a bit tired, so I may not be entirely coherent; please bear with me

Yes, I was aware that human rights violators like the United States were on the Council. (We are not as egregious as others, but we are also far from innocent.) However, the fact that the nations that adopted the UDHR and/or serve on the UNHRC don’t all adhere to the ideals set forth does not make those ideals any less valid. If that were so then you are also claiming that the US Constitution is also null and void, as is the Bible. The thing is, you have to have ideals. Something to strive for. A goal.

But let us set the UN aside for a moment and think about whether or not arbitrary discrimination is valid. Do you feel that it is acceptable to severely affect the lives of many for the worse merely due to your personal bias and/or for personal profit? Or are you the type of person who sometimes winds up doing things they don’t want to simply because it’s the right thing to do?

I am trying to understand how anybody with enough empathy to qualify as “human” could allow people to suffer needlessly; how they could inflict hardship on their fellow humans. Then again, corporations don’t see humans, they see dollar signs, and ideological groups like religious or political organizations may or may not see anybody unlike themselves as “human” and therefore can actually do some pretty nasty things without being truly evil. We won’t even get into those that are malicious. There are all sorts of belief systems out there, and I am sure that many of them allow some pretty heinous acts.

I personally am of the belief that people, no matter how big an asshole they are, are all worthy of the same respect and minimum standard of living (basic food, shelter, and medical care, along with protection from being forced below that standard) regardless of factors such as financial status, but I have no doubt that if an insurance company could save a lot of money by creating their own “religion”, they would have beliefs contrary to mine. It may not be done for the sole purpose of discrimination, but the end result is so close that that scarcely matters.

ETpro's avatar

@tom_g Elizabeth Warren’s got my vote, my financial support, and a willing campaign worker. She’s such a breath of fresh air after the usual Washington BS, and incredibly articulate. She can frame issues so all the smoke and mirror crap the spin miesters cook up blows right away; and you see what’s really at stake.

@CaptainHarley The tired trope that all politicians are the same is both false and ridiculous. If it were true, then George Washington was no better than Adolph Hitler. And while the Democrats are still political animals trying to win office, they are so much more concerned with the decline of the American middle class than the Republicans are that the Hitler comparison in this instance does not cross Godwin’s law. The differences between the two parties today are so glaring that anyone who claims they don’t exist is being willfully ignorant, living under a rock, or simply ignores current events altogether.

bkcunningham I like jerv’s answer, but for present company, how about this: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Without access to healthcare, life is short and happiness is little. Watching a family member die because they can’t afford life saving treatment isn’t my idea of happiness. If it’s yours, then lobby for a system where only the rich can see doctors. But be honest about what you are really trying to push. Don’t cloak it in some BS about religious freedom.i

MollyMcGuire's avatar


Your subsequent questions are just anti-Republican rant rather than real questions.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Should a question like that even be asked?

jerv's avatar

@ZEPHYRA Yes. The last few years have caused a rift between those who believe that government is there for the people, and those who believe that government can and should be run like a business and/or be in charge of legislating morality.
Questions like this must be asked to at least try to get a dialog going. We are close enough to civil unrest as is (the Occupy movement was a small taste of that), and it is probably best for all of us if we defuse the powderkeg that our society has become.

ETpro's avatar

@ZEPHYRA & @MollyMcGuire Are you in favor of a Government that ignores its citizens health but ensures they only discuss government approved thoughts?

CaptainHarley's avatar


Both Democrats and Republicans have contributed to the decline of the middle class, and the process is accelerating under Obama.

tom_g's avatar

@CaptainHarley: “and the process is accelerating under Obama”

Rather than make a statement like this, could you be more specific? What specific actions has Obama taken that are accelerating the decline of the middle class?

CaptainHarley's avatar

Well, just the act of giving massive amounts of money to the financial sector and geometrically increasing aid to the poorer sector ( including those who have fallen out of the middle class ) is sufficient. All the statistics are there for anyone to see.

jerv's avatar

@CaptainHarley I thought a lot of out had to do with the record profits companies are making going to the to, increasing income disparity as the average persons income remains stagnant.

You are correct that aid to the poorer sector has increased geometrically, but do you realize why that is? Think hard. It seems that the Conservative’s economic ideology its no more sound (probably less so) than the Liberals.

ETpro's avatar

@CaptainHarley Let’s work from the fact based Universe. The fact is that from 1933 to 1980, we built the world’s greatest middle class. In 1980, a full 65% of Americans were in the middle class. The top tax rates ran between 92% in the War and 70% in 1980. And we made PLENTY of new millionaires and “job creators” under those tax rates. Reagan slashed the top tax rate to 28%, and the money began to rapidly flow to the top. In 2008 (Before Obama took office) 46% of Americans remained in the middle class, and the trend was constantly down. It only bumped up under Clinton.

Obama did NOT bail out the banks. Bush did that, remember? Look it up if your memory is that short. All that money has been paid back with interest. We the People made money on the deal. Obama bailed out Chrysler and GM. Chrysler has repaid its loan with interest. GM has paid half of its loan, and We the People own stock worth enough to cover the rest given GM’s incredible recovery.

There has been no geometric increase in aid to the poor by Obama. In fact, Welfare and Medicaid remain unchanged from the Bush years and Medicare has been CUT. Bush’s recession just put more people on the rolls to receive aid. And all the Republican presidential candidates with the exception of Ron Paul plan to go right back to Bush’s economic policies, only put them on steroids this time. Their idea is that if one pill a day makes you sick, take two a day.

You can’t show a shred of evidence that Obama made the middle class smaller. The truth is just the opposite. The middle class hit its low at the bottom of the Bush Great Recession and has been rebounding since.

CaptainHarley's avatar


You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.

ETpro's avatar

@CaptainHarley It’s dead tough to drag those that live in the faith based community into the reality based one. I’m not suggesting you abandon plans to vote Libertarian. I am strongly libertarian myself when it comes to the culture war issues. And as the GOP self destructs, we will need a viable party to replace it. But this Presidentail election is an important one for the future of America. I know the Libertarian Party will only get a tiny fraction of the vote, so I am not going to waste my vote there.

vitro's avatar

We all have the right to purchase health insurance, BUT, the employer’s products and services (in this case insurance) is private property. We all have that right too. If they don’t want you on their property, if they don’t want to hire you, or service you, they have that right. The government does not have the power to violate someone’s private property unless it’s an immediate threat to someone else’s freedom and private property. This is why Obama’s contraceptive move is so outrageous for many. He is violating the insurers private property rights. It’s not the first time this happened either. It’s very scary and a slippery slope when the government stops protecting private property rights.

If the government would actually abide by private property rights (which it doesn’t), then two things would happen. Entrepreneurs would arise among those who were refused health insurance from the insurers, and these entrepreneurs would grab and service this newly created market (those who are refused) because there is a lot of money to be made. Or, the existing insurers will see this newly created market and take on those who were refused for the same reason, huge profits.

This new competition would create a lot of change. Mainly prices would be driven down to appeal to as many market participants as possible in the hopes of expanding market capital (own more slices of the pie). The price of purchasing insurance would drastically decline. Works the same way with pharmaceutic, and it’s literally a chain reaction.

It only takes one entrepreneur to do it. They use to sell music cd’s for like $15–30, but people only liked one or two songs, so the market responded and stopped buying music cd’s. Sales went down drastically, companies paid the price. Piracy started to thrive, such as Napster, among others. Then Apple came along and offered itunes. You get to select the songs you like and only pay $1–2 for it. It was no longer worth to pirate and music cd’s prices were drastically lowered to compete with itunes, but those cd’s are now nearly obsolete.

What I basically just described is the law of supply and demand. I didn’t even need to write all that. The law of supply and demand is god. This is just the way the world works no matter how you try to intervene it with the government. Intervening it only causes more problems and delays the inevitable.

Another key point is that there is always going to be ups and downs. It’s not the Governments role to be there when it’s down (as Keynesians believe it is, hence the printing press stimulus’s and government programs). Ups and downs are normal cycles. Not all parts of the market are down, only some, and this is natural because it’s called a market correction. Capitalism isn’t about growth, it’s about progression. There is a difference. The market is far more efficient at correcting the problem and moving forward with it. Again, the law of supply and demand.

Now your question could also mean whether the government should provide healthcare through taxes rather then have the market handle it. Well the answer is no for several reasons. In fact, the answer is too long to even write about, so here is a collection of articles. This is a libertarian pro free-market leaning site, but you’ll get an idea of the perspectives from a non-liberal anti-Keynesian thinker. A Free-Market Guide to Healthcare

vitro's avatar

A brief explanation on the difference between growth and progress. Warning! Another site with libertarian pro free-market leanings. The fallacy of economic growth

This is an endless debate though since Keynesians and Free-market capitalists still don’t and will never agree. Someone made a hip-hop video out of the two perspectives. Fight of the Century: Keynes vs. Hayek Round Two

Fear the Boom and Bust – a Hayek vs. Keynes Rap Anthem

jerv's avatar

@vitro Better to violate the rights of a few dozen companies than the rights of a few dozen million people though. And contrary to what the Supreme Court ruled, I don’t consider corporations to be people.

As for the law of supply and demand, I have two thoughts;

1) Captive markets are so far from free market as to render any and all arguments about supply and demand more invalid than a snail pulling a chariot made of DVDs; and with the employment situation the way it is (people being forced to take whatever they can get) and most people not being able to afford insurance unless it is partially paid for by their employer, “captive market” is exactly what it is. Now, if we truly had a competitive market, I would agree with you more, but we don’t so I don’t.

2) Under an ideal S&D system, those that don’t supply won’t get enough demand to stay in business, so any insurance company that doesn’t cover contraception would suffer severe economic consequences. See above and you will realize that your statement, “supply and demand is god”, is false simply because we do not live in an ideal world; reality is not a controlled laboratory environment where Theory = Fact.

vitro's avatar

Well this is the endless fight I was talking about. I think it’s best for everyone to just do their own research on the two schools of thought and make their own choice rather then have amateur debates on question and forum sites. I probably should have just linked any relative articles to the question instead of writing all that stuff.

It’s better to read the answers from the experts on the school of thought, not an amateur like me.

Ron Paul says US slipping into a fascist system

ETpro's avatar

@vitro Companies doing business with the public are selling wares, not private property. The Constitution makes it abundantly clear that the Federal Government can regulate interstate trade. States also require their citizens to purchase certain things in order to operate a motor vehicke. They require education and licensing to provide medical care. THey require that food manufactures do not sell food that kills their customers.

I do agree that there needs to be a proper balance between the right to run your own business your own way I own a small business, so this is important to me. But the public has a right to expect business to provide safe, reliable products, to not use market manipulation and price fixing to gouge consumers, and to serve all citizens rather than practice racial or religious discrimination. It’s a debate that we definitely need to have, and must keep considering lest things drift too far in either direction.

vitro's avatar

It’s clear that it can regulate, but, “Dispute exists within the courts as to the range of powers granted to Congress by the Commerce Clause. As noted below, the clause is often paired with the Necessary and Proper Clause, the combination used to take a broad, expansive perspective of these powers. However, the interpretation of the Commerce Clause has depended on the Supreme Court’s reading. During the John Marshall era the Commerce Clause was empowered and gained jurisdiction over several aspects of intrastate and interstate commerce as well as non-commerce. During the William Rehnquist court era the Commerce Clause was restricted, thereby allowing states more control over business conducted within its borders.” its from wiki

Look, an example of this. The new deal was found unconstitutional, twice. If it was that simple it would be smooth sailing.

Here is what former Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist observed: _“President Roosevelt lost the Court-packing battle, but he won the war for control of the Supreme Court… not by any novel legislation, but by serving in office for more than twelve years, and appointing eight of the nine Justices of the Court. In this way the Constitution provides for ultimate responsibility of the Court to the political branches of government. [Yet] it was the United States Senate – a political body if there ever was one – who stepped in and saved the independence of the judiciary… in Franklin Roosevelt’s Court-packing plan in 1937.

This is why under Justice William Rehnquist the commerce clause was restricted. See, all a matter of perspectives and interpretations. Also, not all states require everything. It depends on each state. For example, Vermont has no gun laws. No permits, no nothing. It’s to protect the individual who is buying the gun so that the state cannot trace him in case of tyranny. No identity. They also have the lowest crime rate in the country.

This is yet another endless debate on whether on not the market can regulate itself. Which I believe it can with well defined property rights and contracts. I mean you don’t have to look to far to see failed regulations all around you. A new study just found arsenic in infant formulas. Where the hell were the regulators? Or when a elevator shaft collapses and kills the people. Where the hell were the regulators to inspect it? Or when a massive commercial crane falls in the city, where were the regulators? Bernie Madoff? Financial Crisis? Where was the Sec and Fed? List is endless, and we spend $200 billion tax dollars on these failures. Plus you have a huge amount of capturing that occurs. Like how half the staff at Goldman sachs worked/works in government positions. Receiving regulating positions and then regulating themselves and punishing the rest of the market. Or simply lobbying, bribing the regulators.

Nothing is simple here.

vitro's avatar

Look at how Ron Paul views the commerce clause…

“On June 4, 2004, Congress hailed the 40th anniversary of the 1964 Act. Only the heroic Ron Paul dissented. Here are his comments.

Mr. Speaker, I rise to explain my objection to H.Res. 676. I certainly join my colleagues in urging Americans to celebrate the progress this country has made in race relations. However, contrary to the claims of the supporters of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the sponsors of H.Res. 676, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not improve race relations or enhance freedom. Instead, the forced integration dictated by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 increased racial tensions while diminishing individual liberty.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave the federal government unprecedented power over the hiring, employee relations, and customer service practices of every business in the country. The result was a massive violation of the rights of private property and contract, which are the bedrocks of free society. The federal government has no legitimate authority to infringe on the rights of private property owners to use their property as they please and to form (or not form) contracts with terms mutually agreeable to all parties. The rights of all private property owners, even those whose actions decent people find abhorrent, must be respected if we are to maintain a free society.

This expansion of federal power was based on an erroneous interpretation of the congressional power to regulate interstate commerce. The framers of the Constitution intended the interstate commerce clause to create a free trade zone among the states, not to give the federal government regulatory power over every business that has any connection with interstate commerce.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 not only violated the Constitution and reduced individual liberty; it also failed to achieve its stated goals of promoting racial harmony and a color-blind society. Federal bureaucrats and judges cannot read minds to see if actions are motivated by racism. Therefore, the only way the federal government could ensure an employer was not violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was to ensure that the racial composition of a business’s workforce matched the racial composition of a bureaucrat or judge’s defined body of potential employees. Thus, bureaucrats began forcing employers to hire by racial quota. Racial quotas have not contributed to racial harmony or advanced the goal of a color-blind society. Instead, these quotas encouraged racial balkanization, and fostered racial strife.

Of course, America has made great strides in race relations over the past forty years. However, this progress is due to changes in public attitudes and private efforts. Relations between the races have improved despite, not because of, the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, while I join the sponsors of H.Res. 676 in promoting racial harmony and individual liberty, the fact is the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not accomplish these goals. Instead, this law unconstitutionally expanded federal power, thus reducing liberty. Furthermore, by prompting raced-based quotas, this law undermined efforts to achieve a color-blind society and increased racial strife. Therefore, I must oppose H.Res. 676.” Source

jerv's avatar

@vitro A lot of people like Ron Paul believe that State’s Rights trump EVERYTHING else; the rest of the Constitution, the Magna Carta, human rights, the laws of physics.

Other believe that the ONLY rights that exist are property rights; that free speech, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness the right to breathe…. none of those are rights.

Also note that the reason we have price-gouging and all that is because the market does not regulate itself. And would you please explain to me why the insurance industry got all up-in-arms about being told that they had to use their revenue for benefits to their premium-payers instead of for profit (mostly to the execs, since regular workers don’t get wage increases)? Seems to me that if the market could regulate itself, it would be unnecessary for government to step in.

Or are you just wanting a Profitocracy, where business reigns supreme, and fuck everyone who isn’t a corporate executive or shareholder? If not, then tell me how/why I am wrong in that assessment.

vitro's avatar

The way I understand the argument of a free-market capitalist is that the government doesn’t allow the market to fix itself (doesn’t give it time). So like if someone dies in a fire accident inside of a factory, the government quickly intervenes to “prevent and protect” this from ever happening again which is obviously bullshit. In other words, the government doesn’t give supply and demand to run its course, and as I said earlier, the Keynesian philosophy, is that whenever there is a problem in the market, whenever there is a downtime, the government must quickly intervene.

Now, as for price gouging. I’m not saying anything else because I’m falling trap for all these endless debates, however, all these links (you don’t actually have to read it), but what does it tell you about the amount of perspective and opposing opinions here…I would think it is telling me that nothing is clear and simple.

Price Gouging Is Essential and Humane

Fill-in-the-Blank Article About Price-Gouging Laws

Price Gouging Saves Lives

Let ’Em Gouge: A Defense of Price Gouging

The problem with price gouging laws

Price Gouging in the Public Interest

How FDR Promoted Price-Gouging

The Non-Crime of Price Gouging

Price Gouging Laws Hurt Storm Victims

Preventing Post-Disaster Price Gouging Yields Devastating Results

The titles give you a hint. The healthcare collection links are in my first post.

ETpro's avatar

@vitro A handful of oligarchic billionaires and the CEOs of the world’s largest multinational corporations pay billions to fund Reich-wing think tanks in all 50 states cranking out article after article anout the perfection ot letting them fix prices, manipulate markets, run insider trading scams and basically behave like Enron. Perhaps yuo are one of them, and you will pocted billions if you can sell such clap-trap. But if not, you’re being duped into hurting yourself aln all around you to help those who need no help at all—who have already gotten all the breaks. If we follow that ideology, America will be a banana republic within a generation.

vitro's avatar

The links I gave you are libertarian philosophy. It’s real free-market capitalism. Right wingers believe in Reaganomics. Supply side only. No sane libertarian would side with them. Also, Ron Paul is probably the only person who isn’t Corporate sponsored. In fact, they hate him.

If you can prove that libertarian philosophy and their perspectives on free-market capitalism is secretly sponsored by Corporations, I’ll most certainly rethink my views.

I’m not exactly sure how I’m being duped either. They presented there arguments at their various websites, and it made sense to me and since I would like to see such a system in my lifetime, I would like to share it with someone who might not be aware of it. Hence, why I’m answering your question.

Hey, I’m just throwing it out there. You don’t have to read it if you don’t want, or if you read it and don’t agree, that is fine too. Hence my original post, this is an endless debate between opposing philosophies. You did ask the question…

ETpro's avatar

Agreed Ron Paul isn’t corporate sponsored. His theiories have no valifity, though. THey are untried, and when we came close to trying them during the gilded age, they were an abysmal disaster that led to enormous wealth inequity and eventually the Great Depression.

vitro's avatar

Common ET, you’re just setting me up for more debates. You know your comment right there is only a liberal point of view. Ron Paul has plenty of validity. Why don’t ask the free-market libertarians what the gilded age was really like. If you’re really interested in the other side of the story, I’ll be happy to provide you with the links to their perspectives.

ETpro's avatar

@vitro I don’t ask partisan ideologues what something is or was like. I rely on unbiased historians. I am just about to turn 68, so I have a perspective on history myself that I need not ask amybody about. I loved it.

vitro's avatar

Free-market libertarian philosophy is a collection of scholars who are both historians and economists. They have all their credentials posted.

I’m actually curious what constitutes as a non-biased historian? Let me guess, the way the liberal professors printed it out in the text books they issued in class? :)

Ah, you’re 68, then yes, I’m wasting my time. At that age, a persons thoughts are deeply ingrained and usually don’t change their perspectives.

ETpro's avatar

@vitro They are also a tiny fringe of the economists and thinkers, and their theories have never been fully tried. To the degree they were tried, they were an abject failure. I tend to doubt people who are so ideologically biased that they insist that if a small dose of their medicine makes you violently ill, you just haven’t taken enough.

vitro's avatar

But that is where you’re victim of bias (a liberal viewpoint). On the contrary, to the degree it was tried, it was a brilliant success. Actually, you can look at modern times. In parts of Asia which the entire world depends on at this moment in history. To a degree, it’s being practiced with great success. Hong Kong, for example. Leading the world economy for how many years now? 17?

ETpro's avatar

Hong Kong and Singapore are tiny bastions of crony capitalism. It works because the giant China makes it work. And it only works for a tiny handful of people. During the Gilded Age here, we had GDP growth almost equal to what FDR and the Post War Boom achieved with very liberal policies. But in the Gilded Age, the growth benefited a tiny group of robber barons. There were trusts and market manipulation. There was no real middle class, and most of America was held in wage slavery. Food poisoning was commonplace, and officials were paid off to do nothing about it. Child labor was a mainstay of manufacturing. Children labored 14 hour days fro a starvation wage. Many died because there was no workplace safety. Robber Barons hired thugs to beat and lynch any worker who tried to oprganize for decent pay and workplace safety. And the end result of the income and wealth inequality was the Great Depression. These are the things your God, Ron Paul frogets to mention in his rush toward regressive policies.

No thank you. Been there, done that, got the tee shirt. I have NO desire to go back and try it again. We will not win the 21st century by retreating to 19th century failed policies.

vitro's avatar

Wow, like I didn’t see that coming. Straight out of the liberal professors txt book. You see, there you go again, you don’t have an economic concept of capitalism. It’s not about growth. Capitalism is about progress. The Fallacy Of Economic Growth

Hong Kong and Singapore don’t have Crony capitalism and don’t depend on China, that is the whole point of why it’s booming and why I used it as an example. It’s unregulated. It’s a supply and demand market.

Now something you and every liberal needs to get through to your head. Income inequality is the product of human beings being different and performing at different levels and that’s life…get over it! Supply and demand sets the value of a persons work and its price. The market negotiates and decides. Whatever you see is fair and natural.

The government has no business (nor any constitutional authority) anywhere to take income from one group and give that income to other groups to achieve income equality. Speaking of inequality, I’m sure you never heard of this, but the latest study show that the 99% ows crowd is actually in the 5% of the richest on the planet. So how about we take their money and redistribute it to the 95% of the poorer countries, and then ask the 99% how they like wealth distribution.

On with the show, the real facts…

There was no wage slavery because it was a free-market. It means prices were negotiated and agreed upon. Supply and demand set the prices. People were not starving and were not suffering from food poison. On the contrary, the poorest were living better then anyone in the entire world at that time. Government intervention and the federal reserve was responsible for the great depression, not the gilded age. Government intervention made millions of poor people suffer and prolonged the great depression.

I know you’re not going to read any of this, but at least someone else will see through your lies and biases. I’m done here.

Contrary to your liberal bias on Robber barons, here’s the real story. The Truth About the Robber Barons

Facts about the Industrial Revolution

The Popular Interpretation of the Industrial Revolution

Redeeming the Industrial Revolution

Individualism And The Industrial Revolution

Reviving the Invisible Hand: The Case for Classical Liberalism in the Twenty-first Century

The Gilded Age: A Modest Revision

The Prophet of the Great Depression

The Great Depression

America’s Great Depression

How FDR’s New Deal Harmed Millions of Poor People

Regime Uncertainty: Why the Great Depression Lasted So Long and Why Prosperity Resumed after the War

The Government and the Great Depression

The Not So-Great Depression

What Are We Teaching Our Kids

The Ghost of John D. Rockefeller

The Trouble With Child Labor Laws

The Fallacy of Child-Labor-Free

The Child Labor Debate

Sweatshops and Third World Living Standards: Are the Jobs Worth the Sweat?

A History of Labor Unions from Colonial Times to 2009

The Union Myth

Wage Inference By Government

Minimum Wage Rates

vitro's avatar

It’s amazing how you can claim the gilded age caused the great depression when the federal reserve chairman admitted it himself, that the FED caused the great depression.

“Let me end my talk by abusing slightly my status as an official representative of the Federal Reserve. I would like to say to Milton and Anna: Regarding the Great Depression. You’re right, we did it. We’re very sorry. But thanks to you, we won’t do it again.”—Ben Bernanke

CaptainHarley's avatar

Back a few decades, they use to talk about a “Mixed economy.” It was basically a free market economy, but with sufficient government intervention to keep the economy from riding roughshod over people and their rights. I strongly suspect this is what we need in the long run, but right now we need to remember what constitutes a free market economy, since we seem to have forgotten.

vitro's avatar

To protect people’s rights, you don’t need a mixed economy. You need the government to actually protect property rights and the contracts we sign. Whenever a problem arises, all one needs to do is show the damage done to their private property or the contract that was breached. Everything else is handled through peaceful negotiation trading between buyers and sellers, workers and employers (law of supply and demand). The people set the price and value. This is why in a real supply and demand system, unions should be severely punished because they breach the contracts they signed prior to applying for the job. If they’re not happy with the wages, then leave, or don’t take the job. They knew damn well how much they were going to make and what benefits they were going to receive when they signed up for the jobs. Instead they use violence to change their contracts. They destroy private property, harass and hurt employers, strike which causes unnecessary damage to the business. This isn’t trading, this is demand side only through violence.

“The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.”
-Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820–1903)

“Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.”—James Bovard, Civil Libertarian

“A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money.”—G. Gordon Liddy

CaptainHarley's avatar

The essence of intellect, in my opinion, is learning from the mistakes of others without having to make them yourself.

jerv's avatar

This is becoming all too common in my old age, but I have to side with @CaptainHarley here. Free market leads to abuse. Anything run by humans without some form of checks and balances leads to bad things happening.

Now, @vitro, you seem to ignore history even when @ETpro presents it to you. You seem to think that the world can be run on contracts, that negotiation will always be peaceful, that exploitation will never happen, EVEN THOUGH HISTORY PROVES OTHERWISE! You seem to think that a true Supply and Demand system without corruption is humanly possible.

You want employers and sellers to have ALL the power; negotiating under duress doesn’t work, and most people will pay any price or agree to any terms to avoid starving to death. Either that or you want unemployment to run rampant since I don’t see employers offering what people demand, so eitehr way you have coercion.

The more I read of your posts, the more I am convinced that you are either psychotic, or a troll. Now, tell me, what is the worst off you have ever been? How picky can you afford to be? Have you ever been so hard up that you would agree to anything just to sleep somewhere where the temperature is above freezing and you don’t have to eat out of the trash? If you answer “No.” then you are an idealist on top of everything else.

vitro's avatar

Quite the opposite. The government (who is composed of corrupt and stupid people) is the one that causes suffering to the market. The market fixes suffering. Government cause and prolongs it. There is no idealism. You won’t always have good times. Capitalism is ups and downs. You will have unemployed, poor and sick people in any system. However, you would have less suffering in a non-government one and the suffering would be fixed sooner then the government may have dream of (law of supply and demand is god).

I’m not ignoring history, i’m just not buying into ETpro’s liberal spin on history, hence the links. There isn’t always peaceful negotiation and that is why we have police and military to make sure we play nice. Unions are a prime example of violent negotiations and they should be punished for it. They breach contracts and violate property rights to achieve their goals. They create no real price and value in the market. It’s only demand side with violence.

Giving employers and sellers all the power is supply side economics. That would be Reaganomics. That is the opposite of the law of supply and demand. Someone’s distress is not someone else’s problem. You don’t violate one to help the other. If employers don’t offer what they demand then you don’t have a market. The law of supply and demand always reaches an equilibrium. They both need something from each other. One needs an employer, the other needs the employee. Furthermore, not all participants are distressed. Most aren’t. Eventually you reach an equilibrium that satisfied both the distressed and normal.

I have never been worse off but it isn’t societies responsibility to support the distressed. Those who are distressed have to make the sacrifices. It isn’t the employers, or societies responsibility. If you don’t know how to be civilized in a society, then you don’t belong in one. The alternative is violence and that is unacceptable. Go live in a box on the street temporarily. Go bathe in public restrooms. Go eat what people throw away. You cut your expenses and you save on whatever minimum wage you make for a brighter future. You cannot expect a burger flipper to receive a full pension plans and $20 an hour. That simply has no real value and an inflated price. It is a bankrupt plan. I’ll say it again. Income inequality is the product of human beings being different and performing at different levels and that’s life…get over it!

I’m not psychotic or a troll, I just don’t suffer from an entitlement mentality.

bkcunningham's avatar

@ETpro, with all due respect, your response to me is the reason for such a deep divide amongst people with different points of view without any compromise or understanding of other’s points of view. When you take an opportuntity to answer a question with some arrogant, condescending, know-it-all, I’m Better Than You, biased rant on religion when the question has nothing whatsoever to do with someone’s personal faith, it completely makes anything else you say to be become like the teacher’s voice in Charlie Brown.

CaptainHarley's avatar


I am really beginning to be concerned about you! You are being entirely too agreeable with me.

Wait! Have you been taking your meds?? ; ))

jerv's avatar

@vitro You cannot expect people to ever be able to move out of cardboard boxes if there are no jobs, or what jobs there are don’t pay enough to live on. You may not think you are supporting supply-side economics, but you actually are.

As it stands, the laws of supply and demand have already lead to high unemployment (less need for employees), wage stagnation (people with jobs are happy enough to not be unemployed that they tolerate all of the increased profits going to their bosses as their own benefits get cut), and other such problems. You may want to solve that, but your proposed solutions are like trying to put out a fire by dumping gasoline on it.

Those who are distressed have to make the sacrifices, eh? What is there to sacrifice? Or do you support/endorse genocide based on economic status? Your idea of “civilized society” is elitist. Income inequality is one thing, but there is a point where it is ridiculous. 30-to-1 wasn’t bad, but, the current 500-to-1 or more is. Productivity per worker has increased, as have the incomes of those in the top brackets, but the people who are actually doing more are getting less.

And before you accuse me of being a Liberal suffering from an entitlement mentality, you should know that I despise intrusive, incompetent governments, and when I see their intervention as a necessary evil, that should tell you how bad I see the alternative. I also feel that nobody is entitled to more than the bare necessities of life. I have a smartphone and drink beer because I work a job that pays me enough to afford those luxuries, and I feel that anyone else who wants more than the bare minimum (food, shelter, basic medical care, a chance to be self-sufficient…) must earn it, but unlike you, I do not see life itself as a luxury.

@CaptainHarley The more we interact, and the more people like @vitro I see, the more I realize that you really are not that Conservative. By the same token, I am not nearly as Liberal as some people make me out to be. Like you, my own politics are a mix of both philosophies.

CaptainHarley's avatar


See?? There you go again, taking me WAY too seriously. TISK! LOL!

vitro's avatar

It’s not the supplier’s fault that there aren’t enough jobs for everyone. It’s the governments fault. Regulations, High taxes, inflation (Federal Reserve), stimulus’s, unions, government spending, tariffs, barriers, these are the problem. This causes unemployment. This causes increased poverty. Actually the extreme rise in inequality is specifically tied to the Federal Reserve. Here, this is explained like to a 2 year old. Rich & Poor Divide If we left it to the laws of supply and demand we would be dominating the world like Hong Kong.

People just cry to governments when there are down times, so politicians offer them free candy and that gains votes and the government grows and grows. Who are you going to vote for, someone who gives you free candy, or someone who tells you to get your own candy? Well if the government quickly intervenes when people cry, then that means the market isn’t given the chance to fix itself. The law of supply and demand is destroyed by the government. Now come all the problems. Also, any fix that the government does is temporary and gives the illusion of success but the real damage is long term.

Desperation is not an excuse to be immoral. If the distressed don’t find a way to sustain themselves, it does not justify any of their violent actions upon the peaceful market.

jerv's avatar

@vitro I agree that there are downsides to government intervention/control, but those far outweigh the costs of letting the inmates run the asylum. See, the big difference between you and I is that you assume that theories work and that humans are rational creatures. Note that Hong Kong has it’s own problems, not that you would care since a booming economy is the only thing that seems to matter to you.

As for desperation not being an excuse for immorality, you said yourself that you have never suffered. That tells me that you are all theory. Now tell me, what you you think of Jean Valjean stealing bread in Les Miserables? I see it as a distressed person found a way to support himself and his nieces/nephews when there was no other way. Since private charities fall far short of fulfilling needs, that means that either we have government step in or we have poverty run rampant and crime rates increase accordingly.

Or are you merely saying that because the poor don’t follow your ideals of “civilized behavior”, they are nothing more than animals and should just die? The third alternative is to admit that you have no clue about how the really real world works, but I prefer to think that you are an otherwise intelligent person who merely didn’t think things through. (Please don’t burst that little bubble of self-delusion!)

People will do whatever they have to to survive. If there isn’t a way to do so legally, guess what? And if there isn’t a way to do so peacefully, things get worse. Let me say that again; People will do WHATEVER they have to to survive!

Put another way, if you were correct about the way things work, we would not need police. People would naturally behave themselves. The fact that police are necessary goes towards proving that you are at best idealistic.

It would be nice if you were correct. I really wish you were right. But you aren’t.

vitro's avatar

It’s not theories though. The gilded era, Hong Kong, Sinapore, these are living examples in the success of supply and demand. They stand out to the rest of the worlds conditions. Nothing is perfect, but they set the standard. Everyone plays catch up. Note that everyone has problems. This isn’t a perfect world. Problems are normal. The question is who fixes the problems. The people? Or the government. You don’t put formulas and wrenches on people. They’re not chess pieces. It’s organic.

In a free-society charity would be more efficient because the cost of living would be cheaper and the tax burden would be removed. Secondly, since the dawn of man poverty existed, BUT, it has never exceeded the population. It always was, is, and forever will be a small minority. In a free society poverty would drastically decrease due to the lower cost of living. Competition drives prices down. Employment increases. Tax burdens are gone.

As for Jean Valjean, do you hear yourself? Let me ask you a famous question. Would you kill a baby to save the world? It seems like you would. I wouldn’t because I hold that each individual is indispensable. I don’t think that individuals should be sacrificed to protect the distressed or the greater good. It’s actually a nightmare. To work all your life just to keep supporting people who cannot sustain themselves. When is it going to be enough? You know that welfare recipients produce 3x the amount of babies then the working class? That is 3x the amount of burden for the working class. When is this irresponsibility going to end? Never! Because there is always going to be a minority of people who are irresponsible. At some point you have to cut your losses and have them figure it out on their own. In a free market society Jean Valjean wouldn’t have to resort to that, and since he did, I cannot approve because although he didn’t kill anyone, he caused damage to someone innocent who has equal value. If the minority poor become a complete menace to society (people will do whatever it takes to survive) then they will be handled by the police, and they will not only sit and enjoy the luxuries of prison, they will be forced to work (ball-chain gangs).

Finally, do you not see what times you live in? We have a 16 trillion debt, poverty on the rise, employment up, inflation up, sick people up, crime? Down, but still plenty of it, and most of all, with over tens of thousand of regulations, millions of people are still getting hurt in the market. The whole world is dipping into a recession (no it’s not because of greece alone), and yet you still think this is a better reality then a limited form of government.

jerv's avatar

@vitro ~Yes, police states where people are restricted but markets are not are better than free societies that restrict markets based on the abuses of the past.

Sorry, I am laughing too hard to address the rest of your post :D

Brian1946's avatar


“As for Jean Valjean, do you hear yourself? Let me ask you a famous question. Would you kill a baby to save the world? It seems like you would.”

Do you advocate capital punishment for bread theft?

bkcunningham's avatar

To me, the discussion has turned to welfare rights versus liberty rights.

jerv's avatar

@bkcunningham To me, it’s become more about business rights versus human rights, but c’est la vie.

@Brian1946 Actually, I think that was asked because he(?) is incapable of a simple cost/benefit analysis.

vitro's avatar


No, not capital punishment, but they will be treated like any other thief accept that prison won’t be an escape to receive welfare, they will be forced to work at gun point (look up ball-chain gangs).


Oh, I’m incapable? Hehe, ok, whatever.

jerv's avatar

@vitro If you feel that 1 is more valuable than >6.8 billion and are willing to watch the world burn as a result, then yes.

vitro's avatar

This is the exact government thinking I would expect.

“I’m too stupid to count, so the government should count for me”.

“And me (jerv), I’m pretty intelligent, and therefore I need to be on top of the government ranks to watch over stupid people like vitro who can’t count. ”

Am I right, jerv?

jerv's avatar

@vitro Actually, so far wrong that I just snorted soda out of my nose due to laughing so hard. Thank you for that!

ETpro's avatar

@vitro I’m done discussing with you. Argument by assertion, simply stating the other guy is wrong, is a logical fallacy. Posting 50 links to websites that support your ideology is not proof, and it isn’t something I have time to read. Push your cause. Vote for Dr. Paul in the Primary. Perhaps he will run on a third party ticket or as an independent. But he won’t be president, so what he believes is worthy of debate but not concern.

@bkcunningham I’m not sure what you are talking about regarding religion. You asked me, “What is your definition of a right?” I quoted you the preamble to the Declaration of Independence, and explained how I felt the rights delineated therein pertain to healthcare. That answer was close to my heart. I have buried my only daughter, my first wife and my mother and father. I know how it feels to watch loved ones dying around you. I am sorry if you felt I was mocking you but that was certainly not my intention.

CaptainHarley's avatar


That is probably the one thing that would kill my spirit… losing a child or grandchild. I grieve for you, and will pray that you gain peace in your heart.

ETpro's avatar

@CaptainHarley Thank you. That was the hardest loss I have ever experienced. You expect to bury yur parents at some point. Mine lived far beyond the norm. Dad was 98 when he quit the fight. But nobody expects to outlive their child. Fortunately I have two boys who are doing great in life and who make me enormously proud of them. That helps, as more and more as the years have gone by. Also, Andrea died two days after giving birth to a granddaughter. She is the spitting image of her mother. So life goes on.

bkcunningham's avatar

ETpro, I have buried two small children, my husband and my mother. My oldest brother died two years ago Dec. 13 from cancer. He only went to the doctor at the very end of his life because of the fear and pain. He didn’t have insurance. I guess he knew he was dying and didn’t want to leave behind a moutain of unpaid medical bills. Instead, he left behind a wife who is cleaning houses to make ends meet. She doesn’t have health insurance either. My 92 year old father had to pay to have him cremated.

I understand loss.

My question “What is your definition of a right,” wasn’t cloaked, as you said, in “BS about religious freedom.” I have no idea how you came to that conclusion. I didn’t intend to start some kind of poker game with death and illness being added to the the kitty and me trying to trump the loss of your daughter. I’m very sorry for your loss. None of us should have to bury our children.

But you know and I know, having some magic fairy godmother pay for the best health care and medical treatment in the world and giving it away to everyone won’t stop us from having tragic losses. I’ve spoken to mothers and fathers who had the best health insurance money could buy and they’ve buried their children. I have a very good friend who I met in grief counseling whose three year old son died from neuroblastoma.

The stories she told me, not just about her little Jon Jon, but about the other parents and children who came into their lives because of cancer, stop me in my tracks to this day. She and her husband started a foundation to help other families pay their medical bills and the expenses that come from having children in treatment for long periods of time.

Anyway, I’m sorry for your loss. I asked a very simple question in an attempt to have a conversation.

jerv's avatar

I have been fortunate in that most of the many deaths in my family were rather sudden, and most of the remainder were inevitable, but there are a couple that would have greatly benefited from early detection and preventative care that you can only get when you are able to go to the doctor.
I should also note that the only relatives I still have left are the ones that have insurance (seven of the eight departed did not; my father was a veteran, and thus covered by the VA, and he was the only one that lived to 65), so it’s not like health coverage and mortality are completely unrelated.

bkcunningham's avatar

I agree with you, @jerv. Just like with my brother. If he had the same Blue Cross/Blue Shield coverage he grew up with and maintained until some bad decisions forced him to give up his insurance, he may still be alive today. Who knows? My dad is 92, a veteran and to this day keeps his own secondary BC insurance as a supplement to his Medicare. My mom had the same insurance and died from renal failure at 76.

So what would you provide in the form of early detection and preventive care? Also, what other health services would you want to provide? How far would you take it, I suppose is what I’m asking. Even now, there are varying degrees of health care when you can afford health insurance or when you see a health care provider.

jerv's avatar

@bkcunningham Just being able to see a doctor for a mere co-pay or on a sliding scale can go a long way.

Back in NH, I was uninsured for a while and fortunate that I never required medical attention. Now, I am older and less robust though, so I doubt I could be so lucky now. As it stands, I need thousands of dollars worth of dental work that wouldn’t be necessary if I had spent a few hundred back when I often had to decide between paying rent or buying food, or had subsidies to cover it. (My employer offered good medical benefits, but no dental plan and, like many Americans, I couldn’t afford private insurance.)

The last time I went to the ER would’ve been nearly $5,000 if not for my employer providing insurance that covered most of that. When I first moved to Seattle, I got severely sick, but Seattle has something that NH did not; clinics that charged on a sliding scale. Were I forced to pay the entire bill, who knows what would’ve happened, but at the time our household income was low enough that it only cost me $25. And remember, as hard as I’ve had out st times, I am lucky. My uninsured father-in-law spent two months in the ICU; that racked up six-figure medical bills. Even the well-off rarely have an extra $115,000 laying around for a rainy day.

How far to go? Far enough to preserve human life in a cost-effective manner. My FIL’s issues could have been headed off before he wound up in the ICU, and probably for less than 1% of the cost. If saving a dollar now costs you a hundred dollars or more later, how much money do you save in the long run?

ETpro's avatar

@bkcunningham I reread my response to you, and see what you were upset by., I did not mean that you are claiming a religious imperative for just letting the poor die, but that many right wingers do. If it seemed like I was aiming that at you—and I can see how it would be taken that way—then I sincerely apologize. That was not my intention.

Ron_C's avatar

@bkcunningham ” A commission governed by human rights violators like China, Cuba, Russia, Bahrain? I’m not being argumentative with you. I appreciate your answer. I’m just trying to understand that kind of thinking. Did you know the 2010 U.N. Women board included Saudi Arabia, Libya, Ethiopia and Pakistan?” Isn’t it amazing that even countries with poor human right records still retain the ability to see that medical coverage is a human right? In the meantime the U.S. with its history of torture and now remote assassination doesn’t provide for the constitutional mandate for the pursuit of happiness. Ironic isn’t it?

GracieT's avatar

I have insurance, Medicare, and I pay over $650.00 ever three months. The last three months of each year I pay over $1500.00 for medicine. I’m one of the lucky ones, because I can afford it. Most of the people on Medicare, and many on private insurance would not be able to. Why should the very things that help us survive be denied to us because of lack of insurance or to little money? What makes those us that have insurance and enough money to pay more entitled to survive? I know some people that cannot afford and so have had to deny procedures that enable them to have a quality of life that most of us take for granted.

jerv's avatar

Like many employers, mine pays most (90%) of my premium, but only 50% for spouses/domestic partners/children. That means that I pay around $2,500/year for insurance alone, plus whatever co-pays and medications we rack up. I actually spend more just to have insurance than I normally did for medical care back when I was uninsured. The only reason it’s even really worthwhile considering the high premiums is for catastrophic stuff like serious injury and such.

However, like @GracieT, I am lucky to have an employer that helps with the premiums at all, and enough income to pay my share. Many millions of Americans don’t have that luxury; either jobless through no fault of their own, working for an employer that doesn’t offer insurance, or earning too little to afford what they are offered and still make rent. And many of them have children who are likewise uninsured.

Yet many of the people who claim healthcare is a privilege have never truly suffered hardship, and it’s easy to dismiss those unlike you. If you grow up not knowing what life is really like for those that must struggle to merely survive, it is easy to remain detached and regard those less fortunate than you as mere statistics or animals instead of actual humans. Poverty is not just something that exists on TV shows; it’s reality. And those few who struggled for a while and then made it big are a minority; hard work is no guarantee of success, or even survival. And so long as there are those that consider non-rich to mean lazy or non-human, the problems we have will continue.

vitro's avatar


I agree with you here. In order to understand the plight of the poor and sick, you have to see their weakness in yourself. Someone who is self-reliant may/may not understand this. The shift of society depends upon how many are weak and how many are strong. If you have a society filled with enough weak people, then you stand a chance at healthcare nationalization because mob rule triumphs over individuals and triumphs over the Constitution that is supposed to protect the individual from mob rule. This holds true around the world. Prior to nationalization, one only needs to take a look at the quality of society at that point in time. How many were self-reliant vs how many were not. It doesn’t matter if what the weak want is only going to increase their suffering and is unsustainable because the will simply triumphs.

It all depends on 3 questions.

1. Who is causing the suffering for those who are weak? The government? The Strong? Or the weak?

2. Who should minimize the suffering of the weak? The Strong? The Government? Or the weak? Depending on the answer of 1 will determine the answer of 2.

3. What is the correct method for fixing this problem? The Strong? The Government? Or the weak? Depending on the answer of 2 will determine the answer of 3.

jerv's avatar

@vitro I am happy to see that you and I are finally finding common ground. Regardless of the cause or solution, there can be no effective change without communication and a mutual desire to make things better for all.

Part of the problem with healthcare is costs. Sure, doctors earn a lot, but they also pay a lot for their education and for malpractice/liability insurance. Yes, lowering tuition would have at least some effect on healthcare costs; the economy is a complex web of interactions.

Part of the problem is that our society is changing in many ways, including an increase in the number of the weak and the strength of the strong. Even when change is for the better, transition is rough.

More later; break time is over…

vitro's avatar

I’m pretty sure the goal of most people is to make things better for everyone, but due to the fundamental differences on the view of what causes problems and the solutions for making things better isn’t going to allow an effective change to happen. Well, you will have an effective change, but it won’t benefit everyone. Hence, mob rule. If the goal of most people is to only make things better for themselves, and not for everyone, then that is all the more reason for mob rule. What one can only do is understand how to control the mob to his/her favor.

There is no in-between answer. There is a right answer and a wrong answer. Each perspective explains why the other is wrong. Like the perspectives on the collection of links I gave you for the causes and solution for healthcare. Now you can just go to the other base, and they will show you theirs. If the mob follows one more then the other, there is your winner, even if it’s wrong and harmful for them and everyone else.

flutherother's avatar

People need healthcare bank accounts don’t.

jerv's avatar

I wonder if that really is a shared goal though, unless both sides have different definitions of “everyone”.

To some, making things better means increasing total GDP/corporate profits under the notion that that will automatically lead to everyone prospering. thus able to live at least self-sufficiently. Those people also tend to believe that those who fall behind (like the long-term unemployed, the working poor…) are weak-willed and/or lazy, The last few decades have proven that that isn’t the case, so those people are now claiming that the problems that have been getting worse can only be solved by taking many of the major contributing factors and dosing them up on steroids and PCP. I consider those people dangerously misguided at best.

Then there are those who feel that the best way to make life better is to penalize the rich merely for being rich (of course, right now the top tiers are about the only ones we can tap for revenue since they are the only ones that have actually been prospering in recent years while more and more either remain stagnant or slide downwards, but I digress.) and use that money to generate handouts, bureaucracy, entitlement mentality, etcetera.

Then there are the people either in the middle or off to the side who are considered wishy-washy as they are not extremist enough to garner much attention or respect. See, I disagree about there being no “in-between” answers, though you are correct that there is no way to go about things without someone getting hurt. You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.

The trick is not to find a perfect solution that doesn’t exist, but the optimal solution that has the greatest benefit while causing the least harm. Of course, those who are even merely inconvenienced will take issue with any objectively fair solution, as will those who feel that they deserve more than their fair share.

I don’t think that any solution will be found in either camp. You will have to go to the one place nobody in the 21st-century dares to go; the middle. You cannot make everybody happy; the best you can do is to make sure everybody is equally pissed off. Sadly, we prefer to not be equal; we are unwilling to do the right thing because that would imply that the opposition has merit to their positions, and that cannot happen.

ETpro's avatar

I think it is important to realize that in every other developed nation on Earth, healthcare is a right of citizenship. It’s also worth noting that, as a percentage of GDP, the US pays almost 2 times as much per capita as any developed nation. And for all that money, we are at the very bottom of the developed world in healthcare outcomes. We rank just above the third-world nations in life expectancy, deaths from preventable causes, infant mortality and deaths from childbirth. That tells me we are doing something drastically wrong headed. We could cover everyone, have far better care, and drastically cut healthcare costs by adopting a national healthcare system—Medicare for everyone. We’d also remove a huge cost from our corporations, a cost that no other competing country’s corporations have. So we would improve our competitiveness on the world market.

bkcunningham's avatar

@ETpro, which country from your list was the latest to give healthcare to citizens and how did they go about implementing into the country? Like in the US, how would we go about doing what you guys want? You said “Medicare for everyone.” Can you break that down for my simple mind and tell me in steps what that means?

Like I asked @jerv, in regards to health care, what would you give? Medical, dental, vision, mental health services, wellcare?

I’d love to see all of your ideas on how to arrange this system in the US, how to pay for it and how it is distributed?

jerv's avatar

If I may butt in for a second, I must ask who benefits from our current trend of employers cutting benefits from their compensation package. My take is that insurance companies lose due to having fewer people give them money, the insured lose due to being tapped for more money to make up for lost volume, the uninsured lose quality (and quantity!) of life, taxpayers lose from having costs that used to come from employers foisted into them, we all lose due to bigger government… our current trend here is a long-term loss. That naturally leads to, “How can we reduce losses all around?”

GracieT's avatar

@jerv, you ask who benefits? Easy. CEOs do. I wouldn’t put all employers under the same umbrella. My boss during high school was the father of a friend. He was able to provide insurance (early 80s), but the store only provided them a comfortable living. They were comfortable, but he didn’t seek the gargantuan profits and salary often seen today. He was more concerned with how his employees were financially, rather than feeding his bank account. We see concern for other people so seldom now, which is why relying on charity is so dangerous.

jerv's avatar

@GracieT Precisely, but I wasn’t going to say it myself. Part of the problem is the overhead in the insurance industry, and while I don’t begrudge them trying to make a profit, they go a bit overboard there in ways that mean that much of the money premium payers give them goes to them instead of to provide benefits. And comparing the incomes of an insurance agent to that of executives (far greater than the 50:1 gap that we had when our nation was truly prosperous) it isn’t hard to see part of the problem.

As for employers, first note that I said it was a trend, not a universal thing. Then again, employers have other costs to worry about too, so I cannot entirely blame them except for the most egregious ones that actually teach their employees how to bilk the government so that they themselves don’t have to pay a penny.

Empathy is another issue, and probably the biggest.

GracieT's avatar

@jerv, don’t worry- Whatever filter my mouth had before the injury is gone now. Chances are good I’ll wind up annoying someone!

bkcunningham's avatar

How would you answer my question, @jerv?

ETpro's avatar

@bkcunningham The fact we already have a fully operational private enterprise system is the fly in what would otherwise be an easy oiintment to apply.

I would let the market determine. I’d set up a public option, where individuals and companies could decide to purchase their insurance from Medicare. If the cost and benefits didn;‘t measure up to what private insurers could offer, then nobody would opt in.

jerv's avatar

@bkcunningham I think @ETpro has already mentioned part of my solution. See, as it stands, there really isn’t much competition between insurance companies. Most people are either stuck with what their employer provides, or have nothing at all, and the average person cannot afford insurance without employer subsidies. That means no “shopping around”, which means that the decision is taken out of the hands of normal citizens.

Also note that there are places in the world that have both government-issue healthcare and a thriving, competitive private insurance market. However, thinking that there is a chance of us ever doing what Europe has done for years is a pipe dream, and even thinking about thinking about it brands me as a Socialist :/

I really hate to use this quote considering it’s source, but there really is truth to. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”. On the ability side, the reason that seems so unfair is because of the rising wealth inequality. If we based taxes purely on the percentage of total wealth owned then most Americans would be tax-free or effectively so. And if we keep it based on income, note which group earns more than they did a few years ago and which group doesn’t. If you earn most of the money then you wind up with most of the bills. If you don’t want to pay most of the bills, let other people earn some money. Fixing the economic inequality that is rapidly surpassing that of many Banana Republics would help there… but I would worry about over-correcting and getting close to Communism or Socialism. I have no problem with some degree of inequality; I merely object to a minority allowing the masses to starve so that they can buy a new Ferrari every week instead of only once a month.

As mentioned above, lowering tuition costs would help. In part, it would allow us to pay medical professionals a bit less without affecting their quality of life. (How much of a doctor’s salary goes towards student loans? Last I knew, quite a bit.) It would also allow more people to get some higher education and maybe fill some of those jobs that we have a hard time finding qualified applicants for.

It’s a bit late and I don’t feel like typing all night, but for now, suffice it to say that the healthcare issue is not a problem, but rather a symptom of a larger problem, and a simple palliative “solution” won’t solve anything. If we want to fix things, we have to go to the root cause and nip it there.

mattbrowne's avatar

Even the Neanderthals didn’t think so. They took care of their fellow beings.

jerv's avatar

@mattbrowne ~But we have evolved past weaknesses such as sympathy, empathy. or compassion.

Brian1946's avatar

It’s my understanding that even the wealthiest Neanderthals, such as the inventor of the spear and the woman who discovered fire, were advocates of a single-payer health care system. ;-p

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther