General Question

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Can we have a civil conversation about some current topics?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (34066points) July 18th, 2017

Current events seem rather simple at their base. They get more complicated as distance from the base grows.

The failure of the Republicans to pass their replacement for Obamacare is due simply because it is impossible to reconcile the public’s desire for equitable health care with the Republican’s desire to reduce government expenditures at all costs in order to give large tax breaks to their wealthy donors. Funding a just health care system would be expensive and require more government expenditures.

It is easily arguable that a just system funded by higher taxes would actually be less expensive than what we are currently paying, but because that requires government intervention and higher taxes, it will not happen at present.

Now, the Republicans want to do away with Obamacare completely. That’s another nightmare to talk about another day.

The Republicans believe the federal government should be drastically reduced to also give large tax breaks. Except for military spending. They wish to increase military spending because it enriches the wealthy owners/shareholders of the military industry who donate to their campaigns.

Follow the money. It will lead to the truth. We have a system that rewards the accumulation of wealth. If we want another outcome than what we have now, we need another system.

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27 Answers

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Yellowdog's avatar

So, the Republicans have wealthy donors?

I think not. Trump’s campaign was a tiny fraction of Hillary’s

Both Democrats and Republicans are against Trump—he is an outsider and campaigned on “draining the swamp”

It was planned that Hillary would win this election and that didn’t happen.

Obamacare was planned to fail by the Democrats so that it would implode and Hillary would propose a single-payer system. With Democrats in power it would be the only option.

Now, Trump is just going to let it be. Republicans will not support a single payer system and Dems don’t have the option.

What’s wrong with Obamacare (rates and high deductions) will continue to skyrocket.

CWOTUS's avatar

We can try. However, if you have already staked out the opening of the discussion on an issue to mark all disagreement as “hate speech” (for example), then anything that others say in opposition will seem to be uncivil on its face.

For example, if I point out that ANY tax cut – fairly applied – will benefit “the rich” (who generally pay a higher percentage of their higher income into the tax system in the first place, and nearly 100% more often in terms of absolute dollar value) more than the poor, then I risk being called “elitist”, even though I’m only pointing out something that should be patently obvious. People who pay little or no tax will not benefit from a tax cut in the first place, and punitive tax rates lead the wealthy to hide or shield their income from taxation – or to evade taxes that they consider to be unfairly applied. (And only the taxpayer himself gets to decide what is or is not “fairly applied”; that’s not a decision that we can make for others.)

Since you seem to have also determined the motivations behind the Republicans’ desire to remake government in certain ways (“to reduce government expenditures at all costs in order to give large tax breaks to their wealthy donors”), then protestations of “that’s not the only reason!” will seem to you to be irrational and irrelevant at best – or more “hate speech”.

But, sure. Pick a topic and start a discussion that doesn’t demonize the opposition from the outset, and it might be possible to have a civil conversation. Not likely here, after all, but there’s a first time for everything.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Trump, Democrats, Republicans. Which of the 3 entities possesses the vision to dig us out of the hole? Here is my back door explanation for our problem in the main. Stated simply We are governed by very wealthy people. The few who aren’t aspire to be (as do we all) and will surely make it if they remain in office.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@CWOTUS Yes, I have preconceived notions. I will not deny it. I am not reporting for the NY Times, so I don’t have to pretend to be unbiased.

@stanleybmanly You may be correct. Perhaps we need something new?

Zaku's avatar

I mostly agree, except I think many of the establishment Democrats are also in the pockets of corporate interests, to one degree or another.

The Affordable Care Act is a flawed baby step that did provide access to better health care for many low-income Americans, but it also didn’t work for many people, and it has been vilified by the retarded anti-Obama contingent and various negative reactions.

I think single-payer, nationalized health care like the rest of the Western world is the way to go.

tinyfaery's avatar

Probably not.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@tinyfaery It’s starting out to be civil.

Strauss's avatar

I’m interested in keeping it civil
@Yellowdog So, the Republicans have wealthy donors? I think not. Trump’s campaign was a tiny fraction of Hillary’s

As long as Big Money dominates the political scene (as evidenced by the Citizens United.FEC decision and the all pervasive influence of American Legislative Exchange Council, also known as _ALEC.

This campaign was an anomaly. A large portion of the Trump Campaign was financed by Donald himself. I think that pretty much fits the definition of a wealthy donor. Also, the Trump campaign (as well as the Republican Party, before the campaign cycle) made an extremely effective use of rumor, innuendo and accusation to convince the public that Hillary is a criminal.

Obamacare was planned to fail by the Democrats so that it would implode and Hillary would propose a single-payer system.

Obamacare, officially known as the Affordable Care Act, was opposed largely by Big Insurance and Big Pharma, who would oppose any attempt to cut into outrageous profits.

Jeruba's avatar

@stanleybmanly: ”...very wealthy people. The few who aren’t aspire to be (as do we all)...

I hope you don’t really mean that.

Any assertion about all can be countered by a single example, and I can think of many people who have no such aspiration. I certainly haven’t, and never have.

Having enough so we don’t have to worry about daily survival is vastly different from being very wealthy. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone personally who expressed a desire to be very wealthy. Most of the people I know think being “rich and famous” would be a life-destroying curse.

Why this is important is not only that this assertion ascribes to people a mindset that they don’t have (suggesting that they are all motivated primarily by self-seeking materialistic values) but also that it assumes everyone is in competition. That’s an adversarial relationship that works against cooperation other than the mutual back-scratching kind. At a subsistence level, maybe we are competitors for survival, but most of us don’t operate that close to zero. We’d prefer to get along with our neighbors and help one another as we can.

Such a cynical view of people is a big part of what I think is wrong with the present administration, and I worry that people who see others (and probably themselves) that way are helping to make it true.

NomoreY_A's avatar

Amen to that Jake, you said it all. Nothing to add, nothing to be uncivil about. 110% True, kudos!

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

We have a system that rewards the accumulation of wealth

That is true. A successful modern economy cannot be any other way. But there is a HUGE difference in where the rewards go in our system versus those of the social democracies: The wealth goes back to all citizens in the form of services such as quality health, education and infrastructure. To do it any other way will drive a country into the ground; it will make it a cesspool of poverty, crime, filth, disease, corruption and injustice.

And then the rich will simply move their families to a pretty little island in the Mediterranean and send their kids to Swiss private schools.

The other way creates opportunities for many more to accumulate wealth, as they are provided with health and education to do so—and we all get wealthier and live a much higher standard of living.

Mariah's avatar

I am beyond frustrated with all of it right now. This issue, which is life-or-death for millions, including myself, has been treated like a political game from day one. It really doesn’t feel to me that anyone believes the AHCA or the BCRA would have done much of anything to make the situation better. They just need the political win. It’s getting awfully tiring to have my ability to stay alive treated so cavalierly.

I am thankful to the handful of Republican Congressmen who stood up to their party and committed to voting no on all these bills.

I think there is hardly any chance that a ‘repeal and delay’ strategy will pass the Senate, but obviously the thought terrifies me. What’s the point? It’s just kicking the can down the line, and they’ve already shown they can’t come up with a decent replacement now, so what makes anyone think they could later?

I think a lot of people who haven’t dealt with a serious illness don’t understand how absolutely fucked the system was before the ACA for people with “preexisting conditions.” I think a lot of people don’t realize how fucked the system still is for us. I have a coworker who is interviewing for jobs at other companies right now even though he loves working here, because we just decided to switch insurance providers and our new provider doesn’t cover the $50,000 a year medication he needs in order to be alive. This is in the employer market. Not Medicaid, not the individual market: private, employer-sponsored insurance. “Just get a job” doesn’t cut it.

It’s beyond frustrating that our healthcare costs are so high and yet we’ve managed to find room for a middleman who is making a PROFIT in the center of it all! 98% of Medicare money goes towards medical expenses. That number is closer to 80% for the private insurance market, and it’s only that high because the ACA introduced a law requiring it! Before the ACA it was hovering at about 65%.

Your premiums pay the salaries of their marketing department, their legal department, their sales department, their profits. In a single-payer system it could go into the actual medical expenses at a rate of 98% just like in Medicare. You’d just be paying it as tax instead of as a premium. But we’re allergic to taxes in this country.

kritiper's avatar

Controlling costs of medical care and drugs would help the heath care issue, and maybe lower the costs of the insurance. A big step in the right direction, and they know it! But are they doing anything???
And lawmakers passed a law that allows the drug companies to charge whatever they want, and it can’t be legislated against. Money for rich people??? You got that right!

johnpowell's avatar

My sister has a friend in the insurance game. She is the death panels Palin warned us about. But she works for the insurance companies. A solid 60K a year to sit in a office and pick and choose what is covered. In a sane world she should be looking for a new job.

For another example I had to go to a clinic for poor people to get a thing looked at. Walked up and filled out the basic form about allergies and medications I was on. Pretty fast. Then about six months later I used insurance for some dental stuff and it took like 90 minutes to sort out the insurance crap. While I was in agonizing pain since a tooth crumbled.

I do computer stuff for food and I automate the shit out of everything I can. I went to school for economics and favor efficiency. If the devil wanted us to make the most un-efficent system possible he just ejaculated all over the wall.

JLeslie's avatar

I am in the process of securing health insurance for my husband and me, and it’s been stressful and awful.

The government cannot afford healthcare as it is, we can’t have a socialized system if we continue to allow the gouging, fraud, and abuse, in the the system. We the people through private insurers can’t afford it either. It really doesn’t matter who is paying, because in the end, whether it be socialized or not, we all pay. The tipping point is coming.

Everyone fights about the wrong things. ACA, competition, blah blah. We have to decide as a country our goals for healrhcare. Do we want everyone to have acces to healthcare? Do we want to allow megahuge profits to be made? Are we ok with letting people go bankrupt? Die? Mortgage their home? Because of how our health system is set up?

People fighting for ACA right now must understand ACA has a ton of problems. I’m not arguing for Trump’s plan, I’m arguing for a better solution than what we have now, starting with the underlying causes of the high costs. I don’t want to pay so thieves make more money.

Dutchess_III's avatar

What good does it do if we “fight as a country” when one orange moron at the top doesn’t care and uses a pen to wipe out all that we fight for?

Strauss's avatar

@JLeslie People fighting for ACA right now must understand ACA has a ton of problems.

Agreed. Most of the problems have to do with the compromises that were needed to get it passed. Of course there’s room for improvement, but no one in Washington is talking about that.

IMHO, the best thing we as a nation could do is to expand Medicare by reducing the eligibility age to 0.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes. I’d be willing to pay more in taxes for that to happen.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I agree. We already have a policy (theoretically) of not allowing people to collapse and die on the streets.

JLeslie's avatar

@Strauss There are some problems with Medicare too, so we need to take care of that so we don’t bankrupt the system and the country. We MUST cure the problem of the costs of healthcare. The gouging and abuses and fraud.

Strauss's avatar

For as long as we have human beings on this planet we will have some that are poor and some that are greedy.

JLeslie's avatar

@Strauss Agreed. But, we can try to police it ,or design some laws, to keep some of the criminal greed in check. We already have some laws, specifically fraud laws.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We do have such laws. Lots and lots of them. Then you have the law breakers.

Strauss's avatar

And the Law Buyers. According to the American Legislative Exchange Council we are entitled to the best laws money can buy.

stanleybmanly's avatar

ALEC talk about some downright sinister shit.

josie's avatar

Since I got modded, I will try this.
You asked a question.
Then you used the details to make a sort of political statement.
I would like to try to participate in the original question.
I don’t have much to offer regarding the details, other than to say “I agree” or “I do not agree”
But that is pretty boring when you think about it. I agree. I do not agree.
When I do what you did, they call it a rant.
I will grant the question, your details are not a rant.
So, help me out.
Which issue do you want to discuss.
And I will do it.

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