06
Jun
07

In Other Countries…

I am getting a little tired of the argument that because something isn’t working perfectly in another country, that it cannot possibly work here. Why do people assume that Americans, with all their intelligence and ingenuity, would not take an idea and run with it? Why do they assume that we cannot make something our own. Yes. There are problems with Universal Health Care in other countries. Okay. What can we do to minimize those problems? Yes. France has issues with immigration, too. Does that mean it’s okay for us to have an old an outdated system that causes us nothing but problems? Absolutely not! And you say that I’ve lost hope. our education system is leaving millions of children behind a year, but let’s not look at Japan, Switzerland, or Canada, because those countries have problems, too. Just ignore that their students have fewer problems and higher test scores. If a system has ANY PROBLEM AT ALL, it MUST be a failure.

I’m also annoyed at how often this principle is applied to politicians, as in, “they’re all corrupt” or “they all spin information”. Does this make it right? HELL NO!!!! This is play yard mentality that I attribute partially to the American education system, but that’s besides the point. Yes. ALL politicians lie about one thing or another. Does that mean we should accept it when they do, especially when those lies do something like SEND US TO WAR WITH A COUNTRY WHO DIDN’T ATTACK US? Are you kidding me? If all of your children lie instead of just one, does that make it more acceptable?

And does ANYTHING make this more acceptable:
3,501 US Soldiers killed in Iraq
25,830 US Soldiers wounded in Iraq

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40 Responses to “In Other Countries…”


  1. 1 Laura
    June 6, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    So much for good old ‘Merican know-how to take a good idea and make it better huh?

    I agree – there’s no reason why we can’t take the parts that work and think of ways of improving the parts that don’t work quite as well. Except that it’s easier these days to not even bother to try.

  2. 2 Scott
    June 6, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    It’s not that I don’t think we shouldn’t emulate other countries plans if they have small failures. It’s that I don’t think we should emulate ANY plan that has the government as the central key to it’s success. We all have core beliefs about the World. One of mine is that government is a fundamentally flawed and unsustainable institution. AS such, most of my thoughts, views, and opinions are going to be molded around the idea of government as the CAUSE of problems, not the solution.

    If other countries had ideas that people came up with on their own and implemented without the coercive State, I would jump all over that. Unfortunately we live in a post-liberal World and most of civilization seems to view the State as a tool, not a necessary evil as the classical liberals did.

    Well, that’s just me.

  3. 3 daveawayfromhome
    June 6, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    Let’s boil it down. There has to be a controlling body, unless you prefer anarchy (and, hey, why not?). Which do you prefer? A controlling body motivated by voting and public scrutiny, or a controlling body motivated by profit?

    Scott, have you read Ursula K. LeGuin’s book, “The Dispossesed”?

  4. 4 daveawayfromhome
    June 6, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    That’s not a dig, by the way, Scott, it’s a pretty good science fiction novel about a functional anarchic society.

  5. 5 Scott
    June 6, 2007 at 6:48 pm

    A controlling body motivated by voting and public scrutiny, or a controlling body motivated by profit?

    In a free market economy profit is created by the willingness of consumers. This is essentially their vote. Only it’s better than a vote because they can stop paying and revoke services whenever they want.

    Governments are such that you have to accept (or at least pay for) their services no matter what. They extort your money at the point of a gun and there really is no way of controlling what they do other than your one-in-a-gazillion vote that is actually quite meaningless. And even if you can control it, what gives you the right to control the one and only governing body in the fashion that YOU see fit? Hence forcing your dissenting peers to pay into YOUR system by the point of the gun.

    I haven’t read that book, but I’ll stick it on my list. Have you read Rothbard’s The Ethics of Liberty?

  6. 6 Liberality
    June 6, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    Hey Scott, this remark is directed at you. The problem with your remark is that sometimes, and often times more often than not, government solutions do work. Look at health care in other civilized Western nations such as Canada or England. In addition, the free market solution we employ over here for health care does not work and is rapidly breaking down, hence the large and growing numbers of uninsured or underinsured people in this country. Even the companies themselves are asking for a nationalized health care plan to take the pressure of rising premiums off them and onto a larger group of people (the entire country) to help offset the costs.

  7. 7 Liberality
    June 6, 2007 at 7:52 pm

    A good comic about the topic can be found at:

    http://www.workingforchange.com/comic.cfm?itemid=22267

  8. 8 Scott
    June 6, 2007 at 8:15 pm

    Hey liberaltiy,

    Sure, small portions of government can work over short periods of time, but as I said I don’t think it’s sustainable. Passing burdens off on future generations through massive national debts is not my idea of working, or moral.

  9. 9 Godwhacker
    June 6, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    The argument between socialized medicine and private medicine has been over in America for decades. In 1965 Medicare and Medicaid were signed into law. At that time, during congressional debates, not a single case of a person going without care could be sighted to justify the expansive new programs. It was simply stated that “in a country as rich as America, the poor and elderly should not have to rely on charity.” A is A. Charity is charity, whether it is expropriated by taxes or gifted from the heart. I prefer a system based on the latter.

    Fast-forward 40 something years, and healthcare in America is a disaster. This is a catastrophe generated directly by the government’s intrusion into the marketplace. Before 1965, medical care in the U.S. was abundant, inexpensive, and available to all, either from private sources or charitable sources. It is disingenuous to point the finger at the private sector, when government intervention into the field of medicine is the cause of this mess to begin with.

    So what do we do now? Ideally, we should make up our minds. If we say that healthcare is a right that we want to guarantee for all people, then let’s take Congressman Kusinitch’s bill for universal single-payer healthcare and make it law. If we decide against socialized medicine, then let’s have a graduated withdrawal of the government from the healthcare industry.

    “The fallacy of the middle ground” is responsible for the mess we have on our hands now.

  10. 10 Liberality
    June 7, 2007 at 5:32 am

    You guys must have some money or you are brainwashed by the propaganda.

    “At that time, during congressional debates, not a single case of a person going without care could be sighted to justify the expansive new programs.”

    Yeah, back then in the good old days there was absolutely no poverty, huh? Not a single documented case, give me a break!

  11. 11 Len Hart
    June 7, 2007 at 7:16 am

    Thanks for commenting recently on the Existentialist Cowboy. I have placed a link to “United We Lay” on my blogroll.

    Scott and Liberality, my two cents worth: just because it’s a government program doesn’t mean it won’t work. The GOP often claims that Social Security, for example, is broken. That’s just not so. Social Security itself is just fine, probably the very best “program” ever devised. It was the back to back regimes of Reagan and Bush Sr that “broke” social security by spending from the trust fund as if it were general revenue. But that’s no more the fault of the program than it is the fault of a bank that is robbed by Bonnie and Clyde.

    Social Security is an example of a government program that would work admirably if the leaders in government had not tried, deliberately, to break it. But that is most certainly NOT an argument in support of the idea that the program is in any way, endemically flawed. It is not. But, if the American people persist in sending crooks to Washington…… alas!

    However, we will certainly be no better off under a fascist “corporotcracy”.

    Scott, it was the “conservative” government of Ronald Reagan that tripled the deficit and doubled the size of the federal bureaucracy. As it turned out, it was a good thing he did the latter. Else, the unemployment rate during his “depression” of some two years would have been even worse! Both the “depression” (euphemistically called “recession” by the GOP) and the exponentially increasing deficits were triggered by Reagan’s tax cut of 1982, justified and rationalized on the basis of a bogus theory: supply side economics.

    That NO wealth trickled down can be proven conclusively at the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you do not wish to wade through the lengthy Census Bureau presentations of Dr. Daniel H. Weinberg [Press Briefing on 2002 Income and Poverty Estimates], you might prefer Kevin Phillips’ Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich

    Bottom line: but for a slight respite in Bill Clinton’s second term, the poor have gotten much, much poorer and the rich have gotten much, much richer since Ronald Reagan’s infamous tax cut of 1982. Clearly, wealth not only did NOT trickle down, it flooded up!

    Supply-side’s chief architect was David Stockman, Reagan’s buget director. Arguably, he was inspired by Arthur Laffer and Milton Friedman, who should have known better. Stockman later recanted and roundly denounced “supply side economics” as bogus.[See: Atlantic Monthly] Alas, it was a fraud perpetrated by the “greed is good” generation upon an unsuspecting world. We are now living with the consequences.

  12. 12 Scott
    June 7, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    I have no money. I’m broke. That’s like liberal cred, right?

    I probably am brainwashed though. After all, I did go to a public school.

    Len,

    I agree with you, Reagan was bad at being president.

  13. 13 Godwhacker
    June 7, 2007 at 2:44 pm

    @Liberality ~ look it up the facts before you toss out inflammatory comments like “brain washed”. If you actually read the records, you will see that I am correct. I’m not saying that there wasn’t poverty. I am saying that poor people had access to quality care. Isn’t that what the goal is supposed to be?

  14. 14 JINKS
    June 7, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    Hello United,

    Thanks for the count, its the most important portion of your blog in my opinion. We all need to be reminded of the reality.

    Its a cruel joke that life plays on us, when we are young and idyllic we are certain that if we can just get everyone else to understand “how the world should work” then things will be better. Believe me, I was here in the 60’s and no body thought they knew it better than us.

    my philosphy at this age…..politics is what happens to you while you ignore “what is”…..you have more power in just being and loving your neighbor who ever they are than any government or ideology can afford you. If government and politics held any of the answers…..they’d have been found long ago…..

  15. 15 Laura
    June 7, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    I have a problem with the “let the market” decide philosophy because the market isn’t there to serve the people. It’s there to make money off the people. If a new medical treatment is beneficial, but not cost effective, then only the very rich or very lucky will benefit from it. Supply and demand – low supply or low demand = expensive.

    Right now, by the market forces alone, I’d assume all I need to live a healthy lifestyle is some Slimfast, an Ab-lounger, and Lean Cuisine lunches. That’s what’s being marketed to me. THat’s what the market wants me to consume right now. But that doesn’t mean it’s in my best interests to do so.

  16. 16 Liberality
    June 7, 2007 at 6:42 pm

    The “official records” notwithstanding, I am sure that there were people who could not afford and did not receive health care.
    “Numerous studies throughout the last 30 years and the results presented here from theKaiser/Commonwealth Five State Low Income Survey support Medicaid’s role in improving access to care for poor minority children.” This is the conclusion taken from Journal of Urban Health, vol 75, number 4, Dec. 1998. Note that this is during the Clinton Administration and before the Bush disaster.

  17. 17 Godwhacker
    June 7, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    @Laura,
    How do companies make money? The simple answer is ~ they make money by providing a service. If they price their service out of the reach of the people who need it, then they make nothing. So in a free-market, it is necessary to provide affordable service or you make NO Money. You can’t go crawling to the government because your customers can’t pay. The explosion of healthcare costs is directly related to the fact that there are no free-market controls over costs any more.

    @Liberality,
    So essentially what you’re saying is that you are going to believe what you want to believe, regardless of the facts. Thanks for making that clear.

    That said, I reiterate; I support either a free-market system OR a single payer system. The current system is wrought with internal contradictions and those contradiction are the source of the problems we have today.

  18. 18 Liberality
    June 7, 2007 at 10:01 pm

    No, I quoted an academic journal concerning poverty, children and a government funded program, medicaid. That isn’t just believing what I want to believe. Instead it was an example of what I was talking about, that these programs do serve populations that are in need, but I guess that went over your head, huh. You say some report couldn’t find even one example of need but the programs were created anyway. I suggest that there may have been no reports quoted but there most certainly was a need for the programs.

  19. 19 Godwhacker
    June 7, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    @Liberality,
    Yes, those studies take place after 1965, AFTER government interference already began to cause the crisis that we both agree is happening today.

    That the healthcare industry has gone downhill since then, I have no doubt. But that wasn’t what I was saying, was it?

  20. 20 Laura
    June 8, 2007 at 12:17 am

    Godwhacker: True, but in reality, a company need only make a service affordable to enough people to make it profitable. Pure capitalism always leaves certain people behind and unable to afford basic necessities of life. And if a needed service, like a bone marrow transplant or surgery is expensive to provide, then only those who can afford it will have access. Health care is something that should be always accessible to all not just those who can afford it. No one should have to choose between paying their mortgage and getting a life-saving treatment for their child.

    Any purely government run or market run system opens itself up to human powergrabs and greed. A hybrid system is the best chance we have to serve the needs of ALL.

  21. 21 daveawayfromhome
    June 8, 2007 at 1:10 am

    “If they price their service out of the reach of the people who need it, then they make nothing.”

    Except in the case of things that people have to have, such as utilities, medical care and insurance. Yes, you could make the arguement that one doesnt have to have any of these things; that one could simply curl up and die, and save the Republican Party plenty of arguement.

  22. 22 Godwhacker
    June 8, 2007 at 1:43 am

    Well Laura, what we have right now is a hybrid system and I think it speaks for itself. Look up “the fallacy of the middle ground”. A “fallacy” btw (trying to be informative, not arrogant) is a mistake in logic. I think we need to make a choice, one way or the other. Cutting the difference doesn’t cut it.

    @daveawayfromhome
    all of those monopoly necessities are sanctioned by the government. Again, I’ll point to the past. When I was 3 (1968) a doctor would come to your house for $20. My family wasn’t rich. You can not buy that kind of care at any price today and I submit that government interference in the healthcare market is responsible for degradation of the system. It is important to look at the problem in 4 dimensions, the 4th dimension being time. If we don’t look at the effect of the policies of the past, how do we know what the right thing to do in the future is?

  23. 23 The Zombieslayer
    June 8, 2007 at 4:46 am

    And does ANYTHING make this more acceptable:
    3,501 US Soldiers killed in Iraq
    25,830 US Soldiers wounded in Iraq

    No.

  24. 24 daveawayfromhome
    June 8, 2007 at 5:01 am

    @ godwhacker: I, too, remember the days when it was cheap to see a doctor. Of course, cheap was a relative term (you could still buy a new car for $2000 or less in 1973), but it still cost less.
    But then, did it cost over $100,000 to become a doctor, or maybe was it done at a low-cost government-run college (or on the GI-bill)? Did his office have to retain at least one full time staff member to deal with the myriad of paperwork required by both insurance companies and medicare/-caid.
    Personally, I dont think that we should have any form of insurance, but instead something more along the line of the VA, but for everybody. Hospitals, doctors, etc, all run by the government. Doctors can be trained at gov’t expense, then pay off their debt through gov’t service.
    Worried that it’ll lower the quality of people who become doctors? Do you think that only people who can afford to become doctors can be good at it? If you’re really worried about it, maybe we could simply raise the standards to get into the program; if not enough people apply, then shorten the indenture period.
    The system could even provide doctors whose actually do housecalls. Does that sound expensive? How many problems would be caught early in people who just dont want to go to the trouble to come in to the clinic (and I’m talking about the elderly and infirm, not the lazy), and how much money would that save (not to mention lives)?

    I would submit that degredation in our medical establishment is due not to government intervention, but to the reliance on a parasitic middle-man structure which has the power to determine the “worthiness” of medical procedures without having any contact with the patients or doctors who have to live with the consequences.
    Why cant medical care be provided as a community service, like libraries or fire departments?

    “Oh, But the Cost!”, you wail. Well, I dont know about you but I pay about a week’s worth of take-home every month for my family’s insurance, and our insurance is cheaper than some. This doesnt include co-pays and uncovered expenses, which grows every year. So what if I’m paying taxes instead of a “volutary” payment? As long as it costs less, and covers the same, I dont really care, especially if I know there isnt some guy in a beach house holding insurance stock and enjoying The Good Life at my expense.

  25. 25 Laura
    June 8, 2007 at 12:07 pm

    Godwhacker: Yes, we have a hybrid system that is controlled by the insurance companies and not the patients and their doctors.

  26. 26 Daniel Hoffmann-Gill
    June 8, 2007 at 12:16 pm

    I love reading comment sections like this, because it contains the classic blog illness of people with highly entrenched views in opposition to the majority view on the blog in question digging their heels in when presented with coherent arguements.

    I always distrust people who have a problem with government and state run matters, they usually have little or no direct experience of such systems and approach it from a highly biased angle based on prejudice developed over long years existing in a system where they are so used to the flaws they are read as given.

    There is no profit in the care of people, in their education and in their punishment.

    There should be no profit in drinking water, heating and energy supplies.

    Profit brings the cutting of corners, brings a loss of service.

  27. 27 Scott
    June 8, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    There is no profit in the care of people, in their education and in their punishment.

    There should be no profit in drinking water, heating and energy supplies.

    Dan, why are you being such a greedy capitalists? Why stop at just those things? People need shelter just as much as heating and energy, why not no profit in building? People need food just as much as water, why not no profit in food?

    Heck, if profit is so inefficient and evil, why have it at all? Why not just abolish all profit?

  28. 28 daveawayfromhome
    June 8, 2007 at 5:34 pm

    Okay. I mean, in what way have I gained from profit?

  29. 29 Godwhacker
    June 8, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    Great conversation everyone, and I have to disagree with Daniel. I see healthy debate, not “heel digging”. Laura, Daveawayfromhome, Liberality, Scott, and everyone else all are making valid points.

    I don’t want to live in a world where people die or suffer needlessly because of lack of care or lack of money. I still think that the best way to that system is in individual rights and a free-market system. What we have now is a mixed system full of inherent contradiction.

    I don’t think we are going to solve this today, so have a wonderful and healthy weekend everyone.

  30. 30 Daniel Hoffmann-Gill
    June 10, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    Scott: I wouldn’t expect you to understand what works very well for many nations across the world, when you have an irrational fear of all things socialist.

    Godwanker: heel digging sucks ass.

  31. 31 Godwhacker
    June 11, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    I don’t think it is irrational to fear socialism. If we take it as true that transnational corporations have too much power, and that concentration of power is a bad thing, I think it is the height of naivety to believe that “things would just be better if instead we concentrate all of that power in government”.

    Decentralization is the way to go and individual human rights are the path to get there. I for one reject the idea of the primacy of the state. Democracy, absent constitutionally protected individual liberty, is nothing other then mob rule.

  32. 32 Scott
    June 11, 2007 at 7:03 pm

    Well for the record I do not fear socialism as much as I don’t think it works. I know, I know Dan, Europe is run by it and all that. You’ve made that incredibly clear. I just don’t think it’s sustainable.

    What I fear is authoritarianism, and it’s not so much a fear as a hatred for it.

  33. 33 United We Lay
    June 12, 2007 at 1:12 pm

    I think it’s good to be cautious of any form of government, especially ion a country that is so young and so untested. a philosopher once said tha no country is safe unless it has 3000 years of history behind it. even some of thoose are in turmoil right now.

  34. 34 Daniel Hoffmann-Gill
    June 13, 2007 at 11:43 am

    Godwhacker: you talk too much in broad brush strokes rather than the shades of grey this issue deserves! It’s about a balance rather than the dogma you seem set on.

    Scott: not sustainable? I find that hard to believe considering that it has been in ascendency for around 100 years or so. Certainly it may be outmoded by a new form as time progresses but the US could certainly do with a thick slice of socialism to help its ‘me first’ culture that is leading to its disintegration.

  35. 35 Godwhacker
    June 13, 2007 at 10:05 pm

    What is a shade of gray Daniel? Black and white… in a moral issue this means right and wrong. Once one has defined one choice as right and another choice as wrong, then what is the logic of combining the two?

    Dogma is an idea taken on faith. I am ready to debate the issues, look at all sides, admit when I’m wrong, and work with others in a democratic forum. If anyone preaches dogma, I’m afraid that person is you. You can’t even see the inherent absurdity of your own beliefs, Mr. “National Socialism wasn’t socialism”. I can see that you got what you paid for with your free education.

    My vote and my opinions are my own, aren’t they? I believe:
    • The US currently has a mixed system and it has many problems and it’s getting worse.
    • Philosophical consistency will produce a better system. If we say that healthcare is a right, then let’s adopt Representative Kucinich’s bill and establish single-payer universal healthcare. If we don’t want that system, then let’s start deregulating healthcare and gradually get us back to the system we had prior to the 1965 interventions by the government that destroyed the best healthcare system that has ever existed on planet earth ~ bar none.

    The goal is that everyone should have care and that care should be affordable right? THAT IS WHAT WE HAD BEFORE THE GOVERNMENT CAME IN AND CHANGED IT. If you don’t know where you were, how do you know where you are going?

  36. 36 Daniel Hoffmann-Gill
    June 14, 2007 at 11:36 am

    Partisan solutions, pinning the colours to mast, can be as destructive as it is decisive.

    By trying to simplify issues into clear areas you often end up destroying them, seeing the widest picture possible, accepting that issues are complex and a mixture of the poles is a step towards constructive debate and away from the crippling disease that has already ruined large swathes of US politics and is making its way to kill off the systems of political debate in the UK and beyond.

    You are still clinging to the semantic resemblence of the Nazi party to socialism when all the eveidence points to the contrary.

    Good work that man!

  37. 37 Godwhacker
    June 14, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    Well Mr. Daniel,
    what of Stalin? Was he not a socialist? Or Pol Pot, Fidel Castro, or Mao Zedong? There is more blood on the hands of socialism then can ever be wiped away by the glowing generalities of the citizen of a sad little empire that has never bothered to throw off the tyranny of it’s ruling class and the mongrel royal family that represents them.

    You need your broad generalities and your convoluted view of basic right and wrong to live with yourselves.

    No, I don’t expect that you would know anything of freedom, with your censored newspapers and your official secretes, for you have never tasted it.

    The U.S. has been on a path to socialism for many years. The closer we get to it, the more like Europe we look, the more like Europe we behave, and the more violent and depraved we become.

    “Statism needs war; a free country does not. Statism survives by looting; a free country survives by producing.” ~ Ayn Rand

  38. 38 Daniel Hoffmann-Gill
    June 15, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    Stalin was not a socialist, neither were any of the other people you mention. Castro is the nearest but there is a big difference between Marxism and Communism and Leninism and Marxist-Socialist and the unique brand of Communist theory that popped up in Asia.

    Again, you are labelling everyone on the left political spectrum with the same brush, please see previous comment regarding partizan arguement making.

    Please don’t be silly and show yourself up by trying to tot up the deaths connected to various political affiliations, it looks petty and arbitry. ALL politcal regimes have caused trouble in their time, not a single one can be singled out. Politics is an invention and device to framework human behaviour, the acts of evil man has committed rest on man’s shoulders, not political beliefs which are usually means to cloak the act in question.

    People do the same thing with religion, I’d rather blame the weakness of humankind.

    Your impression of the UK and Europe is terribly flawed, but of course this is coming from a nation which repressed people based on skin colour until 1968, still uses state approved murder, pollutes the planet far in excess of any other nation, has the highest incidence of crime in any developed nation, the poorest health service of any developed nation, the largest prison population and poverty on a scale not seen in the developed world.

    As I said, things are more complicated then your base world view will allow.

  39. 39 Godwhacker
    June 15, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    The only thing complicated Daniel, is trying to debate something with someone who is so blinded by their ideology that they can’t see the trees for the forest. In fact Statism (or Etatism) and all it’s variants including fascism, communism, and socialism have one thing in common that I find both frightening and repugnant. Statism holds that the good of the state can and must come at the expense of the individual. That is something that I find dangerous and I reject it. In a proper relationship, there are no victims.

    But debating you is like debating a brick wall, so have a nice life. Enjoy your existence as the tool of an empire. I would rather be free to do good for myself and others as I see fit. You see, free people can also be generous, which is a possibility your politics doesn’t consider.

  40. 40 Daniel Hoffmann-Gill
    June 16, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    Tool of an empire?

    Does your tinfoil hat slip off when you get cross as people who know what socialism means?

    Your fear of statism sounds like the same people who fear the myth of big government.

    Round and round we go…


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