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Thread: Honest, serious, mature discussion: Is the United States TOO democratic?

  1. #51
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    Don't you think people put their best self-interests first and if their lives are going fine then why go to bat for changes? Not saying I am that way but in general if life is good why would you spend the time and energy to change it when it doesn't affect you (or changes may negatively affect you). We're not talking about a human-rights issue here like slavery, so please don't equate the two.
    People ALWAYS put their self interest first. This is not a bad thing. However, it is often short sighted to an extent that shows no ability to think past the moment.

    Health care and the economy are good examples.

    When it comes to health care, people defending the status quo seem to believe that health care is not a right. Somehow shelter and food may be a right, but not a persons health. Social Conservatives at this point, don't/can't connect that having access to health care is as every bit as important to providing food and shelter as having a job. Indeed, in the present system, not having perfect health may prevent you from getting a job in order to provide food and shelter. Yes, economics comes into play here.

    In the sense that a free and open economy becomes a detriment when its proponents attach morality and ethics to the free market and money. Money is amoral. You can do good and evil with money. The problem of creating a moral system around an amoral commodity has driven the country to the point of meltdown. The morality and ethical limit to money is that it counts more than people.

    If anybody who raves about the free market is actually honest, they would be up front that the only way a company makes money is to pay their employees less than they deserve for the work they do. That would be fine if the market would actually pose solutions to the problems they have outsourced. Under the health care industry in this country, corporations not only want to cherry pick the healthiest customers, but cut off those deemed uninsureable from access to any other form of health care, because it as seen as an unfair form of competition.

    This is the definition of immoral and unethical, and Social Conservatives live in some kind of dream land from 1786 that this is sound practice. Its also the group of people who defend the amoral commodity of money as a moral virtue the most.

    In a personal sense, I have two healthy young sons. If they have lives that are similar to my middle class upbringing, they will have times in life when they wont have insurance. These times will also coincide with times when they are in school or between jobs or otherwise self employed. 17 to 23 % of total income before taxes is to much to pay at those times of your life (or any time really). I can see into the future and see that there will be times they will need health care where they are least able to afford it. Social Conservatives say tough on you buddy. I can only imagine what it is like for people who REALLY need the help. To bad for you cancer patients, to bad for you crippled in an accident. Sorry about that, but aren't you glad your church sponsored a car wash for you?

    I support a government system that would cover preventive medical care because it should be nothing business is concerned with past the accounting function of removing a % of a check to send to the government. It should never have been and should not be in the future, the responsibility of the business to provide for your health care. The health insurance industry should be supplementary, not primary.

    The health insurance industry is the definition of market failure. Social Conservatives seem to think this works just fine. People should just hold a bake sale to pay for their chemotherapy.

    This is the divide between the founding ideas and the goal of seeking a more perfect union.
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

  2. #52
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Duke, every time I think it's possible to have a rational debate about politics with you, you seem to go and post something like what you just posted, ripe with blanket statements about capitalism based purely on your own value judgments and confusing the issues and topics at hand.

    Economics and health care. In political language, these are separate from the concerns of "social conservatives". They are largely economic issues. There are many social conservatives who oppose the current healtcare industry as well in addition to those who are also pro-capitalism and/or fiscally conservative. Social conservatives and fiscal conservatives often overlap but it's not a general rule. Perhaps you have trouble separating the two areas intellectually...

    And about the blanket statements like about how much workers "deserve", pay rates are also set by the markets. It's okay to have a beef with capitalism, but don't blanket a statement with a crappy qualifier like "if anyone who raves about the free market is honest" and then make some comment that really is anticapitalist. If these people are raving about the free market, they are probably well aware of the concept of a reasonable rate of return for corporate investments and production, and also likely support the market supply and demand dictating wages, even if negotiated through collective bargaining.

  3. #53
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    DukeDuke, every time I think it's possible to have a rational debate about politics with you, you seem to go and post something like what you just posted, ripe with blanket statements about capitalism based purely on your own value judgments and confusing the issues and topics at hand.

    Economics and health care. In political language, these are separate from the concerns of "social conservatives". They are largely economic issues. There are many social conservatives who oppose the current healtcare industry as well in addition to those who are also pro-capitalism and/or fiscally conservative. Social conservatives and fiscal conservatives often overlap but it's not a general rule. Perhaps you have trouble separating the two areas intellectually...

    And about the blanket statements like about how much workers "deserve", pay rates are also set by the markets. It's okay to have a beef with capitalism, but don't blanket a statement with a crappy qualifier like "if anyone who raves about the free market is honest" and then make some comment that really is anticapitalist. If these people are raving about the free market, they are probably well aware of the concept of a reasonable rate of return for corporate investments and production, and also likely support the market supply and demand dictating wages, even if negotiated through collective bargaining.
    You seem to not understand that capitalism is not a social system. Its an exchange of goods and services that has no moral or ethical underpinnings as a method of government. As soon as you figure out how to boil huge subjects down so all statements are still precise, let me know.

    I am not anticapitalist, to the contrary, in every part of this thread I have supported self interest and the ability to make money. It is a truth that a company would break even if everybody got what they deserved. But I digress. I am saying that the profit motive has gone to far and needs to be reigned it. Sort of like AT & T blaming its customers for its crapy network and scheming to try and stop them from using their all you can consume plan they bought. At least in critical areas that threaten the stability of the country.

    Reasonable rates of return. Yes, we have a great model for that. Every power company that is regulated is guaranteed a profit every year. Those that are not regulated have gone wild and gouged its customers illegally. After Enron, not even the GOP talked about deregulation anymore. Health insurance should be regulated like power companies. problem solved.

    I wish I knew how to fix specific problems with how our democracy works and what the smooth point for governing and change was. Sadly, I do not know what that point is. So I am sure we will continue to lurch from one point of view to another. I can assure you that the profit motive and what that proper point is for industry versus the national good is part of the discussion on the health and welfare of our democracy. Any dichotomy is part of that discussion when it is included in the dialogue on how our political policies are to be formed and that is the crux of democracy. What is the right balance. I do know that allowing the obstinate to remove themselves from the political process so they can remain backwards is not a solution.
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

  4. #54
    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    Duke, every time I think it's possible to have a rational debate about politics with you, you seem to go and post something like what you just posted, ripe with blanket statements about capitalism based purely on your own value judgments and confusing the issues and topics at hand.

    Economics and health care. In political language, these are separate from the concerns of "social conservatives". They are largely economic issues. There are many social conservatives who oppose the current healtcare industry as well in addition to those who are also pro-capitalism and/or fiscally conservative. Social conservatives and fiscal conservatives often overlap but it's not a general rule. Perhaps you have trouble separating the two areas intellectually...

    And about the blanket statements like about how much workers "deserve", pay rates are also set by the markets. It's okay to have a beef with capitalism, but don't blanket a statement with a crappy qualifier like "if anyone who raves about the free market is honest" and then make some comment that really is anticapitalist. If these people are raving about the free market, they are probably well aware of the concept of a reasonable rate of return for corporate investments and production, and also likely support the market supply and demand dictating wages, even if negotiated through collective bargaining.


    I generally believe in and support capitalism myself (heck, my goal IS to own my own business someday!) but what I cannot understand for the life of me, is why conservatives in the healthcare debate believe that it's OK to put a dollar value on someone's life. That's what it boils down to. When capitalism is allowed to deteriorate to THAT point is when people start saying, "hmmmm, maybe socialism ISN'T such a bad idea!"

    Not saying that's your personal position, I don't know where you stand on that issue. Just pointing out that capitalism isn't perfect, and socialism certainly isn't either. Essentially there should be just enough capitalism to make people get off their asses and go to work and provide for themselves and their family (provided they are physically able to do so), and just enough socialism to ensure that no one dies or is denied access to healthcare because they can't afford it, and if times really do get rough, there is some sort of social safety net to catch them.

    I'm no Communist and it's obvious Communism doesn't work in the real world. But Karl Marx was a pretty brilliant man. His entire rationale for the development of Marxism was that the worker class would eventually rise up and revolt against the wealthy. I'm starting to wonder when that will happen in this country; I believe that the healthcare debate may be the beginning of such sentiments, particularly if nothing or too little is done about the current mess of a system we have.

  5. #55
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Jazzman View post
    I generally believe in and support capitalism myself (heck, my goal IS to own my own business someday!) but what I cannot understand for the life of me, is why conservatives in the healthcare debate believe that it's OK to put a dollar value on someone's life. That's what it boils down to. When capitalism is allowed to deteriorate to THAT point is when people start saying, "hmmmm, maybe socialism ISN'T such a bad idea!"

    Not saying that's your personal position, I don't know where you stand on that issue. Just pointing out that capitalism isn't perfect, and socialism certainly isn't either. Essentially there should be just enough capitalism to make people get off their asses and go to work and provide for themselves and their family (provided they are physically able to do so), and just enough socialism to ensure that no one dies or is denied access to healthcare because they can't afford it, and if times really do get rough, there is some sort of social safety net to catch them.

    I'm no Communist and it's obvious Communism doesn't work in the real world. But Karl Marx was a pretty brilliant man. His entire rationale for the development of Marxism was that the worker class would eventually rise up and revolt against the wealthy. I'm starting to wonder when that will happen in this country; I believe that the healthcare debate may be the beginning of such sentiments, particularly if nothing or too little is done about the current mess of a system we have.
    First of all, I agree that you can't (or at least shouldn't) put a price on life, and that people should not be denied healthcare. However, there are already laws in place for that. There are places where people, legally, cannot be denied healthcare regardless of ability to pay or medical history. So long as we have some system whereby costs are accrued for things in life (whether they're left to the market or set by the state), there will be costs associated with the procedures, equipment, and personnel involved in providing healthcare. Those costs are what should be the focus of the healthcare debate. Subsidies and cost controls do not adequately address the costs of healthcare, regardless of economic system. You need to address the root of the cost issues, and that's something that the current Congressional proposals only partially addresses (and the rest is ideological positioning and thinly veiled corporatism). Really, this whole argument ultimately boils down to how one believes the most efficient delivery of healthcare services, both in quality and quantity. Is the government up to the task of running such a vast and complicated system more efficiently than the private marketplace, whether they attempt to do so directly or indirectly? History says no. Of course, the answer to that question largely depends on your values and overall worldview. Government's role here (again, this is my opinion) should mirror it's overall role - promote liberty. Any regulation (and by all means there definitely is a need for regulation - do not misunderstand me here) should be to promote these ends. Prevent monopolies, promote competition, and ensure minimum safety standards.

    Also, the US is nowhere near a Marxian revolution. And with that, I think I'm going to bow out of this debate because it's not going anywhere, although I'm tempted to remain in it for the sole reason that many people who enjoy to argue believe they've "won" if they have the last word (something I don't personally believe) and I want to make clear that no one is "winning" this debate. Have fun, kids.

    Oh, and PS: Sorry for hijacking the thread, Jazzman.

  6. #56
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    First of all, I agree that you can't (or at least shouldn't) put a price on life, and that people should not be denied healthcare. However, there are already laws in place for that. There are places where people, legally, cannot be denied healthcare regardless of ability to pay or medical history. So long as we have some system whereby costs are accrued for things in life (whether they're left to the market or set by the state), there will be costs associated with the procedures, equipment, and personnel involved in providing healthcare. Those costs are what should be the focus of the healthcare debate. Subsidies and cost controls do not adequately address the costs of healthcare, regardless of economic system. You need to address the root of the cost issues, and that's something that the current Congressional proposals only partially addresses (and the rest is ideological positioning and thinly veiled corporatism). Really, this whole argument ultimately boils down to how one believes the most efficient delivery of healthcare services, both in quality and quantity. Is the government up to the task of running such a vast and complicated system more efficiently than the private marketplace, whether they attempt to do so directly or indirectly? History says no. Of course, the answer to that question largely depends on your values and overall worldview. Government's role here (again, this is my opinion) should mirror it's overall role - promote liberty. Any regulation (and by all means there definitely is a need for regulation - do not misunderstand me here) should be to promote these ends. Prevent monopolies, promote competition, and ensure minimum safety standards.

    Also, the US is nowhere near a Marxian revolution. And with that, I think I'm going to bow out of this debate because it's not going anywhere, although I'm tempted to remain in it for the sole reason that many people who enjoy to argue believe they've "won" if they have the last word (something I don't personally believe) and I want to make clear that no one is "winning" this debate. Have fun, kids.

    Oh, and PS: Sorry for hijacking the thread, Jazzman.

    I think you are a smart guy. Eventually you are going to look back on statements like this and realize how terribly wrong you were.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

  7. #57
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
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    What was wrong about his statement?

  8. #58
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    What was wrong about his statement?
    Lets start with the fallacy of corporate efficiency over government efficiency.

    Right now, Medicare has a 1% overhead, so it is 99% efficient.

    Right now, Private companies have Profit & Overhead of 23% to 33%, so they are a lot less efficient.



    It will be interesting to see how the next mid term elections turn out. It might say something about the state of our democracy if the Dems dodge a bullet and keep majorities in house and senate. As is well known, the party in the white house traditionally looses seats in the mid term elections. If the current feeling of unhappiness with Washington doesn't cause big congressional turnover, the realignment may be moving forward rather than continuing the oscillating indecision.
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

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