23 June 2007


Big Gumment

All US Hospitals Will Look Like Walter Reid

If that Communist Michael Moore gets his way. Or they’ll look like this roach-infested hell in Moore’s beloved Cuba, which Castro claims is one of his slave state’s "most modern" hospitals.


kenj --

June 22nd, 2007 at 4:47 am

Anthony, it’s all nonsense. I live in a democracy (Australia) with a public health system. I can assure you it’s quick, clean and cheap (at least a LOT cheaper than your system). Some people in the US are paranoid about ANY kind of government involvement. Places like New Zealand, Switzerland, Denmark all have better systems than the US, and they all ty to cut out the private enterprise middle man on the health essentials. Why? Because they are ALWAYS rip-off merchants, profiteering sharks. The “pure market state” that Libertarians dream about is nonsense. It exists only for people who want a society filled with Ayn Rand wanna bees. It’s crap. Stop being frightened of the “socialist” boogy man. He’s not real. You need the New Deal all over and this time make it stick.

Anthony --

June 22nd, 2007 at 11:04 am

The reason I’m paranoid about any government involvement is because our government spends almost as much on health care as yours does, and this is why health care is such a wreck here. [Your country spends TWICE as much as my country on health care and gets a poorer service. Your logic and your facts are wrong. Of course your health care system is not a free market. It can't be and shouldn't be. You also have some economic assumptions that don't stack up]

It is obscene and insane to refer to America’s health care system as a free market.[Who says it has to be exclusively a free market exercise? Are you advocating getting rid of police and just having private security guards? How good do you think that would work? How about getting rid of the armed forces? Just have mercenaries?]

We have the FDA, Medicare and patents to benefit Big Pharma.[true]

We have licensing to limit supply and cartelize the profession.[true]

We have HMOs empowered by Ted Kennedy’s 1970s legislation.[What happened toCarter? I thought he was the fall guy?]

We have nothing remotely approaching a free market.[So what? You live in what the economists call a "mixed economy". Some functions are done by the government, some privately. There is no ideological purity about "the markets". They weren't handed down on stone tablets from Sinai, for God's sake.]

Calling our health care system a free enterprise system would be like calling Mussolini’s economy laissez faire. [...I thought we were blaming Ted Kennedy?]

Tens of trillions of dollars of unfunded government liabilities are on the horizon. This is not the result of the absence of government. [If you are talking social security that's another topic with lots to be said -- but that problem child has a lot of daddys.]

Back when we had a relatively free market in medicine, in the 1950s and early 1960s, there were free clinics in almost all towns and cities, there were doctors who made house calls everywhere, and we had the best system in the world. [Ahhh, the good old days.. I can feel them now....ahhh!]

Saying the problem is not enough government is like saying the US isn’t involved enough in Iraq.It’s the precise opposite problem.[Of course the government is part of "the Problem". The only question is whether you need more, less or different government involvement]

If you’re in Australia and you like your socialist system, fine.[We don't have a socialist system. We live in a mixed economy exactly as you do. Social tasks are spread out between the State and private enterprise. In a democracy the people get to choose how this is done. There is nothing wrong with people demanding that a government spend their tax dollars providing basic health care to all its citizens rather than a few extra Abrahms tanks.It's cheaper, too.]

But I want freedom.[...which means exactly?]

I don’t want the Bush administration to have even more control over my life.[oh well, I can agree with you about that one]

I don’t see why anyone would have trouble understanding that. [I think I did, I just disagreed in places].

Anthony --

June 22nd, 2007 at 11:10 am

vineyardsaker, do you understand anything at all about economics? [He seems to.]

People don’t make money fulfilling the needs only of the richest people. [You certainly can't sell much to poor people, can you?]

Think about it for half a second. Please. Businesses prosper most when they can fulfill the needs of the masses. [not true. They prosper when they can sell their goods for the highest price without restraint. Sick people have no market choice, they need the medicine. So the drug companies hold them to ransom, competitors often agreeing to fix high prices.]

So long as there are people in need and others have the freedom to give them what they need, in community organizations, in charity, and in the marketplace, that is the best possible circumstance. [Why should people have to beg for medical services from charities while their taxes are paying for 20 million dollar tanks? They want affordable health care and in other nations they get it. But not in the US. It is neither necessary nor desirable that people beg for medical services. That's what taxes are for.]

You cannot make people more compassionate with the guns of the government. [Health care is not about "compassion". It is not a "moral failure" that people get sick and may not have enough money to pay for treatment. If they live in a civilized society - or at least one that aspires to be - they will not be left to die after a car accident because their insurance is not paid up. ]

You cannot make people more prosperous with the guns of the government. [Odd metaphor, Anthony. Also it is absurd to imply that any government involvement in a national economy must lead to less prosperity. It's simply not arguable on the facts.]

You cannot cheat the laws of economics with state power and corporate collusion. [The two don't stand in opposition. Moreover, the "laws of economics" aren't the pristine, guaranteed method to economic nirvana that you consider them to be.]

We have a relatively free market in computers. [yeah,Windows] Look at what’s happened. Almost anyone can afford to go online. Cafes offer the service for free. [And that's about to change if big media do to the Internet what big pharma did to US health care.]

They are developing laptops that cost like $100. [Computer purchases are a poor example They are a discretionary item, sickness is not. If you have a congenital heart problem the Health funds don't want you. The government can provide that service out of your taxes. There's no reason why they shouldn't. Other countries do quite easily and succesfully. Health funds don't make their money on delivering a service you pay for, they make it by NOT delivering what they have promised people! Not exactly the same as a computer purchase, is it?]

The fact is, making the world rich is what makes you rich, under freedom. [Last I looked "making me rich and others correspondingly poorer" is the ONLY method of "making me rich". It's called a financial transaction. "Making the world rich" is something else. And keep freedom out of this. That's an intellectual distraction. There is no simple connection between freedom and economic outcomes that can add to this debate.]

Under statism, you only get rich by looting from others, mostly the poor. [Global corporations and ultra-wealthy do a good job of looting right now. And who's arguing for statism?? Get off the commune, comrade. It exists only in your own mind. Stop identifying ANY government action as a communist conspiracy.]

You have also said: "All states are essentially fascists." [untrue, but "all states are coercive". That's a fact of life, not an evil. And with diminished economic resources globally, half the planet living on less that $1 a day and the world's population to increase by 40% in the next 40 years, we need lots of good government. ]

Leftists point to America, which has the biggest government in the history of the world, and says its problems can be attributed to excessively free markets. [No they're not. They're saying that big corporations have been able to falsely propagandize the concept of "free markets" to an uncritical US public in order to obtain excessive and damaging policy influence over the US government to the detriment of ordinary citizens. And it's not just Leftists saying that, others too.]

They point to the American state, which imprisons more people than any other, which murders more foreigners than any other, and they think it should have more power to "help" the poor. [They don't say this. Prisoners are detained by government authority. So there is a moral and legal obligation for government to exercise that control over prisoners in a socially responisble way. It can do so by (a) keeping non-violent, minor offendors (drug users) out of jails on supervision in the community, and (b) improve education and job opportunities for people to reduce the motives for crimes. Those are socially responsible actions. Letting private prisons work prisoners for wages of $5 a day is economically harmful to society in the long term and an abnegation of custodial responsibility by the government. America has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Either Yanks are genetically criminal or you have unbalanced judicial and economic policies. (hint...it's the second one).]

This has got to be the most absurd diagnosis in human history. Really. [Not really. You've set up straw men consistent with your personal philosophy and proceeded to knock them down. ]

Just think about it. [I did. I respectfully disagree.]

Economics exists to serve society, Anthony, not the other way around. And people form governments to help regulate economic practices just so they don't have to pay their life savings to get a medical operation in the US that costs 1/4 as much anywhere else. There never was a Libertarian paradise. It's not even desirable. Government is here to stay. Fix it up and use it properly like other countries do. It's relatively painless, cheap and you get a better service. And it's not big brother, believe me. The problem in the US is big corporations and their connections to government, not the government itself.

The words of Anatole France say it all:

"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread."

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