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Thread: Healthcare

  1. #421
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walking Tourist View Post
    Increase the retirement age?
    I'm not sure how viable this is. Just because someone is living longer doesn't mean they're also able to work longer. What do you think it should be raised to?
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  2. #422
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Time to hack it out...

    Quote Originally Posted by reason View Post
    onemoretime,

    If you don't like the Heritage Foundation and don't believe their Index of Economic Freedom, then search out a similar index by another organisation, because even where there are discrepancies, I doubt they'll be significant. In any case, my point was that the so-called "socialist democracies" like Denmark, Sweden, Finland, etc. are on many dimensions more capitalist than the United States, despite having a healthcare industry that is a bit more socialised.
    It's not an issue of partisan "liking-not liking", it's a difference in how one defines degrees of capitalism. Remember Mark Twain's old adage: "there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics". Without the raw data to compare to, it's reasonable to assume that the numbers were interpreted in a fashion to be more amenable to the Heritage Foundation's message, that is, the American economy is over-regulated, isn't it?

    Always be suspicious of analyses that do not show their methodology.

    With regard to "trust-busting" regulations, I suspect that I would side with the Heritage Foundation, (although I say that without any research). Unfortunately, anti-trust legislation has often been used to prevent competition, because the same powers needed to regulate monopoly pricing and collusion can be used to suppress competition and preserve the status quo. Once such powers have been claimed by politicians and bureaucrats, private companies realise that more profit can be had by lobbying politicians than from satisfying customers -- thus the history of anti-trust regulation is littered with gross injustices. Many companies have been punished for offering quality products at lower prices, because industry competitors have rallied together, lobbied in Washington, and successfully got convictions under anti-trust legislation. The ultimate loser is too often the final customer, who must pay higher prices for inferior products; this was not the intention of anti-trust legislation (indeed, it makes a mockery of it), but this kind of thing is all too often the consequence of politicising economic decisions.
    I won't disagree that antitrust regulation has been used in anticompetitive fashions - which is why I disagree with current campaign finance laws. That being said, there's no reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater - antitrust regulations are absolutely necessary, because it's possible to form monopolies that are more powerful than the government (such as Standard Oil would be nowadays). It's an inherently political issue, because companies are political actors; we all are.

    The point is to make sure that the government we institute is dedicated to the public interest as a whole, as opposed to individual interests.

    The subtle form of corruption described above would be bad enough, but too often government administrators have combined it with an appalling dearth of economic understanding, and convicted companies under anti-trust legislation when absolutely no threat of monopoly pricing existed. That aside, it is my opinion that monopolies (and trusts generally) are a problem that is greatly overblown among the popular media; such fear-mongering is especially hypocritical from politicians, who are directly responsible for the majority of genuine monopolies than now exist in the United States, because in the absence of legislative support they tend to be fleeting institutions.
    Care to provide some examples? Once again, monopolies are not merely an economic issue, they are very much a political issue. Monopolies essentially have the power to exert soft force on people, which according to how our society is structured, is something the government is only supposed to be able to do, as it is the representative of the people as a whole. Private monopolies are tyrannical by their very nature, as they can essentially coerce individuals into acting against their best interests by threatening to withhold a particular good or service. That is why the only acceptable monopolies are saddled with a governmental mandate to serve the public ahead of private gain.

    With regard to taxes, there are a number of issues which we probably would do well to discuss -- rates vs. revenue, dead-weight loss, lobbying and the Laffer curve -- but it will suffice here to mention regulation, because the cost of government doesn't have to come in the form of a "tax." For example, an increase in government "oversight" of an industry may entail that companies hire additional employees to better comply with current regulations, anticipate future regulations, and produce additional paperwork. The money spent and resources used for these ends -- offices, electricity, computers, labour -- cannot then be used to expand production, upgrade technology, lower prices, etc., that is, compete. Although these costs do not register as an increase in taxes, they are unmistakably part of the cost of government. My point here is that differences between tax rates can be offset in other ways, (such as, in Denmark, greater business freedom than the United States), because what is relevant is the net cost of government to a company when all its activities are considered -- taxes are but one variable.
    Throw away the Laffer curve, there are too many variables to indicate a direct connection. It's a nice picture, but doesn't have anything approaching hard data to support it.

    I'd agree with your assertion that regulation can eat into capital - if the primary interest of companies were to reinvest capital. However, this is not the case. Companies seek to profit; in fact, public corporations are required to profit above all else. To do this, prices are set at the most profitable levels, even if they are not necessarily "market-clearing", due to variations in elasticity of demand. They will not budge from these prices unless they believe they can profit further via a shift in pricing due to increases or decreases in demand. Operating costs almost factor nothing into the price level for this very reason. Supply can almost be considered constant as to what the productive capacity is.

    You will not find me defending the healthcare industry in the United States. It is a mess, and the misbehaviour of insurance companies (outright fraud in some cases) is part of the problem, but I identify the government as the root of this problem. (Punishing fraud is one of the roles government should definitely have!)
    What happens when the problem is systemic? You can't expect publicly incorporated insurance companies to be anything but bad actors if the bad action is profitable, and they are legally bound to maximize profits, can you? Constantly prosecuting these cases will cost incredible amounts of money; i.e. more government spending.

    Finally, the freedoms you mention -- labour freedom, freedom from corruption, and property rights enforcement -- are not government interventions into a free market economy, but establish a free market economy. Establishing and maintaining institutions which protect these freedoms are among the few activities which libertarians believe governments should be legitimately involved, because without them a free market does not exist to be intervened in.

    Regards,
    Lee
    They would have disagreed with you 100 years ago. It's only considered that way now because we've seen the benefits of these sorts of government incursions into the market.

    Capitalism as a whole does not want a free market, period. It wants capital to be concentrated in the hands of very few, because this is the most efficient allocation of capital to satisfy the profit motive. It is human nature to hoard things of value - this is ultimately the fatal flaw of the capitalist system.

    It generally devolved into free markets due to constraints on human activity, such as geography. As the Industrial Revolution progressed and most of these barriers fell, it wasn't a coincidence that capital began to concentrate in the hands of a few - that is the natural way of things.

    A market with many actors can only be established by forcing certain inefficiencies into the economy as a whole so capital can't easily coalesce. By its very nature, it is not a free market, because a free market is a monopolistic one.

  3. #423
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    It's not an issue of partisan "liking-not liking", it's a difference in how one defines degrees of capitalism. Remember Mark Twain's old adage: "there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics". Without the raw data to compare to, it's reasonable to assume that the numbers were interpreted in a fashion to be more amenable to the Heritage Foundation's message, that is, the American economy is over-regulated, isn't it?

    Always be suspicious of analyses that do not show their methodology.
    Index of Economic Freedom - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Look under "Method." That took a whole five seconds of time to find.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  4. #424

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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Which libertarians here supported McCain, by the way?
    For starters, I recall you saying you supported McCain over Obama - while calling yourself libertarian. This phenomenon is VERY common over at INTJ forum and NTJs in general, from my experience. Many libertarians, will admit supporting Bush the first time around as well.

    Not to say there aren't many exceptions, there is a certain political core tendency, that I find more common among NTJs, than other rationals from my personal experience.

  5. #425
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    Quote Originally Posted by meanlittlechimp View Post
    For starters, I recall you saying you supported McCain over Obama - while calling yourself libertarian. This phenomenon is VERY common over at INTJ forum and NTJs in general, from my experience. Many libertarians, will admit supporting Bush the first time around as well.

    Not to say there aren't many exceptions, there is a certain political core tendency, that I find more common among NTJs, than other rationals from my personal experience.

    You REALLY need to stop and read. I wrote SEVERAL times that I re-registered as a Republican to vote in the primary for Ron Paul and against John McCain (PA has closed primaries). I dislike John McCain. I explained that I would have rather have seen a Republican win the Presidency because that generally tends to be better small-governmentwise WHEN BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS ARE CONTROLLED BY DEMOCRATS. I cannot believe it's over a month later and you still do not understand this concept. Frankly, I think that notion has been proven correct in retrospect, because Obama has not proven to be very libertarian-friendly at all.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  6. #426

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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    You REALLY need to stop and read. I wrote SEVERAL times that I re-registered as a Republican to vote in the primary for Ron Paul and against John McCain (PA has closed primaries). I dislike John McCain. I explained that I would have rather have seen a Republican win the Presidency because that generally tends to be better small-governmentwise WHEN BOTH HOUSES OF CONGRESS ARE CONTROLLED BY DEMOCRATS. I cannot believe it's over a month later and you still do not understand this concept. Frankly, I think that notion has been proven correct in retrospect, because Obama has not proven to be very libertarian-friendly at all.
    I recall many of your posts on this forum being very conservative, in a right wing way. If you really want, I'll look for them and post them.

    My main point was many libertarians are actually right wingers in sheep's clothing - which IMO, goes against the grain of what true libertarianism is about.

    Secondly, many nationally recognized libertarians admit to supporting Bush originally, who was even less libertarian than McCain!!!!

  7. #427
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Index of Economic Freedom - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Look under "Method." That took a whole five seconds of time to find.
    I saw lots of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

  8. #428
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meanlittlechimp View Post
    I recall many of your posts on this forum being very conservative, in a right wing way. If you really want, I'll look for them and post them.
    I'd love to see them, actually. I'm considered a classical liberal/"cosmotarian" by many of the paleolibertarian types I know.


    My main point was many libertarians are actually right wingers in sheep's clothing - which IMO, goes against the grain of what true libertarianism is about.
    I wouldn't disagree with that completely, but I also think that "libertarian" has been co-opted by many small-government conservatives who want to differentiate themselves from the Religious Right or neocons. Reagan used to be photographed reading The Freeman. He certainly didn't govern like a libertarian.


    Secondly, many nationally recognized libertarians admit to supporting Bush originally, who was even less libertarian than McCain!!!!
    Bush campaigned far less ideologically than he governed, though. He ended up being far more aggressive in foreign policy and far more spendthrift domestically than most would ever have imagined. Remember in 2000 when the jokes on SNL and other shows were that Bush and Gore were basically the same guy, one slightly more likable/conservative/dumb and the other slightly more boring/liberal/intelligent? Both had fathers in the federal government, both were druggies as kids, etc. Pragmatically-minded libertarians always have to make a decision when it comes to voting. Vote LP, vote for the lesser of two evils, or don't vote at all. Personally, I like to get drunk and pull the lever for the Libertarian Party. If Ron Paul had somehow managed to get the Republican nomination, I would have voted for him. I can't really see a Republican candidate I'd support in 2012 (MAYBE someone like Mitch Daniels if Obama really shits the bed and there is a chance of voting him out), but the LP almost never gets it right. They nominated radicals for years and years, and then in 2008 they go with two ex-GOP jerks. It's always a tough call.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  9. #429
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    I saw lots of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    OK, well, based on what The Economist and other publications look at, things such as the number of days it takes to set up a new business, the corporate income tax rate, strictness of labor laws and so on all go into the mix. I couldn't provide you with the exact matrices, but you can see how they tally the scores on the wiki.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  10. #430
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    OK, well, based on what The Economist and other publications look at, things such as the number of days it takes to set up a new business, the corporate income tax rate, strictness of labor laws and so on all go into the mix. I couldn't provide you with the exact matrices, but you can see how they tally the scores on the wiki.
    How do you numerically define those variables without injecting considerable amounts of bias?

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