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  1. #41
    Crazy Diamond Billy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marmalade.sunrise View Post
    Actually, most people who will benefit from this are tax payers.

    Stop being so arrogant.
    Has nothing to do with arrogance, when you're paying 20,000 a year in taxes let me know how that grabs you.

  2. #42
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    Recklessly (as opposed to gradualist trail-and-error for the purpose of providing a sustainable social safety net that does not excessively compromise the positive, defining aspects of our country) allowing the government that much control over the lives of its citizens IS un-American, in terms of the classical liberal principles which ostensibly comprise the inspiration, foundation, and very purpose of our country.

    Also, there are two types of patriotism, emotional and intellectual, which typically build upon each other. I do not doubt (and I very much share) your emotional patriotism, but its the civic culture and political institutions that are the reasons behind my intellectual patriotism; this legislation threatens our civic culture by making everybody vastly more dependent upon and therefore subservient to centralized government, while the degree of government control over both individuals and local polities goes against the very purpose of our federalized, divided government institutions, which are the ultimate basis (along with our immigrant population and natural wealth) of so-called "American Exceptionalism."
    Are you honestly suggesting that the only way to interpret this country's civic culture and political institutions (not to mention history) is to embrace a basically paralyzed government?

    Let's first of all set aside the fact that in the days of the Founders, government was used as a tool to enrich the privileged, so we really don't know what their views would be with regard to post-1892 views of government. We'll just pretend for the moment that small-government conservatives are the natural heirs of Thomas Jefferson.

    Then, we'll also have to set aside the fact that the original "civic culture" of the United States was anti-monarchical. Without literal royalty, inherited wealth and business tycoons served as nice stand-ins. Hence, TR's insistence that:

    "The proposal to make the National Government supreme over, and therefore to give it complete control over, the railroads and other instruments of interstate commerce is merely a proposal to carry out to the letter one of the prime purposes, if not the prime purpose, for which the Constitution was founded."
    Guess he was pretty unpatriotic... at least intellectually so.

    Third, we'd have to pretend that the "civic culture" that makes America unique has nothing to do with the fact that the will of the people trumps intellectual or ideological doctrines. It's the reason neither fascism or communism ever got a foothold here. You're clinging to an ideology and measuring intellectual patriotism based on adherence to that ideology, but that excludes any room for the will of the people - probably THE most American concept of all. It's also, by the way, the reason the Constitution is amendable.

    Lastly, every government program/regulation/bureaucracy that exists is legally constitutional, or else it would have been struck down by the Supreme Court. The only argument left is intent, and that's a pretty subjective argument that I doubt either of us will convince the other one on.

    So, in this health care debate, you have a President and Congress who were legally elected by the American people. And you have a proposal (public option) to use government means to act as a check on economic royalty (insurance companies in this case). Like TR said, one of the prime purposes the Constitution was founded.

  3. #43
    Senior Member Ruthie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Billy View Post
    Has nothing to do with arrogance, when you're paying 20,000 a year in taxes let me know how that grabs you.
    When my income is high enough that I pay $20,000 a year in taxes, I'll get back to you. We can complain together over champagne.

  4. #44
    Feline Member kelric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kelric
    But that's the thing with health care - when you're sick, getting treatment is often not a choice. What if you get sick when you're uncovered, now? Would you expect the rest of us to say "Oh, too bad for him - let him suffer and/or die?"
    Expect it? No. Would I be depressed if it happened? Also no.
    Granted that I don't know you well enough to say this for sure, but I doubt that, if dying of tuberculosis in a gutter, you'd be saying "Thank goodness the government won't help me."

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kelric
    Would you feel comfortable if it was your parent, wife, or child in that situation?
    Comfortable? No. Would I rather them face such a situation without government health care, even if it were catastrophically expensive for me? You bet your ass.
    You'd rather a family member suffer than accept help (which, as a taxpayer, you'd have every right to) from a government plan? Really? I have trouble believing this, Merc. What if you *can't* afford it? Saying "but I'll have enough money, because I work hard" isn't a valid response. One, you may be wrong (many, MANY hardworking people go bankrupt trying, and failing, to pay for medical bills, even when they *do* have private insurance). Two, where is this line? Is it at how much *you* can make, or how much Warren Buffett can? How about teachers, police, social workers, and other people who perform great service to society but don't take home a lot of cash? Even if you consider "value to society" as a worthwhile criterion for deciding who gets health care and who doesn't, why is the ability to extract cash from the system the most important thing? Are we that morally corrupt?

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    I wouldn't be surprised if true single-payer were cheaper and more effective than what we have now. I still don't want it, though. I'd like to see free market reforms of what is currently a gigantic government/employer/HMO clusterfuck. My temp job right now is working for Blue Shield of California. I am helping to move retiring California public employees from their medical coverage to Medicare. It's pretty ironic for a libertarian, but it's quite instructive to see how convoluted and bizarre a system we have now.
    Especially the bold, this just boggles my mind. "It's better, but I don't want it because the government is involved" seems to me to be placing ideology above functionality. I mean, these are people's lives we're talking about, here. Do you really think that a private, for-profit system will benefit people (in aggregate, and in specific) more than a public one? Or is your goal not to have health care provided, but to service the "government is bad, greed is good" ideology?

    There's no doubt that our current system is convoluted and bizarre. I'm not sure that the current plan will help much (and it may make it worse *sigh*). Simplifying the process to get as much graft, corruption, etc. out of the system is a good thing - I think that we agree on that. But you have no confidence in the government, and I have no confidence in for-profit institutions. At least the government is nominally accountable to the people. A private corporation is specifically set up *not* to be accountable to its customers, but to the interests of its shareholders (ie, profit).

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    As to the drugs, tests, and procedures, why do you think that the cost of things like health care and education rise so much faster than the rate of inflation? You don't think that government involvement has accelerated this increase significantly?
    No, that's not really what I was trying to say. What I was saying is that I don't think that *medicare*, the government program, has accelerated that as much as the nature of the industry over the last 45 years. Actions of the government (things like extending drug patents, etc) *have* been involved, no doubt. But that's not medicare's fault. I most definitely don't believe that a fully private (and unregulated) health care system would have lower costs, especially for the quality of care it could provide. I won't address education - it's a different issue, and off-topic.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Competition is great, but that is not the foremost objection I have here, as evidenced by disdain for single-payer despite the likelihood of being a "better" system than what we have now.
    Already addressed this... even if single-payer has "the likelihood of being a better system", you'd refuse it based on ideological principles? To what end? What's the upside here?

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Our military is great at blowing other militaries away. It's not nearly so good at defending us from attack, especially nuclear or biological ones. It's retarded that we have soldiers in like 80+ countries and enough nuclear firepower to destroy most of the world, but we probably could not take down ONE nuclear warhead launched by an extremist dictator in another part of the world (at least, not without significant damage somewhere along the way).
    Perhaps the problems presented by nuclear or biological (*highly* overrated, btw - the problem of distributing a biological agent is NOT trivial) attack aren't ones that are susceptible to a purely military solution. Doesn't mean that our government isn't perfectly capable of funding, organizing, and maintaining a first-class system.

    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kelric
    And the profit thing...
    I wouldn't want that person to do that, but I wouldn't want a government agency who has never met me or my family or my doctor or my employer making ANY health care decisions for me. If I have to buy my own expensive health care in the future to avoid this scenario, I will. I should be in the financial shape to do so. The problem now is, I will either A) pray that I covered by my employer (and many employers are going to start squeezing people out of coverage); B) have to buy super-expensive private coverage; C) get the government plan if I down on my luck (and I would absolutely despise that); or D) get fined and possibly do jail time. How in the world can that be considered fair? I don't think it's right for the government even to force us to buy CAR insurance.
    First, many people think that they *should* be in the financial position to buy expensive health care. Many of those people are wrong, or get bled dry and then cast off. And you're kidding yourself if you think that a private health care "insurance" company is going to make decisions more to your benefit than the government. Like I said before, at least the government is responsible to you, as a citizen. It's not perfect... but it's also not buying luxury cars and yachts over the rejected claims of its customers, either.

    And throughout all of that, there's a point I hadn't brought up... you briefly mentioned it when you don't think it's fair that the government forces us to buy car insurance. It's not for you (in most states, you're only forced to buy liability coverage that protects *others*). It's for the public good, that people can drive on the roads with confidence. A portion of the health care argument, the one that relates to communicable diseases, works the same way. Paying to ensure that others can have access to vaccines helps ensure that *you* don't get infected (vaccines don't work for 100% of the innoculated population - some vaccinated people are still susceptible to polio, for instance -- but if everyone is vaccinated, the virus can't get a good enough foothold to get into contact with the susceptible people).

    Anyway, said my bit, I think. I'm sure we'll have this conversation again - I think we've had it a few times now .
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  5. #45
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marmalade.sunrise View Post
    Actually, most people who will benefit from this are tax payers.
    Which facts are you basing this on?

    Stop being so arrogant.
    What is the point of this statement?
    "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."

  6. #46
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
    Are you honestly suggesting that the only way to interpret this country's civic culture and political institutions (not to mention history) is to embrace a basically paralyzed government?
    I would argue that it's not the only way, but it would be the historically and governmentally correct one.


    Let's first of all set aside the fact that in the days of the Founders, government was used as a tool to enrich the privileged, so we really don't know what their views would be with regard to post-1892 views of government. We'll just pretend for the moment that small-government conservatives are the natural heirs of Thomas Jefferson.
    You say "tool to enrich the priveleged," I see "begrudgingly established institution to protect rights to life, liberty, and property."


    Then, we'll also have to set aside the fact that the original "civic culture" of the United States was anti-monarchical. Without literal royalty, inherited wealth and business tycoons served as nice stand-ins. Hence, TR's insistence that:



    Guess he was pretty unpatriotic... at least intellectually so.
    Unpatriotic? No. Massively wrong? Yes, without doubt. Also, it's a quantum leap from "anti-monarchical" to "anti-economic aristocracy." That makes absolutely no sense.


    Third, we'd have to pretend that the "civic culture" that makes America unique has nothing to do with the fact that the will of the people trumps intellectual or ideological doctrines. It's the reason neither fascism or communism ever got a foothold here. You're clinging to an ideology and measuring intellectual patriotism based on adherence to that ideology, but that excludes any room for the will of the people - probably THE most American concept of all. It's also, by the way, the reason the Constitution is amendable.
    The Constitution is amendable because the Founding Fathers realized that legislative mistakes could be made, not so the Constitution could be bent and broken into a million irrelevant pieces. And "the will of the people" is both explicitly and implicitly CONSTRAINED by the Constitution. Consent of the government is necessary for the government to retain legitimacy, but the will of the people does NOT trump individual rights. Based on even a cursory reading of the writings and collected speeches of the day, one could see that's a completely ahistorical claim.


    Lastly, every government program/regulation/bureaucracy that exists is legally constitutional, or else it would have been struck down by the Supreme Court. The only argument left is intent, and that's a pretty subjective argument that I doubt either of us will convince the other one on.
    It's not that subjective, really. It's obvious to anyone with a brain that, say, using the Interstate Commerce Clause to regulate growing crops for your own consumption is unconstitutional. Or holding people indefinitely without trial.


    So, in this health care debate, you have a President and Congress who were legally elected by the American people. And you have a proposal (public option) to use government means to act as a check on economic royalty (insurance companies in this case). Like TR said, one of the prime purposes the Constitution was founded.
    Not at all. There is nothing in the Constitution that allows for government regulation of "economic royalty." Nothing WHATSOEVER. You have no justification for that argument short of "if the government does it, it's OK by definition." That's the argument favored by such spectactular assholes as Richard Nixon and Dick Cheney.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  7. #47
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Which facts are you basing this on?


    What is the point of this statement?

    BTW, who exactly is NOT a taxpayer nowadays, and how do I become one of them? Personally, I cannot WAIT to be able to afford the kind of financial consultants who can help use every legal maneuver possible not to pay taxes.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  8. #48
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    BTW, who exactly is NOT a taxpayer nowadays, and how do I become one of them? Personally, I cannot WAIT to be able to afford the kind of financial consultants who can help use every legal maneuver possible not to pay taxes.
    By passing a health care bill, many politicians guaranteed their reelection. Five years from now, who will still be paying attention to all of these regulations? I seriously doubt most Americans will give it more than a passing thought, but I guarantee you insurance companies and other health care related companies will be paying very close attention. And they'll be spending millions lobbying Congress to gradually slant the rules in their favor. It's the American way.
    "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."

  9. #49
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
    Are you honestly suggesting that the only way to interpret this country's civic culture and political institutions (not to mention history) is to embrace a basically paralyzed government?
    Pure Mercury already did a pretty good job answering your questions (though my own political philosophy is not quite as exacting as his own), so I'll just note a few things:

    The American political system is NOT "basically paralyzed," but it IS designed to limit radical and/or sweeping legislation that lacks general societal consensus or prolonged consideration.

    Most rich people don't inherit their money.

    Fascist and Communist states have usually been implemented through popular will, precisely because the civic culture and political institutions did not reflect such "ideological" concepts as the primacy of individual rights or the need for limited and divided government.

    The lack of caution over the tyranny of temporary majorities is in fact a common feature in democracies outside the United States-how on earth could that constitute an aspect of "American Exceptionalism"?

  10. #50
    Crazy Diamond Billy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
    When my income is high enough that I pay $20,000 a year in taxes, I'll get back to you. We can complain together over champagne.
    Yeah in the mean time tell that to the guys we just laid off because we couldn't afford them anymore.

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