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Old 04-12-2010, 10:12 AM   #21
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Seems odd to claim something is a 'myth' without even defining what "it" is. Unless one is just trying to make an empty proclamation.

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Nailed it.
Yes, if your definition of 'nailed it' is 'you agreed with me'. Esp considering no facts were presented in the 'nailing', just opinion.

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Old 04-12-2010, 11:10 AM   #22
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Doesn't feel that way to me. Maybe some of the chart gurus can compare federal spending as a proportion of GDP sans Medicare and Medicaid. They are a huge drain but how many of us feel that they amount to intrusion in our lives? How many would actually vote to abolish them? With the massive deregulation and privatization over the past three decades I feel like its actually the reverse. The bigger fear of "intrusion" these days seems to be coming from private companies who mine our every transaction.

I do think many people our age feel the Government is "intruding" because of court decisions and laws on topics like religion and sexuality that appear to reach down into our lives. But most of those decisions/laws simply protect groups that were subject to "intrusion" on their rights in the past.
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I don't see the reason for "not counting" these programs. It's money taken from people, right? It doesn't matter if the program is "kind", or popular, or well entrenched. When government takes property for redistribution to others, that's collectivism, isn't it?

For those on this board who are younger than 65, government at all levels is now spending more, as percentage of our nation's economy, than at any time since you've been alive.

"We're not socialist" is a strawman. Are we more or less free with each passing year? Free to succeed, free to fail, free to make our own decisions and to be left alone.
The reason I suggested "not counting" Medicare and SS spending "" is that I don't see many people agreeing that they represent government intrusions into their lives. Outside of these areas I suspect the increase in government spending (and thus the area for real intrusion) is not great. I do recognize that government involvement in those areas has greatly increased -- I just don't see it as an intrusion.

To my mind the biggest recent intrusions of government involve overreactions in the war on terror. I doubt that these represent much of the cost curve. I do worry that commercial interests are making me less free and that they influence government to insure that they are uncontrolled in their actions.
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Old 04-12-2010, 11:11 AM   #23
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I do worry that commercial interests are making me less free and that they influence government to insure that they are uncontrolled in their actions.
Frankly, I think both increasing government *and* increasing corporatism are potential nuisances, at times "attacking" us from different angles but to (sometimes) the same effect in the end.
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Old 04-12-2010, 11:21 AM   #24
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"We're not socialist" is a strawman.
It's hardly a "strawman". It's a reaction to the very specific claims, here and elsewhere, that we are in fact a socialist nation.

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Since almost all other industrialized social welfare nations have a VAT, and since the US has recently become a flat out social welfare nation ( though perhaps not exactly an industrial one), why wouldn't we turn to the same revenue sources that have proven so powerful in other countries?
So if people want to casually throw around this notion, then maybe they can step up and defend it.


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Are we more or less free with each passing year? Free to succeed, free to fail, free to make our own decisions and to be left alone.
I don't see how I'm any less free today than I ever have been. Someone will have to show me exactly what I can't do today that I was able to do before (airport security aside). I know that I'm free to choose a telephone provider, whereas in the past I couldn't. Same too with natural gas and electricity (in some states). I'm free to fly regional airlines. I know that broadcasters are more free to broadcast vulgarity, and I'm more free to hear it if I wish. And more importantly, I know that compared with prior decades women and minorities have far more freedoms than they once had.
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Old 04-12-2010, 11:36 AM   #25
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I don't see how I'm any less free today than I ever have been. Someone will have to show me exactly what I can't do today that I was able to do before (airport security aside). I know that I'm free to choose a telephone provider, whereas in the past I couldn't. Same too with natural gas and electricity (in some states). I'm free to fly regional airlines. I know that broadcasters are more free to broadcast vulgarity, and I'm more free to hear it if I wish. And more importantly, I know that compared with prior decades women and minorities have far more freedoms than they once had.
Are you free to choose your own healthcare in 4 years?
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Old 04-12-2010, 11:48 AM   #26
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Maybe some of the chart gurus can compare federal spending as a proportion of GDP sans Medicare and Medicaid.

Here you go . . . looks pretty flat since the mid-1950s. We're above the 60 year average in 2010 but were below it before the recession.
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Old 04-12-2010, 11:50 AM   #27
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Are you free to choose your own healthcare in 4 years?
According to the legislation that passed, absolutely. And I'm free not to have it too, I'll just pay more in taxes. Same with my choice not to have children. Or my choice not to have a mortgage. Or . . .

But here's the thing. If I'm someone with a chronic illness I'll have the freedom to buy insurance in 4 years. Whereas now I can't.
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Old 04-12-2010, 03:03 PM   #28
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According to the legislation that passed, absolutely. And I'm free not to have it too, I'll just pay more in taxes.
I hope you are being facetious, or maybe you are using a different working definition of freedom. By your logic, we can also "choose" not to pay the "taxes," (i.e. fines) thereby "choosing" to go to jail. Once there, we'll still have lots of options--eat the food or don't, sleep or stay awake, etc. Yep, we all have just as many choices as before.

The selection of health care options for most people will decline (no high deductible "bare bones" true insurance policies, no option to go without insurance, etc). The government has decided for us that we shouldn't have these options. How does this not reduce our freedom? These may not be options you'd choose to use yourself, and maybe you think no one else should be able to choose them, either, but let's not pretend that there's no diminution of freedom.

Perhaps it's a small point, but I also feel that my freedom is endangered when my government engages in spending that will clearly require that I will pay higher taxes in the future. And so will our kids. Taking of personal property is a very real reduction of my liberty. Our property is gained through the application of our skills and the finite hours of our lives, and when it is taken it is akin to taking this time from us. There are legitimate functions of government (the Constitution spells them out), and I doubt that the framers really intended for us to be donating the fruit of hundreds of hours of our lives to support a very brief reference to "promoting the common welfare" in that document. They spent several paragraphs dealing with small items (administration of tariffs, etc). If they'd intended that we have a welfare state with old age care, health care, etc, administered by the federal government then they probably would have mentioned it.
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Old 04-12-2010, 03:49 PM   #29
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No Sam, I don't think he is. And I agree with him.
While I may not have the freedom to choose to not have insurance, society as a whole will not have to pay through the nose for as many uninsured people going to emergency rooms for runny noses.
There are always minor issues which you could claim are 'limiting or expanding' your freedoms.
Does every new rule/regulation that is implemented turn us into a socialist state?
Does every rule/regulation/law that gets repealed return us to freedom?
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Old 04-12-2010, 04:14 PM   #30
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While I may not have the freedom to choose to not have insurance, society as a whole will not have to pay through the nose for as many uninsured people going to emergency rooms for runny noses.
But this is just citing the results of a previous error as a reason to make another mistake. Who first denied those running ER's the freedom to choose how they use their time and talents? What's more, I'm not clear what part of the Constitution requires "society as a whole" to pay for the medical treatment of people who lack insurance. Maybe you and I are in agreement om this.
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Does every new rule/regulation that is implemented turn us into a socialist state?
Does every rule/regulation/law that gets repealed return us to freedom?
No and no. I already addressed the "socialism" strawman argument, so I won't go there again.
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Old 04-12-2010, 04:16 PM   #31
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Sam,

It depends on how you define freedom. Someone who can't leave a job even though it's killing because they need insurance is not free at all. This is one of the few countries in the world where healthcare is not considered a right just like the right to an education. The measure of any country, is how it treats the vulnerable and if you cannot get insurance simply because you can't afford is a sure sign that we've lost our moral compasss.
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Old 04-12-2010, 04:26 PM   #32
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Sam,
It depends on how you define freedom.
So, if I go to the store and cannot find shoes at a price I want (or even can) pay, am I being denied freedom? Surely I would have more options if there were cheaper shoes, but no one owes me shoes, or health care, or food/

The only way to provide me my "right" to shoes would be to forcibly take the rightful property belonging to other people (to give to the shoe merchant or to me so that I can buy the shoes) or force the shoemaker to build shoes for free so that I can have my "freedom." Does this really increase freedom? Justice?
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Old 04-12-2010, 04:46 PM   #33
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This is one of the few countries in the world where healthcare is not considered a right just like the right to an education.
These of course are not inalienable rights, but rather rights that governments and societies have chosen to give.

And since the topic is socialism, let's look and see the background on these man-given rights.
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"... neither the American Declaration of Independence (1776) nor the French Declaration of the Rights of Man (1789) protected the right to education as the liberal concepts of human rights in the nineteenth century envisaged that parents retained the primary duty for providing education to their children. It was the states obligation to ensure that parents complied with this duty, and many states enacted legislation making school attendance compulsory."
It wasn't until 1849 that any Constitution of any nation recognized education as a governmental function (Germany), but did not actually create any schools.

But most interesting of all
Quote:
...The nineteenth century also saw the development of socialist theory, which held that the primary task of the state was to ensure the economic and social well-being of the community through government intervention and regulation. Socialist theory recognised that individuals had claims to basic welfare services against the state and education was viewed as one of these welfare entitlements. This was in contrast to liberal theory at the time, which regarded non-state actors as the prime providers of education. Socialist ideals were enshrined in the 1936 Soviet Constitution, which was the first constitution to recognise the right to education with a corresponding obligation of the state to provide such education. The constitution guaranteed free and compulsory education at all levels, a system of state scholarships and vocational training in state enterprises. Subsequently the right to education featured strongly in the constitutions of socialist states.
Source: Right to education - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

These are not inalienable rights given us by God, they are rights given by society, if it so chooses - and is willing to pay the bill. Rights that society decides to give under law can be taken away again just as quickly.
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Old 04-12-2010, 05:02 PM   #34
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But this is just citing the results of a previous error as a reason to make another mistake. Who first denied those running ER's the freedom to choose how they use their time and talents? What's more, I'm not clear what part of the Constitution requires "society as a whole" to pay for the medical treatment of people who lack insurance. Maybe you and I are in agreement om this.
I am in agreement with you that the constitution does not specifically guarantee medical care. Our society has decided upon this though. Would you suggest that we provide medical care/treatment for only those that can afford it?
I don't believe I would.
There are cases I don't believe society should pay for individual's bad luck/choices/risks. But I don't think medical care is one of them.

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No and no. I already addressed the "socialism" strawman argument, so I won't go there again.
You are quite correct. My error. You posed the question 'are we more or less free each year...'
I take it your position is that we are less free?
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Old 04-12-2010, 05:24 PM   #35
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There are cases I don't believe society should pay for individual's bad luck/choices/risks. But I don't think medical care is one of them.
So, let me see if I have this right.

If I choose to smoke a pack and a half a day, drink half a bottle of rotgut before noon, inject some methamphetamine to make the rest of the day go by, drive around drunk or stoned (or both), maybe deal a little dope or do some burglaries/robberies to help pay for my lifestyle - which puts me at a greater risk of being shot by another crook, a property owner, or the police - you're okay with paying my medical bills?

Seriously, what if I never stop? Would you not deny me medical care on the second or third time I showed up in the trauma room suffering from an overdose, or yet another bullet hole?

And the lung cancer, heart attacks, AIDS, cirrhosis of the liver, the injuries from the car crashes - you're okay with paying the bill for it all?
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Old 04-12-2010, 05:40 PM   #36
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These are not inalienable rights given us by God.
Which rights are given to us by God? And which God are we talking about here?

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Are you free to choose your own healthcare in 4 years?
Do many people *really* want to spend their time figuring out which insurance plans they want to be on? I'd rather have a single "reasonable" plan for all.. If it's good enough for a Senator, I'll take it. I don't see much fun in figuring out year in and year out all conditions and stipulations described for various plans out there, and how they changed from last year, and which is the better one this year... what a waste of time...
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Old 04-12-2010, 05:47 PM   #37
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So, let me see if I have this right.

If I choose to smoke a pack and a half a day, drink half a bottle of rotgut before noon, inject some methamphetamine to make the rest of the day go by, drive around drunk or stoned (or both), maybe deal a little dope or do some burglaries/robberies to help pay for my lifestyle - which puts me at a greater risk of being shot by another crook, a property owner, or the police - you're okay with paying my medical bills?
I would.. and I would also put you in jail so you don't participate in most of these activities.

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And the lung cancer, heart attacks, AIDS, cirrhosis of the liver, the injuries from the car crashes - you're okay with paying the bill for it all?
What about these? You would not want to pay for these for other people, but you get them, then you'd rather go broke or have a huge pile of money for self-insurance? Or are you saying that only people who can afford the insurance of these deseases should get treated? I am not following...
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Old 04-12-2010, 07:12 PM   #38
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Do many people *really* want to spend their time figuring out which insurance plans they want to be on? I'd rather have a single "reasonable" plan for all.
Why stop at insurance then? Let's have government issued cars, shoes, houses, gin, etc. I'm sure we can come up with something reasonable for all, and then we won't need to worry our little heads over things like....decisions, after all we learned in Orwell's book: FREEDOM IS SLAVERY.

And we can address each other as "Comrade!".

OK, seriously - YES. I would much rather have a choice of a high deductible plan, and I want it separate from my employment, which is something that happened largely due to the government backing the idea.

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Old 04-12-2010, 07:59 PM   #39
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So, if I go to the store and cannot find shoes at a price I want (or even can) pay, am I being denied freedom? Surely I would have more options if there were cheaper shoes, but no one owes me shoes, or health care, or food/

The only way to provide me my "right" to shoes would be to forcibly take the rightful property belonging to other people (to give to the shoe merchant or to me so that I can buy the shoes) or force the shoemaker to build shoes for free so that I can have my "freedom." Does this really increase freedom? Justice?
No one is denied food in this country because they're too poor to afford and I am glad I don't live in a third world country where the poor is digging for food and anything thing they can salvage out of putrid dumps and that's exactly what would happen if your and my hard earned money didn't go to supplement them. We would have shanty towns, much much higher crime and groups of poor people roaming the streets in search of food and money. You get my drift? The poor will always be with us. They are a myriad of reasons why resources are transferred from one group to another. Poverty can be a very difficult thing to break if you were raised in an environment where you didn't see the values of hardwork and high expectation. I understand that you're coming from a completely different perspective and I sense a divide that just can't be bridged.
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Old 04-12-2010, 08:05 PM   #40
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".

OK, seriously - YES. I would much rather have a choice of a high deductible plan, and I want it separate from my employment, which is something that happened largely due to the government backing the idea.

-ERD50
Me too, I'd like to have situation where I pay for doctors and hospital for routine medical care. For medical catastrophes, I pay an amount into a fund which reimburse the medical community for cancer treatments, car accidents etc.

As I posted earlier tying insurance to employer was a unintended consequence of government wage controls in WWII. I guess it was better to beat the Axis, and end up with our current health care insurance, but I am not always sure
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