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Why am I a Socialist, and why should you be, too?

snowgirl (978879) writes | more than 3 years ago

User Journal 48

A socialist purports social policies that directly attack the exploitation of the haves against the have nots. The Rich should have higher taxes, they have a higher moral obligation to provide to the social good, because they've benefited more from the social good. Employers should not have the power in a corporation, the EMPLOYEES should have all the power.

A socialist purports social policies that directly attack the exploitation of the haves against the have nots. The Rich should have higher taxes, they have a higher moral obligation to provide to the social good, because they've benefited more from the social good. Employers should not have the power in a corporation, the EMPLOYEES should have all the power.

There will come a time, where running a corporation through any other means than a democratically elected republican management will be viewed in the same way that we view dictatorships... HARSHLY.

Obama does not stand for this idea, and is FOR THAT REASON not a socialist. It's a moderate, a centrist. That he's proposing support systems to protect HUMAN DIGNITY against tarnish is not a sign of socialism. Republicans agree that slavery is a tarnish against Human Dignity. That one must be paid for their work, and that humans cannot be owned.

It is a common exercise in Ethics classes to consider the situation of a starving child stealing a loaf of bread in order to stave off starvation. Is the child justified? Ethics finds this to be a grey area. How has our society decided to resolve this situation? If you are unable to afford food, then we will grant you public money to purchase food, so that you do not have to steal that food, even though it could be argued as justified under the legal doctrine of necessity.

Go on, I dare you. Argue the side that claims that people do not deserve by Human Dignity to be fed (not on filet mignon, but just fed). That they do not deserve by Human Dignity to have housing, safety, protection from fire, prevention of life-threatening medical conditions. All of these policies are implemented openly and "happily" all but unanimously by Americans.

Now, I want you to load of up a picture of the most pity-worthy starving child in Africa. I want you to ask yourself: "What does this person deserve to have, just because they are human?" Food? Somewhere to be protected from the elements? If they're coughing and sick, don't they deserve to be seen by a doctor? Who could argue against the natural human social behavior of empathy to provide for those in need?

Now, when you talk about denying healthcare to someone, just because they can't afford it... I want you to ask yourself... Who the fuck are you to deny humanity from another human being? What's next, stealing candy from a baby, because it didn't pay for it?

48 comments

Ah, politics.. (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33680910)

Hate politics really, but I am happy we have the NHS here in the UK. I don't mind my taxes going towards helping other people out. If people don't want national healthcare, why are they happy with having a police force, fire service, armed forces, or even a government at all?

Re:Ah, politics.. (2, Informative)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#33681232)

If people don't want national healthcare, why are they happy with having a police force, fire service, armed forces, or even a government at all?

Police and fire services are local services, not national. Local gov't allows more participation. It is easier to tailor the services to the needs of the population, since you know what your local situation is.

Armed forces are a damn good example. IMHO they have VASTLY overstepped their usefulness. I am of the opinion the armed forces should be used for DEFENSE, and not defense on the far side of my neighbor's border. They have grown much too large and powerful.

The argument is where to draw the line with health care. See my other post for an example. Free immunizations are wonderful, and affordable. Free full-body CAT scans, MRI scans and unlimited lab work on demand and emergency room service? Not so much.

Your argument presents the false dichotomy of "why bother to have a gov't (nothing) if we can't have X (everything)"? In the United States our Constitution is supposed to be the guile for what National gov't can and should do. That was the entire purpose of the document. National healthcare is not in there. The short answer is...because there are limits as to what the gov't is supposed to provide and what you're supposed to do either at a more local level or for yourself.

Re:Ah, politics.. (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33684598)

It is easier to tailor the services to the needs of the population, since you know what your local situation is.

Certainly... in building the hospitals, and implementing the healthcare provisions, local governments most certainly should be involved. Your medical care should only be limited based on medical necessity.

Should our interstates be controlled exclusively by local governments? Oh wait, that's the Federal Government, dictating requirements, and providing funds to State Governments to provide a common good that applies universally across the entire country.

Let me ask you a question: what reason is there for the local or state government to establish rules about how to provide for heart health? Are heart attacks different in Maine as opposed to California? Is heartburn treated with different drugs in Florida, than what they use in Alaska?

Certainly, implementation details are best handled at the local and state level, but the necessity of basic and medically necessary care is not something that varies from state to state. Human rights don't change from state to state; Human dignity doesn't change from state to state; HEALTHCARE POLICY doesn't need to change from state to state.

Re:Ah, politics.. (1)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#33698050)

Neither should be setting rules about heart health, doctors should. Hell, right now insurance companies do most of it.

Re:Ah, politics.. (2, Insightful)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33702084)

Neither should be setting rules about heart health, doctors should. Hell, right now insurance companies do most of it.

You do realize that establishing a rule saying "anything that a doctor authorizes shall be covered" would be a government setting rules about heart health, right?

Saying "they shouldn't be making rules" is retarded, because they have to establish rules about who can authorize care, and if they place that authority in the doctor, then they're still making rules.

The government works EVERYTHING through rules... even the rules that say that they CAN'T make rules about something are RULES about that something.

Just because the government is making rules, doesn't make it something bad. Hell, the entire Bill of Rights is just a bunch of rules, yet I don't think anyone would argue that they're BAD rules.

Re:Ah, politics.. (1)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#33703214)

To clarify, I'm against having the politicians making the SPECIFIC DETAILS. Appointing an appropriate group of specialists is acceptable, but when specifics are legislated it leads to bad things.

A brief example is the law in California mandating CFL bulbs to replace incandescent bulbs. The correct response would have been to mandate a minimum efficiency standard, not a specific product. Legislation of specifics is hard to undo.

Re:Ah, politics.. (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33717138)

To clarify, I'm against having the politicians making the SPECIFIC DETAILS. Appointing an appropriate group of specialists is acceptable, but when specifics are legislated it leads to bad things.

A brief example is the law in California mandating CFL bulbs to replace incandescent bulbs. The correct response would have been to mandate a minimum efficiency standard, not a specific product. Legislation of specifics is hard to undo.

And you seriously think that the federal government would pass a law saying you couldn't say... use Zoloft, you had to you Paxil?

As for passing a law requiring CFL and not incandescent... the actual bill as chaptered [ca.gov]:

25402.5.4. (a) On or before December 31, 2008, the commission
shall adopt minimum energy efficiency standards for all general
purpose lights on a schedule specified in the regulations. The
regulations, in combination with other programs and activities
affecting lighting use in the state, shall be structured to reduce
average statewide electrical energy consumption by not less than 50
percent from the 2007 levels for indoor residential lighting and by
not less than 25 percent from the 2007 levels for indoor commercial
and outdoor lighting, by 2018."

So, in no way does the bill actually say "no incandescent bulbs" but rather, it says EXACTLY WHAT YOU COMPLAINED THAT IT SHOULD SAY. Do people even CHECK facts about this shit, or are you all just listening to pundits?

Re:Ah, politics.. (1)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#33717990)

Califonia, Canada [reuters.com], whatever. maybe throw in Australia for good measure, which was the first country to do it, Politicians are politicians.

Re:Ah, politics.. (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33718122)

In February 2007, Australia enacted a law that will, in effect, by legislating efficiency standards, ban most sales of incandescent light bulbs by 2010.

Australia is legislating by way of efficiency standards.

I can't find anything on Canada's "ban" beyond newspaper articles. But considering that they would then be the only legislature to not legislate by way of efficiency standards, I'm going to request that the burden of proof be placed on you to show that the actual language of the bill bans "incandescent lighting" itself, and not simply via efficiency standards.

(BTW, California's bill is based on the European Union legislation, and specifically incorporates it, so the EU legislation is efficiency standard as well.)

Namely, I'm not going to run around like a chicken with my head cut off proving each of your assertions false... try even proving ONE assertion first.

Re:Ah, politics.. (1)

JustABlitheringIdiot (1773798) | more than 3 years ago | (#33760034)

Started reading the thread and I'm enjoying the back and forth. Particularly since I support your position fully.

I just wanted to point out that the referenced Reuters article about the Canadian ban actually states that the ban IS based on efficiency standards. "By banning inefficient lighting..."

Re:Ah, politics.. (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33804762)

Started reading the thread and I'm enjoying the back and forth. Particularly since I support your position fully.

I just wanted to point out that the referenced Reuters article about the Canadian ban actually states that the ban IS based on efficiency standards. "By banning inefficient lighting..."

I saw some of that implicit arguments, but I couldn't really find any explicit text stating that it was specifically efficiency regulation. Unlike being able to find the actual California bill, and the Australian text as well.

Re:Ah, politics.. (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33717166)

A brief example is the law in California mandating CFL bulbs to replace incandescent bulbs. The correct response would have been to mandate a minimum efficiency standard, not a specific product. Legislation of specifics is hard to undo.

Oh, and as another particularly delicious piece of irony gleaned from reading the bill: Section 1(b): "Many existing lighting choices contain toxic materials. Most fluorescent lighting products contain mercury."

CFL lights are subject to the exact same restrictions, and are particularly brought out as needing to reduce the toxic content of those lights as well. So, if we walked into the full enforcement of the act today, you couldn't sell CFLs either.

Re:Ah, politics.. (1)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#33718022)

yeah, yeah. And mercury is released into the air by coal burning electricity plants. the energy saved by replacing an incandescent with a CFL results in a net DECREASE in mercury emissions.

Re:Ah, politics.. (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33718166)

yeah, yeah. And mercury is released into the air by coal burning electricity plants. the energy saved by replacing an incandescent with a CFL results in a net DECREASE in mercury emissions.

The concern isn't about mercury emissions... it's about having items in your home that contain hazardous chemicals. You appear to readily admit that CFLs contain mercury... California isn't allowed to legislate a maximum amount of mercury that CFLs are allowed to contain?

Be happy that they can legislate how much lead is in your paint...

Re:Ah, politics.. (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33684748)

In the United States our Constitution is supposed to be the guile for what National gov't can and should do. That was the entire purpose of the document.

To be honest I think treating one document as infallible is getting into religious territory.. if it becomes apparent that there are serious health issues in your country resulting from the insurance system, then that does seem like a government should be stepping in for. I wasn't trying to suggest that there shouldn't be armed forces or government, I was just asking for example: if people are happy for their taxes to be put towards saving people from fires, why then have the same person put below the poverty line or out on the streets while trying to cope with the medical bills for living with whatever injuries or disabilities have resulted from the fire? In a country like that, it might actually be preferable just to die in the fire.

Like you say, you have to draw the line somewhere, but anytime I've heard stories of America's healthcare/insurance system, it's always sounded horrific to me. I have had very good experiences with the NHS over the years. It's not a perfect system, but it's much better than the poor have something - and those who can afford it can opt into private healthcare if they wish. I'm finally at a stage in life where I don't have to worry too much about money, I'm fairly comfortable, and I'm only making about £33,000 a year. For people who earn more than me I find it pretty sad that they don't want to pay a little more taxes to help out those who's lives are being ruined by insane medical bills. Hmm, after saying I don't like politics, maybe I got a bit carried away there..

Re:Ah, politics.. (1)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#33698122)

To be honest I think treating one document as infallible is getting into religious territory..

I never claimed it was infallible. We have a mechanism for changing it that has successfully been used 27 times. Don't like it? Change it. But just doing an end-run is dishonest.

I'm not sure what you've heard about the American healthcare system, but it is fine for the poor. They get healthcare, though not the absolute best. It is the middle class it can be a bitch to. They have to pay for it and it gets expensive.

Re:Ah, politics.. (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33698306)

I thought you had to have insurance to get healthcare in the US, and that some people found this really difficult to get in the first place - especially if they actually have any known serious illnesses for example? At least that would have been the way it was before "ObamaCare", if that's been implemented yet - I have no idea what the current system is.

Re:Ah, politics.. (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33741712)

The desperate in need actually can get Medicaid, and then nearly all of their healthcare is paid for at special health clinics. I was on Medicaid for awhile, because I have been unemployed for about 2 years now, and have had zero income for quite awhile. I've also been unable to work in my field as a result of psychological injuries. (Yay, PTSD from jobs!)

So, with zero income, and a documented disability, I qualify as "in need"... but the paperwork is atrocious, and the stuff you have to comply with make it even more of a pain than a job to be honest.

But, all that said, I likely would not have gotten coverage for a severe injury, and if it was a manageable chronic illness, then they would only cover the management. (I knew a guy, who if they fixed his spine, he could go back to work. However, rather than do that, they just keep managing the care, and thus he couldn't go back to work, and stayed on disability more or less indefinitely.)

Definitions (1, Troll)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#33681090)

There will come a time, where running a corporation through any other means than a democratically elected republican management will be viewed in the same way that we view dictatorships... HARSHLY.

If you think this will work, please feel free to implement it. There are no laws nor restrictions against doing this now, just the high capital cost of failure. Running a corporation by committee is a recipe for failure.

Now, I want you to load of up a picture of the most pity-worthy starving child in Africa. I want you to ask yourself: "What does this person deserve to have, just because they are human?" Food? Somewhere to be protected from the elements? If they're coughing and sick, don't they deserve to be seen by a doctor? Who could argue against the natural human social behavior of empathy to provide for those in need?

Please draw a line for me as to what said child "deserves", and explain exactly who should provide it, including the necessary infrastructure. "All of us" is not an answer.

A. Seen by a local doctor
B. Access to basic bloodwork lab and x-ray -- portable and local
C. Access to full diagnostic lab, plus transportation
D. Emergency medivac, either by ambulance with trained EMTs or helicopter to nearest hospital in the case of life-threatening emergency
E. Surgery, if necessary, will full anesthesia and all the accompanying medical team and facilities
F. Extended rehabilitation and therapy in the case of physical injury
G. Lifetime of medication and treatment for incurable diseases

Finally, just what are you doing to help provide that African child with any of these? Have you joined the Peace Corps and not told us? Training to become a nurse or doctor and join Doctors Without Borders? Volunteered regularly at the local homeless shelter or soup kitchen?

The question isn't over "health care", it is over where to draw the line. As society becomes wealthier it can afford to draw the line further down the list. However, in cases of economic want, that line can't always be where we'd like it and things have to be done without.

The Peace Corps was founded in 1961, and Doctors Without Borders in 1971. The truth is in the last 50-75 years we -- humans as a civilization -- have done more to reduce and eliminate poverty than in the 10,000 years prior to that. I'm sorry it isn't going as fast as you'd like, but much of the abject poverty in Africa and Asia are caused by brutally corrupt, totalitarian governments intentionally denying the basics to much of their populations and not casual disinterest.

Why should time, labor and resources be expended to help that starving child in Africa when the infrastructure isn't in place to do anything longterm or address the cause of his plight to begin with? Why should we as wealthy society members, expend those things when the local gov't will either confiscate them or actively work against any effort to better the situation? When the child will be right back in the same position as soon as we leave, if not sooner?

Re:Definitions (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 3 years ago | (#33684400)

This is partly a strawman. Doing something democratically, does not nessecarily mean running them "by committee", actually one of the most common ways for democracy to function, is to elect leaders, who then function for a predetermined period before the next election.

This is how corporations are run today. It's just that it's not the employees who gets to vote. Instead it's the stock-holders. These democratically elect a board -- you could call that a a "comittee" if you like, but nevertheless, this is how corporations work TODAY. The main difference is that it's every stock one vote, not every man one vote.

This *is* being tried today. Particularily in businesses where you need highly-educated people, and only modest amounts of capital, it's very common for the employees to be owners. Witness how many law-firms are run with employees becoming "partners". A law-firm needs a lot of human-capital, but only modest amounts of cash-capital.

I think it makes sense to do this more. For example by offering employees to get some fraction of their compensation in form of stocks in the company - perhaps combined with an agreement to rebuy the stock if the employee quit or is fired.

Re:Definitions (1)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#33698094)

Except it isn't fair, by any stretch of the imagination.

Say I save my money, start a company and put in $250,000 worth of cash and resources. Then, I hire two people for $35,000 each as employees. You're proposing they should get an equal vote in how the company is run? Fuck that.

Stock is a representation of resources invested. The investment in time, money and resources are NOT equal among all persons involved with the company and thus they don't get an equal vote.

Yes, it CAN work on small scales, but is usually very unwieldy in large enterprises.

Re:Definitions (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 3 years ago | (#33701868)

Did you even bother reading my message ? Particularily in businesses that require large human-capital and modest cash-investments, I said. For example, I work as a programmer and earn around $100K/year. I work in a company with 25 other people of similar salary. That is, our salaries sum to around $2.5M/year.

Meanwhile, the equity used to establish the firm was $25.000. This amount of money, does not even cover salaries for a week.

Also, if you read my message, you see that I didn't recommend "giving" anyone anything. I suggested paying part of the compensation in the form of stock, instead of cash. That is, instead of getting $100K/year, I could be getting $80K/year in cash -- and stock in the company worth $20K.

This would mean the longer you where in the company, and the more you contributed (i.e. the higher salary you've got) the larger would your influence be. This would also motivate: you'd have a personal stake in seeing the company succeed.

Re:Definitions (1)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#33702972)

Sorry, I misread. Microsoft and many others did this. It works great for those in privately held companies, but has limited effectiveness in public companies where stock is openly traded.

Re:Definitions (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33684492)

If you think this will work, please feel free to implement it. There are no laws nor restrictions against doing this now, just the high capital cost of failure. Running a corporation by committee is a recipe for failure.

I can't implement this. The idea: that ALL corporations should be non-profit or run as a democratically elected republican management, is beyond the scope of what a single person can do, because it requires laws to be passed, and potentially constitutional amendments to be made.

Re:Definitions (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33684572)

Finally, just what are you doing to help provide that African child with any of these? Have you joined the Peace Corps and not told us? Training to become a nurse or doctor and join Doctors Without Borders? Volunteered regularly at the local homeless shelter or soup kitchen?

Why is it that you draw the line for "what are you doing to help" at direct intervention? Why is it that people think that charity must be offered directly? What of donating money? Isn't that charity? But you're only giving something ephemeral really. Why is it that arguing for the advancement of the respect for human dignity is not sufficient?

Were the only patriots in the American Revolution those that fought in the war? What of those who only gave the rally cry, speaking out support for the advancement of our independence. What did Benjamin Franklin do to advance the independence of the US? Did he fight on the front lines? Did he command any troops? Is the only valid input for helping the American independence cause that of taking up arms?

Yes, the world is getting better, and that's fucking awesome, but we still have a ways to go before we fulfill the basics of human dignity, and respect each human as they deserve. You know what that child deserves? Everything that is medically necessary. Does the infrastructure make this impossible to provide at this time? Yes, it typically does. I don't think we can turn around tomorrow and guarantee every human being world-class healthcare. That's unrealistic. But I think we need to advance towards a goal of it.

Now, that said. What of the USA? Are we in a cesspool of failed infrastructure? What good reason do we have to deny other human beings basic and necessary healthcare beyond: "they can't pay"? Seriously. I'd like an answer. The USA is rich enough, and spends more per capita on Medicare and Medicaid than Britain does on NHS.

There is this opinion in the right wing of the USA that flies under the banner of "I deserve to keep what I earn", but is really just a narcissistic, selfish disdain for those who are "have nots". If the rich don't want class warfare, then they should stop acting like they're better than everyone else, just because they are "haves". Stop being such a selfish fucking prick, and there's no concern for class warfare.

Re:Definitions (1)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#33698240)

Why is it that you draw the line for "what are you doing to help" at direct intervention? Why is it that people think that charity must be offered directly? What of donating money? Isn't that charity? But you're only giving something ephemeral really. Why is it that arguing for the advancement of the respect for human dignity is not sufficient?

I'm not drawing the line there. I originally had a line in there about donating money, but it sounded trite next to the others. I have no issue with it at all. Charities need resources, including money, and donations are a critical part of that. Donating money is good.

What did Benjamin Franklin do to advance the independence of the US? Did he fight on the front lines? Did he command any troops? Is the only valid input for helping the American independence cause that of taking up arms?

He was a diplomat that traveled the world seeking support, raising money and troops. He also designed and oversaw the building of critical military fortifications. http://www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/history/franklin.html [ushistory.org]

What good reason do we have to deny other human beings basic and necessary healthcare beyond: "they can't pay"?

We don't. Medically necessary emergency care is denied to NO ONE in this country. It is, and has been, illegal for quite a long time. You will not get turned away from an emergency room if you need care.

The problem is people like you using weasel words like "basic and necessary healthcare". Define "basic" and define "necessary". THAT is where the argument lies, because BOTH SIDES use those terms an use them to mean totally different things.

Should society pay 100% for expensive lung cancer treatment for a person who smoked their entire life? Do they hold no responsibility?

Re:Definitions (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33702058)

"Medically necessary" is a well established guideline, and insurance currently denies payment for any procedure that is not "medically necessary".

"Medically necessary" is much more than "life threatening" and no one would ever claim that the only things that are "medically necessary" are "life threatening".

"Basic healthcare" is obviously checkups, treatment for coughs, "hey, I have this odd blister-like object under my tongue, but it won't drain when lanced." You know, the random shit that you go to your general practitioner for. What the fuck else would "basic healthcare" mean?

These terms are not widely negotiable... sure there are case-by-case edge cases. For example, when is a breast augmentation necessary? The law varies by state, but Washington State holds that breast augmentation is necessary, and must be covered whenever it is done for reconstructive reasons, because there was a partial mastectomy... case law holds that this holds even when the mastectomy was due to a prior cosmetic implant leaking.

Point is, we have a way to deal with the edge cases: the courts. Anyone who says that going to see a doctor about flu-like symptoms isn't "basic healthcare" is being an argumentative asshole. Anyone who makes any claim that something that your doctor prescribes as "medically necessary" is not "necessary healthcare" is also being an argumentative asshole.

Now, just shut up, because you're being a dick for no valid reason.

Should society pay 100% for expensive lung cancer treatment for a person who smoked their entire life? Do they hold no responsibility?

As someone who has a cutter as close personal friend, US law is explicitly clear about this. Self-inflicted injury, even if entirely intentional, is to be treated and triaged without any influence of if it were self-inflicted or intentional.

Medical personnel must treat self-inflicted and intentional injuries the same as any other.

Personal responsibility certainly plays a role in ensuring someone stays healthy, but denying someone healthcare for ANY REASON other than "this is not medically necessary" is entirely invalid.

Your argument here sounds like: "ZOMG, he smoked his whole life, now he has lung cancer, I think he should die, unless he can pay for his surgery himself."

You know what my response to that is? You fucking asshole. EVERYONE deserves healthcare. EVERYONE. Only a complete fucking asshole would be willing to just let someone die, rather than help.

Re:Definitions (1)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#33703190)

I'm not being argumentative for no valid reason. Much of the current national debate in healthcare has revolved around "Cadillac" plans and the unfair access to superior healthcare services and techniques by those who can best afford to pay for them. This is what I'm trying to address.

Do we move towards something similar to the British and Nordic plans, where basic healthcare is available to everyone but those with the resources can step outside the system and pay for something better? Or, do we move towards the Canadian system where it is illegal to make private payments?

I wouldn't argue against a reasonable baseline, as long as we aren't talking about forced equalization and the elimination of private payment for care.

As far as the smoker, I wasn't advocating just ignoring him and leaving him untreated.

I was thinking of the NHS in Britain, where decisions are made about treatment options for terminal or extreme cases based on percentage of success and possible life extension. That is, treatment A will provide a 80% chance of survival for 1 year and costs 20,000 UKP. Treatment B will provide a 20% chance of survival for 5 years and costs 100,000 UKP. The NHS pays only for treatment A, with B being available only to private payers, aka "the rich". I have no problem with this, knowing that over time both treatments will decrease in cost and increase in effectiveness so that eventually, B will replace A as the default and C will come along to replace B.

The other issue is things like the gov't taking full responsibility for healthcare is it is the camel's nose under the tent. It gives the gov't the argument for regulating damn near everything people do or consume in the name of prevention. Several cases have cropped up where gov'ts are trying to tax or ban sweetened foods on the excuse they are a leading cause of diabetes, hypoglycemia and obesity. What is next? Back to prohibition because of all the alcohol related illnesses and injuries? Ditto for all tobacco?

While I'm willing to think about it, right now this seems like a bad direction to go.

Re:Definitions (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33717264)

Several cases have cropped up where gov'ts are trying to tax or ban sweetened foods on the excuse they are a leading cause of diabetes, hypoglycemia and obesity.

Oh... just like has happened here in Washington State, where we DO NOT have Universal Healthcare.

Your "camel's nose under the tent" argument fails, because governments are "poking their nose where it doesn't belong" already. They don't need a Universal Healthcare system to let them do so.

While I'm willing to think about it, right now this seems like a bad direction to go.

This is because you're ill informed. Either under-, or mis- in particular. The government has already been regulating what we do in the interest of human health. New York (again, no Universal Healthcare) banned transfats.

You're making this wonderful assumption that the government is going to make a power grab once they have universal healthcare, but they're already making these power grabs without universal healthcare.

Hell, walk all the way back to the Food and Drug Act, that outlawed Patent Medicine. We're a significantly healthier populace for outlawing Patent Medicine, which is essentially sugar-frosted cocaine. People are gullible people, and will spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars on invalid and proven ineffective treatments merely to have "a chance"... why do they think they have a chance? Because the person who's trying to take their money told them that they do.

So... you don't want the government stepping on people's toes, and they should be able to get whatever medical care they want? Let's bring back Patent Medicine!!! Or wait, is this somehow across your arbitrary line of what is ok for the government to ban?

Re:Definitions (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#33728614)

Exactly right.

Finally, just what are you doing to help provide that African child with any of these? Have you joined the Peace Corps and not told us? Training to become a nurse or doctor and join Doctors Without Borders? Volunteered regularly at the local homeless shelter or soup kitchen?

Snowgirl is a typical liberal: she wants to force everyone else to donate to her pet causes, rather than do so herself (most liberals don't have much money, except the Hollywood elites). She spends all her time hanging out with her pot-smoking friends doing nothing productive and talking about liberal causes, posting on the internet, and (maybe) working at a minimum-wage job pouring coffee.

Why should time, labor and resources be expended to help that starving child in Africa when the infrastructure isn't in place to do anything longterm or address the cause of his plight to begin with? Why should we as wealthy society members, expend those things when the local gov't will either confiscate them or actively work against any effort to better the situation? When the child will be right back in the same position as soon as we leave, if not sooner?

You have to think generationally about this issue. If you take a bunch of money from rich people, give it to a bunch of poor, starving, uneducated people, you'll wind up with a bunch of poor (but not starving) people who immediately have tons of children, causing themselves to remain in poverty. Absent education and environmental pressures, people (just like any other dumb animal) will overpopulate their habitat until they're starving and dying. Animals avoid this through natural means, mainly predators. Humans in previous centuries and millenia avoided this through natural means including disease, wars, lack of medicine (lots of women died in childbirth), etc. These factors are still in play for the abject poor in Africa; take them away and overpopulation will quickly undo any improvements you make, unless you do something to fix their society. However, history has shown that one group trying to "fix" another group's society almost never works; change has to come from within, it can't be forced by outsiders.

Therefore, if you really want to fix the problems in Africa, the answer isn't food, it's guns. Find the oppressed people, ship in a bunch of guns and ammo, and train them in how to use them to defend themselves against warlords and dictators, and let them build up their own societies. They have plenty of land there for agriculture; the problem isn't resources, it's political. Give the power back to the people and let them deal with their own problems. Once they have the power (from guns) to throw off their oppressors, they'll build their own society and figure out how to deal with the inevitable problems that occur (like overpopulation, which developed countries have dealt with by not having so many kids, a result of decades and centuries of education and development of a culture that values equal rights for women and easy access to birth control, something not found in, for instance, the religious societies of Latin America where the Catholic Church dictates morals and overpopulation is rampant, and as a result, there is no progress and poverty is the norm).

If you think this will work, please feel free to implement it. There are no laws nor restrictions against doing this now, just the high capital cost of failure. Running a corporation by committee is a recipe for failure.

Exactly. Running anything by committee is generally a recipe for failure. There's a reason the legislative branch of the US government was designed as a committee (Congress), while the executive branch was designed as a mini-dictatorship (President). Doing anything by committee is extremely slow, so it's good for things where you want to avoid the damage that can be caused by one bad leader, and can tolerate the wait. Executive functions can't tolerate the time needed for a committee to come to consensus, so you have to have one person who can quickly make decisions.

Finally, there are some employee-owned corporations out there. Generally, they're small, and that's how they manage to survive. If a company gets too big, the model would fall apart; it'd resemble what's going on in the USA today: the country has gotten too big and too diverse, and no one can agree on anything, so the whole thing is going down the tubes. Smaller countries usually do better because there's less internal conflict.

Re:Definitions (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33741812)

Snowgirl is a typical liberal: she wants to force everyone else to donate to her pet causes, rather than do so herself (most liberals don't have much money, except the Hollywood elites). She spends all her time hanging out with her pot-smoking friends doing nothing productive and talking about liberal causes, posting on the internet, and (maybe) working at a minimum-wage job pouring coffee.

Actually, my last job was $45/hour at Amazon, and I paid my taxes in full, and the one before that, I earned $75,000/year at Microsoft. I would honestly rather the government simply keep my refund rather than pay it back to me. In fact, I was due $900 last refund, but since I earned so little that I didn't have to file, I chose not to file, and I let the government keep "my" money.

But then, this doesn't fit your preconceived narrative, does it?

Re:Definitions (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#33743024)

I would honestly rather the government simply keep my refund rather than pay it back to me. In fact, I was due $900 last refund, but since I earned so little that I didn't have to file, I chose not to file, and I let the government keep "my" money.

But then, this doesn't fit your preconceived narrative, does it?

The government's always happy to take an extra donation. I'm sure they'll put it to great use, like starting another war in a middle-east country over oil or mineral resources, or bailing out a mismanaged corporation. Weird how you dumb liberals want everyone to pay for such important causes as those.

Re:Definitions (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33743576)

The government's always happy to take an extra donation. I'm sure they'll put it to great use, like starting another war in a middle-east country over oil or mineral resources, or bailing out a mismanaged corporation. Weird how you dumb liberals want everyone to pay for such important causes as those.

Weird how liberals were against the Iraq war, cautious about the Afghanistan war, and absolutely against the bailout...

Can you like, maybe give a comment that doesn't require a rejection of reality to take credibly?

Re:Definitions (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 3 years ago | (#33743810)

Weird how liberals were against the Iraq war, cautious about the Afghanistan war, and absolutely against the bailout...

Wrong. Now that Democrats are in power in Congress and the White House, we're still in both quagmires Iraq and Afghanistan. They also voted for the bailouts (remember, Democrats came into power in '06), and Obama was the one who pushed the GM/Chrysler bailout. Also, the Democrats pushed through Obamacare, which is just a big giveaway to big insurance companies.

Funny how dumb liberals think they're against corporatism, but they vote for people who are great friends to giant corporations.

Re:Definitions (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33743916)

We're still in both quagmires Iraq and Afghanistan

Of course, because we could just walk out tomorrow, I mean... it's not like we're invested or anything.

This is like complaining how we're still stuck in quicksand after you walked us in there. "Jesus fuck dude, I can't just magic shit away."

They also voted for the bailouts (remember, Democrats came into power in '06)

Democrats rejected the first bailout, and finally voted for the second because Bush's administration (who were you know... still in power) sounded the alarms and talked about the doom and gloom that would come to the world if we failed to act.

This is analogous to complaining that I authorized the police to come to my house because they were yelling and screaming outside my door that there was a killer inside. Again, we can't magically detect liars intent on fucking us over.

Obama was the one who pushed the GM/Chrysler bailout

Obama handled the GM/Chrysler bailout much more responsibly than TARP was established by Bush. Obama put strings on any money, and required them to declare bankruptcy, and reorganize... you know, like a failing company should do.

Let's compare this with TARP from Bush... $3.5 trillion dollars injected straight into banks with no accountability, no strings, no conditions.

Also, the Democrats pushed through Obamacare, which is just a big giveaway to big insurance companies.

I didn't want "Obamacare", I wanted a fucking public option, and I'm pissed that it didn't go far enough. Wait no, "public option" wasn't even far enough... straight up, government takes over healthcare insurance, and people can buy their own private insurance if they want to. You know, à la NHS.

But when you're dealing with obstructionist assholes, there's only so much you can manage to accomplish.

Funny how dumb liberals think they're against corporatism, but they vote for people who are great friends to giant corporations.

How do you know who I voted for? I voted for fucking Brian Moore keeping in line with my membership with the Socialist Party USA.

It's ignorant to lump all "liberals" together, because hey, some of us aren't dumb, we're making informed educated choices. Just because your pundits are spreading lies, trumping up fear, and denying reality doesn't make us the idiots.

I don't listen to the crazy whack jobs that talk about how GM food is poisonous, and organic food is the greatest thing ever... I listen to fucking REALITY. Now... if you could shut out your preconceived narrative for 10 seconds and actually take a look at the world as it already exists, then maybe you'd get somewhere towards reconciliation... because PEOPLE AREN'T IDIOTS JUST BECAUSE THEY DISAGREE WITH YOU... people are idiots when they disagree with REALITY... like you.

Re:Definitions (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 3 years ago | (#33745398)

They also voted for the bailouts (remember, Democrats came into power in '06)

Democrats rejected the first bailout, and finally voted for the second because Bush's administration (who were you know... still in power) sounded the alarms and talked about the doom and gloom that would come to the world if we failed to act.

This is analogous to complaining that I authorized the police to come to my house because they were yelling and screaming outside my door that there was a killer inside. Again, we can't magically detect liars intent on fucking us over.

In this case, we are talking about trusting the Republicans not to fuck you over. If you trust them, I have a nice bridge to sell you...

Re:Definitions (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33746464)

In this case, we are talking about trusting the Republicans not to fuck you over. If you trust them, I have a nice bridge to sell you...

Hey, when they're yelling that the sky is falling, at some point we're going to slip up, and give them ready access...

To point: TARP is the most expensive Brooklyn Bridge that anyone has ever bought... although, how much is the running total on the Iraq war?

socialist (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 3 years ago | (#33684592)

There's many different "brands" of socialism. There's the communism dictatorships of yesterday, which pretty much nobody wishes for. Then there's the democratic socialist[*] states, such as Norway. (*: since they're democratic, it depends on the results from the latest election whether these states are socialist or not at any given moment)

The very label itself, is inflammatory in USA. So I've pretty much switched my focus to talking of concrete policies.

* We've got universal grade-based access to education. If a child is talented and has the grades to prove it, it is damaging to society to deny him/her the best education on the grounds that the parents are too poor to be able to afford a top university. It benefits society, that the best qualified, rather than those with the richest parents, gets educated. "saving for college" is a unknown concept here. Yes we spend lots on education. But well-qualified well-educated people have so many benefits for a country that we get back every cent we spend many times over.

* Universal healthcare. A point that is often overlooked, is the saving in paper-pushing. The health-insurance-industry employs huge amounts of people who do not contribute to healthcare. Instead they push papers left and right. The administrative overhead is significantly reduced when there's a single entity responsible. Also, healthcare-troubles frequently act as barriers against entry into the workforce. I've experienced it myself in Germany, having to reject a part-time-job on the grounds that if I said yes, I'd (barely) earn enough that I'd need separate health-coverage, which would end up meaning I'd work more, and earn LESS. Similar worries prevent some people from trying to start their own companies, too.

* Decent support surrounding pregnancy and birth. We've got among the most generous systems in the world. (the parents gets 10 months of paid leave at 100% their former salary (up to a cap of $75K), or alternatively 12 months of paid leave at 80% your former salary. This is another win-win, because making it possible, easy and practical to participate in the workforce while also choosing to have kids, mean that female work-participation is MUCH higher here than most other countries. This is the main reason our workforce is 83% of all adults compared to 75% in USA.

* Universal, affordable child-care, with good standard. (the same argument as above applies)

What are your favourite socialist policies ? That is, what concrete policies would you most wish, would be implemented ?

Re:socialist (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33684656)

I don't even consider authoritarian socialism to be socialism. One friend on Facebook asked me in the link to this: "Sweden-style socialism or Russian-style?" I commented, that the Russian system usurped the Bourgeoisie, but supplanted the government into the position of the Bourgeoisie. You cannot walk in, "equalize" everyone and then have a ruling class that forces everything to stay equalized... you cannot have a "ruling class" at all. Creating a parent-child relationship between the government and the people is no better than the bourgeoisie-proletariat relationship that exists now. BOTH systems have an unequal power system, where one side holds all the power, and the other is left to be abused at the will of the other.

That said, the socialist policies that I would most like to be implemented in the USA are the same that you talk about.

* Merit-based enrollment in Universities, and the social system paying for it as a whole. I don't care if you're the son of Bill Gates, if you don't score well enough to go to the top University, then you shouldn't be going. Bill Gates, Sr. was a rich lawyer in Washington State well before Bill Gates, Jr. founded Microsoft. Bill Gates, Jr. didn't complete college. If your parents are rich, you're already going to have an advantage over others, there is no reason to stack university against the rest as well.

* Universal single-payer system for healthcare. It's what I advance throughout my entire rant. Basic respect for other human beings dictate that we care for each other. (I also love that an atheist has to tell this stuff to people, who profess that without a god there is no reason to respect each other.)

Re:socialist (1)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 3 years ago | (#33755526)

Actually, those maternity and paternity leave mandates aren't the best in the world.

Canada now has up to 18 months maternity leave and up to 10 months paternity leave but the 10 months of paternity leave counts towards the 16 month as a total so if the father takes all 10 months there is only 6 months left for the mom. The company from which they take the leave is required to hire them back afterwards in their former position as well(there was also talk of accrual of any benefits that would normally be gained(annual/semi annual raises etc) for everyone but I think only the government unions ended up getting that one) The pay while on the leave is tax free at a rate of 55-90% of ones former salary with a cap of $913 bi-weekly base but it is possible to go above that cap on an appeal based on need. They don't want you to default on a mortgage(or even car) payment just because you have a kid. Most I ever heard of was nearly triple at about $2700 bi weekly due to cost of living in the area and various other circumstances which puts it quite near the $75,000 mark.

The only way this system is bad is for gay(male) parents. #1 its very hard for them to qualify as neither of them actually, you know, HAD a kid, and #2 if they do get it its capped to 10 month total for both.

Honestly though, other than maybe a month or so settle in time for the adopted kid I don't see a problem with this. Some may scream discrimination but I feel it is justified as there is a fair bit less actual hardship on the gay couple.

Lesbians from what I understand work pretty much the same as a hetero sexual couple, the one that had the kid being the one that receives the 16 month limit and the one that didn't receiving the 10. My first(or first-second hand) info is very limited in this case however. The gay male thing I know about because there was a gay man bitching about it on the radio one day.

This part however:

"* We've got universal grade-based access to education. If a child is talented and has the grades to prove it, it is damaging to society to deny him/her the best education on the grounds that the parents are too poor to be able to afford a top university. It benefits society, that the best qualified, rather than those with the richest parents, gets educated. "saving for college" is a unknown concept here. Yes we spend lots on education. But well-qualified well-educated people have so many benefits for a country that we get back every cent we spend many times over."

Is something I am very jealous about and would absolutely love to see implemented here.

Thats not going to happen soon however unless someone does us a favor and knocks off stephen harper somehow, or the liberals finally grow some balls and kick the bastard out.

Re:socialist (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 3 years ago | (#33756720)

To be fair, I said "among the most generous", and didn't actually claim that we're world record-holders (I think that's Iceland, actually). But it sounds to me as if our system can compete with the Canadian one.

16 months beats 54 weeks, which is what we get, true. But you seem to have a significantly lower cap. $913 bi-weekly works out to $22K/year max, whereas our cap is at $77k/year. This means the large majority of people can take slightly over a year of paid leave, with no reduction in income whatsoever. (only a fairly small portion of young parents earn more than $80K/year)

Education is free, though living-costs aren't. You do get that covered by the state too, in the form of a stipendium covering 1/3rd and a interest-free loan covering 2/3rds of the cost. Thus you -do- end up with some college-debt, but not a lot. Typically $12K/year aproximately, and that's very manageable in a country where the average college-graduate makes 5 times that amount. (and they put the loan on hold if you become unemployed etc...)

I argue from societal efficiency (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#33687292)

My current favorite argument for socialism is thus: we live in a highly technological age. Adaptability is everything, we must be able to build up new industries quickly, and just as importantly, tear them down again when they have served their purpose. To do that, people must feel comfortable investing time learning new skills, and they must not fear that they will not have a new job if their current job becomes obsolete. And to provide that security, we must provide socialism.

We can not and should not equalize every outcome. Some people are smarter, or work harder, and society should reward that. But we should also ensure that everyone gets the basics. That would not be that expensive. A decent, single payer medical system like ALL other first nations have has not bankrupted them. We should also provide basic housing, like 600 square feet per person, nutritious (but not necessarily fancy) food, clean water, and basic necessities like clothing. If you desire more than that, work for it.

But letting others die for their mistakes is barbaric, and it leads to coercion. If you hold the power of life and death over someone, whether that power comes from a gun or from food money, you control that person, and they are not free.

I always like to quote an old African proverb in discussions of socialism, that illustrates the true nature of the relationship between society and the individual: It takes free individuals to create a strong tribe, and it takes a strong tribe to create free individuals. You could think of that as a catch-22, but you can also think of it as a positive feedback loop.

Re:I argue from societal efficiency (1)

SwedishPenguin (1035756) | more than 3 years ago | (#33738690)

In addition to guaranteed healthcare and education (these things we take for granted over here), I would like us to implement a basic income that everyone gets, regardless of their employment status or anything else. I wouldn't get into specifics of how this money is spent, like guaranteeing a minimum amount of space, this should be up to individual choice.

This can be implemented as a negative income tax or simply giving everyone a certain amount and on top of that they can earn more money by working. I would prefer the latter as I think a negative income tax would make it hard to work a part-time job and still receive some financial benefit from that.

Some seem to think that people won't work if they are provided enough to live relatively comfortably, but I don't think so. Most people do want to work, both for personal fulfillment and financial rewards, and the few who don't, I say let them stay home if they want to, we have a shortage of work and those who don't want to work won't be very productive anyways.

I think a system of guaranteeing the basic necessities of life will be necessary in the future. Some argue that new jobs are created when old jobs are automated, this may be partly true, but it won't happen overnight, and enough new jobs may not be created. We need something to fall back on, we can't have a massive starving underclass while the upper class rake in more and more wealth due to savings on labor.

And I think we could work out a system where the amount of the basic income is adjusted to make sure there's always about the right amount of people who want to work to be afforded more luxuries. As less work is required (but productivity continues to increase), we could provide a larger basic income, and vice versa for more work required.

Re:I argue from societal efficiency (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33741908)

You could establish a base line at X, then someone can earn up to say X/2 or 2X/3 and still receive the full base line negative income tax so long as they only work part time. That would make working part-time a reasonable practice.

I like the idea as well, and I agree... if people want to stay home and be lazy, then fine, there are non-monetary pursuits that these people can do. For instance, if I didn't have to worry about income, I could volunteer at the local legal housing assistance as a paralegal. I could volunteer at a school, there are a lot of things that I could willingly volunteer for. But as is, people need to spend all their time working just to get by, and then they don't want to volunteer to do things, or they're too exhausted to do things.

Hell, Americans are getting so overburdened that they can't afford the time to make their own food... and no putting BBQ sauce all over a bunch of chicken thighs and baking it for 30 minutes is not "making your own food".

word (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 3 years ago | (#33694370)

I think for socialism to work we all need to work for the government. Maybe 20 hours a week you do your government job, 20 hours a week you do a normal job. But everyone has a part in the government. No one can get a life term seat in any position of authority.

Capitalism is fine, just there would have to be limits on the powers of corporations and they would be held liable for anything they do.

And so on, but it's time to raid in EQ2.

I do like what you said and have a lot of similiar ideas. But it would take a rethinking of people to accept them, which most people wouldn't do.

Re:word (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33741918)

I do like what you said and have a lot of similiar ideas. But it would take a rethinking of people to accept them, which most people wouldn't do.

Truth to power right there.

You made an error (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 3 years ago | (#33707928)

Republicans agree that slavery is a tarnish against Human Dignity. That one must be paid for their work, and that humans cannot be owned.

No they don't. Republicans' only problem with slavery is the maintenance costs. In addition, it's much harder to justify the capital sitting idle (read: unemployment) for long periods of time.

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