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reply to Anubis Prime
Re: A Right! Right, but the problem isn't grotesque government intervention (in the case of health), its grotesque overdevelopment of the industry itself. Too many people providing too little for too much. When one doctor's visit has to provide for several people's salary for two hours than the system is bloated. Its privatization, not public taxes, destroying the medical/tech sector in America.
I'll use a classic example I've used often to explain how tech and capital don't get along.
Drug company A makes 16 drugs to treat X. Drugs 1-16 are one of the companies main source of income. Researcher at drug company A finds a single drug/method to treat X. However, if the single drug is marketed, it will put the company out of business. Therefore, as far as capital is concerned, and stockholders are concerned (as an opaque headless whole) marketing the drug is bad. So head of the board doesn't want to be broke, HE doesn't have X. May as well suppress the drug, afterall, its good for the economy.
Okay, so yeah. Capital is not very benevolent. Duh. We know that. However, its actually malicious. It actually prevents progress in certain instances. Of course, then we'd have to define progress and I'd like to see you try that.
And disability. Yeah, what an awful idea huh? Give people less than $500 a month and ask them to live on it when they are mentally retarded. Provide almost no social service help so that these individuals can figure out the complicated disability/tax laws that they need to understand to survive. Don't allow them to make more than $100 dollars a week of their own income in addition to what you give them. Keep them stuck on a system that demeans their quality of life. Oh, but wait the system MIGHT be exploited, better to let a few hundred thousand people with serious needs die than allow the system to be exploited at all. If you had your way, my mentally disabled brother would be dead. Afterall, "he's bad for the free market."
Funny, its projected that the world will run out of oil reserves (if the rate of consumption continues) before social security runs out. But finding an alternative energy resource (which, by the way, has already been theoretically found several times over but thanks to the impossibility of a start up resource production company in the current old boy oligarchal market) is less of a priority. Social security, as an issue, is a drop in the ocean. Gi ahead and privatize it, as long as those over a certain age receive all of their back social security owed in a lump sum (with inflated modern value of course). I mean, or else the government IS stealing from them, something hardline laissez-fairests always seem to think the government is doing anyway. For once, they'd be absolutely right!
So fine, let young people waste their extra 75 bucks a week, wooey, big friggin' deal. Just don't take from those who had it stowed away by the government all these years.
...again as always words are put into my mouth.
1. Medicine, healthcare and insurance are INDEED in trouble in-part because of government intervention. A long, long time ago in an era forgotten by the current generation, there was such things as "wage freezes"...meaning companies could not pay someone what they were worth by law. So, to try and figure out what to give people as incentives since they couldn't offer more money, insurance companies came along and said "hey, why don't you offer health insurance?". The government was lobbied to make insurance a tax deductable line-item and BOOM, benefits are born. Keep in mind, the higher the upfront cost, the higher the deduction/writeoff for companies (thus utility costs, etc usually show higher rates for commerical than residential). Now come modern day. We have the government regulating the price of goods and services. Medicare only pays "so much" for procedures, medication, etc. So if an X-Ray actually costs $300, Medicare says that they will pay only $80. Insurance companies then, with HMOs (which are a privatized version of socialized medicine) follow suit and adjust their reimbursment schedules to parody that of Medicare. Medicare IS THE FORCE that artifically distorts the market. You have doctors who have taken positions as bean-counters working for the HMOs telling other doctors what they can and cannot do.
Solution: Health insurance as a "benefit" needs to be discontinued but offered in a different way. Instead, employers could offer medical spending accounts where say, the $500 they normally pay per employee goes into that account...then the individual employee can SHOP AROUND for the best price for insurance. With competition prices would drop and service would increase. You have to understand the fundamental difference between "cost" and "price" to understand this.
Insurance has to be taken out from the thumb of the government. While the government is great at burning branch-Davidians and handing out USDA cheese, they STINK at the healthcare business.
2. As far as disability goes. Nowhere did I say that we shouldn't help the helpless. There ARE unemployable people out there. There are sick children and the elderly. Of course they should be helped. You are very naive if you think that ANY politician, Republican or otherwise would EVER risk taking away Social Security from the elderly. Wouldn't it be foolish to think that those aforementioned politicians want us to breathe dirty air or drink dirty water. Last time I checked, they and their children or grandchildren LIVE on this planet and would have to breathe and drink like the rest of us. We don't have to believe the Sierra Club or E.L.F.. What they say is nonsense. Back to topic: Your mentally disabled brother IS NOT the same as an alcoholic or a heroin addict. Get my statements correct. It is FAR more than a few people abusing the system; and it's not even their fault, it's lobbying groups, lawyers, and kiss-ass nanzy-panzy psychiatry claiming everything including your obesity is a "disability". How many times has the DSM been changed to fit the ideology of some lobbying group?
3. As far as your drug analogy you are both right and wrong. As someone who works in healthcare, in practice and formerly in research I will tell you that the FDA creates huge regulatory and financial hurdles for pharm. companies. If your Company A invents a major drug that actually "cures" something, they will not be out of business, they will have a patent and will make a financial killing. If you understand anything about medicine is that drugs are usually created as "treatments" some of which for symptoms of disease. Others such as antibotics kill offending bacteria. In the case of antibiotics, people ALWAYS will continually become infected meaning antibiotics have a long market lifespan. Antiviral/retroviral medications such as those to slow the progression of HIV, are not a "cure", and we know HIV continues to spread despite education and these drugs.
Despite when certain segments of our society wanted us to believe in the 1980's and 1990's that HIV was caused by a "lack of funding", we know better nowadays.
Your drug company analogy looks good on an internet forum, but bears no resemblence to reality. Which drugs were "withheld from market"? Hell, some of them should have been kept off the market a bit longer.
One caveat is YES, the pharmaceutical companies are large, capital rich companies with much influence and marketing/lobbying power. You will not get argument from me regarding the dark things that happen there (multidose vials/mercury/autism rates--covered up from Clinton to Frist). Keep in mind that many (and dare I say most) pharm. companies have "compassion" programs that give medications to people for free.
The problem my friend is an overbearing, and sometimes over-regulating government. The problems is a 9 million line progressive tax code that benefits politicians and their lobbyists. The problem is the government (via Medicare) distorting the free market. The problem is we have a "therapeutic society" that skirts personal responsiblity and directs blame for personal failings at a large, foggy entity called "society". A psychology student once told me that a drug addict is a drug addict because of "society". Same with beggars and alcoholics. I asked her what I was doing wrong when "I" caused this to happen to those people. She looked at me baffled??? and I said "Aren't I part of SOCIETY?" My getting up every day, going to work, and paying my bills was just driving needles into peoples arms and the blow up their noses. How awful of me.
Have Medicare/Social Security helped people? YES they have, and they should. They needs to be fixed. I haven't heard any other plans out there to do so other than what's already proposed. Most of us are open to ideas, but none are offered...just NO NO NO!. Harry Reid was ALL FOR partial privatization...of course until a Republican proposed it. When Roberts is slammed because of Roe vs. Wade...it's political. No one slammed DARTH VADER Ginsberg when she said (paraphrased) that Roe vs. Wade was a bad prescident.
It's hard not to be political, but you have to remember that most of the departments that run the social programs are no longer there to help people. They are there for self preservation...to continue the bureaucracy whether they are corrupt or have absolutely no positive effect.
Some need help which most of us are willing to give. I do think that the cure for many ills is.....
The ALARM CLOCK. It wakes up the ol' check-takin', belly-achin', baby-makin' rear up out of bed in the morning. I can tell you PLENTY of stories about the virtues of this but I'm long winded here.
Now THAT is a post I can agree with alot of. Particularly your point about the tax code. It is ridiculous. Some other stuff we might disagree on theoretical grounds (the nature of free markets, i.e. the relationship between labor and value), but I enjoyed reading the post and it certainly is informative.
As for the pysch student. I don't blame society. Fallacy of misplaced concreteness by the poor kid. I'd say cultural circumstances more than anything define a person's relative "success" or "failure." I wouldn't go far as to say I'm in the Seut Jhali (sic) camp, but I do enjoy some of his films as crazy as they can be.