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United Socialist States of America

It’s coming people, and we’re going to sit idly by and let it happen. Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget for fiscal 2010 would bring federal, state and local spending to about 40% of the gross domestic product for things such as health care, education, public assistance, and of course the stimulus. Studies in Europe have shown that the greater amount that the State provides, the less willing individuals are to aid others. It is also damaging to donations to charities of all types. Can you imagine what would happen in the US if the Red Cross were to run out of money? Soon, this country will be adding another S to it’s name.

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What a completely nonsense argument!

Studies in Europe have shown that the greater amount that the State provides, the less willing individuals are to aid others.

Rephrasing, studies show that the less need there is for individuals to aid others, the less they actually do aid others. Duh. The question is whether the aid is given, not who gives it.

Can you imagine what would happen in the US if the Red Cross were to run out of money?

Well, I imagine that if the government were doing the same things the Red Cross used to do, then pretty much nothing would change.

This “light pink scare” that the conservatives are pushing today is just ridiculous. I think it shows a failure to understand the whole point of democracy. “The government” isn’t someone else — it’s us. If the government is helping people, then it’s we who are helping people. If the government is failing to do so, then it’s we who are failing to do so. It’s that whole “by the people, for the people” thing.

I’m generally not in favor of turning social functions over to the government if they can be effectively handled otherwise — the government is inefficient at almost everything it does. However, in this case, the “otherwise” has shown itself spectacularly unable to do the right thing. If it had, the economic crisis wouldn’t have occurred. Therefore, I’m willing to try to fix it through the government — you know, that group we created to actually perform the centralized actions of our society.

Sure — put $3.6 trillion in bold — that makes it scary. But forget that the previous president, who wasn’t trying to fix an economic crisis, pushed through a $3.1 trillion budget last year. And a $2.9 trillion budget the year before. A 16% budget increase to cope with the economic disaster? Sounds like a bargain.

Just to throw in for a sec here, up here in Canada we spend a fair bit on social programs, or at least, we’re told we do by just about everybody. As you know, we have socialized health-care, etc., and it hasn’t destroyed our country. People still give to charities and foodbanks, donate their time as volunteers, and help out their neighbours. We have a Red Cross up here, too, and it’s still around and helping people despite our long-standing social programs.

Obviously, I lean to the left of issues such as these, but where I have seen things break down is where people have adopted an “every man for himself” attitude—and it’s usually conservatives promoting such views; at least in economic terms.

I pay my taxes gladly, knowing that a big chunk of it goes to help someone less fortunate than myself; and knowing that if I’m in trouble, I’ll get some of that help myself.

Sure there’s problems: some people take advantage of the system, some people don’t get covered when they should, and sometimes the money is spent inefficiently. But on the whole it works—because governments can be replaced if they don’t do their jobs well.

I don’t think business can address these needs very well, because their whole reason for being is to make a profit—corporations are mandated by law to do so—so in the end, they will always minimize expenses regardless of how it impacts the individual consumer.

Maybe non-profit and non-governmental organizations could do a better job, but I still think they’d need help from “the people.”

Anyway—just some food for thought. I don’t know how things will play out, but I don’t think social spending is something Americans really need to be afraid of. It won’t cause the total ruination of your country. It may not be what you ultimately want, but why not give it a chance before deciding?

Soon, this country will be adding another S to it’s name.

Yes this is absolute nonsense conservative propaganda. Many countries have health care systems that are much, much, much better than the HMO systems that operate in the USA. These were established not as sound government policy following wide industry and public consultation, but to enable entrepreneurs, including medical practitioners, to make big profits out of the provision of health care. The AMA got what it wanted, but we the people did not.
Democrats (I think to myself) are liberals who believe the people are basically good, but that they need government help to organize their lives. They believe in freedom so fervently that they think it should be compulsory. They believe that the poor and ignorant are victims of an unfair system and that their circumstances can be improved if we give them help. Republicans (I think to myself) are conservatives who think it would be best if we faced the fact that people are no damned good. They think that if we admit that we have selfish, acquisitive natures and then set out to get all we can for ourselves by working hard for it, that things will be better for everyone. They are not insensitive to the poor, but tend to think the poor are impoverished because they won’t work. They think there would be fewer of them to feel sorry for if the government did not encourage the proliferation of the least fit among us with welfare programs.

It is foolish to assume, as many American seem to do, that government involvement in health care equates to socialism. It does cost some tax dollars, but the vast majority of people are better of in spite of that. None of us need have that nagging fear that a sudden need for expensive hospital treatment could cause us to lose our house and become bankrupt, which is a very real possibility now in spite of any cover that we may believe that we have. Those who cannot afford medical cover are denied treatment, which can be a sentence of death which we expect the caring people who work in our hospitals to administer.

The USA conservative right has been so conditioned to believe that higher taxes are intolerable and an indication that we are sinking into communism that it just can’t look at this objectively. We only need to consider the best models operating overseas and choose the best features for our new system. Australia would be a good place to start.
Theirs is not perfect but we could improve on what the Aussies have achieved by learning from their mistakes.

The selfish would do better striving to maximize their disposable income rather than minimize taxation because it is not the same thing. Life in the USA should be about the pursuit of happiness and a big part of that is about remaining healthy.

Of course there is a need to ration it to necessary treatments and that can easily be done. Doctors are very good at that so they just need to be empowered to refuse by law.

This country can afford to look after its people. It is so shaming when we have visitors from Europe come to our National Capital and be accosted by people who are genuinely in need of health care as well as something to eat and somewhere to sleep. How did we get like this?

We need to drop our obsession with the freeloader problem and start becoming obsessed with making the USA a safe place to live – which is not only about counter terrorism but includes access to necessary medical treatment. I think we are smart enough to manage the freeloader problem once we get started.

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