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Old 07-30-2019, 10:26 PM
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Those damn socialists want to turn America into venezuela!


So the point of this thread is to get some insight on socialist attacks by many Americans. It sounds like to a lot of people, socialism is just a boogy man word, you call something socialist then it's automatically invalidated despite it's merit. So how do you combat this? Do we just say fuck it and call ourselves socialists like Bernie did? Or do we try to pussy foot around the socialism term?

Say you're arguing with someone about why America should transition into a mixed or public healthcare system. They could even agree, privatized healthcare systems aren't good, but when you bring up M4A their immediate reaction is, nope thats socialism it's bad. Does the conversation just end there, and they're TFG, can't reason someone out of something they weren't reasoned into? What do you say to someone who just demonizes everything thats aimed to help people, protect consumers, workers, etc... as socialism. Is there even a conversation that can be had, when someone is hung up on the socialism boogyman? Should the focus to be to convince people why socialism is good in some cases, or should it be to focus on the merit of the actual topic, such as a single payer system like bernie's M4A bill?

What this usually boils down to is, "the government can't do anything right", "big government is the problem, we need less government", even when it comes to topics like Healthcare, the immediate response by most right wingers is "big government is bad!", or "it's socialism!!!". Why are so many Americans hung up on this, why do no right wingers understand that the government does some things better than the private sector. Such as running the healthcare system, fire departments, or military. How do we take right winged voters who hate anything that expands government, or is "socialist" in nature? Is it possible to frame the healthcare conversation in a way that "big gov is bad" or "its SOCIALISM" doesn't come up? Is there a way to reason someone who gets caught up on these trigger words out of their irrationality?
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Old 07-30-2019, 10:36 PM
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When people don't like something, they will naturally latch on to the bad examples of something rather than the good examples of it. And you can find good and bad examples of almost anything.
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Old 07-30-2019, 10:39 PM
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That being said, the responsible thing for democratic socialists would be to 1) acknowledge that Venezuela is indeed a failed case of socialism, and 2) explain why their plan for America isn't Venezuela.
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Old 07-30-2019, 10:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barack Obama View Post
It sounds like to a lot of people, socialism is just a boogy man word
Yep. [Emphasis mine]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry S Truman
[Republican Senator Robert] Taft explained that the great issue in this campaign is “creeping socialism.” Now that is the patented trademark of the special interest lobbies. Socialism is a scare word they have hurled at every advance the people have made in the last 20 years.

Socialism is what they called public power.

Socialism is what they called social security.

Socialism is what they called farm price supports.

Socialism is what they called bank deposit insurance.

Socialism is what they called the growth of free and independent labor organizations.

Socialism is their name for almost anything that helps all the people.
10 October, 1952
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Old 07-30-2019, 10:52 PM
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Interesting question. On one hand, Venezuela may not be the place to be right now. On the other hand, according to the 2019 Happiness Index, the happiest country in the world is currently Finland. The largest political party in Finland is the Social Democratic party, which is, sure enough, a member of the Socialist International, etc.
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Old 07-30-2019, 10:59 PM
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I have a real problem with the term “socialism.” When you add up all the deaths caused by socialism in Russia, China, Cuba, by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, North Korea, East Germany you get somewhere between 100-150 million people killed in the 20th century. This is a lot more than the Nazis (who btw were right wing Nationalist Socialists.)

So, I find the term alarming and am surprised anybody would want to associate with the idea in any form.

“socialized healthcare” reads to me, like we are going to replace our expensive faulty healthcare system with an incredibly corrupt, more inefficient, centralized one, that will concentrate power in the hands of evil oligarchs that will use it wield arbitrary power and control over the populace turning us into slaves.

Can we maybe get a proposal for a healthcare system that doesn’t borrow from Stalin?
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Old 07-30-2019, 11:03 PM
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I have a real problem with the term “socialism.” When you add up all the deaths caused by socialism in Russia, China, Cuba, by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, North Korea, East Germany you get somewhere between 100-150 million people killed in the 20th century. This is a lot more than the Nazis (who btw were right wing Nationalist Socialists.)
Just so we're clear here... did socialist programs or practices (and therefore, socialism) kill people, or did socialist leaders kill people?
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Old 07-30-2019, 11:05 PM
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Just so we're clear here... did socialist programs or practices (and therefore, socialism) kill people, or did socialist leaders kill people?
The Great Leap Forward was a program, right?
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Old 07-30-2019, 11:07 PM
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You're right, "National Socialist" = not a cool name.
"Social Democratic Party" (or Socialist party) = still OK. I mean, not to the right wing, but you can still call a party that these days and even win elections.
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Old 07-30-2019, 11:20 PM
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Can we maybe get a proposal for a healthcare system that doesn’t borrow from Stalin?
Sure how about we copy from Canada?
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Old 07-30-2019, 11:35 PM
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That being said, the responsible thing for democratic socialists would be to 1) acknowledge that Venezuela is indeed a failed case of socialism, and 2) explain why their plan for America isn't Venezuela.
Never!

(apparently)
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Old 07-30-2019, 11:58 PM
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That being said, the responsible thing for democratic socialists would be to 1) acknowledge that Venezuela is indeed a failed case of socialism, and 2) explain why their plan for America isn't Venezuela.
Venezuela seemed to be doing pretty good at first when they became "socialist", but once oil prices plummeted so did their economy, they had little investment in agriculture and infrastructure, not many markets, and not a very diverse economy.

From my understanding of people who actually live in venezuela, many of the socialist policies or proposals were just to drum up support and get votes, not a real intention of making the country better or improve peoples lives.

I think if you're going to blame venezuela's economic problems on socialism, you need to be specific about what socialist policies you're talking about.
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Old 07-31-2019, 12:27 AM
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... many of the socialist policies or proposals were just to drum up support and get votes, not a real intention of making the country better or improve peoples lives. ...
That's pretty much always the case (or at least that's the conservatives perspective on the matter). I regularly hear criticism that the dems are just trying to "buy votes" with their latest give-away to the poor.

If you want to refute / defeat / win the arguments against big government / socialism, you need to do government better. If people didn't routinely have the first-hand experience or hear second-hand stories about how every government entity from the local zoning board to the alphabet soup federal agencies have royally fucked over some typical American families / small businesses, big government / socialist programs wouldn't sound so terrible to so many people. Clean up the VA, kick the corrupt bastards out, make the EPA less of a PITA, etc. and then you'll find a receptive audience when you want to expand the size and scope of government. When people are filled with dread at the thought of going to the DMV or having to interact with a law enforcement agency, they're not going to want to empower .gov bureaucrats to do more of anything.
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Old 07-31-2019, 12:49 AM
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Just so we're clear here... did socialist programs or practices (and therefore, socialism) kill people, or did socialist leaders kill people?
The concentration of power in the hands of those who ran the state, aka the government, under the oh-so-noble sounding pretense of helping the people is what led to the deaths of those 10s of millions. That’s what makes socialism dangerous. It’s a sugar coated poison pill easily peddled to those ignorant, willfully or otherwise, of human nature, history, and economics.
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Old 07-31-2019, 01:24 AM
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The concentration of power in the hands of those who ran the state, aka the government, under the oh-so-noble sounding pretense of helping the people is what led to the deaths of those 10s of millions. That’s what makes socialism dangerous. It’s a sugar coated poison pill easily peddled to those ignorant, willfully or otherwise, of human nature, history, and economics.
The concentration of power in the hands of one or a few people tends to lead to deaths, and it doesn't really matter whether those people claim to be socialist or anti-socialist or something altogether different. Pinochet's Chile killed more people than Allende's Chile, although the latter was the socialist regime; czarist Russia lacked the organizational skills and machinery to be as brutally efficient as Stalinist Russia, but it wasn't thereby any more benign to those opposed to the government of the day.

Countries with strong democratic institutions can protect individual rights and freedoms no matter what kind of economic policies they implement; countries that don't, can't. Commodus, reigning in Rome in the late second century, was at least as nutty, ruthless, and corrupt as Hitler or Mao; his death toll is so much smaller only because the second century didn't offer the same logistical support for mass murder as the twentieth.
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Old 07-31-2019, 01:46 AM
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Can we maybe get a proposal for a healthcare system that doesn’t borrow from Stalin?
Government healthcare actually predates any communist government, so I don't see why it would be an issue. Say what you will about Otto von Bismarck, but the guy definitely was NOT a socialist.
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Old 07-31-2019, 02:57 AM
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Ah yes. When someone proposes something like universal health coverage for citizens, we skip right past Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, and literally every other first world country out there and go right to being the Soviet Union with gulags right around the corner.

They must know they're full of shit because they know if they said "Socialism!? Do you want to be like Norway/Germany/Canada where human life has value?!" people would say "uh... actually.. that sounds pretty good"

Almost every "socialist" proposal in the USA would be considered weak tea, barely left at all in the rest of the civilized world. But these people rely on pretending that the rest of the civilized world doesn't exist, that we'd be conducting some craaaaazy experiment that could not possibly go well and could only end up like the Soviet Union or Maoist China.

It's not an argument in good faith, and it's not worth arguing with people who do not argue in good faith.
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Old 07-31-2019, 04:06 AM
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Ah yes. When someone proposes something like universal health coverage for citizens, we skip right past Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, and literally every other first world country out there and go right to being the Soviet Union with gulags right around the corner.

They must know they're full of shit because they know if they said "Socialism!? Do you want to be like Norway/Germany/Canada where human life has value?!" people would say "uh... actually.. that sounds pretty good"

Almost every "socialist" proposal in the USA would be considered weak tea, barely left at all in the rest of the civilized world. But these people rely on pretending that the rest of the civilized world doesn't exist, that we'd be conducting some craaaaazy experiment that could not possibly go well and could only end up like the Soviet Union or Maoist China.

It's not an argument in good faith, and it's not worth arguing with people who do not argue in good faith.
Exactly. With all these examples of successful and wealthy countries with overly socialist programs for health care and other things, it's patently ridiculous to use the spectre of failed authoritarian and klepto-states like Cuba and Venezuela.

American socialists want to be more like Canada. Those who disagree should engage on this ground - what's so scary about Canada? Why is Canada so terrible, and how would Americans be harmed by similar policies? Using Cuba and Venezuela is not making a good faith effort to engage the actual argument.
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Old 07-31-2019, 04:08 AM
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. When people are filled with dread at the thought of going to the DMV or having to interact with a law enforcement agency, they're not going to want to empower .gov bureaucrats to do more of anything.
Looking at this from outside, this seems to be the core of the issue. Heaven knows we have boneheaded "computer says no" jobsworths in plenty of government jobs (notably in immigration control and social security, though the perception depends on one's prejudices). But, for example, most of us have no problem with our DVLA, so it sounds very peculiar when your DMV is a go-to example of bureaucratic incompetence and inertia.

And when it comes to our socialised NHS, we don't see it as "government'. True, funding depends on government's overall budgeting, but I think most of us still see it as all of us doing our bit to help those of us who need medical care. That the money goes through government to get from us to the doctors and hospitals doesn't lessen the sense that it's a direct connection between us and the NHS. It's ours, not any given government's (AIUI Americans can feel the same way about Medicare). It's part of the social contract, not just a matter of individual service transactions.

I think another factor might be what seems to me, as an outside observer, the tendency among your legislators to use primary legislation to micromanage public services to a degree that would be unthinkable here. Having the executive directly embedded in and accountable to the legislature can mean that MPs can get more effective influence over how public services are run, more quickly, by treating administrative questions separately from the instinct that "there ought to be a law".

Last edited by PatrickLondon; 07-31-2019 at 04:11 AM.
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Old 07-31-2019, 04:30 AM
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“socialized healthcare” reads to me, like we are going to replace our expensive faulty healthcare system with an incredibly corrupt, more inefficient, centralized one, that will concentrate power in the hands of evil oligarchs that will use it wield arbitrary power and control over the populace turning us into slaves.

Can we maybe get a proposal for a healthcare system that doesn’t borrow from Stalin?
I live in the UK with our Universal Health Care - the wonderful NHS.

Recently I had two consecutive health problems:

- gallstones (very painful)

- liver sepsis (if unchecked, life-threatening.)

Both problems were diagnosed and treated promptly. (I even had an ambulance trip once the blood test came back with the sepsis.)

Since the UK has a 'socialist' approach and I'm a pensioner (aged 66), all treatment was free.
I paid taxes all my working life, which is how the NHS is funded.

I spoke to an American friend about my remarkable experience.
She said:

- the treatments I had (MRIs, Ultrasounds, blood tests, two operations, two stays in hospital etc.) would have cost an American at least $250,000

- since the NHS was 'socialist', the US system was superior.

Of course she's a Trump supporter.
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Old 07-31-2019, 06:33 AM
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I have a real problem with the term “socialism.” When you add up all the deaths caused by socialism in Russia, China, Cuba, by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, North Korea, East Germany you get somewhere between 100-150 million people killed in the 20th century. This is a lot more than the Nazis (who btw were right wing Nationalist Socialists.)

So, I find the term alarming and am surprised anybody would want to associate with the idea in any form.

“socialized healthcare” reads to me, like we are going to replace our expensive faulty healthcare system with an incredibly corrupt, more inefficient, centralized one, that will concentrate power in the hands of evil oligarchs that will use it wield arbitrary power and control over the populace turning us into slaves.

Can we maybe get a proposal for a healthcare system that doesn’t borrow from Stalin?
But what about the tens of millions who died in the name of capitalism. In India under the domination of the British East India Company, in the Congo under the despotic rule of a Belgian king, in South America in order to allow the United Fruit Company to continue to exploit the locals.

You cannot criticize one without considering the other, because when it comes down to it a tremendous number of people have suffered and died so that the few in power can continue in power.

And please remember, if you are afraid of socialism, if you cannot stand communism it has nothing to do with Stalin or Mao or any of those people. It comes from century old propaganda put forth by the ruling classes who were going out of their minds with fear that the hoi polloi would haul out the guillotines and take a little off the top. And I don't know about you but I don't want to be manipulated by long dead despots.
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Old 07-31-2019, 08:12 AM
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But what about the tens of millions who died in the name of capitalism. In India under the domination of the British East India Company, in the Congo under the despotic rule of a Belgian king, in South America in order to allow the United Fruit Company to continue to exploit the locals.

You cannot criticize one without considering the other, because when it comes down to it a tremendous number of people have suffered and died so that the few in power can continue in power.
Sure I can. Socialism is the world champ at corruption and death, killing more in the 20th century than anything else. It has turned into murderous dictatorships every time it has been tried. I think the Nazis get second place.

Capitalism doesn’t always fail. It’s a terrible system. It’s just that it is thousands of times less terrible than anything else.

My #1 priority in voting is to maximize individual freedom, and keep government to the necessary evil minimum that I can. I want it to have less control. Less power. I don’t want it in charge of my health or anything else.

Personally, I think we are being incredibly shortsighted at the societal level in our greedy grasping after “free stuff”. We all pay for it by giving up freedom and through higher taxes. We give more control to the governmental machine which history has shown us over and over again, serves itself. These things always end Up going bad if you give them too much power.

Plus, I think we are making great strides medically. Feeding everybody in this country was a big deal 100 years ago. Now we suffer by being too fat. We basically figured out food and turned it into such a cheap commodity that even the poor can eat like kings only dreamed of.

We are figuring out healthcare, too.


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And please remember, if you are afraid of socialism, if you cannot stand communism it has nothing to do with Stalin or Mao or any of those people. It comes from century old propaganda put forth by the ruling classes who were going out of their minds with fear that the hoi polloi would haul out the guillotines and take a little off the top. And I don't know about you but I don't want to be manipulated by long dead despots.
It actually comes from Marx and Engel. Regardless of the motives of any of the Czar, it turned out he was right.

It’s pretty simple. In measuring bad ideas, I just look at the death toll for the 20th century.

Socialism communism is the #1 worst idea ever.

I figure that anybody who is so vacuously ignorant of history as to identify with socialism or thinks that a “socialist” flavored anything is a good idea has done me a favor, in much the same way that anybody who identifies as a nazi or offers a “fascist” flavored something has done me a favor. They are straight up telling me that they are the enemy.
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Old 07-31-2019, 08:33 AM
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When do you suspect the governments of the UK, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland are going to start mass murdering their citizens? Ballpark? 5 years? 20?
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Old 07-31-2019, 08:55 AM
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When do you suspect the governments of the UK, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland are going to start mass murdering their citizens? Ballpark? 5 years? 20?
For some reason, they don't seem to count, even though those models are explicitly the ones that American socialists like Bernie and AOC advocate emulating.

I'll just repeat -- it shouldn't be scary to want to emulate Canada. Emulating Canada does not lead to Venezuela.
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Old 07-31-2019, 09:04 AM
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Interesting question. On one hand, Venezuela may not be the place to be right now. On the other hand, according to the 2019 Happiness Index, the happiest country in the world is currently Finland. The largest political party in Finland is the Social Democratic party, which is, sure enough, a member of the Socialist International, etc.
Can you point to specific programs or policies, especially economic policies that indicate that Finland is socialist? Not social programs, but actual socialist policies? Because it looks like Finland is a capitalist country with a market economy that happens to have a lot of social programs...and that doesn't make it socialist.

To me, this is the crux of the problem. While patting themselves on the back about stupid Americans who hate socialist because reasons, most progressives (hell, most people) don't actually understand what socialist is...and what it isn't. Or even who is or who isn't a socialist country. The Nordic countries are not socialist, yet are used often to tout how great socialist is. Countries that are actually socialist, by and large, are almost never used as examples of what countries should aspire too...even when they are (in very rare instances) fairly successful (China springs to mind).

Socialism is a failed experiment from both an economic and political perspective. It sucks, in short. Social PROGRAMS, however, have been very successful and are used by pretty much every successful country on the planted (granted, by many failed countries too). Ironically, successful socialist countries (like China) often don't always have great social programs. I'm all for (some) social programs and think that, in the US we could do more, but I definitely do NOT want a socialist political or economic system...and basically neither do most countries at this point. Including the Nordic countries held up as socialist.
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Old 07-31-2019, 09:06 AM
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Sure how about we copy from Canada?


Past - don't tell anyone but our Medicare system was started by the socialist gouvernements of Tommy Douglas and Woodrow Lloyd.
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Old 07-31-2019, 09:07 AM
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Sure I can. Socialism is the world champ at corruption and death, killing more in the 20th century than anything else. It has turned into murderous dictatorships every time it has been tried. I think the Nazis get second place.

Capitalism doesn’t always fail. It’s a terrible system. It’s just that it is thousands of times less terrible than anything else.
So you're comparing the worst examples of socialism with a vaguely apologetic version of capitalism. Got it.

Pre-Obamacare, an average of 40,000 Americans died each year for lack of access to affordable healthcare. They didn't need a capitalist government to kill them; they just died on their own - but their death count goes on the tab for capitalism. And beyond that, millions have suffered deep financial hardships due to medical costs - can we also count the lives shortened by that? How many lives has "socialism" saved in countries with UHC?

This idea that less government means more "individual freedom" is a fantasy. All it usually means is that people become victims and thralls to other forces - capitalist forces - and unlike the government they have no say in it. Being worked to death for pittance wages in poor health and safety conditions is not freedom. Being made literal wage slaves indebted to the "company store" is not freedom. Being beaten up and/or killed for daring to try and form a union to push back against those practices is not freedom. Freedom to starve, suffer and die at the hands of the powerful is not freedom. These are things that unfettered capitalism brought us, and that government has (eventually) saved us from.

How many lives is your fantasy worth?
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Old 07-31-2019, 09:10 AM
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Can you point to specific programs or policies, especially economic policies that indicate that Finland is socialist? Not social programs, but actual socialist policies? Because it looks like Finland is a capitalist country with a market economy that happens to have a lot of social programs...and that doesn't make it socialist.

To me, this is the crux of the problem. While patting themselves on the back about stupid Americans who hate socialist because reasons, most progressives (hell, most people) don't actually understand what socialist is...and what it isn't. Or even who is or who isn't a socialist country. The Nordic countries are not socialist, yet are used often to tout how great socialist is. Countries that are actually socialist, by and large, are almost never used as examples of what countries should aspire too...even when they are (in very rare instances) fairly successful (China springs to mind).

Socialism is a failed experiment from both an economic and political perspective. It sucks, in short. Social PROGRAMS, however, have been very successful and are used by pretty much every successful country on the planted (granted, by many failed countries too). Ironically, successful socialist countries (like China) often don't always have great social programs. I'm all for (some) social programs and think that, in the US we could do more, but I definitely do NOT want a socialist political or economic system...and basically neither do most countries at this point. Including the Nordic countries held up as socialist.
This just shows that this is about semantics. Do you have any doubt that a hypothetical "Social Democratic Party" in the US, with significant support, would be tarred and associated with Venezuela by the Republicans, even if they're adovcating policies similar to Finland?

That's what this is about, IMO. Policies like Finland and Canada would be quite popular in the US, and the Republican Party leadership is so terrified of such policies that they're willing to slander and lie and associate these policies with failed klepto-states like Venezuela. And they've convinced lots of rank-and-file Republicans that this is "real talk" and fighting evil, when in fact it's dishonest bullshit.
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Old 07-31-2019, 09:10 AM
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For some reason, they don't seem to count, even though those models are explicitly the ones that American socialists like Bernie and AOC advocate emulating.

I'll just repeat -- it shouldn't be scary to want to emulate Canada. Emulating Canada does not lead to Venezuela.
I suspect Venezuelan socialists thought they were emulating the "good" socialists too, and yet they still ended up where they are today.
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Old 07-31-2019, 09:14 AM
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I suspect Venezuelan socialists thought they were emulating the "good" socialists too, and yet they still ended up where they are today.
So what makes America inferior to the UK, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland? Why can they successfully do things that are impossible for us? Why do you think America is so much less capable than these other countries? Can you explain your disdain for your country?
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Old 07-31-2019, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by XT View Post
Can you point to specific programs or policies, especially economic policies that indicate that Finland is socialist? Not social programs, but actual socialist policies? Because it looks like Finland is a capitalist country with a market economy that happens to have a lot of social programs...and that doesn't make it socialist.

To me, this is the crux of the problem. While patting themselves on the back about stupid Americans who hate socialist because reasons, most progressives (hell, most people) don't actually understand what socialist is...and what it isn't. Or even who is or who isn't a socialist country. The Nordic countries are not socialist, yet are used often to tout how great socialist is. Countries that are actually socialist, by and large, are almost never used as examples of what countries should aspire too...even when they are (in very rare instances) fairly successful (China springs to mind).

Socialism is a failed experiment from both an economic and political perspective. It sucks, in short. Social PROGRAMS, however, have been very successful and are used by pretty much every successful country on the planted (granted, by many failed countries too). Ironically, successful socialist countries (like China) often don't always have great social programs. I'm all for (some) social programs and think that, in the US we could do more, but I definitely do NOT want a socialist political or economic system...and basically neither do most countries at this point. Including the Nordic countries held up as socialist.
This reminds me of a Facebook meme going around:

Person 1: "Socialism never works."

Person 2: "Norway is socialist and they're doing great."

Person 1: "They're not socialist! They're capitalist countries with strong welfare policies."

Person 2: "Then let's adopt those policies."

Person 1: "NO, THAT'S SOCIALISM!"

It's funny how UHC, for example, is merely a "social program" until someone suggests America implement it, at which point it becomes a sign of EVIL SOCIALISM that will lead to the US becoming Venezuela - even though most countries with UHC are ticking along just fine. And it's this cognitive dissonance among the right that is what's making this conversation impossible - social programs are opposed on the grounds that they represent socialism, but simultaneously they don't represent socialism because they have been shown to work in other countries.
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Old 07-31-2019, 09:19 AM
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Those damn socialists want to turn America into venezuela!


XT has given a good answer to Airbeck's question on many occasions: your political system, which values gridlock, makes it very difficult to implement major new government initiatives. Parliamentary systems are generally more efficient at implementing new programmes, because they have clear electoral mandates, rather than the divided authority which is the hallmark of the US system.
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  #33  
Old 07-31-2019, 09:21 AM
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That's the point, they don't want to have this conversation, so they shut it down with this Venezuela and Communism talk. It's not about having a debate, it's about driving the debate over the cliff so we can't even discuss it. I think they know how popular these things can be, so they feel the only choice is to abort the discussion before it gets off the ground.
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  #34  
Old 07-31-2019, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
I suspect Venezuelan socialists thought they were emulating the "good" socialists too, and yet they still ended up where they are today.
If so they only followed part of the story, relying on the relative windfall wealth of income from oil for consumption rather than real investment (unlike social democratic Norway, which locked away its oil income into a "sovereign wealth fund" rather than simply letting it subsidise general running costs).
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Old 07-31-2019, 09:23 AM
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I suspect Venezuelan socialists thought they were emulating the "good" socialists too, and yet they still ended up where they are today.
Venezuela's current plight has less to do with socialism than with the election of a strongman demagogue who used his power to divert public funds to his supporters despite the extreme negative impact to the economy, undermined the rule of law to repress his opponents, their supporters and the free press, and subverted the electoral system. Hmm...that approach sounds vaguely familiar...
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Old 07-31-2019, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Gyrate View Post
This reminds me of a Facebook meme going around:

Person 1: "Socialism never works."

Person 2: "Norway is socialist and they're doing great."

Person 1: "They're not socialist! They're capitalist countries with strong welfare policies."

Person 2: "Then let's adopt those policies."

Person 1: "NO, THAT'S SOCIALISM!"

It's funny how UHC, for example, is merely a "social program" until someone suggests America implement it, at which point it becomes a sign of EVIL SOCIALISM that will lead to the US becoming Venezuela - even though most countries with UHC are ticking along just fine. And it's this cognitive dissonance among the right that is what's making this conversation impossible - social programs are opposed on the grounds that they represent socialism, but simultaneously they don't represent socialism because they have been shown to work in other countries.
This reminds me a lot of a strawman argument, seeing as how I've never said most of this. Not sure why you used my post to demonstrate issues I haven't brought up while ignoring the actual gist of the post but...oh, well, I guess I DO know, because attacking a strawman is so much easier. Carry on. Though, note the irony...
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Last edited by XT; 07-31-2019 at 09:54 AM.
  #37  
Old 07-31-2019, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by glee View Post
I live in the UK with our Universal Health Care - the wonderful NHS.

Recently I had two consecutive health problems:

- gallstones (very painful)

- liver sepsis (if unchecked, life-threatening.)

Both problems were diagnosed and treated promptly. (I even had an ambulance trip once the blood test came back with the sepsis.)

Since the UK has a 'socialist' approach and I'm a pensioner (aged 66), all treatment was free.
I paid taxes all my working life, which is how the NHS is funded.

I spoke to an American friend about my remarkable experience.
She said:

- the treatments I had (MRIs, Ultrasounds, blood tests, two operations, two stays in hospital etc.) would have cost an American at least $250,000

- since the NHS was 'socialist', the US system was superior.

Of course she's a Trump supporter.
With any program that gives you free stuff, the beneficiary will love it. That says nothing about its overall desirability.

The problems with healthcare in the United States are due to the socialist aspects of it: overregulation, limitation of supply, drug laws, no price transparency because of third party payments, and the fact that the poor and the elderly already have socialized medicine.

The insurance model is terrible for most healthcare items like contraception or routine doctor visits. Those things that we all need cannot be insured against anymore than buying food insurance would be a good idea such that when I go to the grocery store, I pay a co-pay, but only get the foods that an insurance company nutritionist believes is appropriate.

These other first world countries are also able to afford more social programs because they enjoy living in a relatively peaceful world because the US carries the weight of having such a large military. When North Korea tests a new nuke, does Norway or Finland do anything? Nope, United States. When things flare up in the Middle East, is Canada front and center? Nope, the US.

Also, innovations in prescription drugs and other procedures only come to fruition because these companies can recoup their R&D costs through the "private" healthcare market in the United States.

When 85+% of people in the US are happy with the current system, and there is a safety net for the poor and elderly, why scrap the system for something in the hopes of improving it?
  #38  
Old 07-31-2019, 10:05 AM
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This just shows that this is about semantics. Do you have any doubt that a hypothetical "Social Democratic Party" in the US, with significant support, would be tarred and associated with Venezuela by the Republicans, even if they're adovcating policies similar to Finland?

That's what this is about, IMO. Policies like Finland and Canada would be quite popular in the US, and the Republican Party leadership is so terrified of such policies that they're willing to slander and lie and associate these policies with failed klepto-states like Venezuela. And they've convinced lots of rank-and-file Republicans that this is "real talk" and fighting evil, when in fact it's dishonest bullshit.
Depends. I've seen some stuff that Bernie wants to do that is more like the old 70's era western European socialism than the current model. I think that it's not just Republicans or conservatives who have a hard time understanding what socialism is or isn't, or who is or isn't a socialist country. Sure, it's about semantics...and about lack of understanding of what, precisely, people are advocating. If they ARE advocating socialism (either economic or political) than that certainly means something. If they are advocating the Nordic model then, you know, they should say that, because the Nordic model is NOT socialism. If they are advocating the Canadian system, same thing...advocate for that, or for aspects of it that are desired, don't try and lump it in with socialism since, again, Canada isn't a socialist country. There are arguments against the Nordic model or other models when looked at with respect to a country the size of the US, but they are certainly different arguments (that can and have been debated well wrt the good parts of those models btw) than those used against actual socialism.
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Last edited by XT; 07-31-2019 at 10:09 AM.
  #39  
Old 07-31-2019, 10:05 AM
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This reminds me a lot of a strawman argument, seeing as how I've never said most of this. Not sure why you used my post to demonstrate issues I haven't brought up while ignoring the actual gist of the post but...oh, well, I guess I DO know, because attacking a strawman is so much easier. Carry on. Though, note the irony...
Well, of course you did not say it, and what is clear is that Gyrate did not say that you made that straw man argument.

What is clear to me that the point that Gyrate made really did hit the nail in the head, most of the conservatives have demonstrated that their intention is to never consider that a lot of what the American people are getting is a very ugly deal in issues like health care.

Last edited by GIGObuster; 07-31-2019 at 10:06 AM.
  #40  
Old 07-31-2019, 10:12 AM
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This reminds me a lot of a strawman argument, seeing as how I've never said most of this. Not sure why you used my post to demonstrate issues I haven't brought up while ignoring the actual gist of the post but...oh, well, I guess I DO know, because attacking a strawman is so much easier. Carry on. Though, note the irony...
Yes, I do note the irony of setting up a strawman to attack it rather than addressing the substance of the post.
  #41  
Old 07-31-2019, 10:12 AM
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Depends. I've seen some stuff the Bernie wants to do that is more like the old 70's era western European socialism than the current model. I think that it's not just Republicans or conservatives who have a hard time understanding what socialism is or isn't, or who is or isn't a socialist country. Sure, it's about semantics...and about lack of understanding of what, precisely, people are advocating. If they ARE advocating socialism (either economic or political) than that certainly means something. If they are advocating the Nordic model then, you know, they should say that. There are arguments against the Nordic model when looked at with respect to a country the size of the US, but they are certainly different arguments (that can and have been debated well btw) than those used against actual socialism.
What you are not taking into account though is that historically spearing, the right in the USA is the one that pathologically ignores that others models were being proposed than actual socialism, and it did not matter then or now:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-45817327
Quote:
Conservative warnings of socialist plots by Democrats are nothing new, of course.

In 1961 Ronald Reagan, then a Hollywood actor and right-wing activist, accused the Democrats who created Medicare - the government-managed healthcare programme for the elderly - of waging an incremental effort to turn the US into a freedom-crushing socialist state.

"One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine," Reagan said. "It's very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project."

Barry Goldwater, the 1964 Republican presidential nominee, echoed similar sentiments.

"Having given our pensioners their medical care in kind, why not food baskets, why not public housing accommodations, why not vacation resorts, why not a ration of cigarettes for those who smoke and of beer for those who drink?" he asked.

During the 1965 debate over Medicare and Medicaid - a government-run healthcare system for the poor - Republican Senator Carl Curtis called the proposals "brazen socialism", which set the nation on course "from which there will be no turning back".

Now, a half-century later, Mr Trump says he's defending Medicare - which has become one of the most popular government-run programmes - against Democratic plans to destroy it by expanding its coverage to all Americans.

"If Democrats win control of Congress this November, we will come dangerously closer to socialism in America," Mr Trump writes. "Government-run healthcare is just the beginning."

...

It is, needless to say, an ironic twist.
  #42  
Old 07-31-2019, 10:13 AM
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Well, of course you did not say it, and what is clear is that Gyrate did not say that you made that straw man argument.

What is clear to me that the point that Gyrate made really did hit the nail in the head, most of the conservatives have demonstrated that their intention is to never consider that a lot of what the American people are getting is a very ugly deal in issues like health care.
That is not clear to me. If I post a quote from you and then go on to use that to make some points you not only don't agree with by never used, that's all good with you, right? I'm thinking the word 'strawman' would be the nicest thing you'd say about that.

Basically, I don't have an issue with people criticizing my posts for what they say. We all don't agree on...well, most anything. But don't use my posts to attack points I don't and haven't made. Seems reasonable to me, though YMMV...probably based on who's gore is getting oxed.
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  #43  
Old 07-31-2019, 10:18 AM
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What you are not taking into account though is that historically spearing, the right in the USA is the one that pathologically ignores that others models were being proposed than actual socialism, and it did not matter then or now:

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-45817327
I'm probably not taking that into account because I'm not part of the right and, frankly, don't give a flying fuck what idiotic mistakes they have made wrt the definition in the past. The fact that both sides seemingly don't have a clue what the actual definition is certainly is telling, and funny (to me anyway), but seems to miss the point. Basically, IMHO and all, if Dems want to talk about using the Nordic model, they should say that. If they want to talk about advocating this or that social program, then they should say that. They shouldn't associate themselves with socialism (which is different than being a social democrat btw) in any way, shape or form...especially if they don't even understand that that means wrt political or economic socialism. I'm unsure why anyone would WANT to associate themselves with that ridiculous and failed system at this point. Instead, point to the Nordic model, which is a VERY successful system...a capitalist system that also addresses those countries needs for social PROGRAMS that their citizens want.

Why this always has to be so hard is a mystery to me...
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  #44  
Old 07-31-2019, 10:19 AM
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That is not clear to me. If I post a quote from you and then go on to use that to make some points you not only don't agree with by never used, that's all good with you, right? I'm thinking the word 'strawman' would be the nicest thing you'd say about that.

Basically, I don't have an issue with people criticizing my posts for what they say. We all don't agree on...well, most anything. But don't use my posts to attack points I don't and haven't made. Seems reasonable to me, though YMMV...probably based on who's gore is getting oxed.
You do claim that you are not a conservative, and yet it seems that you do like to think the conservative ox deserves more deferential treatment. It is clear that conservatives in government are the ones that not only are lying to the American public, but they also do lie about even the definitions they use when discussion an issue like health care when they also do straw man and disparage people that do want America to do better.

Last edited by GIGObuster; 07-31-2019 at 10:20 AM.
  #45  
Old 07-31-2019, 10:24 AM
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I'm probably not taking that into account because I'm not part of the right and, frankly, don't give a flying fuck what idiotic mistakes they have made wrt the definition in the past. The fact that both sides seemingly don't have a clue what the actual definition is certainly is telling, and funny (to me anyway), but seems to miss the point. Basically, IMHO and all, if Dems want to talk about using the Nordic model, they should say that. If they want to talk about advocating this or that social program, then they should say that. They shouldn't associate themselves with socialism (which is different than being a social democrat btw) in any way, shape or form...especially if they don't even understand that that means wrt political or economic socialism. I'm unsure why anyone would WANT to associate themselves with that ridiculous and failed system at this point. Instead, point to the Nordic model, which is a VERY successful system...a capitalist system that also addresses those countries needs for social PROGRAMS that their citizens want.

Why this always has to be so hard is a mystery to me...
The real mystery is why one needs to fall for false equivalencies when history shows that the narrative from the conservatives is to fall by default for the socialism accusation, when I have seen many Democrats point at Europe or Canada many times during the endless discussions about the ACA and other health care issues.
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Old 07-31-2019, 10:25 AM
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That is not clear to me. If I post a quote from you and then go on to use that to make some points you not only don't agree with by never used, that's all good with you, right? I'm thinking the word 'strawman' would be the nicest thing you'd say about that.

Basically, I don't have an issue with people criticizing my posts for what they say. We all don't agree on...well, most anything. But don't use my posts to attack points I don't and haven't made. Seems reasonable to me, though YMMV...probably based on who's gore is getting oxed.
Your first paragraph in the post I originally quoted is directly relevant to what I said in my post, which followed organically therefrom. As already noted, I did not directly attribute any views to you, nor did I specifically "attack" anything you said. If your automatic assumption is that discourse must be both Manichaean and adversarial in tone (and your subsequent replies suggest that it is), that is not in any way a failing on my part.

I made my post in good faith. If you prefer to continue to respond in high dudgeon and snide insinuation rather than addressing what I actually said, that's entirely down to you. If you would like to discuss what socialism is or isn't, however, we can do that too.

No oxen have been gored in the making of this post.
  #47  
Old 07-31-2019, 10:26 AM
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You do claim that you are not a conservative, and yet it seems that you do like to think the conservative ox deserves more deferential treatment. It is clear that conservatives in government are the ones that not only are lying to the American public, but they also do lie about even the definitions they use when discussion an issue like health care when they also do straw man and disparage people that do want America to do better.
No, on this board there are few conservatives to argue with. The majority of folks who respond (and attack) me are progressives or liberals, so that's who I generally argue with.

If you like, however, I'll say that conservatives who claim the Nordic model or the Western European nations in general (lumping Canada and whoever else they claim in there as well) are socialist are simply wrong, and have been since the early 70's. I think that some of them know they are wrong (just like I suspect that some of the folks who argue with me on this from the other side actually realize they are wrong too), or are deliberately being misleading (same) but do so anyway because of popular mis-perception of the term. They get more of a response because people don't really understand the differences. And 'socialism' is this big boogie man in the US...rightfully, if we are talking about ACTUAL socialism. But the Nordic model is dismissed by conservatives by fiat using the label 'socialism' to do so...putting all of that baggage on it. And that's wrong. Stupidly wrong. There are arguments against the Nordic model when you try and scale it up to something the size and political and ethnic diversity of the US (I still, btw, think we could use lots of it here), but they dont' make those...they try and 'win' the argument by simply labeling it all 'socialism'. I'd be happy to debate this with conservatives, but there might be one post on this thread or in past threads that makes this ridiculous contention, and what fun would that be for me?
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  #48  
Old 07-31-2019, 10:28 AM
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Well, you do seem to be happy now...

But then again, more than one conservative has posted here... so, why is it that I do not see much "fun" directed at them, or the ones in power for that matter?

Last edited by GIGObuster; 07-31-2019 at 10:30 AM.
  #49  
Old 07-31-2019, 10:30 AM
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Your first paragraph in the post I originally quoted is directly relevant to what I said in my post, which followed organically therefrom. As already noted, I did not directly attribute any views to you, nor did I specifically "attack" anything you said. If your automatic assumption is that discourse must be both Manichaean and adversarial in tone (and your subsequent replies suggest that it is), that is not in any way a failing on my part.

I made my post in good faith. If you prefer to continue to respond in high dudgeon and snide insinuation rather than addressing what I actually said, that's entirely down to you. If you would like to discuss what socialism is or isn't, however, we can do that too.

No oxen have been gored in the making of this post.
What was the point in associating my post with wrongful conservative thinking on socialism? If you wanted to say those things you didn't need to quote me.

I'm happy to debate what socialism is or isn't, though I've pretty much done that in myriad threads in the past. If you want to look up (or have me do so) why the Nordic model ISN'T socialism, or what the countries in that model think about Americans (conservative OR liberal/progressive) who think they are 'socialist' it's easy enough to do. As a spoiler, they think it's pretty funny as well as being wrong, and think we still look at them from the lens of how they were in the 70's wrt them being socialist. They have moved on from that long ago and they think they have a better system today...a vibrant capitalist system that is fully democratic and uses social programs.
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  #50  
Old 07-31-2019, 10:41 AM
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So what makes America inferior to the UK, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland? Why can they successfully do things that are impossible for us? Why do you think America is so much less capable than these other countries? Can you explain your disdain for your country?
America is different, better in most ways, worse in others.
For example the US government spends more money on healthcare per capita than Canada and yet only covers half the population. Advocates of UHC would have us believe that the US government has not really been trying this whole time, and as soon as they take over the other half of the the healthcare market they will suddenly be as good as the Canadians at cost control.
Obamacare had 10 programs designed to decrease the cost of healthcare. They all failed. The Democrat controlled house just voted to repeal the Cadillac tax which is one of the few attempts to rein in healthcare costs still standing.
It seems that the best hope for America to control healthcare spending via the government would be to switch to a parliamentary system and have started 60 years ago.
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