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Old 09-07-2018, 12:46 PM
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Shooting for Sweden, Hitting Venezuela

Socialists in America says they want they US to be more like Scandinavia and not like Venezuela despite the fact that both are nominally socialist or social democracies.
However, having a goal does not mean you can meet that goal, I am sure no one involved in Venezuelan politics ever meant to impoverish the country, starve its people, and cause a mass exodus. What they say they wanted is the same as all socialists want, a better life for the poor and a more equal society. Venezuela was a relatively rich country for much of the 20th century but it was very unequal, split between poor mestizos and the richer whites who ran the oil industry and were accused of running the government and ignoring the poor. When the socialists first took power they took money from the oil sector and used it to help poor people. At first it seemed to work and the lives of the poor improved. However, the oil sector suffered and people started to complain. These people were replaced with political loyalists and the oil sector got worse. Declining oil prices and lowered output from the poorly run oil company meant less money available for the government's social programs. The government responded by printing more money to keep the social programs going. This caused inflation, which the government blamed on greedy store owners and passed laws to keep prices down. This meant that stores could only sell items for less than they bought them for and massive shortages ensued. People starve because food is unavailable and die because medicine is unavailable. Yet the government continues its failed policies and blames enemies domestic and foreign for what is happening.
Contrast this with Sweden. Since the Great Depression Swedish politics has been dominated by the Social Democrat party which got between 44.6% and 46.2% of the vote every year between 1936 and 1985 and had 44 years of uninterrupted power. Despite this dominance they ruled with an emphasis on consensus and invited input from the two other parties on major decisions. Because of its neutrality, Sweden was able to trade with both sides during WW2 and emerged a rich country with its infrastructure intact. It was the 5th richest country in the world in 1960, trailing only the US, Canada, New Zealand, and Luxembourg. They used this wealth to create one of the most extensive welfare states in the world. They were able to keep the social spending going until 1990 when growth had slowed so much that they had fallen to 13th wealthiest and the deficit ballooned to 15% of GDP. A real estate bubble burst and Sweden went into a deep recession with GDP falling 5% in two years and total employment falling by 10%. The Swedish government acted decisively to shore up the banking system and then reform its economy and welfare system. It capped government spending, It liberalized rules for retirement homes, childcare centers, and private schools. It changed the retirement system from a defined benefit system to one that incentived working longer. They still have very high taxes compared to the US, except for the corporate tax which was significantly lower until the US changed it rate earlier this year. However, they are now ranked the 15th most economically free country in the world ahead of the US. The Swedish economy since the reforms has been one of the best performing in Europe and this growth along with the savings from the reform have allowed them to fund a relatively generous welfare state.
Which society is more like the United States, Venezuela with its history of inequality, racial division, and the inability of its government to admit mistakes and to make changes, or Sweden with its history of consensus government, homogeneity, and ability of its government to quickly and decisively make needed reforms regardless of the party in power?
While the US is nowhere near the basket case of Venezuela economically, it is much closer to them in many respects. The US is a violent, unequal society, split by race and by partisanship. The federal government, by design, is very difficult to make large changes. It has two parties more interested in blaming the other than actual governing and neither party seems to have no interest in admitting mistakes and fixing them. A great example is Head Start, it was started in 1965 to help poor children achieve academically. In 2000 the government commissioned a ten year study to assess how it was achieving those goals. The study found that Head Start had no lasting positive impact on student academics. Since that study funding has increased from 5.2 billion a year to 9.8 billion a year, and there has been no serious effort to either reform or end the program. Most Democrats want to expand the program to include all children and the Republicans just voted a 200 million dollar increase in the budget. Another example is the Medicare doc fix, a program that was supposed to rein in the US's highest in the world healthcare spending. It was passed during a spasm of budgetary responsibility, the medical lobby then went to work and got the spending cuts delayed every year for 17 straight years under both parties and then repealed. Interest on the national debt is forecasted to reach 1 trillion dollars a year in a little over a decade and yet there is no serious movement to either rein in spending or raise taxes on anyone other than the rich. There is no political will to make changes to programs that are popular with a large enough section of the voters.
Were any of the democratic socialist's agenda passed, Medicare for all, job guarantee, free college, etc the deficit would increase so much that taxes would have to increase dramatically for everyone. These taxes would lead to a dramatic slowdown in economic growth, putting further strain on the ability to pay for the government spending. After a decade or so a crisis would come such as what Sweden faced in the early 90s or what Venezuela faced a few years ago. Politically it is much more likely that the US would then try for currency manipulation and price controls rather than fundamental government spending reform. It is unlikely to every get as bad as Venezuela but it would go in that direction.
That is why although Socialists and democratic socialist in the US say they want to move the country toward Denmark, what they would actually achieve is to make the country more like Venezuela.

Last edited by puddleglum; 09-07-2018 at 12:47 PM.
  #2  
Old 09-07-2018, 12:49 PM
krondys krondys is offline
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Originally Posted by puddleglum View Post
Socialists in America...

*snipped a word or two*

That is why although Socialists and democratic socialist in the US say they want to move the country toward Denmark, what they would actually achieve is to make the country more like Venezuela.
Yet again, America (the great?) is incapable of doing anything that has been done somewhere else...

I'm... convinced?

Last edited by krondys; 09-07-2018 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 09-07-2018, 12:50 PM
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Block of text is unreadable. With paragraph line breaks I'll try reading, but my eyes can't handle that.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 09-07-2018 at 12:50 PM.
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Old 09-07-2018, 01:02 PM
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Block of text is unreadable. With paragraph line breaks I'll try reading, but my eyes can't handle that.
I think it's another debate about guns.
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Old 09-07-2018, 01:11 PM
EscAlaMike EscAlaMike is online now
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I didn't read the OP, too many words too close together.

But, Venezuela and Sweden have fundamentally different forms of government and economies.

Venezuela has a socialist economy, meaning most (if not all) major industries are nationalized.

Sweden has a capitalist economy with a democratic government that has built a generous welfare state.

SWEDEN IS NOT SOCIALIST, can we please put that myth to rest?
  #6  
Old 09-07-2018, 01:12 PM
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Socialists in America says they want they US to be more like Scandinavia and not like Venezuela despite the fact that both are nominally socialist or social democracies.

However, having a goal does not mean you can meet that goal, I am sure no one involved in Venezuelan politics ever meant to impoverish the country, starve its people, and cause a mass exodus.
What they say they wanted is the same as all socialists want, a better life for the poor and a more equal society. Venezuela was a relatively rich country for much of the 20th century but it was very unequal, split between poor mestizos and the richer whites who ran the oil industry and were accused of running the government and ignoring the poor. When the socialists first took power they took money from the oil sector and used it to help poor people. At first it seemed to work and the lives of the poor improved. However, the oil sector suffered and people started to complain. These people were replaced with political loyalists and the oil sector got worse.
Declining oil prices and lowered output from the poorly run oil company meant less money available for the government's social programs. The government responded by printing more money to keep the social programs going. This caused inflation, which the government blamed on greedy store owners and passed laws to keep prices down. This meant that stores could only sell items for less than they bought them for and massive shortages ensued. People starve because food is unavailable and die because medicine is unavailable. Yet the government continues its failed policies and blames enemies domestic and foreign for what is happening.

Contrast this with Sweden. Since the Great Depression Swedish politics has been dominated by the Social Democrat party which got between 44.6% and 46.2% of the vote every year between 1936 and 1985 and had 44 years of uninterrupted power. Despite this dominance they ruled with an emphasis on consensus and invited input from the two other parties on major decisions. Because of its neutrality, Sweden was able to trade with both sides during WW2 and emerged a rich country with its infrastructure intact. It was the 5th richest country in the world in 1960, trailing only the US, Canada, New Zealand, and Luxembourg. They used this wealth to create one of the most extensive welfare states in the world.
They were able to keep the social spending going until 1990 when growth had slowed so much that they had fallen to 13th wealthiest and the deficit ballooned to 15% of GDP. A real estate bubble burst and Sweden went into a deep recession with GDP falling 5% in two years and total employment falling by 10%. The Swedish government acted decisively to shore up the banking system and then reform its economy and welfare system. It capped government spending, It liberalized rules for retirement homes, childcare centers, and private schools. It changed the retirement system from a defined benefit system to one that incentived working longer. They still have very high taxes compared to the US, except for the corporate tax which was significantly lower until the US changed it rate earlier this year. However, they are now ranked the 15th most economically free country in the world ahead of the US. The Swedish economy since the reforms has been one of the best performing in Europe and this growth along with the savings from the reform have allowed them to fund a relatively generous welfare state.

Which society is more like the United States, Venezuela with its history of inequality, racial division, and the inability of its government to admit mistakes and to make changes, or Sweden with its history of consensus government, homogeneity, and ability of its government to quickly and decisively make needed reforms regardless of the party in power?

While the US is nowhere near the basket case of Venezuela economically, it is much closer to them in many respects. The US is a violent, unequal society, split by race and by partisanship. The federal government, by design, is very difficult to make large changes. It has two parties more interested in blaming the other than actual governing and neither party seems to have no interest in admitting mistakes and fixing them.
A great example is Head Start, it was started in 1965 to help poor children achieve academically. In 2000 the government commissioned a ten year study to assess how it was achieving those goals. The study found that Head Start had no lasting positive impact on student academics. Since that study funding has increased from 5.2 billion a year to 9.8 billion a year, and there has been no serious effort to either reform or end the program. Most Democrats want to expand the program to include all children and the Republicans just voted a 200 million dollar increase in the budget.
Another example is the Medicare doc fix, a program that was supposed to rein in the US's highest in the world healthcare spending. It was passed during a spasm of budgetary responsibility, the medical lobby then went to work and got the spending cuts delayed every year for 17 straight years under both parties and then repealed. Interest on the national debt is forecasted to reach 1 trillion dollars a year in a little over a decade and yet there is no serious movement to either rein in spending or raise taxes on anyone other than the rich. There is no political will to make changes to programs that are popular with a large enough section of the voters.

Were any of the democratic socialist's agenda passed, Medicare for all, job guarantee, free college, etc the deficit would increase so much that taxes would have to increase dramatically for everyone. These taxes would lead to a dramatic slowdown in economic growth, putting further strain on the ability to pay for the government spending. After a decade or so a crisis would come such as what Sweden faced in the early 90s or what Venezuela faced a few years ago. Politically it is much more likely that the US would then try for currency manipulation and price controls rather than fundamental government spending reform. It is unlikely to every get as bad as Venezuela but it would go in that direction.

That is why although Socialists and democratic socialist in the US say they want to move the country toward Denmark, what they would actually achieve is to make the country more like Venezuela.
  #7  
Old 09-07-2018, 01:16 PM
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Block of text is unreadable. With paragraph line breaks I'll try reading, but my eyes can't handle that.
To be fair, it looks like it was paragraphed, but the spaces between paragraphs were removed. That can happen for instance if composing in Wordpad which displays spaces between paragraphs by default but doesn't actually insert them.

Anyway, one-word rebuttal to that wall of text: Canada. It's a country with many historical, social, and cultural similarities to the US, but with a much more Scandinavian style of social welfare and social solidarity -- for example, universal health care, a strong social safety net, and both contributory and non-contributory public pension schemes. This was achieved apparently without becoming just like Venezuela.

So the OP sounds to me a little like the early 60s pronouncements from conservatives, spearheaded by Ronald Reagan, about the horrors that would be unleashed by Medicare if it were ever enacted: "... we will awake to find that we have socialism ... one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children, and our children’s children, what it once was like in America when men were free."

Apparently Medicare would be the beginning of turning the the US into a version of the Soviet Union (that was the boogeyman then, today it's Venezuela), the onset of communism, and the End of Days.
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Old 09-07-2018, 01:16 PM
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TLDR.

Dude, you wanna know the real reason "socialism" isn't a dirty word in America any more? It's that for 40 years the Conservative movement has branded everything they are against as "socialism". Minimum wage? Socialism. Medicare? Socialism. Civil rights? Socialism. Clean air and clean water? Socialism. Uncontaminated food? Socialism. Roads? Socialism. Hospitals? Socialism. Puppies and kittens? Socialism.

So after 40 years of this, the youths of America have a different idea of what "socialism" means than old fuddy-duddies like you and I do. We think it means the chocolate ration being raised again and a boot stamping on a human face, forever. They think it means hospitals and civil rights.

When you have a sustained 40 year media campaign to redefine a word, don't be surprised that the meaning of the word changes.
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Old 09-07-2018, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfpup View Post
To be fair, it looks like it was paragraphed, but the spaces between paragraphs were removed. That can happen for instance if composing in Wordpad which displays spaces between paragraphs by default but doesn't actually insert them.

Anyway, one-word rebuttal to that wall of text: Canada. It's a country with many historical, social, and cultural similarities to the US, but with a much more Scandinavian style of social welfare and social solidarity -- for example, universal health care, a strong social safety net, and both contributory and non-contributory public pension schemes. This was achieved apparently without becoming just like Venezuela.

So the OP sounds to me a little like the early 60s pronouncements from conservatives, spearheaded by Ronald Reagan, about the horrors that would be unleashed by Medicare if it were ever enacted: "... we will awake to find that we have socialism ... one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children, and our children’s children, what it once was like in America when men were free."

Apparently Medicare would be the beginning of turning the the US into a version of the Soviet Union (that was the boogeyman then, today it's Venezuela), the onset of communism, and the End of Days.
Canada is geographically close to the US but its polity is more Swedish. It has 10% the population of the US which responsive system of government. Like Sweden it made significant economic changes in a short period of time in the early 90s. It cut government spending by 20% over 5 years from 1993 to 1998 and its debt to GDP ratio when from 67% in 1994 to 31% in 2008 and has stayed there for a decade. It ran a government surplus for 11 straight years.
  #10  
Old 09-07-2018, 01:45 PM
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Socialists in America says they want they US to be more like Scandinavia and not like Venezuela...
I don't recall seeing this in the latest edition of Socialists in America Quarterly-from where did you get all this?
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Old 09-07-2018, 01:50 PM
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While the US is nowhere near the basket case of Venezuela economically, it is much closer to them in many respects. The US is a violent, unequal society, split by race and by partisanship.
Thank you! I've been saying this for a long time. Everybody wants to compare the US to countries like Germany, UK, France, Sweden, etc.

Doing that is nothing but American arrogance. Who do we think we are? We're "white trash with money" to paraphrase a country singer. It is much more accurate to compare the US to countries like Mexico, Brazil, etc.
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Old 09-07-2018, 01:58 PM
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Socialism works best when everyone agrees that the good of the many outweighs the good of the few. That's very difficult to do in a society fractured by division. The US has always been more libertarian than Europe. We believe much more strongly in the rights of the individual. There are lots of reasons for that, but suffice it to say that it's true. The US generally feels that the rights of the individual outweigh the rights of the state unless there is extremely good cause. You can prove this to yourself by googling 'Eminent Domain' and then 'Compulsory Purchase Order'. The first is the terminology the US uses for government requiring the sale of private land and the second is the terminology the UK uses. The first will get you pages of people ranting about government overreach and communities banding together to stop such purchases. There are literally whole organizations in the US that are designed to frustrate eminent domain. In the UK, you'll get some definitions of what it is. You can also see it in how the US responds to hate speech.

What this means is that the US is tremendously tribal and fractured. We've learned to live with it, but it's still true. At our core, Americans hate other Americans. Even socialist hippy Americans hate other Americans. We are very, very tribal and divide ourselves into 'us' and the 'other' very easily. We are mostly able to keep our tribalism in check to run a functioning society, but I doubt we'll ever be able to rise above merely functioning. Our divides are more than just race. Republicans hate Democrats, Bernie-bros hate establishment Dems, rural people hate urban people, beer drinkers hate wine drinkers, people who listen to rock hate people who listen to rap, blue collar workers hate white collar workers, linesman hate engineers, atheists hate Christians, people with kids hate people with dogs, parents hate their kids, brothers hate their sisters, Yankee fans hate Red Sox fans. We don't even get along with people who are basically just like us. West Side High School graduates hate East Side High School graduates even when they are demographically the same people. Pawnee hates Eagleton. and the list is essentially endless.

The practical implication of this is that Americans constantly live in a state of either smug satisfaction that they are better than whomever they define the other as or constant fear that the other has it out for them. This does not make a strong foundation for a socialist paradise. My guess is that even if the US version of socialists did take power, they would quickly temper their ambitions. When they sit down and realize that what socialism really means is that their taxes are going to go through the roof to support poor Mississippians, they'll move the topic to something that is more easily swallowed. Mississippians on the other hand are so paranoid that the money would come with strings attached that would somehow benefit these now highly taxed 'Yankees' that they would end up rioting in the streets themselves.

You may joke and say that I'm exaggerating, but I assure you that our mutual antipathy toward one another is a real driving force of American politics. I'll give you a great example. Part of our school funding is paid for via a mechanism called 'excess levies.' These are voluntary property tax increases that a community votes on that goes straight to the school board. Typically prior to the vote, the money has to be budgeted and you know fairly precisely where it goes. To me, voting yes is a no brainer. I pay a couple hundred bucks a year and every penny of it goes to having better schools. I live in a county that has passed the levy for the past 25 years and it shows. Roughly 1/4 of our school budget comes from this levy. Our schools are the best in the state on pretty much every ranking scale. We have three high schools and US News ranked them 1,3 and 13th best in the state. The 13th best is a little rural school with 60 graduates a year and the 1 and 3 both have about 400 graduates a year. Our students have higher rates of graduation, higher test scores and better college outcomes. This is solid and strong evidence that the levy helps and produces tangible educational and economic benefits. In some neighboring counties, they simply will not vote for it. They don't want 'their' money going to kids from 'other' communities or they just don't give a rip about the schools. In the next county over, they literally have a hole in the roof of one of their elementary schools that is currently being covered with a tarp and just in May they rejected their levy again. Americans just hate other Americans and we don't have a desire to see other Americans succeed unless we're guaranteed that we will succeed even more.

I think in some ways that's why we have Trump. I think that many of his supporters feel that the government has always been out to benefit others at their expense. I think that a large subset of his supporters are willing to burn down their own house as long as their neighbor's goes down with it. They may know that he's inept, but he's willing to focus his idiocy on people that they believe are 'others' and they're willing to go down on that ship as long as the others end up going down with them. It's why his popularity rating has a floor. There are those who honestly don't give a rip about Russian collusion or cheating on his taxes or paying off porn stars as long as he's flipping the bird to rich coastals as he's being handcuffed. Anyway, I digress.

Bottom line is that America culturally is not at a point where socialism can succeed. Unfortunately, I think that we're also at a point where capitalism is going to fail to succeed as well and I'm not sure where that leaves us.
  #13  
Old 09-07-2018, 02:18 PM
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TLDR: The reason we don't have universal health care is because if we did, negroes would get it.
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Old 09-07-2018, 02:25 PM
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TLDR: The reason we don't have universal health care is because if we did, negroes would get it.
Pretty much, but not just black people. Poor people, dirty people, rich people, fat people, thin people, people from New Jersey, people who speak with an accent, our neighbors, our friend that makes .25 more an hour than we do, the janitor, Scientologists, Hollywood stars, people who like to eat cottage cheese, people who exercise too much, people who don't exercise enough, people that watch soccer, people who let their kids play football, people who think that snow is pretty, people who hate snow, people who live at the beach, people who live in the mountains, white people with dreadlocks, black people who wear loafers, people that use beard wax, people that have both Confederate and American flags flying from the bumper of their truck, vegans. You name it, there are a lot of people that we would hate to have to pay money so they can go to the doctor, even if it means we get to go to the doctor as well.
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Old 09-07-2018, 02:32 PM
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TLDR: The reason we don't have universal health care is because if we did, negroes would get it.
Not true at all, it may have been true 50-60 years ago when healthcare was primitive and cheap. Now however, the price would be so high that it would mean double income taxes or the equivalent in new taxes. This would precipitate a huge economic crisis which are system of government and culture is not prepared to handle. Because of this constraint we need to be especially cautious of huge new expenditures.
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Old 09-07-2018, 02:39 PM
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Socialists in America says they want they US to be more like Scandinavia and not like Venezuela despite the fact that both are nominally socialist or social democracies.
You keep using those words, but I don't think they mean what you think they do. They are not interchangeable and they do not even refer to the same class of things. They just sound alike.

Venezuela is socialist. Socialism is an economic setting. In theory it refers to common ownership of the means of production and distribution for the common benefit. In practice it tends to be a small government elite owning the means of production for their own benefit.

Scandinavia is Social democratic- It is a social setting, where large welfare systems aim to provide equality of opportunity and general welfare. In practice this often means strong welfare programs and heavy investment in growing and supporting the middle class.

These are totally different, despite the names sounding similar. Scandinavian social democracy is financed by a rather ferocious capitalism, and the Scandinavian social democracies are in some ways more capitalist than the US. Venezuela is the opposite of capitalist.

(Also often confused with the above: Democratic socialism. It means getting to socialism by democratic means. Many political parties in Scandinavia started out that way and ended up social democratic, which does confuse the issue a little)
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Old 09-07-2018, 02:46 PM
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Not true at all, it may have been true 50-60 years ago when healthcare was primitive and cheap. Now however, the price would be so high that it would mean double income taxes or the equivalent in new taxes. This would precipitate a huge economic crisis which are system of government and culture is not prepared to handle. Because of this constraint we need to be especially cautious of huge new expenditures.
You already pay more in taxes towards healthcare than UHC costs, in spite of enjoying huge economics of scale. And then you pay for privte insurance on top of that. It is because your system is optimized for generating a revenue flow rather than efficiency, and has snarled itself up in an ungody amount of bureaucracy.

Its being sustained by feeding people a kiddies version of how markets work that is to simplistic to actually work in practice, and avoiding any mention of basic health care economics. So people thing less regulation will help.
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Old 09-07-2018, 02:46 PM
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Dude.

Yes, it turns out that if health care was funded by the government it would mean higher taxes.

But then we could stop paying our private health insurance premiums.

If we spent the same amount on government health care as we do on private health care, we'd be spending the same amount, not more. But, I hear you saying, if we did have government health care the costs would just increase exponentially, because that's how socialism works. We wouldn't spend the same, we'd spend more.

As you know, Bob, the United States spends about twice as much on health care as comparable countries do, and has much worse public health outcomes. How is it that France or Germany or the UK or Japan or Canada can spend half as much on the socialist health care and get better public health outcomes than we can with our freedom capitalist system? If freedom capitalism is always better than socialism slavery, then WTF?

I thought America was the greatest country in the world? Are you telling me that America isn't able to accomplish stuff that France handles effortlessly? What, we're worse than France, is that what you're telling me? What, are you chicken to try something France can do?
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Old 09-07-2018, 02:47 PM
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Not true at all, it may have been true 50-60 years ago when healthcare was primitive and cheap. Now however, the price would be so high that it would mean double income taxes or the equivalent in new taxes.
Completely false. Long term, single payer is cheaper for the government than what we have now. And if present healthcare costs instead went into a single payer system rather than insurer's pockets, we'd be overpaying dramatically. Is it so hard to imagine that actually negotiating drug prices, collectively bargaining for healthcare costs (no more wild fluctuations between hospitals 2 blocks from each other) and not paying insurer's zillions of simoleans for having their name on a company reduces costs?

Quote:
This would precipitate a huge economic crisis which are system of government and culture is not prepared to handle. Because of this constraint we need to be especially cautious of huge new expenditures.
The huge economic crisis is locked in already. I'll be quite surprised if we don't go through a crash in the next six months. Saying this would be a trigger doesn't mean much when it's already guaranteed because of utter stupidity (and incomprehensible levels of greed) elsewhere in the economy.
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Old 09-07-2018, 02:52 PM
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A reason I heard was because those countries have less than 1/3 of the population of the US. Scaling their health care programs up to our population won't work. Anything to that?

Also, other countries with universal health care programs are homogenous, that's why they work. Which, of course, means "They don't have black people there screwing it up"
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Old 09-07-2018, 02:53 PM
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You keep using those words, but I don't think they mean what you think they do. They are not interchangeable and they do not even refer to the same class of things. They just sound alike.

Venezuela is socialist. Socialism is an economic setting. In theory it refers to common ownership of the means of production and distribution for the common benefit. In practice it tends to be a small government elite owning the means of production for their own benefit.

Scandinavia is Social democratic- It is a social setting, where large welfare systems aim to provide equality of opportunity and general welfare. In practice this often means strong welfare programs and heavy investment in growing and supporting the middle class.

These are totally different, despite the names sounding similar. Scandinavian social democracy is financed by a rather ferocious capitalism, and the Scandinavian social democracies are in some ways more capitalist than the US. Venezuela is the opposite of capitalist.

(Also often confused with the above: Democratic socialism. It means getting to socialism by democratic means. Many political parties in Scandinavia started out that way and ended up social democratic, which does confuse the issue a little)
The wording is not mine. Bernie Sanders came in second in the Democrat primary and he calls himself a socialist. He says this "“In terms of socialism, I think there is a lot to be learned from Scandinavia"
Venezuela is not much more socialist than Scandinavia, only 30% of the economy is nationalized, the rest is private sector that is heavily regulated. The regulations are much more onerous but the actual ownership is still private.
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Old 09-07-2018, 02:59 PM
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A reason I heard was because those countries have less than 1/3 of the population of the US. Scaling their health care programs up to our population won't work. Anything to that?
Mom and pop stores does not outcompete Wallmart. The local coffeshop does not outcompete Starbucks. The economics of scale go the other way. It gets easier and cheaper the larger you are. Also, we can observe scaling in healthcare from places like Iceland (300k people) to Finland (5 mill) to Germany (80 mill) to Japan (125 mill). There is no indication it'll start to work in reverse beyond that.

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Also, other countries with universal health care programs are homogenous, that's why they work. Which, of course, means "They don't have black people there screwing it up"
The US is pretty middle of the road in homogenousness. If that is a word. The US ethnic fault lines just run along a very visible feature, skin color. So nations with different fault lines look homogeneous to US eyes.
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Old 09-07-2018, 03:01 PM
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The wording is not mine. Bernie Sanders came in second in the Democrat primary and he calls himself a socialist. He says this "“In terms of socialism, I think there is a lot to be learned from Scandinavia"
Venezuela is not much more socialist than Scandinavia, only 30% of the economy is nationalized, the rest is private sector that is heavily regulated. The regulations are much more onerous but the actual ownership is still private.
If you are using a standard of measure that makes you think Venezuelas economy is the same as Scandinavia it should be immediately obvious that you need a different standard. And you should probably not put all that much faith in the terms a politician uses when talking to voters.
  #24  
Old 09-07-2018, 03:02 PM
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I think it's another debate about guns.
Maybe.
.................................................. more like Scandinavia and not like Venezuela .........................................................................
..................g....................u...n ..........g...........u...n......................z................... meant to impoverish the country, starve its people, and cause a mass exodus.
What I did glean, while looking for "G u n s," is that the Swedes are smarter than Americans because they have low corporate income taxes. But I thought Trump Made Corporate Taxcuts Great Again. Too little too late?
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Old 09-07-2018, 03:03 PM
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A reason I heard was because those countries have less than 1/3 of the population of the US. Scaling their health care programs up to our population won't work. Anything to that?

Also, other countries with universal health care programs are homogenous, that's why they work. Which, of course, means "They don't have black people there screwing it up"
Sweden has 9 million people. The US has 325 million or so, so about 1/36 of our population. The largest country in the world with a practical and functioning universal healthcare system is Russia. They have 140 million or so. Their healthcare is very cyclical. After the collapse of the USSR, it greatly privatized and the public healthcare became essentially a shell. When Putin took power, he re-socialized healthcare and turned it into a fairly well functioning system. The economic difficulties since sanctions have made it much worse over the last few years.

Japan might be a good country to look at. They have a semi-private healthcare system. Most people have insurance, but the government sets the prices that healthcare providers can charge. It's basically a private system with strict oversight.

Last edited by senoy; 09-07-2018 at 03:05 PM.
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Old 09-07-2018, 03:07 PM
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The wording is not mine. Bernie Sanders came in second in the Democrat primary and he calls himself a socialist. He says this "“In terms of socialism, I think there is a lot to be learned from Scandinavia"
Venezuela is not much more socialist than Scandinavia, only 30% of the economy is nationalized, the rest is private sector that is heavily regulated. The regulations are much more onerous but the actual ownership is still private.
Socialism does not have one definition, and the right is guilty of the most extreme equivocation imaginable when it comes to the topic of socialism.

Socialism is a very broad index of categories, but the word gets used at every level. When Bernie Sanders says he is a Socialist, he means his policies fall under the extremely broad category of Socialism, not for instance the much more narrowly defined group of ideas called Marxism, which is a subset of Socialism. Now sure, Marx dubbed Communism and Socialism as synonyms (much to the chagrin of the other contemporary Socialists who thought he was an insane, dangerous radical. Think of it in the same way that cats are a subset of animals, but talking about cats does nothing to help you understand sharks.

Socialism does not require or advocate the end of private property. Nor does it require or advocate the end of private ownership of the means of production. A lot of socialists do, and Marx most definitely did, but just because a lot of animals have fur does not mean sharks also do. So Bernie is a Socialist, Sweden is Socialistic, and neither advocate for the end of private ownership of the means of production. Your measure is broken because you are trying to count the number of hairs on a shark.

Venezeula is a lot more Marxist than Sweden. It follows a very different branch of Socialism. Notice the constant talk about "revolution." Democratic Socialists rejected the Marxian call for revolutionary Socialism. You wont hear a Swedish person walking around talking about "revolutionary ideas" or the "counter-revolution." They're totally different branches, like different subclades of a phylogenetic tree. To have any chance of understanding anything anyone on the left is even talking about, you need to understand how they use language (and history - Socialism predates Marxism, and you only seem familiar with Marxism).

Last edited by etasyde; 09-07-2018 at 03:07 PM. Reason: clarity
  #27  
Old 09-07-2018, 03:07 PM
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The wording is not mine.
If you did not write the words in that post, then who did?
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Old 09-07-2018, 03:07 PM
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Sweden has 9 million people. The US has 325 million or so, so about 1/36 of our population. The largest country in the world with a practical and functioning universal healthcare system is Russia. They have 140 million or so. Their healthcare is very cyclical. After the collapse of the USSR, it greatly privatized and the public healthcare became essentially a shell. When Putin took power, he re-socialized healthcare and turned it into a fairly well functioning system. The economic difficulties since sanctions have made it much worse over the last few years.

Japan might be a good country to look at. They have a semi-private healthcare system. Most people have insurance, but the government sets the prices that healthcare providers can charge. It's basically a private system with strict oversight.
In general, you will find population density have a lot more impact on healthcare costs than the absolute size of the population. We can follow how it scales from small countries to large and there does not seem to be any surprises.
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Old 09-07-2018, 03:09 PM
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Dude.

Yes, it turns out that if health care was funded by the government it would mean higher taxes.

But then we could stop paying our private health insurance premiums.

If we spent the same amount on government health care as we do on private health care, we'd be spending the same amount, not more. But, I hear you saying, if we did have government health care the costs would just increase exponentially, because that's how socialism works. We wouldn't spend the same, we'd spend more.

As you know, Bob, the United States spends about twice as much on health care as comparable countries do, and has much worse public health outcomes. How is it that France or Germany or the UK or Japan or Canada can spend half as much on the socialist health care and get better public health outcomes than we can with our freedom capitalist system? If freedom capitalism is always better than socialism slavery, then WTF?

I thought America was the greatest country in the world? Are you telling me that America isn't able to accomplish stuff that France handles effortlessly? What, we're worse than France, is that what you're telling me? What, are you chicken to try something France can do?
This ignores individuals. Half of the country would pay alot more in taxes and get no better or worse healthcare. Right now paying more for health care gets you more healthcare, if there was single payer paying more taxes would not get you more healthcare. This means that would have every incentive to minimize their taxes and that means increased dead weight loss. Meanwhile, the reason that other countries have cheaper systems is that there costs have been growing slower for 50-60 years. Changing our system to theirs would not make anything cheaper right away without huge cuts in payments or services. Any familiarity with government in the US would show that huge cuts in payments to doctors or nurses are not feasible and any cuts to services would lead to massive outcry.
America is the greatest country in the world, but that does not mean our government is all powerful or even all competent. Governing a huge diverse country with 4-10 times the population of most European countries is a much more difficult job. Just because France was able to dig a tunnel to England does not mean America needs to try. Acknowledging constraints is a much better strategy than pretending they are not there.
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Old 09-07-2018, 03:13 PM
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This ignores individuals. Half of the country would pay alot more in taxes and get no better or worse healthcare. Right now paying more for health care gets you more healthcare, if there was single payer paying more taxes would not get you more healthcare. This means that would have every incentive to minimize their taxes and that means increased dead weight loss. Meanwhile, the reason that other countries have cheaper systems is that there costs have been growing slower for 50-60 years. Changing our system to theirs would not make anything cheaper right away without huge cuts in payments or services. Any familiarity with government in the US would show that huge cuts in payments to doctors or nurses are not feasible and any cuts to services would lead to massive outcry.
America is the greatest country in the world, but that does not mean our government is all powerful or even all competent. Governing a huge diverse country with 4-10 times the population of most European countries is a much more difficult job. Just because France was able to dig a tunnel to England does not mean America needs to try. Acknowledging constraints is a much better strategy than pretending they are not there.
Are you even reading other peoples posts? You already pay more in taxes for healthcare than full UHC costs, while only covering a third of the population. Because your current system is such an unbelievable mess.
  #31  
Old 09-07-2018, 03:23 PM
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Socialism does not have one definition, and the right is guilty of the most extreme equivocation imaginable when it comes to the topic of socialism.

Socialism is a very broad index of categories, but the word gets used at every level. When Bernie Sanders says he is a Socialist, he means his policies fall under the extremely broad category of Socialism, not for instance the much more narrowly defined group of ideas called Marxism, which is a subset of Socialism. Now sure, Marx dubbed Communism and Socialism as synonyms (much to the chagrin of the other contemporary Socialists who thought he was an insane, dangerous radical. Think of it in the same way that cats are a subset of animals, but talking about cats does nothing to help you understand sharks.

Socialism does not require or advocate the end of private property. Nor does it require or advocate the end of private ownership of the means of production. A lot of socialists do, and Marx most definitely did, but just because a lot of animals have fur does not mean sharks also do. So Bernie is a Socialist, Sweden is Socialistic, and neither advocate for the end of private ownership of the means of production. Your measure is broken because you are trying to count the number of hairs on a shark.

Venezeula is a lot more Marxist than Sweden. It follows a very different branch of Socialism. Notice the constant talk about "revolution." Democratic Socialists rejected the Marxian call for revolutionary Socialism. You wont hear a Swedish person walking around talking about "revolutionary ideas" or the "counter-revolution." They're totally different branches, like different subclades of a phylogenetic tree. To have any chance of understanding anything anyone on the left is even talking about, you need to understand how they use language (and history - Socialism predates Marxism, and you only seem familiar with Marxism).
As you say, socialism means different things to different people. There are many flavors and degrees of socialism. In America those like Sanders and his ilk, are calling what they want democratic socialism and have praised Scandinavia while criticizing and rejecting Venezuela. However, as I said in the OP it does not matter what the goal is, what matters is what the policies are and where those policies lead. Most mainstream American socialists are not Marxists but social democrats whose preferred outcome is the nordic model. However, the constraints of the US government mean that when their policies cause and economic crisis they would not be able to pivot back to capitalism as easily as the Nordics did. What doomed Venezuela was not their embrace of revolutionary rhetoric but inability to correct their course back to capitalism when the money started running out. Given these constraints it matters less what flavor or phylum the brand of American socialism is, what matters more is how fast America can go back to capitalism. The recent history of the US government shows that the process would be slow and painful. Thus the best course of action is to keep from going down that path at all.
  #32  
Old 09-07-2018, 03:31 PM
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Are you even reading other peoples posts? You already pay more in taxes for healthcare than full UHC costs, while only covering a third of the population. Because your current system is such an unbelievable mess.
I must have missed the post about the magical foreign healthcare dust that will suddenly cause everything to be one sixth the price.
Full UHC costs vary by country, Canada pays 4 times the cost per person that Mexico does. Is Canada getting gouged by its healthcare system and why don't they switch to Mexico's system and pay one quarter what they are paying now?
In order to pay for the US system to go to Medicare for all costs would at least be 3.2 trillion a year and more likely would be 3.6 trillion a year. Any attempt to cut the US healthcare cost by a huge percentage would result in chaos.
  #33  
Old 09-07-2018, 03:32 PM
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Canada is geographically close to the US but its polity is more Swedish. It has 10% the population of the US which responsive system of government. Like Sweden it made significant economic changes in a short period of time in the early 90s. It cut government spending by 20% over 5 years from 1993 to 1998 and its debt to GDP ratio when from 67% in 1994 to 31% in 2008 and has stayed there for a decade. It ran a government surplus for 11 straight years.
We've had proposals for balanced budgets in the U.S. that involve matching revenues to expected levels of spending. Instead, conservatives when they are in power cut taxes, increase military spending, and increase deficits. Every country has its own quirks.
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Old 09-07-2018, 03:45 PM
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I must have missed the post about the magical foreign healthcare dust that will suddenly cause everything to be one sixth the price.
Full UHC costs vary by country, Canada pays 4 times the cost per person that Mexico does. Is Canada getting gouged by its healthcare system and why don't they switch to Mexico's system and pay one quarter what they are paying now?
In order to pay for the US system to go to Medicare for all costs would at least be 3.2 trillion a year and more likely would be 3.6 trillion a year. Any attempt to cut the US healthcare cost by a huge percentage would result in chaos.
Mexicos cost are low because Mexico is poor. Canada is rich and still spend half what you do.

One half the price is setting normal, actually. In 2016, Canada spent 4 700 $ per person, the UK 4200, Sweden 5 400, Japan 4 500, Finland 4 000, Ireland 5 500. Us costs are approaching 10 500. Your public, tax-paid costs are $ 5 000 per citizen. Thats more than the public plus private costs of the average OECD nation. We know what it costs to run a UHC system. It is a totally unremarkable thing in the developed world. We know it is less than you spend on just the public health care. This is stuff that was done as a matter of course by Silvio Berlusconis Italy.

Also you already spend more than 3,2 trillion!
  #35  
Old 09-07-2018, 03:50 PM
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Mexicos cost are low because Mexico is poor. Canada is rich and still spend half what you do.

One half the price is setting normal, actually. In 2016, Canada spent 4 700 $ per person, the UK 4200, Sweden 5 400, Japan 4 500, Finland 4 000, Ireland 5 500. Us costs are approaching 10 500. Your public, tax-paid costs are $ 5 000 per citizen. Thats more than the public plus private costs of the average OECD nation. We know what it costs to run a UHC system. It is a totally unremarkable thing in the developed world. We know it is less than you spend on just the public health care. This is stuff that was done as a matter of course by Silvio Berlusconis Italy.

Also you already spend more than 3,2 trillion!
Italy spends 62% of what Ireland spends. They have different systems and the costs are different. The US spends alot more than most because it has a different system, changing who pays will not change the system.
  #36  
Old 09-07-2018, 03:57 PM
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Block of text is unreadable. With paragraph line breaks I'll try reading, but my eyes can't handle that.
Do you even need to read it?

The reason Sweden is successful and Venezuela is a mess is that Sweden is a democracy where the rule of law is respected and an openly corrupt official would go to prison, while Venezuela isn't. The two countries' economic approaches - which are not the same, but whatever - have little to do with that.
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Old 09-07-2018, 03:58 PM
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Italy spends 62% of what Ireland spends. They have different systems and the costs are different. The US spends alot more than most because it has a different system, changing who pays will not change the system.
It will still be cheaper for all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZIF3LAIQWE
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A recent study said that single payer Medicare for everybody would cost the government A LOT of money. But it would also $2 TRILLION less than the way we do things now.
  #38  
Old 09-07-2018, 04:03 PM
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Mexicos cost are low because Mexico is poor. Canada is rich and still spend half what you do.

One half the price is setting normal, actually. In 2016, Canada spent 4 700 $ per person, the UK 4200, Sweden 5 400, Japan 4 500, Finland 4 000, Ireland 5 500. Us costs are approaching 10 500. Your public, tax-paid costs are $ 5 000 per citizen. Thats more than the public plus private costs of the average OECD nation. We know what it costs to run a UHC system. It is a totally unremarkable thing in the developed world. We know it is less than you spend on just the public health care. This is stuff that was done as a matter of course by Silvio Berlusconis Italy.

Also you already spend more than 3,2 trillion!
It's a simplification. What is going on in the US is that we pay healthcare providers more for their services than in other countries. Our physician and nurses salaries are the highest in the world. Physician salaries especially are incredibly high in comparison to their European counterparts (Why is always the question, but a lot of it has to do with the fact that the AMA acts like a cartel in the US and limits the number of practitioners via statute.) Due to the amount that we pay, we're also innovation centers that effectively subsidize research to the rest of the world. Pharmaceuticals is one of the easiest places to see this. Pharmaceutical companies basically run their development budgets off of the US market. Non-US countries move to generics much more quickly and so US consumers are footing the bill for research costs via higher drug costs. It's a situation where the rest of the world likes to shake their head at the US paying so much, but they really don't want to see the US stop paying so much either.

In many ways, it's the US defense conundrum. Everyone agrees that the US spends far too much on defense, but nobody really wants to see the US spend less either. The world likes having a relatively stable democracy that is committed to maintaining existing world borders having not just a big military, but an effectively unbeatable one.

In a similar way, everyone agrees that the US spends too much on healthcare, but no one really wants to see a world where we stop spending so much.

Last edited by senoy; 09-07-2018 at 04:04 PM.
  #39  
Old 09-07-2018, 04:03 PM
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SWEDEN IS NOT SOCIALIST, can we please put that myth to rest?
By the definition used by most conservatives and their news sources, Sweden is absolutely a socialist country. Words change meaning, and "socialist" now means "the government spends money in any way I don't like."
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Old 09-07-2018, 04:09 PM
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It will still be cheaper for all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZIF3LAIQWE
The best case scenario in the study is a reduction of 3.5%
The recent study also included a more realistic projection that showed costs going up 100 billion dollars a year.
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Old 09-07-2018, 04:20 PM
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Which society is more like the United States, Venezuela with its history of inequality, racial division, and the inability of its government to admit mistakes and to make changes, or Sweden with its history of consensus government, homogeneity, and ability of its government to quickly and decisively make needed reforms regardless of the party in power?
Your statement that Sweden is homogenous jumped out at me. I think some of us in the US think that Scandinavian countries are populated entirely by blond Scandinavians. But from Wikipedia I learn that 14% of the Swedish population was foreign born, including many from Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey.
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Old 09-07-2018, 04:34 PM
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Your statement that Sweden is homogenous jumped out at me. I think some of us in the US think that Scandinavian countries are populated entirely by blond Scandinavians. But from Wikipedia I learn that 14% of the Swedish population was foreign born, including many from Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey.
It would probably be more accurate to say that as Sweden was socializing it was a more homogenous country. It will actually be interesting to see if Sweden can maintain its system now that it is experiencing rapid immigration. I think we're beginning to see some cracks in the seams unfortunately. The Sweden Democrats are now the second largest party in the country and they have far-right wing roots. As immigrant crime rises, particularly crime against women, Sweden is going through some serious growing pains. Not that I'm predicting some sort of apocalypse, but it will be interesting to see where it leads.

Last edited by senoy; 09-07-2018 at 04:36 PM.
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Old 09-07-2018, 04:46 PM
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It's a simplification. What is going on in the US is that we pay healthcare providers more for their services than in other countries. Our physician and nurses salaries are the highest in the world. Physician salaries especially are incredibly high in comparison to their European counterparts (Why is always the question, but a lot of it has to do with the fact that the AMA acts like a cartel in the US and limits the number of practitioners via statute.)
Thats actually not so.

According to the Congressional Research Service, the US is number 3 for specialist remuneration, after the Netherlands and Australia. GP pay is the highest in the world, but only about 25 % ahead of nations such as the UK, Netherlands, Switzerland etc. And... thats not really enough to make a big dent in the costs. There are about 900 000 physicians practicing in the US today, lets call it a million. 500 000 are specialists. The salary difference between these nations for GPs are 30 - 40 000 $ per year. So you're paying about 15 - 20 billion more for GPs.

The overspending in the US healthcare system is about 1800 billion.

As I posted in another thread earlier today, billing alone, something other systems mostly don't do much, costs you almost 500 billion per year due to the vast bureaucracy you have created. Other major sources of excess costs in the US system are overprovision and medical inefficiency. Salary differences are only a couple of percent of the overspending.

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Due to the amount that we pay, we're also innovation centers that effectively subsidize research to the rest of the world. Pharmaceuticals is one of the easiest places to see this. Pharmaceutical companies basically run their development budgets off of the US market. Non-US countries move to generics much more quickly and so US consumers are footing the bill for research costs via higher drug costs. It's a situation where the rest of the world likes to shake their head at the US paying so much, but they really don't want to see the US stop paying so much either.
Thats not actually so either. The US spends more money on research, but the US spends more money in every aspect of healthcare without getting better results. Per head the US does not produce more inventions than other large nations.

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Italy spends 62% of what Ireland spends. They have different systems and the costs are different. The US spends alot more than most because it has a different system, changing who pays will not change the system.
You realize we are talking about changing the system? There are valid arguments that this could be politically impossible. But if accomplished, a proper single payer system would be less expensive than what you got by far.
  #44  
Old 09-07-2018, 04:50 PM
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The best case scenario in the study is a reduction of 3.5%
The recent study also included a more realistic projection that showed costs going up 100 billion dollars a year.
It is still a reduction compared to the irrational alternative. As pointed out, it is notorious that both a conservative outfit and a liberal one came with virtually the same numbers.

What I do think is that following the path we are doing is not sustainable and waiting for the bubble to burst will cause more harm than having more oversight and control over costs.

Last edited by GIGObuster; 09-07-2018 at 04:50 PM.
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Old 09-07-2018, 05:07 PM
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...like Scandinavia and not like Venezuela despite the fact that both are nominally socialist or social democracies.
The (Venezuelan) government responded by printing more money to keep the social programs going. This caused inflation, which the government blamed on greedy store owners and passed laws to keep prices down.
puddleglum, you've answered your own argument here.
As others have said upthread, you have a confused concept of socialism. But that's okay, because the word is so often misused, and has such a broad definition, that it is a meaningless term, even if Bernie Sanders uses it.
So instead of arguing about what socialism is, let's just ignore the word, and look at the hard facts.
And the facts which you posted, and I have bolded, tell the whole story. Venezuela did two stupid things , which can only be done by a dictatorship, not a free society:
First,they outright lied to the citizens and blamed the inflation on "Greedy store owners", and tolerated no dissent. (this is reminiscent of a certain country in Europe in the 1930s blaming "greedy Jews" for all its problems)
Second, they outlawed private enterprise(in your words " passing laws to keep prices down")-i.e. preventing a businessman from selling at even a small profit.


So, first the government lied about the greedy shop owners---and [b]prevented any political opponents from criticizing the lie[b] by saying "no--you lied! Let's hold free elections and let the people decide").Without free elections, a country is a cruel dictatorship, and that's all that matters...worlds like socialism are irrelevant.
Puddleglum, do you expect America to become a cruel dictatorship?

And secondly:
The Venezuelan government not only controlled the oil business(a basic tenet of "socialism"....when things went bad, the government went far beyond "socialism" and basically outlawed all other businesses, by controlling their prices and forcing them to lose money.
Again,puddlegum,do you expect any American government to take such extreme, dictatorial steps?

It's true that American society is very divided by racial, and "tribal" groups who hate each other. The current culture of Identity Politics is ugly, and very unhealthy.
But America is a long,long way from becoming a dictatorship with no opposition party in the government, and no freedom to conduct regular business.
Bernie-style "socialism" ain't gonna be the end of the country.

Last edited by chappachula; 09-07-2018 at 05:10 PM.
  #46  
Old 09-07-2018, 05:30 PM
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Canada is geographically close to the US but its polity is more Swedish. It has 10% the population of the US which responsive system of government. Like Sweden it made significant economic changes in a short period of time in the early 90s. It cut government spending by 20% over 5 years from 1993 to 1998 and its debt to GDP ratio when from 67% in 1994 to 31% in 2008 and has stayed there for a decade. It ran a government surplus for 11 straight years.
Yes, those are all good things. But they didn't happen because of some crackpot theory that Canada has a smaller population. What does population size have to do with anything? Earlier you tried to make the point that Sweden has a fairly homogeneous population and the US doesn't. But neither does Canada; in fact, if anything, Canada is even more diverse than the US, because of more open and progressive immigration policies.

But let's get back to all those good things you list -- cutting government spending, eliminating the deficit, running a surplus, reducing the national debt. You describe these economic miracles as having begun in 1993. Know what happened in 1993? This happened:
1993: Liberals, led by Jean Chrétien, win a majority and soundly defeat Progressive Conservatives, led by new Prime Minister Kim Campbell, who are left in fifth place with just two seats, their worst ever showing.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...eral_elections
That's right: in 1993, the federal Liberals totally decimated the Conservatives, who were reviled after years of mismanagement, and the Liberals proceeded to govern with fiscal responsibility for the next 13 years, resulting in all the progress you describe. Maybe the US would do better, too, if it didn't have lunatic Republicans cutting taxes on their wealthy patrons and driving up the deficit and the national debt through pork-barrel projects and military spending. And if they didn't have idiots like Reagan and his "Operation Coffee Cup" brigade back in the early 60s warning that if the US was foolish enough to enact Medicare it would bring on the dark days of communism and the end of freedom as we know it. Today they've moved on to trying to repeal the ACA because that's too socialist for them. Heaven forfend that the blacks and poor people should have access to health care! Fat chance of ever getting single payer in the US with these lunatics around. Don't blame the population size, or diversity, or the blacks, or America's history. Put the blame where it belongs: the plutocrats and Republican ideologues.

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Originally Posted by puddleglum View Post
Italy spends 62% of what Ireland spends. They have different systems and the costs are different. The US spends alot more than most because it has a different system, changing who pays will not change the system.
Wrong again. There is more than one determinant of health care costs. Poorer countries with a lower cost of living like Mexico are going to have lower costs just from that. But the other major determinants are the efficiency of the system and the ability to control costs. The US fails miserably, and uniquely among developed countries, in both those areas because its health care system is driven by essentially unregulated private insurers, and is treated as a market commodity responsive only to the almighty dollar and not to the human needs of the patient.
  #47  
Old 09-07-2018, 05:32 PM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is online now
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Block of text is unreadable. With paragraph line breaks I'll try reading, but my eyes can't handle that.
It doesn’t help; even with formatting and fixing punctuation it is still unreadable.

Venezuela isn’t in economic and political freefall because it is “socialist”; it’s economy faltered and then failed because of bad management, patently unsustainable social spending, and more of all a dependence upon oil exports that brought in the majority of wealth into the country, much of which went into the pockets of a small group of politically connected people while basic socioeconomic inequalities and physical infrastructure went unaddressed. A badly run economy will belly flop no matter what political-economic label you ascribe to it.

The vast majority of developed nations have social benefit programs and some kind of assured health care with a public-private model without turning into a Third World quagmire of corruption and mismanagement. Those who suggest that the United States—which in every other context is venerated as the once and future “Greatest Nation on the Planet”—cannot take care of the poor and indigent to some minimal sustinance level or provide assured access to basic health care but somehow can managed to spend nearly twice as much money per capita on its military than the other NATO allies speaks to how much the “narrative” of economic opportunity and the role of the government in cultivating the conditions for broad prosperity and social egalitarianism has been hijacked by corporate interests out for immediate profit at the expense of long term health of the country and the people of it.

We can afford a little “socialism” like basic health care and price controls on phamaceuticals, subsidized education, and programs that provide permanent housing and job training to the economically homeless without breaking the public piggy bank, and if managed transparently, without being subsumed by fraud and waste. Sure, we might have to roll back those corporate tax cuts, and I’m sure telling Big Pharma that they can’t jack up prices on their drugs by double digit percentages annually to boost their profit margins is going to make some people angry, and cutting out the USD1.3 trillion private student loan industry is going to entail some “readjustments” by people used to making an easy guaranteed profit over a demographic that has little choice or knowledge of what they’re signing up to, but as they say in the infantry, “Tough shit, Petunia.” Of course, to accomplish any of this, we’d have to get the private “dark money” out of politics, and almost nobody has the guts to do that.

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  #48  
Old 09-07-2018, 06:12 PM
Kimstu Kimstu is online now
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Which society is more like the United States, Venezuela with its history of inequality, racial division, and the inability of its government to admit mistakes and to make changes, or Sweden with its history of consensus government, homogeneity, and ability of its government to quickly and decisively make needed reforms regardless of the party in power?
Well, that's a new twist on anti-socialism propaganda, to me anyway. "Sure, socialism may work okay for all those square-jawed clean-living white people up in Scandinavia, but would obviously be a disaster for sleazy mongrelized banana republics like Venezuela and... us."

That's what conservative patriotism has devolved to, folks. "America: Too Uncivilized for Decent Governance (So Suck It Up, Losers)."
  #49  
Old 09-07-2018, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Stranger On A Train View Post
Those who suggest that the United States—which in every other context is venerated as the once and future “Greatest Nation on the Planet”—cannot take care of the poor and indigent to some minimal sustinance level or provide assured access to basic health care but somehow can managed to spend nearly twice as much money per capita on its military than the other NATO allies speaks to how much the “narrative” of economic opportunity and the role of the government in cultivating the conditions for broad prosperity and social egalitarianism has been hijacked by corporate interests out for immediate profit at the expense of long term health of the country and the people of it. [Emphasis added.]
Other first-world countries can afford generous safety nets because they don't have to spend much money on defense. Why? Because the U.S. subsidizes their military; we promise to come to the defense of our allies. As a result, our allies can get away with spending a relatively small percentage of their GDP on defense, while we (in the U.S.) need a strong defense to protect us and them.
  #50  
Old 09-07-2018, 07:42 PM
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Other first-world countries can afford generous safety nets because they don't have to spend much money on defense.
Even if we accept this argument (which is debatable on a number of fronts) at face value, it doesn't apply to the parts of the social safety net on which other first-world countries spend less per capita than we do.
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