US Policies: It's All About the Money, Right?

OK, So I have thought a long time about bringing this up–and did a thread search in the GD forum back two years for “money” and have not seen this general question…

At the heart of all of the US Domestic and Foreign Policies, isn’t all about money?

Despite all of the Death Act From Camille emotional theatrics by the politicians to whip up their constituents, in the end someone is to gain financially from their position.

Am I stating the obvious?
[Because I HATE Masters of the Obvious]

Foreign Policy?
“Strategic Interests” = American companies have business there = Money

Defense?
Q.E.D.

Domestic Policy?
Gay Marriage = Higher Claims for Health Insurance = Money
Anti-abortion = More Christians to tithe to churches = Money
Illegal Immigration = more low wage workers for Agriculture and Service Industries = Money
UHIC = More subscribers to Health Insurance = Money
or alternatively
UHC [GOVT] = 18% of the economy goes away = Money
Education = Student Loans & Grants = Money

So, all you smart Dopers, tell me that I am not just a cranky old cynic, but find a Debate on Domestic or Foreign Policy and tell me that at least one side is NOT all about the money and that there is some altruistic motive (or alternately, some general morality) on both sides of the issue. Because I cannot find a single significant issue where this would apply.

[Mods: If there is a previous thread, just point me to it and we can shut this down]

<putting on asbestos suit>

So? Saving costs or increasing revenue or whatever is beneficial to millions of people. Money and altruism are not contradictory, unless you adopt the Randian definition of altruism that altruism is only really such if you gain nothing form it.

So, if it’s in the financial interest of churches for everyone to have lots of kids… why do most Protestant sects SUPPORT abortion rights?

And where’s your evidence that insurance companies are financially supporting the gay rights movement?

What US business interests are behind the war in Afghanistan? All the owners of tall buildings that don’t want to have planes flown into them?

This makes no sense. More like a just-so story to shoe-horn this issue under the umbrella of your thesis (to mix several metaphors).

True, in the vast majority of cases. Over the past century or so, the America military and intelligence services have staged numerous invasions and coups of countires that threatened the profits of American corporations. Obviously there have been some cases where there were defensible grounds for intervention, such as the Korean War, but such cases are outnumbered by the indefensible kind.

Yup.

Nope.

Nope. I know of no one who is anti-abortion for this reason.

Corporation want anti-immigration laws to remain in effect, but not be enforced, for this reason.

Huh?

Doubtlessly many people have supported higher education out of pure motives, but at the moment it’s mostly a shell game that squeezes huge sums of money from the middle class and the taxpayers. In K-12 education, we have a system of public schools that are failing by the government’s own standards, but little political will for changes because of the power of unionized school employees.

I presume you’re aware that the War in Afghanistan has already cost us over half a trillion dollars. That military contractors are making off with a decent share of that money. That those same contractors are among the biggest spenders in lobbying Congress.

So, when Obama did his little surge thingy, he was just bending to the will of the Military Industrial Complex? Not buying it.

I don’t know about the others, but a back-of-the-envelope calculation indicates that the USA would save about $1T by importing the NHS and having private insurance on top.

UNOCAL [et al] is heavily involved in the TAPI project. In short, an 850 mile natural gas pipeline through Kandahar that will source the third largest natural gas reserves in the world. It is why the Russians were there before us.

If someone were inclined to prove that everything he US does relates to shoelaces, one could probably dig deeply enough to find evidence for it. Antiabortion movement? More babies sell more shoes. Trade with China? Shoes are made there. Foreign aid to Egypt? That’s where the cotton comes from. If you start out to prove a conclusion, you’ll always find your proof.

Economic interests are important to every country, but they are not determinative. For example, there is no monetary benefit to the war in Kosovo. But if you want to say the war in Kosovo was about defense contractors, why aren’t we at war with Mexico, China, Vietnam, and Venezula?

There are many reasons why US foreign policy is what it is, but it doesn’t boil down to only money. Humanitarian interests are important, so are cultural matters, and politics and lots of other factors.

Let’s take these one at a time.
Abortion rights
While it is true that “most Protestant sects SUPPORT abortion rights”, these sects do not have the lobbying power nor the outright number of constituents of the Catholic and Southern Baptist organizations which make up 54.5% of the Christian population. (Source NY Times 2009 Almanac)

Gay Rights and Insurance Companies
I am actually arguing the opposite of your statement.
I am positing that insurance companies are anti-gay marriage due to the impact of treatment for HIV detection and treatment would have on their bottom line profits. The CDC puts this annual cost at $16.6 Billion (Source: CDC HIV Surveillance Report 2009, Vol 21.)

Lifetime treatment for HIV positive patients is estimated to be $367K, in 2009 dollars (same source). Annual new infections are in the 50,000 area. Doing the arithmetic, this would burden the insurance industry with ~ $20 Billion in costs each year.

It’s not all about money. People aren’t generally strongly motivated by altruism, but if there’s one thing that does motivate people as much as personal gain, it’s religion and it’s cousin, ideology.

I agree that the total cost for healthcare would fall–the argument that I am making is that UHC–and by that I mean government supplied health care–would eliminate several healthcare and health insurance companies which in total comprise 18% of the economy. These companies are therefore fighting tooth-and-nail to protect their turf. They then whip up the prol’s into believing that this is an evil government conspiracy to infringe upon their god-given-constitutional-rights. And the stupid prol’s just goosestep along with this rhetoric.

But religion is all about money, either by 1) directly supporting the religion’s leaders or [most importantly] 2) by social engineering to preserve relative societal peace in order to allow commerce to occur unimpeded by societal upheaval.

There are certainly some people in a religion or ideology who benefit monetarily, but for most people it’s the belief in something bigger than them that motivates them. Whether it’s getting into heaven or creating a workers’ paradise.

Because, obviously, if gays can’t marry, they won’t ever have sex and spread HIV. That’s why HIV has never existed until now, because gay marriage was illegal.

Brilliant.

And no gay people have private insurance, have insurance directly through there employer, and no companies extend same sex partner benefits. The premise of the OP is juvenile.

To sum up what has been hinted at a bit more snarkily, you aren’t really explaining what this has to do with gay marriage, because you haven’t really explained how the health insurance industry would be out any money:

  1. People do not get health insurance because they’re married, they get health insurance because they buy it or are employed. One has to assume that the great majority of Americans suffering, or who will suffer, from HIV is already covered by health insurance, since in fact most Americans are. So even if gay marraige were fully legalized the number of uninsured people who would get coverage for HIV treatment would be a small percentage of HIV-positive patients. The real figure of added cost would not be $16 billion; it’d be a small fraction of that.

  2. It is highly dubious that the overall cost of health insurance would rise at all, even by a tiny bit, if gay marriage were encouraged. People who are married are generally healthier than single people; it is to the benefit of health insurance companies to have customers marry.

  3. Large companies in the USA are unusually disposed to being friendly to gay marriages and civil unions, and towards doing things like extending benefits to them. If in fact doing this raised health care costs, and corporations only cared about the bottom line, that’s a bit of a contradiction you’ve got to explain.

  4. At any rate, you have no smoking gun. If what you are saying is true, it should be trivially easy for you to demonstrate that health insurance companies provide material support to political opposition to gay marriage. Where is your evidence?

RickJay:
I hereby admit that I am trying to shoehorn objection to gay marriage as one based upon economics. Why? Because I just cannot otherwise see any motivation for the continuing long term objection on the issue unless it is one motivated by concerns of either decreased revenue (which I cannot posit a theory for) or increased costs (for which I believe a case can be made).

So, yes–I have found no smoking gun in terms of a letter from BIGHEALTHCARE, INC. gives $1 million to the Joe Politician ® to fight gay marriage. <dammit>

You need to understand that ideology does exist. Money itself is a behavior, not a natural resource. (We invented the stuff, we invented the rules for its use, etc).

Back around the time our species was getting a handle on the necessity and advantages conferred of agriculture instead of hunter-gathering, there evolved some serious ideologies that (in my cynical opinion) were at best a compromise between personal freedoms and expediency and at worst a plot to establish coercion and domination as the leitmotif for social structure for the next 10,000 years, plus or minus.

Sex is a powerful appetite and impulse. It tends to lead to reproduction. Reproduction generates babies who consume resources and tie up the energies of whoever is caretaking them during their dependent years. On the other hand reproduction, especially if it generates an ever-expanding population, means lots of young able-bodied adults and near-adults, and while the babies consume resources and tie up energies, the half-generation older than them can produce and harvest and defend resources. So one day someone put it all together* and said “Hey, what if we restrict sex to those who are busting their butt on behalf of our middle-aged head-of-the-society’s ass? And along with that, therefore, insure that no one can have sex until they’re pulling down enough resources to handle the needs of the babies during their dependent years? All those young folks with their energies yet their insolence? They’ll do what we want and need them to or they can’t get laid!”

Or, in a more gender-polarized version, “What if we throw rocks at the girls until they bleed to death if they have sex and get pregnant except that we have officially approved of who they go with? To make up for that, we tell them the guy has to support them because they will be busy with the babies. Now the most physically dangerous young people, the young men, we got 'em by the balls, they can’t get laid unless they do stuff for us and can as a consequence support women and babies.”

Most of the remaining / modern weird stodgy attitudes towards sex and reproduction are leftovers of this arrangement, which is formally called “patriarchy”. Lots of emotion, passionate theology and philosophy and attitudes and beliefs about morals and ethics and notions of what is and what is not sexy are all wound up in it. It should come as no surprise that the modern issues like gay marriage and other gay rights, abortion rights, and so forth are all essentially issues of sexuality, sexual freedom, reproduction, and sex roles.