You likely heard that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down 3 of 4 provisions of the law passed in Arizona in 2010 that addresses illegal immigration. I heard the Governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, and other Arizona officials proclaiming victory, but I think it is a hollow victory. Yes, the Court will allow police in Arizona to inquire about a person's immigration status when they are stopped for another reason, but that is it. If police find an illegal alien, they cannot arrest or detain the person unless they have a warrant. So, the person just has to be let go unless they have committeed another crime.
How this is a "victory" for Arizona, I don't know. A law with no teeth -- what good is that? Yet, the Obama Administration and ACLU, while pleased that the other 3 provisions were struck down, is unhappy that police are allowed to even ask people about their immigration status and plan additional legal challenges until even that minor provision is also disallowed.
They can call it what they want, but anyone who is pushing for "comprehensive immigration reform" is seeking amnesty for every person in U.S. who has not been convicted of a major felony. Millions of people who have broken the law by entering the U.S. illegally will be rewarded with what they want: Full U.S. citizenship, voting rights, access to all governmental services, free to pursue lawsuits against anyone they feel has slighted them . . . rewarded, for breaking our laws. And, as with every prior amnesty (including the one sponsored by the Reagan Administration), instead of offering a solution to the problem it simply encourages more and more people to enter illegally and kick and scream until they also get rewarded.
The Hispanic community largely ignores the illegality, as it furthers a cause they favor: Increasing their percentage of the American voting population and thus their political clout. Right now, neither major political party dares oppse illegal immigration, for fear of losing the Hispanic vote. It isn't hard to imagine that adding another 10-20 potential Hispanic voters will increase that clout even further.
There are so many ways (we have chronicled here) that U.S. is losing its ability to remain a cohesive and soverign entity: The massive national debt, the dismal public education system, the break-up of families and resulting under-parenting of our children, the rampant drug abuse and criminal activity, the promotion of divisions between various demographic groups. Add to that the inability to enforce our laws and defend our borders against intruders. I ask you, is there any hope for America?
I usually don't decide my voting based upon one issue. I was seriously considering sitting out this Presidential election, because I am not enthused about either candidate. But the actions of this President have made my mind up for me. I will vote Romney, not because he is likely to do anything that great for our country (and may well do harm -- but don't they all?), but because it is the only way that I can resist in even a miniscule way this further tearing down of my country. I fully expect Obama to win, but I refuse to vote for anyone who so clearly wants to further divide and destabilize my country. Our American government is treasonous!
Bob, I'm afraid immigration is a lost cause, because in reality neither party wants to stop it- for completely different reasons. Democrats want the immigrant's votes, and Republicans want to keep their chief donors- businessmen- happy with cheap labor. So Republican's are two-faced- talking about immigration control to please their conservative voters while filling their pockets with big-business contributions for not really doing anything about it.
Yes, big campaign contributions are needed to succeed in elections for major office, but what it comes down to is the vote. Whites remain close to 70% of the U.S. population, but it is a very divided group of voters. Meanwhile, the Hispanic vote can be largely wooed to the Democrats, because they are the party that has been most in favor of what is really amnesty for illegal aliens. And, blacks can be counted on to vote heavily for Obama because: 1) He is half-black, and 2) Anything that upsets "whitey" or damages whities' position in society is something a great many blacks favor. The day cannot come fast enough for the preponderance of the black American voting public when the white population becomes the minority . . so let all those non-white illegals come.
If whites could come together as one to vote for strict enforcement of our immigration laws, you would see the major politicians of both parties do an about-turn in their positions so fast it would make our heads swim. 70% of the vote is a landslide by any estimation, and the pols want more than anything to stay in office and ride that gravy train. But, of course, whites do not all think the same way or vote the same. We are divided up probably more than any other voting block (after all, we aren't a minority yet, we don't have the sensitivities yet toward being slighted or discriminated against, and white females can be as quick as any deomgraphic in wanting to see white males blamed and decimated). Whites could have their way if we stayed together like other groups do . . but we don't . . won't . . . and as whites continue to dwindle in numbers and the other groups grow in numbers and power, we will end up at the bottom of the heap. When that happens, just TRY to convince non-whites to practice "fairness and equality". They will laugh in our faces: "You had your time on top. Now, enjoy being trampled under our feet."
One comment I once heard is so true: "If you want to know the dangers of uncontrolled immigration, ask a Native american." They were too slow to resist the European invasion, and they lost their land. The same will happen to us in this 21st century.
Well I'm so disillusion with politics in general. I think the time politicians cared about the people is long gone- now they only care about those with deep pocket who finance their campaigns so they can stay in office and keep the gravy train rolling. In return those donors get the laws and regulations they want so they get even richer. The donor win, the politician win, the average joe citizen loses. That's the way it works these days.
Just one example- the banking collapse happen because the banking lobby got the regulations that were passed in the 1930s to prevent such a thing repealed. Then they had to get taxpayers money to bail themselves out of the mess they made. Not one person responsible ever went to prison. Not one regulation was changed to prevent it from happening again. Now they are back at the same thing- making millions with the blessings of congressman who get huge donations for bailing them out and looking the other way. We need term limits so bad- but will we ever get them? Not a chance when the crooks make the rules.
I could go on and on but it's bad for my blood pressure even thinking about it.
It seems like it doesn't matter what the voters want or what their constituents want. True, money enters into it when election time rolls around, to be sure. But when it comes time for the congressmen to vote, few dare to vote other then the way they're told to by "the party." That isn't the way it should be but you know it is. The Speaker of the House sometimes seems like the most powerful man in the country, if only in a negative way.
Well you do know that the Speaker of the House is John Boehner, a conservative Republican.
I would say the "Tea Party" members have been telling him what to do.
Everytime he has worked out some compromise with the Democrats they shoot it down.
Both parties do this, Nat. I agree with Blue that there is too much party coercion to vote a certain way by both Democrats and Re4publicans. I think that is part of what people mean when they say there are very few "statesmen" today. Instead of representing what their respective constituencies want, most pols kowtow to their party line. And, yes, groups like "the Tea Party" and abortion opponents and religious organizations apply pressure to pols to advance their agendas. So too do groups such as "Move On" and "Occupy" and ACLU apply their pressure. To only look at one side of this is to deny a big part of the total picture.
I think what looks like compromise is really still traditiionally liberal positions. It is just that some Republicans gave up the centrist-right position years ago to try to stake out a clear difference from Democrats. For example, what is "centrist" about universal health coverage that forces every citizen to participate or face fines? We used to call that "socialized medicine", and a large majority of Americans opposed that. Now, any person that wants to deny anyone govt-sponsored health coverage is deemed a bigot or other shade of hater. Same with illegal immigration: What is centrist about seeking amnesty for millions of people who entered US illegally? Media likes to describe this issue as split down the middle with American voters, but that all depends upon how the question is phrased. I don't think most Americans want to give amnesty and essentially make our borders meaningless -- that is a very liberal position. The problem is that Republicans went so far right that they allowed Dems to first occupy the political middle and then drag their liberal views to the fore and present them as moderate/centrist.
There are other damaging things the Republicans did, I admit that, but I think to look at these alleged compromises as moderate positions is to ignore recent history. I don't believe Americans have really changed so much that they abandon the ideals of individualism, personal initiative and responsibility, standing on your own two feet, making your own way, adherence to customs, traditions and civility.
Remember: Speaking of immigrants, there are still people who come to this country on small boats, are penniless, don't speak English, and certainly do not look like WASP Americans, but within 5 years they own their own businesses and their families are prospering here . . even in these difficult times. Meanwhile, a lot of native-born Americans can only see obstacles to their success. Our "need" for govt assistance/coverage is an illusion of our own making. If foreigners can prosper here with all the disadvantages that we don't have to face, then we should be able to succeed on our own without govt. propping us up. We just have to make better decisions -- take advantage of free education/libraries, develop our personal work ethic, stay away from intoxicating substances, avoid having babies too young, learn how to dress for success and how to sell yourself to others. These are the things Americans always did that brought them success. But today, too many Americans are lazy, make bad decisions and have lousy attitudes, and then expect the rest of us to bail them out (wow, I sound like my accountant friend!)
Well I'm just going by what I read in the news Bob. Politics is the art of compromise. You will never get everybody to agree so you have to be willing to give some to get anything done. There were many reports that several times Boehner and the Republican leadership had worked out deals with Obama and the Democrats concerning the budget- ie- the Democrats agreed to cuts spending for their social programs in exchange for increased taxes on the rich. But the Tea-party group said "Hell NO!- No taxes period!- My way or No way!" and so thats where things have been stalled ever since. Congress has accomplished practically nothing the past two years. This is no way to run a government or get anything done
One, while there are lots of pressures on congressmen and senators, which is also true at the state level, the pressure that causes them to act a certain way on a particular issue may not be as obvious as it seems. Naturally this is true of all elected office holders as well as those who are appointed, too. I would imagine this occurs in all forms of government.
The second thing is about taxes and spending. There have been periods in the past when government spending was especially high, such as during WWII. However, taxes were also very high, especially for high income earners. That didn't change until Eisenhower was elected in the early 1950s. But at the same time, savings were probably higher. When was the last time you heard an advertisement for savings bonds?
Be that as it may be, however, it is a mystery why spending is not reduced. It might be that the whole theory of reduce taxes and it follows that spending will be reduced to match is false. Reagan called that "starving the beast." The beast, of which he was president, thrived. The largest single part of the budget is military spending. Could it be that there are too many vested interests that help pay for congressional reelection campaigns? Maybe we need a special war tax.
Well speaking of wars- as you say in the past when we were in a war taxes were high to pay for it- but what did Bush do? He started two wars- and CUT taxes at the same time! And now we wonder why there is such a huge deficit?
The big mistake Obama made was ever wanting to be president in 2008- I said at the time- anyone who want to be president now is a fool! - It's like wanting to be Captain of the Titanic after it had hit the ice berg and was sinking. A mission doomed to failure.
I think Obama came at a good time for him, as no matter what happens, it will never be his fault. If things stay bad or even worsen, then he "inherited this problem." That's all I've heard the past 41 months of the Obama administration -- any bad news is Bush's fault (hell, I read that here!)
But if, as tends to occur in the cycles of life, things can only be bad for so long before they improve -- and if they do on Obama's watch, or that of a subsequent President -- they will undoubtedly claim that it was their wise policies that produced the improvement . . as if it wouldn't have occurred without them (I remember the old saying about sick people tend to get well whether they see a doctor or not . . but we credit the medicine).
At some point, I think things will improve . . it's inevitable. But there might be many years of pain before that happens. And the improvement may only be relative to the worst years. But I think it will occur. Regardless what occurs or who is leading. Look at how Germany recovered from Adolf Hitler and the destruction of that country. Eventually it happens.
You must not listen to right-wing media lately- they certainly blame Obama. Obama can say whatever he likes but whoever is the president at the times things are bad gets the blame. Just like Jimmy Carter was a victim of the inflation started by the Vietnam war and the huge jump in Opec oil prices in the early '70s. He didn't cause it- but the interest and inflation bubble burst while he was in office so he got the blame for it and to this day is unfairly considered one of our worse presidents.
And I wouldn't say there's no place to go but up- as bad as things are- they could be worse- look at the 1930s when there were bread-lines in the street. I don't think things will get that bad but I think we may never recover to what it use to be- there have been permanent changes like foreign competition keeping our factories closed and wages low.
I don't listen to Rush Limbaugh or watch Shawn Hannity. I don't know why any conservative would, unless they are channel-hopping and happen to hear something of interest (I do that occasionally). I am actually more likely to watch MSNBC than FOX. I already know what the conservative talk hosts and their guests will say, so I listen to hear what the other side reports (that won't get covered at all or will get skewed in the telling by conservatives). I try to pick through the liberal commentary to see what is truth from what is interpretation/editorial (I'd say about 80% of it is the latter). Sometimes I get useful information, including trying to see how others might see things. Maybe the same occurs with you, Nat . . you have more liberal views than me and are curious to see what those conservative scoundrels on FOX are up to!
I meant in my previous comments that EVENTUALLY things only get so bad before they recover. We probably aren't at the bottom yet. People's outlook is usually relative to some starting point. So, if we regressed back to food linesw, then improved from their, people would probably feel hopeful. As with things like gasoline prices: Right now, everyone here is very pleased to be paying ONLY $3.24/gal for gas, after paying $3.79 a couple of weeks ago. But back when we were paying over $4 a gallon, a decrease in price down to $3.79 was very welcome. I think the say occurs with most things.
I occasionally do sample Limbaugh, Hannity, Fox, etc just to see what venom they are spurring forth. It doesn't take long- five minutes is all I can stand and I know that the next three hours will just be more of the same.
I often wonder how nice it would be to go back to the days before talk radio (or "hate" radio as some call it). They played music on the radio and the country seem like a nicer place.
I don't think things are going to get worse then now- just a slow recovery- and the new "boom-times" won't be as good as the old boom-times. Most people will have to adjust to making less money and buying smaller houses, smaller cars, and less toys to play with.
I'm thinking that things haven't bottomed out yet because some very important challenges haven't played out yet. For one, the financial crisis involving several members of the EU. If the union dissolves, the talking heads say that would be catastrophic for Europe and the U.S. But, the financial doldrums just seem to spread of there. Initially France and Germany looked to be the stalwarts, the saviors. Then we see France's credit rating down-graded, at least by one rating service. and Germany, which still strong, is said to not be immune from the crisis if it tries to take on too much. And, some say the U.S. could be next to have EU-type meltdowns.
(I had to cut the last post short, as I am visiting my son and he got supper break from work)
The other thing that quickly comes to mind when I say I don't think U.S. has reached bottom yet is the burgeoning costs of providing for a "Baby Boomers" generation that has started retiring. The oldest of the group (born 1946) reaches 66 this year. Each subsequent year, more Boomers reach mid-60's and likely are or will be retired. The last year of that generation (born 1964) may have many years to go before they reach retirement age. Something like 64 million Americans fit in that generation . . and they all expect and hope to retire, hopefully with good incomes, hopefully with good health and longevity. They will be an increasingly immense burden upon a society that is heavily in debt and with younger generations of workers being quite a bit smaller than the Boomers generation they must support . . generations already burdened by suppressed wages, education debt and little job security. The prospects for this going well are not very good. this is why I say that things will likely get worse (maybe much worse) before they get better.
Well I think the effect of the European debt problem on the US economy is being exaggerated. It may worry investors who hold foreign investments but the amount of commerce between the US and Europe is a small percentage of our economy as a whole.
And from what's I've read Social Security is solvent to 2027 even if without changes and I'm sure changes will be made that will keep it viable. Its going to take sacrifice on everyone's part to get us back on track. But so far the only people who are sacrificing is the poor and middle class. The rich continue to make outrageous amounts of money while paying the lowest tax rates in history. It just amazes me that so many people have bought the Republican bullshit that taxing the rich will hurt "job creation". It just isn't true.
And there is hope- I've read that Chinese workers salaries are rising much faster than expected so the cost benefit of manufacturing overseas is shrinking and many of those jobs may be coming back to the US in coming years. But it will mean higher prices- and not the over-generous salaries and benefits of the past. We are going to have to roll back our living a notch- but it may be good for us to get back to simplicity of the past when a typical family managed fine with a modest house, one car, one TV, and so-forth. I think we agree that life was pretty good back then.
I think that is the anchor around America's neck. Most of us don't know how bad things really are because we've have been able to borrow more and more (e.g., the so-called "stimulus package") and our govt keeps printing more money. Individuals during the 90's and 2000's had an unrealistic impression of their situation because they borrowed from the equity in their homes and took profit from investments to live above their means. The stock market tanked and the housing bubble burst and people lost their homes and had to declare bankruptcy.
Likewise, our US govt has so far been able to mitigate the worst of our current economic crisis by spending money it doesn't have. It all comes to an end sometime, these ponzi schemes, and that is when we will know, much too late, just how bad our situation is. Some are predicting hyperinflation by 2020 or so. So even money that looks adequate now for individuals to support themselves may be woefully inadequate in the not-too-distant future.
Now some of us here may be deceased before the worst happens, but I personally don't take much comfort in knowing that younger generations will bare the brunt of this. Baby Boomers inherited a mighty, affluent country from our elders and pissed it all away.
Well that's what's going to happen to the national debt Bob. As you say- the government is printing their way out of it. Will this cause inflation? Yep, it certainly will- but inflation can benefit those who know how to deal with it. As the dollar inflates the effective debt drops and we are paying it back with cheaper dollars. But what about people? The only people hurt by inflation are those on fixed incomes, or are foolish enough to put their money in places that won't adjust to inflation- like long term bonds or fixed-rate pensions, annuities or saving accounts. These people will get clobbered. But stocks, commodities, collectables, real estate, and hopefully salaries with adjust up as inflation does. This by the way is how Social Security will eventually fix itself since it will be paying out cheaper dollars than it took in.
Why do people keep on saying the government just keeps printing more money? If that were so, why does the federal government even borrow money at all? Besides, do you make your house payment with cash? While there is a certain amount of cash in circulation, the fact of the matter is that the majority of cash transactions these days are in the form of checks and bank transfers.
Another fact is there is actually a special withholding and payroll tax for social security and medicare. You may also make note that this tax was reduced about a year or so ago, although it is hard to see how that was supposed to do anything to help the so-called social security problem. One gets the idea that the defense budget, which has ballooned (look that word up if you don't understand) in the last ten years, is sacred and cannot be touched. Does someone believe we're about to be invaded or something? It couldn't be the Chinese, because they've loaned us a lot of money to pay for our defense. But we are in debt to other countries, too.
What we need is a special war tax. Not a defense tax; a war tax.
I wanted the actual figures on expenditures in the 2012 US Federal Budget. I had read previously that the defense budget, while sizable, has not been the largest budget item. But, from what you and Nat say, defense is by far the biggest item. The chart shows the following (amounts are discretionary and mandatory spending combined):
Department of Defense, including Overseas Contingency Operations (e.g. Iraq and Afghanistan wars): $688.3 billion
Dept of Health and Human Services (including Medicaid and Medicare): $872 billion
Social Security Administration: $829.2 billion
HUD: $56.8 billion
Combining the latter 3 budget items, the so-called social welfare/entitlement programs, comes to $1.785 trillion.
As percentage of the total 2012 US Federal budget, Defense (including Iraq and Afghanistan) makes up approximately 19.7%.
As percentage of the total 2012 US Federal budget, the three entitlement programs listed above make up approximately 49.7%
Now, how anyone can claim that Defense is the leading or overwhelming aspect of the Federal budget . . even including money budgeted for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan . . . well, these numbers don't bear that out.
Well Social Security shouldn't even be counted in the general budget. It is just paying people back what they have paid in. If the owner of a private company counted his employees retirement fund as part of his operating budget he'd likely go to jail- but the government does this and gets away with it.
Furthermore money paid out in the form of Social Security goes right back into our economy but much of the Defense Budget is squandered overseas and often winds up benefiting our enemies instead of us.
Well, they are entitlements in that those participating in the programs are entitled to get what they paid for, although you can argue whether or not the system is fair, working well and so on. But those two programs (Social Security and Medicare) do have their own taxes. But what puzzles me is, if those programs are in financial difficulty, they why was the tax reduced?
Social Security is suppose to be self-financing. But the taxes that pay for them have not kept pace with the benefits. Blame politicians for that. They like to make voters happy by raising benefits but not taxes. Politicians are actually pretty irresponsible people. They are more concerned with getting re-elected than doing what is best for the country,
One or the other what? If you mean taxes vs benefits?
Ofcourse you can't keep raising benefits without raising taxes to pay for them.
This is common sense.
But common sense is not common when it comes to politics.
I think he meant, can politicians only do what is best for the country, or can only concentrate on getting reelected, not both. I think the two are not mutually exclusive, but they do tend to operate at cross-purposes. Running for a major political office requires raising huge sums of money to run a feasible campaign. The little guy's paltry sums take a lot longer to accumulate than getting some rich contributors to provide major bank-rolling of a campaign. So, pols are beholden to those deep pocket contributors, and that money isn't without strings. So, I think any successful/career politician has to serve the wishes of those fat cats to some extent. The pols can try to dress it up as something else, but in reality "money talks." Now, I would think that once a candidate has made a name for himself, he/she can worry less about serving the wealthy and still run successfully. Hopefully the goal then is for that pol to work on the betterment of the country and leaving a legacy of good works.
My understanding (albeit far from thorough) of the problems with Social Security/Medicare include that the money paid by payroll deductions into the programs has not been kept separate . . that it is mingled with other monies and in fact has been borrowed or raided (whichever term you prefer) for other uses. So, of necessity, current taxes revenues have to be diverted to help pay for those programs. Also, I hear that for any type of pension plan that includes health benefits, the medical costs are significantly more of a burden to those plans than the in-cash payments. Medical cost increases have far out-stripped inflation, which is why managed care has become the standard now. It started with the private insurance companies, but Medicare and Medicaid had to adopt managed care (thus, denying some care that they previously paid without questioning it) in order to have some control over rising costs. When you add a large "Boomer" population of retirees that must be supported by smaller generations of working taxpayers, then the burden is not difficult to imagine. Like I said, in many respects, Social Security and Medicare are ponzi schemes . . . the biggest question is, When does that scheme go bust and which generations of people who paid into the plans will not receive anything close to what they paid or was promised?
Money has become totally too much of politics these days. I wonder if any politician is really interested in doing what's best for the country- or whats best for his campaign donors so they can stay in office. I wouldn't accuse a politician of doing anything unseemly but it's strange how major donors seems to get laws and regulations that they want. They use to call this bribery but now it's just servicing the needs of your constituents. But it is curious how rich people become while in office, far greater than their salary. Even if they are defeated they still have a lucrative job waiting as lobbyists. Change the rules to stop this?- not when the inmates run the asylum.
And you are quite right that medical costs- we have the most expensive medical care system in the world- and contrary to what many Americans think- it's not the best by any means. There are many reasons for this but it can be summed up by saying it has become a totally bloated inefficient system that should be blown up and started over. Conservatives are mad at Obama for going too far- I'm mad because he didn't go far enough- I think the whole current medical/insurance system should be scraped. And my daughter, a CNP who works in the system every day says the same thing.
Nice profession. I'm sure you don't worry too much about her future security.
One of my biggest concerns with turning health insurance over to the govt is that it will lead to greater authority over the average citizen's life. My observation is that govt service attracts personalities who tend to think they know best and want to exert control over others.
Example (maybe not the best, but one that comes to mind): Of course you remember that the interstate highway system speed limit was originally 70 mph. The Feds. were successfully lobbied by interests that were concerned about the death toll on those highways and that they attributed to excessive speed. The Feds. decided that 55 mph would be a safer speed limit and pressed the states to enact it. This is a ploy of the Federal govt: To claim that they don't decide everything for the States and that State govts have the authority to enact their own laws. But wait -- the Feds. then told states that they would withhold highway repair funds (taxes actually paid by the citizens of those states) from those states that failed to enact the new speed limit (I remember this because Ohio was one of the states slow to change). Of course, with that much money at stake, the states kowtowed. So, the Feds. could claim that they don't dictate everything to the States when in fact anything they want to see changed gets changed (Reference the recent gutting of the law passed in Arizona that sought to deal with an out-of-control illegal immigration problem . . hey, the Supreme Court is part of the Federal govt too).
So, if we enact this "Obamacare", you don't think this opens a Pandora's box of dictates from the Federal govt and its "experts" into every aspect of an individual's life that has (or could have) a bearing upon that individual's health and health care costs? If the govt (taxpayers actually) is paying for one's health coverage, wouldn't they say, "We need to control costs, so you must do this and cannot do that". In other words, "you wanted the coverage, so we are going to control you and control costs." This is already being done in many ways. The govt is absolutely rabid now against smoking. In New York, they legislated against trans fats in foods, and now are limiting the size of soft drinks one can buy. In Ohio, it is legal to purchase fireworks, but illegal to set them off in Ohio, so as to protect citizens' safety (What? It's Ok to blow your finger off so long as it's not in Ohio?)
As the govt. takes more and more control of health expenditures, you don't think they will move to control expenses by dictating indiviuals' lifestyle choices? I foresee not even having choices -- the Feds. will forbid companies to manufacture things with prohibited ingredients, or to prohibit manufacture of some items at all. Alcohol causes a lot of misery, disease and death. Though Prohibition did not work, wouldn't today's experts think they might know better how to do it? Say, limit the allowed alcohol percentage of beverages to such a low level that one could drink like a fish and likely die of something else before the alcohol can cause any damage (I think we call that "near-beer" now). How about limiting those evil sugars and sodium? It will probably be like so many other things -- the chemicals that replace sugars and sodium cause more damage, faster, than the natural ingedients.
You know I work with very disabled people, physically as well as mentally disabled. While we often do not know what caused these disabilities, a certain number of them have known or suspected causes. Genetics, for example. Some couples are just a bad genetic match, but that wasn't known until they started having disabled children. Geneticists claim that each person probably possesses 5 or 6 genetic defects that, if not countered by a healthy gene on our other chromosome, might produce some deleterious health effect or even cause our death. We are thus carriers of the defect but it is not expressed in our lives. But, if happenstance results in us mating with a person with that same defect, there is a chance that our offspring would inherit a defective genes from each parent and would be affected. The care for people I work with is lifelong and very expensive. If we needed to control health care expense, what better place to do it than to prevent individuals from being born who stand to inherit significant disabilities? (The issue becomes even stronger for maladies that are caused by inheriting just one copy of a gene, such as Huntington's Syndrome).
Do we then require people to be screened from genetic defects before they have children together? Do we prohibit individuals from partnering, no matter the emotional attachment, who we find would be a bad genetic match? For those people having genes that one copy causes devastating disease, perhaps not in evidence until they are adult and might have children, do we prohibit them from reproducing at all . . forced sterilzation to prevent that?
Granted, most people wouldn't be affected by such issues. The more likely scenario would be that govt prevents manufacture of certain products, requires health screenings and badgers individuals to improve their lifestyles. But in a land we call free, do we want govt, expert or not, dictating to us like this. Are we all children that need the govt to make our decisions for us?
Bob, the 55-mph limit was instituted in 1974 as a result of the gas shortages caused by OPEC oil embargo when studies showed that gas consumption increases dramatically when cars and trucks were driven over 55-mph and therefore it would significantly reduce gas needs. Reduced highway death was a afterthought.
As far as "dictates" of the medical industry- we have those now- except it's by private insurance companies and hospitals who have maximizing their profits their major concern- not what is best for the patient.
Surveys have shown that Seniors are more satisfied with the care they get via Medicare than they were from private insurance companies.
As for my daughter- yes- she's been a RN for years but two years ago she went back to college(USF) to get her CNP license. Now she can do physical exams, prescribe medications and do most things a MD can do. She now runs the medical office of a large company tending to the company's employees medical needs. This is becoming a common thing with large progressive companies- having their own medical facilities save employees money, the company money and reduces insurance costs. She told me she has better medical equipment there than at the hospital she use to work at.
Still, I was in my late teens at the time and heard much discussion about the safety aspects of the new law -- maybe that is how they were trying to sell it to the public? That was certainly the focus of discussion in my family at the time.
Funny though -- the oil embargo was short-lived. Why enact a law to deal with a temporary situation? I suppose you would say that we didn't know how temporary the embargo would be at the time. Still, it seems like a poor way to deal with it to me.
Yes, private insurance companies can deny care and set limits. But those private companies don't have the power to enact or change law. Our Federal government does -- they do pretty much whatever they want. Private companies have to woo business, so if they become too restrictive, another company will steal their market share. Government has no competition. They rule over us uncontested.
The rules and limits private insurance companies set have the same effect as law- they deny you coverage- and they all have about the same underwriting policies because a bad risk for one company is a bad risk for the others too. Insurance companies make so much money insuring only healthy people who don't cost them money that none of them want to insure you if you have a health problem. As I heard one person say- the only people who have no problem getting insurance are the people who don't need it.
Same with car insurance: If you never have accidents/claims, insurance companies are all over you to sign with them. If you have 7 DUI's, 5 accidents and mega-claims, you are hard-pressed to obtain car insurance. That is how it should be. Tell me: If two of your kids (when they were teens) wanted to borrow your car and they showed themselves to be responsible, you might easily agree. If your other kid got stoned or drunk all the time and would speed and run into things, what would you say to the request to borrow your car? Would you feel good about saying "yes", as you did with the other two kids? I know what you would do, because you are not dumb. You'd say something akin to, "I wish I could trust you. But you've shown that you cannot be trusted with my car. The answer is 'NO' " Which would be a smart decision, don't you agree? I would.
So, you expect insurance companies to act differently? You expect them to look at people, some being a good risk and others being a claim waiting to happen, and rate them similarly? Wouldn't that fulfill some definition of "stupid"? Private companies can operate somewhat differently than government can. The latter has a much harder time making good business decisions (I know first-hand, I work for a govt. entity.) Unlike the private company, how can govt. deny coverage to a woman who gets drunk daily and/or smokes crack and has 7 children by different dead-beat, some disabled because of it? If she is Black, somehow that is clearly discrimination to say "Sorry, no". It is easier to tell a responsible teen, "Sorry, but you cannot buy a soda that is more than 16 ozs." . . than to tell crack Mom that you will not cover her and her crack babies.
Is that friggin' insane or what? How can you think that government oversight of health care will result in anything better than govt. oversight of most things, which operate screwy?
Yes, all insurance is based on the fact that the insurance company thinks it will take in more money from you than it will ever pay out. But there is a big difference between car insurance and health insurance in that people can control how they drive- they can not always control their health.
So tell me Bob, what is a person to do if he has a genetic disease- even something as trival as high blood presure- and no insurance company will insure him? Just anwser me this?
Nat, I would readily acknowledge that some people are in dire straits through little or no fault of their own, including severe health issues. Some of these people require extremely expensive procedures and treatment. I absolutely empathize with their position. If someone gets a diagnosis of a progressive debilitating disease, I know that it is unlikely that a private insurer will cover them, or that the premiums for coverage and limits on payments would make it prohibitive. Yet, these people need care to live as long as they can, and who is to pay for that? No private company is going to volunteer, so it is left to government, the taxpayers, to pay. I get that.
I also understand Obama's insistance upon the mandate that every American participate in his health plan. You seek to balance the costs of high-need people by having as many low-need, low-cost people as you can in the pool. Without the individual mandate, low-cost people will either choose to do without health insurance or get picked away by private insurers. This leaves the high-cost people in the government plan, which is basically the way it is now with Medicare, Medicaid and Veterans health services. And in between all of that, many people do not qualify for programs and thus slip through the cracks. Obamacare is about trying to get all Americans covered. I get that too. And, on the face of it, I think it is a noble goal.
My greatest concern is, again, goverment intrusive into our private lives and lifestyle choices. When you are paying to provide something, and you need to control costs, don't you also feel the need to dictate those things which have an impact upon cost? How can you keep paying exhorbitant medical costs for an obese young person and not insist that they eat healthier and lose weight? How can you keep paying high medical costs for someone who smokes or drinks and not insist that they quit or severely cut back? How can you keep paying for babies to be born and to receive necessary medical care without, at some point, saying "You can't have 7 kids." ? And if you must, at the same time, not discriminate on the basis of all things cited in civil rights laws, who gets told to do or not do, and who is it that you cannot say those things too? Also, if everyone in our country illegally ends up getting amnesty, then I guess we'd have to provide all of them health coverage too . . and coverage to future waves of people who will flock to U.S. awaiting future amnesties and access to services.
I think something can sound like a good idea, but when you think of all the ramifications of doing that, it should give you pause. Private companies remain solvent by managing risk and pricing their services. If someone is too expensive for them to cover, then they don't. Government has a hard time doing that because it is not in the business for business, it is in the business to fulfill some higher mission. Yet, financial realities are real even for heroes.
So, do to the governments in countries that have some form of national health tell people what to eat, drink, smoke, etc.? How do you suppose such a thing would be enforced? Would you put people in jail for eating at MacDonald's?
It has often appeared to me that many of those who want the government out of their lives are perfectly happy to have the government prohibiting things they themselves oppose. In fact, one sometimes gets the impression that conservative governments are much more intrusive and controlling than those that are the opposite. On the other hand, many of those (I'm generalizing of course) who claim to be conservative are not in fact conservative (as I see it) but rather reactionary. They want to turn the clock and the country to a period that never really existed. It's the pro-gun anti-abortion thing. It's the guy sporting an American flag and a Confederate flag at the same time.
And while we're on the subject of reactionary movements, there is some irony here. Anyone here remember the late 1960s and early 1970s? We think that was a wonderful period of freedom, peace and love. But we were at war and there were riots across the country. The people with the guns were the ones the conservatives were worried about. The Black Panthers and that ilk. Law and order was a campaign issue. Now it looks like the shoe is on the other foot.
Well, actually it's a little more complicated. First of all, different kinds of insurance are a lot different. Start with life insurace.
There are two kinds of life insurance. Whole life and term life. Term life is an arrangement whereby you pay for your life insurance for a certain period and after that period, you have none. Whole life is insurance under which you pay for insurance for a certain number of years but you will always have your insurance.
Health insurance is certainly different. A lot of people buy insurance through their employer, if it is offered as a fringe benefit. That's called group health insurance and, in theory, you will not be turned down for a pre-existing health or medical condition. Of course, you have to be in sufficient health to hold down a job. Buying insurance individually is another story and you may need to undergo a medical exam.
Then there is accident, liability, homeowners and all the other forms of insurance, almost all of which has to be purchased individually. All sorts of circumstances enter into your premium rates such as where you live, how much you drive, how close the fire station is, what your house is made of and so on and so forth.
Insurance is a regulated industry but itis also a profit-making industry. Not all hospitals are, by the way. Insurance does not eliminate risk. It merely spreads the risk of loss among the participants in the plan. Your risk of having your house burn down is the same whether or not you have insurance. The difference is that if you have no insurance you suffer the entire loss. Your risk of dying is usually 100% but your risk of dying within a certain time period is predictable. All of this stuff enters into premiums.
Yet another thing that makes insurance complicated is that it is like a sandwich. You can have just about anything on it you like, if you can afford it, though not all insurance companies will insure everything or anything. Some specialize and most are only licensed to sell insurance in given states.
Just wanted you to know there's a lot to the insurance business.
Gee Blue, do you really think I don't know that there are different kinds of insurance? I have 7 or 8 different policies in my file Cabinet right now. And for most I can control my risks, and therefor my rates, but for health- and life insurance- it is often effected by things I have no control over at all.
Well lets see- I have health, house, auto, several life policies on me and the kids, one on a boat and trailer that belongs to my son but stays here and a umbrella liability policy for undeveloped properties I own. And I think thats about ten right there and back when I had a business I had many more.