Watching CNN's Late Edition this morning, I caught a few minutes with one of Florida's senators, Bill Nelson. He was, as you might expect, talking about Wilma's potential impact on his home state. At the end of the interview, Wolf asked about the financial trouble that the National Flood Insurance Program is facing. Nelson had this to say:
There's gonna have to be some major changes Wolf. Look, 60% of New Orleans residents under sea level had no federal flood insurance. Now that's inexcusable. We've got to change that. Otherwise, guess who picks it up? It's the American taxpayer that picks up the tab - so people are gonna have to start buying flood insurance or else suffer the consequences.
If you believe this, Senator Ted Stevens has a bridge he'd like to sell you. While it's refreshing to hear an elected official make such statements, it's nothing but hot air - when push comes to shove, people will NEVER be forced in such a situation to bear the consequences of their choices.
Insurance carries with it certain inevitable problems, which is why government ends up being the insurer in a variety of circumstances. Government can require the insured pay -- such required payments are called taxes; how much will be paid by whom becomes a political question, but then how much will be paid by whom is ALWAYS a political question.
Bad government is a serious mistake, and voting for morons is a serious mistake. A libertarian fantasy might make you feel better, but it does not make the world better.
Well, it's hot air in the sense that the Democrats are in the minority; it's somewhat cooler air in that sooner or later something has to change.
The fundamental problem here is that you place way too much faith in private insurance - here's the flaw: private companies exist to make a profit first, and to provide a quality service to their clients second.
The failing of the tax and spend debate in the US, if I may say so, is that politicians pander to those wanting the lowest tax but you never look at the total bill you end up paying, if you addd in healthcare insurance for instance and all the other services it is anathema for the state to provide there.
Now, is the state always the most efficient, effective way to provide services? No, it certainly isn't. But is it the only way to guarantee universal coverage of US citizens of sufficient quality AND costing less overall than private insurance? Yes.
That doesn't mean ending private insurance: you can buy more, or stay private if you want (in fact great - that cuts the costs of universal health provision further!).
But isn't it about time, instead of cutting tax for the richest, yet spending more than ever before and piling up a...well, ridiculous doesn't quite do it justice, does it...national debt, the wealthiest nation on earth established a safety net for everyone - not just those who can afford it?
On a completely different subject, you also need to give the Federal Elections Commission sole responsibility for drawing electoral boundaries - take it out of the hands of politicians.
Adam, maybe you missed it, but everyone who pays Federal Income Taxes received a cut. In addition those cuts managed to increase total income to the Feds, just as they did for JFK and RWR.
You say the problem is putting too much faith in private companies is bad, but your solution is transferring that faith to an unaccountable and unmotivated bureaucracy that will, as all bureaucracies eventually do, become bloated. At least private entities have a motivation to keep customers as those customers have a choice, unlike your preferred solution. DKK
Spare us the Republican spin Life Trek - you'll be telling us next that flat rate tax benefits the poorest the most. Good grief! Talk about voodoo economics!
You really should read what I said - look - it's right above: "..is the state always the most efficient effective way to provide services? No.."
So, it's a simple balance between freedom and fairness: continue with the gross inequity of millions of Americans in the richest country on earth being without health insurance but gee, at least we're all free to be destitute, or opt for universal coverage, maintain the option for private cover on top, and you'll find you pay less as well as that not insignificant benefit: a healthier US. How are you doing on that measure in, say, the realm of obesity?
I bet you all the money in my pocket right now, against all the money in yours, that the UK National Health Service costs less per capita than if everyone in the US had a private health insurance plan. Corporate fat cats are, by and large far greedier than public sector "bloated bureaucracies".
Show/Hide More Comments...
Facts are neither Republican nor Democrat.
Fairness is the equality of opportunity not outcome.
The Canadian Supreme Court recently acknowledged that their system was inherently unfair to those who die awaiting service, ask those people if the outcomes were fair.
Why would I debate between two failed systems - ours doesn't work because the consumer is removed from the system. Howeverit is a fact that central control is almost always a mistake.
Markets work! They provide us with life saving medications and services, bureaucracies stifle innovation. Imagine if government alone had been in control of which direction AIDs research had gone. Remember there are limited resources, often controlled by those you disagree with (EVIL REPUBLICANS). In addition the Federal Government has never provided a cure for a disease. As a matter of fact they often fail to provided clear priorities and follow up for the spending already set aside for researching many illnesses currently listed as priorities (as a disabled man I know this first hand as money congress set aside for my illness was used for other priorities!).
In any collectivist system central control brings everyone to a common level of service - unfortunately for most that would be a serious drop in the level of service we receive. Considering the fact that no one is denied emergency medical services in this country I would rather have the opportunity of having cutting edge service when I need them rather then 5 year old tech with a wait.
The problem with socialism is that it denies man's nature. In your view everyone is evil (or just those successful people who disagree with you) and that is truly sad. DKK
Given you have such a weak understanding of political philosophy LifeTrek, you really should try to avoid attaching the tired old labels you got from Karl Rove's hatchet book.
As I don't know the details of the Canadian health system I'll avoid comment on that - although I believe an awful lot of American citizens trek north of the border to get their medication: they obviously share your view about the appalling quality of Canadian healthcare.
You're spot on: fairness is about inputs, not outputs. Presumably, you therefore now agree with me therefore that everyone should have the same opportunity to get a decent healthcare service? Of course you don't - because your principal concern isn't equity or fairness. That's a perfectly reasonable philosophical view but as you say, that philosophy isn't working in the US.
I don't think Republicans are evil - what a very immature, simplistic outlook on politics you have.
Nor is national health provision socialist - just because something is nationally/federally provided doesn't make it socialist - any more than having a federal army is a socialist institution or George Bush, with his record federal spending and booming deficits is a socialist.
Try to grasp what I'm arguing for here, instead of trying to pigeonhole it into a ridiculous caricature:
1. A federal healthcare system covering everyone
2. Private coverage for those who want more, or for services not provided by the federal service
3. A diversity of service providers - including the voluntary and private sectors.
It costs LESS and does MORE. As you say, facts are facts: you've got millions of citizens without coverage, hugely increasing costs, hugely increasing prescription drug costs, vast bureaucracy caused by claims assessors not needed under a federal system, increasingly poor health.
Those problems aren't there because the market's being held back - they're there because the market can't do everything you should expect for your fellow Americans.
It's common sense that you can do better than this. Please stop damaging the exploration of a credible alternative by perpetuating these silly untrue outbursts about "socialism".
Wow, great debating skills Moveon would be proud.
Clichés are great but they don't win debates.
(BTW, you forgot to call me a homophobe) DKK
Bravo - devastating riposte. No wonder US politics is so stuffed with retards with people like you electing them.
"Thanks for showing "gay" can be sexy, funny, intelligent, and fun without being obscene."
"Thank you for this wonderful, smutty site."
"You are the messiah that brings lights into the dark watches of the human night!"
"You'll get whatever marvellous there is in a world to come just by offering us these paradise visions..."
"...you are a true humanitarian."
"It's good to be Bent!"
"Smooth, blond boys? Is that REALLY a new theme for this site???"
"You are doing God's work..."
"The daily slap raises my heart rate more the my morning coffee."