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ethenol gas in the USA

by tripzero / December 27, 2007 1:02 AM PST

I've been looking into this as we recently have a station that provides this form of gas. Right now it isn't any cheaper than normal gas. But I imagine as the process for manufacturing it gets better (right now it almost takes as much, if not more energy to manufacture it than you get from it).

As far as I know, the government it subsidizing the production in the USA. US mfgs use corn which is a poorer source of ethenol. Wouldn't we benefit more if we used sugar cane? Countries like Brazil and the Philippines mass produce sugar cane which is a much better source than corn. Are we trying to become energy independant is that why we don't import from these countries?

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Ethanol has many problems...
by Andy77e / December 28, 2007 6:49 AM PST
In reply to: ethenol gas in the USA

Ethanol is not 'new'. Ethanol was first produced in 1826, and the process we use today to make it, is similar to how Michael Faraday made it in 1828. Ethanol has been used as a fuel since 1908 with the Model T Ford. Point being, don't hold out much hope of manufacturing getting much better, since it would have improved by now, and it has not.

Ethanol has huge subsidies. Not only does the government exempt Ethanol from the same full $1 per gallon of sales tax on gasoline, but the producer gets money directly from the government (your tax money). This money goes to such poor, down home, farmers like David Rockefeller ($500K) and Scottie Pippen ($210K) and Ted Tuner ($206K), plus 5 of the 'lawmakers' on the Agriculture Committee who effectively voted themselves to get money. Neat setup really... they get money from the government to make the product, and they get money from you to buy it. Cool deal eh? Just think, you get to pay them for the product they used your tax money to make.

Yes sugar cane is a better source of Ethanol, but even so the fuel production would still be horribly low. The problem with sugar tends to be that the cost in producing the crop is much higher than corn, and corn ethanol already can't compete without subsidies. So even though the fuel would be better quality, the cost would be prohibitive. This according to a USDA report.

Finely the amount of land needed. Currently we are mandated to make 8 Billion barrels of Ethanol a year (we do not yet, but that's the mandate). Sounds like lots? The US uses more than 140 Billion gallons of gas a year. Follow me: one acre of corn makes only 50 gallons of Ethanol. In order to make 140 Billion gallons of ethanol, you will need 2.8 Billion acres of land, about 5 times the current crop land across the entire nation. Further, Ethanol has 33% less energy than Gasoline. Meaning 140 Billion gallons of ethanol does not equal 140 billion gallons of gasoline. You would need 186 Billion gallons of Ethanol.

Last of all, every acre of land used to make corn for ethanol, is one less acre producing food. Over the past 8 years, the price of corn has doubled. But not just corn, the price of beef will increase because cattle ranches must purchase corn feed at a higher cost. Even Coke and Pepsi will increase in cost because of high fructose corn syrup is increasing in price. The price of other products is increasing as well. This year alone, news from the farmers market indicates a record number of farmers switching to corn for ethanol from Soy beans, Rice, but also Cotton. With growers moving away from cotton, the cost of a wide range of products like clothing will also increase in cost from Ethanol. Remember the Mexican Tortilla riots?

Ethanol is a bad deal. It will not end, or even help our dependence on oil, and at the same time it will cause a world of problems.

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thank you
by batman823 / January 3, 2008 2:30 AM PST

That was very informative and thorough, plus it wasn't the same old song you hear in many places.

I agree with almost the entire post, but have one point.

You mention prices of many products going up and the possibility of them being driven further by increased production of Ethanol. you and I both know, from experiance and other conversations, that wages have not increased an appreciable amount in the last decade. But prices have, very much so. I mention this because ALL prices have, not just a specific few. Gasoline, clothes, food, and housing have all gone up considerably with little or no increase in wages.(none in most places according to the DOL)

I know it's a small point to pick and that you didn't necessarily say otherwise, but it might clear up something for you or others who read these posts.

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Sure.
by Andy77e / January 4, 2008 4:26 PM PST
In reply to: thank you

How goes it Batman? Last time we talked, you were about to go in for surgery. Hope you are well.

I would suggest that in some of those, the government has caused higher prices, and not just through taxes.

As I outlined before, the cost of gas has increased due to government regulations and taxation. Food is increasing due to a number of factors including minimum wage, subsidies, and of course the Ethanol issue mentioned above.

The only area not really governments fault is housing. That's merely free market and the evolution of the modern American home. We started out just wanting a place to live with windows. Now it's gotta have separate bedrooms for each of our kids, with 3 and 1/2 baths, phone jacks, power outlets, and Cable TV in 4 rooms. Finely, we demand a home within 10 minutes from the city, but away from unpleasant areas, same as everyone else. High demand, low supply, equals high cost of homes.

Lastly, I would suggest lowering taxes would solve the lack of wage increases. When people lose 1/3 to 1/4 of their income in taxes, it tends to cause lack of funds problems.

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taxes, taxes, and taxing the taxes
by batman823 / January 7, 2008 11:43 PM PST
In reply to: Sure.

I agree about the taxes... but there are quite a few problems that will not be fixed in the near future.

Those who are in charge make these rules, and profit from their existance, so where is the mechanism which America can use to change them? There is none. If another revolution were to happen, it would be a blood-bath because nobody can own a gun. And force is apparently the only way to express politics in this modern world. That's what we're doing right now in many countries around the world.

In the military, we have stock systems with product manufacturers that are contracted. Since the US gov't wasn't smart enough to make those contracts have fair trade agreements or compete, things like $0.25 washers get "inspected" and put into little bags and now cost $5. The $100 hammer and $600 toilet seat come to mind. Just to name a couple, personally I've seen several $5,000 chairs and $500,000 for a heater that was made in 1970. That's just one reason taxes can't go down.

Another is that our elected 'king' spends more than $1 trillion per year on foreign wars that can't be won because of politics that 90% of the entire world doesn't agree with. I know that the politics are up for debate, but it's inargueably a huge bill which most people see as not only unreasonable and unnecessary, but unwanted. On the other hand, it's not going away unless our system of so-called "checks and balances" actually gets used.(grow a spine, congress)

We also have a large list of things we consider standard that the gov't takes care of. This is a range from police and medicare to road construction.

When you add up all that with the miniscule aid that goes back into our own country, you get a deficit that no pres or gov't has ever matched.

The point being that you are correct. We do pay a very large part of our money in taxes and see very little for the money we have no choice but to pay. Inflation is also the governing authorities' fault. A middle class family pays 45% to 60% of their earned income in taxes while a lower class person pays 20-30%. This range is proportionately correct, but the percentage is WAAAYY TOO HIGH. We can't even afford to get proper health care, let alone college for our kids. This forces everyone into debt, if they have any real standard of living and want it badly enough to sign their name. But since there are so many people in debt and everything costs so much, millions up millions of people are actualy fighting to get a crappy job that pays a disrespectful $10/hr with no benefits. At that point, you're just working to pay taxes on the money you earn and the gas it takes to get to work.

You also mention the gas tax. I know that a portion goes to roads and DOT, etc.... but what does the rest go to? I don't think that it actually costs the gov't $1.00 to $1.50 for each gallon of gas that I choose to use. Some of the rediculous income tax that I pay goes to the roads. That is why the drinking age in all states is 21yrs old and speed limits are so low. The fed gov't gives the states money so they'll keep the limits where the federal gov't wants them.

I get about 25mpg city and 35mpg highway. I know it's better than most but say 30 as an average. I drive 30 miles for each gallon of gas that I use. In driving that 30 miles, what do I do that costs the government $1.50? I don't think anything. There's a cop every once in a while. I might see a cop twice on a fill up. so the gov't(state and fed combined) might see me, just maybe, for a total of 5-10 seconds during the time that I pay $15 to them. But the cops get paid by income tax, so that can't be what my money goes to. They also get money from fines anytime somebody does something wrong. Maybe those road signs for speed limits that have been up for 15 years are ordered through the military stock system and somebody gets paid $500,000/yr to put them up. From the way they dress, I doubt they get paid a lot. But it's a little odd to think we can quench our thirst for oil with extremely wasteful corn fields to produce ethanol and producing hybrids that people can't afford if they think about the cost of gas.

Sometimes I see a few rode-cones and a sign that says "construction ahead." But only a couple of times a year I see some guys standing around or a street getting painted. But, rarely, I will see something actually getting done. I don't believe that the money we all pay is actually getting utilized for something worth-while. I wouldn't mind paying the $3.00/gal if it went to something I thought was worth it. Same thing with the 10%-20% state and 20%-30% federal income tax. English and Canadian citizens pay less taxes while they don't have to afford $1,000/mo for a family health insurance plan. They don't have to sign up their kids on Medicaid just to get second-class health care. They're doing something different then us, that's for sure. Maybe it's that they don't have 80% of the world's military force fighting battles for people who don't want their "help".

But I suppose that's enough of a rant...

The surgery went very well and I'm now walking without a cane and have recently stopped using my backbrace. Also, I'm taking fewer narcotics for pain. I feel more like a normal person. Thank you for asking.

Sorry about the rant, I just missed it so much. It's good to hear from you too andy.

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lol nothing changes.
by Andy77e / January 8, 2008 2:33 AM PST

First, the Military does not spend $100 for a hammer. This was a accounting numbers fudge. What they did was take the total budget for a project and divide that number by the number of tools purchased. If I buy 2 mig welders at $1000, and two hammers for $10, then divide $1010 by 4 tools, you end up with $252 dollar hammer. It was typical government fuzzy math.

But before I move on, I am not, nor ever would suggest there isn't waste. Of course there is... this is government. Government by it's very nature is wasteful. Saying XXX government program is wasteful, is like saying fast food isn't the most healthy... no kidding. This is why I support the smallest government possible. The best way to reduce government is by cutting taxes and giving them less of our money to blow.

Next, in '07 the federal government spent $2.902 Trillion.
The total Department of Defense (DOD) spending was $0.717 Trillion.
Of the DOD budget, the spending for the War on Terror was $0.145 Trillion.
Lastly, within the budget for DOD, $0.091 Trillion did not even go to defense. (read pork spending)

Comparatively, $2.185 Trillion was spent on non-military related outlays. So what is our government really over spending on?

Last, we are winning the war. Anyone can see this if you listen to the people in Iraq. Didn't you hear Osamas recent tape? He complained and condemned that the people of Iraq are turning against al qaeda! Our military people are sending messages back to the US saying they walk freely in Iraqi towns with civilians. The good news coming out of Iraq is astounding. Interviews with Iraqi people constantly say the thing they fear most is the US pulling out too soon.

One final point, if we had national health care, you would not have gotten the great medical treatment that is allowing you to return to a normal life. That much I know for sure. Yes Canadians don't pay for medical treatment, and there is a national shortage of doctors, there are long waiting lists for basic treatment, and rich government officials come to the US for care. One Canadian reported she went to the ER at the hospital and waited 4 hours to... get a prescription refilled! Why? Because to go to a family doctor would have taken 2 months due to the doctor shortage. Another Canadian citizen needed a hip replacement and discovered he would have to wait a year under the socialized system to get it done because it was 'non-emergency', further was enraged to find he couldn't legal pay for the surgery himself.

But it's funny you bring up Canada since the Canadian high court, just recently struck down the law banning private medical care. I wager you will see a two-tier medical system in Canada in a short time, because people who pay for service, get served. Those that don't end up on waiting lists.

Glad to hear you are doing well. Chat to you later.

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no, I guess things don't change.
by batman823 / January 10, 2008 1:29 AM PST
In reply to: lol nothing changes.

I'm sorry for coming off that way.. I didn't mean literally $100 for a hammer, I just remember seeing that a lot in movies and media. But it's not that rediculous.

The military uses a stock system called FedLog Interactive. Using a hammer as a base, the cost at Home Depot is maybe $10 or $15 but it would cost $30 or $45 in FedLog, depending on the type and length. But the heating system I mention was one bank of heaters that only heated a space for one man. So the submarine had to take $500,000 out of its budget so one man could sit in a stateroom without having to wear a jacket. I ordered a stainless steel solenoid-operated needle valve for $5,000. That part for a car costs $50 or $150 with the starter attached. But in general, the stuff the military has to buy costs about 3x-5x what it costs through the fair market. The reason is that the manufacturers are contracted and generally have no limits on what they can charge. They have no competing companies and the military is bound by these contracts so they can't buy from anyone else. The fuzzy math may have been a thing of the past, but they don't do it that way now. But because so many forces are deployed to the middle east, home-base defense has to take a gigantic budget cut. In the last two years my command lost almost 20% of it's funding because of the GWOT.

From the US Treasury reports,veiwable at www.ustres.gov, DOD was budgeted $439billion and expected to recieve an additional $80billion in emergency funds. That doesn't include the $125billion last spring to keep the troops in Iraq through the summer until September and the funding after that. The $1trillion dollars is just an estimate that includes the many billions of dollars given to other countries like Pakistan for boosting their military.

But in contrast, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education was budgeted for a combined total of only $142billion. I take care of myself and family before I stretch out an open palm. One would be lucky to get any help from another person at all, just because others don't want to. I think that our gov't should have the same attitude. With some hot topic that the American poeple actually care about, we shouldn't be spending such a huge amount of money keeping troops over seas. Most Americans want health care and don't want the war. Yet our tax dollars mostly go to what we don't want. The Iraqi people may not be killing our troops as much anymore, but shouldn't be there to get shot at in the first place. I know they need to have a legitimate gov't too, but it's their responsibility to do it. We've given them plenty of help, and they are still taking their sweet time. If their people don't want a gov't then no amount of money we spend will institute one that will remain in power. If we carry Iraq all the way, then their gov't will just collapse because they don't want it bad enough. That's one of the biggest reasons why I don't agree with what we're doing.

But other than that I agree with you almost completely. The governing unit should be kept as small as possible. I think our military is way to big and it may ultimately lead, or at least partake in, the country's downfall.

As far as healthcare goes, I know we don't agree on that. But I think we both have valid points as well. The people I've spoken to in norway and england, for example, had nothing but good things to say about their medical systems. That includes private civillians as well as military.

I don't disagree with a two-tier system either. That would satisfy all those involved. People like you who think that you should get better care because you have more money would get that. But that effectively turns our society to an empirical one. That just proves as onee more stepping stone for the "Social Elite." Those of us who think that anybody should get up-to-date care would get that too.

I might have gotten the surgery I actually needed instead of settling for the one that the insurance company said they'd pay for. But who is the insurance company? Some general practitioner said that they don't pay for a surgery and I don't have a choice... That's just not right. The prosthetic discs are FDA approved and new generations are on the verge of that as well. When it is FDA approved and a Neurosurgeon says that's the best course of action, the insurance company should have to pay out. Basically, you and I shouldn't have to suffer because some jerk in an insurance company wants to own another BMW this year. Also, the people who review these claim shouldn't be able to get a bonus or incentive pay for denying more claims. I don't know about you, but that's just sickening to me. Nobody should ever be allowed to profiteer on other people's health problems, whether it be cancer or a combat-related injury, like mine. It's totally unregulated and I gaurantee it's not the Social Elite who pay the price.

But before you get your books out, this is just my personal experience. When I was Med-Evacuated from Gibralter, the Royal Naval hospital was fine. After that I was given a 2.5hr ambulance ride with NATO travel orders to Cadiz, spain. Spain has the socialized medicine too. The hospital was completely packed with no standing room in the hallways on a saturday night. It took 3 hours for me to get a bed and I couldn't even use my legs at that point. I literally had to have help from my escort(A Chief Petty Officer in the Royal Navy) to use the restroom.

But what I think is more disgusting is that a person in one of the wealthiest countries in the world can make a "good living" and still not be able to get themselves or their children health care. The hospitals don't ask what's wrong and take care of you, they ask for your insurance. (which you and I can't afford) Sure there might be a two-tier system in Canada in the future. But somebody can go to a surgeon if they need to. In an emergency, you get emergency care. So if you go to an E.R. here or Canada, you will wait at least 4hrs for something that's not urgent. It's not any worse there than here. And for other things, I'd rather wait a month and get the right thing done (socialized) than pay $1000/month to have somebody tell me I can't have the operation I need.(capitolist)

I know it's a little lengthy and intense, but I hope you find this a good argument and not a personal attack. I didn't intend it as such. Also, it's good to finally come in contact with another person who can debate a sensitive sensibly and with some intelligence.

Nice chatting with you

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I understand. (military)
by Andy77e / January 15, 2008 5:16 AM PST

Like I said before, there is no question about government waste in the Military, because it's part of government. Government by its very nature is wasteful.

The point is, if we are going to cut wasteful programs, start with the ones not in the Constitution. Military is constitutionally mandated duty of our federal government. Social Insecurity is not. Cut that first.

The feds are blowing money. Right. But as I pointed out, we spent $2.902 Trillion last year. Less than one third of that went to Military. Two trillion dollars was unconstitutional spending. Let's cut things, the constitution says our federal government shouldn't be doing anyway, first. After we cut out $2 trillion in unconstitutional spending, then we'll worry about $439 billion spent on the military.

It's true most of our tax money goes to things I don't want, namely the two trillion in unconstitutional spending, but as for the military, I do want that. Further, I do not pretend to know how one goes about helping another nation setup a completely new government, with as much internal strife, as Iraqis have to deal with. I can only imagine that the new government is walking a thin line to try and gain the support of the people, many of whom, used to believe Americans were there to colonize, rather than reconstruct, the Iraqi nation. It's amazing how demanding Americans can be for a situation so difficult as Iraq, and yet be so impatient.

How many year did it take to rebuild Japan and how much did the Japanese hate and distrust America after we dropped two nuclear bombs on highly populated cities? Yet here it hasn't even been 4 years since the interim Iraqi constitution was signed, and you think they should be completely self sustained? And Iraq has far more internal issues to sort through than Japan did.

Yet even so, the news from Iraq is so good we actually had a report on the news that funeral homes were starting to run out of business. Not enough people dieing apparently. Every few months we return another province over to Iraqi self rule.

We have so much invested interest in Iraq, there is no way we can pull out without huge long term ramifications. If we leave, the once pro-American support within Iraq will feel abandoned, becoming hopelessly bitter toward us. Terrorist groups will swoop in to gain support of the people, accusing us of using them and deserting them. Iraq will be heavily influenced by Iran, already anti-American and have nuclear weapons to support their hostility. Iran and terrorist groups will gain the technologically advanced nation of Iraq to help support their activities, and export their terrorist plans to not only surrounding nations and our allies, but likely here in the US.

To not support our efforts in Iraq, really is to support terrorism. Whether you buy it or not, that is what will happen. Why do you think Osama Bin Laden held such a high contempt for the people of Iraq revolting against him? Do you think for even a second, that will continue if we pull out before Iraq is able to fend for itself?

Now in all truth, you are right about one thing... there is no way we can know for certain if the Iraqi people will ultimately stand on their own. However, I would rather do everything we can to make it right, make it work. It would be far better to, if the government should fall, and things not turn out for the best, to know that we did all we could, rather than to know we pulled out too soon, before they were ready, and wonder if things might have worked if we had stayed.

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very good
by batman823 / January 15, 2008 11:47 PM PST

I agree almost completely about the government waste. I didn't see the numbers you posted. On the US Treasury site, it was much smaller. But that makes no real difference.

The point is that the budget allocated more money to the military than it did to all other departments combined. And, of course we overspent and went way over the budget. Since there are only 300million people in our country, it seems that 3trillion is a bit much. I don't really think that each citizen paid $10,000 in taxes. being in the lower class, you and I pay much less and get most of that back in our returns. So that must be a huge burden on the middle class, since the upper-class gets pretty good tax breaks. That doesn't sound like "To each according to their need, from each according to their ability". It sounds like "If you make the laws, just make another law that exempts you from the ones you don't want to be subject to," and I don't remember reading that in the constitution.

I am not sure about what you mean by "unconstitutional spending" or that unauthorized spending even makes up a relativant portion of the tax dollars. But I agree completely that much of our budget(whatever the number) goes to waste, even if it is provided for specifically by the constitution.

I am glad that you recognize the waste in the military and I hope I cleared up the mechanism in which it is primarily wasted for you.
Also, the military is a very necessary thing for our country. My beef with it is how much we actually spend. Do we REALLY need half of our budget allocated to military? Shouldn't that be the limit? Why are we so quick to spend more money than we alloted? It seems that the budget doesn't even matter, it's all just made up anyway, right?

YES!!! We should definitely cut wasteful programs. I am not counting on Social Security, I hope nobody I know is. We need our police, but do we actually need such a huge military? Even if you say yes, consider this. We could easily keep our current military force, even raise the pay of those willing to serve, if we could just manage to pay fair-market value for the equipment and parts our military uses.

Our country formed its own government with very little help. In fact, that's pretty much how it's always been done. The people organize and tell the current gov't that they aren't listening and form their own governing body.
The main point is that we've done more for them than any country should expect and they are yet to step up to the plate. It's never easy, but it's worth it fro freedom. If they don't want it bad enough then they don't deserve it. They are all free to come here in a legal fashion and try to become citizens on their own accord.

But on the other hand, it must be very difficult for a new gov't to gain control without using absolute force. I couldn't imagine being in charge of that. So I do see your point. But when did it become our responsibility? I don't think it is just because the big, powerful ****** says "If we don't, the terrorists win!"
But that's just my opinion that 90% of the world happens to have.
If it really were true and if other countries believed it, then we wouldn't be the dominant occupying force, we would be contributing instead of mandating.
Nonetheless, I may not be happy with the situation, but I am happy for the people over there. They are getting babysat by the most powerful country in the world and they don't even have to shed their own blood for their own freedom. What a sweet deal! I wish the french had just sent over their entire military and screwed their own country over when we were declaring our independence.

Even though I don't agree with it, I hope it works since we're doing it anyway. After that they will be more free and we can establish commerce. We can buy oil from an ally who owes us a HUGE favor. Maybe then our oil prices will be secured, if not lowered.

You do have one valid point. If we suddenly pull out, we would have sent all those brave americans over to die or come home mamed or permanently injured(like I did) and it all will have been for nothing. We simply cannot just leave all at once. It'll backfire worse than you and I could imagine. We could start though, it would satisfy both party lines. It would encourage the Iraqis to do their own part and the people who want our soldiers home would be abated because there would be light at the end of the tunnel.
But people fail to see the big picture. Britain sends some people, but other than that tiny bit, we are the only ones over there. The "terrorists" don't just hate america, the attack each other, Britain, Scotland, etc... So I think those countries who like having their children and buildings intact should be helping too.

Whether it is terrorist groups or local warlords, there will always be strife in the holy land, and everywhere around it. It's a hard thing to accept, but we can't stop it. We never will, no matter how hard we try or how many soldiers and dollars we sacrifice.
Al Qiata has a lot of power in somalia(soomalya) because the warlords over there make the citizens so miserable that they'd rather be pawns in the terrorist organizations than live under current gov't rule. They get treated better and nobody kills them just to prove a point. So if you and I lived there, we just might be praying for Al Qiata to save us. In the last year, we've done a lot in somalia, but it goes on all over. Those are the people that really need our help, if we're just determined to be the world police force.

I hope to hear from you soon.

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Confusing me (military)
by Andy77e / January 17, 2008 12:23 PM PST
In reply to: very good

BUDGET=
I figured a few things out. First, I mistakenly hit the 2008 budget instead of the 2007 one. Second, I was using lump sum of all direct/indirect military costs. Most people who hate the military, add in all non-current military expenses in order to inflate the numbers to support their view we spend too much. So here is a summery as best I understand it, straight from CBO and US Treasury.

$115 Billion
CBO estimates this is how much money was spent on the war in both Iraq and Afghanistan, as of Aug '07.

$549 Billion
This is the official budget for the DoD for all current military. (this includes the $115 above)

$678 Billion
This is everything above plus things not directly related, such as Veterans Affairs, Foreign affairs, National Guard, Homeland Security, and nuclear missile maintenances that is under DOE budget.

Ok so if you include everything, the total is:
$ 678 Billion Military
$2,887 Billion... that's total outlays for '07.

$678 Billion is not 1/2 of $2,887B, it's not even 1/3... it's *less* than 1/4 the budget.

CONSTITUTION=
Unconstitutional spending, is any spending for things not mandated by the Constitution as a duty of the federal government. Currently, roughly 75% (about $2 Trillion) of the budget is unconstitutional spending, which is the following things:

Social Insecurity, Mediscare, Medicaid, Welfare, Low income housing, Education and Training, Unemployment, US Post Office, Science and Technology grants, Agriculture subsidies, and interest on a national debt that would not exist if not for the afore mentioned unconstitutional spending. National Health Care would fall under unconstitutional spending.

I would argue that nearly all our budget should go to the military. That *IS* the primary purpose of federal government. Read the history of the Constitution. Before that, we had the Articles of Confederation, which was so weak that they couldn't even raise enough money for a basic army, and even then they couldn't legal form a military if they had the money. This is the *ONLY* reason they replaced it with the Constitution which was supposed to give the federal government *only* enough power to form a military. That's it... no welfare or health care... just a military.

In effect, I would support leaving or increasing military spending to where it roughly is, but cutting taxes by about $2 Trillion. Because that is what the federal government is *supposed* to do. Give the rest of that money back to the people who rightfully earned it.

WORLD OPINION=
I still do not give a rats *** about 'opinions' when defining what is best for our security. In case you are not up on WW2 history... the world opinion was against confronting Hitler's world domination, and the result was he defeated nearly all of Europe before we finely figured out we need to do anything.

World opinion resulted in Normandy. If we had ignored the world opinion, and kicked Hitlers butt before he got past Poland, there would not have been a "World War 2". Sometimes I wonder if history is even taught anymore.

World opinion would have us leave, a horrible brutal dictator that supported terrorist attacks against American targets, in power. Real leaders do not follow 'opinion'. Real leaders lead. National security policy should never be determined by 'opinion polls' like Clinton used to do. "Should I defend the nation or not? What do the polls say?" That's not a leader, that's an idiot.

So please spare me the 'world opinion' says garbage. It's a waste of forum space. You mention our own revolution. Public and world opinion, was no one can defeat the British empire. Even the French who supported the colonies thought we were crazy. If our colonial leaders had been like you and Clinton, taking an opinion poll to determine what's best for us, the United States would never have existed.

IRAQ=
Last, Iraq is a special case. You are right that most reforms come from within. But that's because normally when an external force takes over a country, they keep it. Only Americans take over countries and leaves them to self rule once our issues with that nation is fixed. Japan, South Vietnam, Cuba, Panama. Remember Germany right after WW2? We left Germany, while the Russians (USSR) owned it.

So unlike a revolution that comes from within, we cause revolutions from the outside. By returning the nations back to the people after dismantling the prior government.

But I think you are way too hard on the Iraqi people. Japan required far more time than this to become a stable self sustained government, and Iraq has far more large issues to overcome. You should be more sensitive to that.

Iraq has 3 peoples groups, and Saddam was a master at pitting them against each other. So the current government is carefully trying to unify the people, while healing the scars inflicted by a dictator in charge only 6 years ago. Iraq, unlike Japan, is surrounded by a few enemies. Iran would like nothing more than to plunder Iraq and slaughter Iraqis for the loss during the Iran-Iraq war. So we just disarmed them, now we have to re-arm them so they do not get slaughtered. Finely terrorist groups are actively trying to find ways to gain control of any of the vast resources in Iraq.

So I still think your expectations are way too high. Plus, I don't know what information you have, but Iraqi military and police forces are fighting with us, and they have had many causalities. I totally do not get where the strange idea that Iraqis are just sitting watching soccer, drinking a beer, while we fight, is coming from. Not only do the reports from Iraq not support that, but Osama's video decrying the resistance by the Iraqi people, makes it clear they are fighting too.

Anyway, see you later.

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Now we're getting somewhere.
by batman823 / January 17, 2008 10:31 PM PST

I am not sure where you get your budget information, but it doesn't seem that it's too far off from what I got on the official publication.

I found the actual expendature table in the US Treas report.
I was wrong about a couple of things. Therefore, I feel I should correct myself.

The three heavy-hitters were social-security($626.4Bil) DOD ($689Bil) and Department of Health and Human Services($718.6Bil) and the total spent was $3.16Trillion. So I was wrong about the percentage spent on DOD.

Remember that SS is a separate tax from income tax and would not effect the budget if it were simply chopped off or dismantled.

The other budget numbers I quoted were the "President's Budget" Which is simply the executive branch's portion of the budget request. According to that budget, it only makes sense that the DOD would recieve more than all others combined because that's the primary purpose of the executive branch.

There was also another $50Bil that was the "discretionary budget." 51% of that was also spent in DOD.

The principle holds true for me that we are very wasteful in our military spending. Roughly 1/5 of the DOD budget is spent on personnel. The 81% that's left was spent on the other stuff I spoke of earlier. We could drastically reduce the total DOD budget(my ideal guess would be 40-50%) while increasing pay for the military members and still not reduce the forces or R&D. That would leave more than enough to fund the VA and properly take care of those like me and those who are worse off.

A veteran who has a disability from serving our country has the highest right to a comfortable lifestyle provided by the gov't. It's only fair that if a person sacrifices having a normal life protecting our freedom, our country takes care of them in return. Again, Anybody who doesn't agree needs to be on the front lines until they come home missing a limb or don't come home at all.

IRAQ
I know I have a high expectations, but I don't think that's unfair.
We are doing a great thing for them, don't get me wrong. I just don't think it's completely our responsibility.

I feel pretty strongly that if a country doesn't want to be oppressed, they should step up with guns blazing, if necessary. That's what we did.
On the other hand, it is too late for that. You may be right about Iran and other countries. They may very well just step in and crush them if we weren't there. And since we've taken it this far, we should finish the job.
But finishing the job doesn't mean sticking around indefinitely. Where is your threshold? If they never get to the point of self-sufficiency, should we just stick around forever? I don't think so. There's got to be another solution and a reasonable cutoff.

Nobody babysat Japan during their reconstruction. Nobody did that for us after our civil war, either. But that's why those reconstruction periods took so long.

The more I research and read, the more I agree with you on those subjects. I don't believe the "Terrorists will win" crap. That never was the reason why we were over there and it never will be. But since we dismantled their gov't without giving them a choice, I guess it's our responsibility to enstate a good one. I am frustrated that we're the only country really giving a hand. It's as if the rest of the world isn't worried about terrorism. That's because they aren't. It's not really that big of a threat to begin with and we're doing all the policing. They don't hold a candle to the threat the Nazis imposed.

CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES
I didn't mean that I didn't actually understand the term "unconstitutional spending". I meant that I don't think most of those programs are unconstitutional. You seem to be knowledgable and I know my fair part. The federal gov't has to provide services mandated by the constitution and is allowed to provide services implied by it. Lastly it is prohibited from doing things not expressed, directly or implied.
I'm not going to pretend that I konw the whole constitution, but I am pretty sure that services for the benifit of the people are generally allowed. Although, I do agree that some of the programs you listed are not constitutional, or that they are at least wasteful.

I agree with you that the military is necessary and should be a big thing. But I do think that it is too big right now and that it is way too wasteful. We give the military all the money it wants, with no audit or limitation, and no second thought. Of course it's going to be wasteful because the contracted, no-competition manufacturers can gouge prices as much as they want and nobody's going to say anything.

OPINIONS
Opinion is the only thing that drives our policies. Granted, world opinion was wrong during the WWII beginning. But if you are such a big history buff, you'd know that we were the LAST to join the fight. We said "F you, Europe" It's not our problem. We were the ones who waited until Hitler had taken over a major portion of europe and made powerful allies. It was the US who screwed up and waited untill it was too late. That's actually why normandy happened, because we let Hitler gain control. We had "REAL LEADERS" then and they were the ones who didn't give a "rat's a**" about world opinion.

The only thing that comes out of ignoring other people's input is ignorance. Any president who disregards the American public and the rest of the world is a terrible leader, like our special-ed, drug abusing, alcoholic texan. That is exactly why the world has NATO and UN, so good leaders can help out the bad ones, so smart leaders can guide the stupid ones and big countries can help little ones. But our special friend wanted his own vietnam, and he got it.

--Your two paragraphs where you compare me to clinton--
That is one subject where you are drastically wrong. If the Founding Fathers hadn't gone with public opinion, the USA would not exist. The were regular people who were tired of their gov't taxing and controlling them without having a say. That sounds pretty familiar, doesn't it? They saw that the people wanted freedom and the said "Come hell or high water, we're going to be FREE." And the next thing you know, we were giving all that we had and sacrificing our lives because it was the right thing to do.
That's what patriotism is and how dare you say that I am not a patriot. Are you really that distorted?
I would never claim that I was a person of the Founding Fathers' caliber, but you have no right to criticize a veteran, EVER, especially one who comes home injured.

2 Notes on that-
1)I didn't say that Clinton was an excellent leader, but he was a good president and did more about the terrorists than Bush did until 9/11/01 and he did a great job with the economy. He was a good president because he put people with real opinions in his cabinet and he listened. Bush just fires people if they disagree with him, like so many Generals in the Iraq War and the scandal with the lawyers. If you just disregard all opposing opinion, you only become more ignorant and only bad can come from that.
2)Maybe I took your 'me = clinton = failed revolution' statement wrong but you should choose your words carefully when speaking about the Founding Fathers. And you should never make such a statement about a veteran. Even if you were right, you have no place saying such a thing to me or anybody who has served. Those kind of statements are just unpatriotic and line you up right next to Jane Fonda. I would expect much better etiquitte from a fellow patriot. Patriots never challenge the dedication of another. You would know that if you had spent any time around 'Real Leaders' or veterans.

Iraqi police.
You are right, I didn't mean to put that out the way it came off. I definitely don't think that they are just sitting on their couch with A/C and drinking martinis. But their parlaiment/congress should not be taking vacations while the majority of the people fighting for their freedom are still getting shot at 10,000 miles away from their homes. I highly doubt that our gov't took a vacation during our revolution when the french showed up.
I do know that the iraqis have police and that they are helping. I've stated before that we're training them. On that note, it's pretty tough seeing the kurds get sh*t on and not allowed their own freedoms. Same with the shiites and sunnis. It's the extremists of those three that are the main concern, they are the make-up of the various terrorist groups in that area. It does seem like it would be hard to give them freedom, get them to get along, subdue the extremists/fundamentalists, and all-the-while set up a centralized government that they don't even want. I think that in the end, they will like and utilize the central gov't. And they won't be able to stand on their own feet if they don't have a central gov't, so we are doing the right thing there.

I look forward to hearing from you

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Not sure where we got...
by Andy77e / January 18, 2008 1:46 PM PST

BUDGET
Those number must be the 2008 budget... Since nothing I have read anywhere says that we spent even close to $3.16 Trillion.

I do not use 'projected' budgets. The FY '08 budget is worthless to me. The reason is, Bush can write down anything he wants, but when congress over spends by billions, what can he do? Wave the budget around? Moreover, there is no way to predict future events. What if the war goes south and more money is required? What if another Katrina type event occurs? What if the war goes great and less money is needed? What if congress spends less? (hahaha) What if they spend more? (not a big 'if') What if the economy goes up or down?

So I will always use the prior years 'actual' budget numbers, rather than next years projected budget. Why use numbers in a budget, that history has shown, Congress never follows?

I have a link that I hope we both can agree to as the source for budget numbers.

http://www.treasury.gov/press/releases/hp603.htm
$ 530 billion -Military outlays
$ 621 billion -Social Insecurity outlays
$2,731 billion -Total outlays
Military is less than 1/5 the total budget.

CONSTITUTION
Actually no. There is no 'implied' services allowed. I would suggest reading the Federalist Papers. A group of papers written by the signers of our Constitution in order to give greater clarity as to the meaning, while explaining the reasoning behind the choices made.

In our Constitution, every purpose and duty of the federal government is explicitly spelled out. The phrase "all other rights are reserved for the states", is a catch all, designed to make clear that no other duty is allowed to be performed by the federal government.

Now I will grant you, there are some things that should be added to the duties of the federal government, but only under the exiting mandates. For example, the regulation and monitoring of nuclear power plants. But only because it's a possible national security threat, and national security is a duty of the Fed. Gov.

However, only a small, and I mean tiny, hand full of situations like that exist. Most are not. Some situations existed, but no longer fall under that category. US Post Office. It was a matter of national security that we be able to quickly get information to and from western states like California. But our military has no need of the post office today, and Fedex is a million times more efficient. USPS should be phased out and dismantled.

OPINION
"Opinion is the only thing that drives our policies." What? Seems to be contradicted by our leaders stance.

WW2... ok I know socialized public schools are bad, but one of us is so far off the mark, it's not funny.

When Hitler started rebuilding their military, opinion here and abroad was, don't do anything, make treaties. Poland made a treaty with Germany, and got invaded. After that, the public opinion was... don't do anything, make treaties. Norway and Denmark fell and opinion was... do nothing, make treaties. France fell, now it is just the UK.

Meanwhile Churchill many other were shouting out that there was a problem. Of course they were labeled tyrant warmongering and other names. Instead they followed public and world opinion.

"We had "REAL LEADERS" then and they were the ones who didn't give a 'rat's a**' about world opinion."
Where do you get this stuff? FDR made the case over and over for stopping Hitler as soon as he invaded Poland. He warned Europe to do something, and they followed public opinion, and ignored him. Further, after our allies woke up and realized they were in trouble, it was still US public opinion that said do nothing, leave it alone. FDR never supported that. He always said we needed to get over there.

Sounds familiar... yes? In fact, they called FDR a warmongering dictator just like Bush, because FDR started building our military long before Pearl Harbor. He knew that we would be attacked no matter what the opinion was.

In fact, what made FDR a great leader was that he didn't follow public opinion. Due to public opinion, our spineless congress passed the Neutrality Act, that said we wouldn't help anyone in Europe, nor would we get involved. This is why FDR secretly linked up with Churchill and sent aid to our allies. It was the WW2 version of Iran-Contra.

Point being, no FDR didn't say to Europe, we don't give a 'rat ***', it was public opinion that said that. FDR was right. Bush is right. Public and world opinion was/is wrong.

CLINTON
"(clinton) put people with real opinions in his cabinet and he listened"
Name one. Clinton did not have people with opinions in his cabinet. He had pollsters in his cabinet. Whichever way the political wind blew, regardless of anything, that is the way he went. When people were concerned that Saddam was getting WMD after he kicked out the UN inspectors, Clinton 'blew' to the right making the case for war in 1998. But when the political winds 'blew' left and the polls said opinion was against it, he was suddenly against his own plans. Then 9/11 and Hilliary claimed they were always in favor of the war against Saddam. Now recently Clinton said he was always against the war.

?If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq?s weapons of mass destruction program.? ? President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998
http://sweetness-light.com/archive/bill-clinton-claims-he-opposed-iraq-war

That is not a leader... that is a spineless idiot. I did not mean to imply you are no better than Clinton. However, you are doing exactly what Clinton was known for, which is to make really important, life or death choices, based on the ignorant opinion of the masses, and the opinion of nations that have no interest in our security.

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etc. etc.
by batman823 / January 22, 2008 3:03 AM PST

The president's budget has two forms, requested and approved. The approved budget is the one that I first mistook for the whole budget.

The $3.1Tril budget I quoted were the 2007 actual expenditures.
But your link is to the same site that I looked up my figures. Again, the particular numbers aren't relavent. It's the percentages that really matter.
Since the 2006,'07 and '08 budgets were similar and congress has shown a tendancy to overspend by roughly the same amount in a particular year, I could look at one or the other and feel confident that my money is going to be wasted in the same manner.

I did state that my original figures were wrong and that the 50% was the pres's budget, not the total. The pres's budget should be >50% military because that is the entire purpose of the executive branch.

I apologize for mixing up my statements. The states are granted "implied" authority, as well as "expressed" and I meant to say that the federal gov't still has power but is limited to only those "expressed" and not 'implied'. sorry for the confusion. I agree with your statement about the constitution.

OPINION
Opinion is the only thing that drives our policies. Public opinion elects our officials. The opinion of those officials are the opinions which form new policies and actions. The opinions of world leaders combining together are the ones which create peace and deter unfavorable action. Our president ignored all those opinions and created a precedent in 2001/2002 that he gets to do what he wants and congress has to supply bill after bill to fund it.

"WW2... ok I know socialized public schools are bad, but one of us is so far off the mark, it's not funny."
Just to check.. You don't think the concept is bad, do you?
I hope you were referring to the damage that Bush has done to them or at least the quality during my upbringing and after. But I know you wouldn't insult my intelligence. I consider us in the same category on that subject, varying in some respects.
You do have some credits, though.
You went to public school probably a decade or more before I did, so you were probably taught WWII in more detail than I was. I gaurantee that most of the people I went to school didn't do as much reading on the civil war as I did. But no, WWII is not my Forte`.

In reality, our public schools are considered a good thing.
True, kids don't learn as much as they used to, especially in history. And I'm the first to admit that I'm not a buff. But what is clear about WWII is that we could have nipped it in the bud when Hitler started invading, or even before that. I'm not going to pretend that public schools taught the opinions of each world leader or each congressmen, let alone FDR.
The idea behind treaties was to keep Hitler's army small and move under the assumption that he would obey those treaties. It was a better option than just going to war because some crazy failed artist was mad at the jews. But Murphy's Law plays out and showed that was the biggest mistake they could make. Germany kicked everybody's butt until we realized Hitler wasn't going to stop. That's sadly a little beyond the extent to what public schools teach now, or at least what kids get out of it.

Sometimes, a president does need to do something, even if it makes him unpopular. Without this quality, a person shouldn't be in office. But after so much time, I think he's just a stubborn *****, not a good leader. There's a big difference.
I am doing more and more research on almost a daily basis. The more I read, the more I realize that the Iraqi occupation is a situation that we created and shouldn't back out of. We needed to get Saddam out, and this is the result. We destroyed their gov't and we should fix what we've done. That's the right thing to do because other groups would crush an unorganized, inferior population in Iraq.
Maybe we could have been more efficient, but it's just how it ended up.

Clinton vs. Bush
Let's not ring the bell. We've already had this discussion before. Clinton had his own initiatives and reprimanded others for criticizing his plans. They said it was unnecessary. He ended up settling on the issue because he listened to his advisors. This caused a smaller homeland security organization in the gov't than clinton wanted. www.whitehouse.gov
It is true that he listened to public opinion, maybe too much. But he didn't change policy based on a pole result, as you state. At least he listened.
Bush just fired everybody who disagreed with him so he could have the ironically labeled "patriot act" and wire tapping initiatives. I like that I can be jailed without Habeus Corpus. no trial, no rights, just jail. That seems GREAT. Oh, wait, it's bad and I don't want that. But since bush is a real leader, it's ok.
We've said plenty before on that tired subject. I would prefer to just leave our differing opinions as just that.


The point I was making with the Founding Fathers and Patriots is that even if you are a true veteran, you don't have the right to speak of one like that. I meant exactly what I said. Just choose your words carefully on those subjects, especially when looking a vet in the face. Coming from anybody else, I would not have cared. But I hold a degree of respect and social etiquitte for you. I just ask the same in return.
We are both obviously intelligent patriots who enjoy a heated debate. But I prefer it stays away from offensive behavior. That takes away from the conversation.
I agree that our permanent policies should not be based on the ignorant, temporary waning of public opinion. But that's what we did to make this country. It never would have happened if the public opinion was anything but distrust. You and I could sit in our garage with some guys from other states and declare ourselves free, but what would it accomplish? Nothing.
If the people didn't feel oppressed, nothing would have happened at all. We never would have had the numbers in our forces/militia required to enforce our Declaration of Independence.
On the other hand, I do not think that Clinton could/would have gotten the job done either.

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Blast it... forgot some stuff (military)
by Andy77e / January 18, 2008 2:46 PM PST

Military cutting waste, and why I do not separate Social Insecurity from the general budget.

I was saving those for last, but clicked submit by accident. The reason a saved them is because it shows idealism. I love that. I really do. It's good to have high standards and goals. And if an ideal world could ever exist, you'd have my vote to be in charge of it.

Ideal Military:
In an ideal world, you could simple go through and eliminate all the waste in the military, cut the budget, give everyone raises, and yet have money left over. This is true.

But reality is, government... is *always* -inherently- wasteful.

If you were to cut the DoD budget, waste would still happen, and over priced tools would still be bought... they would simply run out of money and cut benefits for VA, or stop fully supplying the troops, or cancel purchases for new equipment.

Let me give a similar example. Many years back now, during the late 90s, we passed Welfare reform. This put tougher rules on who could qualify for welfare, but didn't change the budgeted money for welfare.

As a result, welfare recipients dropped. What did the welfare agencies do with the money? Be frugal and use it wisely? Return it to the tax payer?

No, instead many purchased large ads in news papers, advertising that welfare was available. In California, and a few other states, the welfare agency actually purchased a 30 second ad on TV during prime time. The government agency systematically blew through hundreds of thousands of dollars.

This is reality. Government will always be wasteful.

Ideal Social Security:
In an ideal world, people would pay into social security from their paycheck. The money would go to a trust fund account with their social security number on it. In that account, it would grow at a standard interest rate per year, until they reached 65 years of age. At which point they would then retrieve their money from their account that they funded.

If that was the case, then yes: Leave Social Security off the budget, in a separate room, completely autonomous from the rest of the government.

Reality again, is a bit different. In the real world, the money that is taxed from you, on your pay check labeled FICA, is taken to the same central account with all the rest of the general funds. Further, all Social Insecurity payouts are cut from the same general fund.

There is no 'trust fund', it's merely the name of a government program. There is no bank account somewhere with your SS# on it, with all the money you have contributed in it. Every year that Social Insecurity collects a surplus, it is spent in the general budget and is gone. Every year that Social Insecurity spends a deficit, it borrows money off the general budget and increases our national debt.

So that is why I do not separate Social Insecurity from the general budget. I do not because... it isn't separate. Yes they might move it around on paper... and maybe they put it under the 'off-budget' category. But that is simply an accountant game. Traditional government 'fuzzy math' system.

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idealism
by batman823 / January 22, 2008 1:52 AM PST

In forums like this you only have a few options with these subjects.

These are what I generally see.
You can help - tech questions and such.
You can debate things in how they work. - learn and teach
You can discuss how you think things should work.

I've more or less been using the third and dipping into the second.

Ideally, yes, even the gov't would pay fair market prices for equipment and tools. That in and of itself would be a simple legislative action and easily put into action. That would greatly reduce the spending.

Social security is what it is. It does not work and will never have the appropriate amount of money to pay out what it promised.
But to cut it off completely means to dismantle it. To get rid of SS would not affect the primary budget and spending in the long term because it is not a factor now and would not be(for sure) if it were gone.
The mechanics of it are well-known and easy to understand, and obiously there's no acct w/your name or my name on it. But there is a record of what we pay in. It's just that the money will be all gone by the time it's our turn. So all that money that goes away labeled as FICA goes towards the old farts rusting away now and we don't get it, ever. That money is money I could use for my retirement funds or for paying bills, or whatever I want. It's my money and I should be able to use it how I please.
At the very least, SS should be optional. I didn't agree to give $200/mo to somebody I'll never meet and nobody will be doing it for me when I retire.

Yes, the gov't should be very tiny and have authority over only what the constitution says, but that's not how it works now. They just vote to create laws and spend money if it can be construed as not blatently violating the constitution.

But in whole, the waste will be there no matter what. The extent can be controlled if the people who have the ability to do so actually care about where the tax dollars are going. Good luck getting that to happen.

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Unhealthy care (national health care)
by Andy77e / January 16, 2008 11:30 PM PST

I did not realize until now, just how difficult it is to explain how a socialized system is bad, when the fundamentals of modern civilization are (seemingly) not known.

First, not be rude, but you must get over your "I know joe bob, in Effingstan, that said socialism is great!". There are tons of issues with this approach: How much does 'Joe' know about the system? How many types of issues did 'Joe' have the system take care of? How many other systems does 'Joe' have knowledge of? Is the system advancing or stagnate? What is 'Joe' comparing the system too? ...and on and on.

Further, in all socialist systems, it normally starts out very well. The issues do not normally come into focus until years after the system is in place. Venezuela for example, has taken over control of oil wells. As a result, the profits that would go to maintaining and upgrading, the oil wells is spent in government coffers. The results are a yearly decline in oil production as more and more oil wells quit working or need upgraded. A feat nearly unheard anywhere else in the world. In the short term, great cheap gas and everyone loves government. Long term, gas shortages and price spike due to the now required importing more oil, more than before the government take over.

So maybe the Norway system is working for the moment. However if it is a socialized system, it *will* fail as all other socialized systems do.

You see, capitalism and the ability to profit, is the method that runs the entire world. To go against that system well always result in ruin. Look around you right now. Nearly everything you see is the result of profit. None would exist without profit. Would your computer have been built, if the builders could not profit? Would the internet you are on now, exist if no one profited from providing the service? Would you yourself, do the job you are planning to do, if there was no profit in it?

Point is there is nothing wrong with profit, and without it you end up with problems. For example, in Canada's socialized health care, doctors have price controls on everything they do. This caps the ability to profit from doing the job. Result is, 1 in every 5 graduating doctors, leaves Canada to practice in the US. Many end up going into specialized medicines that allow them to earn more, and lastly some leave the field completely. Canada is facing a nation wide doctor shortage due to... preventing profit.

The average Canadian doctor spends $100K and 9 years of their life in school, in order to get into the work force to earn only $75K a year. Mean while the average Canadian carpet installer makes $80K a year. A skilled workman for Ford will earn $130K a year after spending 2 years in free company schooling. How would you like to spend $100K and 9 years to find out the carpet installer next door is earning more? Not to mention if he messes up, the ramifications are far less than if a doctor messes up.

All dollar values above are in Canadian. Comparatively, a Canadian doctor earns roughly $50K in US dollars... which is how much a US nurse makes.

And if you want more examples of this, I can list dozens.

It doesn't end here either. Profit is where all advancements come from. A hospital takes millions of dollars to just open the door. Where does that come from? It comes from the profit of existing hospitals.

There is a shortage of hospitals in some areas of Canada. A record number of women are sent south of the boarder to simply have a baby. One women showed up with twin about ready to pop, only to find it was standing room only with a line to the door. She bought a ticket and flew south.

In France, in '03, there was a massive heat wave that killed hundreds. However what was shocking was the number of in-hospital deaths. Publicly funded hospitals do not have air conditioning.

Look at the shortage of VA hospitals in the US. That is a socialized system. Without profit, new hospitals do not open, and the VA systems problems are the natural result.

Take MRI units. The US has 19.5 per million people, compared to Canada's 4.6. Why? No profit to invest in needed equipment. CT scanners, US 29.5 to Canada's 10.3 per million population.

But not only does lack of profit kill the ability to get current technology (and CT scanners are dinotech if you get my meaning), but it also kills the ability to advance.

Drug companies make lots of profit. However uninformed people don't realize that the great, effective drugs we have to day, are due to the millions spent in the years prior, and that millions are needed to fund R&D for the next generation of great drugs that help us.

Without profit, who will pay the researchers? The chemist? The test subjects? The fees for FDA testing and approval?

Answer: France was the birth place of modern medicine, yet due to the socialized drug system, companies must submit to strict price controls. As a result companies can't make any real profit off of drug sales. Many companies have left France to open up shop in other markets, some leaving the French market completely. France is now lagging all modern nations in medical breakthroughs. A telling feat given they started modern medicine.

In the end, a socialized health care system will result in sub-standard care. It will be rationed, it will be rushed, it will have long waiting lists, it will not advance, and it will trap everyone in a failing system.

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That first difficulty goes the other way.
by batman823 / January 17, 2008 2:10 AM PST

I apparently wasn't clear enough. But I'll put out a few things that might help.

First of all, business is good. People deserve proper pay and benefits according to thier education, qualifications and work. But I do think it is wrong to corner people and profit off of an unavoidable misfortune. Those should be basic concepts and beliefs among all americans. I know that since we live in a greedy and corrupt society, that is simply a pipe dream. The people who benefit from those regulations and laws happen to be the ones who make them, and that's no coincidence.

You're going under the assumption that I am convinced complete socialism works. I know it doesn't.

Also, it's not an "I know joe-bob" thing. I have actually spoken to people(plural) who experience it and live with it. They are very happy. You have not, so all you are spouting is the company line. I think that makes me a little more qualified to speak on the subject. I'm not saying I'm not listening, but I would appreciate it if you didn't try to discredit what I'm saying by skewing the perspective. You know I keep an open mind, I expect the same in return if you prefer this to be a conversation instead of a show-and-tell process.

You are absolutely right in most everything, for the reality of them. That is because greed is by far the driving factor in doing anything. I would never open a quik-e-mart just to lose money. Same with private practice doctors. That would be stupid.

But I have many problems with our system. It is even in the constitution that no monopoly shall perpetually exist. With our current medical system, it only fails to be a textbook example of a monopoly because it's done by separate companies.
However, these companies that control the costs of medical care have a joint agreement on how much they charge, so they don't undercut anyone and they can not just maximize profits, but profiteer from the illness and injuries of others.

I really think it's sick that a young woman dying from cancer, young man with a serious back injury, child with lymphoma, etc. has to suffer for years and maybe die because they don't have INSURANCE.

There's no good reason why you can't walk in to a hospital having a heart attack and recieve up to date treatment.

If our government is going to spout "equal opportunity, fair treatment, etc." then they should back it up. That would have to be done with reasonable price controls and/or subsidies.

The canadian dollar is actually $.97 american. So they spend and make roughly the same we do now.(yes, that's today's currency exchange) Yes some come over here so they can make more money, but again that's greed with no sense of loyalty or community.

You mention people coming here so they can get better treatment. I gaurantee a woman about to give birth isn't going to hop on a plane. I have a child, Women who are actually "about to pop" know it and they don't get to the airport and just find a hospital in another country. That's just obsurd.
You also fail to mention all the people in America who hop the border to get into canadian facilities. This isn't just for some plastic surgery, it's for cancer and terminal deseases. They are actually willing to do what the mexicans do because they are refused treatment here. That alone is proof that we've got something incredibly wrong.

I don't think that totally socialized care would work for our country because we're too lazy and greedy as a whole. But a more subsidized or two-tier system would be helpful. If we all have equal right to health care, we should all be able to recieve it as equal people.It would benefit those who cannot afford the fanciest, most experienced doctors but would still allow the "elite social class" to have the best of the best because they were *obviously* made better by God than everybody else.

Why the hell are we paying co-pays anyway? I pay the insurance company, they cover me. That seems to be how it should work. But again, we've gotten something terribly wrong with our system.

On top of that, if subsidized with tax breaks or incentive reimbursement, it would provide a system where doctors of high caliber can earn just as much and be able to provide the care needed by hardship cases at their discretion without worrying about what the insurance company has to say.

We both agree that our gov't should be smaller and less wasteful. I strongly believe we can cut our mmilitary spending by at least half, keep in budget without reducing our force, and re-route that money to projects worth-while such as health care and disability assistance.

The only socialized systems that fail are poorly structured. All that hoo-hah you've read about socialized=underfunded is crap. It's just the gov'ts who don't make the people a priority.

England has been doing it well since 1948 and they don't have the overcrowded hospitals, and nearly everybody is happy with it. The reason why it works is because it is "Free at the point of need." That keeps people from abusing it but provides care to those who actually need it. That is those who are having babies, actually sick, arm cut off, car accident and so on.

They also have private practice for people who can afford it, but that's not much different than putting your kid in private school. People do that because they want their kid to have a better environment and they can afford it.

It is pretty hypocritical to say that basic education should be socialized, like it is, but health care should not. That's saying that people have the right to books and teachers but not to stay alive and healthy. Honestly, I don't see how anybody can come to that conclusion with a good conscience.

The waiting and poor hospital conditions are worse here than England, Scotland, Canada and Norway. So I really don't buy what you say about the socialized medical system. Many more peolpe here die because they are refused care, instead of it being abused like in Spain and France.

Down to the line, I'd much rather have to wait the same amount of time for the same care I recieved and not have to pay $1000/month for an insurance who is going to make me pay more for a co-pay. That's how it actually works. It seems to me that if you're going to pay out of pocket anyway, then there's no point to insurance, except that you won't be treated if you don't have it. They often enough retract their payment anyway and there's no legal precident preventing that.

here's a couple of links I think you should read.

personal story of a former english woman, now US citizen
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/512405/comparing_us_health_care_to_englands.html

The cost of Iraq War compared to Health Care - valid sources cited
http://www.nationalpriorities.org/tradeoffs?location_type=1&state=888&program=282&tradeoff_item_item=286&submit_tradeoffs=Get+Trade+Off

Simply put... We definitely have a screwed up system in most everything. Other countries have done a job that's better for the people. But in our country, money is power, power makes the rules. And as long as the people that make the rules benefit from them with no consequence, it's going to suck for those who are not as privelaged. That goes for every subject, not just this health care debacle

You and I both understand the mechanics of modern civilization, but apparently differ on the fundamental principals. Those who want to help others don't get votes or support because the people with the power would have to give up one or two of their million dollar homes or maybe only own 3 new BMWs each year. That's just unacceptable, isn't it. God forbid that politicians only live a life of SEMI-luxury! It's better that servant-people die from treatable illness than that.

Oh yeah, VA hospitals are a socialized system, yes. But if we are going to "Support our troops," like everybody says, it DOES NOT END ON THE BATTLEFIELD! It's just f*cking deplorable that we are ok with sending people off to get mamed and disabled for some other country's freedom but refuse to properly care for them when they can't hold a GD gun any more. Screw everybody who thinks that's ok. Anybody who's alright with that needs to be on the front line as an E1 and see how they like it.

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How oh how are we not connecting here.
by Andy77e / January 17, 2008 4:10 PM PST

You missed the point of the Joe-Bob comment. Just because you know someone who liked the system and lived where the system existed doesn't mean that person, nor you, are qualified to make wide judgments on it.

For example, if Joe had not used the system other than to splint a broken arm, perhaps his service was good, but that doesn't account the entire system. Perhaps Joe used the system many times, but only for minor things, this is still too limited. Perhaps Joe has not been in other systems, and has nothing to compare the system he is in, too. If you don't know what else is out there, how do you know you are getting the best service?

CONSTITUTION
Please locate in the Constitution where it says no monopoly shall perpetually exist. I am truly interested to know since I have never found that. Please also locate where people have a right to health care and locate where people have a right to education.

None of these are rights. I'll never get where these ideas come from. You have 3 rights... The right to Life (no one can murder you aka abortion), the right to liberty (no one can own you aka slave labor), the right to property (no one can take away what is rightfully yours aka income tax). Btw, yes I know that there was an amendment to allow an income tax, but that goes against everything the founding fathers stood for, and I think it should be revoked.

There is no right to health care, education, or anything else for that matter. If those were rights, it would negate the right to liberty, because you would effectively slave others to do the job of education and health care. After all, since when do you have to pay for something you have a right to?

No, the right to life, is merely a right to live without anyone taking your life from you.

By the way, the idea people die here in the US because they can't get treatment due to a lack of insurance is false. First it is against the law for a hospital to deny emergency care to patients. Second, hospitals in California have gone bankrupt, and closed down due to illegals from Mexico getting treatment in California and not having insurance, nor paying the bills. So, nice try.

CO-PAY
is between you and your insurance company. When I shopped for insurance, I had a choice of programs, because I didn't go through my employer. The monthly premium was far lower with a co-pay, so I choose a fairly high co-pay. You can get insurance with no co-pay, but the monthly cost is very high.

SOCIALISM
"The only socialized systems that fail are poorly structured. All that hoo-hah you've read about socialized=underfunded is crap. It's just the gov'ts who don't make the people a priority."

Name one government program or department that doesn't have fraud, waste, abuse or mismanagement, and normally a combo? Further all governments don't make people the priority. Micheal Reagan had a great quote "the primary purpose of all government entities is to perpetuate and expand itself".

You are correct, the VA system is horrible... um... but you want us to have that horrible system nationalized?? What is the hangup here? You know the VA system is a socialized health care system... you know it sucks horribly... ...I know let's make EVERYONE use a system that sucks horribly! Logic??? What am I missing?!

This is unbelievable. You are going to require me to go through every single Socialized Health system on the Earth, and prove that each one fails, before you accept it, aren't you? Alrighty then...

CANADA
http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/story.html?id=41ccae74-8325-449a-b89f-e68957ca25ae&k=79546
"Jepp was transported to Benefis hospital in Great Falls last Friday -- making her the fifth Alberta woman to be transferred south of the border this year because of neonatal shortages in Calgary." Fifth birth sent to the US in '07 up to August. No room at the hospital in neonatal care? Can you imagine the out cry if that happened here? But in Canada... fifth time by August. But at least it's free ...to stand outside and wait for room.

http://www.pnrec.org/2001papers/DaigneaultLajoie.pdf
"According to health data collected by the OECD, average income for physicians in the United States in 1996 was nearly twice that for physicians in Canada." Although you are right, it is getting better because of private practices that charge for service. Doesn't help those who can't pay and have to rely on government health care, but then you are ok with a two-tier system.

BRITISH - SCOTLAND (NHS covers both)
http://www.burtonreport.com/InfHealthCare/BritNatHlthNYtimes.htm
"Patients wait just to get on the waiting list"

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/6141634.stm
"Thousands of patients in the East had to wait more than 20 weeks between a hospital decision to treat them and the start of treatment" (and the new goal is to reduce that to 18 weeks)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Health_Service
"Access controls: Treatments determined by NICE to be ineffective or relatively cost-ineffective are simply not offered by the NHS" So you want the government to tell you that you can't have a procedure because it's not cost-effective, and under their system it doesn't matter how much money you have, you can't get it. That's much better than our system where it's just expensive. BTW, when Blair got in office, he promised to increase funding for Health Care. He did so by raising taxes on fuel, which lead to the fuel tax protests in 2000. Currently UK citizens pay nearly $17/per gallon for fuel.

NORWAY
http://oberon.sourceoecd.org/vl=5384861/cl=29/nw=1/rpsv/cgi-bin/wppdf?file=5lgsjhvj85g3.pdf
"According to recent opinion polls, long waiting lists and reduced freedom of choice of hospitals by patients is widely considered to be
unacceptable. The persistence of long waiting lists already prompted the authorities to introduce national standards for admission priorities. This measure was supplemented in 1990 with the introduction of a legal waiting time guarantee, stipulating a maximum waiting period of six months for non-emergency patients who suffer from damage to health that requires intervention to avoid serious consequences in the long run?

http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/34/49/1864965.pdf
"...it identifies a number of problem areas, in particular the long waiting lists for hospital admission and lack of medical staff" At least that lack of staffing isn't 'greedy'. Better to not have any care, than greedy care, right?

Please tell me which nations socialized health care system you think is great?

"People deserve proper pay and benefits according to their education, qualifications and work."
Does that include CEOs, Doctors, Nurses, Hospital staff and on and on?

Once again, why is it when a guy gets free training from the military on how to be a nuclear engineer, he can earn $100K a year, and that's not greedy, that 'deserved proper pay', but when a doctor spends ~$100K+ on schooling, and 9 years as a student, he's being greedy to charge for his services.

As for government people having insane life styles... yeah, uh... why do you want to give them even more of your money in hopes of health care? In '06, our feds gave out $29 Billion in pork... just pork, not talking about Social Insecurity's ~$100 Billion dollar 'we don't know what happened to it', not Mediscare's $18 Billion lost in fraud.

I'm talking people in government taking your money and giving it out in political kick-backs to supporters.

So let's give them a ton more in the name of National Health Care? You think they won't abuse it 'this time'?

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I think we just have differing principles.
by batman823 / January 18, 2008 2:51 AM PST

Apparently we both just choose to weigh different reports in different ways. There's nothing wrong with that, it is what it is.

Joe, john, janite, james, jeremy, not just joe...
I got the point, but if you have several person experiences or conversations about the pros and cons, it gives you a reasonable perspective.
I pointed out that I had spoken to many people about many different aspects of the socialized health care they have experienced. They had very few complaints, but it's wasn't all puppy dogs and pretty flowers. No system is perfect and none please everybody.

As far as monopoly, it is federal law under the context that the constitution is written in the spirit or fair trade and that when a monopoly is avoidable, it can be legally dismantled.i.e. Microsoft in the late 90s
Point being that a monopoly is definitely illegal and it violates the "spirit of the contstitution" by preventing fair trade practices, or that's at least the standard practice.

There are numerous court cases which argue about whether or not X company or organization has a monopoly on Y service/product. They are pretty simple and show yes/no for the specific cases.
here's a site that links to quite a few
http://neuro.law.cornell.edu/supct/search/search.html?query=antitrust&scope=onlysyllabi

I was using the "right" subject as an example.
I don't believe that education is a right, or many other things for that matter. But it is a privelage granted to us.
I do believe that it is wrong to turn away from somebody who desperately needs treatment when the treatment will not actually cost you anything of great consideration. It will not cost the surgeon anything, he would just be doing a nice thing. The hospital only pays the nurses and assistants, and for supplies, that's really not much, they just buffer the charge on your bill so they can claim a bigger tax deduction when your insurance only pays 5x the real value instead of the 100x that the hospital charges. Both of them can use the "cost" as a tax write-off for charity or business expenses anyway. So I really don't understand why this is such a hard concept for you or the hospitals.

This is how I would like to see that go. Of course it's idealistic and requires humanity in people, so it would never be a regular practice.
-------------------
If you had a brain tumor and it was operable, for example, I don't think that you should be turned away simply because you can't pay for it. It's not the same as a movie ticket. That is going under the assumption that it's not taking away a paying customer from the surgical team that would be doing your operation. In that case, the one who can't pay for it should look elsewhere or wait. If one was urgent and the paying one wasn't, the surgeon could choose according to their conscience.
-------------------
But most of the right wing claim that the individual has a right to keep and bear arms. I believe that since the 2nd amendment says
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." that right was intended for militia, and not so much for the individual.
But if the individual does have the right to bear arms, why do I have to Pay for a fire-arms liscence and why can't I have an M-16 instead of an AR-15.(they are both identical except the AR15 has 3round bursts and the M16 has full auto) Both fees and restrictions are infringement.

Most of the rights, though, are provided in one form or another at no cost. That is why I don't think that health care, education and so on are rights. But I just don't think that it is morally sound to refuse easily given care on the basis of greed. But that's only because I care about other people, which is the good Christian/good person mentality. I don't expect everybody to share that, but I do wish that they did.
In most cases, which are similar to the previous, it is not even a surgery, it might be Chemo-therapy or radiation treatment. Maybe it would be a splint or such a thing as an antibiotic. These are all standard treatments that are widely practiced and universally accepted.

You really fail to use consistant logic in many cases. Please use the context in which statements are made.
VA system isn't terrible, but it's not a posh hotel with a sexy nurse. It is socialized and needs more funding. It is just disgusting that it's even a question of whether or not we can afford it. Before we send one man or woman in harm's way for our country, we should accept the fact that they might need health care from duty-related injuries. That is a cost of war and CANNOT BE IGNORED. If there wasn't money available in the budget, then that would be another story completely. We are now so tight for money to keep our large military that the injured ones are coming home and being told that their shraplnel wounds are not service related and so the VA won't treat it.

LOGIC?? that's the pot calling the kettle black.
The VA system would work if it was budgeted accordingly to the volume of people we send out to fight. Since it is not, the number of those cared for and the quality of care comes down. Again, the cost of war doesn't end on the battlefield.

I know what the copay is and what it affects. That statement is just saying that it's stupid. If I'm going to pay a premium that's rediculously high to begin with, I should be covered 100% with no co-pay. Otherwise, what's the point of insurance? If the hospitals charged a reasonable price and we didn't pay 40% of our money in taxes, we wouldn't need health insurance. There is no competition between hospitals, let alone a desire to provide affordable care, so that sortof fits the bill for a monopoly.

True, all gov't programs have some form of waste or corruption.Usually it's pretty extensive. There's no ridding of that. That's why I am with you 100% on regulating the government and keeping it small, instead of the gov't regulating everything else. Also, just because some gov'ts don't care about their citizens, doesn't mean it's right. "if all you're friends were jumping off of bridges, would you do it too?" The lemming mentality obvoiusly doesn't work.

I don't ask that you prove to me that you think all socialized medicine sucks. It has its pros and cons, but they are not all as bad as it sounds.
All the complaints that I've heard about them are countered by something else in our system. Our problems are tenfold. Instead of bitching that we have to wait 2months to see a neurosurgeon or dematologist, we don't get to see them at all because we can't pay for it.

I truly feel bad for the woman who had been sent somewhere to have her baby. She did, however, have her baby in a hospital without it completely ruining her credit. But look at America. Maybe I haven't said this enough or maybe you're just not listening. At least she got taken care of. That's what happens in their system. For us, if you have a real emergency, you can get the lowest quality care or just die if it costs a lot of money. If you do recieve care without insurance, then your credit is instantly ruined and now you can't even buy a home. In their system, that doesn't happen. They may not recieve the best the quickest, but at least they don't have to sell their homes because their kid has cancer, or whatever.

I do think that a two-tier system would work better than what we have. Those who could afford it would get the greedy, very skilled doctors. Those who can't afford it would at least have a choice.

In America, we would abuse it and flood the public hospitals because so much of the money is in the hands of those with the power.
You posted this link.
http://www.pnrec.org/2001papers/DaigneaultLajoie.pdf
There is a slide that shows per capita spending on health care. What stands out to me is that in america the per capita spending is over $4,000/yr and in Canada it is just over $2,000. If that figure is right, then we're REALLY screwing up. If we spent the same amount per capita as we do now, then we would have a better socialized system than Canada does. But that's assuming we regulate the higher end pay and equipment "costs"

I've seen the negative reports as well as the positive, they are both just as plentiful. I guess it just boils down to which ones you believe and which ones you weigh more.

That's probably the thought process that makes this a hot topic between us. You have brought up quite a few points that I have taken to heart. I thank you for that.

The stuff after your links...
Personally, I have spoken to scottsmen(glasgow), british(portsmouth, outside of london), norweigans(can't remember the town name), british in Gibraltar, and been hospitalized in spain.
Those are the only ones I can testify to.

Spain SUCKED. But it was a saturday night and very few people seemed to have anything seriously wrong. I would only assume that's what ruined their system.

I liked norway and britain and have read good things about canada.

The reason why it's different for nuclear engineers and doctors is because nobody's life is going to be ended if I want a payraise. I'm not demeaning doctors, not in any way. But many of the young doctors have dreams of opening FREE clinics when they can. So it's up to the doctor and what their conscience allows.

I would like to think that if I were a doctor instead of a nuclear engineer, I would lean more towards the clinic idea instead of the $600,000/yr payroll. But I can't say that for everybody else.

I do believe that people deserve proper compensation for their work and skills. I don't see how else it should work. Do you?

You also make a false assumption that I got free training. That training costs me a considerable amount of money. If you get a scholarship for a company, you'll enter that company at a lower pay than somebody who went to college on their own accord. Or you will be contracted to work for them for a lengthy period of time. I was contracted for 6yrs. That is a 2year extention beyond all the know-nothing wrench-turner ratings. During that 6 year servitude, my maximum pay was $25k/yr. That's considerably less than any civillian engineer who does less work and never has to go to sea for 6-9 months at a time. I don't think that's greedy at all.
I'm not complaining. This is what serving your country is. It is sacrifice. But you seem to have a misconception as to the other portions of service.

I don't condone raising taxes for health care. There is so much waste and useless programs, not to mention the kickbacks you mention and tax exemptions that exist for the wealthy. That wasted money and from the military waste should be used. There's more than enough to go around with our current tax rates. If we got rid of the tax breaks for the wealthy, there would be even more funds for stuff that people want, not just the needs.

well, I think that's about all the bases and then some for both of us. But it has been nice, looking forward to the next one.

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Clearly we do!
by Andy77e / January 19, 2008 2:09 PM PST

CONSTITUTION
Microsoft is not a monopoly. Never was. Apple, Unix, Linux, Sun, IBM's AS/4000 and many others prove that. Again, there is no 'spirit of the Constitution'. The Constitution is a plainly written document that clear spells out what it means and what it does not. The federalist papers give even more clarity to what should be obvious.

For example Militia is defined in the Federalist papers as 'any able bodied male'. As such, anyone at a certain age (I can't remember exactly what age, but it was under 20) that was able, was considered to be part of the militia and it was their duty as a member of the nation to stand up for themselves, their family, and their fellow citizens. As such they had the right to keep and bare arms.

As I stated before the Constitution's purpose is to limit government. Just limit government. You don't get a limit on the people, by a document containing limits on government.

I *wish* right wingers still believed that, but even NY Rudy doesn't believe in the 2nd amendment. It is now just us few Constitutionalists who still take the document as it is written.

VA HOSPITALS
"The VA system would work if it was budgeted accordingly to the volume of people we send out to fight."

You are viewing this from the perspective of what 'should' work, and how things ought to happen. I am viewing it from the perspective of what does not work, and what does.

So we can talk about how the VA Hospitals 'should' be full funded, and 'should' be fully staffed, and how everything 'should' be up-to-date technology and our Veterans 'should' have the finest health care available. I can even agree with that.... I really can!

Sometimes you act like I don't want people to have health care or something screwy like that. You could not be more wrong. It would be wonderful if socialism worked. It would be great if everyone could have free whatever. If it did work, do you think that I would not want it? Free health care?! Sign me up!

The fact is, it does not work!! We can toss around how 'it should' until the end of eternity, but it's time to face reality. The VA system is a socialized health care system... And look... it has the same problems and issues *all* socialized health care systems have.

Complaint: Not Enough VA Hospitals.
Canada: not enough hospitals, people fly here to give birth.
Norway: major complaint, no choices in hospitals.
France: Hospitals dilapidated, falling apart.

Complaint: VA Hospitals are understaffed.
Canada: National Doctor shortage.
Norway: Hospitals understaffed.
France: Too many staff strikes over pay.

Complaint: It takes to long to get treatment from VA Hospitals.
Canada, UK, Norway, France: waiting lists! waiting lists! and more waiting lists!

Point being, I have been completely consistent in my view. I am constantly against socialized medicine. Always. It does not work.

MASSHEALTH
Look at Massachusetts 'MassHealth' for example. Since 1997, Taxachusetts, has had this program to cover everyone. Like all socialized systems, it worked great to start with, but since 2002, the program has been cut repeatedly. Changes include dropping adult dental care, prosthetics, orthotics, and eyeglasses, and increasing the requirements to qualify. Despite that, cost still bloomed to a state deficit of $2 Billion. So they cut the state work force, canceled child care subsidies, increased taxes and even increased state fees, like the fees to renew a drivers license... and still they made even more cuts to MassHealth. They cut the unemployed from the state wide health care. They increased the co-pay (yup even socialized medicine has co-pays, better get used to it). They cut payments to hospitals and nursing homes and pharmaceuticals, so much so, many drug suppliers planned to close up shop completely. Here's your free health care, no drugs available. And look at this recent story-

http://www.boston.com/business/healthcare/articles/2007/10/21/daily_battle_for_beds_strands_mgh_patients/?page=4
Lisa in the story waited 17 hours in the ER, just to get a bed. 17 hours? I went to my greedy pay-for-service Ohio hospital and was in, treated, and released, in 1.5 hours the first time, and 5 the second time. Had a bed, saw a doctor, got some x-rays. Boy if only I could have gotten that 17-hour-wait-for-free system, what a deal.

Rumor from MassHealth is that even more cuts are expected. You can fight your insurance company. You can sue your insurance company. You can even cancel and find another insurance company. What do you do when the government itself is cutting/denying your service?

Oddly, and you might accuse me of being hypocritical, but I totally support MassHealth. If the people of Taxachusetts want to tax themselves into oblivion, wait 17 hours in the ER in pain, have the drug companies leave the state, have Hospitals understaffed and falling apart... that is totally their right to do so. When the best of their doctors and surgeons quit over lack of pay, and leave the state, tell them Ohioans are willing to pay for the best.

Oh that reminds me... there was a recent story about VA Hospitals. Since socialized medicine never pays, no one wants to work for the VA system. As such, good doctors leave. This lack of staffing causes bad hiring practices like Dr. Jose Veizaga-Mendez. This doctor hired on, and had 10 'incidents' in 20 months that climaxed in 3 patient deaths in 3 weeks. The wife of one of the dead veterans did a basic check on this doctor and found, he had his license revoked in another state, disciplinary action at other hospitals, was under investigation, and was being sued. But hey, at least it was free.

"Instead of bitching that we have to wait 2months to see a neurosurgeon or dermatologist, we don't get to see them at all because we can't pay for it."

See what you just said is not true at all. We see the dermatologist or neurosurgeon, we just complain at how much it costs. Under a socialized system, we wouldn't see them at all, not because we can't pay, but rather because they all left the country for places they can actually earn a living. Or maybe you will see a doctor, a doctor that was so bad no one else would hire him, and then you end up dead like the VA patients.

Remember that phrase 'you get what you pay for'? Apply that to free socialized health care.

You keep saying our problems are so much worse, but that isn't what I've seen. I see that we have the best doctors. Have you ever wondered why we have all these foreign doctors? It's because they can't earn a living under the socialized systems most of the world uses, so they come here. We have the best doctors on this planet, right here in the US. We have up-to-date technology. Other countries have a fraction of what we have. We have no waiting lists, nor do we have patients dying in their hospital rooms from heat stroke because the hospital doesn't have A/C.

The only real problem we have is cost, and even there most of those issues are caused by government.

TWO-TIER
Perhaps I am misunderstanding you. Perhaps you really do want a system in which only the wealthy can afford decent health care. A system where only rich wealth members of Canadian Parlement can get quality care, while the rest of the country is stuck with:

http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=bd7f6fd5-f4d1-4573-b298-305828f961b6&k=15068&p=1
This 21 year old went to the hospital for a stomach ache. It ended up being appendicitis. As you likely know, this is a simple easy surgery, but it is an emergency surgery. The longer you wait, the more danger, and chance of death. The Hospital he went to had no surgery ward. (imagine that in America) So they started calling around for hours, the closest 5 hospitals either had no room, or no surgeon available. Finely, they located one in Montreal, 2 hours away. In the end, the delay was 28 hours, and because of it, his appendix had burst, and progressed to peritonitis which required him to stay in the hospital for days. He could have died.

Again, what were the issues? Hospital room, and lack of surgeons. Hmmm... where did we hear that before? Oh right, from EVERY SINGLE SOCIALIZED HEALTH SYSTEM ON THE PLANET!

We can talk about morals if you want. We can talk about how the ideal system should work. We can talk about free clinics even. I can even sit here and discuss how a surgeon should do his job on a person who needs it but can not afford it.

But under a socialized health care system, there will not be a surgeon. Just like in Canada, you'll be lucky to find one. Because people do not work for free, or for cheap. They don't. You can argue about morals into you turn blue, but that will not staff the VA hospital. If life was ideal, things would be different.

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My Mistake
by batman823 / January 21, 2008 10:45 PM PST
In reply to: Clearly we do!

I'm glad that we finally got down to some of the basics on this topic.

I thought we were debating how the system SHOULD BE and you were trying to explain how it IS. BIG difference, obviously.

The constitution/federalist papers. I had never heard militia defined that way. I must admit that I've not read the Federalist Papers. The "A well regulated militia, being necessary for the freedom and security of a state," part refers to, I think, an organized militia.

But I don't think that the FF's intention was to limit the people's ability to own firearms nearly as much as we do now.I can't help but wonder, though, would the founding fathers have written the 2nd amendment differently if they had concidered the thought of greanades, missiles and assault weapons?

FYI - I do not support gun control to the extent in which it is enforced. I believe that a militia should have the right to possess weapons equal in effectiveness and number to the military and that a person should have the right to all guns with regular projectiles.(joe blow shouldn't have the button to a nuke in his kitchen and no rent-a-tomahawk services)
You and I should also be able to own a pistol or rifle and carry them wherever we want.

Microsoft lost quite a few court rulings about its monopoly. It doesn't meet the pure definition of a monopoly, but it also has no real competitors in quite a few parts of the industry.

The big case was in 1998 when it bundled IE on its computers when you had to buy others separately. It lost that one.

The "spirit of the constitution" is a legal precedent that is very valid. You should read up on it. The constitution sets limits on and defines the government in order to protect the people. Laws can and have been created in the "spirit of the constitution" limiting companies from doing the same thing.
Read all you want and see what antitrust laws prohibit.
http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/

Dead Horse-
We agree that all people deserve health care, regardless of class. We agree that communism and socialism become broken. They are the ideal systems. But we both know that they don't work.

As far as health care is concerned, it's expensive. That's because there is no cost control. The hospitals have no limits or competition, so they profit all they want. They charge way more than fair price for simple things like q-tips and ice packs. Doctors make incredible amounts of money, which many deserve because of the expert skill and education required. Nursing isn't bad either, it's just not the life of luxury.
Hospitals claim that they lose money because if joe blow has no insurance and can't afford a $5,000 bill for a cast and some pain killers, he can't pay them. But they don't lose $5k. They just charge $5k, the insurance company pays them maybe $500-$1,000 for the same thing. So you and I with no insurance would pay 5x more because we have no choice.

My main beef is that people can't afford either. Insurance is too expensive and health care only costs more if you can't afford insurance. Why is it that the gov't subsidizes farming but not hospitals? Why is it that insurance companies pay less than people do? It should be the same price with or without insurance and the price-buffering is illegal. It is tax fraud and it only ruins the finicial life of anybody who can't afford insurance. this violates that "spirit of the constitution" thingy...

But for socialism, you are correct, or at least we agree.
A properly funded socialist medical system would work. But we wouldn't properly fund it. So doctors, nurses, aids, janitors and health care would all get less money than they do now. Getting a paycut is seen as unacceptable by every worker, so nobody would accept it. They would go somewhere else.

A two-tier system would allow the rich and mighty elitists to recieve care according to their money. That would institute yet another class separation, but it would also remove the upper-middle class from the public system. The hospitals would have fewer people, so lower-class people would get better care at a more reasonable speed.

You also speak as if the rich and mighty social elite don't already recieve special care. They just hire their own doctors or get pushed to the front of the line. Do you really think that Harrison Ford or Brittney Spears wait in line at an emergency room? I seriously doubt it.

The point is that health care doesn't need to be unreachable for the lower and middle classes. But the elites wouldn't have it any other way. That's why the system should be regulated to protect the consumer, just as the rest of the industries are.

Some things are very sad about extreme VA cases. Like I said before, the cost of war doesn't end on the battlefield and it is disgusting that we don't serve the men/women who risk life and limb to protect us. It is simply underfunded. We should consider cause and effect when budgeting for our VA hospitals as well as budgeting for guns and HumVs.

Your last few paragraphs were very accurate. It's a shame that socialized systems fail when they're not maintained. We do have the best doctors but we can't use them.

Do you have insurance? I get it through the Navy. But my family back home is a lower-middle class family. I grew up poor, before my father bought a truck and started making a decent living. They still can't afford health insurance. They can't go and see a specialist for anything. No gastro-enterologists, no oncologists, no dermatologists, not even doctors for regular check-ups. My father only gets annual physicals because it is required by federal law to make sure a trucker doesn't have a heart attack on the road and his company pays for it.
So if you don't have insurance, the only place you can get any care at all is a free clinic or emergency room. You have to wait in line behind those who have insurance. You only get the opportunity to ruin your credit and complain about the cost if it's an emergency or life-threatening.
If preventative-medicine were paid for, the emergency situations would be reduced greatly. Same thing with your car, if you check the oil and keep it up, your engine won't sieze. The body's just a complicated machine. If you maintain them, you won't have as many unexpected failures.

All that tells me is our system is broken. It doesn't work and it never will as long as the FatCats have no regulation and their effective monopoly.
Socialized medicine is the ideal solution, but not practical. We won't even fund care for our most highly regarded citizens, the veterans. If we won't do that, then we sure as hell aren't going to do it for mama gonzalez and joe blow.

I hope we're clear on these issues. I'm not disagreeing on how they are, but discussing the problems and how they could be.

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re-read
by batman823 / January 10, 2008 11:18 PM PST
In reply to: Sure.

I re-read this part of the conversation and wanted to correct myself.

I wasn't being contradictory in any way, but was expanding the detail of the subject. I agree with your previous post completely and think we're on the same line as far as that goes. When it comes to policy and views for politics and health care, we obviously vary greatly. But that's what makes these conversations worth-while.

Once again, it's nice to resume chatting about with someone who can provide an intelligable argument and sinsable reasoning.

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Consolidated response.
by Andy77e / January 27, 2008 6:38 PM PST

COMMANDER IN CHEIF
I still don't see where that idea is coming from. As Command in Chief, the president has always had control on military actions. Even Clinton pretty much deployed where ever he decided to, with or without congressional approval. So did Bush Sr. and Reagan and Carter and Nixon, LBJ and so on. That's the way it's always been.

PUBLIC SCHOOL + HISTORY
What I meant by the public schools comment was that, somehow we arrived at nearly opposite views on what should have been taught. Perhaps I was lucky this time. I was told many untrue things while in school. I was wondering if this was another. So I looked up what I could, and in this case, I believe that I am right.

FDR did in fact support US allies despite a ban on doing so, and he also made the case repeatedly for the need to stop Hitler even though public opinion was against it.

CLINTON
According to Clinton's aids, he determined he would not invade Iraq because of opinion polls, and he also turned down a chance to nab Osama Bin Ladin. The Saudis confirm this, and I have no reason to think that Clinton's former aids would lie. But if you think everyone is lying, that's your choice.

PATRIOT ACT
"I like that I can be jailed without Habeus Corpus. no trial, no rights, just jail. "

Umm... I am still not seeing where this is coming from. Everything I have read about the Patriot Act, does not indicate any of that, *unless* you are not an American citizen. If you are an American citizen, all those rights are still yours. Only if you are foreigner and caught in activities related to terrorism are you denied those. I for one, am ok with this. Even in wire tapping, as far as my understanding goes, they still need a search warrant. They just do not have to go through the more stringent wire tapping regulations. A judge still has to approve the wire tap, so I'm ok with this too.

IDEALISM
See, that's all great. But Idealism is a made up fantasy world that, has not, does not, will not, and can not ever exist. So... why talk about it? We need practical solutions. Solutions that could actually happen.

For example, the idea that "gov't would pay fair market prices for equipment and tools. That in and of itself would be a simple legislative action and easily put into action"

Now we both know that will never happen. That simply isn't the way government works. Congressmen get offers from businessmen who indicate if they get a military contract with a 10% markup, they will donate several hundred thousand to their campaign. No amount of wishing or idealism is going to change that. If we cut military funds, they will simply blow the money and run out. Then our troops will lack in supplies and people may die.

Again, I like the idealism, but if we are going to have a fantasy world, how about peace in the middle east, or 0% unemployment. It simply isn't going to happen.

VA HOSPITALS
Just like the VA Hospitals. You keep saying the same thing over and over, which is why I didn't respond till now.

"the cost of war doesn't end on the battlefield and it is disgusting that we don't serve the men/women who risk life and limb to protect us"

Um.. look, go ahead and say it a million times. That doesn't change the fact... it does not work! You can say it should, you can complain about it, you can vote for whomever you choose. In the end... the VA Hospitals will always be bad until the end of time. Why? Because it is socialized... and socialism fails. So every time you say that, I'm going to respond the same way. It does not work! It does not work! It does not work!

You keep saying the lower and middle class will get good care, but when you look at the same system running VA hospitals, is that good care? No! Is waiting 28 hours and driving more than 2 hours away for emergency surgery because the local hospitals either don't have any surgeons or don't have room, good care? No! Is being sent to another country because your ill-equipped hospital doesn't have room, good care? No! But you keep saying it should work... again IT DOES NOT WORK. We're going around and round here.

"Well it should... " IT DOES NOT WORK... "it would if..." IT DOES NOT WORK... "other countries..." DOES NOT WORK! It's documented! It's reported! It's historically verifiable! What more do you want?!

If you truly believe what you say, then you should be leading the charge against a socialized health care system that consistently fails Veterans! Not trying to expand a poor, low quality system, to trap the entire population!

"Social security is what it is. It does not work and will never have the appropriate amount of money to pay out what it promised."

Insert "Socialized Medicine" and you have my view on it.

I'll tell you what. I'll support socialized medicine under the following conditions... A: No doctor or institution is forced to support the system. As in, if a Hospital does not want to provide care to a patient under socialize medicine that does not pay enough to cover the cost of care, then they don't have to. B: No one is forced to pay for socialized medicine. As in, if I don't want it, then I can opt-out. I shouldn't have to pay twice for health care simply because I choose to get the higher quality care than what a socialized VA style system will provide.

Of course that won't happen because only a tiny fraction of doctors would see those patients, and only a tiny fraction of hospitals would accept them. They would be over crowded, all of them all the time, and understaffed. OH hey... sound just like every other socialized system huh?

SUBSIDIZED
One of the big reasons cost is out of control is because of Medicare/Medicaid patients. Medicare/Medicaid doesn't pay enough to cover the cost of care, so that cost is passed on to us, through our insurance.

You asked why does government not subsidized health care when it does everything else? Well it is. Which is why the price is going up. Just like Ethanol subsidies are jacking the price of corn and fuel, just like farm subsidies jack the price of food, just like renewable energy subsidies jack the price of electricity...

Medicare/Medicaid are in essence health care subsidies, and look! The result is the same, the price is going up.

In fact I take back what I said. I still won't support socialized health care even if I can opt-out because, just like MassHealth, the system will constantly be in deficit, requiring supplemental funds from the general budget which will require more taxes on me.

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good summary andy
by batman823 / January 27, 2008 10:21 PM PST
In reply to: Consolidated response.

Commander in Chief
I was referring to checks and balances. The pres can only deploy forces for 90days for any particular issue. Congress has to approve further police action.

School
I will just have to do some research, it's on the list of college courses I need to finish my bachelor's in nuclear engineering, so I'll make sure to look up the things we discussed. I'm on the Civil War now though...

I'll just have to take you on your word about the clinton stuff, I've read otherwise. But then again, I've read plenty of the same stuff about Bush. The difference is something bad DID happen after he took office.

Patriot Act
The USPATRIOT act passed in 2001 allowed for:

Arrest without trial - Non-citizens can be jailed and labeled as a "terrorist investigation" without any proof or probable cause. But the following has lead to wrongful jailing.
Roving wiretaps - issued by ANY district court judge and do not need to point out who's internet, email or phone was going to be tapped. This means that any one roving wiretap can be used on you and me, and we will never be told.
Sneek and Peek searches - Allows for indefinitely delaying informing a citizen of a search in their house with no probable cause.

National Security Letters - Requires no probable cause or judicial oversight. Allows for FBI to issue an order to ANY institution to turn over all records on any number of individuals without informing any of the people who are having their records displayed. It also provides for gag orders to anybody who knows about the NSL so they are not allowed even to acknowledge their existance.

I wouldn't think for a second that any of that is acceptable. It's easy enough to find criticism of the act, but I could only find one portion that had been struck down. On 26SEP2007, Judge Anne Aiken found the sneek-and-peek provision to be in violation of the 4th amendment.

So no, an FBI agent can't just walk up to a citizen and put them in jail forever without a trial. But if you email something or say something on the phone which is interpreted as a "possible terrorist activity" they can arrest you or search everything you own without telling you that they're going to do it. If you are jailed, you don't have Habeus Corpus. You won't see a trial until the entire "suspected terrorist activity" is resolved.
That sure would seem to me like I was jailed without probable cause and no right to a trial.
They don't even have to go to those lengths for an immigrant.

VA
I said that quote a few times because that seemed to be the one that you wouldn't acknowledge. Do you disagree with it?
The VA hospitals aren't as bad as the few hard stories you read. But I don't deny that they are underfunded either.

It's not socialized, it's a private network that's supposed to care for those who have put everything on the line in defense of people like you. It's free to those people, but not to everybody. It is a welfare program, but not socialized.

The reason there are problems is simply that we don't fund them. My beef with it is that we don't factor in the cost of caring for those soldiers and sailors who come home with injuries. It shouldn't be skimped out on or ignored.

Subsidies
I know what you mean about subsidies. I guess medicare/medicaid could be considered subsidies. I consider them aid, or welfare. They provide for the children and the elderly who can't afford health care. Not that they do a good job, but they assist in the cost.

The hospitals claim a loss on people without insurance. They claim losses with medicare/medicaid. They claim a loss with any insurance as well. If you look at any bill with insurance, you'll see a rediculous price for simple things like gauze or medications, as well as other fees for doctors and care. You'll also see something like a payment. That payment will be around 40% of the actual price. If you're "held harmless" then you don't have to pay the rest. If you're not held harmless, you get your credit ruined because you can't pay it.
Either way, the numbers LOOK like a loss, and that would LOOK like it's jacking the price up for everybody else. But if they were ACTUALLY losing money, there wouldn't be any hospitals and there wouldn't be any doctors.
While I admire your passion on that, it's not much different than a socialized system. If you really need care, you go to the ER and get it. You're not going to be happy with the quality and your credit is ruined. If you have insurance, you ruin it just a little less because you still have to pay the remainder.
The only difference is that if you have cancer or something expensive to treat, you get refused for having no insurance.

We agree that with the high pay of medical professionals, combined with the padded cost of everything else, a socialized system wouldn't work.
But the question really is which do you think is worse?
Would you rather have an elitist care system, where our taxes go to war costs and waste, or a socialized care system where our taxes go to caring for people who actually work for a living?
Either one sucks when you go to the hospital without insurance, or even with average insurance. I guess we choose different poisons.
There are valid arguments for both. But both systems are in a deficit, it's just that you reserve good care for the wealthy and the poor either don't go when they should, or they go to overcrowded free clinics. But free clinics are VERY hard to find, and they're overcrowded even further than the socialized hospitals you hate so much.
And I don't know about you, but I'm getting tired of talking about it. We should just agree to disagree.
If you have some point to make, make it. But I'll only respond further about that topic if you call for it or ask a question.

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This is getting pointless I think.
by Andy77e / January 28, 2008 6:32 AM PST
In reply to: good summary andy

Commander in Chief:
Congress did approve the war.

Clinton:
1993 World Trade Center bombing
1995 bombing in Saudi Arabia
1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia
1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Africa
2000 bombing of the USS Cole
There were many terrorist attacks against America during Clinton. The difference is Bush did something about it after the FIRST attack during his term, and everyone is whining about it.

Patriot Act:
I guess I really don't have a problem with most of those. I do have a problem with sneak and peak, but of course that was predictably struck down. Never heard of the National Security Letters, nor have I heard the ACLU start screaming about it, so I wonder how accurate that is.

As for the Roving Wiretaps, I am not sure what has changed. In the '70s there was a computer at the phone company that scanned all calls for specific words 'bomb' 'president' 'congress' 'attack' and so on. When those words were detected in a phone conversation, the call was recorded and flagged. What's different now? As for email and internet, it looks like lawyers legally record transmission of MP3s over the net constantly, so what's changed? I guess I'll have to check on that a little more.

VA
Socialized: To place under government or group ownership or control. (American Heritage Dictionary)

Um, yes VA hospitals are socialized medicine. If the government has control and needs to fund it, it's socialized. If it was truly private, we would not be talking about how the VA should increase funding.

"The reason there are problems is simply that we don't fund them."
Right and what is the universal problem among all socialized systems? They are not funded. Welcome to government socialism 101. We've covered this. So I'll say it... again... IT... DOES... NOT... WORK.

How many times are you going to say the same thing before you figure out, the system doesn't work. You put your health care in the hands of politicians, and think your going to get top quality care? You really trust lawyers that much?

So, double funding, triple funding, do whatever you want! It still will not work. It will always fail. You will always get a horrible system with low quality.

Have we not learned anything from USPS? Or SS? Or any other of the million and a half government programs? "Those who do not learn from the past, are doomed to repeat it" ring a bell?

SUBSIDIES
"I know what you mean about subsidies. I guess medicare/medicaid could be considered subsidies. I consider them aid, or welfare. They provide for the children and the elderly who can't afford health care. Not that they do a good job, but they assist in the cost."

A rose by any other name... Now again, those people are getting top quality care, but the government does not pay for that. So the health care system has to shift that burden onto someone else. Namely YOU! So when you look at your high cost of health insurance, don't blame the company, or the hospital, blame government.

Like I said in the other post, government creates a problem (your high bills) and then sets itself up as the solution (socialized medicine).

"Would you rather have an elitist care system, where our taxes go to war costs and waste, or a socialized care system where our taxes go to caring for people who actually work for a living?"

A socialized system *is* an elitist system. Where only people who can afford a plane ticket to another country get care. Where middle class working people will have hospitals that are over crowded, understaffed, and the staff will be low quality doctors who can't get jobs elsewhere. More people will die, more people will get botched surgeries, more people will wait years and years in pain to get minor care. The research will be reduced, lowering the improvement in care, and making advancements stagnate.

Moreover, cost will be greatly increased in an ever growing sink hole of health care waste, while our economy tanks under the weight of the taxes needed to fund it.

So no... no I do not see that a socialized system will be better. Instead it will be far worse. In the short term, yes it will be great. In the long term, it will implode like all socialized systems do.

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Truce?
by batman823 / January 28, 2008 10:44 PM PST

Yes, congress approved the retaliation and terrorist hunting. Although There were attacks during the Clinton Administration, he didn't do what Bush did.
Clinton could have gone all-out, but he caused a bunch of efficient initiatives instead. The FEW people who died in the attacks you list hail in comparison to the >4000 troops killed in our war and the ~3500 who died in the 9/11 bombing, in which the CIA and FBI had warning but Bush chose to ignore.
Of course, people like us who are on opposite sides of the fence, but not extreme righties or lefties will vary in opinion. That is just what people are against, in general. Not that they are all whining for the sake of whining. I do believe it's because of a lack of trust in our president. If the people actually trusted him, or he had proven he was trustworthy, I wouldn't have a problem with him sticking to his guns. But since he has proven not to be trustworthy, I would have great pleasure in seeing an Independant take his place.

The thing that people are whining about now is that we occupied Iraq for one reason, then continued for another, and stay there for a totally different reason. It seems that our 'Fearless leader' just wanted to occupy Iraq and used the "reasons" as an excuse to do so.
If all of the reasons were true and valid, then some of the actions would seem reasonable to me.
I do believe we should stick to it now, to a reasonable extent, simply because we've destroyed the area, caused all kinds of chaos and discontent, and it would do even more harm to pull out now.

We apparently see civil liberties differently. I think that in the electronic age, if I send a letter or email to somebody, I expect that it be held in confidence. Same with my bank and medical records. I believe that if somebody were to search any of those, I should have the right to either refuse or be served with a subpoena or a warrant. But the PATRIOT act changes that. Roving wiretaps and general search warrants w/out the right to being informed, gag orders. All those were added and I view them as a violation of our most simple civil liberties.

VA
You qouted me accurately. We don't fund them properly. Our gov't has taken it upon itself to be responsible for those who cannot help themselves. This goes on many levels.
I don't think it's that we can't fund them. It's that we choose not to. We have very high taxes. We waste a lot of money in every area possible. I know it's a HUGE if, but IF we chose to be responsible and re-route the wasted money, we wouldn't even have to sacrifice one part from our military or a single welfare check. All our roads would be maintained and our teachers would all be able to count on their retirement.
All this could happen and we could still provide medical care "To the Point of NEED"
As far as the VA systems go, it's a private system for our nations finest. I think that all citizens should be authorized to recieve the same opportunity to health care, even the worker bees who can't afford the insurance.
But when it comes to who deserves it, Active Duty military should have first pick. Then the Veterans should get next priority, then other civil servants, then general public.
You might interpret that as elitism, but I don't and will explain. Eletism would be granting it on financial status or nobility/class, which we are practically doing now. The only thing stopping that is the fact that our constitution prohibits titles of nobility. Our siciety has found another way, though. But in the system I would like to see, it would be based on service to the country and availability of care.

By the definition you showed, our health care is already socialized. It's controlled by groups. Those groups are insurance companies which are totally unregulated. They can deny care to anybody for any reason. So even if you pay the outrageous premium and you get cancer, you can be denied for having had a broken bone and there was a doctor's note missing from the medical history you provided to them.

I agree, so you can stop saying that socialism DOES NOT WORK. It doesn't work because of the greedy big wigs that you would like to protect. They hold the control and make policies, and benefit from denying quality care to those who need it. So that in itself makes our system corrupt.
But if we went socialized, it would be the same people or people of the same caliber in charge. In order to get their $xx,xxx,xxx.00/year, they would have to cut the benefits.
So obviously I understand that it does not work. That's because of corruption. In an complete and true (idealistic) socialist society, all people are entitled to the same wealth and benefits. When you socialize a portion of a capitolist society, you don't even give the system a chance. Corruption is automatically instituted.
But if the people who make the rules and are in charge are not the ones who benefit from the misfortune of others, that's when a general welfare program works. *IF* Hilary gets her socialized medicine, that is exactly what would need to be done and that's the only way it could possibly work.

I truly hope that explains my disposition. To clarify, I don't wish for a socialized care system or any more gov't control. I know that if it were instituted, we would corrupt it and choose not to fund it and it would collapse. But in an ideal system, those aspects would be controllable and it could work.
I'm not saying that it will work but that it could.
Socialism is a nice theory, by far the fairest. But it has been proven throughout our history that it does not work and cannot work. They are great in theory, but reality sets in and the greedy get the power because they want it more and are greater in number than those who have real morals.
I do understand, and I do not disagree. I am sharing my opinions and what I would try for if I were in power. That is not my calling. But if I were the Pres. or a Senator, that's what I would go for. NO I DON'T TRUST POLITICIANS. Not that much. But what you expect or want and what you get are always two different things with our gov't.
That is a prime example of why our country will eventually collapse. Our gov't has become more or less a dictatorship. Instead of a single tyrant, it's a bunch of liers(lawyers) and politicians and greedy Fat Cats with alliances to SQEEZE every last drop of wealth out of the SERVANT(lower to middle) class, like you and me. They claim they're for the good of the people, and they may help some. But that only happens as long as they don't have to sacrifice a single bit of luxury.

So YES... I think we've explained our opinions. We disagree on some things, but it's been a good ride.
I think the VA system is in a bad way, and that we're not being responsible to those who have laid everything down for our freedom. The only thing I ask of you for my injury is your respect. That's what I expect from any Patriot and should get from any American.
I can also expect that you continue to do your duty as and American and keep your ground, I am glad to see somebody with such passion, expecially on such important issues. Use your rights and express your opinions, but allow others to do the same and keep an open mind. I do it and you seem to most of the time.

SUBSIDIES
I guess roses started smelling like sh*t a while ago. I recognize that the gov't has its part in the high, buffered bills and the high premiums. But I see that as a minority issue. I see the unregulated profiteering by both the health care system and the Insurance INDUSTRY as the greater of the two evils.

I should point out one thing though.
SOCIALISM is NOT and ELITIST system.
When ELETISTS are in power of a SOCIALIST system, then it becomes corrupt. Then it loses funding in vital areas to benefit the elitists. Then the people suffer for the benefit of those who are in power. Then it implodes.
The reason this will ALWAYS happen is that greed and immorality go hand in hand. When a person wants something, they try to get it. The more greedy one is, the harder they try. Time will pass and the greedy will then enstate themselves with false promises and by force. Once they get their foot in the door, it's over. I know that it's very idealistic and a pipe-dream to think it wouldn't happen. We aren't special and it would happen. But I'd like to think that we could pull it off. Reality is I know we can't.

So all that being said...
Truce? I will read your piece if you have anything left to say, and I will reply if you like. But I'd be happy to call it good. I that we've exhausted pretty much all the aspects that we can on these subjects. So let us stop beating the horse. It stopped breathing a long time ago and I think beginning to rot.

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."

"The death-knell of the republic had rung as soon as the active power became lodged in the hands of those who sought, not to do justice to all citizens, rich and poor alike, but to stand for one special class and for its interests as opposed to the interests of others."

"When I say I believe in a square deal i do not mean ... to give every man the best hand. If the cards do not come to any man, or if they do come, and he has not got the power to play them, that is his affair. All I mean is that there shall be no crookedness in the dealing."
-Theodore Roosevelt

Collapse -
Why not Hemp, as it is better than sugar cane
by jchelini / March 22, 2008 5:48 AM PDT
In reply to: ethenol gas in the USA

Thanks to http://www.hempcar.org/hempfacts.shtml

Pasted from <http://southernbelleinmagnolia.blogeasy.com/article.view.run?articleID=217221>

FUEL:
Planting 6% of the continental U.S. with biomass crops would satisfy all America's energy needs.
Hemp is Earth's number-one biomass resource; it is capable of producing 10 tons per acre in four months.
Biomass can be converted to methane, methanol, or gasoline at a cost comparable to petroleum, and hemp is much better for the environment.
Hemp can produce 10 times more methanol than corn.
Hemp fuel burns clean. Petroleum causes acid rain due to sulfur pollution.
The use of hemp fuel does not contribute to global warming.


Pasted from <http://southernbelleinmagnolia.blogeasy.com/article.view.run?articleID=217221

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