Daily Podcast: Motown Mooch-oirs

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
daily podcast motown mooch oirs

I believe the current economic crisis is the inevitable result of easy credit. Leading this charge (in all senses of the word): the U.S. government. Uncle Sam and his state, county and city-based cousins have been living beyond my means for decades, lavishing tax money on lobbyists’ love interests like Hugh Hefner doling-out big-breasted Bunnies to a grotto full of coked-out film producers. Yes, voters enable this behavior. Yes, companies and private individuals have also been on a drunken spree. But at this time, when two aspiring presidents are yakking about the importance of leadership, neither Senator nor ANY of their cohorts are discussing the importance of reholstering the federal teat. I find it astounding that the House of Reps can slip $25b low-interest “loans” for a doomed domestic auto industry into a housekeeping bill. It’s emblematic of all that’s wrong with our current system: digging ourselves deeper into debt to get ourselves out of debt, without making the tough choices that balancing the books requires. These days, when GM sneezes, America says bless you! And hands it The Mother of All Tissues. That ain’t right.

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  • Jeff in NH Jeff in NH on Sep 25, 2008
    It would be nice if we could reduce military spending to 3% of our GNP like European countries or practically zero like Canada, Mexico, Japan, and a number of other countries that rely on us to protect them Thank goodness for Daddy 'merican, for without his charitable actions these nations would be unceremoniously sucked into a frenetic terrorist vortex and immediately destroyed. And every citizen thereof would cease to exist, suffering the terminal effects of intrinsic worthlessness. I'm so happy to be resident in this Godgasm-drenched land! Ahem.

  • Geeber Geeber on Sep 26, 2008
    psharjinian: You’re omitting veterans benefits and discretionary “War On Terror” spending, including Iraq, from that figure. Just sayin’ You originally said that defense spending accounts for "the bulk" of federal spending. Even if you blend those figures in with defense spending, it is still dwarfed by spending on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. And please note that part of the "War on Terror" spending would include things like airport security, or cost of running CIA and NSA investigations, all of which existed before September 11, 2001. I seriously hope that you are not suggesting that we cut back on airport security spending, or dramatically reduce intelligence efforts. psharjinian: Seriously, no. I don’t know how anyone can look at the US healthcare system with a straight face and say it doesn’t suck compared to socialized medicine. Because we've studied this issue, and even have relatives in Europe who are using their systems. Every European who can afford to do so supplements their government insurance with private insurance, and European governments have been quietly instituting co-payments and cutbacks in care. psharjinian: Even from a business perspective, the US system is a dog: it costs corporations a lot of money, both in tax dollars and group insurance. Of course these private plans cost more - they generally provide more benefits. Ask yourself why, if the UAW is hot for nationalized health care, it doesn't simply require retired UAW members to switch to Medicare? After all, retiree health care is a huge cost for GM, and it if could shift this cost to another party, it would greatly benefit. And the UAW does not want GM to go bankrupt. Then compare what GM retirees receive through their company plan to what Medicare beneficiaries receive. The UAW leadership knows that Medicare doesn't provide nearly the level of benefits that the current GM plan does. And those wonderful socialized plans in Europe and Japan don't, either. psharjinian: Every healthcare quality metric that doesn’t have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo disagrees with your assesment. And you don't think that groups and individuals who support nationalized care aren't torturing statistics and omitting key facts to make their case...? psharjinian: The US healthcare system in fundamentally broken, and even with cutbacks in Europe and Canada, both areas spend less and get more, especially discounting the amount that amount that Americans (both individually and through group insurance) pay outside of Medicare. Health care is never perfect, but there are second-world nations’ systems that score better than the US. The true test of a health care system's effectiveness is the survival rate of people after they have been diagnosed with a serious condition. Virtually any system can fix a broken limb or treat the flu. The simple fact is that for every serious condition or disease except diabetes, the U.S. survival rate for patients is better than the survival rates for other socialized systems. (The problems with diabetes may stem from the greater incidence of obesity in the U.S.) Another area where the American system supposedly looks bad compared to other systems is the newborn mortality rate. This is because we make more efforts to save premature babies. If they die, this boosts the newborn fatality rate, as newborns that die immediately after birth are counted a different way. Merely looking at statistics, or taking "studies" at face value by groups favoring nationalized health care doesn't give one the full picture of this complicated subject. psharjinian: And it’s getting worse as people start looking at nickels and dimes and ignore dollars and sense. Canadian healthcare is suffering for it’s move towards a more Americanized model. It's moving towards a different model because Canada increasingly can't afford the old one. Incidentally, if care under the Canadian nationalized health system is so great, then why did a group from Quebec sue to be allowed to purchase private insurance to go outside the state system, and recently win? psharjinian: I don’t think a red cent should ever be spent deciding if someone or something should be covered. That’s wasted money, and it’s inhumane to boot. Do you really believe that anyone in Europe just goes to the doctor, is diagnosed, and receives any type of procedure, without any questions asked, or without any concern for cost? If you do, then see how easy it is to get a kidney transplant in Great Britain if you are over the age of 55. Or a knee replacement in Germany if you are over the age of 85. Meanwhile, in the U.S., my 95-year-old grandmother is covered by private insurance. Her doctor said she should have a knee replacement. Her insurance would not only pay for the operation, but also the necessary therapy. The only reason she isn't having it done is because SHE doesn't want to go through the therapy at her age. My great aunt recently died at the age of 90. She was covered by private insurance. Her doctor wanted her to undergo regular dialysis. The insurance would have covered the cost, no questions asked. But SHE didn't want to undergo that treatment. She was ready to die. Geotpf: That is, Social Security and Medicare have specific taxes that pay for them. There are specific taxes for Social Security and Medicare, and, in theory, one puts in money while one works to get money and services after one has retired. The problem is that, in the real world, it isn't working out that way...

  • Yankinwaoz Yankinwaoz on Sep 26, 2008

    An observation here about socialized medicine for the US: It is a mistake to look at Canada as a model solution. The reason is that Canada doesn't exist in vacuum. Most Canadians live within 100 miles of the US. Canadians with money have the option of going down the the US to get medical services. In brief, they have the best of both worlds. A better model of what the US can and should do is Australia. Aussies can't simply drive 100 miles to get US style "best money can buy" health care. The Aussies have a hybrid system of socialized medical care with private insurance on top. So everyone is covered, but those with the means can buy better levels of service. And the insurance companies have to compete for those customers. Just my 2 cents...

  • Blindfaith Blindfaith on Sep 26, 2008

    My niece will become a nurse because doctors in Canada do not get payed much more than nurses and she could not pay back the student loans for medical school. She is moving to Canada When Loser Clinton was president he did reduce military spending avoided all conflict and we ended up in surplus. The terrible debt was starting to be paid off. When bush took over did not reduce taxes, he stopped collecting them and drove us to a 9 trillion dollar deficit. The taxes plus interested are now the problem. The republicans changed the commodities market rules and the mutual funds started investing in oil because of those rules. Now we have high gas prices because of these rule changes. The banks change the way we proved we could support our mortgage notes and the banks now are holding all these mortgages for property that not worth the value of the mortgage.Then they allowed people to take equity loans out on their homes when the homes were given over market value worth. The idea that SS should be privatized is rediculous now that my $700,000 IRA is now worth $350,000. McCain said the baby boomers did not pay their way. Well the SS trust fund was created to cover the extra cost of baby boomers retirement and the government wrote the laws for the trust fund so the government had spend the money!!!!!!!!! No more trust fund :(