Politics (formerly Election 2012)

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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Sat Jul 07, 2012 7:11 pm

Koatanga wrote:Not to derail, but to give an example of a Public Health System At Work:

Today my daughter was running around at Sunday School. She tripped and did a face-plant, breaking one of her front teeth at the gum line. She's only 7. We took her to the medics, where she got a temporary cap that should last between 1 and 5 years, which will then be replaced by another, etc. until she's 18, when she'll get a permanent cap.

Because it was an accident, it's completely covered by the government - no out-of-pocket for us now or in the future.

I am pretty sure if I was in the 'States that would only be coverred under a separate dental plan, which few people have anyway.

A lot of people opt not to have it, but it's really cheap. By comparison medical bills can easily be hundreds of times more costly than bills you'll generally encounter at a dentist. Plus with proper care you can really cut on those costs, so that's the logic there with people choosing not to have it. Though I think it often backfires because then they choose not to go to their routine dental visits which can come back to bite them.

Assuming you have an income (at least in a US model), while the procedure had no out of pocket cost for you at that moment, you have been and will always be paying for it.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fivelives » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:23 pm

Dental plans are kind of ridiculously expensive here. For blue cross/blue shield at my work, I pay $22/paycheck, or $44/month. For my dental plan, I pay $70/paycheck - more than 3 times as much - and I have a higher deductible and co-pay. It also won't cover "elective" procedures. If I want to get implants or even just something simple like bleaching, I have to pay 100% out of pocket. Crowns also aren't covered, but extractions are.

I could pay $221/month and get the "premium" plan that covers everything ($1000 deductible and $100 copay), but that's ridiculous. I could buy a new car for the cost of dental insurance alone.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:32 pm

You may want to shop around a bit outside of the plans your work offers, just plugging in an AZ zip code into dentalinsurance.com yields pretty solid coverage for less than $20 per month. Elective stuff is almost never covered on anything, that's why its elective.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Koatanga » Sun Jul 08, 2012 8:10 pm

Fridmarr wrote:A lot of people opt not to have it, but it's really cheap. By comparison medical bills can easily be hundreds of times more costly than bills you'll generally encounter at a dentist. Plus with proper care you can really cut on those costs, so that's the logic there with people choosing not to have it. Though I think it often backfires because then they choose not to go to their routine dental visits which can come back to bite them.

Assuming you have an income (at least in a US model), while the procedure had no out of pocket cost for you at that moment, you have been and will always be paying for it.

Of course I realise that I pay for it. My example was to show that a government healthcare sytem can actually do its job and do it pretty well.

Whether you pay for insurance, or your company pays you less because they pay your insurance, or you pay taxes that pay for your health care, it's all pretty much the same as far as the working man is concerned. Money gets paid out, and health care is there when you need it.

In the private system, a lot of money goes to advertising, redundant overhead, lawsuit payouts, and of course The Bottom Line Profit. In a public system, a lot of money goes to inherent government inefficiency and covering noncontributors.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Sun Jul 08, 2012 9:49 pm

Yeah, I have no delusions that a government healthcare system can't work. There are certainly examples of reasonably effective public health systems out there.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Jabari » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:00 pm

Probably not completely on topic, but related to political environments and such.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2170677/Caroline-Stern-George-Hess-arrested-dancing-New-York-City-subway-platform.html#ixzz205iPYlIZ

New York City, of course. The government there really wants to control every waking second of every citizen's day.

(Note: "Citizen", not "Subject". Maybe. The King's Enforcers can't have anyone step out of line, I guess.)

As an aside: Why is it that we have to get all our news from either the UK's Daily Mail or from Rolling Stone Magazine? What on earth happened to the media in this country? Was Watergate really THAT long ago?
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Re: Election 2012

Postby KysenMurrin » Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:37 am

God, if you're getting your news from the Daily Mail things must be pretty dire.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fivelives » Mon Jul 09, 2012 3:07 am

Fridmarr wrote:You may want to shop around a bit outside of the plans your work offers, just plugging in an AZ zip code into dentalinsurance.com yields pretty solid coverage for less than $20 per month. Elective stuff is almost never covered on anything, that's why its elective.


Just checked that out. There aren't any providers within 100 miles of me that take any of the discount plans offered through there, but I'll keep digging. I didn't think about shopping around for a discount plan instead of taking the coverage offered through work - thanks for the tip there.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby aureon » Mon Jul 09, 2012 4:18 am

Koatanga wrote:
Fridmarr wrote:A lot of people opt not to have it, but it's really cheap. By comparison medical bills can easily be hundreds of times more costly than bills you'll generally encounter at a dentist. Plus with proper care you can really cut on those costs, so that's the logic there with people choosing not to have it. Though I think it often backfires because then they choose not to go to their routine dental visits which can come back to bite them.

Assuming you have an income (at least in a US model), while the procedure had no out of pocket cost for you at that moment, you have been and will always be paying for it.

Of course I realise that I pay for it. My example was to show that a government healthcare sytem can actually do its job and do it pretty well.

Whether you pay for insurance, or your company pays you less because they pay your insurance, or you pay taxes that pay for your health care, it's all pretty much the same as far as the working man is concerned. Money gets paid out, and health care is there when you need it.

In the private system, a lot of money goes to advertising, redundant overhead, lawsuit payouts, and of course The Bottom Line Profit. In a public system, a lot of money goes to inherent government inefficiency and covering noncontributors.


Let's analyze data.
European countries have, as a rough figure, 8-10% GDP spending on healthcare (public+private) and are usually ranked in top 10 life expentancy/WHO health ranking.
USA spends 16% and more, and is ranked well in the 30's.

It seems kind of obvious which way is the more efficient one. Government is not ALWAYS less efficient than private enterprises, especially when "call" jobs are in.
I don't know in America, but most med school students here (And figures would get worse if we factor in the costs of med school in both places) don't take the 8+ years of studying for the cash, but for "i want to save lives". (With due exceptions, of course)

And we get away with paying "normal" (and sometimes too low) salaries to doctors and personnel.
6-8% of gdp sinked in substantially no-output ventures is quite awful, isn't it?
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fridmarr » Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:51 am

KysenMurrin wrote:God, if you're getting your news from the Daily Mail things must be pretty dire.

Try researching the libor scandal and see where you end up. You won't find nearly as much from the US media unless you are looking specifically at financial industry rags.

But hey if you want to know why Tom called Katy Kate, we got you covered. Our media is appallingly bad.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Skye1013 » Mon Jul 09, 2012 4:19 pm

That's why I get most of my news from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. They make it funny and are probably some of the least biased overall...

Granted, they don't cover everything, but it's about the only news I can stand to watch.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fivelives » Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:48 pm

I miss the days when reporters were about the news instead of sensationalism and entertainment.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Koatanga » Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:07 pm

aureon wrote:Let's analyze data.
European countries have, as a rough figure, 8-10% GDP spending on healthcare (public+private) and are usually ranked in top 10 life expentancy/WHO health ranking.
USA spends 16% and more, and is ranked well in the 30's.

To be fair, not all of those countries have quite the obesity epidemic the US does - yet.

I don't know how the numbers work between the amount paid out of the healthcare budget on advertising, lawsuit settlements, profits, and redundant infrastructure vs. insuring people who aren't paying into the system. I know both systems have large loads placed on them because of those factors.

NZ unemployment is not particularly bad at the moment - 6.7% of New Zealanders are unemployed, and employed people represent 64% of the population. That's a lot of people paying into the healthcare system, so I would expect it to be reasonably healthy.

I can't find concise data for the US, but I am seeing figures of around 47% of the US population being employed. A figure like that makes it more difficult for the employed to cover people who are not paying into the system.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Jabari » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:34 pm

Going back in the thread a bit to expand on something:

Aubade wrote:You're starting to sound a little "Doomsday" there. I think you have some pretty solid points, but Idk if it's THAT bad.


"Doomsday" is a good word, actually. We've gotten a bit sidetracked with the health care ruling and discussion, but that's not the actual problem that the country faces. We're staring "Death by Debt" in the face, and none of the candidates (the "L" included) are saying a damn thing about it.

Please read the following two things, and then go look at the US Debt Clock and you'll see why:
1) I'm so pessimistic, and
2) Why the results of this election don't matter in the least.

http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=196155

http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=208447
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Jabari » Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:43 pm

Fridmarr wrote:
KysenMurrin wrote:God, if you're getting your news from the Daily Mail things must be pretty dire.

Try researching the libor scandal and see where you end up. You won't find nearly as much from the US media unless you are looking specifically at financial industry rags.

But hey if you want to know why Tom called Katy Kate, we got you covered. Our media is appallingly bad.

Yep. For the LIBOR stuff you'll either end up at a UK site or at Zerohedge (which does a reasonable job, even if they get somewhat ... sensationalistic at times). Not a word out of CNN or similar, and maybe a very brief (and often wrong) mention from the WSJ.

Actually, one of the best financial shows around now is called "Capital Accounts with Lauren Lyster". http://rt.com/programs/capital-account/ Well worth following.

(Oh - that rt.com address? That stands for "Russia Today" - how ironic is that?)
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Passionario » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:06 am

Jabari wrote:"Doomsday" is a good word, actually. We've gotten a bit sidetracked with the health care ruling and discussion, but that's not the actual problem that the country faces. We're staring "Death by Debt" in the face, and none of the candidates (the "L" included) are saying a damn thing about it.

Please read the following two things, and then go look at the US Debt Clock and you'll see why:
1) I'm so pessimistic, and
2) Why the results of this election don't matter in the least.

So do what Russia did in 1998 and default on all your debts. You've got more than enough military strength to deter the creditors from recouping their losses by force, and enough natural resources/territory/industry/manpower to swiftly recover afterwards.

Really, everyone should have the option to declare bankruptcy and become free of debts (although, of course, incurring other consequences), be it individuals, companies or entire nations. That's why interest rates exist in the first place - because lending money carries an inherent risk of not getting it back!
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Re: Election 2012

Postby razul » Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:23 am

Declaring bankruptcy at this time will not help: We still have $1.x trillion deficit.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Jabari » Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:27 am

Passionario wrote:So do what Russia did in 1998 and default on all your debts. You've got more than enough military strength to deter the creditors from recouping their losses by force, and enough natural resources/territory/industry/manpower to swiftly recover afterwards.

Really, everyone should have the option to declare bankruptcy and become free of debts (although, of course, incurring other consequences), be it individuals, companies or entire nations. That's why interest rates exist in the first place - because lending money carries an inherent risk of not getting it back!


Yep. It's coming eventually - the only other thing would be that the country balances its budget (like, right f'n now), but we (as a nation) have zero fortitude for that. (It would be a huge GDP hit, like 40%, and would be extremely painful for a couple years, but we'd get an actual recovery after that.)

Not sure that China's gonna like that (default, whether by declaration or dollar devaulation) idea much, though. How do you say "Yes, Master?" in Mandarin?

One other side note: Look at how much the big banks are fighting for Greece to NOT simply default (like they should) - they're on the hook for a ton for loaning stupidly to that country. Makes for an interesting ... power struggle of sorts. (And perhaps points to who is really controlling world politics - anyone claiming that the Koch Brothers (for example) has more influence than something like JP Morgan needs to open their eyes a bit...)
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Jabari » Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:38 am

razul wrote:Declaring bankruptcy at this time will not help: We still have $1.x trillion deficit.


Heh, that little problem takes care of itself when nobody will loan you money any longer.

Instant balanced budget!

(Oh, sure, the FSA is going to riot, and big cities aren't going to be very fun places to be, but when you make poor decisions you have to pay the piper sometime...)
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Fivelives » Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:14 pm

I wonder what would happen if the entire world just up and said "okay everyone, CLEARLY this shit has gotten completely out of hand. Let's set the clocks back to 00:00, forgive all debts and grant everyone an AAA credit rating again."
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Re: Election 2012

Postby aureon » Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:03 am

Fivelives wrote:I wonder what would happen if the entire world just up and said "okay everyone, CLEARLY this shit has gotten completely out of hand. Let's set the clocks back to 00:00, forgive all debts and grant everyone an AAA credit rating again."

what you call "money" is "credit", though.
So, everyone's net worth becomes 0? And what about material possessions?

("But just nations"! - No, because the money you've got around is valued on the trustworthyness of the nation emitting it)
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Koatanga » Sun Jul 15, 2012 2:32 pm

So just for fun, assuming the US defaults and all of the other world nations stopped accepting US currency, how would the US change?

Well, technology for one. No more iPhones, laptops, hard drives, RAM chips, etc. Then I guess the auto industry - not a lot of that is made at home anymore. You'd have food, but not many ways to afford it. A lot of the service jobs would go away as the US shifts to manufacturing.

The banking industry would be completely gone, and likely the insurance industry, since that is largely investment-based.

All government jobs would cease to exist as the government would not be able to pay anyone anymore. The military would still exist, but production facilities would shut down for lack of raw materials, so whatever the military currently has is what will have to last through any conflicts.

Far from being able to protect itself with its military might, the US might find its own military turning on it. As the military needs raw matrials, it will simply take what it wants from whoever has it, at gunpoint.

Police will be in a similar position. Clothing, housing, feeding, and supplying officers requires resources, and the police do not provide any saleble goods or services apart from protection. They will be reduced to extortion or theft to keep themselves in operation.

That's really not very pretty. I imagine if I was in the US, had any wealth, and saw that coming, I would be on the first foreign-operated airline out of there.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Jabari » Sun Jul 15, 2012 6:06 pm

You're probably overstating it a hair (wow - somebody more pessimistic than me!)...

It's not that "nobody would accept US currency" - it's that they wouldn't loan the US money any longer. The currency would probably re-value - to what I wouldn't have a guess though. *shrug*

The existing banks, insurance companies, and such would probably all get destroyed (though, amazingly, there are some that haven't leveraged themselves to criticality). There would be new ones that replace them, hopefully not making the same mistakes. Banking is still profitable, but they'd have to be responsible for what they do from now on.

The general standard of living would go down, and quite a bit. That's what debt is after all - pulling forward demand that you haven't yet earned. An Iphone would go back to being the luxury that it really is, and not the "necessity" that most people mistakenly believe it is.

The biggest issues to me would be the FSA (no more handouts = hungry mobs = angry mobs), and if the "protection services" (police, fire, etc) will actually accept that fact that their pensions were simply an illusion. As I said before, the big cities would be no fun at all.

On the bright side, the coming generations would be very thankful that we didn't borrow them into slavery!


Actually, now that I think about it... Looking through some of Ferfal's stuff might be a good idea - it looks like his blog has turned into more of a pure "survivalist" thing, but that's not what I'm looking for... More of just the descriptions/timelines of what happened after the 2001 Argentina collapse.
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Skye1013 » Sun Jul 15, 2012 6:17 pm

I'm curious what the new global currency would become if the US went bankrupt (defaults, whatever you choose to call it.) I also wonder if that would cause some of the other nations that are teetering (currently Ireland, Portugal, Spain, likely others) to also come crashing down. Not to mention Greece...
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Re: Election 2012

Postby Koatanga » Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:28 pm

Jabari wrote:You're probably overstating it a hair (wow - somebody more pessimistic than me!)...

It's not that "nobody would accept US currency" - it's that they wouldn't loan the US money any longer. The currency would probably re-value - to what I wouldn't have a guess though. *shrug*


You're right - it would revalue, but there can be a fine line between revalued and worthless. See: Zimbabwe. The currency went from 100:1 USD to 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000:1 USD. If the US experienced hyperinflation, nobody would want US dollars. The US would have to trade in gold or in another currency.

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