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Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014

Dealing with the gimmes

Posted Friday, July 17, 2009, at 4:10 PM

Everything I read and watch about politians trying to solve health care, strengthen the economy or any problem seems to first be concerned with the gimmes.

Gimmes is the name I use for those who seem to always have both hands out saying gimme this and gimme that.

Does it seem most of them made a choice of a lifestyle dominated by alcohol, drugs and plain old laziness at the expense of thje earners, those who work, save for the future and live responsible lives?

We should certainly be concerned with those who have lost their jobs and facing mortgage crunches, etc, because they deserve it.

At what point should the gimmes be told to make an effort at fending for themselves as much as they make an effort to stick their hands out for free everything?


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IF YOU WANT TO DEMAND HEALTH CARE REFORM, YOU BETTER MAKE THAT CALL NOW!

CHOOSING THE USUAL PROFITING INSURANCE COMPANY, OR CHOOSING GOVERNMENT PLAN SHOULD BE UP TO AMERICANS?

The deciding factor in implementing health care for everybody--LEGALLY--in America, is the Publics voice? Those who want to just follow the same old road, can do so with the profit taking commercial insurance. Those who would be satisfied with a government run health care program, can now start demanding it from the lawmakers. Those who see a Universal health care system, similar to most developed countries in Europe, should start informing every Representative and Senate politician starting today. Rationing in places like England, was caused by the major impact of uncontrolled immigration. I see--THE RATS--are coming out of the woodwork, using propaganda and downright lies about government run medical care?

The Special interest lobby, status quo have very wealthy fingers in the pie and do not want Health care for everybody? It's a trillion dollar business like Cancer treatments. The pharmaceutical companies, AMA and others have very much to lose? Even many corrupt politicians are stockholders in this behemoth money machine. Most American working class can do--without-- high premiums, pre-existing condition clauses. deductibles, co-pays that is representative of the wealthy medical care insurers. CALL YOUR SENATOR OR REPRESENTATIVE ! Whatever pertains to your family, you should start ruffling the indifferent feathers of the people in Washington at 202-224-3121 Just like illegal immigration , we cannot afford anymore to subsidize the business that hire them or the millions of illegal families.

-- Posted by Brittanicus on Fri, Jul 17, 2009, at 4:29 PM

The problem is that when you rob Peter to pay Paul you can always count on the support of Paul. There are far to many people whose only job is to vote democrat every two years, sadly it is becoming a lucrative job.

-- Posted by quietmike on Sat, Jul 18, 2009, at 5:32 AM

The problem with those that are suckling on the public teat is that the government never weans them. They never learn to go out and fend for themselves. It is easier (and more profitable) to stay on government assistance than it is to go out and find a job (not that it's easy to do that anymore either). I am all for helping the poor and people that have hit one of life's road bumps, but not the lazy.

-- Posted by Thom on Sat, Jul 18, 2009, at 9:46 AM

As far as "dealing" with the gimmies, my solution would be to disallow anyone on government assistance from voting for any calendar year in which they received assistance.

They were unable to make wise choices in regards to their own lives but somehow we expect them to make intelligent choices for our country???

Most would only vote to increase their own payments and to further "stick it to the man". The democrat party, on a national level at least, has become a one trick pony of class warfare, and has a vested interest in keeping the poor dependent on the government, and seeks to make more of us dependent, in order to solidify their voting block.

I expect some folks to be outraged over my suggestion, but consider that we already take away constitutional rights of some (felons, dishonorable discharge,etc) when they fail to live up to certain responsibilities. Why should they responsibility of taking care of yourself or your family be different?

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policies followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's great civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence:

From bondage to spiritual faith;

From spiritual faith to great courage;

From courage to liberty;

From to liberty to abundance;

From abundance to selfishness;

From selfishness to complacency;

From complacency to apathy;

From apathy to dependency; and,

From dependency back to bondage

This is usually attributed to Alexander Tyler, but it doesn't really matter who wrote it, as the truth of it is eternal.

-- Posted by quietmike on Sat, Jul 18, 2009, at 1:56 PM

There are various reasons for public assistance that have nothing to do with self-inflicted troubles.

The users and losers discourage many people from seeking the aid they deserve.

I'd be tempted to insist that people get therapy/counselling/education,etc. to go with their "gimmes".

Get literate. Finish school. Get basic life skills (budgeting,childrearing,etc.),any necessary rehabilitation and vocational training.

If a person has mental or physical impairment and *can't* tend to themselves,that's one thing.

If someone feels complacent,helpless or inadequate but is capable of more than they attempt,then they need encouragement and guidance to fulfill their potential.

But,people who are too lazy and selfish to make a contribution to their own well-being (much less to the world) might benefit from a little tough love.

They should either participate in improving their situation as much as possible (and get involved in other constructive acts) or forego the perks.

Society has an obligation to help its members but "enabling" was never supposed to mean condoning damaging or inappropriate behavior.

If we work to see that everyone gets what they need and prevent/reverse institutionalized dependency,then we might be able to afford preventative health care,lifelong learning and other components of a functional society.

If we reserve our monies and efforts for treating major problems instead of supporting solutions,we overspend and underserve.

If we supply people with hope and the means to optimize their lives,we help them and decrease the burden on public resources.

If we save our attention for today's problems without concern for tomorrow's challenges,then we do little to upgrade our future and may even subsidize further difficulties.

We can believe in and respect one another enough to support programs that nurture,cure and liberate.

Anything we implement along those lines is worth the investment.

But,our nation is not so rich that we can afford to let greed or neglect waste our resources and leave right things undone.

We,the people need to give and receive in co-operation with our government.

If either side becomes parasitic,then all concerned will falter.

If we insist on symbiosis,then whatever strengthens one element benefits all.

Responsibility,accountability,efficiency and compassion should be our watchwords in dealing with the commonweal so corruption and incompetency will have no place in the lives of the individual or the community.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Sun, Jul 19, 2009, at 1:14 AM

The intention of the government's involvement is not to help the "lazy"... it truly seems those that are strictly opposed to any government intervention in a time of crisis really do want the next Great Depression to happen. Let the insurance companies continue to rape consumers, watch premiums sky rocket, while insurance company watch profits do the same. There would be no need to intervene if the private markets were perfect... But when folks pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for insurance over decades to suddenly be denied by their insurer because of some hidden clause that nobody with a magnifying glass can read, then SOMETHING has to be done.

It is easy to be comfortable with your life, your insurance plan, and your health.. until the people you pay to ensure it look at you as a number rather than a human being. If anything, this should make insurance companies more competitive, bring down the ridiculous premiums, and force them to cover people, regardless of pre-existing conditions. Honestly, I don't WANT government involvement in health care, but in the word's of McCain and Palin "country first"...

There are no tea parties objecting to outlandish trillion dollar wars that accomplish nothing, yet when the government tries to help your neighbor, your friends, or family who lost a job, lost their benefits, and has all but given up on life, you stage a protest. The party of morality needs to look themselves square in the eye and ask themselves are, would Jesus rather the government help its people, or would he be happier with their material things and war craft?

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Sun, Jul 19, 2009, at 9:33 AM

TAX THE EVIL RICH!!!...This is the theme song of wacky liberals who don't understand that 72% of the jobs in this country are created by those "Evil Rich" folks. With liberalism running rampant in Washington, why would anyone want to work hard and be successful, only to be punished by lawmakers for having done so? One need look no further than California to be convinced that the idea of "giving everything to everybody" just simply does not work. Never has, never will. There is not one single social program that is'nt riddled with fraud, corruption, waste and mis-management. The very same people who created and run these programs now want us to trust them with our health care. This proposed health care plan will be nothing more than another government managed debacle, with all it's attendant suffering. It will kill both jobs and people.

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Sun, Jul 19, 2009, at 11:28 AM

Unfortunately,war can be a necessary evil.

It can also be a tool of the selfish and hateful.

In an appropriate context,it serves to protect and defend.

Too often,it is used to indulge fears and bloated egos.

The immature squabbles of the playground are expanded onto the battlefield and the hurts inflicted within kith and kin continue generation after generation.

As a result,thousands of people have their lives disrupted,maimed or ended.

Whether they be warrior or civilian,the casualties become all too plentiful and anonymous until they are as numerous and faceless as blips in a video game.

Ideally,more of our dollars would go for intelligence,diplomacy and other means of detecting,diffusing and deconstructing problems.

As with individuals,a nation's health is best measured by the illness and injury that is avoided rather than that which requires heroic measures for remedy.

We seldom see much glory in peaceful strategies of building friendships,strengthening a people or healing societal wounds but these are the tools that can shorten and prevent deadly conflict as surely as promoting the health of a body makes surgeries a rare event.

Our soldiers and their support personnel can be dismissed as cannon fodder,deified as noble crusaders or seen as belonging to the same guild as our other helping professionals.

Like our police and firefighters,they should be honored for the risks they take on our behalf.

Like our healthcare providers,they should be appreciated when they get rid of a threat to our well-being.

(Even if the cures are painful or leave a bad taste in our mouths.)

Like most of our helpers,they are invisible so long as they get ahead of a problem.

They might be forgotten when the cameras leave,the speeches stop and the thankless tasks of clean-up and repair begin.

But,we pay for the hours spent that seldom make the news or the textbooks.

We pay for the sweat and the tedium as well as the blood and loneliness.

Because of what we ask the people on the field to pay,we need to be generous in providing them with the tools and strategies to do their jobs safely and effectively.

We need to remember them once they are home.

Above all,we need to be good stewards of what they have defended.

We need to be so dynamic and so honorable that they can have as much pride in their homeland as their people have in them.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Sun, Jul 19, 2009, at 11:52 AM

If anything, this should make insurance companies more competitive, bring down the ridiculous premiums, and force them to cover people, regardless of pre-existing conditions.

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Sun, Jul 19, 2009, at 9:33 AM

Think about that for a minute. obamacare says employers can keep their current healthcare plan or they can pay $750 per employee to enroll in the government plan. I don't know of any private plan that costs less than $750 per year (Seriously ask ANY employers if their portion is even close to $750/year). So almost all employers will opt for obamacare. Then most private insurance companies will go bankrupt, making obamacare the only option. Then the government will change its "LOW INTRODUCTORY RATE" from $750 to the actual cost. If everyone regardless of preexisting conditions must be covered, there is no telling how expensive that will be.

obama and friends had a fit when credit card companies did the old bait and switch, but now they are using the same tactics to get people to swallow socialized medicine.

-- Posted by quietmike on Sun, Jul 19, 2009, at 1:48 PM

Insurance companies spend more lobbying Congress than most other industries... I highly doubt they will be put out of business, because they are lining the pockets of far too many Congressmen as we speak. Yes, ultimately bringing another large competitor to the game brings down the price. If, in ten years there are no insurance companies left then I will say you are a great fortune teller, but the likelihood of such an event, is slim to none.

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Sun, Jul 19, 2009, at 4:29 PM

Check the people who do excellent work then look for those who work for the lowest cost.

Find the overlap and tweak until the operations of both become as identical as possible.

(Does Canada have a half dozen of a certain diagnostic device for the whole country?

Does a town in Denver have eight of the same device in one private clinic?)

Find the golden mean in healthcare,education,etc.

Be strict in eliminating waste,fraud,corruption AND false economy and pay what's necessary to get the job done (no more and no less).

Let us take a foundation of a decent home,basic life skills and wellness and critical care and make it universal.

Have people who can afford more pay more (especially for luxuries) but with a ceiling so virtue is rewarded and success isn't punished.

Give incentives for investment in public goals such as increased productivity,technological advancement,a healthy ecosystem and the chance to earn a sensible wage in a safe,well-run workplace.

End any adversarial relationships between government and the governed or the provider and the consumer.

No one fares well if he prospers at another's expense.

Let us find the means of upgrading the lot of the individual by improving the society and vice versa.

We give lip service to these notions now but if we all lived by them (even to the point of putting out a little effort and making some sacrifices),we could have a much more pleasant and robust reality.

We know we can achieve great things in time of crisis.

Let's demonstrate we can be no less industrious,innovative and philanthropic when we're working to avoid the worst and make the good even better.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Sun, Jul 19, 2009, at 6:32 PM

"There are no tea parties objecting to outlandish trillion dollar wars that accomplish nothing"

-darrick_04

I have yet to see the President pull the troops from either theater like he said he would. He's also added HIS OWN 1.8 TRILLION dollars to the national debt in ONLY SIX SHORT MONTHS.

Stop your pathetic rhetoric and try to come up with something constructive. Bush is no longer President so stop whining about him.

Socialist health insurance will solve nothing with our health care system aside from charging the "somewhat wealthy" for the health care of those that are too lazy to get their own health insurance.

-- Posted by Thom on Mon, Jul 20, 2009, at 12:51 AM

Did anyone consider that health care costs would go down also if people would just take care of themselves. Make lifestyle changes, quit eating fattening foods, and exercise!

-- Posted by honda14 on Mon, Jul 20, 2009, at 8:56 AM

Honda14,

I totally agree with you, we need to start taking responsibility for our own health.

I have a totally different take on the health insurance issue. We need to go back to what use to be the norm and that is Major-Medical. This is where your insurance pays only for hospitalization. I remember my Dad even saying when he place of employment added on prescription benefits the price of medication when UP. He was paying MORE for my mothers medication and not less.

I also remember the days when a PCP's office had the following staff: MD, Nurse, and receptionist. The offices seem to run ok and most likely just a cost effecient. I know the question will arrise: what if I can't afford to pay to doctor? We already have that solution in place - it's called the health department. Each county has one and for those that want government run health care, it's already in place.

A fix for all those lobbyist - make it totally illegal and get them off of government dependance also.

-- Posted by Sharon22 on Mon, Jul 20, 2009, at 10:26 AM

Thom . . . darrick_04 is just another mouthpiece who lacks the ability to think for himself and just spouts off the usual party rhetoric. Both Republicans and Democrats are an embarrassment to our government lately and anyone that thinks differently is naive at best.

Plus you are right, Obama seems quite content to continue the war in Afghanistan and has increased troops there . . . . how is he different than Bush on that?

-- Posted by jaxspike on Mon, Jul 20, 2009, at 10:49 AM

From Bloomberg News . . .

Last week, we discovered that the state of California will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.

With California mired in a budget crisis, largely the result of a political impasse that makes spending cuts and tax increases impossible, Controller John Chiang said the state planned to issue $3.3 billion in IOU's in July alone. Instead of cash, those who do business with California will get slips of paper.

The California morass has Democrats in Washington trembling. The reason is simple. If Obama's health-care plan passes, then we may well end up paying for it with federal slips of paper worth less than California's. Obama has bet everything on passing health care this year. The publicity surrounding the California debt fiasco almost assures his resounding defeat.

It takes years and years to make a mess as terrible as the California debacle, but the recipe is simple. All that you need is two political parties that are always willing to offer easy government solutions for every need of the voters, but never willing to make the tough decisions necessary to finance the government largess that results. Voters will occasionally change their allegiance from one party to the other, but the bacchanal will continue regardless of the names on the office doors.

California has engaged in an orgy of spending, but, compared with our federal government, its legislators should feel chaste. The California deficit this year is now north of $26 billion. The U.S. federal deficit will be, according to the latest numbers, almost 70 times larger.

Bleak Picture

The federal picture is so bleak because the Obama administration is the most fiscally irresponsible in the history of the U.S. I would imagine that he would be the intergalactic champion as well, if we could gather the data on deficits on other worlds. Obama has taken George W. Bush's inattention to deficits and elevated it to an art form.

The Obama administration has no shame, and is willing to abandon reason altogether to achieve its short-term political goals. Ronald Reagan ran up big deficits in part because he believed that his tax cuts would produce economic growth, and ultimately pay for themselves. He may well have been excessively optimistic about the merits of tax cuts, but at least he had a story.

Obama has no story. Nobody believes that his unprecedented expansion of the welfare state will lead to enough economic growth. Nobody believes that it will pay for itself. Everyone understands that higher spending today begets higher spending tomorrow. That means that his economic strategy simply doesn't add up.

Character Deficit

Back in the 1980s, Reagan's own economist, Martin Feldstein, spoke up when he felt that the Reagan administration was pushing the deficit too far. Where are the economists with such character today? Apparently, the job description for economists has transformed from recommending policies that are defensible to defending whatever policies that the political hacks in the West Wing dream up.

As bad as the California legislature has been over the years, it has never entered a fiscal crisis like the one that we face today and then doubled down with a massive spending increase. In the end, when times got tough, patriotic and sensible Californians of both parties stood up and began acting like adults.

Maybe the same thing is starting to happen in our nation's capital. The key players in Washington are Senator Evan Bayh and 15 Senate Democrats who joined him this year in forming a coalition of moderates. One thing that has distinguished moderate Democrats from the garden variety of the species is heightened concern about fiscal responsibility.

Off a Cliff

With the price tag of Obama-care likely to exceed $1 trillion, moderate Democrats face a simple choice. They can jump off the cliff with the president, or they can stay true to the principles that they have espoused throughout their careers.

There are reassuring signs that principle is winning. One of the most expensive components of the Obama plan is the so- called public-insurance option, which opponents fear would result in massive government subsidies. Senator Mary Landrieu said that she is "not open" to a public option that will compete with private insurance.

Many other Democratic Senators, including Ben Nelson, Blanche Lincoln, and Tom Carper, also oppose the public option. As the cost estimates increase and support wanes, the Senate Finance Committee is even going as far as to pursue its own health-care plan, meaning that the health-care end game is now in sight.

Tax Bite

Moderates might support Obama's health-care objectives if the bill also included tax increases to cover the spending increases. But those tax increases would likely be unpopular, making it almost impossible to pass a bill.

Given the increasing public concern about deficits that heightened significantly last week because of the California crisis, there are only two possibilities left. Either the Obama plan will come crashing down or Senate Democrats will concoct some bill that has health in the title but costs almost nothing and does even less. With Al Franken arriving in the Senate and providing Democrats with a crucial 60th vote, the latter seems most likely.

Definitely some words for thought!

-- Posted by jaxspike on Mon, Jul 20, 2009, at 11:02 AM

There is a third possibility.

The country that beat a Depression and put a man on the moon could apply some moxie and common sense and get itself out of the hole and provide its people with all that it requires.

It would take wisdom and hard work but they might be more effective (if harder to come by) than unlimited supplies of cash.

We could use an economy backed by gold or silver instead of pretty words but that would still give us a foundation that has an arbitrarily applied value.

The best thing about intelligence and character is that there's little peril if they become so plentiful that they "flood the market".

They even serve as weapons that benefit us even if our opponents acquire more of them than we have.

Let's try cultivating a pioneer spirit from the ground up and see where that takes us.

Idealism may seem more cheap than free but fear and bitterness haven't accomplished much.

Instead of arguing over where to place blame for the present troubles,let's try concentrating on creating a desirable future.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Mon, Jul 20, 2009, at 11:56 AM

Health Care should not be a luxury .. health care cost have become so ridiculous in the past few years that is exactly what it has become..a working family should not have to chose between health care and a house payment. Personally I do not see "Obamacare" as a bad thing..we are already spending billions of dollars on Medicaid, TnCare, Cover Tennessee and such government run programs. With ObamaCare we could do away with all those and every one of us use Obamacare...I am about sick and tired of people saying Universal health care is lousy health care, evidently they haven't been in any hospitals or doctors offices lately because I am paying thru the nose for health care but the care I am receiving is not matching the funds I am paying out. The insurance companies now dictates what kind of care a patient can receive and here I thought that was a doctor's job. Personally I could care less if every Insurance company in America goes bankrupt they have made enough money on the working poor by only making them more dependant on government programs.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Mon, Jul 20, 2009, at 3:23 PM

Dianatn . . . Obamacare would also dictate what kind of care a patient can receive and we know how well government works on that. Why do you think that will change? Medcaid and Medicare are also government programs and they are so flawed yet we expect the government to do something different with Obamacare when they havent even fixed the programs they do have like these?

BTW . . . I pay rent and a car payment and other bills and still manage to afford health insurance. Many of those who complain that they cant afford it somehow manage to afford expensive cellphones and the plans that go with them and cable and internet and eat out all the time and etc. Many Americans just dont know their priorities and want everything handed to them so they dont have to be responsible and do without something that isnt a necessity. Those that cant afford it can already apply for the existing health insurance like the ones mention earlier(Cover TN, etc).

-- Posted by jaxspike on Mon, Jul 20, 2009, at 6:10 PM

One thing left out is the method of payment for this monstrosity.

Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals will be cut.

Taxes on the higher income brackets will be raised.

Taxes on small businesses will be raised (either through direct tax increases or penalties for not participating)

Competition will not occur. A provision in the house bill makes it illegal for insurance companies to sign up new customers beginning the day the "public option" goes into effect. In other words, you change jobs with another carrier or lose your job and coverage you're in the public system.....forever.

Another thought. 20% of physicians have the means to retire right now. They stay because they like to work, they care for their patients and they can still make a good income. We currently have a severe shortage of primary care physicians. Add 45 million new patients. If you think the wait lines are long now, just wait. Most of those 20% will probably go ahead and leave the profession once they're income is cut (again). The rest will limit their hours of service to at least gain something in lifestyle. I'm guessing but you'll probably see a drop of 10-15 hours per week per physician.

And we'll not see one drop of tort reform legislation anywhere.

Now try to convince a bright young person on the merits of a medical education. Once they stop laughing, they'll politely decline.

-- Posted by Tim Baker on Mon, Jul 20, 2009, at 11:15 PM

Medicaid and Medicare are flawed because of fraud if everyone was entitled to the same health care there would be no reason for fraud. People who make 10$ a month too much for Medicaid would be able to have insurance. People who give the services (ie: hospitals and doctors) give Medicaid and Medicare patients the same type of treatment that you receive even though you are paying co-pays and premiums. One would think that insurance companies work for the patient beings we are the ones paying them..but in reality they are working for the doctors and hospitals. I know a woman who has no insurance because she has some heart problems she was working but due to her health issues she had to give up her job.. of course she was offered COBRA insurance from her employer at the cost of 1350.00 per month. Her husband makes 3.00 per month too much for Medicaid and she's not old enough for Medicare. In case you are wondering her husband is on Social Security and makes $1100.00 per month. Explain please how she could get COBRA insurance with that amount? There is not a private insurance company in America that will cover her because of her heart issues...explain how she is suppose to afford to go to the doctor or the hospital for the treatments she needs. This is just one of thousands of cases, 7 out of 10 people in the USA are uninsured. And we share the dubious distinction (with South Africa) of being the only industrialized nation that doesn't guarantee health care for all its citizens. Health Care in America is money driven, it's not about who needs care it is about how much money can they make.. the cost must be controlled by somebody if not our government, then who?

I am truly glad you are able to afford health care, I wish every American were so lucky.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Mon, Jul 20, 2009, at 11:46 PM

Now try to convince a bright young person on the merits of a medical education. Once they stop laughing, they'll politely decline.

-- Posted by Tim Baker on Mon, Jul 20, 2009, at 11:15 PM

And yet we have bright young people going into the teaching profession everyday and coming out of college with outrageous college debt and making nearly nothing..

-- Posted by Dianatn on Mon, Jul 20, 2009, at 11:54 PM

If you go to college and accumulate "outrageous" college debt for a job that you know makes "nearly nothing"...you're not a "bright" young person.

-- Posted by Thom on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 12:00 AM

If you go to college and accumulate "outrageous" college debt for a job that you know makes "nearly nothing"...you're not a "bright" young person.

-- Posted by Thom on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 12:00 AM

Then please inform me who is going to teach your children? And as far as I know colleges do not give discounts because your going to be a teacher.

There are students graduating every year with "outrageous" college debt that are very intelligent but don't even have a job. College in any field does not guarantee you a job no matter how intelligent or bright you are but you still have the college debt.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 12:10 AM

There are many careers out there that require a 4 year degree of some type, teaching being one of them. The last time I checked, becoming an MD requires and additional 4 years of school, plus an internship, plus a fellowship if they are specializing. I do not begrudge teachers one cent that they earn, most work quite hard for their pay, as do MD's. Teachers, on the plus side are not required to work nights, weekends, holidays, or deal with patients and family that have life threatening illnesses.

If college students planned correctly, a college education can be obtained in your career choice without having a "outragous" debt. State colleges can provide an education to those with a good GPA almost free. I did not vote for and still do not support it in any manor, but our state lottery is suppose to be for higher education. I do know several recent grads that have left college with NO debt. I wish I had that forsight myself. If a student knew they wanted to become a Social Worker, Teacher, Public Servant choose your college education wisely or pay the price.

A college degree may not guarantee anyone a job, but some have much better opportunities than others. The medical field has many different opportunities, such as Med. Techs, certain radiology, nursing. Teaching in some parts is wide open, but I rarely hear of out of work teachers. Even in these tough times, scholarships are still out there, along with government grants, provided you fit the required guidelines.

-- Posted by Sharon22 on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 1:39 AM

Bo,

I re-read your initial entry, plus all the comments and this all comes down to who is or how are we going to pay for this.

I'm would gander a guess that there are not many folks that think someone should be denied healthcare. Thanks to EMTALA ,emergency rooms have to triage all that show up at the doors, without asking the patient about payment. Yes, the ER's may ask for payment after triage, but anyone that shows up must be triaged first. This whole discussion is over payment and not access.

I am very curious as to the 7 out of 10 in this country are uninsured. I'm not the best in math, but that would mean 70% of of country is uninsured and only 30% insured. I found on a quick search one report that stated 1 in 3, which would be 1/3, only around 33%, ref. http://www.familiesusa.org/assets/pdfs/a.... Those included in these numbers were without insurance for as little as 1 month and half were without for around 9 months.

I have been with out health insurance during my working career, not by my choice. The company I worked for made "cost cutting" measures by changing employees status from full-time to prn, taking all benefits away. I went out the next day and bought my own, even had to pay a higher rate due to certain health related issues. It did not pay for MD visits or even lab test, it was a basic hospitalization policy, for emergencies. I was not happy about it, but I dealt with it.

-- Posted by Sharon22 on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 2:28 AM

Dianatn . . . I am not lucky. I work hard and make sacrifices so I can have health insurance and your insinuation that I have it due to luck is just a sign of sheer ignorance. I at one time didnt have health insurance and accrued some major medical debt due to an illness but I didnt blame anyone for it and just work hard and got it paid off on my own and realized how important health insurance was. It is easy to make excuses.

Sure, there are special situations like you stated but that is not the case of every 7 out of 10 people you stated but Obamacare doesn't resolve the real problems of health care . . . it just creates a new source for more problems. Why would we create a program without first resolving the true problems . . . because its political candy for Obama and that is all. Plus, there is the whole issue of funding the massive program when we are already trillions in debt. The math just isn't adding up and I am sorry if certain people aren't able to see that.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 7:48 AM

Jaxspike,

We need more folks like you around.

Yes, there are special cases around like she mentioned, but here in TN they will typically end up on Tenncare. I have a friend who ended up as one of those cases, and she also ended up on Tenncare.

-- Posted by Sharon22 on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 10:39 AM

FOOD FOR THOUGHT!!!

With the public's trust in his handling of health care tanking (50%-44% of Americans disapprove), the White House has launched a new phase of its strategy designed to pass Obamacare: all Obama, all the time. As part of that effort, Obama hosted a conference call with leftist bloggers urging them to pressure Congress to pass his health plan as soon as possible.

During the call, a blogger from Maine said he kept running into an Investors Business Daily article that claimed Section 102 of the House health legislation would outlaw private insurance. He asked: "Is this true? Will people be able to keep their insurance and will insurers be able to write new policies even though H.R. 3200 is passed?" President Obama replied: "You know, I have to say that I am not familiar with the provision you are talking about." (quote begins at 17:10)

This is a truly disturbing admission by the President, especially considering that later in the call, Obama promises yet again: "If you have health insurance, and you like it, and you have a doctor that you like, then you can keep it. Period." How can Obama keep making this promise if he is not familiar with the health legislation that is being written in Congress? Details matter.

We are familiar with the passage IBD sites, and as we wrote last week, the House bill does not outright outlaw private individual health insurance, but it does effectively regulate it out of existence. The House bill does allow private insurance to be sold, but only "Exchange-participating health benefits plans." In order to qualify as an "Exchange-participating health benefits plan," all health insurance plans must conform to a slew of new regulations, including community rating and guaranteed issue. These will all send the cost of private individual health insurance skyrocketing. Furthermore, all these new regulations would not apply just to individual insurance plans, but to all insurance plans. So the House bill will also drive up the cost of your existing employer coverage as well. Until, of course, it becomes so expensive that your company makes the perfectly economical decision to dump you into the government plan.

President Obama may not care to study how many people will lose their current health insurance if his plan becomes law, but like most Americans, we do. That is why we partnered with the Lewin Group to study how many Americans would be forced into the government "option" under the House health plan. Here is what we found:

-Approximately 103 million people would be covered under the new public plan and, as a consequence, about 83.4 million people would lose their private insurance. This would represent a 48.4 percent reduction in the number of people with private coverage.

-About 88.1 million workers would see their current private, employer-sponsored health plan go away and would be shifted to the public plan.

Yearly premiums for the typical American with private coverage could go up by as much as $460 per privately-insured person, as a result of increased cost-shifting stemming from a public plan modeled on Medicare.

-It is truly frightening that the President of the United States is pressuring Congress in an all-out media blitz to pass legislation that he flatly admits he has not read and is not familiar with. President Obama owes it to the American people to stop making promises about what his health plan will or will not do until he has read it, and can properly defend it in public, to his own supporters.

Quick Hits:

Thanks to a steep drop from conservative and moderate Democrats, a plurality of Americans (49%-47%) now disapprove of President Obama's handling of the economy.

The Mayo Clinic on the House health bill: "Although there are some positive provisions in the current House Tri-Committee bill ... the proposed legislation misses the opportunity to help create higher-quality, more affordable health care for patients. In fact, it will do the opposite. ... The real losers will be the citizens of the United States."

According to Wall Street Bailout watchdog Neil Barofsky, the Obama Treasury Department has refused to give, or seek, answers about the use of bailout funds, while the total bailout commitment of the federal government has risen to $23 trillion.

Thanks to Obama's "sweeping agenda," the lobbyists on K Street are "awash in cash."

The Senate health bill gives the Health and Human Services secretary the authority to develop "standards of measuring gender" -- as opposed to using the traditional "male" and "female" categories -- in a database of all who apply or participate in government-run or government-supported health care plans.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 11:57 AM

It seems to me that when you are charging $3.00-$5.00 (or more) for a Tylenol that costs pennies to purchase, and considerably less than that to produce; that is representative of the entire issue. The issue is simply that there are too many snouts in the trough and they are all digging too deep.

Those hands may be the swindling insurance companies, the corrupt suppliers, the fast talking pharmaceutical reps, the investors demanding more and more profits, the inept management or the people who believe they need medical care every time they sneeze. I am guessing it is a combination of all of these.

Something needs to be done though. In our healthcare system that is flush with cash, there are too many who do not have any access, and those who do have access are, as Dianatn wrote, "underserved". I do not know if universal healthcare is a better option. It will solve the problem of those with no access, which is at least something. What I would like to see is more choice and more personal accountability. We have no choices with our healthcare. If you are a fan of 5 star dining and can afford it, fine. If however, you find that beans and potatoes suit your tastes and budget, that is fine too. We need quality providers of beans and potatoes healthcare because what we have appears to be an exclusivity of 5 star healthcare (if you can call it that based on cost alone). We also have no personal accountability. We have so far removed the consumer from the decision making and payment process, most consumers do not even understand that they are in fact making choices, and paying for them.

I had a family member who developed an illness late last year and needed to be hospitalized. She spent 3 days in the hospital in a semi-private room, very limited diagnostics, lousy food and nurses who, for the most part, never even knew her name. The total bill was a little under $6,000.00. She was proud when she told me that the hospital was kind enough to lower her portion from $900.00 to $500.00 if she made full cash payment. When I explained to her that she could have instead, paid for an ambulance to deliver her directly to the Opryland Hotel, rented a very nice private room with a view for 7 days, paid for a personal LPN 24/7, paid a physician 7-4 hour shifts to focus entirely on her, outsourced the diagnostics (which were not even entirely necessary), had 4 very nice meals delivered to her bed each day, then spent the 3 days remaining after her recovery at the spa and gym while still under the care of an LPN to regain her strength and recuperate-and finally to top all that off with a limo ride home with a stop at the mall to spend the $1000.00 she had left over, she rationalized to me that the insurance paid for most of it anyway and that it was not "her money". After asking what her premiums were, and the extent of her healthcare expenses versus the insurance company's expenses provided on her behalf throughout the year, we ultimately realized that yes, she actually did pay for it herself. In addition, she had also paid the insurance company almost $2000.00 for the privilege of paying for her own lousy overpriced care. Insurance companies do not pay for anything, the policy holders do. They even pay for the insurance companies, hospitals, suppliers and others profits. If everyone would realize this, there may be some additional accountability creating a higher quality of care with less expense.

Those of you who do not see a problem with the status quo, do not want to see a problem as it is painfully obvious to me.

-- Posted by memyselfi on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 6:16 PM

I agree with most of what you say memyselfi . . . unfortunately the solution that Obama and Congress are offering will not solve many of these problems and will cause even more problems, especially for those that already have health insurance through their employer.

I dont know what the answer is but you are right, we definitely need people having more accountability for themselves and the choices they make.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 6:32 PM

The simplest route for healthcare reform would simply be for the government to completely nationalize the entire industry. Physicians, nurses, pharmaceutical companies...the whole shebang. Eliminate private carriers. Put it all under one roof.

Then why hasn't it been done?

Medicine represents 16% of the nation's GDP. That's one sixth of the entire productive output of the United States. Yes it's way too much. Yes it's more than most other industrialized nations (most of whom tightly control costs through rationing in one form or another). The real question isn't how do we cover everyone. The real question is how do we cover everyone and:

1) Not put the nation into a depression (shrinking the GDP excessively is by definition a depression)

2) Maintain quality

3) Maintain world leadership in medical innovation

I've said this in past blogs, the single most inflationary device in medical care today is CMS (Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services). CMS sets prices for procedures and offices services often without regard for basic economic forces such as labor and supplies. They overpay for some services and underpay for others. This creates abnormal market forces that can reward poor medical practice (and in turn poor practice by patients). Other 3rd party payers then use the CMS numbers as guidelines. So instead of limiting the the abnormal forces to the 35% or so that are covered by CMS, this insanity gets amplified over the entire insured population (about 85%). This is not a sustainable model.

In every other business (and yes even in government controlled countries it's still a business) the American way has been to allow free markets to control both supply and demand. In medicine, the prevailing wisdom is that somehow government knows best. When my Chief of Staff remarked how efficient Medicare was compared to BC/BS (approximately 8% administrative costs compared to 14% for BC) I had to remind him that Medicare was also essentially insolvent.

-- Posted by Tim Baker on Tue, Jul 21, 2009, at 8:26 PM

Other questions to consider . . .

1. In universal health care, how many students will enlist to become doctors and nurses if they know their future pay will be cut in half?

2. How many more people will go to the doctor and how many more visits to the doctor will there be? In other words, will the demand double, triple?

3. And how will this demand be met with fewer doctors?

4. How will the cost of this higher demand be paid for?

5. With fewer doctors in the health sector and an increase in demands will quality increase or decrease?

.....It's not whether everyone should be insured or not - the question should be, how can everyone be insured WHILE still having high quality AND lowering costs? The plan that Congress and Obama want to legislate does not answer these questions and causes even bigger issues to arise. They want to have a provision that dictates that if I leave my current employer and go to another, I can not switch from my old employer's insurance plan to my new employer's health insurance plan and therefore must join the national insurance plan with no choice. How stupid is that?

Also what baffles me is the fact that the president has no clue what is being offered in 1000+ page legislation that the House of Representatives is offering and yet he is enthusiastically endorsing but when asked questions about certain main provision in the legislation he has no answer and freely admits he didn't know that was in the legislation. It is more of a mentality of act now and think later and that always spells trouble. He just wants to pass something without much thought or research done just so he can say he "accomplished" something without realizing the consequences of those actions made.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 7:37 AM

Jaxspike when I stated you were lucky to have insurance I meant that you are lucky enough to either have an employer that provides you with insurance options or you are lucky enough to have a job that pays you well enough to afford private insurance premiums. I am sure you have worked hard and applied yourself to get to where you are today but there are many other folks out here that have worked just as hard and applied themselves just as much as you have, so don't pat yourself to hard on the back just yet. These people just were not as lucky or fortunate, if you prefer that word better, to land a position that has the benefits or the pay that you have. It doesn't make them any less worthy of the same position you have..

If you do not think you are lucky to have insurance then it is very obvious to me that you have never been without insurance and had a urgent need for it but was unable to obtain insurance at any cost.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 2:36 PM

I'd listen to the folks at Mayo on how to handle healthcare.

While they don't *quite* offer Opryland amenities,they come closer than one might think.

They offer a mini-"town" complete with shopping mall,cinema,bank,grocery store,hotels,beauty parlor,health club,and restaurants along with skyways and shuttles to their host city's art and athletic events.

Family members can enjoy these perks as can patients (health permitting) until they are paged and picked up for top-of-the-line medical treatment.

The costs for a week's stay run about the same as one diagnostic test at a Nashville hospital.

(This is BEFORE insurance payment or other discounts are subtracted.)

Oddly enough,their facilities don't seem unduly limited nor do their staff seem impoverished.

If one private concern can offer cutting edge medical care and thorough and compassionate patient support,attract some of the best researchers and practioners,reduce or waive fees for the financially strapped and have affluent folk the world over use them for primary care (all while tapping the patient for the price of a jaunt on a cruise ship),perhaps,other facilities and the government can follow suit and supply equally affordable and competent healthcare.

Again,many of the societal ills confronted within medicine,education,business,ecology and the like have been addressed successfully by wise and innovative individuals.

We might check to see when and how successful approaches have been accomplished before we either lose hope or attempt less workable solutions.

Cynicism and recriminations over current difficulties would,almost certainly,be less effective than a united and determined effort to make things better.

We've heard the litany of what's wrong.

We've had critiques of implausible plans.

Let's put as much effort into discovering and applying methods that will actually get the job done.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 7:39 PM

I have yet to see the President pull the troops from either theater like he said he would. He's also added HIS OWN 1.8 TRILLION dollars to the national debt in ONLY SIX SHORT MONTHS.

Stop your pathetic rhetoric and try to come up with something constructive. Bush is no longer President so stop whining about him.

Socialist health insurance will solve nothing with our health care system aside from charging the "somewhat wealthy" for the health care of those that are too lazy to get their own health insurance.

-- Posted by Thom on Mon, Jul 20, 2009, at 12:51 AM

1. He never said they would be pulled out of both countries... but they are slowly leaving Iraq, which is what those on the right wanted, since an immediate withdrawal would have been "disastrous"...

2. What I said in the comment after the one you singled out, was quite constructive. You didn't refute it. Oh, and I am not positive but I am pretty sure I never mentioned Bush in either comment. If you call pathetic rhetoric caring about what the effects of the former president's actions have done to our country, then go ahead and stop complaining about what you assume Obama is going to do. After all, it's pathetic rhetoric.

3. Oh yeah, I am sure those "lazy" people that are denied health insurance over and over again, aren't getting coverage because they are simply lazy... it has nothing to do with meeting profit goals and letting people die in the process. I have private health insurance, and am thankful to, but I don't mind doing my part to help my fellow citizens who work 40+ hours a week for small business that don't, won't, or can't even offer insurance. Has it ever occurred to you that just because someone doesn't have health insurance coverage doesn't mean they are too lazy to get it? There are 47 million American's without it for a magnitude of reasons, and it's a shame. None of you seem to realize I am not for a full scale government health insurance program, but I am equally opposed to a profit-driven, dehumanizing private system that ranks nowhere near the top among the world's best.

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 10:25 PM

Thom . . . darrick_04 is just another mouthpiece who lacks the ability to think for himself and just spouts off the usual party rhetoric.

-- Posted by jaxspike on Mon, Jul 20, 2009, at 10:49 AM

Coming from someone who copied and pasted two full length comments that you couldn't "think of for yourself". I don't mind that you copy and paste entire articles, it's just that you tell me I lack the ability to think for myself and the proceed to do what you accuse me of. :)

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 10:33 PM

Oh yes, you got me there darrick_04 . . . pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself on that amazing accomplishment. Hey, maybe now you can sell me a Verizon phone too!

I mean really . . . try harder than that next time. LOL! I can think for myself just fine and many of my posts have proven that but unfortunately yours haven't. :-)

-- Posted by jaxspike on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 7:35 AM

Oh,y'all behave.

Intelligent,mature people can disagree without being disagreeable.

(If you're not sure those adjectives apply to either you or the other fellow,act as if they fit until they become appropriate.)

-- Posted by quantumcat on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 2:01 PM

"Has it ever occurred to you that just because someone doesn't have health insurance coverage doesn't mean they are too lazy to get it? There are 47 million American's without it for a magnitude of reasons, and it's a shame."

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Wed, Jul 22, 2009, at 10:25 PM

Ok, Darrick, please enlighten us with actual facts and supportable statistics. What are the reasons for these "47 million Americans" not having insurance? Wait, I forgot, you can't support that number because it's not real. Here are the FACTS reported by the Census Bureau in Aug 2008 for 2007 (the new numbers should be out next month for last year). Any other numbers that have been thrown around either cannot be supported by reliable documentation (Wikipedia does NOT count), or are flat out lies to try to get the American citizens behind this initiative that President Obama insists on ramming down our throats.

2007:

(rounded to the thousand)

Total people in the United States: 299,106,000

People without health insurance: 45,657,000

Foreign born - NOT a citizen: 9,737,000 (21% of the total)

That alone takes that number down to 35,920,000

During this period the number of people that did not work is 9,981,000 (can't afford it if you don't have an income). Since these two groups may overlap, we can't use this as another subtraction, but I would imagine the vast majority of these are citizens that are on some sort of government subsidy and already have tax-payer funded healthcare.

686,000 senior citizens that qualify for Medicare/Medicaid are also listed as uninsured but again, this number may overlap with the non-citizens so we can't use that entire number for figuring this either.

This isn't taking into account the number of households whose income is such that they don't need to have health insurance coverage.

Let's see what numbers you can come up with to support YOUR claims that there are "47 million Americans" without health insurance.

As for the rest of your comment that I didn't bother to refute "yet when the government tries to help your neighbor, your friends, or family who lost a job, lost their benefits, and has all but given up on life, you stage a protest.":

The government isn't trying to HELP people, they are trying to make Americans MORE DEPENDENT on the government. There is no other reason to push so vehemently for a "Health Care Reform" bill that the majority of Americans don't want.

Also, they're not reforming health care, they're trying to restructure the health insurance industry.

Some of us know what it's called when the government runs businesses (like banking and automotive)...socialism. Nice try though.

-- Posted by Thom on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 2:07 PM

The question no one seems to be able to answer:

When has a government program EVER worked as advertised, and come in at or below budget.

I challenge ANYONE to show a SINGLE government plan that meets the above criteria..

If you can't, and are still willing to put the gov in charge of your health care, maybe mental health care should be a top priority!!!!

-- Posted by quietmike on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 3:23 PM

Insurance companies spend more lobbying Congress than most other industries... I highly doubt they will be put out of business, because they are lining the pockets of far too many Congressmen as we speak. Yes, ultimately bringing another large competitor to the game brings down the price. If, in ten years there are no insurance companies left then I will say you are a great fortune teller, but the likelihood of such an event, is slim to none.

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Sun, Jul 19, 2009, at 4:29 PM

"Another large competitor", as you put it, who has the ability and history of writing and rewriting the rules and regulations as they go to ensure they get the lion's share of the money.

Make no mistake about it, obamacare is about money and power....not health care. Why is medicaid conveniently forgotten during this debate? Medicaid started with the same lofty goals as obamacare...it failed. What makes anyone think obamacare will be any different?

-- Posted by quietmike on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 5:22 PM

quietmike

I totally understand where you are coming from I too do not really want government in my life (like their not in it anyway) but what do you suggest that we do about healthcare reform? Should we just continue down the same ole sad road with health care cost rising above the normal person's income? Should we just allow people to suffer because they can not afford healthcare?

Will you be one of those that say our government should have done something when our insurance premiums become as large as a house payment?

Certainly you do not believe we should just sit back and do nothing? Doing nothing is what caused the housing market to get into the shape it is in now..do we really want to see that happen with health care? There has to be some control somewhere..the doctors and hospitals sure are not going to try and drive prices down and insurance companies just keep piling on the premiums.

FYI:

The average employee contribution to company-provided health insurance has increased more than 120 percent since 2000. Average out-of-pocket costs for deductibles, co-payments for medications, and co-insurance for physician and hospital visits rose 115 percent during the same period.

Have you had 120% increase in your wages since 2000?

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 6:41 PM

Ask yourself why health care has become so expensive, and if you honestly look at it most of the costs come from unnecessary CYA procedures so docs won't get sued for malpractice and from the insurance companies themselves.

IMHO, part of the answer is to get the insurance companies out of the medical business altogether. Put the customer more in line with the doctor so they can make informed decisions about the price of procedures and tests. Think about it. If Wal-Mart started charging only a $20 copay for each visit, instead of charging on a per item basis, most people's carts would be much more full when they left.

Second would be to get common sense judges on the bench that would throw out some of these frivolous lawsuits and report some of the ambulance chasing lawyers to the BPR.

Institute a loser pays system when filing lawsuits and that would discourage most of the nonsense.

Also, give the docs and nurses the flexibility to kick out patients that don't need care. I've seen too many times some Tenncare or welfare mom bring their kid to the E.R. because the kids had a common cold. Instead of telling the mom she is an idiot, they must go through all the (expensive and unnecessary) procedures.

The dreaded words personal responsibility also come into play. Why should taxpayers pay for chemo for someone who has smoked 3 packs of unfiltered Camels a day for 30 years. Or someone's cirrhosis who drinks like a fish?

As with any other government help program, I have no trouble helping someone who actually needs help and is trying to help themselves. But, the majority of medical conditions in the U.S. can be directly attributed to poor lifestyle choices, and if those cases were weeded out, there would be no need for socialized medical care.

-- Posted by quietmike on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 7:25 PM

I was right there with you and actually agreeing with you until you said this "Why should taxpayers pay for chemo for someone who has smoked 3 packs of unfiltered Camels a day for 30 years. Or someone's cirrhosis who drinks like a fish? "

I can not agree with that what so ever... I could care less how these people got sick if they need medical attention they deserve the same medical care as everyone else.

But you are correct in saying if everyone who made poor lifestyle choices were weeded out there would be no need for socialized medical care in fact there would be no need for any medical care because there would not be a handful of people who haven't made some type of poor lifestyle choices in their lives.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 7:46 PM

I was raised to be responsible for my actions and expect others to be as well.

To expect someone who never exercises, smokes, and drinks to have the same quality (and length) of life as someone who looks after themselves goes against all common sense and natural laws. To expect the medical community to make it happen will not only be prohibitively expensive it is utterly impossible.

-- Posted by quietmike on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 8:02 PM

I can not agree with that what so ever... I could care less how these people got sick if they need medical attention they deserve the same medical care as everyone else.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 7:46 PM

What about material needs? Do you keep your house door locked? What if one of those deserving souls (who refuses to work) needs some of your stuff?

Forcing people to pay for others choices, and forcing doctors to work for a set wage goes against every concept of a constitutional republic and is tantamount to slavery.

-- Posted by quietmike on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 8:08 PM

mike, why do you assume everyone who is without insurance refuses to work? Most of those you refer to as refusing to work have insurance and we are already paying for that thru TnCare or Medicaid. Most of the people who do not have insurance are the working poor the people who have to make a choice between house payments or food or even college for the child and insurance.

Do you not think that working everyday of your life and barely making enough to house, feed and clothe your family is not tantamount to slavery?

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 8:26 PM

You made the comment that to you it doesn't matter what a person does there are certain things they are "entitled" to.

I couldn't disagree more with this concept.

Every action and choice a person makes carries with it consequences.

I made the analogy that a person who refuses to work should also be "entitled" to your stuff, if we carry your logic to conclusion, and if you lock your doors, you are, in theory at least, a hypocrite.

No I don't believe a person who works and barely makes their payments a slave, as that is their choice, and no one is holding a gun to them making them stay in that situation. They can change it any time they feel like it. A taxpayer will have a gun pointed at him if he refuses to pay taxes and has no choice but to work and have the benefit of their work given to another...that is slavery.

-- Posted by quietmike on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 9:08 PM

You said "forcing doctors to work for a set wage goes against every concept of a constitutional republic and is tantamount to slavery" Who is forcing these doctors to remain doctors? They also have the choice to become the working poor.

You also said "A taxpayer will have a gun pointed at him if he refuses to pay taxes and has no choice but to work and have the benefit of their work given to another...that is slavery."

But isn't that what is happening now? Who Benefits from your taxes that you pay today?

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 9:34 PM

ok I am done now...but one last thought: Obama said you could keep your private insurance if that is what you wish to do..

So you keep your private insurance and I will go with the Government Plan and let's see who is happier with their choices at the end of the day.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 9:40 PM

Again, using your logic, slaves on cotton plantations didn't really have it that bad, they could have become runaways. How noble of you.

I am against government involvement in just about everything. If there is a private way for a job to be accomplished, that will almost always be a better and cheaper way.

That being said most tax money, with the exeption of that which goes to "entitlement" programs benefits the population as a whole. Entitlement programs, along with obamacare benefit individuals. Individuals who mostly have the ability to help themselves, just not the motivation.

It's a pretty lop sided bet when the government is in competition with the private sector, since the government writes all the rules and regulations of how insurance companies operate.

Again I will ask, can anyone name ANY government program that has worked as advertised and come in at or under budget?

-- Posted by quietmike on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 10:14 PM

My logic???? LOL YOU are the one who said forcing doctors to work for set wages was equal to slavery. Maybe you need to go back and read your post.

How noble of you to think that the rich having to work for set wages is equal to slavery but the working class having to do the exact same thing is not equal to slavery.

I find it amusing that when the government gives you or your child a grant for college it is a blessing but when the government wants to supply Health care it is socialism.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 11:09 PM

I find it amusing that when the government gives you or your child a grant for college it is a blessing but when the government wants to supply Health care it is socialism.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 11:09 PM

AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 11:28 PM

Jax,

The only Verizon phone I can sell you is one of the 4 on my current account, since I don't work for them. I suppose thinking for yourself gave you the wrong information about my employer.

Thom,

To you, all of those people are just numbers, and not lives. You sure you aren't an insurance salesman?

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 11:31 PM

You said doctors didn't have to be doctors,they could choose to be poor, so yes it was YOUR LOGIC.

Exactly which government proposal would set wage caps on the "poor"?

I challenge you to find where I said a government college grant was a blessing.

I double dog dare ya.

BTW-I have asked the question twice and you still are unable to answer it. :)

-- Posted by quietmike on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 11:38 PM

Ever heard of minimum wage?

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 11:40 PM

O.K. that is a MINIMUM wage. Employers are prevented from paying people LESS than a set amount. Nothing is stopping the poor from making more except themselves.

obamacare would set wage caps on doctors, saying they were not allowed to make MORE than a certain amount, just as they set benefit caps on executives during the bailout. That would be a MAXIMUM wage.

See the difference?

-- Posted by quietmike on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 11:54 PM

As far as your question goes There are plenty of government programs that work whether they come in at or under budget really isn't a factor at this point in the game ....90% of every American Household is coming in over budget.

And actually the statement about grants was not directed at you.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 11:55 PM

I have heard of minimum wage. I was paid that when I worked at a small family run business years ago, but when I left to further my education I was making above that even that many years ago, that's why it's call MINIMUM, and not maximum wage.

-- Posted by Sharon22 on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 12:05 AM

You still didn't name one.

And no 90% of households are overbudget right now. That is just the MSM trying to get sensational headlines.

The U.S. unemployment rate for June was 9.7%. 5% unemployment rate is considered full employment, so we have 5% of actual unemployment.

Foreclosures rates are high based on numbers from four states, and sorry, if you financed over 100% of the value of your house on an adjustable rate mortgage, you only have yourself to blame.

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/0...

-- Posted by quietmike on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 12:07 AM

Yes, mike I very well know the difference but you see this is the place where you and I definitely do not see eye to eye. There should be a MAXIMUM amount doctors are allowed to charge for their services and so should hospitals and drug companies. I have said it before and I will say it again, Health Care is not a luxury, it is a necessity. And should be affordable to everyone. If no one is controlling the cap then what is to stop doctors from charging $1000.00 for a office visit?

And actually the cap will only be on the government plan they can still charge your private insurance company whatever they wish.. oh wait they do that now. Why does it cost me more to have the very same test run because I have private insurance than it does someone who has Medicare or TnCare?

What if the cook at McDonald's charged whatever price he liked for your burger and fries? Would you go down the road to Wendy's? Of course you would that is until Wendy's found out McDonald's was over charging people and it sounded like a good way to make more money...before long every burger joint in town would have high dollar burgers.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 12:18 AM

Sorry to bust your bubble but I don't have an ARM nor is my house financed at over 100% of value.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 12:24 AM

Jaxspike, Yes, personal accountability is a good objective, but I think the place to start must necessarily be with the availability of choices and a better understanding by everyone involved. It does no good to judge someone's accountability when they are locked into limited options and vague understandings.

Dr. Baker, I have absolutely no problems with R&D and innovations in any field. I do have a problem when the public is burdened by the expense of R&D on the front end through higher prices for services, and then the windfall profits from the fruits of the R&D are privatized among a few. To add insult to injury, many of those who pay for the R&D can not even enjoy the technical benefits for years, as they are priced out of the reach of many, until they are second or third generation hand-me-downs and no longer considered state of the art.

I am not sure of your age, but ever since I can remember, healthcare has been pretty much the opposite of "free market". It is one of the most tightly controlled and regulated markets we have here in the US.

quantumcat, As usual, your unflinching optimism and positive focus has left me humbled. I do wish that I could remove every cynical thought from my head, but I just do not have that ability-yet. As far as the Mayo, I have heard the name before, but never knew anything about what they did (or how they did it). I just wonder why we do not have one. Is that me being cynical again? Sorry, I just can't help it.

Quietmike, Each and every one of your comments deserves a reply of several paragraphs, but I am just too tired, and I have a busy weekend ahead. Some other time perhaps, but I will take you up on your challenge. When you include "worked as advertised" and didn't clarify which budget they had to come in under, you actually left yourself open to a lot. Many agencies figure budgets on need alone, and in some cases have to "spend-up" leftover cash. I am sure most agencies have had good and bad years with the budgets of each year reflecting that. Some even have a budget of "What They Ask For". It is hard to go over that.

Private, for profit works, do generally out produce public works, but in cases where the works will not be profitable for some time, if ever, there is no comparison. NASA has certainly worked as advertised. As a matter of fact, many of the innovations that were secured by the public expense of NASA are now being utilized by private enterprise. Innovations and technology that were practically handed over to them as a gift.

The education of all our children has been fairly successful as well. Without this public investment, the private sector would find themselves lacking in professional and semi-professional employees. Is this another gift for the private sector? Maybe.

The creation and maintenance of our armed forces has been undoubtedly successful, as we are the dominant military force in the world. How many gifts can we find here?

The food stamp program works well at preventing hunger. Medicare also provides the healthcare basics that it is required to. The majority of these resources go those who work or have worked at wages that were insufficient to provide the basic necessities of life, and life after retirement. It must be someone's birthday!

The problem when comparing the two is this: the private sector will simply not do what the public sector does, as there is no motivation for profit, unless that motivation is created in one way or another, and that is usually also done at the public's expense. If you take away all the work done by the public in the past, you would not have enough infrastructure to even have a private sector as we understand it today, much less one that could compete with the public.

Fundamentally, I think we are as close to agreement on this as we will ever get on anything though. Without the insurance companies and governmental involvement, we may not be in our current situation in the first instance. The system is shamefully bloated. I just wish you could see it is not the poor who have bloated it, or who have swollen bank accounts because of it.

-- Posted by memyselfi on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 12:29 AM

memyselfi,

I 100% agree with your statement "without the insurance companies and government involvement, we may not be in our currant situation in the first instance."

I do think we need oversight in healthcare, JACHO comes to mind, but we need more free market involvement.

-- Posted by Sharon22 on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 1:04 AM

Dianatn,

What other necessities should be given to folks at no charge?

Housing?

Transportation?

Clothing?

Food and drink?

Communication?

Entertainment?

Who gets to decide where the line gets drawn? The problem with your socialist (yes they are socialist, sorry if you don't like the label, it fits, look up the definition)fantasies, is that you are attempting to supply an infinite need with finite resources.

If doctors have a salary cap, why would any student subject themselves to medical school and residency?

Think about trying to sell that one. We want you to spend and extra 4-6 years in college, study hard, and make good grades, while your classmates are partying and having a good time so we can set your salary to what uncle sam thinks is fair.

Yeah right.

That is exactly why all the socialist attempts at government have failed. There is no incentive for excellence with them. If everyone gets the same benefit, why would anyone try to work harder than the next guy?

-- Posted by quietmike on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 1:22 AM

Memyselfi

I don't think the poor caused the health care crisis. I think the media created a myth of a health care crisis. E.R.s are required to give emergency health care whether a person can afford it or not. We are already paying for the health care of the poor through higher insurance rates, so I don't see a need for a new federal agency to do what is already being done.

As for your examples lets look at education.

Say you were a business owner who needed an educated work force, and there was no government education, what would you do?

I would argue that government run schools are an abysmal failure when compared to private schools or homeschooling. Public schools spend much more per pupil and have far lower test scores, on average.

Look at the voucher program for schools. It has been successful everywhere it has been tried, yet the politicians fight it at every turn. If vouchers can get better performance with less money, why would they fight it...POWER.

The same will happen if government gets its greedy little paws on health care.

Lets not even talk about the $500 hammers that the military buys, or the endless late night infomercials about the "miracle" foam rubber mattress from NASA technology.

We are very close to agreement, though. The answer is to have the private sector see a profit in things. Employer provided health insurance started this way, when government fixed wages during WWII, and employers needed an attraction for skilled workers.

The problem is too many people see government as the only acceptable answer to every problem and non-problem as well, and don't have the vision to seek out a better way.

Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.-Alexis de Tocqueville

-- Posted by quietmike on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 1:45 AM

We need to act on these things not just talk about them...

IT DOESN'T MATTER IF YOU ARE

REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT!

GET PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT THIS!!

GET A BILL STARTED TO PLACE ALL POLITICIANS ON social security.

This must be an issue in "2010".

Perhaps we are asking the wrong questions during election years.

Our Senators and Congresswomen do not pay into Social Security and, of course, they do not collect from it.

You see, Social Security benefits were not suitable for persons of their rare elevation in society. They felt they should have a special plan for themselves. So, many years ago they voted in their own benefit plan.

In more recent years, no congressperson has felt the need to change it. After all, it is a great plan.

For all practical purposes their plan works like this:

When they retire, they continue to draw the same pay until they die.

Except it may increase from time to time for cost of living adjustments..

This is calculated on an average life span for each of these two Dignitaries. For example, Senator Byrd and Congressman White and their wives may expect to draw $7,800,000.00 (that's Seven Million, Eight-Hundred Thousand Dollars), with their wives drawing $275,000.00 during the last years of their lives.

Younger Dignitaries who retire at an early age, will receive much more during the rest of their lives.

Their cost for this excellent plan is $0.00. NADA....ZILCH.... In other words, "they got the gold mine and we get the shaft.

This little perk they voted for themselves is free to them. You and I pick up the tab for this plan. The funds for this fine retirement plan come directly from the General Funds.

"OUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK"!

From our own Social Security Plan, which you and I pay (or have paid) into every payday until we retire (which amount is matched by our employer) - we can expect to get an average of $1,000 per month after retirement.

Or, in other words, we would have to collect our average of $1,000 monthly benefits for 68 years and one (1) month to equal Senator Bill Bradley's benefits!

Social Security could be very good if only one small change were made. That change would be to Jerk the Golden Fleece Retirement Plan from under the Senators and Congressmen. Put them into the Social Security plan with the rest of us, then sit back..... and watch how fast they would fix it..

If enough people get upset by this, maybe a seed of awareness will be planted and maybe good changes will evolve.

As I said and I repeat -

IT DOESN'T MATTER IF YOU ARE REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT! It's up to us to make a CHANGE, Don't rely on polticians. They have a vested interest in the status quo. Do your own thinking.

Roy Smotherman

-- Posted by cherokee2 on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 7:16 AM

Congress has been paying into social security since 1984.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/taxes/pen...

-- Posted by quietmike on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 9:06 AM

Darrick_04 . . . where do you assume that I actually care where you work? I mostly assumed you probably still lived at home with your parents and had no job from your disposition on here. In reality though I just don't give much thought in general about you unless replying to one of your many biased and self deluded comments.

Sorry to disappoint!

Anyway, Obama is just as wrong on heath care and the facts like he was in defending Professor Gates in the Cambridge incident!

-- Posted by jaxspike on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 9:16 AM

So you are saying mike, that because these people decide to go to school for 6+ years they should have the freedom to charge what ever they wish to the public? Being a doctor is a public service....

Why are doctors any more important than our military? Our military spend 6+ years fighting wars to protect you but yet they have a salary cap...Why are doctors any more important than scientist or engineers or teachers these people all have a cap on their salary. Heck, I guess doctors are even more important than our President and Senators because they too have a salary cap on their wages.

Who decides how much a hospital can charge you? Who decides how much that prescription is going to cost? Why does the drug I am taking cost me $100.00 a month in the United States but only cost $10.00 if I get it from Canada? Some of the best and brightest doctors in the world come from countries with "Universal" HealthCare... wonder how they manage that when they have a cap on their salary?

Or maybe there just isn't as many hands in the pot that have to be paid.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 10:00 AM

Scientists, teachers, and engineers do NOT have salary caps.

Doctors are engaged in private business, and much to your chagrin, government does not have the authority to control how much someone in private business makes.

Who decides how much they can charge? You and I, commonly called the market decides.

Just like your hamburger analogy, if one place charges too high a price for its services we take our business elsewhere. Competition in the marketplace and the quest for profit ensures lower prices. Insurance companies and the government short circuit the free market and create a disconnect between the seller and buyer of health care so that we rarely see the true cost. get the government out of the way and prices will come down.

Drugs are more expensive here BECAUSE of government involvement. Drugs must go through decades of clinical trials before the FDA will allow them to be brought to market. This plus the research by those biochemical engineers (without salary caps)isn't cheap to start with.

If Canadian health care is so great why are so many northern U.S. hospitals filled with Canadians who came here to escape the waiting lists of rationed health care in Canada?

So you say some of the best and brightest come from areas with socialized medicine....

Oh really, name a few medical breakthroughs that socialized medicine has brought to the world.

Private industry, and the opportunity of profit that it brings, has brought the majority of technological breakthroughs of the 20th century. Just take a look at how many "defectors" brought their ideas to the U.S. for the chance to break free from the drudgery of socialism.

-- Posted by quietmike on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 10:19 AM

"To you, all of those people are just numbers, and not lives. You sure you aren't an insurance salesman?"

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 11:31 PM

So you have no facts to back up your comments? Just Democratic party-line rhetoric and snide remarks. I'm not actually surprised.

Please substantiate your claims when you're on here trying to be cute.

I do think that poor people should be helped out. I do NOT think that lazy people that just sit on their duffs and draw welfare, food stamps, and government housing generation after generation should be allowed to do so. They are nothing more than parasites on our economy and society.

And no, I'm not an insurance salesman (thanks for being concerned about MY employer), I just know that the government having their hands in ANY industry has historically been bad, if not devastating for that industry. The insurance industry isn't broken because of greed. It's broken because people go to the emergency room every time they get a cold, or bump their toe, or their kid falls over on their bike and scrapes their knee. These people are the reason insurance rates are so high.

-- Posted by Thom on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 10:44 AM

Seven years ago, the World Health Organization made the first major effort to rank the health systems of 191 nations. France and Italy took the top two spots; the United States was a dismal 37th. More recently, the highly regarded Commonwealth Fund has pioneered in comparing the United States with other advanced nations through surveys of patients and doctors and analysis of other data. Its latest report, issued in May, ranked the United States last or next-to-last compared with five other nations -- Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom -- on most measures of performance, including quality of care and access to it.

In an eight-country comparison, the United States ranked last in years of potential life lost to circulatory diseases, respiratory diseases and diabetes and had the second highest death rate from bronchitis, asthma and emphysema.

We have known for years that America has a high infant mortality rate, so it is no surprise that we rank last among 23 nations by that yardstick. But the problem is much broader. We rank near the bottom in healthy life expectancy at age 60, and 15th among 19 countries in deaths from a wide range of illnesses that would not have been fatal if treated with timely and effective care. The good news is that we have done a better job than other industrialized nations in reducing smoking. The bad news is that our obesity epidemic is the worst in the world.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 10:49 AM

"In an eight-country comparison, the United States ranked last in years of potential life lost to circulatory diseases, respiratory diseases and diabetes and had the second highest death rate from bronchitis, asthma and emphysema."

-- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 10:49 AM

Also, the obesity "epidemic" can easily be attributed to a number of things:

1. the cheap and ready access to fast food and other junk foods that Americans consume on a regular basis

2. the amount of soft drinks and high fructose corn syrup that's ingested (Three of these other countries that you mentioned use natural sugar in their foods and soft drinks).

3. These other countries are not nearly as spread out as America and people generally live in close proximity to their jobs and families (as opposed to driving 55 miles each way to work like I do). We use cars to get around where as they generally walk or bike most places, which is a much healthier form of transportation if it is feasible.

4. Most of the foods in these other countries are not as processed as they are here.

Basically, the vast majority of these health issues are lifestyle choices that we make (I'm no different). If we take care of ourselves, we wouldn't need to go to the doctor nearly as much as most people do. I understand that there are those with issues that they had absolutely no hand in creating, and those people do need medical care. If they can't afford it, there are plenty of benevolent organizations that will help them if they would only ask (and most of them do). There are also the county clinics which can help with the regular "General Practitioner" issues. There are, in fact, many resources available if the needy would only seek them out.

-- Posted by Thom on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 11:40 AM

The supposedly high infant mortality rate of the U.S. is not an apples to apples comparison, as many countries consider an infant who dies within the first 24 hours after birth as stillborn and do not count it among infant mortality rates.

40% of all infant deaths occur within the first 24 hours after birth.

So it is not the supposed poor quality of U.S. health care that gives these results, it is that the U.S. follows the guidelines of the W.H.O., while most other countries do not.

http://www.qando.net/details.aspx?Entry=...

-- Posted by quietmike on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 1:51 PM

I find it amusing that when the government gives you or your child a grant for college it is a blessing but when the government wants to supply Health care it is socialism.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Thu, Jul 23, 2009, at 11:09 PM

I don't believe in free money for college, either. It is the parents' responsibility to pay for college for their kids. Mine did, didn't yours.

-- Posted by gottago on Fri, Jul 24, 2009, at 2:01 PM

Problem with that gottago is college has become a terrible expense. Even parents that have been saving for their child's college education are finding that they didn't or couldn't save nearly enough. At a in state Public University you can look to spend roughly about 80,000 for a 4 year degree without any grants. Of course there are student loans but that only causes more problems for a young adult when they come out of college because they have huge payments they can't afford. Why do you think so many people default on student loans..let me give you a hint they didn't qualify for grants so they had to get loans which they have to start paying back as soon as they get out of college regardless if they have a job in their field or not. I would hate to know a student had a loan equal to a house payment before they even started their life. Even with every college grant that is out there and going to a in state college most students leave with about 20,000 to 30,000 debt. So grants still don't cover all the expenses and that was the actual cost of a 4 year college when I went to school. College tuition and housing cost have increased 47% over the past 5 years. So if you are saving for your child's college please note that you need to put 47-50% more money into the savings than you were planning. For most of us that is an impossible task because our wages have not increased that much.

I think the idea of College Grants for students who qualify is an excellent program without these grants many students would not have the resources to go to college. Scholarships are another excellent source of money for college but most of these scholarship programs have become very small fraction of the actual cost most ranging from $500 to 1000...how many scholarships would one child need to pay for their college education?

Just to make it clear I am not an Obama Fan I never was he was not my choice for President. But this Health Care plan is a Hillary Clinton program and I am a Clinton Fan. This was Hillary's dream when Obama was still a speck on the map.

And if you want to check out college prices you can go to

https://www.collegedata.com/cs/promo/pro...

And God Help you if your child wants to go to an out of state college because you will need to double the cost.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Sat, Jul 25, 2009, at 10:02 AM

Dianatn,

I might agree with you that higher education would be cost prohibitive if it were an expense that seddenly emerged out of the blue one day. But the reality remains that parents have nearly 19 years from the time that they realize that the kid is coming to prepare fro college expenses.

If parents simply saved $100-$200 per month, by buying a less expensive vehicle, cutting out the daily latte, buying a cheaper cell phone or cable package, or buying a smaller home college would not be out of reach. Keep in mind that the interest gained on the account is compounded, producing much more than the initial investment. Then with merit based scholarships, a summer job (no more than 20 hours, time for extra-curriculars to land those scholarships), and small loan if necessary to bridge that gap, grants would be unnecessary.

It is simply not fair to those who have paid out the nose and sacrificed for education that someone else should get a free ride on the bacs of everyone else. Getting knocked up with two or three kids should not guarantee one a free education.

While I was taking graduate classes aroud '02 or '03, I remember working with a young lady who was worried to death that her grant may not cover all of her tuition and fees and thought that the world was so unfair that she would have to pay anything herself. How disgusting.

-- Posted by gottago on Sat, Jul 25, 2009, at 11:41 AM

I realize it has been a while since I was in school but by my math $100.00 a month x 12 = 1200.00 x 19 years is 22,800. And that's good except that barely covers one year without grants.

I look at it this way I pay taxes anyway and my taxes are sure not going to go down, regardless of where they are being spent. I had much rather my taxes be spent helping pay for college than I had going into some research to see how fast Ketchup comes out of a bottle.

Please also be aware that every student is not pushing out babies in order to obtain college grants many college grants are based on merits and income level of the parents.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Sat, Jul 25, 2009, at 12:10 PM

Dianatn,

The interest on the monthly deposit is compounded annually. So depending on the interest rate that total would be in the $35,000 to 45,000 range. If is total is based on a mere $100 deposit imagine what $150-$200 would yield.

Tuition and fees at UT for the upcoming academic year are $3425 per semester. Community colleges are significantly less. While I know that this doesn't include living expenses, living at home would reduce the overall bill.

I personally would rather see taxes being spent on the universities and colleges themselves. In order to reduce living expenses for students and to encourage communting for those who prefer to do so (non-traditional students for ex.), it is important to have one or two strong universities per geographic region of the state. This guarantees easy physical access for all students. While I truly believe that the online option is an inferior option ( i doubt I would hire a graduate of such program), it does at least allow the student to save by not having to commute.

And about the ketchup research, you have 'publish or perish' to thank for that. Education of students takes a back seat.

-- Posted by gottago on Sat, Jul 25, 2009, at 1:15 PM

2008-09 ESTIMATED ANNUAL UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT BUDGET In-State Out-of-State

Direct Costs

Tuition & Fees $6,250 $19,208

Indirect Costs

Books $1,326 $1,326

Room & Board $6,888 $6,888

Transportation $2,050 $2,050

Personal $3,104 $3,104

Total $19,618 $32,576

That is from UT's website..it does seem to me there is more to the cost besides tuition.

And I do not know where you are banking that you would make anywhere close to that amount of interest but I sure wish you would share that info..

At 100$ a month for 20 years (I rounded to 20 years for easier math) I would have invested 24,000 into the account.. the interest at 2% which is actually more than a savings account is paying..my total in my account would be 29,480 with a little over 5000 interest in 20 years.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Sat, Jul 25, 2009, at 2:02 PM

I actually did forgot to count books but transporatation, living expenses have variablity that can be controlled and are also costs that are going to exist whether in school or not (students have to live somewhere and they would also incur travel costs, no matter what they were doing).

I will admit to blindly following the mortgage calculator's default setting which was, at second glance set on %5.

My point remains that an education can be saved for rather easily and the difference made up by scholarships, limited employment, and small student loans. If one chooses a more expensive school than let them pay for it however they may. But income level should never be a criteria.

-- Posted by gottago on Sat, Jul 25, 2009, at 2:24 PM

Books are unlikely to be over $1000 per year anyway. I just purchased a new biochemistry text and noticed that the newest Anatomy and Physiology text (generally one of the more expensive texts) was $139.

Generally, most will not purchase 10 of these type books in an academic year and many books will be purchased used. Of course, there is always the dummy who will be stupid enough to purchase directly on campus where EVERYTHING is ungodly expensive.

-- Posted by gottago on Sat, Jul 25, 2009, at 2:32 PM

I don't know gottago, I just took the college you picked and got the fees for attending for one year from their website. I figured who would know better how much they charge than the college themself? I can't imagine what motivation UT would have to put prices on their website that were actually higher than the cost of attending, if anything I would think they would be tying to hide some cost to get more students to apply.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Sat, Jul 25, 2009, at 10:18 PM

quietmike, I agree that vouchers would be a good option for the majority of students. Especially those students who are easier to teach, require less of an investment and actually make the school look good. That leaves the more challenging students with little opportunity to overcome already significant hurdles. That being said, the voucher program is still entirely publicly funded. It has more market shaping than what we have today, but the public must still provide the incentive for the private sector's profits through the vouchers.

There is not much question what would happen if we depended entirely on the private sector or the individual parents to educate our children. It is very clear from looking at history. What we would have is the very best students getting educated at the expense of, and for the benefit of, the business class, and everyone else getting little to none. In the beginning, some parents would likely attempt to educate their children themselves with varying success, but eventually, the divisions between the classes would be so profound there would be very few that possessed the ability to rise to the challenge.

The $500.00 hammers are unfortunately common in both the public and private domains. Greed, corruption and theft apparently do not respect the boundaries of differing sectors within an economy.

To me, the problem is not that people see the government as the only viable solution and do not have the vision to seek a better way. The problem is that most agree the government is not a solution, but actually have very few viable alternatives.

Americans are so enamored of the concept of capital freedom, that they would rather be equal in slavery to capital, than equitable in the freedom of it. - memyselfi

gottago, I can never understand how someone as apparently educated as yourself can be so nonchalant in asserting that education should be limited, and yet you do, time after time. I am glad you have received your education without assistance, and I am not attempting to discount that achievement, as it is an admiable achievement. I am also not claiming that it has been fair for you to do so, while some have very little investment in their education. What I am trying to understand however, is how someone who intimately knows the difficulties involved, even for those who had some advantage, could be so adamant about desiring the same (even advocating more restrictions) for future generations.

Do you not see that without the grants, in many instances, you are preventing the children of the lower classes from escaping the cycle of poverty that they are not in any way responsible for? In effect, you are punishing the children for the mistakes of the parents. The ED programs are unarguably the one type of welfare that actually makes a positive impact on the recipient, and represents a good investment for the expenditure.

Not every parent has the ability to save $10.00 a month, or even care to. Some parents would rather spend that money on crack. Why in the world would you not want to help that child change their life? Would you prefer them to be dependant on food stamps and other welfare for the rest of their lives, the way their parents/ parent likely lives? What about those children who come from working class homes with an annual income of $30,000 a year? Assuming the parents have been able to save anything, I imagine $100,000.00 would probably wipe them out completely. That is one child through, what about the next?

I agree that students should be expected to work or to somehow make a contribution to their education, but what you are advocating simple precludes the participation of those who have the most to gain - and lose.

I would rather see the vast majority within all strata of our society with degrees. I would actually prefer it if we eventually had 95% of the population achieving a Masters. An educated population is not only of great import to each individual, it is a requirement for the maintenance of a democracy. We can produce either a citizenry or a rabble, the cost is about the same. I prefer a citizenry. We can house the demos in prisons, public housing or dorms - I prefer dorms. We can collectively pay for food stamps, or cafeteria food - I prefer cafeteria food. We could have a majority of our population ignorant and dependant, or knowledgeable and independent. I prefer the latter. We could expand our numbers of law enforcement, or our professors - you already know what I prefer. As always, the question is not about collective cost, but the direction of collective resources, and the eventual consequences (good and bad) of those chosen directions.

-- Posted by memyselfi on Sun, Jul 26, 2009, at 2:23 AM

The profit motive for the voucher program is already there. The amount of money spent per child by taxpayers is enough for most private schools to educate children and have money left over, all without selling magazines or cookie dough.

The problem with state controlled eduction is that there is absolutely no incentive to produce a great product (educated children) as there would be under a private system. The state system does not have to compete for the funding for any children as a private school would, so the only motivation for efficiency is our voice through some politicians, and we all have seen how well that works lately. Private schools that do not turn out educated children will immediately lose funding so the incentive is built in.

Yes there probably would be a few students who would not benefit from the voucher plan. But under the current system public schools are slowed down to the level of the slowest student, to the detriment of the majority. It has become even worse under "No Child Left Behind". I see this system as the most inequitable. Under any system there will be some who fall through the cracks. Is it more fair to drag more children down for the sake of "equality"? I'd say no.

-- Posted by quietmike on Sun, Jul 26, 2009, at 5:38 AM

Dianatn,

Our numbers are very close. When I stated that tuition AND fees (debt services, student activty,etc) were $3250 I said per semester. Any idiot knows that the number is doubled when considering the academic year and potentially tripled when summer classes are taken. I stil lmaintain that living expenses and transportation costs are 'just a part of living' and that the student would have to pay for such even if they are working and not going to school.

Book costs can be reduced by buying used or from half.com. We all know that costs can be reduced with a little 'shoppping around'.

Memyselfi,You know that if all people Master's degree that the number of holders would devalue the degree itself. We have already seen this with the bachelor's degree, where the lottery allows not-so-prepared and not-so-interested students going to school and earning degrees with majors in photography,communications, criminal justice,etc, all nationally notorious for being 'easy majors'.

I just believe that each individual(family or self) is responsible for his own education.

Now about people who can't afford even $10 a week, if they can't afford children don't have them. The rest of us should not have to support them.

-- Posted by gottago on Sun, Jul 26, 2009, at 9:36 AM

quietmike, I do not necessarily disagree with you. I personally prefer vouchers. I was just pointing out that there would still be a demand, and a need, for quality public schools as there are some students who would produce no profit, and therefore be undesirable, but still deserve the best opportunity for an education that we can provide.

gottago, How can anyone "devalue" knowledge of any sort? People (all people) should be educated for the end of knowledge itself, not only as a means to some other end. If you are pointing out that there will not be as much economic demand for degree holders, so what? There will always be a way to sort the degree holders out. GPA, majors, schools attended and social interactions would all still play a part.

Do you not see that you are in effect claiming a better quality of life for yourself (and consequentially, a lesser for others), based solely on your ability to acquire an education (which judging from your comments, was apparently in large part because you were lucky enough to be born into a good and concerned family) and then demanding that others should endure at least the hardships, and apparently in many instances, more than you did in order to selfishly protect that advantage.

Again, your problem is with the parents who made bad decisions, not the children. They did not ask to be born into the families they were, any more than you did. Further, you are virtually ensuring (at least to a statistical probability) that they will be restricted to the same position they were born into, eventually producing even more who are unlikely to escape their heritage.

Also, it is hard for me to accept that "the rest of you" are supporting many of these children in exactly the manner you implied. In all actuality, it is many of these families that are supporting "the rest of you". You see, if it were not for the people who are barely getting by making your paper and pens, flipping your hamburgers, waiting your table, sweeping your floors and checking you out, your expenses would be considerably higher, your money worth less and the profits for the business class much lower. If we collectively paid everyone a livable wage to begin with, everyone could afford to send their children to school. We do not, and they can not. Instead of questioning the viability of helping some kids get an education, shouldn't we question the viability of a continued downward trend in the day to day lives of the proletariat? We MUST pay for the working poor, who actually provide the opportunities for everyone else above them, one way or another. If we do not, we use advantage to create a form of indentured servitude, and create a caste system that lacks any resemblance of a meritocracy. An opportunity (it is only an opportunity after all) to provide an education for their children, and food for their sustenance, is the least we owe them as a society.

Finally, there is no way for any of us to look into the future and see what it holds. There are many who are not able to save much now who were not always in that position. Once those children are here, you can not return them, or put them back where you found them when situations change within our lives. There are employment changes, deaths, divorces, illnesses and many other rational explanations that shape and create our situations, often in ways detrimental to the best laid plans.

-- Posted by memyselfi on Sun, Jul 26, 2009, at 1:13 PM

Now about people who can't afford even $10 a week, if they can't afford children don't have them. The rest of us should not have to support them.

-- Posted by gottago on Sun, Jul 26, 2009, at 9:36 AM

We should start rationing the amount of children each couple could have... While you and others decry Obama and his stringent efforts to do something (by something, I mean more than what has been done) you want to put yourself in the holy position of who should and shouldn't have children. Do you work in the medical profession? If so, I feel sorry for anyone you "help".

If each family/individual is responsible for their own education then perhaps we should just put an immediate stop to all public schools and colleges, and perhaps we can return to the good old days where the only thing women were allowed to do were, cook, clean, and make babies.

-- Posted by nascarfanatic on Sun, Jul 26, 2009, at 2:20 PM

We should start rationing the amount of children each couple could have...

-- Posted by nascarfanatic on Sun, Jul 26, 2009, at 2:20 PM

No, but we should expect people to be responsible enough to accept the consequences of their actions. I know the very thought of that makes you squirm.

It is the liberal philosophy that there are no bad decisions/actions that has caused most of the problems in our country.

It is sad to see that a fellow American could speak of a family/individual being responsible for themselves in a derisive tone. What happened to America?

-- Posted by quietmike on Sun, Jul 26, 2009, at 3:00 PM

'I would rather see the vast majority within all strata of our society with degrees. I would actually prefer it if we eventually had 95% of the population achieving a Masters',Posted by memyselfi on Sun, Jul 26, 2009, at 2:23 AM

Memyselfi,

I am a firm believer in education for education's sake, always have been. But I was responding to your comment referenced above. It is very obvious that if 95% of the population walked around with a degree or two, it decimates any advantage the holder has in the job market. It is simply the law of supply and demand. When the market is flooded with product(employees), prices(wages) go down.

Many of your comments seem to advocate that our world be, or at least began to approach, some type of utopian society, a society where there is no rich, no poor, but equal. You should be able to see that such a few point is not possible unless peter is robbed to pay paul, so to speak. We will always a need an underclass to flip burgers, mow lawns, or skin chickens, and yes it keeps costs own and profits up. But working for that which you should never be given should be an impetus for those at the bottom of the ladder to move up. Our society does allow this, but the proper attitude must exist, the ability must exist, and a defeatist attitude must not.

Merit based scholarships exist for those who have the ability to compete and win these prices. Often deserving students are able to have a 'free ride' not based on tax payer's handouts, but by donations from those who care about deserving students' educations.

-- Posted by gottago on Sun, Jul 26, 2009, at 8:26 PM

Nascarfanatic,

Maybe you should have read my other comments before spouting off.

I do support a strong state higher education system, but believe the tax money is better spent improving those institutions than giving it to individuals who have not bothered to save for education. If they truly belong in college they will get a merit based award.

Please tell me why anyone SHOULD choose to have chidren that they can't afford and know they can't afford. Please tell me WHY the rest of should want to support these kids?

-- Posted by gottago on Sun, Jul 26, 2009, at 8:33 PM

Please tell me why anyone SHOULD choose to have chidren that they can't afford and know they can't afford. Please tell me WHY the rest of should want to support these kids?

-- Posted by gottago on Sun, Jul 26, 2009, at 8:33 PM

Surely, gottago you do not believe punishing the child is the answer to your problem?

-- Posted by Dianatn on Sun, Jul 26, 2009, at 10:40 PM

I think it's funny that we are even discussing "affording" children, as if the only thing you deduce a child to is how much you think it costs you. If you truly think that the only folks who deserve children are those who can afford them, then everyone who has to borrow money to finance their life (home loans, student loans, car loans, etc) should resist the urge to bear children. That would leave just about every eager newlywed couple waiting for twenty years to be able to afford these kids.

I just don't understand how we have so many defendants of the well-to-do's and ridicule those who are closer to us on every spectrum of humanity. Associating yourself with upper-middle class folks is one thing, but have empathy and compassion for the least of those among us, is the truest test of character.

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Sun, Jul 26, 2009, at 10:46 PM

There is a big difference in taking out a loan in which you will pay back and living on the dole.

No sane person would continue to buy more and more houses when they are having a hard time paying for the first, but somehow spitting out children like a brood mare is different. Must be liberal logic.

-- Posted by quietmike on Sun, Jul 26, 2009, at 11:16 PM

quietmike

I bet your against abortion too aren't you?

-- Posted by Dianatn on Sun, Jul 26, 2009, at 11:32 PM

Sure I am. Why not exercise some responsibility (OH NO! THERE'S THAT EVIL WORD AGAIN) and keep your clothes on if your not in a position to raise children?

-- Posted by quietmike on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 2:34 AM

Funny how those who object to socialism seem to be huge proponents of communism.

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 6:51 AM

Sure I am. Why not exercise some responsibility (OH NO! THERE'S THAT EVIL WORD AGAIN) and keep your clothes on if your not in a position to raise children?

-- Posted by quietmike on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 2:34 AM

That figures

-- Posted by Dianatn on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 9:30 AM

Look people, every step we take in this life requires planning. Kids are expensive and all the available aid just facilitates over producing. There is no push to improve one's lot if one knows the government will always be there handing out money. I know that my opinions seem harsh, but when you realize how you are affected by others' carelessness you do tend to get in a snit and feel some degree of frustration.

After our weekly meeting, my business partner and I were casually chatting when we were joined by a gentleman whose business opinions I have come to value over the years, though I am not always in complete agreement. As an economist by profession, he was quizzing us on our projected profits for all locations and what salary we think we need to properly provide for a family and to save for a decent retirement. He also wanted to know how far away from that goal we were in this down economy.

When we gave him our desired numbers, he very quickly pointed out that once we got there if we got there, our tax liability( provided we keep employees pay rates proportional) would increase to the point that we would really be no better off then we are now. So our hard work pays off none, for us anyway, and the government takes more to redistribute. Couple this with Obama's threat to fine businesses that don't offer health coverage, and we are fighting a losing battle.I was so sickened that I hardly got though the day, and was so close to taking his advice which was return to school, get a Ph.D, and work for the government.

My point to this story is this. It has been a tough year for us, make no mistake. We are having to change our game plan, create additional streams of revenue, and even consider changing our qualifications for employees. This is time consuming, and neither of us recieves a dime until we have completely implemented these changes and they begin to pay off.

This is the choice we made when we chose to have a business. Notice I said CHOSE. I do not expect the government to prop us up or to give us handouts. I also now know what salary I have to have to raise a family, to be comfortable, and save for a decent retirement. I also know I am not at that point and would be STUPID to consider having children (don't want them, but that's not the point) that I could not properly pay for.

I expect others to do the same. I don't want to pay for what they can't afford, whether it be a $500,000 home or a brood of kids.

If you want to lose 40% of your income so be it. I don't want that, but feel that it will eventually happen if Obama gets his healthcare.

-- Posted by gottago on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 11:10 AM

Darrick - I think it's funny that those who spout off numbers (47 million without health insurance) refuse to answer questions regarding the FACTS that are presented. They come back with "To you, all of those people are just numbers, and not lives." Even though the person in question was the first to toss out "numbers".

So, it really is true that you liberals get confused by FACTS when confronted with them.

-- Posted by Thom on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 12:01 PM

Darrick04,

How do you twist a suggestion of taking responsibility for yourself communism?

Dianatn,

It is also no surprise that you would support abortion. Liberals almost always try to dodge responsibility and make others pay for the consequences of their actions. How appropriate then, that you would rather lay the penalty of your reckless behavior on the head of an innocent child than exercise a little forethought and planning.

-- Posted by quietmike on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 12:25 PM

It totally blows my mind that you care more for the welfare of an unborn child than you do a living breathing child. It seems much more humane to put the child out of it's misery before it is born than to allow it to starve to death because you do not believe in "entitlements".

I guess only the rich should be allowed to have babies or make the mistake of unintentional pregnancies. When you think you can start telling people when or how many children they can have it is nothing less than communism. China already does this...

-- Posted by Dianatn on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 12:59 PM

I am as concerned for the welfare of a child both before it is born as well as after. I have no problem helping the CHILD, but not the irresponsible parents. I am not against the poor having children, but don't expect me to help raise them via my tax dollars. This has nothing to do with socialism, communism or any other ism's, it has to do with personal responsiblity, something that has not been taught in this country for an a long time.

-- Posted by Sharon22 on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 1:16 PM

Again Sharon, I ask do you punish the child for what the parents do?? Do you allow a child to live in the streets and starve because you believe the parents are lazy bums??

or

Do we open up more orphan homes and take in these street children? (You think your paying thru the nose now for these children just pick this option)

-- Posted by Dianatn on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 1:23 PM

I'm not telling folks how many children to have, only that they should be responsible for the ones they do have, instead of relying on society to bear the burden for their irresponsibility.

Why not put those parents "out of their misery" instead and break the generational teachings of dependence and victimhood mentality. I'm sure those children would be raised better by adoptive parents who wouldn't consider killing them for convenience sake.

-- Posted by quietmike on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 1:24 PM

Again Sharon, I ask do you punish the child for what the parents do??

-- Posted by Dianatn on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 1:23 PM

You can ask this question just after saying it is more humane to "put an unborn child out of it's misery"???????

Talk about a disconnect from reality!!

-- Posted by quietmike on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 1:27 PM

Adoption is a joke. There are twice as many children out there than there are people wishing to adopt.

That's why there are so many foster care homes..and if you think you are not still paying for the support of these children while they are in foster care ...Ph-leze Think again. These children are no more to most foster parents than they were to their real parents...they are a mere check in the mail.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 1:30 PM

Why are so many Americans adopting children from other countries and paying tens of thousands extra to do it then? If there was a glut of unadopted children here, that wouldn't be happening.

-- Posted by quietmike on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 1:33 PM

You can ask this question just after saying it is more humane to "put an unborn child out of it's misery"???????

Talk about a disconnect from reality!!

-- Posted by quietmike on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 1:27 PM

Really Mike? If you were given a choice Would you rather die a quick heart attack or suffer tremendous pain for years and years.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 1:34 PM

But you don't have the foresight to know that the child will suffer for years and years. Heck, you don't even have the foresight to realize how your actions and decisions will affect your future.

The child could grow up to see the fallacy of liberal whining and make something of himself, lots already have.

-- Posted by quietmike on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 1:37 PM

I would rather see the parents take the responsiblity of raising their own children. My parents did, with only one bringing in an income. My parents could have both very easily worked, but choose to live on one income and even managed to send us to private school along the way. We did not have a lot of what the other kids had, and def. not every fad that came along. We were very far from being well off. I do know we are paying for children in foster care, know some foster families myself. Abortion is just another method of popualtion control, just look at China, here we just encourage the poor to abort instead of raising the child, after all, it's cheaper isn't it?

-- Posted by Sharon22 on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 2:09 PM

Why are so many Americans adopting children from other countries and paying tens of thousands extra to do it then? If there was a glut of unadopted children here, that wouldn't be happening.

-- Posted by quietmike on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 1:33 PM

That's an easy question and any fool that knows anything about foster care and adoption can tell you. The red tape that goes with adopting inside the USA is horrid. It sometimes takes years to adopt in the US when they can go to a foreign country and adopt immediately without the red tape. It has nothing to do with the fact of not having any children in the US to adopt.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 3:17 PM

But you don't have the foresight to know that the child will suffer for years and years. Heck, you don't even have the foresight to realize how your actions and decisions will affect your future.

Posted by quietmike on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 1:37 PM

And Yet you feel you have the foresight to tell when someone is being lazy or just can not honestly find a job or if they are truly ill..

Clearly there are those who do not deserve to receive the benefits they get, I am well aware of that fact. Probably more so than you know but you can not punish the ones who have the true need because of those few.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 3:46 PM

We might look into ways of restoring late onset puberty.

In the past,youngsters tended to be able to function at adult levels (or close to it) before they were physically able to reproduce.

Nowadays,better health and nutrition has advanced physical maturity while educational and social demands have prolonged the "formative" years well into the twenties (or beyond).

Public support once took the form of the whole community accepting responsibility for each child.

Families looked after their own to the best of their abilities but neighbors and the spiritual community were also mentors and caregivers.

(In those days,godmothers didn't necessarily carry magic wands and godfathers could be "men of respect" without being criminal kingpins.)

Showers,hope chests,dowers and "bees" were ways young people prepared to take on adult roles while the grown-ups offered their blessings by filling in the gaps.

There was an expectation that one didn't set up a separate household and family until one had acquired adult skills and tools.

Even after a person had the right competencies and property,he could rely on kith and kin for advice and help in a crisis.

Even among pioneers,going off on one's own could be done incrementally with people starting off with sponsors and a network of peers before taking on the challenge of living where one couldn't see the smoke from a neighbor's chimney.

Now,we can be isolated from those under our own roofs (much less those who live a mile away).

Our vulnerable populations may have less need of our dollars than they do our concern and our example.

Our children can be granted scholarships and offered work but,first.let us instill in them a sense of safety and their own worth and give them the means to tend to themselves,learn throughout their lives and contribute to the well-being of others.

Our government agencies should be the tools we use to cope and serve the commonweal.

They should not be our surrogates in the sense that we become unable to function or reluctant to accept responsibility.

Nor should we become the servants for an alpha class that "takes on the burden" of ruling perpetual juveniles because we are unable or unwilling to lead others or govern our own lives.

Give people the means and desire to look after themselves,expect them to contribute to the welfare of others as they are helped and make public service (military,Peace Corps,elected office,taxes,voting,whatever) at least as much a part of being "important" as appearance and posessions.

Let's see being an adult be defined by having basic life skills,having education for education's sake,doing useful work well without cohersion and making responsible choices.

A generation that takes pride in getting wise rather than getting wasted and looks forward to giving its all rather than "getting some" might not need as many tax dollars for the support,protection and repair of its nation.

If our default assumption is that most people can achieve and most will,then we can also assume that many difficulties can be overcome.

Allow people to lock themselves away behind "I can't" or "Why should I?" and we trade the will of the strong for the "won't" of the weak.

The people of our past took on the actions of grown-ups before they became adults.

Today,we encourage the opposite.

We might not be able to change our biology right away but we can change our society's expectations.

Let's set a goal that doesn't just measure how long we live or what we own but what we do with our time here.

Let's have a "life expectancy" that involves getting better instead of just getting older.

(How do we make the necessary changes?

At the risk of suggesting too "red" a rosy future,"from each according to his ability,to each ,according to his need" wouldn't be a bad place to start.

The catch is admitting that there's always going to be room for improvement and it's up to us whether we want to be part of the problem or part of the solution.

Thinking we already reside in the Promised Land or selling ourselves time-shares in one dystopia or another isn't going to uncover any answers.

As far as I can tell,we'll make things better today the same way folks have in the olden days or whenever we have been stricken by a crisis.

Just recognize that we have no choice but to be sane,caring,creative and industrious -or die.

Can the idealists and Pollyannas guarantee that solutions will be forthcoming?

No.

But,pessimism and complacency will accomplish even less.

-- Posted by quantumcat on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 7:03 PM

gottago, When you claim "It is very obvious that if 95% of the population walked around with a degree or two, it decimates any advantage the holder has in the job market." I would have to agree with you. I would also have to assume the position that without a "decimation of advantage" the majority will never be able to overcome their position. Why should some be privileged with a better education, a better understanding of their existence, and a better chance of financial independence? To argue that only those who are born into the advantage to gain an education should get one, simply ensures the existence of undereducated and underpaid masses beholden to the educated and overpaid few.

Most of my comments do not describe a perfect Utopia, as best as I can tell anyway. They come closer to describing a more democratic society, with an economy based on the demos as opposed to the rulers. There will always be a division of the classes. There does not necessarily have to be such a stark division between them.

When you point out that achieving those ideals, "is not possible unless Peter is robbed to pay Paul" you word your argument in classic rhetorical fashion, and fail to realize that it has been entirely framed within half-truths and false logic. You see, I do not advocate robbing Peter at all. The way I see it, Peter is already robbing Paul. I do believe it would be a good idea to keep Peter out of Paul's ability to accumulate any wealth to speak of, or at the very least, leave Paul the ability to support himself. It is one thing be robbed by someone, it is another thing entirely to limit the theft of your own worth to reasonable measure, which is what I advocate, and nothing at all like you implied. Everything Peter has originally came from Paul, either directly or indirectly, and as time goes on, Paul has less and less to give. Ultimately, what we have is a situation of traditional power structures working in unison to extract from Paul the only thing he has of any value, and the combinations of government and capital influence have so drained Paul, they are compelled (in many cases literally) to give something back so that Paul can provide for his family. If we do not want the public sector to pay for Paul's children's education, then we should collectively be willing to pay Paul enough for his labor within the private sector to send his own children. Without that, we have already lost the fight and have surely started down the path to wage slavery for the masses.

There is no question that we will always need a class of people to do the jobs no one particularly dreams of as a child. I do agree with you there, but it does not follow that those people should be living in poverty. If their job is important enough to be done in the first instance, it is important enough to be worth a livable wage. If the owners of any given business can not afford to pay their laborers that wage at the expense of their own profit, they should "flip burgers, mow yards and skin chickens" themselves instead of depending on someone who is artificially oppressed in order to maintain the owner's lifestyle at the expense of the laborer's.

This part of your comment: "working for that which you should never be given" is really where our differences lie. You choose to believe that it is abhorrent for the poor and less fortunate to be given anything unless they are possessed of the "proper attitude and ability" (which actually just translates into an exceedingly small percentage of them), while those who already have position in life, should apparently have no such requirements demanding adherence to the same stringent guidelines. I might be able to see your point if you were advocating the same set of criteria for both sets of students, but you go the extra mile and expect more from those who are less likely to even achieve equality. You see, there is a group who are not ever required to "work for that which should never be given", but it is unfailingly given to them nonetheless, with absolutely no objections from you.

"Free Rides" are very uncommon when grants are excluded, even at state schools. Perhaps if your child were senior class valedictorian at a large school, in many clubs, excelled at student leadership and so on, they may be lucky enough to see a free ride for 4 years. To be fair, we are looking at less than 1%, and in all likelihood, those lucky and talented enough to get one, are not the ones who most need one anyway. Like everything else of value, they generally find their way into the hands of the already advantaged, for a variety of rational and understandable reasons. It may be easier to get a free ride at a religious school, but again, as a rule, who would the beneficiaries likely be?

-- Posted by memyselfi on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 7:23 PM

Memyselfi,

If our system is so flawed, how would you fix it?

What do you consider a livable wage? If Mr. Burger Flipper(or any other min. wage job) were to earn $10 per hour, how then do you expect the owner of the business in which Mr. Flipper is employed to make money? Keep in mind, taxes, legal and other professional fees, debts incurred by the business, supplies, and a litany of other expenses must be paid before the business begins to profit. Are you suggesting that a business should just break even and that the owner should not be rewarded for HIS risk, HIS oversight, and HIS vision?

Do you believe that everyone should be given what they do not have to close the gap between 'the haves or have-nots'? Now I am not just implying money, but talent, health, or any other 'stuff' that may give the appearance that some people just have it better tahn others. Where would the money come from to accomplish such a lofty goal.?

-- Posted by gottago on Tue, Jul 28, 2009, at 9:56 AM

Bush told a woman in her 50's raising 3 sons one of which is mentally challenged, that working 3 jobs is Uniquely American, isn't it? I mean, that is fantastic that you're doing that.

I am not sure what is so fanastic about having to work 3 jobs in order to provide for your family.

But I do agree it is "Uniquely American".

-- Posted by Dianatn on Tue, Jul 28, 2009, at 10:08 AM

And Yet you feel you have the foresight to tell when someone is being lazy or just can not honestly find a job or if they are truly ill..

- Posted by Dianatn on Mon, Jul 27, 2009, at 3:46 PM

It doesn't take a Nostradamus to see that the majority on government assistance are just lazy bums. Just drive through the projects one afternoon and watch them sitting on their porch, brown bag in hand, watching traffic go by. Or take a look at the blotter, and I'm sure you'll notice that a significant portion of arrestees live in the projects or section 8 housing. If they have the ability to be out thieving or getting high, then they have the ability to work.

Even data from the U.S. government shows that 70+% of families below the poverty level are there because they work less than 20 hours a week.

Then we have folks like you who yell and scream at the mere mention of common sense controls that would lessen the fraud and abuse of the system. Simple thing like mandatory birth control, or random drug tests while on assistance, that should be obvious things to help a person stop digging themselves a deeper hole, but no, "it's their right to do as they please" nevermind that everyone else must bear the burden for them.

-- Posted by quietmike on Tue, Jul 28, 2009, at 1:39 PM

gottago, Now that is loaded question if I have ever heard one. Our system in not "flawed" in and of itself. If you are looking for a general problem to point to, I would say that it all stems from misrepresentation. We have 2 parties that represent two sides of the same coin with no room left for any other voice. Our system has become dominated by the 2 parties, and both of them are dominated by existing capital influence. If we could regain some variety within our representation, many of the issues we have problems with would likely address themselves through the unrestrained political process. It would be a mistake to assume that either current party has any particular loyalty to the middle and lower classes. They are expectedly more loyal to their actual constituents, the ones whose support got them elected to begin with. I personally believe in, and have faith in, our system of governance. It has just eventually condensed into fewer and fewer people being represented, until finally there is only one group. This one group realizes their advantage, and takes great pains to maintain it, which leaves us exactly where we are now. What do I think needs to be done to rectify the situation? Education, fighting poverty, creating a citizenry, empowering people as opposed to intentionally instilling fear, hatred and self doubt - basically, everything I advocate in my comments. All of these things are best understood as created realities, not necessary ones.

If you wanted specific examples, I imagine issues like globalization, immigration and education could all be addressed fairly quickly and efficiently by a well informed and accurately represented population, in a way that would protect the interests of the majority, as opposed to the interests of the few.

There is no magic number that is a livable wage. I personal like Adam Smith's definition as a rule of thumb. Again, this paragraph is rhetorically framed (and well done), but I will try to answer it. There is no doubt that innovation, capital investment and hard work should all be rewarded. If however, Mr. Business Owner cannot make a profit while paying Mr. Burger Flipper a livable wage, there is either a problem with the business he is engaged in, or more likely, the economic framework the business is surrounded by. You make the mistake of assuming that Mr. Business Owner is Peter, when in the vast majority of cases, he is in fact Paul, just a Paul who is somewhat better off than some others. The way I see it, it is not the small (or even medium) business owner who determines the economic conditions they compete in. It is those who have advantage through their capital resources, political resources and in turn their monopolistic and/or protectionist practices. It does not matter what Mr. Business Owner actually does in his business, he is confined by the larger markets within which he is competing. You just can not compete with those who have advantage unless you gain an equal one for yourself by some other means, which is much easier said than done.

If your competitors pay low wages, you must also. If your competitors depend on subsidies to augment their profits, you must also. If your competitors squeeze the most they can out of their suppliers through capital advantage, you must also. If your competitors outsource jobs, you must also. In short, your economist friend was likely accurate in his assessment, but he left out the option of joining the private sector in an already advantaged business, most likely a corporation, in the fields of sales, service, R&D or administration. Virtually the only way around this, is catering to a niche market and providing what is not already provided, or providing it with better quality and/or cheaper than what is already provided. I do not mean to discourage you though. If you love what you do, and are in it for the long term, you can "make" it work. Building a business is a lot like raising a child I guess. The more time you spend developing it and sacrificing for it, the easier it eventually gets, especially for someone who feels comfortable in the shoes of salesman, as well as business owner.

Most of the spaces between the gaps of potentialities are, as I have written, wholly artificial. Yes, we need to reduce them to the least and most nativistic realities that we can, across the board. When you ask about where the resources would come from for such lofty goals, the answer would be that they should come from exactly the same place that the resources came from to create and expand the gaps in the first instance, the political and economic direction of collective resources. That does not indicate that I am naive enough to expect no variance, or believe we should eliminate all variance. I would just prefer to see a naturally occurring one.

-- Posted by memyselfi on Tue, Jul 28, 2009, at 7:45 PM

memyselfi,

Do some degree, I actually agree with you. I agree that we are all participating in an economy whose 'rules' are determined in a reality much displaced from the everyday citizien here in MIddle Tennessee. Corporate entities(and maybe a few ruling elites, I haven't made up my mind on the truthfulness of such) have become our indirect rulers and exert an enormous pressure on policies and procedures. This I know and make no arguement.

My positions are based on my personal situation, but more basically, my personal observations. I have seen more abuse of Pell Grants than of scholarships or loans. I have seen people continue and continue taking classes on the public dime with no sense of urgency, while their wealthier, more focused and self funded counterparts want to quickly finish so they stop the financial bleeding.

It is clear that we will never agree on this issue, but I can't help but wonder why you mind having your hard earned money going to social engineering. I have no problems paying taxes for a strong defense and infrastructure, roads especially. I would rather have a pothole free interstate than brand new school buildings in every zone. We can educate without bell towers and leather furniture

-- Posted by gottago on Thu, Jul 30, 2009, at 8:05 PM

gottago, I am glad that we agree to some extent. I just wonder how you fail to see that the same advantage that dictates your middle class existence does the exact same to our lower classes. The same markets that confine you within your business, also confine the least of our population, only to a much larger degree.

Sure they may get some welfare or grants, but what does that really represent, and more to the point of this debate, what does it take from you? It is very easy to fall into the trap of assuming that price and cost are synonymous, but when we look at the larger picture, they are not. It is also easy to forget that "money" is the largest variable within our economy, but instead we want to habitually view currency as the most restrictive factor, only because it happens to be the most restrictive factor to we who depend on it directly. It does not matter if we are collectively building Pharaoh's pyramids, building gothic cathedrals, waging wars of empire for Caesar, making disposable plastic widgets or developing and delivering thought controlling propaganda, our economy works in basically the same way, with the masses chasing whatever reward is offered for participating in whatever objective is projected. It also does not matter if we collectively manage our resources through food stamps, greenbacks, bread lines or grants, it remains nothing more or less than resource management. It is the direction of those resources and more importantly, the consequence of those directions that create our realities.

Instead of accepting "what is" as "what has to be", why not examine the situation with an eye toward improvement? I do not want to start complaining about the price of education, but do you believe you "get what you pay for" when taking your classes? I am not referring to the considerable value that you apply to your credits contributing to the specific degree you are working on, just the classes, and quality of education received by you from them. It is also easy to confuse the price of a diploma with the price of an education. It seems to me that the price of attending university is extremely prohibitive even among the middle classes. As far as I can tell from the outside, it is overpriced, understaffed and does not represent a good value, except for the value of the parchment transferred. If I remember correctly from your comments, you have been taking graduate classes for some time now. I am not sure if there are nearly as many grant receivers among your graduate peers as there are in undergraduate studies anyway. As a matter of fact, the lack of them at that level is, in my opinion, the most restrictive glass ceiling we see in our society today, even for those few who possess great innate ability, and also try very very hard.

I am not claiming that it is fair for those on grants to take classes at their leisure; I am agreeing with you that it is decidedly unfair to those who pay for them (specifically for those who struggle to do so). What if though, we turned our focus toward affordable education for the masses? What if we had the ability to collectively develop a nationwide system of public IT education complete with online lectures, textbooks and regional testing/lab/resources centers with tuition charges of less than $50.00 - $100.00 per class (even graduate classes) and backed up by a complete support system of developmental courses for those who may require them. Better yet, what if we could direct some of the collective resources away from the framework of oppression and toward a true universal education? As opposed to wasting "people", why not educate them and let them staff more schools? Instead of begrudging the poor for their grants, why not look to the framework that is restricting the majority, including yourself?

It is not that we will never agree, it is more a matter of perspective. I have stood at your vantage point in the past and found the view to be obstructed by too many trees. All I am trying to do is to describe what I see now, from where I currently stand. If what I describe does not mesh with your "personal observations" from your own point of reference, consider this an invitation to take a look around from mine sometime.

We have been exposed to social engineering for millennia now. It is not a choice of some or none, it is a choice of goals and values. It is nothing, if not the very social engineering of today that creates both those segments of our society who must depend on grants to achieve an education, and those who must overcome great obstacles to get their business started. You see, I imagine that it is not an issue of either one taking from the other. The lower and middle classes are played off against one another, fighting over scraps at the masters table, while the master will never be able to eat what he has portioned for himself, with the illogical objective of acquiring more and more curs fighting under him and more and more resources to control, that are all directed to an end of only more and more accumulation, as opposed to effectiveness, morality or societal advancement.

I may be far off the mark here, but what I personally value is a better existence for the majority who not only live today, but those who will inherit this society in the future. While I realize that concept appears irrational given the predominate philosophy of Objectivism that appears to run through our veins and deceptively shrouds itself within the safety of our forefathers flag, I am just simply not able to discount the historic human tendency toward societal development and advancement, or the fights the majority have endured to get us where we are today, or for that matter, to render the current or historical antagonists illusory character traits and further categorize them entirely into entities of fiction. Sadly though, it is not a conspiratorial "ruling elite" who keep the masses down, it is just people (like ourselves) who believe that they fully deserve whatever advantage they may have, with a resentment that is self reinforcing to the ego and ultimately includes assigning dehumanizing attributes for all those beneath them. I imagine you can relate to that. ;)

-- Posted by memyselfi on Sat, Aug 1, 2009, at 7:57 PM

Memyselfi,

I really don't believe that any of us are truly confined by any market nor do I believe in a perpetual oppressive framework. I have, however, seen that forces change to the extent that each of us has to make similiar changes in our own economic model to weather them. Either we modify enough to survive, or we completely revamp to thrive, or we stay the course and simply die. But we each make the choice to do one of the three and should be done by our own volition and our own efforts.

I maintain that our government's habit of taking from some with higher rates of taxation and giving to others in the form services and a non-existent tax bill is fundamentally unfair. I am not however, averse to using tax money currently being routed to the grant program to improve the overall quality of our universiities and trade schools ( just please keep them apart)and to make them more affordable. It seems though that the numbers you threw out would be impossible without a greater tax burden on some and I find that completely unacceptable.

Now about the value of classes... My opinion is that not all classes are created equal from university to university and from department to department. Some teachers are more interested in research than their students, some more interested in their students than research, some are horrible teachers, and some are fantastic. These types are not limited to any one locale but can be found at any institution. That said, I will agree that most are understaffed, and entirely too many rely on graduate students to fill in the gaps. I personally felt that the best value was at the undergrad level as many grad classes are just a series of hoops for the working professional to navigate. But you get out what you put in and I feel sometimes I got more from the class many years and many experiences later.

I know I have not completely addressed your points. I will tomorrow, but I have been a little under the weather and the phenergen (spelling?) makes me loopy and rather sleepy.

Oh, BTW it seems we can agree. I just read the comments on Bell's Blog.

-- Posted by gottago on Sun, Aug 2, 2009, at 9:10 PM

gottago, I hope it was not my comments that made you sick. I have been accused of causing pains in the past, but usually in the posterior region.

"I really don't believe that any of us are truly confined by any market nor do I believe in a perpetual oppressive framework." - Interesting, I wonder what the odds are of upward class mobility for the least classes within our economy, and the percentages of failed new small businesses within 5 years. I truly do not know the actual statistics nationwide, but I know what I see around me. This one is easy, if there is no confining framework, we should be able to see the proof of that, and by the same token if there is, that has a proof as well. I also wonder what you see when you drive down the street. What I see doing business everywhere is only advantage, if not directly, then through their suppliers, sales or re-packagers. There are virtually no businesses that do not cater to big business anywhere. Seriously, look around and decide for yourself. You may find an independent restaurant, but where do they get their food, drinks, equipment and disposables? You may see an auto mechanics shop, but where does he get his tools, supplies and parts? There are even custodial services, but even they are best considered independent 1099 employees. As far as I can tell, there are very few areas that are not dominated entirely. The pre-owned marked (for the time being, and admittedly somewhat dependant on innovation from big business), and the strictly service market. I dare you to look for yourself.

Okay, I will try to put everything in a nutshell for you here. I am not so removed from reality that I do not see a change to a service based society. That is not bad in and of itself, but I do anticipate a serious problem. From what I can ascertain about the direction of our economy, we will eventually have a group of people providing services/products and a group of people receiving services/products. That is the wrong paradigm to strive for. What we MUST have, is EVERYONE providing services and/or products to everyone else. To accept any less only ensures that those who choose which services to administer may do so at their leisure, and free from the demands of those being administered to, which will be the vast majority if current condition is any indication of the future. That is the overarching impetus to the majority of what I write. I hope that helps you understand my musings a little more.

"I maintain that our government's habit of taking from some with higher rates of taxation and giving to others in the form services and a non-existent tax bill is fundamentally unfair." - I maintain that our government takes from those who have not already been drained - usually best understood as those who are doing the draining. I also maintain that in return for their investment of an "unfair" burden of taxation, they get a good return.

"It seems though that the numbers you threw out would be impossible without a greater tax burden on some and I find that completely unacceptable." - I think less tax burden should be expected with this program. To implement and maintain a system like this would be very costly on the front end, or for only 1000 students to attend. However, the cost per individual class taker decreases sharply the more consumers of the classes there are. Imagine 10,000,000 students nationwide (with an eye toward international) taking 3-4 classes each, grab your calculator and do the math from there, you may be surprised. I figure if of the money from annual federal grants and loans were invested for only the first year of development, the entire system could be opened up to the private sector to be run for profit on a shoestring investment with skeleton staffs, especially in the major population centers like Rutherford or Davidson counties. See, I am not a commie, I prefer private run businesses when applicable. Another positive free market effect would be to open the existing universities up to actual market forces. Just imagine, we may be able to replace half of the convenience stores on every corner with testing centers, even those tobacco/beer/lotto stores owned by immigrants from India may want to get in on some of this action. Of course, that last part was a joke, but it really is all about direction.

As far as Mr. Bell's blog, I hate to write that I doubt we actually do agree. That poor gentleman is just bound up within his own understandings, which ultimately he did not choose himself. It is exactly people like him that need all the help that society can give them. An education would be a great place to start. I figured he was looking for an argument (I may have just been projecting though, hmmm) so I gave him the response I thought he was looking for. I am not mad at him. I feel bad for him, and more importantly, I wonder how society failed him to such a degree.

-- Posted by memyselfi on Mon, Aug 3, 2009, at 4:17 AM


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Bo Melson is a retired sports and police beat editor of the Times-Gazette. He passed away November 15, 2014, at age 81.
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