Letter to the Editor

Letters to the Editor, Dec. 6

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Insurance companies not to blame

To the Editor:

Today, the primary news report is remodeling the healthcare in this country. It seems all politicians want to pump up the healthcare system as they did with the banks and American name car companies.

Every news program is devoted to this gigantic overhaul, but no one yet has given the primary reason for this healthcare problem.

All, to date, lay the blame on insurance companies, but this has always been a bogus excuse, in my opinion.

As physicians', hospitals' and clinics' costs keep going through the roof, and then insurance companies continue to reduce payments for medical obligations just to stay in business. If the U.S. shores up this healthcare problem with money it doesn't have, we will definitely be worse off in the future.

Medicare continues to shrink due to exorbitant physician and hospital fees and if it continues, the U.S. will definitely be out of the Medicare business.

There is one up-side to this. With Medicare gone politicians will no longer be able to borrow or steal out of it to support "something else." It's also said but truer than rain this is the same reason our Social Security system is in grave trouble; borrowing and stealing!

It was rumored, at the time FDR while signing Social Security into law was looking up at his constituents and made this statement, "Sometime in the far off future some 'pipsqueak vandal' will come along and totally try to wreck this wonderful project I've enacted." Well...we all know who that was!!

As far as the healthcare dilemma there's one remedy that has been overlooked. Physicians' and hospitals' must be "rolled back" somewhat and "capped" in order to be controlled. Switzerland has by far the best healthcare system in the world, and this idea is incorporated into their system.

Under the present governing system pumping money into our healthcare without control is utter nonsense. This will be an open invitation for physicians and hospitals to continue raising their already exorbitant fees, thus bleeding the money away and further lining their pockets. The government won't discuss it, but I wonder how much of the stimulus money was stolen and squandered at the expense of the taxpayer.

If doctors and hospitals were "cost controlled," the insurance costs and co-pays would definitely come down, and at the same time we certainly can't leave out the 'big fat Pharmaceuticals," who constantly remind us that high costs of drugs benefits the citizen with money for research. It's all about U.S. greed. Now keep this in mind. When you see "someone's" itemized hospital bill with a pair of latex gloves at the cost of twelve dollars and a five hundred milligram Tylenol pill at six dollars, it's bad.

J. Augustus Woodward


Writer thanks all who saved her life

To the Editor:

I would like to thank all of the people who had a part in saving my life on November 18, this year. I called 911 on that day when I thought I was having a heart attack. A wonderfully patient and concerned lady answered the call and spoke in a calming voice which reassured me. She instructed me what to do and asked some vital questions, which gave me hope. She had mestay on the phone until help arrived She was marvelous!

Within minutes, a police officer came and with my neighbors' assistance were able to comfort me. My neighbors are Delores and William Green, wonderful people whom I love.

The paramedics arrived quickly as well and were able to stabilize my heart on the way to Heritage Medical Center. The team of doctors and nurses saw that I needed more specialized help and I was airlifted to Nashville, where doctors there could perform additional tests. Within two days, I had a pacemaker implanted and am now feeling much better. I would not be alive, I feel, without the quick and professional response of our local emergency personnel. We should be proud of them. I am.

I also want to thank my niece, Delores Donegan, and her husband, Johnny Donegan, for coming to my side while still at Heritage Medical Center. They have been very supportive and loving throughout this whole ordeal. Times of trial bring family members closer together.

I also owe a debt of gratitude to brother Geoff Gieseman minister of the Fairland Church of Christ, who came to my side while in Nashville. His prayers and support mean a great deal to me. Christianity is alive and well at Fairlane Church.

All of you who took good care of me should know my deep appreciation and my respect and love for you. May God richly bless each of you.

Jesse Taylor Rees


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  • I do not know the answer to health care but we do need some sort of reform. I recently went to a local Nurse practitioner, was told my portion would be 30.00 (which I paid) they took my insurance information. I was then billed another 60.00. They billed my insurance company 170.00 for a visit to the NURSE. Now 2 points here, first I asked them what if I had not had insurance how much would the charge have been, they said 50.00, (they charged the insurance 170.00 so that left my co-pay at 90.00) and 2nd, I did not even see the doctor, (my appointment lasted maybe 5 min tops for a simple consultation - no tests or anything time consuming ) I have seen specialist at a major hospital for less than that.

    I was told one price, then charged a lot higher rate after I left, when asked if I had not had insurance what would the charge have been and was told 50.00. Because I have insurance the cost of that office call went from 50.00 to 170.00 ( my co-pay ended up being 90.00)TO SEE A NURSE not even the doctor. You can not convince me that there is not price gouging here. Why should the price more than triple because the person has insurance, and why can't / won't they quote you a price before the appointment? Something needs to be done to stop this crooked system.

    Like I said I have no answers but do know that this has abuse needs to be stopped. No wonder they don't want any kind of reform, they will not be able to rape the public anymore should there be regulations to protect us .

    -- Posted by wonderwhy on Sun, Dec 6, 2009, at 9:30 PM
  • The high cost of healthcare is mainly due to the overuse of health insurance and the refusal of people to take responsibility for themselves.

    Imagine how much you car insurance would cost if you filed a claim for every oil change, windshield wiper replacement, or tire repair.

    Yet we think nothing of filing a medical insurance claim for a checkup when nothing is wrong with us.

    The rallying cry of healthcare reformers is that something needs to be done for the "poor".

    Oddly the number one healthcare problem among the poor is obesity, a completely preventable, and reversible, condition.

    My point here is that free food is given to lots of poor people and they are unable or unwilling to use this program as it was intended. Instead you can watch them every day with grocery carts piled high with cheese puffs, cookies and cokes only to whip out their trusty EBT card so that we pay for it all.

    If a relatively cheap handout plan such as foodstamps cannot be administered without widespread abuse and fraud, why would any sane person want the same people to have control of healthcare, a program that will be magnitude more expensive and will give them control of our very lives????

    -- Posted by quietmike on Tue, Dec 8, 2009, at 8:35 AM
  • Quietmike, you have taken the words right out of my mouth. The abuse of our system has resulted in the rise of prices across the board. We all need to be smart consumers and invest in high end deductibles and into health savings accounts...Oh and perhaps tackling tarp funds and illegal immigration would help also, but in the political correct world we live in nothing will happen.

    -- Posted by redrepublican on Wed, Dec 9, 2009, at 1:47 AM
  • I don't understand what happened with wonderwhy. Generally, those who can afford health care the least pay the most.

    For instance if an insured person goes to the doctor and is billed $100.00 for services, the insurance companies contract with the practictioner is about 51 or 52 percent of that amount. That is what the insurance company pays. It does vary somewhat depending on procedures. About 52% though is the average that a contracted carrier pays a medical provider.

    If someone else without coverage however goes in and gets the same $100.00 worth of services, he is expected to pay the full amount.

    Imagine this on a scale of $100,00.000 bill. The uninsured is expected to cover the entire amount with his home or whatever else he may own. On the other hand a contracted insurance provider would only pay $50,000.00 more or less.

    Those that pay their bill in full out of pocket are the ones that allow insurance companies to pay less.

    The system is flawed.

    Sometimes it seems that in this country those without clout (money or political power) pay the most.

    -- Posted by goose2008 on Wed, Dec 9, 2009, at 8:31 AM
  • Redrepublican,

    I agree that HSAs with a high deductible is probably the best answer to our "healthcare crisis" but a certain unnamed political party cannot buy votes by telling people to solve their own self created problems.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Wed, Dec 9, 2009, at 6:16 PM
  • Stupid, lazy, dishonest AND fat? No wonder you are so resentful of the poor. Is there anything else we should know about them?

    Which unnamed political party would you be referring to? Either side of the limited political spectrum that we currently have available is inclined to squeeze the poor at every opportunity. It may not appear so, but when all factors are considered, there is no other way to look at it.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Thu, Dec 10, 2009, at 9:51 AM
  • memyselfi,

    I don't know how long it's been since you have looked at the U.S. tax code, but it must have been a LONG time ago.

    If you were up to date on it you would realize that almost the entire poorest 50% of Americans pay ZERO income tax. On top of that they can get an "earned income tax credit" on top of that.

    Meanwhile, the more successful you become the more you get to pay, with the top 5% of wage earners paying nearly 60% of ALL income taxes.

    Pray tell how that is "squeezing the poor"?

    The democrat party has always centered their campaigns around class warfare and promising to punish those evil rich folks.

    We have tried several decades of their wealth redistribution programs and their war on poverty and all we have accomplished is to waste untold trillions of dollars and create generations of people who are too lazy to work and too brainwashed to realize that 90% of their problems are their own making.

    If I were to place an ad in the Times Gazette classifieds offering $200 for someone to rake leaves in my yard, I would have plenty of people willing to do that.

    But, when the government offers money for people to not work, sit on the couch, and spit out one illegitimate kid after another, some are surprised that people sign up?????

    Before you claim there are no jobs out there, remember all of our illegal Mexicans who are here "doing jobs that Americans just won't do".

    -- Posted by quietmike on Thu, Dec 10, 2009, at 6:01 PM
  • The tax code is only one aspect of what is happening. I wonder why so many (50% you say) pay no income tax, get a reverse tax, get other benefits, likely also work and still have to worry about paying the bills and earning a living.

    Then at the same time, so few (5% you say) pay the majority of the income tax revenue, while at the same time, either paying those poor people right at minimum wage with no benefits, outsourcing labor, hiring immigrants, investing in a company that does those things, or at the very least, earning their incomes supporting those businesses in one way or another.

    If you really want to know how the poor are being squeezed, do not look only at income taxes or benefits, look at more important markers, such as wealth accumulation (or the lack thereof), the increasing costs and stagnate to decreasing wages for the poor and the loss of job security.

    The Democratic party has indeed postured itself in that light in the recent past, just like the republicans have assumed a conservative position advocating lower taxes and more opportunities, but the realities on the ground are somewhat different. There is not a nickels worth of difference between the two.

    The downward spiral for the quality of life as it relates to the poorest citizens of this nation has been steady, regardless of any political leader's party affiliations, and will likely only get worse without serious economic reform.

    You claim we have wasted decades and untold trillions of dollars fighting a war on poverty. I claim we have invested decades further concentrating wealth with absolutely no regard for the poor. You see, all that money eventually ended up somewhere. The poor certainly do not have it. You claim that we have created generations of lazy and brainwashed people, I claim that we have created a large population that have few options.

    I do not know why you are so insistent that most people who get benefits do not work. That is not completely accurate. Welfare reform changed a lot of that; actually, you can thank Clinton for it. Unless someone is already classified as disabled or taking care of children, the welfare options are bleak. He was so good to the poor you know. It seems like he even offered the poor a room at the White House while expecting the rich to pick up the tab, but ironically enough, their stake in the economy increased. Go figure.

    Why do we have so many immigrants anyway? Do they benefit the poor? Are they here to do the jobs lazy Americans will not do, or to undermine the market forces of labor at the expense of working Americans? If we collectively wanted to, could we stop the influx? If so, apparently someone benefits from their participation. It certainly is not the poor.

    You should be concerned about the healthcare reform, but it is not the poor who you should be worried about. The poor never really get your money. If you would step back, you might see that as usual, the poor masses provide a good excuse to funnel greater concentrations of collective wealth to the few. Again, it is not about the bread distributed or the physician seen, but the limited (and sometimes monopolistic) markets created and rewarded that these events occur within.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Thu, Dec 10, 2009, at 9:19 PM
  • First off, we can thank Clinton for welfare reform???

    If you'll check Clinton vehemently opposed welfare reform so much so that he would not sign the budget. Perhaps you remember the closing of all national parks and the government employee layoff during Christmas during his term until the republican congress scaled back their proposed cuts.


    the way you describe money as "accumulating" and "funneling" shows how you have bought into the brainwashing propaganda.

    In the VAST majority of cases the rich got that way by hard work, sound decision making, thrift, and perseverance.

    You also claim we have "made a large population with few options". How is that?

    each person decides their options.The option of dropping out of school, teenage pregnancy, drugs or just not being able to resist buying that shiny new thing are the "options" most likely to make a person poor and are personal choices that have nothing to do with a CEO or a conservative.

    Each person makes their own decisions and SHOULD bear the consequences, good or bad. But democrats cannot buy votes by telling people to take responsibility for themselves.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Thu, Dec 10, 2009, at 10:03 PM
  • Come on now, don't be so gulled by the theatrics of partisan political paradigms and the media. Look at the big picture.

    There is plenty of propaganda floating around, and I am sure that I have been exposed to my fair share, but the numbers you quoted above are all that I need to know.

    I believe you are mistaken about choice, but we have been there before, so there is no reason to go back.

    You go ahead and blame the poor for your woes, but they are not the ones in your pockets. I will tell you who is though, they are the ones who have made the poor the way they are, and you just may be next.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Thu, Dec 10, 2009, at 11:04 PM
  • Just like a good liberal, who will try to debate until confronted with facts then decides they have better things to do.

    There is a reason democrats and liberals always use hysteria to argue against cold hard logic. (hysteria doesn't require facts)

    The Democrats are in my pockets to pay the poor for voting them in office.

    Do you claim the numbers I posted are incorrect? They come directly from the IRS website...a decidedly partisan organization (sigh).

    -- Posted by quietmike on Fri, Dec 11, 2009, at 5:40 AM
  • quietmike, would you qualify and clarify those numbers please. 60% of all Americans pay no income taxes? Does that include the 10+% that have lost their jobs, the disabled, students, newborns and those in the prison systems. Or, are you saying that 60% of employed Americans pay all the income tax. Be more specific.

    You also say that the top 5% of wage earners pay 60% of all income taxes in this country. Are talking individuals or does that include corporations?

    I would like to know the source of this information as to understand it more thoroughly.

    -- Posted by goose2008 on Fri, Dec 11, 2009, at 7:33 AM
  • I was actually just thinking I would give you a break this week. You should know by now that I am persistent, if nothing else. The facts are simple and straightforward, it is only our understanding of them that leads to our differing views.

    The most important "fact" to realize is that neither party has any concern about the lower classes, as they do not get anyone elected in all actuality. The lower (and middle) classes are systematically manipulated into voting for one ideal or another that has no true representative. Our representatives are all bound to accumulated capital and its future growth. That includes Clinton and Obama. If you choose to buy into the false dichotomies presented, that is okay, but do not expect any outcomes to change.

    If a politician stands before you and begs not to be thrown into the Briar Patch, that does not necessarily mean that he will not find comfort there.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Fri, Dec 11, 2009, at 11:02 AM
  • goose 2008,

    If you want to wade through all the PDF documents on the IRS website, thy can be found here. http://www.irs.gov/taxstats/

    Several groups have extracted the numbers and put them in an easier to read format. One of which is here.


    Google will lead to many more and ALL have the same final numbers.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Fri, Dec 11, 2009, at 12:25 PM
  • The most important "fact" to realize is that neither party has any concern about the lower classes, as they do not get anyone elected in all actuality.

    -- Posted by memyselfi

    So the FACT that every election map in recent history shows democrats carrying large cities which have a high level of welfare and other "benefits" is just coincidence?

    How does your understanding of the facts of generational welfare recipients having no incentive to work, a tax code that rewards sloth and punishes success, and a political party who constantly argues that only the government is qualified to address a problem (healthcare, drugs, retirement, charity, schooling, etc., etc.) believe that any of these are beneficial to the individual or the country as a whole?

    -- Posted by quietmike on Fri, Dec 11, 2009, at 12:33 PM
  • Because any particular geographic area attempts to vote the interests of its concentrations, does not indicate that those interests will be served.

    Why is welfare participation in so many instances generational? It seems to me we could have figured out how to isolate and rectify the problems by now.

    A tax code never stands alone, but is best understood as a single factor within an economy.

    I fail to find evidence of any active and viable political party who strays too far away from that ideology.

    To determine what is beneficial to any individual, or the country as a whole, the end result must be weighed within a cost/benefit analysis. What may be detrimental to some individuals, and the country as a whole, will likely remain beneficial to a few. Stop crying about what is bad for this country and yourself, then look for whom it is good for.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Sat, Dec 12, 2009, at 6:36 AM
  • """To determine what is beneficial to any individual, or the country as a whole, the end result must be weighed within a cost/benefit analysis. What may be detrimental to some individuals, and the country as a whole, will likely remain beneficial to a few."""

    -- Posted by memyselfi

    Thank you for making my point for me. Of course it is beneficial for the person receiving handouts (in the short term) but look at the cost to the person in the long term and to the county as a whole.

    """Why is welfare participation in so many instances generational? It seems to me we could have figured out how to isolate and rectify the problems by now."""

    -- Posted by memyselfi

    It happens because we pay people to do it. It is no more complex than hiring a person for any other job.

    Do you personally believe it is beneficial to condition a (generation of)person(s) to a life of dependency on welfare and other handouts?

    In my opinion the most compassionate thing we could do is train that person to take care of their own needs. The next question is how best to do this.

    It is fairly obvious, especially to anyone with children. Be the example for them. Teach them through talking and experiences. ALLOWING THEM TO FAIL from time to time is often times the best and most long lasting lesson.

    For the vast majority of people there is no incentive to change a behavior until that behavior becomes painful. We must let laziness and poor decisions carry with them the pain they are supposed to. Attempting to interfere with natural laws and consequences has gotten us in this mess-to get out all we have to do is....nothing. Let nature take care of itself...the 2nd law of thermodynamics and all.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Sat, Dec 12, 2009, at 8:00 AM
  • quitemike, I did look at those numbers. According to the report the top 5% pay 60.63% of all taxes paid. Keep in mind however, that is a group that includes every taxpayer who files over $160,041. That is a very large group.

    The same report also says that 97.11% of taxes are paid by those filing above 32,879.

    So although the numbers may sound impressive taken out of context, when one really has the opportunity to analize the report, it leads to more questions than answers.

    For instance, what the report doesn't say is what percentage of the population falls into each group. If the % of taxpayers filing in any specific group is the same as the percentage paid by that group then everything would be equal wouldn't it?

    Of course we know that is not the case. It is not supposed to be. Americans, just as everyone else in the free world, pay taxes based on what we earn. (the more one earns the more one pays) That is not to say however that just because one pays more that he is paying a higher percentage. Even with a flat tax, the person earning 400,000 would pay much more than the person earning 32,000. It can be no other way. Surely no one would advocate that a person making 32,879 a year pay the same as someone making 410,096.

    So to say the top 5% of taxpayers pay 60% of the bill is a somewhat misleading statement. I say this because the top 5% is such a large income group. The top 5% includes everyone that files over 160,041.

    For the numbers to be truly representative of who pays what one has to know what % of taxpayers file in each group, whether or not they are filing single or married along with many other factors.

    There are far to many scenarios to look at and consider to just make the blanket statement that the top 5% pay 60% of all taxes.

    -- Posted by goose2008 on Sat, Dec 12, 2009, at 8:28 AM
  • 5% is 5%. That means they are separated from 95% of they rest of the country. So when it says 5% it means 5% of the population falls into that group.

    i don't understand what you are asking or why you don't understand percentages.

    for a little better breakdown


    -- Posted by quietmike on Sat, Dec 12, 2009, at 9:18 AM
  • All I am saying is that the numbers you give do not necessarily mean that the tax code is unfair. It may well be unfair, but there is no basis for that in those reports.

    If you will go to www.taxfoundation.org/research/show/542.html

    there is a chart that shows the number of non-taxpaying filers is directly in proportion with the number of filers in any tax group based on the total number of filers.

    All of that aside though, surely you must agree that income taxes must be based on income. The simplist and possibly the most fair form of that would be a flat tax.

    Just for the sake of argument, let us say there are only two taxpayers. One earns 400,000 a year. The second only earns 100,000 a year. Using those numbers on an imaginary flat tax of 10%, taxpayer one would pay 40,000 in taxes. Taxpayer two would pay only 10,000. The total tax revenue would be 50,000. Percentage wise taxpayer one would be paying 80% of all tax revenue versus 20% by taxpayer two.

    Using that line of thought, the only way those two numbers can be brought closer together is for taxpayer one to pay a smaller percentage of his income in taxes.

    Are you saying that the more one makes the smaller percentage of his income he should pay in taxes?

    If there is any real unfairness in the tax code, it probably lies in the way AGI (adjusted gross income) is calculated. There are many deductions allowed to the upper incomes that are not reachable by the working class. For many working Americans, even interest paid on household mortgages is not a vialble deduction. This is simply because they do not have enough other deductions to make it feesable to file a long form.

    -- Posted by goose2008 on Sun, Dec 13, 2009, at 8:02 AM
  • I would be wholeheartedly in favor of a flat tax (or even better the FAIR tax).

    The problem I have with the current tax code is the progressive nature of it. Everyone gets some benefit from our taxes (military and police protection, roads and other infrastructure) so everyone should pay.

    Saying a person who makes less than $10,000 should pay 10% before any exemptions and deductions, but if you improve yourself and become more successful you should be taxed at 35% is insane and subconsciously encourages bad behavior.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Sun, Dec 13, 2009, at 8:11 AM
  • quietmike, I had a long and somewhat condescending comment ready to add, but unfortunately after reading Mr. Carney's editorial yesterday, I was shamed into deleting it instead. We do actually do agree about a lot of things.

    For instance, we agree that most social programs do not encourage personal growth, and that growth should be the ultimate objective. We only begin to split when faced with the question of opportunities. You believe they are abundant, I believe they are scarce and getting scarcer every day.

    We also agree that these programs are in place to benefit only one segment of the population. The difference is which segment we see as the beneficiary.

    We apparently do, as Mr. Carney suggested, both desire the same outcomes. I am guessing we would each like to see every member (regardless of status) in our society lead a satisfying and fulfilling life without being subjugated within oppressive parameters. Likewise, I imagine that the importance of free and fair markets would be an area we would generally agree about.

    The question is why we have the realities we do today, and how to work toward improvement. I say the solutions can be found by limiting the global agenda, strengthening worker rights (or at least not suppressing them) and education. What say you?

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Tue, Dec 15, 2009, at 12:33 AM
  • I think the answer is inside each person. We (almost) all have the opportunity of education, hard work, thrift, and perseverance. Those alone exercised regularly will put a person above the vast majority of others.

    Our society has glamorized the instant gratification, if it feels good do it, keep up with the Jones's type of mentality.

    I will admit there are times when lots of people could use some help and probably deserve it. I believe that individuals, churches, and charities are much better choices to give that help than is the government, especially on a federal level.

    The federal government is largely unconcerned with waste, fraud and abuse partly because it isn't their money and partly because of job security (fraudulent recipients need case workers too).

    I am tired of driving past the projects (in the summer) and seeing perfectly healthy people sitting out on their porch, brown bag in hand, just watching traffic go by. tired of watching 400 pound people with their Wal-Mart carts piled high with junk food pull out their EBT card-then pull out a wad of cash to pay for their beer and cigarettes. We even have welfare cell phone programs now.

    We need to let people be responsible for themselves. pain is a VERY good teacher. Our current system is designed to trap people in a cycle of dependence, neither letting them flourish nor letting them feel enough pain to change their situation on their own.

    When is the last time a government program was scrapped because it was no longer needed or was deemed ineffective?

    ( We still have a rural electrification administration!)

    Why do you believe that the private sector, to include charities, would not be a better alternative to many of the government "gimmie" plans?

    -- Posted by quietmike on Tue, Dec 15, 2009, at 6:13 PM
  • quietmike, Okay, so you assert that we all have what we need within us. I just do not see it that way. Starting with education, we are not born with any of that. How and what we are taught necessarily effects how we understand the rest. We are not all given an equally effective one. Our system of education is a top down pyramid of training.

    Hard work is good, particularly when it provides a sense of accomplishment and purpose, but even when these benefits are neglected, in order for one to perform hard work, there must be hard work available that pays a living. That gets harder and harder to find as you work your way down that pyramid. Many of those who are compelled to accept benefits do work hard, they just lack an income great enough to sustain them.

    It is difficult to be any thriftier than most poor people already are. If after being paid, you set aside money for already meager living expenses and have $40.00 left, saving 10% or even 50% of that does not help much.

    Perseverance is usually best associated with an end objective. For many people, there is no better tomorrow, or attainable end result that looks any different than today, and they are statistically correct in their understandings.

    When you assert that our society has glamorized instant gratification, just do it and keeping up with the Jones', do you not find it more accurate to think that society has been the object being manipulated, as opposed to the one doing the manipulating? Where do these ideas come from, and who benefits from them?

    Pain is a very good teacher. I do not know what lesson you intend to teach though. If you want to teach that life is hard, I am sure that has already been realized. If you want to teach the desire to improve ones position, that usually comes naturally, given the necessary structures to make that desire achievable. If however, you want to teach that there is no free ride, without first providing real opportunities, you are simply further weakening or in extreme cases, outright killing off the weak and honest, while driving the stronger and/or less morally inclined to take what they need, any way they can get it.

    I do not necessarily disagree that the current system is a "trap", but whatever it is, it was put into place for a reason, and with objectives in mind. The people who reside there may very well be doing just what is expected of them. If so, we need to look at why and who once again.

    Yes, any segment of the public sector seeks to propagate itself, but you fail to point out that the private sector does the same, with similar, but often more damaging consequences.

    I hope you are joking about the nature of the private sector in general, and the charities simply do not have the financial ability, save an influx of tax revenue to them in the place of governmental agencies, which would do little to change anything, except the face of administration and switch some public sector jobs into the private sector. With current trends, we may see this reality in future decades, but not likely given over to the charities. I would come closer to expecting the system administered by a giant of the private sector for profit. It may become a slightly more efficient enterprise, but the gained efficiency, and then some, would likely be eaten up by the profit margin extracted.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Wed, Dec 16, 2009, at 3:12 AM
  • You mean our (government provided) education system is equally fair and doesn't provide what everyone needs?

    Do you also believe that gun crimes and drug abuse were worse in the 1920's than they are now after the government started regulating them?

    You seem to have a defeatist attitude towards anyone being able to be successful on their own. There is no rule that says a person can only work one forty hour a week job, or that prevents them from going to night school after working all day.

    Private charities and churches provided all charity needs until our great welfare state was created. If government stopped selling that product private charities would once again be able to do it, while being more likely to tell freeloaders to take a hike. I and most I know would be better able and more willing to give to charities if our tax burden wasn't so high. Now lot's of people say "I already gave at the (tax) office."

    Interesting you didn't answer my question about a government agency that was closed due to inefficiency or lack of need-so I'll ask it again here.

    Also, if you truly believe it is so difficult for poor people to make opportunities for themselves, how do you explain the fact that so many foreigners are able to come here and be very successful with little difficulty? I would point to a local doughnut shop and several Mexican stores as examples.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Wed, Dec 16, 2009, at 5:55 AM
  • For instance if an insured person goes to the doctor and is billed $100.00 for services, the insurance companies contract with the practictioner is about 51 or 52 percent of that amount. That is what the insurance company pays. It does vary somewhat depending on procedures. About 52% though is the average that a contracted carrier pays a medical provider.

    If someone else without coverage however goes in and gets the same $100.00 worth of services, he is expected to pay the full amount.

    Imagine this on a scale of $100,00.000 bill. The uninsured is expected to cover the entire amount with his home or whatever else he may own. On the other hand a contracted insurance provider would only pay $50,000.00 more or less.

    -- Posted by goose2008 on Wed, Dec 9, 2009, at 8:31 AM

    I dont mean to be combative, but that is just untrue. I am one who does not have health insurance, and I pay cash for my healthcare needs. I have to go to the doctor quite often, because I have an uncurable disease. I have to take medication everyday. Everytime, without fail I recieve a 60-70% discounted rate versus what they charge the insurance company, because I pay cash. My job actually offers health insurance, but I do not participate, because it is too expensive. I find it cheaper to pay my bills and not pay the premiums.

    -- Posted by greasemonkey on Thu, Dec 17, 2009, at 2:02 PM
  • No, I do not believe government provided education instills equally beneficial knowledge among its participants. I do not know why you would think that I do, or ever have. Just because I would like to see everyone have a fair shake, does not indicate that I do not have some understanding of the factors that contribute to the lack of it. You misunderstand my position. I would prefer for every child to have a quality, privately provided education, but short of that, I could and would not advocate the elimination of public education. I would also rather there be no need for much of what the federal government provides, but there is a need, and there will continue to be a need until the foundations that shape societal structure, do so with equity.

    Gun crimes and drug abuse are very broad categories and the variable lies in our definitions of the terms. I imagine that at any given time and place, gun "crimes" and drug "abuse" have been externally projected realities generated by our conditioning. Certainly here in the 1920's there was lots of gun crime (ironically enough, those Thompsons were a big part of it) and drug abuse (if you consider alcohol a "drug") and then further speculate that if there was enough demand for morphine to be sold in the Sears catalog, someone was in fact, purchasing it. In the early 1900's there was actually much drug abuse and addiction in the world as a whole. China undoubtedly eventually learned the effects of the opium trade.

    Yes, I do admit to having a defeatist attitude when it comes to anyone being "successful on there own". That skepticism however, is based only on my understanding that no one can ever be "successful" on their own. To begin with, success by its very nature reflects a comparative relationship. Further, we do not exist within a framework that allows for true independence. We are all dependant on others. Some are dependent on the dole, others dependent on the dole recipient's expenditures, some on depressed labor markets and still others depend on providing the dole. All the above share a common thread of dependency upon artificially repressed foreign markets though.

    There is certainly no rule that bans anyone working 70 hours a week and many people do. That being understood, I think it is a very bad idea to encourage that workload in lieu of any provided benefits. Unfortunately, many of the people who require the most aid represent single parent families. Children do not raise themselves (not effectively anyway). One major impetus of poverty reduction should be to ensure that there is no generational cycle. Further education is not always an option either. For those who are able, I believe some sort of education should be required for long-term assistance. If nothing else, parenting classes.

    You confuse past realities with current ones. At one time (not so long ago) the family unit, and the economic backdrop it flourished in, were considerably different than they are today. Charities would not be able to do what they used to. You see, at one time there were more people like you (and some you know) to share the burden of charitable giving to the few that needed it. Now, there are more who need it, than those who could give it, even if there were absolutely no income taxes (remember your numbers above).

    I freely admit that all governmental agencies seek to maintain relevance and funding. I do not know much about the history of created or eliminated agencies, so I cannot directly answer your question. I would guess that eventually, as in the private sector, the scope evolves, or it is consumed by another, but never really lost. Again, you appear to believe that I (or this fictitious entity you describe as a liberal) desires complete governmental control of everything. That is not the case for me, far from it.

    You may point to some industrious people who have created their successes, but I imagine that you could also point to many, many more who have not experienced the kind of satisfaction and reward that should always culminate at the end of their hard work and desire, whether indigenous or not.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Fri, Dec 18, 2009, at 5:04 AM
  • I find it a little confusing that you would admit to so many instances of the government fouling up what they are already doing, yet still be unwilling to try something different. Society had much better results during the years government wasn't playing wet nurse, than we have since. Doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different result is bordering on insanity.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Fri, Dec 18, 2009, at 5:45 PM
  • It seems to me that any measurement of "fouling up" (or the opposite) is based largely upon the objectives of the percipient, and not accurately understood as a universal designation.

    Something different is definitely in order; we have just failed to reach a consensus as to what that might be.

    It could be that society fared better when the government was not compelled to assume the position of "wet nurse" to the extent that it currently does.

    If doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting a different result is bordering on insanity, then focusing on the effects of any given cause, while neglecting to ascertain the cause itself, must be located well beyond that specified border.

    It would appear though, that many of us are inclined to do both simultaneously.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Sun, Dec 20, 2009, at 7:19 PM
  • Quite the contrary, The cause has been the focus during this discussion. I believe that government provided "safety nets" are quickly turned into comfortable hammocks that people lounge in instead of fixing their problems.That is the cause IMHO.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Mon, Dec 21, 2009, at 10:05 AM
  • Well, I guess that could be the cause, and I would agree that for a small percentage, that is likely an accurate understanding.

    There is no need for this speculation though. The next time you witness an obese person buying Cheetos with food stamps, or someone sitting in the projects drinking out of a brown paper bag, take the time to ask them how comfortable and content they are. More directly, ask them if they would prefer to be in your position with an income that would make them reluctant taxpayers as well. You might be surprised by the responses you receive.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Mon, Dec 21, 2009, at 4:23 PM
  • Food stamps and welfare keep the person from feeling enough reality to change their situation.

    Ask instead if those people have done the same things as the successful to ensure they have that type of income, and if not why not?

    Class warfare politics aside, 88% of millionaires in this country are first generation rich. That means they started as regular folks and made their own fortunes, as opposed to being born with silver spoons in their mouths as some would have you believe.

    Do you find it ironic that people who see the formula for success as simple are most likely to be successful while those who complain that it is complicated are most likely to fail?

    Free your mind and your..... will follow.

    90% of all of life's solutions is having the right frame of mind.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Mon, Dec 21, 2009, at 5:18 PM
  • I tell you what, if you take the time to explain these simple realities to me, I will examine everything you provide with a free and open mind for you to frame.

    What I have so far, is that the poor elect liberals and the liberals then tax you in order to placate the poor, and ensure their own re-election, which makes the poor even lazier and more dependant.

    Okay, now fill in the rest. There must be more to it than that.

    I am not being condescending here. I am genuinely curious what you believe, and how you make it fit with the realities we experience. If you decide to, take all the time you need. I am not in any hurry. Just please do not resort to telephone monopolies or questionable statistical assertions, as I have already answered many of those in length. What I am looking for is a narrative of economic and political development as seen through your perspective.

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Wed, Dec 23, 2009, at 2:33 AM
  • What I have so far, is that the poor elect liberals and the liberals then tax you in order to placate the poor, and ensure their own re-election, which makes the poor even lazier and more dependant.

    -- Posted by memyselfi

    That is the largest part of the situation.

    Combine the above with the knowledge that every time expenses are increased, business owners are forced to either have layoffs, reduce pay, reduce benefits, or raise the price of their products. This directly affects buying power and moves people who were on the edge of poverty before the expense increase, directly into a situation of poverty.

    Government can cause increased expenses to business in the form of tax hikes, minimum wage increases, health care requirements or any number of other things.

    America has the second highest "business tax" in the world, with only Japan being higher.

    I quote business tax, because in practice there is no such thing, as businesses pass on their costs to consumers.

    Is it coincidence that during this economic downturn there was a minimum wage increase, the Bush tax cuts were repealed, and it appears we're about to have obamacare? Perhaps it is coincidence, but if you were a business owner would the current climate encourage your free investment or thrift? ( Jobs are created through investment)

    I could also point to several studies that show just how well off most of America's "poor" really are. Such as the the average person below the poverty level has a home, air conditioning, telephone, and cable television, among other things one would not associate with poverty.

    Yes there are situations beyond someone's control where the person needs, and deserves, help from others. I do believe it is incumbent on us to help them when we are able.

    I do not believe the federal government is the instrument we should use. First, there is absolutely no constitutional authority for the feds to do this. Second the fed is infamous for the waste, fraud, and abuse found in almost every program it administers. Third, almost every sensible suggestion for preventing this abuse (random drug tests, mandatory birth control, time limits for benefits, etc.) are immediately shouted down as being unfeeling and barbaric.

    I would argue that if the feds got out of this business, closed all offices associated with it, would lay off all workers that administer it, and stop collecting the taxes that fund it, the economy would grow enough and enough jobs would be created that the unemployment rate would be so low that only those unable to work would be unemployed.

    Those few remaining could easily be helped by individuals, churches, or civic groups.

    It is only relatively recently that Americans expect their government to sidestep the constitution in order to provide for their every need.

    I will leave you with a quote from President Grover Cleveland that seems eerily appropriate here. Cleveland was being asked by congress to pass a bill giving payment to Texas farmers who had suffered through a catastrophic drought that destroyed their crops, and livelihood.

    ""I feel obliged to withhold my approval of the plan, as proposed by this bill, to indulge a benevolent and charitable sentiment through the appropriation of public funds for that purpose. I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner related to the public service or benefit. A prevelant tendency to disregard the limited mission and duty of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted, to the end that the lesson should be constantly enforced that though the people support the Government the Government should not support the people.

    The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow-citizens in misfortune. This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the Government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bond of a common brotherhood."

    -- Posted by quietmike on Wed, Dec 23, 2009, at 8:08 AM
  • Okay, I will have to think that over for a while. I do have a couple of questions though.

    1. After the representatives of the poor have taken all the wealth from the wealthy, do the wealthy have any wealth?

    2. After the representatives of the poor have given all the money to the poor, do the poor have any money?

    -- Posted by memyselfi on Sat, Dec 26, 2009, at 2:59 AM
  • It would depend on the situation. If a business's profit margin is very small, then government confiscation of its money could lead to the bankruptcy of the business. Prices can only be raised so high and there can only be so many cuts made in a business before all the profit motive is gone. I would point to all the jobs that have been sent overseas in the last decade or so. (remember the U.S. has the second highest tax burden.)

    For the poor, again it would depend on the situation. If a person was just needing temporary help to get back on their feet, then absolutely, they would probably manage the money well. However there is a certain segment of the poor to whom no amount of money could be given to raise them from poverty.

    At one time I have been out of work, with no money, having to decide if I will pay this months bills or buy groceries. But I have never been poor! Poor is a state of mind.

    Hopelessness, desperation, and poverty can be roughly compared to mental disorders. There are wealthy people whom everything could be taken away from, and they would just buckle down and make their fortunes again. There are poor people who could be given everything, and within a short time they would have squandered it and be poor again.

    You can believe your congresscritter that the next social program will solve all you problems, but it is a lie. The answers lie within yourself, it's all in your attitude.

    Greed is a basic human emotion. Nearly everyone wants to better their situation. The free market understands this and uses this as the engine of an economy. The free market uses the same engine to regulate itself. Since no one wants to be ripped off, prices for a certain product can only go so high before people refuse to buy it. Government meddling only corrupts this system an brings us unintended consequences.

    -- Posted by quietmike on Sat, Dec 26, 2009, at 8:11 AM
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