Daily Digest

Daily Digest - July 24

Saturday, July 24, 2010, 10:24 AM
  • Europe’s Stress Test at High Noon!
  • Why We Need A 3rd Party In 2012
  • Gold Swap Signals the Roadmap Ahead
  • For Insurers, Fight Is Now Over Details
  • A Precious Metals Bubble?
  • Smoking Guns of US Treasury Monetization
  • Must Cut Dependence On Debt, Reduce Subsidies: PM
  • 2011: The Year Of The Tax Increase
  • Treasuries Fall on Better-than-Expected Forecasts for U.S. Company Profits
  • Why Are Banks Withholding Highend Repossessions Over $300,000 From the Market?
  • Analysis: U.S. investors still cool on Euro banks after test
  • Shadow Space Haunts Office Market
  • Oil Reserves: Declining, But How Fast?
  • BP Plans Deep-Water Drilling Off Libya
  • +50 Ways of Visualizing BP’s Dark Mess

Economy

Europe’s Stress Test at High Noon! (Ilene)

Those are a couple of very basic trades. We’ll find some more exotic combos in Member Chat this morning, taking advantage of the gyrations ahead of the report release. Regulators are scrutinizing banks to assess whether they have enough capital, defined as a Tier 1 capital ratio of at least 6 percent, to withstand a recession and sovereign debt crisis, according to a document from the Committee of European Banking Supervisors. Lenders that fail the trials will be made to raise additional capital.

Why We Need A 3rd Party In 2012 (JimQ)

Both parties are captured by corporate lobbyists, the military industrial complex and Wall Street. Lobbyists spend $40 billion per year “convincing” politicians that their ideas should be implemented. Politicians DO NOT represent the people. They represent those who give them the most money. Radical earth shattering change is needed to save this country. Incremental steps won’t work. We need a leader wielding a sledgehammer.

Gold Swap Signals the Roadmap Ahead (Richard)

Since President Richard Nixon took the US off the Gold standard in 1971, transparency regarding anything to do with gold sales, leasing, storage or swaps is as tightly guarded by governments as the unaudited gold holdings of Fort Knox. Before we delve into answering what this swap may be all about and what it possibly means to gold investors, we need to start with the most obvious question and one that few seem to ask. Who is this Bank of International Settlements and who controls it?

For Insurers, Fight Is Now Over Details (VeganD)

Some insurers even insist that typical business expenses — like sales commissions for insurance agents and taxes paid on investments — should not be considered part of insurance premiums, which would make it easier for them to meet the 80-cent minimum.

A Precious Metals Bubble? (pinecarr)

Most investors still credit the accepted orthodoxy that metals will only gain if inflation is widespread or a financial crisis encourages investors to seek safe havens. The failure of both metals to break below their upward trend lines, despite the lack of news on both fronts, should lay to rest these canards. Unfortunately, nothing appears more resilient than the belief in a gold bubble.

Smoking Guns of US Treasury Monetization (pinecarr)

A significant feature of fiat money systems is the privilege for the custodian to commit fraud, big fraud, gargantuan fraud, even counterfeit. Fannie Mae might function as the clearinghouse for numerous massive role programs with $trillion fraud behind each, hidden from view, especially since it was conveniently nationalized.

Must Cut Dependence On Debt, Reduce Subsidies: PM (pinecarr)

"The financing of the plan expenditure has depended far too much on debt. This must change," said Singh while addressing a meeting of the National Development Council (NDC), the country's top policy forum.

2011: The Year Of The Tax Increase (pinecarr)

Unless the U.S. Congress acts, there is going to be a massive wave of tax increases in 2011. In fact, some are already calling 2011 the year of the tax increase. A whole host of tax cuts that Congress established between 2001 and 2003 are set to expire in January unless Congress chooses to renew them. But with Democrats firmly in control of both houses that appears to be extremely unlikely. These tax increases are going to affect every single American (at least those who actually pay taxes).

Treasuries Fall on Better-than-Expected Forecasts for U.S. Company Profits (cmartenson)

Treasury two-year note yields lingered at record lows after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said July 21 the economic outlook is “unusually uncertain” and policy makers are prepared to take further policy actions as needed. The Committee of European Banking Supervisors said seven of the region’s 91 banks failed stress tests, with a combined capital shortfall of 3.5 billion euros ($4.5 billion).

Why Are Banks Withholding Highend Repossessions Over $300,000 From the Market? (cmartenson)

As of July 15, RealtyTrac listed 28,829 properties which had been foreclosed and repossessed by lenders. Some have been owned by the bank as long as 2½ years without having been placed on the market. Roughly half have been repossessed by the lender since late January 2010.

Analysis: U.S. investors still cool on Euro banks after test (cmartenson)

"To us the bank stress test results came out as a non-event. When you look at the results they didn't look very stressful," said Scott Snyder, portfolio manager of the ICON Advisers Europe fund ICSEX.O. The method of the stress test has drawn scrutiny particularly because of the way the tests treated European government debt.

Shadow Space Haunts Office Market (cmartenson)

To real estate professionals, it's "shadow" office space -- space that's leased or owned but largely empty and not officially listed anywhere as vacant. And brokers are fretting about the buildup of unprecedented amounts of it around the Twin Cities. All that idle square footage will likely prolong the recovery of the area's hard-hit office sector, already struggling with high vacancy rates.

Energy

Oil Reserves: Declining, But How Fast? (cmartenson)

OPEC said last week its proven crude oil reserves rose 4 percent in 2009 to 1.06 trillion barrels, led by an increase in Venezuela. BP (BP.L: Quote) estimated last month total global oil reserves were over 1.33 trillion barrels -- equivalent to more than 40 years of consumption at current rates.

But many industry analysts have cast doubt on these figures, saying estimates may be inflated for a variety of reasons.

BP Plans Deep-Water Drilling Off Libya (pinecarr)

“The plans, reported in the Financial Times, come in the shadow of controversy, as the oil giant faces new scrutiny of its 2007 deal to acquire gas and oil fields off the Libyan coast at a cost of $900 million.

At a depth of more than 1700 metres below sea level, the new site in Libya’s Gulf of Sirte will be 200 metres deeper than the Gulf of Mexico well that exploded on April 20, killing 11 oil workers and causing immeasurable environmental damage.

Environment

+50 Ways of Visualizing BP’s Dark Mess (jdargis)

It’s been almost three months since the Deepwater Horizon disaster occurred, in the Mexican Gulf. Arguably, the most horrifying man-made environmental catastrophe of all times, it has been illustrated all over the world in magazines, newspapers and websites.

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."

12 Comments

yoshhash's picture
yoshhash
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oil spill infographics

holy crap- that is an amazing collection- and each one is very well crafted and rich with info.  Thanks for posting that.

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green_achers
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Re: Daily Digest - July 24

OK, this is probably going to come across wrong, and I appologize in advance if it does.  I don't get a lot of practice writing these days, and I am not an economist.  But it seems to me that reading libertarian tracts like the Jim Q piece is like trying to have a conversation with a schizophrenic.  It starts off sounding reasonable, and just when you think they're making sense, something from another galaxie sneaks in.  I would support a lot of things they believe in if they didn't have such a blind spot for the damage that can be done by "free" markets.  It's just madness to think dumping wage earner's retirement and medical payments into private accounts would be anything but an invitation for more wholesale bank robbery (the kind where the robber is behind the counter.)

Looking at the graphic, one thing stands out to me more clearly than anything else:  Social Security does not need to be "rescued."  Lowering expenditures on the military (and I would also take a lot out of other discretionary expenditures such as agricultural payments) makes sense, and the John Hussman plan for payroll taxes includes some things that are long overdue.  The SS trust fund definitely needs to be taken out of the general funding pool.   But everything after the name "Paul Ryan" is just whacko.  There's no other word for it.  If this is someone the writer thinks ought to be VP, I'm afraid his third party isn't a group I'm going to want to be handing a sledgehammer any time soon.

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rhare
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Re: Daily Digest - July 24
green_achers wrote:

It's just madness to think dumping wage earner's retirement and medical payments into private accounts would be anything but an invitation for more wholesale bank robbery (the kind where the robber is behind the counter.)

Why do you believe this.  Right now there is little to no free market influence on these items.  For the health care, I suggest watching the Stossel report "Sick in America".  We need to get the government out and let people control their own fate.  After all who has your best interest in mind, you or some bureaucrat?

green_achers wrote:

Looking at the graphic, one thing stands out to me more clearly than anything else:  Social Security does not need to be "rescued."

The problem is that that chart is showing current expenditures.  It doesn't take into account the increase due to inflation or the demographics change. Look at this chart.  It shows how bad a deficit Medicare and SSN have.  However, this chart is wrong, we actually had a deficit starting this year, 6 years early.  I can't find the chart, but believe it is part of the crash course that shows in like 2020 mandatory spending (SSN, Medicare, and Medicaid) will consume all revenue - ie - no discretionary spending at all!

Perhaps you need to take the other half of the red pill. Cool

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pjc
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Re: Daily Digest - July 24

I'm returning to read CM after 2 months of very limited net access. In that time, after a year's consideration, I have moved my savings out of Bank of America, keeping direct deposit there, into Wells Fargo, and when in America in Sept. will open a 3rd account at a Grade B Bank I've identified from a CM article in a nearby city. Here the Rs/USD rate has adjusted from 45+ to 47+. Petrol has climbed from 49 to 54 I believe only in the last year. I'm following the CM step to convert money to what I will need for household requiring larger expenses. With regular light to medium rain the surface rooters are doing well. Millet is tall. Animals graze shorter periods in the fields the herders bring them to, but we ARE in a drought. Rinsing dishes I turn off the faucet between each dish. A bucket bath is  3 ltrs. of water heated on the stovetop. Not unexpectedly three driving storms of near horizontal rain and high winds flooded my new home's windows and a door as my windows open in contrary to Indian design but are for my greater ease opening/closing as I am older. This has put me in a position of having rain windows built, outside plexiglas and teak frames on hinges, delaying my rain-harvest gutter construction. I'm glad for any changes airlines into India have to make to keep solvent, safe, and growing yet travel has become more challenging with reduced luggage weights. Also, happening for the first time, I've had multiple flight changes (perhaps 7) from my original itinerary.

green_achers's picture
green_achers
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Re: Daily Digest - July 24
rhare wrote:

Why do you believe this.  Right now there is little to no free market influence on these items.

Well, I didn't say anything about that hoary old myth, the "free market."  I said the idea of taking money that has been or is to be set aside for individual's retirements and putting it into individual accounts that would be at the mercy of the banking industry is an invitation to robbery.  I don't see how recent history could lead to any other conclusion.  I don't disagree with the assertion that those markets aren't "free," whatever that means, but it in no way follows that they are any more corrupt for that reason.  I think there's a lot of evidence that, as regulations were liberalized starting in the 1980s, the markets have become only more corrupt.  We are never going to see perfectly free or controled markets, so you have to look at the trends and they don't in any way support your base belief here.

For the record, I think a lot of consumer markets ought to be a lot more less regulated and subsidized than they are, but that does not include the financial markets at their current state of a near total lack of regualtion..

rhare wrote:

For the health care, I suggest watching the Stossel report "Sick in America".  We need to get the government out and let people control their own fate.  After all who has your best interest in mind, you or some bureaucrat?

Sure I'll watch it, will you watch "Sicko?"  The rest sounds like a good bumper sticker, but means nothing.  Do you really think people will control their own fate if the gubmint gets out of health care?  In any sense of the phrase? It's amazing how much of this sort of magical thinking there is out there.  It's also a false choice between me and the bureauocrat bogeyan, and any thinking person ought to know that.

rhare wrote:

The problem is that that chart is showing current expenditures.  It doesn't take into account the increase due to inflation or the demographics change. Look at this chart.  It shows how bad a deficit Medicare and SSN have.  However, this chart is wrong, we actually had a deficit starting this year, 6 years early.  I can't find the chart, but believe it is part of the crash course that shows in like 2020 mandatory spending (SSN, Medicare, and Medicaid) will consume all revenue - ie - no discretionary spending at all!

I'm aware that the trends are not good for the SS fund, but the truth is that the reason they're not good is because governments since the Johnson administration, every one of them, have robbed the SS fund to pay for that discretionary spending.  I'm not against applying a lot of discipline to that, starting with making all or as much as possible current spending paid for out of revenues.  During a major recession, however, is probably not the time to exert that dicipline.

In other words, if SS is in trouble, it is bacause it has been looted, not because the basic structure is flawed, or because the private banking industry has been kept out of it.

rhare wrote:

Perhaps you need to take the other half of the red pill. Cool

Consider yourself pop-culture referenced back. 

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rhare
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Re: Daily Digest - July 24
green_acres wrote:

Do you really think people will control their own fate if the gubmint gets out of health care?  In any sense of the phrase? It's amazing how much of this sort of magical thinking there is out there.

Yes I do.  After all, massive government involvement is a realitively modern issue.  People will take care of themselves because it is in their best interest to do so.  Those that don't suffer and learn to do so or they can take the risk and rely on the charity of others.  Do you just feel people are too stupid to take care of themselves and that some "big brother" is needed to keep us all safe?  Sorry, not very self reliant..

green_acres wrote:

It's also a false choice between me and the bureauocrat bogeyan, and any thinking person ought to know that.

How is it a false choice?  Why can't I be left alone to deal with my own healthcare?  Why can't I be responsible for my own body?

green_acres wrote:

I'm aware that the trends are not good for the SS fund, but the truth is that the reason they're not good is because governments since the Johnson administration, every one of them, have robbed the SS fund to pay for that discretionary spending.

Hmm, government steals from it's own people.  Yet with this, you still want to trust them with more power and particularly your healthcare and retirement.

On top of that, the government (legal tender laws, capital gains taxes), is what is forcing you to use the monetary system that benefits the banks and government and punishes the prudent. More robbery, just covertly, but I guess government knows best.

green_acres wrote:

During a major recession, however, is probably not the time to exert that dicipline.

Did you watch the crash course?  Exactly when do you think will be a good time? Do you think we are going to suddenly grow the economy to get out of this mess?  50+T in unfunded liabilities!

 Perhaps you do need someone to look after you since you don't seem to be connecting the dots......

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Re: Daily Digest - July 24

Re Healthcare

You both make good points. Just my 2 cents, we are leaving  out the role of the health insurance industry. Michael Moore's film really highlights that it is not government running healthcare, it is the health insurance industry. Given the recent 20-30 percent increase in profits of the major insurance companies (an article I posted a while back but I don't have time to find right now) it is easy to see who is profiting from our current system.  The industry has been brilliant at pitting providers against patients  and running off with everyone's money. Government, congress in particular, is simply their handmaiden. I think that was one of the points of Sicko.

Government will run health care to the benefit of the corporations by and large. I am sorry to say. Hopefully some good will come out of the bill but I am very skeptical.  The only reason most americans supported this bill was to get universal coverage.  And of course there is none.  Not that we can afford it. We can't.

I hope to see Stossel's film today.  Regards.

Denise

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green_achers
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Re: Daily Digest - July 24
rhare wrote:

Yes I do. 

Yeah, I know this is basically a religious discussion, so why I get into them is really a mystery to me.

rhare wrote:

...massive government involvement is a realitively modern issue.  People will take care of themselves because it is in their best interest to do so.  Those that don't suffer and learn to do so or they can take the risk and rely on the charity of others.

Well, of course people will do their best to take care of themselves, unless they don't.   Do you think health care was better before the "massive government involvement?"  Do you think things were better before the gubmint got involved in the immunization programs that have saved the lives of millions of children?  Research that identified many of the chronic diseases and nutritional deficiencies that cut short the lives of millions?  I think today's libertarians have their beliefs because they happen to live in a time in which they have the luxury of not having to think about things like that.

rhare wrote:

Do you just feel people are too stupid to take care of themselves and that some "big brother" is needed to keep us all safe?  Sorry, not very self reliant..

Another false choice, and unecessary bumper-sticker rhetoric.  I don't know what self reliance means to you, but I would suggest that you live in a world in which much of your daily survival and comfort depends on the fact that you live in a culture that supports you, and that, like every culture that ever was, has naturally given rise to many of the institutions you hate, including the government.  Of course, all of those institutions are subject to corruption, that's just a fact of life that has to be guarded against constantly.

rhare wrote:

Why can't I be responsible for my own body?

Too late, that horse is already out of the barn.

rhare wrote:

Hmm, government steals from it's own people.  Yet with this, you still want to trust them with more power and particularly your healthcare and retirement.

I know this is just rhetoric, but please define "government" and "steals".  There are a lot of assumptions in that line.  And what makes you think I want to trust "them" with more power?  I said before I think a lot of the consumer economy could stand to be a lot less regulated and subsidized.  As far as retirement is concerned it worked pretty well, and would have continued to work well if our political leaders hadn't looted it.  As far as healthcare is concerned, yeah, I think the systems that work much better than ours in most advanced countries should be tried.  Now if we're really in for the economic descent that I think we are, this is probably all moot anyway.  Even so, I would bet that those societies with some sort of basic universal safety net will fare better than the more individualistic ones (other than for the rich, anyway,)

rhare wrote:

On top of that, the government (legal tender laws, capital gains taxes), is what is forcing you to use the monetary system that benefits the banks and government and punishes the prudent. More robbery, just covertly, but I guess government knows best.

Funny that you conflate the legal tender laws and capital gains taxes.  I'm pretty much against the former, at least insofar as they support the shenanigans of the central bank, but I think the latter could probably be a lot higher.  To throw some rhetoric back at you, why should people that don't work for their incomes pay lower taxes than those who do?

rhare wrote:

Did you watch the crash course?  Exactly when do you think will be a good time? Do you think we are going to suddenly grow the economy to get out of this mess?  50+T in unfunded liabilities!

Yeah, I know, it's a daunting prospect where we happen to be standing right now.  There may very well not be a solution.  I fail to see how putting the last bit of the average taxpayer's savings and retirement funds into the hands of the corrupt banking and insurance industries would do anything but accelerate the process we've seen over the last couple of years. 

rhare wrote:

Perhaps you do need someone to look after you since you don't seem to be connecting the dots......

Consider yourself gratuitiously insulted back.

Edited to fix

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green_achers
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Re: Daily Digest - July 24

Denise, thanks for saying what I tried to say in far fewer words.  From my vantage in one of the poorest places in the US, I'm thinking things might improve a little, but not much.

I want to see the Stossel thing, also, but don't have sound on my computer at present.  It might be a while before I can get all of my technical glitches solved.

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rhare
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Re: Daily Digest - July 24
green_acres wrote:

I know this is just rhetoric, but please define "government" and "steals".

Hmm, how about I just define it with your own words:

green_acres wrote:

but the truth is that the reason they're not good is because governments since the Johnson administration, every one of them, have robbed the SS fund to pay for that discretionary spending

green_acres wrote:

Funny that you conflate the legal tender laws and capital gains taxes.  I'm pretty much against the former, at least insofar as they support the shenanigans of the central bank, but I think the latter could probably be a lot higher.

Because with capital gains tax you can't institute any other type of currency.  If everytime you change between currencies other than the dollar you have to pay a high percentage then you don't even need legal tender laws, you get the same result.

But onto capital gains, doesn't it seem kind of stupid to tax peoples earnings rather than spending?  After all if someone is earning and saving it the capital can be used by others.  However, we discourage earning and savings, promoting people to do the minimum.  Seems like we have this whole incentive thing a bit backwards.  It's the same with healthcare.  If you remove anybody from asking how much something costs, guess what, no one asks and the prices go up.

green_acres wrote:

I don't know what self reliance means to you, but I would suggest that you live in a world in which much of your daily survival and comfort depends on the fact that you live in a culture that supports you,

Culture and government are too very different beasts.  Government destroys culture because it tries to make everyone fit into the same box.  It's enforces uniformity onto it's citizens.  I fully confident that the wonderful things we have would exist without most of the government programs we have today.

green_acres wrote:

Do you think health care was better before the "massive government involvement?"

Yes I do, as we have put more and more government involvement in healthcare and insurance quality has gone down, prices have gone up, and access (at least from my personal viewpoint) has gone down.  It's the same in education, more government, worse results.

green_acres wrote:

Do you think things were better before the gubmint got involved in the immunization programs that have saved the lives of millions of children?

Oh the cry of the progressive "what about the children".  Most vaccines are not developed by the government, they are developed by private companies.  So do you think people wouldn't get vacinated on their own?  Again you seem to think people would just lie down in the streets and die if government wasn't there to tell them you need healthcare and perhaps they should consider having a vaccine.  If people are that stupid then perhaps we need them out of the gene pool.

As far as you saying they are bumper stickers, how a debating on the issue - talk about rhetoric!

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Re: Daily Digest - July 24

~ VF ~

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Re: Daily Digest - July 24
rhare wrote:

Hmm, how about I just define it with your own words:

green_acres wrote:

but the truth is that the reason they're not good is because governments since the Johnson administration, every one of them, have robbed the SS fund to pay for that discretionary spending

green_acres wrote:

Funny that you conflate the legal tender laws and capital gains taxes.  I'm pretty much against the former, at least insofar as they support the shenanigans of the central bank, but I think the latter could probably be a lot higher.

Well, that doesn't tell me what you mean by those terms.  When I used the word "governments" in the first instance, I meant specific administrations.  The sentence of yours I was asking clarification on was a more blanket use of the word, sort of like a... oh, yeah, bumper sticker.  As far as the second, my statement was to action of the central bank.  Are you answering my question by saying you think the Fed is the only way government steals?  No, you just didn't answer it.

rhare wrote:

Because with capital gains tax you can't institute any other type of currency.  If everytime you change between currencies other than the dollar you have to pay a high percentage then you don't even need legal tender laws, you get the same result.

Well, I don't care about other types of currencies.  I sure don't see them as any kind of solution.  At any rate, they could always be exempted if people decide they are important enough.

rhare wrote:

But onto capital gains, doesn't it seem kind of stupid to tax peoples earnings rather than spending?  After all if someone is earning and saving it the capital can be used by others.  However, we discourage earning and savings, promoting people to do the minimum.  Seems like we have this whole incentive thing a bit backwards.  It's the same with healthcare.  If you remove anybody from asking how much something costs, guess what, no one asks and the prices go up.

Now you're sidestepping the issue.  I was talking about the difference between unearned income and earned income.  If you want to argue that consumption is a better way to tax, I am very open to that idea.  But as long as the system is based on income, I will ask again, Why should people that work for a living pay more than those who don't?

rhare wrote:

Culture and government are too very different beasts.  Government destroys culture because it tries to make everyone fit into the same box.  It's enforces uniformity onto it's citizens.  I fully confident that the wonderful things we have would exist without most of the government programs we have today.

That's your belief system, and you're entitled to it.  I think there's probably more anthropoligical evidence that government is something that grows out of culture.  Humans have certain innate things they do, one of which is organize for common interests.  For most of history, governments have been brutal and oppressive, no doubt.  See "Man's inhumanity to man."  I'm not an optimist.  I just don't think the alternative at this time is to turn it all over to the bankers.

rhare wrote:

...as we have put more and more government involvement in healthcare and insurance quality has gone down, prices have gone up, and access (at least from my personal viewpoint) has gone down.  It's the same in education, more government, worse results.

I, unfortunately, can't respond to this sort of blanket statement with an equally blanket statement.  You confuse healthcare and insurance.  As far as the effects of more government in healthcare, I don't think you can make a credible argument that involvment of the government has caused quality to go down.  It's a very complex question, and is complicated by the fact that it overlies the general trend of better health that  accompanied the industrial revolution.  Probably the major effects of governmental involvment have been on the research end and in distributing the many gains of the modern era to populations that would otherwise not gotten it.

As far as insurance is concerned, well, the government is not all that involved in the healthcare insurance industry as far as I can see.  We do know, pretty clearly, that in those industrial countries in which the government fills the role of single payer or provider, the general results are better than in the US.  That's just an objective fact.

Education, same thing.  I'm sure for every disadvantage you can point out for public education, I can point out at least one advantage.  One side might be more right than the other, I'll even grant for the sake of argument that it could be yours.  But that is not the same as the blanket ideological statements you've been making.

rhare wrote:

Oh the cry of the progressive "what about the children".  Most vaccines are not developed by the government, they are developed by private companies. 

I'm sorry, I shouldn't have mentioned children in a discussion of health care.  How about I say, "Small humans to whom most of the vaccines were developed?"  I hope you have a source for your assertion about vaccines.  I seriously doubt it.  I would also bet most of the vaccines and other medical breakthroughs that did come out of private enterprise have a very big hidden government subsidy.  Public universities, educational benefits such as the GI bill, etc.

 

rhare wrote:

So do you think people wouldn't get vacinated on their own?  Again you seem to think people would just lie down in the streets and die if government wasn't there to tell them you need healthcare and perhaps they should consider having a vaccine.  If people are that stupid then perhaps we need them out of the gene pool.

Again with the false choices.  I think people will try to do best for themselves and their families if they have the knowledge and can afford it.  It might very well be that many of the common childhood disease immunizations are so common and available as to be basic consumer goods at this point, and in that case I can see an argument for removing any governmental supports that might still exist.  But that ignores my point that the government certainly had a strong role in developing them in the first place.  I also think some level of government has a vital role in assuring standards in pharmaceuticals and other medical care.  I know there's no doubt a great free market solution to drug quality issues.  I would prefer one that doesn't require dead people up front.  But judging by the last part of that, you might prefer that.  Well, that might be where we're headed.  I don't think you'll like it.

rhare wrote:

As far as you saying they are bumper stickers, how a debating on the issue - talk about rhetoric!

Please point out to me where I made blanket ideological statements such as "government is always good"  or, "government never steals."  Please point out to me where I painted the debate in terms such as either the government has to control everything or people will lie down in the streets and die.  That is your rhetoric.  The closest I came is the line about people who work for a living, which I acknowledged was getting close to rhetoric.  I think I can make a good argument that it reflects some reality, though.

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