“I agree, welfare should go,” by “Aaron,” tdaxp, http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/01/08/wages_and_prices.html, 10 January 2005.
Another apt reply, another rant:
I agree, welfare should go. Let’s get rid of the tax havens for the wealthy, like “commercial” vehicles they’ve written off as business expense yet use as a private car. ( Just take a drive through any bar parking lot on the weekend. Sure are a lot of commercial plates and trucks with the names of businesses on the side. )
I disagree. Society should take care of those unable to fend for themselves. Additionally, some social causes (like college loans or encouraging capital accumulation) may have a positive return on investment, others (tsunami aid) help our strategic interests, and others (space exploration, farm subsidies) have more sentimental aims.
Do I agree with every form of welfare for every recipient? No, but it’s still the right thing for us to do.
Let’s stop paying for liver transplants for alcoholics and gastric bypass surgery for the obese.
The former sounds wiser than the latter. Every liver given to an alcoholic is one that cannot be given to someone else. Additionally, gastric bypasses are much cheaper and (by shrinking the stomach) directly encourage healthier behavior.
A bit later…
Yes, let’s limit healthcare costs, perhaps by heavier legislation against health insurance companies and malpractice insurance companies.
I’d rather not kill patients by discouraging medicine in the process.
How about private savings to allay the cost of procedures?
The problem may be too structural. Before 1980 there was no correlation between health care spending and increased life expectency. Given the hundreds of thousands medicine kills every where, we have an immensely sick system with two bright lights (prescription drugs and assembly line surgeries) some dim bulbs (miscellaneous operations) and incredible black holes (malpractice by all parties, governmental failures).
It’s not fair for me to pay in on every paycheck for something I don’t use, only to have them raise my rates the first time I do. I’d be happy to put money into an account month after month that when it reaches a certain amount, say $5k, I can quit knowing that anything that might *likely* befall me won’t cost that much. However, let’s not cap the amount of money insurance will pay. Katie got in a car accident. Her insurance refuses to pay for another cent of her treatment for spinal and shoulder injuries, though her affliction remains. I promise the amount of money her family has paid into insurance over the past 20 years has made more than enough to cover her ongoing treatment. Yeah, I know insurance is a business, but let’s cut some of the fat. I can imagine a doctor botching a heart transplant, and having the family of the deceased be told “sorry, we only pay $20,000 for a heart transplant… can you speak with the doctor? oh no, sorry, he went golfing about 10 minutes after your husband died.”
That’s a terrible problem. We have a terrible system.
Medicare spends a quarter of a trillion dollars every year. About 30% of that, or $75 billion is psend in the last year of life of a patient. About 40% of that, or $30 billion is spent in the last thirty days.
That’s a lot of money that’s being gobbled up. And that sort of waste is not isolated. My point isn’t to argue against old-age medicine — it’s to say we have a terribly, terribly messed-up system that neither candidate would fix. Welfare schemes — from support for heroic medicine to the stranglehold of the AMA and ABA guilds to people using civil lawsuits for justice and not remedy to price controls to price supports — stall badly needed fixes.
Let’s do something so that corporations aren’t so beholden to their stock price. How many companies are doing just fine but find themselves cutting corners or laying off people to boost Wall Street estimates? Forcing companies to rate a “strong buy” quarter after quarter makes some profitable companies do things they don’t need to do, and possibly take unnecessary risks (think Animation Factory… double sales every year? why? is everyone getting paid? is there money left on the table at the end of the month? why feel the need to double that amount just to be considered viable? )
Instead of giving more welfare to employees and management, I’d rather make corporations more beholden to their stock price. Upper management in almost any major company routinely betrays investors and padds their own pockets. Why are CEOs paid so much? Even when they perform badly? Too many high-paying jobs are protected from market discipline.
(In the AF example cited, the parent company has sustained rounds of lay-offs and is in terrible financial straights. Bankruptcy would ruin employees and investors, and put upper-management out of work.)
Let’s stop spending ourselves into oblivion.
Let’s stop starting wars where wars aren’t properly planned for.
And let’s never “plan properly” until its too late. Let’s horrify our enemies worse than they scared us. Let’s never allow them to breathe.
Let’s look into some alternative energy, rather than a limp-wristed acknowledgement, perhaps by a President whose circle of friends’ livelihoods aren’t tied into oil prices?
Agreed. One of Bush’s great failures is not dramatically expanding nuclear energy.
Let’s invest some money into research that will benefit our country, rather than the create a cash cow for the discovering organization.
Let’s not discourage discovery. And let new discoveries ever increase the general welfare.
Maybe huge tax breaks or some other perk for private research firms who don’t put a firm lock and chain on any advancement?
Let’s start making a difference for people who need a difference made. I now make more money than both my parents do combined. I have investments. I’m one of those people who are benefitting from some of the breaks for the wealthy. And I don’t like it.”
Let’s encourage giving!