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Socialist America

Written By: - Date published: 9:21 am, September 26th, 2009 - 8 comments
Categories: capitalism, health, humour, International - Tags:

The health care debate going on in America is a very serious debate, and who wins it has important implications for what kind of direction America takes from here (more in a later post perhaps). The Republican / Conservative / talk back radio framing of the debate is as dishonest as it is predictable. This humorous little piece (which seems to have first emerged on 4chan of all places?) makes the point nicely:

This morning I was woken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US Dept of Energy. I then took a shower in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility. After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC regulated channels to see what the national weather service of the national oceanographic and atmospheric administration determined the weather was going to be like using satellites designed, built and launched by the national aeronautics and space administration. I watched this while eating my breakfast of US Dept. of Agriculture inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the food and drug administration.

At the appropriate time as regulated by the US congress and kept accurate by the national institute of standards and technology and the US naval observatory, I get into my national highway traffic safety administration approved automobile and set out to work on roads built by the local, state and federal departments of transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality determined by the environmental protection agency, using legal tender issued by the federal reserve bank. On the way out the door, I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the US postal service and drop the kids off at the public school.

After work, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to a house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and the fire marshal’s inspection, and which has not been plundered of all it’s valuables thanks to the local police department.

I then log onto the internet which was developed by the defense advanced research projects administration and post on freerepublic.com and fox news forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can’t do anything right.

8 comments on “Socialist America”

  1. Ron 1

    I have a friend in the States at the moment doing some high level dental surgery training. He is working in a charity hospital and has been shocked by the level of deprivation. He yesterday worked on a 15 year old boy who had a cleft palate that basically ran up and opened up the lower part of hi fce and had lived like that all his life – no insurance. He’s also been replacing the teeth of adults who have never seen a dentist and working on issues in adults that in NZ would be dealt with soon after birth or in early child hood. Not cosmetic stuff – serious, disabling medical issues – because that country has no effective public health system.
    Obama should line thse people up on TV everytime some half wit starts on the Socialist thing. Except the Right wingers would just say it’s the kid’s fault to be born into a family too poor for insurance.

    • Bill 1.1

      Notice how the right has set the parameters of debate? And how the left toes the line?

      Surely the debate should have been framed in terms of class or, given that it’s the US we are looking at, race… which is a kind of half way interchangable term that can raise many of the same issues/arguments in a country that has more or less removed the C word from the english language.

      But no. The age old dishonest bollox of private versus public.

  2. ghostwhowalksnz 2

    There are so many other parts of the US that run along social democratic lines. For the hospital training of doctors after medical school, paid for by the State ( and out of Medicare!) even if in private hospitals.
    Milk prices are highly regulated along with price supports for large sections of agriculture that we ditched after Muldoon.
    The thing that has allways puzzled me is their democratic institutions wouldnt pass muster in any place they have under military occupation like Iraq, Afghanistan.
    Karzai needed 50% of the vote to win ( GWB of course lost to Gore if counted this way).
    The US congress is gerrymandering run amok, and the Senate is grossly malapportioned.

    And yet their vaunted capitalism like Boeing cant design and fly a brand new type of aeroplane. If it wasnt for their government contracts Boeing would have gone under like GM

  3. Ianmac 3

    The USA spends more on Healthcare than any other country yet has the poorest effective treatment per dollar. I see/hear the frantic screaming against the Obama Healthcare plans. What I would like to see is a series of interviews with the ordinary folk screamers to explain their opposition to the plans. I don’t get it. (Mind you I don’t get the NZ way of politicians destroying confidence in our Healthcare systems, such as Tony Ryall. Parallel?)

  4. millsy 4

    I find the health care debate in the USA depressing more than anything else. Americans have no problem with their taxes going toward propping up corrupt dictatorships and wars that serve no real purpose as well as military bases that should have closed years ago (can anyone tell me why the US still has military bases in Europe 20 year after the cold war ended?), but God forbid that people should get health care without begging the insurance barons. And hell, the system that Obama is proposing is one that ACT has more or less proposed for this country (and one that National would support if we had FPP). Which goes to show how out of it the US is when it comes to the political spectrum. ACT would be main stream, National would be center left, and Labour would be Marxist-Leninist.

  5. Terry 5

    This post makes such a great point. It reminded me of this which took me ages to locate again. Maybe a bit too late but here it is anyway:

  6. “yet their vaunted capitalism like Boeing cant design and fly a brand new type of aeroplane. If it wasnt for their government contracts Boeing would have gone under like GM”

    No, Boeing can’t. I mean I guess the 707, 727, 737, 747, 757, 767 and 777, and the second and third generation 737s and second generation (and soon to be third generation) 747s, yep such a failure.

    Boeing has seen off McDonnell Douglas (and bought it), Lockheed, Convair,and the entire British Aerospace sector (Vickers, Bristol, Hawker Siddeley, BAC., de Havilland) and has one serious rival, that has gained vast amounts of European taxpayer support. It’s entire commercial aircraft range since the 1950s has been a success and profitable.

    Oh and the US is long full of socialism. The US Postal Service has an abysmal record, is still protected from competition (unlike NZ and European postal services) and is woefully inefficient. The US has a shocking record in highways maintenance and pork barrel spending on transport projects. Indeed on health care half of all spending is by the Federal Government through the uncapped budgets on Medicare and Medicaid (which suffer from the same cost plus inflation of the private sector).

    The US health care debate SHOULD be about cost containment of both private and public sectors, sadly nothing Obama is doing will address this. You cannot afford to extend coverage whilst the entire system suffers from shocking incentives to contain costs (private because employer tax credits and restrictions on interstate competition don’t allow good competitive pressure on levies, public because Medicare and Medicaid effectively have protected blank cheques for funding).

    The US status quo is unsustainable and broken, but neither Obama nor the Republicans have got the answer. Obama wont touch Medicare and Medicaid, and the Republicans wont touch the private insurance sector.

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