If the US withdrew from entangling alliances

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In summary, if the US withdrew from its military alliances and obligations, many people think the world would be a better place. Many people also think South Korea would fall if the US withdrew from its military alliances and obligations.
  • #36


mugaliens said:
Governments will always find ways of being twice as large as people want it to be, and taxes are rarely distributed fairly or spent wisely.

You're such a pessimist. Government of, by, and for the people requires that people fulfill their civic responsibilities, Having denounced the attitudes of many Europeans toward the US, I will say that the governments of the EU have delivered the goods to their constituents all too well because the people demanded it. For the most part in Western Europe: free health care cradle to the grave, free education though public universities, paid maternity leave up to 12 months, strict laws on corporate governance, 30 days paid vacation plus holidays, paid sick leave, generous unemployment benefits, excellent high speed rail transport and highways built to last eighty years before repaving. scientific facilities that now surpass the best in the US such as the Large Hadron Collider, modern port facilities that put the US facilities to shame, better cell phone and internet service with a denser broadband network, much less identity theft because of better security. Power outages are rare because the power lines are almost entirely underground. The food is generally of a better quality and the cities are cleaner and safer. I could on, but you get the point.

A lot of this is possible because EU members don't spend a third or more of their annual budgets on defense. There's pockets of poverty in the suburban rings around some big cities such as Paris, Rome and some industrial cities in Germany and there's rural poverty as you get into southern Italy and SE Europe but nothing like the poverty of many of the inner cities of the US or the rural poverty in much of the southern US and on Indian reservations..

Europeans do pay higher taxes than Americans, especially in Scandinavia, but they get what they pay for, and they generally live well, with much less stress than Americans experience IMHO, having lived on both sides of the Atlantic. I don't think the US should be a carbon copy of Europe nor do I think the good life in Europe is sustainable. They must pay more for defense and the US less. The American people can have a better life and reduce the ridiculous gap between rich and poor. The people just have to demand it and make their government work more for them and less for unappreciative "allies" who will obviously take a free ride if they can.
 
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  • #37


First, there is absolutely nothing wrong in being a pessimist. Indeed, I prefer it to optimism.

Second, if the people rise up, the government will just use that massive defense budget to force them down, in the name of government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich.
 
  • #38


SW VandeCarr said:
You're such a pessimist.
History puts reality on MugAliens side on this one. He's certainly paraphrasing US founders:
Jefferson said:
The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground

SW VandeCarr said:
[...]For the most part in Western Europe: free health care cradle to the grave, free education though public universities, paid maternity leave up to 12 months, strict laws on corporate governance, 30 days paid vacation plus holidays, paid sick leave, generous unemployment benefits, excellent high speed rail transport and highways built to last eighty years before repaving.
None of that is 'free', nor does health coverage mean one necessarily gets good 'health care', nor did all the people that were forced to pay for it 'demand it', nor was it there 'civic duty' to do so. Maybe you could ask those effected by decades of 10-12% EU unemployment how they feel about employment benefits.

SW VandeCarr said:
scientific facilities that now surpass the best in the US such as the Large Hadron Collider,
That's an instance; there are apparently some excellent facilities in Europe. But every single researcher/scholar with which I am acquainted and has experience in both Europe and the US feels there is no comparison in the resources and opportunities available in their field between the US and Europe: postdocs, grants, facilites in both industry and government. This is true even if they much prefer European life styles.

SW VandeCarr said:
Power outages are rare because the power lines are almost entirely underground.
That's misinformation; it is neither the reason for most power outages nor is true that even a small percentage of existing HV power lines are below ground in Europe; you are confusing existing transmission with the recent trend in buring HVDC lines.

SW VandeCarr said:
The food is generally of a better quality and the cities are cleaner and safer. I could on, but you get the point.
Spent any time in Milan? How'd you like the air there? Try to get through Naples rail stations for a few weeks without at least an attempt at being ripped off. Spent any time sampling New Orleans cuisine? Compare that to Frankfurt. The point I get is that you're aping some stereotype, commonly held by someone familiar with this or that spot in the vastness of the US, and after flying through a couple of airports and watching some Hollywood, they smugly assume they've got it all in their pocket.

SW VandeCarr said:
A lot of this is possible because EU members don't spend a third or more of their annual budgets on defense. There's pockets of poverty in the suburban rings around some big cities such as Paris, Rome and some industrial cities in Germany and there's rural poverty as you get into southern Italy and SE Europe but nothing like the poverty of many of the inner cities of the US or the rural poverty in much of the southern US.
What's the source for this? Hollywood?
 
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  • #39


Char. Limit said:
First, there is absolutely nothing wrong in being a pessimist. Indeed, I prefer it to optimism.

Second, if the people rise up, the government will just use that massive defense budget to force them down, in the name of government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich.

You're reasoning doesn't make sense.The people don't have to "rise up" and how does the budget deficit force the people down? By the way, American people are now the effective owners of many of these "rich" corporations. The people do need to exercise the rights and power they have under the constitution. Organize and break the power of the special interests. I believe Obama is for the people but he's temporarily trapped in circumstances left by the Bush administration. A top down, bottom up approach can squeeze the special interests out. They do it in Canada, they do it in Europe, why not in the US? It doesn't have be perfect. Every country has some corruption (except maybe Iceland).

The place to start is to stop spending on wars and interventions to save the world, and force other countries to pull their weight: the EU, Japan, S Korea and even the rising economies of Latin America. If one country (S Korea) has to go down to make the point, so be it. Also, the rich must pay more in taxes. Why have an income cap on FICA contributions? Presently its around $110,000. Let it be open ended. Simplify the tax code, close loopholes, and increase the rates on the top income brackets. Reward companies that keep jobs in the US and punish those who export jobs. Buy American. Organize consumer cooperatives that will buy American if the quality is there. Use that leverage to make American products more competitive. Do you know that the US is importing solar panels and wind turbines? One of the great resources of America is its wind and solar power potential. Developing these can provide many jobs. Why is the US importing the the necessary technology??

If you're negative attitude is indicative of American attitudes (which I doubt, but I do hear a lot whiners) then maybe America should go down the tubes.
 
  • #40


No, my "negative attitude" is not common among the blind optimists known as Americans...
 
  • #41
mheslep said:
History puts reality on MugAliens side on this one. He's certainly paraphrasing US founders:

Jefferson is entitled to his opinions. He also thought that America should remain a nation of small farmers and generally disliked cities.

https://www.amazon.com/review/RPRGZ2FI8SL6V&tag=pfamazon01-20

None of that is 'free', nor does health coverage mean one necessarily gets good 'health care', nor did all the people that were forced to pay for it 'demand it', nor was it there 'civic duty' to do so. Maybe you could ask those effected by decades of 10-12% EU unemployment how they feel about employment benefit.

The majority of the people decided they wanted a welfare state They got it and they never voted it out. If they wanted the government to shine their shoes, I guess they have the right to demand it. Do the majority of Americans want an interventionist America? The last election seems to say no.

That's an instance; there are apparently some excellent facilities in Europe. But every single researcher/scholar with and has experience in both Europe and the US feels there is no comparison in the resources and opportunities available in their field between the US and Europe: postdocs, grants, facilites in both industry and government. This is true even if they much prefer European life styles.

That's good. I hope these activities can continue to be funded at high levels, but that may not be possible if America doesn't get control of its deficits.,

That's misinformation; it is neither the reason for most power outages nor is true that even a small percentage of existing HV power lines are below ground in Europe; you are confusing existing transmission with the recent trend in buring HVDC lines.

I'll concede the point although it has little to do with main topic. I was thinking more of the local transmission lines in residential areas.

Ever been in Milan? How'd you like the air there? Try to get through Naples rail stations for a few weeks without at least an attempt at being ripped off.

I never said Europe was crime or pollution free. However, Western Europeans can get a good university education without going deep into debt and they won't go bankrupt if they get sick.

Spent any time sampling New Orleans cuisine? Compare that to Frankfurt.

That's comparing some of America's best with some of Europe's worst,

The point I get is that you're aping some stereotype, commonly held by someone familiar with this or that spot in the vastness of the US, and after flying through a couple of airports and watching some Hollywood, they smugly assume they've got it all in their pocket.

What's the source for this? Hollywood?

I live in the US now and have lived in Canada and Europe. I spend a lot of time traveling both overseas and in the US. I've been in every state and most every city of any size as well this country's beautiful rural expanses. I'm retired and volunteer a lot. I see the good things and the bad things. I does make me sick to see the state of urban decay and the virtual ghost towns of improvised rural areas. Ever been to Detroit? Ever been to the Mississippi delta? Ever been to the Pine Ridge or Navajo reservations? I assume you are American. What you just said indicates you haven;t seen enough of your country. It's a great country and its people deserve better. No American should face bankruptcy because they got sick. No American should die or be maimed for life in a war where you can't even define what "victory" is.
 
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  • #42


SW VandeCarr said:
However, Western Europeans can get a good university education without gong deep into debt and they won't go bankrupt if they get sick.

I find itincredible that people don't have a right to live in the richest country in the world.
 
  • #43


vertices said:
I find itincredible that people don't have a right to live in the richest country in the world.

I'm sorry. Could you explain that a little more? I don't understand what you mean. I'm thinking you mean people don't have a right to medical care in the richest country in the world. If so, I agree with you in principle. However US law does require that anyone seeking care in a hospital emergency department must at least be evaluated and treated (or appropriately transferred) if emergency treatment is warranted regardless of their ability to pay.
 
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  • #44


SW VandeCarr said:
A lot of this is possible because EU members don't spend a third or more of their annual budgets on defense. There's pockets of poverty in the suburban rings around some big cities such as Paris, Rome and some industrial cities in Germany and there's rural poverty as you get into southern Italy and SE Europe but nothing like the poverty of many of the inner cities of the US or the rural poverty in much of the southern US and on Indian reservations..

The poverty in the inner cities of the U.S. has nothing to do with the U.S. way of doing things, it is because the inner cities and the big cities overall are run by ultra-Left politicians and bureaucrats.

New York City went bankrupt in the mid-1970s trying to fight poverty (they now have a welfare state within a welfare state). For decades, our cities, and our states, have been social engineering laboratories for these policies, and they show they do not work.

Indian reservations are, or were much the same, the people had no incentive to work due to being completely funded by the government.

Europeans do pay higher taxes than Americans, especially in Scandinavia, but they get what they pay for,

Not really. Their universities do not match American universities and their healthcare systems in general do not match the American healthcare system.

The American people can have a better life and reduce the ridiculous gap between rich and poor.

What exactly is wrong with a gap between the poor and the rich? America is not a society based on everyone having an equal outcome. Further, who cares what the gap is as long as the general standard of living for everyone continues going up?

Our "poor" are not exactly what most of the world that live on a dollar a day or less would define as "poor." For example, obesity is oftentimes a problem amongst the "poor" here in america.

The people do need to exercise the rights and power they have under the constitution. Organize and break the power of the special interests.

Not that simple, and the special interests (Big Business anyhow) gain much of their power from regulations and increased government specifically created to "help" the people (when government seeks to regulate industry, industry will seek to "regulate" government).

I believe Obama is for the people but he's temporarily trapped in circumstances left by the Bush administration. A top down, bottom up approach can squeeze the special interests out. They do it in Canada, they do it in Europe, why not in the US? It doesn't have be perfect. Every country has some corruption (except maybe Iceland).

What makes you think the special itnerests are not entrenched in Europe or Canada? The only way the special interests lose influence over government is when government stops seeking to influence the special interests.

The place to start is to stop spending on wars and interventions to save the world, and force other countries to pull their weight: the EU, Japan, S Korea and even the rising economies of Latin America. If one country (S Korea) has to go down to make the point, so be it.

I highly doubt that will happen, because the U.S. will always be the strongest and the other countries will figure they can get away with spending less.

Also, the rich must pay more in taxes.

Why? And how do you define "rich?" Because much of what is defined as "rich" are really just people earning in the higher income brackets, upper-middle-class, but not at all rich. And many of these are people who have worked many years of their life as middle-class, who are now in their peak income earning years, and are thus earning in the high income brackets, and thus are "rich" according to certain politicians.

As it is, about 40% of the population pay no federal income tax, and in some states up to 50% of the tax base is paid by the highest-earning 1%.

Why have an income cap on FICA contributions? Presently its around $110,000. Let it be open ended.

Because the idea of Social Security is that you pay into it what you get out of it. If you get rid of the cap, then a millionaire who pays into it for some years has to be paid out those same millions.

Of course then people will scream about why is a millionaire being paid millions from Social Security, when he doesn't "need" that much (nevermind the whole idea was get paid out what you pay into it).

So there's a cap. Yes you could end the cap so everyone pays and instead have a cap set where anyone earning above it does not receive SS even though they paid into it. Of course then SS becomes a de-facto welfare and entitlement program.

SS had a surplus for a while, but then Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, decided to open up SS to rob it for their pet projects (it is for this reason I believe any new massive entitlement that even did manage to pay for itself would still end up in deficit because the government would find ways to rob it).

As it is, SS is a Ponzi-scheme, as what is paid in now is used to pay the current SS recipients.

Simplify the tax code, close loopholes, and increase the rates on the top income brackets.

The top brackets, in fact all the brackets, need their rates decreased, not increased.

Reward companies that keep jobs in the US and punish those who export jobs.

How do you punish a company that exports jobs? And why shouldn't it be allowed to export jobs? The company's job is to make a profit for the owners. If it can get the same work done with better quality at 1/3 the price in another country, nothing wrong with that. We know free-trade works.
 
  • #45


vertices said:
I find itincredible that people don't have a right to live in the richest country in the world.

No one can have a "right" to healthcare, as it is a service, but all Americans are given healthcare if they go to a hospital, whether they have it or not, in an emergency I believe.
 
  • #46


Nebula815 said:
No one can have a "right" to healthcare, as it is a service, but all Americans are given healthcare if they go to a hospital, whether they have it or not, in an emergency I believe.

Should it be though? What if you have a tumor of some sort - your life is in the hands of some person who is only interested in securing his/her bonus for the year.. by finding ways of denying you the care you need. How undignifying.

In the UK, if we are ill we get treated. This is how it should be - healthcare shouldn't be a priveledge. Why should your access to heathcare depend on your ability to pay? That flies in the face of everything that's just and fair.
 
  • #47


vertices said:
Should it be though? What if you have a tumor of some sort - your life is in the hands of some person who is only interested in securing his/her bonus for the year..

With a proper free market, you will have the health insurance for if you get a tumor. As it is, we do not have a proper free-market for health insurance in the U.S. right now. People cannot buy health insurance across state lines and the states, which regulate the health insurance companies, mandate that they cover a lot of things that can artificially drive up the price (like hair loss treatment, marriage counseling, etc...for example).

There are a lot of things that drive up the costs of health insurance in America that shouldn't. That said, some say we could also probably have a system of government insurance to cover catostrophic things, and leave the rest of stuff to the market insurance and payment out of pocket.

In the UK, if we are ill we get treated. This is how it should be - healthcare shouldn't be a priveledge. Why should your access to heathcare depend on your ability to pay?

In the UK, if you are ill, you can be put on waiting lists and/or denied care because the system lacks the $$$ and resources to provide for everyone. There are battles occurring in the UK over this right now about who will get the funding for what.

Your care depends on your ability to pay because healthcare is a service. Anything that is a service cannot be a right. Rights are abstract things. Housing, healthcare, education, food, etc...are services, and the more you pay, the better you can get. That's just a law of economics.

However, with a free market, as technology progresses, much healthcare that was previously only available to those with lots of $$$, becomes available to the middle-class and even poor.

That flies in the face of everything that's just and fair.

"Justice" and "fairness" are arbitrary words that can mean completely different things to different people.
 
  • #48


Some points

1)A government run system runs very well, as I can attest, in the UK. Ofcourse you get the odd story of NICE (the body which assesses a course of medication/treatment in terms of its costs and benefits) not allowing a patient to be given some super expensive medication, but this is very rare and the aforementioned costs are very carefully weighed up in terms of the extra quality of life the medicine would give relative to the monetary costs.

2)Don't you think something is very wrong, when all the major health indicators in Cuba far exceed those in the US (eg. infant mortality, deaths from heart disease, cancer, etc.)

3)It would logically follow from what you've just said, that firefighters and policemen/women should only be available to those who can pay for their services.

Nebula815 said:
"Justice" and "fairness" are arbitrary words that can mean completely different things to different people.

Not so - these are universal principles. Christianity, like all religions, is a bit f*cked up imho but there are some, let's be charitable, good things in the Bible. The following is one of them, and is I would say, a moral truism: "Do to others what you would have them do to you".

Everyone deserves to be treated fairly, equally, with dignity and respect. Fighting with the insurance people about preexisting conditions or what not, to save your life is just wrong.
 
  • #49


vertices said:
Some points

1)A government run system runs very well, as I can attest, in the UK. Ofcourse you get the odd story of NICE (the body which assesses a course of medication/treatment in terms of its costs and benefits) not allowing a patient to be given some super expensive medication, but this is very rare and the aforementioned costs are very carefully weighed up in terms of the extra quality of life the medicine would give relative to the monetary costs.

A government-run system can run well, but it also has its share of problems. A free-market system works incredibly well as well.

2)Don't you think something is very wrong, when all the major health indicators in Cuba far exceed those in the US (eg. infant mortality, deaths from heart disease, cancer, etc.)

They don't. Who do you think is providing those statistics? The Cuban government. That would be like the Soviet Union claiming it had better healthcare than the United States. Have you ever looked at the standard of living of the average Cuban?

3)It would logically follow from what you've just said, that firefighters and policemen/women should only be available to those who can pay for their services.

No it doesn't, because fire services and police services, which are still services BTW, are things that affect everyone universally. If your home catches fire, it can set the whole city on fire if not put out.

A better analogy would be should we have universal home insurance. Instead of private sector home owner's insurance, have the government cover it. So if your home catches fire, it's insured. I'd rather stick with the private sector.

If you catch a strain of a deadly disease that is a literal public health threat, they will quarantine your home.

BTW, the police are not to protect you per se, they are there to enforce the law, which is a job of government.

If we wanted privatized fire and police services, companies would compete with each other to get contracts from local governments to provide those services to specific areas. They would still be being taxpayer-funded nonetheless ultimately.

Not so - these are universal principles. Christianity, like all religions, is a bit f*cked up imho but there are some, let's be charitable, good things in the Bible. The following is one of them, and is I would say, a moral truism: "Do to others what you would have them do to you".

Everyone deserves to be treated fairly, equally, with dignity and respect. Fighting with the insurance people about preexisting conditions or what not, to save your life is just wrong.

You're missing the point. Terms like "equality," "fairness," "justice," etc...can mean completely different things. In America for example, equality is important in that we are all to be equal under the law. We are not all to be equal in that there is supposed to be some equal outcome.

Being charitable is great, but that can be tough when your money is taken from you by force in the name of "fairness" and "social justice" and so forth.
 
  • #50


vertices said:
2)Don't you think something is very wrong, when all the major health indicators in Cuba far exceed those in the US (eg. infant mortality, deaths from heart disease, cancer, etc.)

We do not know this. As Nebula points out the statistics are provided by the Cuban government. The International Red Cross is not allowed regular access to Cuba, and Cuba has side stepped this by making its own national red cross organization.

From what I have read here and there (unfortunately there are not really any reliable sources that I know of) in Cuba the tourist areas are nice and the people are relatively happy and well taken care of, but outside these areas the quality of life drops dramatically.
 
  • #51


TheStatutoryApe said:
From what I have read here and there (unfortunately there are not really any reliable sources that I know of) in Cuba the tourist areas are nice and the people are relatively happy and well taken care of, but outside these areas the quality of life drops dramatically.

This source might be more reliable than most. I want to be clear, I am not advocating the Cuban model for the US. I'm essentially arguing that a non interventionist US would have more money to spend on infrastructure, health care, education and other services.

http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/35/4/817
 
  • #52
Nebula815 said:
You're missing the point. Terms like "equality," "fairness," "justice," etc...can mean completely different things. In America for example, equality is important in that we are all to be equal under the law. We are not all to be equal in that there is supposed to be some equal outcome.

Actually, there are some in America who support the idea of an "unequal start" to gain an "equal finish". They call it "affirmative action" and it's one of the main areas of bias in American law today (the other being family law).

SW, I agree completely on the public health care being a right.
 
  • #53


SW VandeCarr said:
This source might be more reliable than most. I want to be clear, I am not advocating the Cuban model for the US. I'm essentially arguing that a non interventionist US would have more money to spend on infrastructure, health care, education and other services.

http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/35/4/817

I would say the U.S. already has plenty of money for education, it is a matter of how the money is spent that is the problem, same thing with infrastructure, healthcare, and so forth. We have adequate money to have even lower taxes than we have now, continue spending large amounts on defense, and still be able to afford infrastructure, education, certain entitlements, etc...but due to corruption and inefficiency issues, the money gets wasted.
 
  • #54


Char. Limit said:
Actually, there are some in America who support the idea of an "unequal start" to gain an "equal finish". They call it "affirmative action" and it's one of the main areas of bias in American law today (the other being family law).

I would say affirmative action, nowadays for the most part, is wrong. This is a nation with a black president, where the highest-paid professional athlete is black (or he was the highest-paid), and where the highest-paid entertainer is black. Michael Jackson was at his biggest as a black man as well.

SW, I agree completely on the public health care being a right.

Healthcare not being a right isn't really one of those things that's an opinion, it is simply a matter of fact. The services of a person can never be the right of someone else. If you say healthcare is a "right," then what you are really saying is that any medical professional who has worked to learn their skills has no right to offer those skills for a price in a free and open market, that instead the government is going to come in and dictate to them by force what they will charge for their services.

Or, the government will go and by force take money from other people in order to pay the medical professionals.

It's like saying the Second Amendment means we need a national program to provide people with firearms. Either you have to force the gun manufacturers to provide the firearms, or you can use taxpayer money (in effect forcing people) to pay for guns for everyone.

One can perhaps make an argument for certain publicly-funded forms of healthcare, like certain social safety nets, but none of those are rights.

For example, nothing is wrong with taking care of those who truly cannot provide for themselves, such as the elderly and mentally ill. But they do not have a "right" to healthcare, it is just the humane thing for society to take care of them since they either cannot provide for themselves or have provided for society for many years and now no longer can (or a great many of them cannot).
 
  • #55


Don't we say just that for fire and police departments? How about the military? Can they "offer their skills for a price in a free and open market"? Can firemen? And damn the PC Police, I can say "firemen" if I want.
 
  • #56


Char. Limit said:
Don't we say just that for fire and police departments? How about the military? Can they "offer their skills for a price in a free and open market"? Can firemen? And damn the PC Police, I can say "firemen" if I want.

Firefighting is a service that is done by local governments. If corporations did it, you might end up with large, national firefighting corporations, in the way we have large waste management (garbage collection) companies. This may or may not be a bad thing, firefighting technically probably could be fully privatized, just as waste management is privatized, but that just isn't how it evolved in society.

Fires are a public health hazard that can occur in areas where there would be no one to pay to have them put out, meaning they'd rage out of control, so regardless of where they occur, your home or in a field, wherever, tax dollars are needed to pay for or provide firefighting services. Maybe a home next to yours that is vacant catches fire. It still needs to be put out.

Notice we do not have universal homeowner's insurance. If your home burns down and you do not have insurance, that is on you.

With policing, one can see the dangers in any large, national police companies forming, as you could end up with a pseudo national police force (the private company or companies that were national in scope would come under a lot of government scrutiny and if lots of regulations, you'd end up with indirect national police forces). So it is best to leave it to local and state governments.

Plus police are to enforce the law, and enforcing the law is one of the core, primary functions of government.
 
  • #57


Haha... I don't know about you, Nebula, but I'm having fun here...

What's wrong with a national police force? Isn't the FBI a national police force?
 
  • #58


Char. Limit said:
Haha... I don't know about you, Nebula, but I'm having fun here...

What's wrong with a national police force? Isn't the FBI a national police force?

FBI is not a national police force, they are the highest law enforcement agency in the land. National police forces are usually features of dictatorships.
 
  • #59


What are you talking about? Of course the FBI is national, being the highest in the land...
 
  • #60


Char. Limit said:
What are you talking about? Of course the FBI is national, being the highest in the land...

You don't see the FBI replacing and doing the job of all the local and state police forces.
 
  • #61


Well no.

After all, the laws and punishments vary from state to state.
 
  • #62


Char. Limit said:
What are you talking about? Of course the FBI is national, being the highest in the land...

The FBI has jurisdiction only in federal law enforcement matters. They are theoretically limited in their policing ability. A "national police force" usually has unlimited jurisdiction.
 
  • #63


TheStatutoryApe said:
The FBI has jurisdiction only in federal law enforcement matters. They are theoretically limited in their policing ability. A "national police force" usually has unlimited jurisdiction.

Sorry to interrupt but this thread isn't about whether the FBI is a national police force or not. It isn't.

On topic, those who are questioning my hypothetical are assuming that I believe that "abandoning" its allies is the best choice for the US. I believe that the US really doesn't have a choice and really doesn't have allies. It has a lot of "hangers on" who with some exceptions view the their "alliance" as a one way street. The US will have a 14 trillion dollar national debt by the end of 2010 and a debt to GDP ratio of over 100% with no end in sight.

The main issues are with the EU and Japan, the largest and third largest GDPs in the world respectively. They are the principle 'allies' of the US (the EU by way of NATO, and the UK as a member of the EU and NATO). I've made my case regarding the EU. As for Japan, the US wanted Japan to have a pacifist constitution which forbids Japan from using its military for anything other than self defense.

Well, WWII ended almost 65 years ago and the world has changed. China is now a superpower with nuclear weapons and North Korea is an army with a state and nuclear weapons. Japan needs to change its constitution and arm itself with nuclear weapons, although I'm against nuclear proliferation in general. Right now Japan expects the US to respond to a nuclear attack on its territory (as does the EU although France and the UK have nukes). So if North Korea nukes Japan the US will quickly find itself in a nuclear war possibly involving China. This would not be the case if the US had no formal alliance with Japan and if Japan had nukes which could be an effective deterrent against even the likes of North Korea.

This is not the best of possible worlds. A much better arrangement would be the old trilateral pact idea between the EU, US and Japan. If it could be a true alliance, with each member contributing proportionately to its GDP, I would welcome that, but I'm not holding my breath.
 
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  • #64


Nebula815 said:
A government-run system can run well, but it also has its share of problems. A free-market system works incredibly well as well.

That's what I am telling you - there really aren't that many problems with it. It is far, far more cost efficient than the system you have in America. If there was a "public option" in the US, the 'risk' of people seeking healthcare (that's what callous insurers call it) could be spread across a bigger population; this creates a system which is not only much better value for money, but one that is more operationally efficient due to economies of scale.

They don't. Who do you think is providing those statistics? The Cuban government. That would be like the Soviet Union claiming it had better healthcare than the United States. Have you ever looked at the standard of living of the average Cuban?

Soviet Union? Erm, you do realize that Mr Regan is dead, don't you?

The statistics I'm talking about come from the WHO, so they are actually fairly reliable. I mean, it is amazing how Cuba managed to sustain consistently excellent health outcomes despite the crippling, totally unwarranted embargo by the US... Hell, the even have a surplus of doctors as the send hundreds of them overseas (to venezuela, etc).

BTW, the police are not to protect you per se, they are there to enforce the law, which is a job of government.

It's up to the people to decide what the job of their government should be. Most people in America want universal healthcare coverage (as polls often show). However the debate has been hijacked by sensationalists who rail against "Obama's death panels" and so on. I am hesitant to say this, but it seems to me as an outsider, that most Americans can't see through this inane garbage spewed by Sarah Palin and her ilk, unfortunatly. Sorry if that offends anyone.

If we wanted privatized fire and police services, companies would compete with each other to get contracts from local governments to provide those services to specific areas. They would still be being taxpayer-funded nonetheless ultimately.

Ofcourse that can happen but would it be a good thing? To delegate to corporations (who, if they were people, could best be described as pyschopaths), 'services' that are critical to people's wellbeing, is highly irresponsible, in any civilised society. You can't put the lives of flesh and blood human beings in the hands of those whose sole objective is to make a profit.

You're missing the point. Terms like "equality," "fairness," "justice," etc...can mean completely different things. In America for example, equality is important in that we are all to be equal under the law. We are not all to be equal in that there is supposed to be some equal outcome.

You misunderstand me - I am not saying people are equal (which is a meaningless thing to say). What I am saying is that people should be treated fairly, equally, with dignity and respect - wouldn't you agree? These are not words that are hard to define and they do not wildly across cultures - the basis of these ideas, as I said, comes from the universal idea that we should treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves. If something is wrong for me, it is wrong for her; if something is right for me, it is right for him...

If society is able to treat the sick, healthcare is elevated to a right simply because there is no excuse to deny it.
 
  • #65


Thank you, SW. I'm quite out of my league here, feeling like Christian Laettner on the Dream Team.
 
  • #66


Char. Limit said:
Thank you, SW. I'm quite out of my league here, feeling like Christian Laettner on the Dream Team.

You have every right to post here. Just keep it on topic. Now if we can get Nebula815 and vertices to cooperate we can make some progress. I introduced health care as an example, but it's not the main topic. I would like to see some responses to my last post (63).
 
  • #67


vertices said:
That's what I am telling you - there really aren't that many problems with it. It is far, far more cost efficient than the system you have in America. If there was a "public option" in the US, the 'risk' of people seeking healthcare (that's what callous insurers call it) could be spread across a bigger population; this creates a system which is not only much better value for money, but one that is more operationally efficient due to economies of scale.



Soviet Union? Erm, you do realize that Mr Regan is dead, don't you?

The statistics I'm talking about come from the WHO, so they are actually fairly reliable. I mean, it is amazing how Cuba managed to sustain consistently excellent health outcomes despite the crippling, totally unwarranted embargo by the US... Hell, the even have a surplus of doctors as the send hundreds of them overseas (to venezuela, etc).



It's up to the people to decide what the job of their government should be. Most people in America want universal healthcare coverage (as polls often show). However the debate has been hijacked by sensationalists who rail against "Obama's death panels" and so on. I am hesitant to say this, but it seems to me as an outsider, that most Americans can't see through this inane garbage spewed by Sarah Palin and her ilk, unfortunatly. Sorry if that offends anyone.



Ofcourse that can happen but would it be a good thing? To delegate to corporations (who, if they were people, could best be described as pyschopaths), 'services' that are critical to people's wellbeing, is highly irresponsible, in any civilised society. You can't put the lives of flesh and blood human beings in the hands of those whose sole objective is to make a profit.



You misunderstand me - I am not saying people are equal (which is a meaningless thing to say). What I am saying is that people should be treated fairly, equally, with dignity and respect - wouldn't you agree? These are not words that are hard to define and they do not wildly across cultures - the basis of these ideas, as I said, comes from the universal idea that we should treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves. If something is wrong for me, it is wrong for her; if something is right for me, it is right for him...

If society is able to treat the sick, healthcare is elevated to a right simply because there is no excuse to deny it.

As someone who has, to my embarassment and moral reservation, had to rely on the public health system in New Jersey, I can tell you, there are ALOT of problems with it.

EDIT: As far as the people deciding what kind of government they want, the problem with this is it tramples on the rights of the minority. If by "people" you mean a majority or plurality, without some absolute indivual rights, this translates to tyranny. This is the basis of the modern ideological political debate, the rights of the individual versus the needs of the collective.
 
  • #68


SW VandeCarr said:
Sorry to interrupt but this thread isn't about whether the FBI is a national police force or not. It isn't.

On topic, those who are questioning my hypothetical are assuming that I believe that "abandoning" its allies is the best choice for the US. I believe that the US really doesn't have a choice and really doesn't have allies. It has a lot of "hangers on" who with some exceptions view the their "alliance" as a one way street. The US will have a 14 trillion dollar national debt by the end of 2010 and a debt to GDP ratio of over 100% with no end in sight.

The main issues are with the EU and Japan, the largest and third largest GDPs in the world respectively. They are the principle 'allies' of the US (the EU by way of NATO, and the UK as a member of the EU and NATO). I've made my case regarding the EU. As for Japan, the US wanted Japan to have a pacifist constitution which forbids Japan from using its military for anything other than self defense.

Well, WWII ended almost 65 years ago and the world has changed. China is now a superpower with nuclear weapons and North Korea is an army with a state and nuclear weapons. Japan needs to change its constitution and arm itself with nuclear weapons, although I'm against nuclear proliferation in general. Right now Japan expects the US to respond to a nuclear attack on its territory (as does the EU although France and the UK have nukes). So if North Korea nukes Japan the US will quickly find itself in a nuclear war possibly involving China. This would not be the case if the US had no formal alliance with Japan and if Japan had nukes which could be an effective deterrent against even the likes of North Korea.

This is not the best of possible worlds. A much better arrangement would be the old trilateral pact idea between the EU, US and Japan. If it could be a true alliance, with each member contributing proportionately to its GDP, I would welcome that, but I'm not holding my breath.

I agree with this; however, there is one thing you are not taking into account. The US's economic might is largely driven at this point by inertia in the global economic structure. The US can hold a relatively large debt because the dollar is the default reserve currency. Without the US military as the actual provider of security for the first world nations (and protector of the oil supply channels), the economic forces pressing against this inertia might tip the balance. So yes, the cost of empire is huge, but it's possible the hidden costs of not having an empire are greater.

I actually completely agree with you, I'm just playing devil's advocate here.

So true, the cost of maintaing empire is huge, but their are complex benefits
 
  • #69


With no alliances, how will we work with diplomacy? I grant you, the pacifist thing with Japan may be a bit outdated, but it was a good idea at the time. In addition, you mentioned the 14 trillion dollar national debt. First, not all of that debt is to foreign nations. Second, we could start paying down that debt if we did four things:

1. Cut defense, welfare, and waste. The US cannot fight two wars while supporting forty percent of its population AND the congressional earmarks (read: betrayal of the public trust) and still expect to be fiscally stable.
-Cut salaries for Senators, Representatives, Cabinet Members, and the VP and POTUS to the poverty level. They're already rich (it's a requirement to win election), so why give them more money?
Raise taxes and eliminate tax loopholes. The first to counter the rightwing belief that a lower income leads to more money for the government, the second to get the money from the rich that they should pay.
-Initiate a flat tax. Not only is it fair, it's simple. Less opportunity for money-wasting mistakes by far, much less of said mistakes made.
-Make lobbying a capital felony offense.

There's actually five points here, but I can't scroll up on the iPod touch I'm using to write this.

In short, it's not alliances that are causing our debt: it's our own fiscal idiocy.
 
  • #70


Char. Limit said:
With no alliances, how will we work with diplomacy? I grant you, the pacifist thing with Japan may be a bit outdated, but it was a good idea at the time. In addition, you mentioned the 14 trillion dollar national debt. First, not all of that debt is to foreign nations. Second, we could start paying down that debt if we did four things:

1. Cut defense, welfare, and waste. The US cannot fight two wars while supporting forty percent of its population AND the congressional earmarks (read: betrayal of the public trust) and still expect to be fiscally stable.
-Cut salaries for Senators, Representatives, Cabinet Members, and the VP and POTUS to the poverty level. They're already rich (it's a requirement to win election), so why give them more money?
Raise taxes and eliminate tax loopholes. The first to counter the rightwing belief that a lower income leads to more money for the government, the second to get the money from the rich that they should pay.
-Initiate a flat tax. Not only is it fair, it's simple. Less opportunity for money-wasting mistakes by far, much less of said mistakes made.
-Make lobbying a capital felony offense.

There's actually five points here, but I can't scroll up on the iPod touch I'm using to write this.

In short, it's not alliances that are causing our debt: it's our own fiscal idiocy.

It seemed to me like SW was not so much talking about alliances per ce, but the US troops that are used as the defense forces for nearly all of our allies.
 

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