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Author Topic: The Future of Laissez-Faire Capitalism  (Read 2760 times)

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Offline CassandraNovaTopic starter

The Future of Laissez-Faire Capitalism
« on: December 23, 2008, 02:18:30 PM »
So Arianna Huffington has a new blog entry in which she speculates on the future of laissez-faire capitalism.  Not to ruin the ending, but she says that it should be treated like communism; a discredited ideology, with those who advocate for it treated with the scorn and derision we give to Marxists.

I remember being very powerfully struck by something that Alan Greenspan said in October, a from his testimony before Henry Waxman's oversight committee:

Quote
"I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms," Mr. Greenspan said.  "I have found a flaw. I don't know how significant or permanent it is. But I have been very distressed by that fact."

Mr. Waxman:  . "In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working."

"Absolutely, precisely," Mr. Greenspan replied. "You know, that's precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well."

I thought that this was pretty damning stuff from one of the leading cheerleaders of pure laissez-faire.

Along the way, Arianna quotes a recent New York Times piece that pretty solidly lays the blame on the current economic situation on the deregulatory policies of the Bush administration.

I wonder if the reports of the death of pure free-market capitalism are premature, but it does seem like we're heading in that direction.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: The Future of Laissez-Faire Capitalism
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2008, 02:31:37 PM »
No one supports that sort of Capitalism seriously the government has a key set of roles in general they are as follows in my opinion.

Prevent Fraud

Set Up Fair and Reasonable Regulations (but not so complicated that said regulations overly hinder business)

Diplomatic Policies to Benefit the Nations Business Environment

But I ,for an example, see minimum wage laws as rather unreasonable employers will pay what employees are willing to take for a given work, more dangerous or dirty or higher demand educationally jobs would often pay more. A position the Supreme Court held even up through a good portion of the New Deal. Roosevelt had to threaten to flood the court with several more justices to get them to submit his wishes and allow minimum wages. Regulations to protect worker safety or unreasonable environmental damage is different.

But take the questionable mortgage derivitives that were being pushed the government failed to do their job they should have investigated them and demanded full and fair disclosure, the same for "swaps" and variable rate mortgages without full disclosure and insisting all the paperwork be honestly reported. If people still wante dto by the junk investments they could but the packages should have been clearly advertised as to what they contained and be understandable. That last would have banned them in my mind.

Offline Trieste

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Re: The Future of Laissez-Faire Capitalism
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2008, 02:32:51 PM »
Someone made the observation to me that Greenspan's mistake as, as they called it, an 'old man's mistake'. With some of the newer, almost revolutionary business models of the '90's and current time, the newest generation of businessmen have been taking risks and gotten accustomed to making decisions that the old-school would find counterintuitive and stupid.

I agree with the observation that Greenspan is part of that old school, and expected people to act on cost/benefit analysis, and that he meant to give financial institutions more flexibility while expecting them not to go for the quick, cheap turnover. He was wrong, and even Alan Greenspan is allowed to make a mistake. We certainly all wish that he hadn't, but ...

Saying that this is the result of laissez-faire capitalism is faulty, since this is the result of putting deregulation in the hands of those used to oversight. It's like the first time that the toddler can reach the cookie jar. Their lesson in restraint makes us all suffer... but the older generation had to learn the same restraint through the hard lessons of recessions in the past.

Saying that this just goes to show that a certain kind of capitalism does or does not work is like saying that drunk driving statistics just go to show how stupid all teenagers are.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: The Future of Laissez-Faire Capitalism
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2008, 02:44:37 PM »
Take mortgages the standard model is you put 15% down in cash, have good credit, employment that stable and you get a fixed rate over say twenty years or longer. Unless one was in a government program such as the VA if your a military veteran or served which offered other standards but still demanded they have a reliable credit history. Why not ,if they wanted more people to have homes, increase the programs like that instead of poorer variable rate options through unregulated and less reliable options over banks or S&L's.






Offline CassandraNovaTopic starter

Re: The Future of Laissez-Faire Capitalism
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2008, 06:53:13 PM »
The larger point that I was making is that there are still people (such as Mark Sanford) who now choose to object to measures being taken to alleviate the recession on the grounds of pure laissez-faire capitalism.  Bailing out the automakers, for example, would "threaten the very market-based system that has created the wealth that this country has enjoyed."

Ruby:  the problem with the current recession brought on by the derivatives weren't illegal or fraudulent.  The complex derivatives behind the current financial havoc aren't literally martingales, but suffer the same ultimate flaw.

There's no question that you can reduce risk drastically by combining different investments in a single portfolio; that's what index funds and money markets do. The problem with the mortgage-backed securities was that they were traded under the premise that they could have returned high yield with low risk in one happy package.

Once the limits of diversification were reached, rearranging the set of claims involved wasn't going to reduce risk any further, so if all parties appear to be making risk-free profits, the risk must have been shifted to some low-probability, high-consequence event; like the collapse of the credit market.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: The Future of Laissez-Faire Capitalism
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2008, 07:11:48 PM »
Well I still think bailing all these folks out is insane, you want to fix the system scare these people. Have major banks and automakers FAIL and prop up the smaller ones to take up the slack. In the case of auto makers let them go bankrupt but have the money ready to go when they do so during reorganization all their bills are paid, then let the judge do what must be done decimate much of the golden parachute retiree benefits and union contract terms to bring them into line with other automakers in the US like Toyota. Often after such a move companies come out stronger and leaner just look at the airlines, KMart and the like.

But just tossing cash without accountability at the levels they are is insane.

As for the derivitives they could still have demanded full disclosure and the government could have warned that no one outside the companies foisting them understood all their points. That is true the models they used to prove they were able to make "large profits" were optimistic and required every point to fall perfectly.

And they did ,via Congress, allow "swaps" to beigin in violation of serveral States own laws such as New York.

Offline Trieste

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Re: The Future of Laissez-Faire Capitalism
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2008, 08:58:41 PM »
Well I still think bailing all these folks out is insane, you want to fix the system scare these people.

You and 95% of the country, Ruby. That's kind of why it's such a big deal. There have been bailouts in the past, not only of automakers but of airlines and other businesses... but people felt it was necessary back then.

They don't now.

That's why it's such a crap shoot.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: The Future of Laissez-Faire Capitalism
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2008, 05:31:45 AM »
Its not the bailout I do understand they might have felt the need to do something and it might have worked with:

1. Strong accountability by the people getting the money this means a plan to use it, records kept and that the earmarks be used as they said they were in said plan without permission of some agency that is impartial.

2. Penalties under law for misusing siad funds, as in Federal level you misspend the money or lied you ARE going to prison.

3. That a condition they do what they have to do loosen up credit and refinance mortgages.

None of this happened now did it with the banks and the auto companies can't compete. China has a car company ready to hit the market with a care that is electric, reliable and will cost $18000 LESS than the US company Volt. It gets 60 Miles to a charge and likely they will improve that and you just plug the car into the socket at home or elsewhere. In otherwords they are going to compete in the US market with a practical local get around town car at a very good price all parts made in China. And it currently performs better than the Volt and is going to be sold in China first and their government is backing them.


Offline Trieste

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Re: The Future of Laissez-Faire Capitalism
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2008, 09:04:41 AM »
Yes. It's a mess and doing it the old way - with bailouts - is not working. People are especially upset because track records have shown that bailouts don't work, and do in fact reward unsound business practices. That's not really capitalism; that's leaning more toward socialism, and stupid socialism at that.

We all know this and yet it's being done anyway.

Offline The Dandy

Re: The Future of Laissez-Faire Capitalism
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2008, 04:11:42 AM »
I would like to add that I hardly think the Bush administration is deregulatory...However I will spare everyone my personal tirade about the subject. Perhaps I will post it later when I feel more rambunctious or bellicose.

Anywho, just figured I would hop in and say that I agree with others that I agree that saying this is the fault of an economic philosophy is faulty.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2008, 04:15:40 AM by The Dandy »

Offline Zakharra

Re: The Future of Laissez-Faire Capitalism
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2008, 10:48:49 AM »
I would like to add that I hardly think the Bush administration is deregulatory...However I will spare everyone my personal tirade about the subject. Perhaps I will post it later when I feel more rambunctious or bellicose.

Anywho, just figured I would hop in and say that I agree with others that I agree that saying this is the fault of an economic philosophy is faulty.

 That won't stop those that want to discredit capitalism though. Those that want more regulation and a more socialised US will use the recession attack capitalism and brand it as a 'Failed policy'. In order to bring the US closer to being like Europe.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: The Future of Laissez-Faire Capitalism
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2008, 01:03:24 PM »
Yes but isn't the simplist mechanism to counter stupid business practices the fundamental chance a business will fail, if the government bails them out they learn nothing. And people won't be more careful with their investments and other personal matters in the future.

I would rather see the economy hurt more now then have them bailed out, with I would add ZERO accountability for all the money we handed out, than what is going on now. In the long run it will make our economy come out perhaps after a longer deeper recession stronger than before. Capitalism is not supposed to be fair, the playing field must be honest and open, but the people must be willing and able to fail. This includes individual citizens when they take unreasonable risks, the government officials when they make poor decisions and companies. Same with homeowners why bail most of them out for being stupid? If they were lied to or tricked fine that is illegal but most people should have been able to understand the difference between a variable rate and fixed rate mortgage and done their research on this to be informed.

Offline James

Re: The Future of Laissez-Faire Capitalism
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2008, 12:10:04 PM »
I really think the discussion of whether or not the government should adopt these so-called "socialist initiatives" (as entitled primarily by popular media enterprises and/or as a rhetorical way of condemning the economical actions being taken) is ideologically flawed. First of all, it's an initiative of planned economy, not "socialist economy". Many, many (most) countries in the world adopt a system where they have both a private (market economy) sector, and a public (planned economy) sector. This does not make them socialist. Simply because planned economy is a trademark of socialism, doesn't mean that any action that presents the state with heightened financial corporate power is suddenly and abruptly "socialist".

I think that anyone that's even loosely familiar with the ideological foundations we're discussing wouldn't have to "fear" that the United States economy is moving towards any form of "socialist economy" simply because you're making an initiative of planned economy. As far as what the task of the government should be (it was brought up in the thread) I'm sure you'll all remember the principles laid out by James Madison, declaring that the task of the government is to protect the healthy minority from the poor majority, in other words a polyarchy.

I'd like to write more and especially more on the topic, but I'm being torn awaaaay...

EDIT: As far as debating over whether or not any form of capitalism is functional, it's purely situational. Capitalism is an economical system that by apparatus alone symbolizes longevity and efficiency; even prosperity for a minority. However, at the threshold of decisions, I firmly believe (and there's quite nothing to offer a contrary argument) that capitalism has no conscience for social circumstances and this makes it an impossible economical model if your goal is to ensure the longevity of mankind; rather than the longevity of trade.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2008, 12:16:07 PM by James »

Offline Mathim

Re: The Future of Laissez-Faire Capitalism
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2008, 01:32:24 PM »
The fact of the matter is, the United States' democracy is an illusion; we are being ruled by an aristocracy that has the majority of this country in a stupor. See the movie They Live and you'll see the best example of what I'm talking about. But these aristocrats aren't stupid even though they've buggered the economy to the point where its insides have ruptured. They control the military so any attempt to change things will quickly be eliminated. You can't change things by trying to reason with them, they like things the way they are and as we've seen in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and many other places, they are willing to kill by the thousands (maybe millions by now) to keep them that way. I don't know what they're planning but they have some kind of back-up plan even if it means the rest of the world has to go down in flames for them to initiate it.

Barack Obama becoming president was a miracle. But I believe that the aristocracy has set things up where no matter how much good he wants or intends to do, he won't be able to rescue us. And if he does, well, we've all heard people saying how he's going to get assassinated from at least one person.

Offline Trieste

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Re: The Future of Laissez-Faire Capitalism
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2008, 03:24:38 PM »
The fact of the matter is, the United States' democracy is an illusion; we are being ruled by an aristocracy that has the majority of this country in a stupor. See the movie They Live and you'll see the best example of what I'm talking about. But these aristocrats aren't stupid even though they've buggered the economy to the point where its insides have ruptured. They control the military so any attempt to change things will quickly be eliminated. You can't change things by trying to reason with them, they like things the way they are and as we've seen in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and many other places, they are willing to kill by the thousands (maybe millions by now) to keep them that way. I don't know what they're planning but they have some kind of back-up plan even if it means the rest of the world has to go down in flames for them to initiate it.

Barack Obama becoming president was a miracle. But I believe that the aristocracy has set things up where no matter how much good he wants or intends to do, he won't be able to rescue us. And if he does, well, we've all heard people saying how he's going to get assassinated from at least one person.

What does all of this have to do with capitalism or the laissez-faire approach thereto?

Offline RubySlippers

Re: The Future of Laissez-Faire Capitalism
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2008, 05:01:24 PM »
I tend to agree and frankly there will be and always has been an elite, and I feel frankly accept that and train them to be The Elite. And educate the rest to fill in roles they are good at. But that is right this has nothing to do with capitalism it across ALL political and economic systems.

But I pointed out the simple fact it pure unadulterated capitalism cannot function without a government with the simple purpose of preventing fraud and keeping the information needed to make decisions honest. That is all they should do this draconian system of layered red tape and other things to prevent commerce from being as simple as possible is wrong.

Offline blakout

Re: The Future of Laissez-Faire Capitalism
« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2009, 08:54:44 PM »
You know that old bull statement "theres no atheists in foxholes"  well I think "There's no total free market capitalists in an economic crisis"  As much as the conservatives say that the market will fix everything it can't.  Once crisis happens the conservatives come to that idea but they don't wanna admit it.

Offline Caehlim

Re: The Future of Laissez-Faire Capitalism
« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2009, 02:24:07 AM »
In order to bring the US closer to being like Europe.

You say that like it's a bad thing?

The thought of living in the US terrifies me, the way you might feel if you were asked to move to Zimbabwe. (Just an approximate analogy, Zimbabwe is infinitely worse off than the US. I'm just describing the emotion).

People dying outside of hospitals because they don't have health insurance. War veterans living on the streets. People unable to afford medicine. Working people that are under the poverty line. People crushed by college debt... No thankyou.

(Incidentally, so people know my basis for comparison, I'm Australian)

Offline Zakharra

Re: The Future of Laissez-Faire Capitalism
« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2009, 08:25:39 AM »
You say that like it's a bad thing?

The thought of living in the US terrifies me, the way you might feel if you were asked to move to Zimbabwe. (Just an approximate analogy, Zimbabwe is infinitely worse off than the US. I'm just describing the emotion).

People dying outside of hospitals because they don't have health insurance. War veterans living on the streets. People unable to afford medicine. Working people that are under the poverty line. People crushed by college debt... No thankyou.

(Incidentally, so people know my basis for comparison, I'm Australian)

 If people are hurt and can make it to the hospital, by law they have to be treated. There are and always will be people who live under the poverty line in any country. Some people chose not to work. Others work the unemployment system and live that way. Collage debt? that's something people should work out for themselves.

 What I meant by getting closer to Europe is the European style of managed economies, high taxes and more governmental controls on everything. A Nanny  state where the government knows what's best. People should be able to succeed, and yes, fail, on their own two feet. There is no right or garuntee of success. In some things people can expect some help, but only to a point until that person can either get back on their feet or goes on full government subsidy. If that person is physically and mentally able to work, that person should LOOSE the right of voting. They aren't earning it and have no real say in the system since they are not trying to improve their status/place.

 If a business is failing, it should recieve minimal to no governmental help and be allowed to fail. If it succeeds, it should do so on it's own.

Offline Mudchaser

Re: The Future of Laissez-Faire Capitalism
« Reply #19 on: January 23, 2009, 01:35:14 PM »
You say that like it's a bad thing?

The thought of living in the US terrifies me, the way you might feel if you were asked to move to Zimbabwe. (Just an approximate analogy, Zimbabwe is infinitely worse off than the US. I'm just describing the emotion).

People dying outside of hospitals because they don't have health insurance. War veterans living on the streets. People unable to afford medicine. Working people that are under the poverty line. People crushed by college debt... No thankyou.

(Incidentally, so people know my basis for comparison, I'm Australian)

I'm used to hearing that kind of anti-american tripe alot here in Europe.  Wide-eyed dutch people telling me about crazed shootings on the streets and people dying in emergency rooms because they don't have medical insurance.  I blithely tell them that despite some of my friends being certified gun nuts, nobody I know has ever been shot (so it's hardly a blood-soaked warzone), and that my jobless friend on welfare stamps had no problem bringing his pregnant wife into the hospital when she was suffering from dehydration (a result of heat and her pregnancy, not a result of him being on welfare: the foodstamps alone easily feed his entire family.  He buys more food than I do).  They just stare at me uncomprehendingly, because "everyone knows" that America is just the devil.

I've lived on both sides of the Atlantic, and I'd much rather live in America than in France or Greece, but it compares quite nicely to the Netherlands or Germany.  Europe and America are alot closer to one another than idealogues will let on (who exaggerate to make a point).  That's why they call them "The West" rather than "America and Europe."
« Last Edit: January 23, 2009, 01:36:25 PM by Mudchaser »

Offline Caehlim

Re: The Future of Laissez-Faire Capitalism
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2009, 01:24:07 AM »
If people are hurt and can make it to the hospital, by law they have to be treated.

Hmmm, I didn't know that. I'll file that away under valuable information to know and look into it a bit more. (I set a lot of roleplaying games in the U.S. so this sort of thing is incredibly important for me to understand fully).

Quote
There are and always will be people who live under the poverty line in any country

Yes, but I feel it was relevant to the current discussion since the minimum wage laws in America set the working wage rather low. Over here, even working at Mcdonalds guarantees a decent income thanks to our minimum wage.

Quote
There is no right or garuntee of success.

Why not? I mean, I understand that the universe itself is not necessarily fair, but with all the power humans have at their grasp why can't our society give a right and guarantee of success?

Quote
that person should LOOSE the right of voting.

By definition you can't loose a right. Are you saying that voting should be a privilege? (Not that I disagree with this philosophy, I think that it should be a privilege.

Quote
If a business is failing, it should recieve minimal to no governmental help and be allowed to fail. If it succeeds, it should do so on it's own.

Without exception? What if the business is important? For example, the local water company.

Offline Caehlim

Re: The Future of Laissez-Faire Capitalism
« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2009, 01:41:23 AM »
I'm used to hearing that kind of anti-american tripe alot here in Europe.

Perhaps they've read the UN habitability index? I mean, there are statistics on this information.

I'm not saying America is insane or evil. I'm just saying that it's economic model can be statistically demonstrated to provide less care for their people as a whole.

It was unfair of me though to make the comments I did, when discussing economics. Most of my concerns over America are related to religious fundamentalism, restricted to certain areas and are inapplicable in this context. I apologize.

Quote
I blithely tell them that despite some of my friends being certified gun nuts, nobody I know has ever been shot

Well, gun nuts aren't an american phenomenon only. I know plenty of certified gun nuts over here. Except we generally just drool over guns in magazines because they're harder to buy over here, but still, I think a fascination with guns is perfectly normal behaviour for a lot of people. I'm just anachronistic and love swords instead.

Quote
(so it's hardly a blood-soaked warzone)

No. Michael Moore's dumb documentaries aside, I don't think people would claim that it is. (Sorry fans, but I don't like M.M.).

Still, I've been told by Americans living over here, or people that have visited America that they have seen more gun violence over there.

But hell, last year we had several biker gang shootings in our main streets and a lethal knife fight between two somalian teenagers in our pedestrian mall so... I can hardly point fingers on that score.

Quote
I've lived on both sides of the Atlantic, and I'd much rather live in America than in France or Greece, but it compares quite nicely to the Netherlands or Germany.

Well, you have more direct experience so I'll yield the floor to you.

Offline Zakharra

Re: The Future of Laissez-Faire Capitalism
« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2009, 10:18:27 AM »
1mmm, I didn't know that. I'll file that away under valuable information to know and look into it a bit more. (I set a lot of roleplaying games in the U.S. so this sort of thing is incredibly important for me to understand fully).

2Yes, but I feel it was relevant to the current discussion since the minimum wage laws in America set the working wage rather low. Over here, even working at Mcdonalds guarantees a decent income thanks to our minimum wage.

3Why not? I mean, I understand that the universe itself is not necessarily fair, but with all the power humans have at their grasp why can't our society give a right and guarantee of success?

4By definition you can't loose a right. Are you saying that voting should be a privilege? (Not that I disagree with this philosophy, I think that it should be a privilege.

5Without exception? What if the business is important? For example, the local water company.

 1: It's the matter of payment is where some people run into trouble.

 2: Minumin wage laws are set for unskilled, entry force labor. Meant to support one person, not an entire family.   

 3: People do not learn well if they are not allowed to succeed or fail on their own. If a person or company knows that the government will be there to hold their hand if they begin to fail, then that person/comnpany will eventualy take stupid risks. Why shouldn't they? They are not going to be allowed to fail after all. You cannot keep your children under your roof forever, constantly helping them. You have to let them go some time and they have to live their life on their own. Or you deny them their greatest gift. To be themselves.

 4: As far as I know voting is NOT a right, but a privilage. Hard core felons in the US loose the right to vote in many statess and often the right to own/use firearms. If you are a healthy person able to work and choose not to, but choose to be a leech on tyhe federal/state system, then you should not get the right to vote in that system. If you want to be the state's child, them you wil be teated like one.

 5: If the local water company is failing economically, yes. Someone willl buy it out. The physical assets that the company owned are still there, just because it goes bankrupt does not mean that vanishes. The new owner will find a way to run it more effeciently or it too will go down.

Offline Trieste

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Re: The Future of Laissez-Faire Capitalism
« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2009, 10:31:42 AM »
Note: Started typing this before Zak posted, and Zak beat me to it, but I spent a good amount of time typing this so I'm posting it anyway. Consider any repeats agreement. :)

Emergency rooms are required to provide lifesaving care with or without insurance in the US.

They are not required to provide life-improving, or even life-restoring care. For instance, if you lose your finger, they are not actually required to sew it back on - they are just required to make sure you don't bleed to death from it. Do not take this to imply that most of them won't, but it certainly does affect the standard of care across the board, especially in underfunded hospitals.

Also, nothing requires them to waive the bill unless you are below a certain poverty statistic. The poverty line is, I believe, based on the minimum wage. So essentially, if you make above minimum wage, you are not considered below the poverty line, and not eligible for much of the aid offered. I went this last summer without a job and was still considered above poverty line because of my savings account. Now, there may have been some loophole or something that an experienced public servant could help me through (if I get a nice one who happens to be in a good mood and who has the time to be so helpful, assuming they have the knowledge in the first place) but I didn't actually apply for anything, only researched it, so I don't know for certain.

As for who's contributing and who's not, I'd prefer that people worry about those who are contributing and still not able to improve their situation. There will always be mooches - all you can do is try to minimize them. If you completely try to eliminate mooching, you end up with people who fall through the cracks. At the risk of sounding very 'what about me?!', I'll point out that students who try to work their way through school instead of staying in dorms and racking up more debt are, in the case of the US, pretty darn well screwed unless they really luck out on their job. In the current economy, that's highly unlikely. I know this because I attend school with thousands of people stuck in this situation. Student status is considered a handicap by employers, ending up as little more on a resume than a huge sign that says "Inflexible schedule". This bugs us.

Gun control is a different issue altogether, so the only thing I'll say about that in itself is that I have personally lived in right-to-carry states and pro-control states. I personally experienced more shootings, more gunfire, and... how to put it... more menacing gun presence, in the pro-control state. In the right-to-carry states, they're just there. Uncle George has his shotgun and probably a smaller gun somewhere (especially if he has a concealed-carry permit) but you don't worry about it. Whereas if you see someone with a gun in a pro-control state, they probably got it illegally unless they are law enforcement, which means that they can't, say, take it to the local firing range and learn how to use it properly. They probably haven't taken any courses in gun safety, probably have not been taught to keep their bullets and their gun apart when the gun isn't in use.

Gun nuts, I don't worry about, because they are the professionals of the shooting world, and know what they're doing. It's the people who get their guns furtively, without learning to respect their weapons, that I worry about.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: The Future of Laissez-Faire Capitalism
« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2009, 04:19:08 PM »
Note: Started typing this before Zak posted, and Zak beat me to it, but I spent a good amount of time typing this so I'm posting it anyway. Consider any repeats agreement. :)

Emergency rooms are required to provide lifesaving care with or without insurance in the US.

They are not required to provide life-improving, or even life-restoring care. For instance, if you lose your finger, they are not actually required to sew it back on - they are just required to make sure you don't bleed to death from it. Do not take this to imply that most of them won't, but it certainly does affect the standard of care across the board, especially in underfunded hospitals.

Also, nothing requires them to waive the bill unless you are below a certain poverty statistic. The poverty line is, I believe, based on the minimum wage. So essentially, if you make above minimum wage, you are not considered below the poverty line, and not eligible for much of the aid offered. I went this last summer without a job and was still considered above poverty line because of my savings account. Now, there may have been some loophole or something that an experienced public servant could help me through (if I get a nice one who happens to be in a good mood and who has the time to be so helpful, assuming they have the knowledge in the first place) but I didn't actually apply for anything, only researched it, so I don't know for certain.

As for who's contributing and who's not, I'd prefer that people worry about those who are contributing and still not able to improve their situation. There will always be mooches - all you can do is try to minimize them. If you completely try to eliminate mooching, you end up with people who fall through the cracks. At the risk of sounding very 'what about me?!', I'll point out that students who try to work their way through school instead of staying in dorms and racking up more debt are, in the case of the US, pretty darn well screwed unless they really luck out on their job. In the current economy, that's highly unlikely. I know this because I attend school with thousands of people stuck in this situation. Student status is considered a handicap by employers, ending up as little more on a resume than a huge sign that says "Inflexible schedule". This bugs us.

Gun control is a different issue altogether, so the only thing I'll say about that in itself is that I have personally lived in right-to-carry states and pro-control states. I personally experienced more shootings, more gunfire, and... how to put it... more menacing gun presence, in the pro-control state. In the right-to-carry states, they're just there. Uncle George has his shotgun and probably a smaller gun somewhere (especially if he has a concealed-carry permit) but you don't worry about it. Whereas if you see someone with a gun in a pro-control state, they probably got it illegally unless they are law enforcement, which means that they can't, say, take it to the local firing range and learn how to use it properly. They probably haven't taken any courses in gun safety, probably have not been taught to keep their bullets and their gun apart when the gun isn't in use.

Gun nuts, I don't worry about, because they are the professionals of the shooting world, and know what they're doing. It's the people who get their guns furtively, without learning to respect their weapons, that I worry about.

Actually in Florida since I make under the Charity Care Law level its $21,300 or under with limited assets for the hospital to wave the charges, but the doctor and others are not included. And they must treat only for life saving care naturally like I had cellulitise in my leg a dangerous bacterial infection they had to treat me. I ended up paying for the other care $1200 not for the five days in the hospital. For a family the level of income is higher. The amount of saving must be low however.