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Social tensions increasing in U.S. between rich,poor

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Americans are finally waking up to the real Golden Rule, which states: "Them that has the gold makes the rules." The US Senate has been described as "the world's most exclusive millionaires' club." And members of the middle class are naive enough to expect those 100 men and women (with the exception of Bernie Sanders of Vermont) to look out for their interests?

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An excellent article. This is a topic that many try to avoid in The U.S. because the situation is all too real. Especially with U.S. television today. Reality shows like the Kardashians highlights the affluent able to wear million dollar wrist watches without a care in the world when so many are suffering in poverty. It might be advisable for the wealthy not to flaunt their opulent lifestyles at this time as the situation seems to be worsening.

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"it's called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it." -- George Carlin

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Wonderful thoughtless article.

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The leading Republican nominee = rich, rich 1%

The American electorate = poor but proud 99%

Obama can start thinking about installing his own basketball court in the White House. Its his until 2016.

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The leading Republican nominee = rich, rich 1%

The American electorate = poor but proud 99%

This is the same in every country in the world. NK, the ruling elites are rich, yet the "people" are dirt poor. Same goes for everyplace in the world, especially in the developing world.

But, at least in America there are systems in place to help the poor. If you don't think so, why are so many poor from Central America crossing the border illegally to get benefits and assistance? America's problem is that it gives to those who probably don't really deserve the help (i.e. illegals) but for those who do need legitimate help, there are hurdles that one has to go through.

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As far as politicians go, most of them are in the 1%. Doesnt matter which party, although the Democrats do seem to be the slight winners in the area of wealth. Seven of the top ten richest members of Congress are Democrats.

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Obama wasnt that rich when he first went to Congress. His two books made him wealthy rather than any real business acumen. NBA players earn more in one year than Obama is worth.

The difference now is the political climate. 15 years ago, what a candidate was worth was not such a big issue. Today it is going to become a massive issue.

This is the same in every country in the world.

Thats not true. The Prime Ministers of Japan, Australia and Canada are far from rich and have been lifetime public servants.

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Thats not true. The Prime Ministers of Japan, Australia and Canada are far from rich and have been lifetime public servants.

@DentShop: And the article on the main page of JT is that Ozawa says it was nothing unusual for him to keep 400 millioni yen in his house and not in a bank. This from a public servant.

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As a long-term expat I have to point out that if you are anywhere near the median annual income in the US you are, relative to the rest of the world, in the hated "one percent."

@ unreconstructed: Well said.

Social capital in America is basically non-existent, the place is a jungle, every man for himself, dog-eat-dog. A country where obscene wealth co-exists side by side with the most appalling poverty and crime.

This can be said about Japan too. I will say that the crime rate is not as high as that in America, but you can see here in Japan how if you live in one ward of Tokyo you are paying way too much for a little apartment to be in a "good area", and two stops over, same size places but not such a good area. The difference between the haves and the have not's is more striking I believe in Japan. At least in America, every person is afforded the chance to go to high school and better themselves if they apply themselves, and a few breaks are given to them. In Japan, if your parents can't afford a "good" highschool, you are being set up for long term minimal success.

I can go on about many other aspects between Japan and America, but I think in many ways Japan is in just the same situation as America, as you describe it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Its illigal to deny lifesaving treatments in the U.S and private non-for-profit free care clinics are virtually everywhere. Doctors in most catholic hospitals are required to put in hours in hospital free clinics, you just need to make an appointment. There are more options for the ill in the U.S than anybody thinks about because they require a minimum level of work to apply for.

It's supposedly illegal, but it happens and keeps happening. Droves of people keep dying every year because they don't have health insurance, a scandalous state of affairs for a supposedly free, developed country. And not-for-profit care clinics are far from everywhere in America. In other developed countries, we actually do have non-for-profit care clinics all over the place, they just happen to be called your average hospital. Here are the harrowing statistics

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/09/17/eveningnews/main5318652.shtml

And one particular horrifying case

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/insurance-24-year-dies-toothache/story?id=14438171

Mobility and choice. When my family fled Cuba most of us went to Miami but a fair number went to Spain and Portugal and at least two went to other countries and they're working the exact same jobs they did when they got there. They cant get out of their positions and they're stuck in the refugee ghettos. Meanwhile my parents went into early retirement and I'm looking to do the same in about 8 years to do some consulting.

Spain and Portugal are among the poorest countries in the developed world. Mobility and choice can be found in much greater amounts in other developed nations which are wealthier than those two. Again, American exceptionalist thinking. At least your relatives can rest assured that if they ever suffer from a serious ailment or come down with an illness which requires surgery, that even in poorer Spain and Portugal, their fundamenal human rights are not in danger and they can get medical treatment for free or next to nothing, which is the opposite than if they dwelled in the ghettos of obscenely wealthy America, ghettos which are populated by people fearful of losing all their money because they have to pay for antibiotics for a minor infection.

Its fairly simple actually. To much power in any one groups hands is a generally bad thing, that includes the mob. They've done a horrific job in picking congressional representatives and and equally horrible job in picking senators. People vote for the loudest person that promises the most stuff and that normally ends up being the person with the deepest pockets and the best connections. Back when states chose senators they sent professionals. House for the people, Senate for the states, President by electoral college, SCOTUS by appointment and approval. That way power is not concentrated in any one group. Similarly duties of governance are supposed to be split between federal, state, and local more evenly. The centralization of power in the federal government has been fairly disasterous both economically and in terms of personal liberty.

But, you said one of the most attractive things about America today is the decentralisation of power - so what's all this about the 'centralization of power in the federal government having been fairly disasterous both economically and in terms of personal liberty'? Political power and government in USA is certainly not as centralised even now as most developed nations, yet America remains the poverty-stricken, crime-ridden hell hole of the developed world. A laissez faire economic system which promotes individualism and greed above else and seeks to vanquish any sense of brotherhood or collective togetherness ('why the hell should I pay taxes just so someone I don't even know should get healthcare?!'), has led to the gruesome reality of today.

Considering the even marginal levels of government provided healthcare has lead to an astronomical increase in healthcare costs I'm a little disinclined to think that more governmental care is the solution. If everybody took care of their own healthcare costs and comparison shopped prices would be drastically lower, as it is the goverment just rubberstamps most bills without regard to the cost which is driving up industry costs.

The amount spent on healthcare in America even before Obama came to power was already astronomical, more than nearly any other UN nation, long before anyone thought universal healthcare was a possibility. Obviously major restructuring is necessary, which of course will lead to a spike in spending initially so that America can even begin to fashion a health system that would no longer shame even a less well off country. But even if Obama hadn't tried to introduce Medicare, if the Republicans had stayed in power, and kept healthcare the way it was, the amount spent would still have kept on rising more and more, year after year, just like it has always done.

Ever wonder why the heathcare act was essentially drafted by healthcare and pharma companies?

Because they yearned for profit and they knew the state would put money before human rights.

I got a back surgery last year, all of my meds, and my monthly doctor visists for less than I paid in FICA taxes because I comparison shop and I play an active roll in my health.

Well done, but you wouldn't have had to pay barely anything for your back surgery in other developed countries. No need to 'comparison shop' for a human right.

People being to lazy to look for alternatives is not my responcibility.

Spoken like a true American. Because it's laziness that leads to over 40,000 unecessarily dying every year in the world's wealthiest nation.

America has consistently rated in having the worse healthcare in the developed world, despite spending more than twice the amount per person than other nations do. And it beggars belief that so many try and defend this twisted system. I guess invading other countries is more important than the health of your own citizens.

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It's supposedly illegal, but it happens and keeps happening. Droves of people keep dying every year because they don't have health insurance, a scandalous state of affairs for a supposedly free, developed country. And not-for-profit care clinics are far from everywhere in America. In other developed countries, we actually do have non-for-profit care clinics all over the place, they just happen to be called your average hospital. Here are the harrowing statistics

@oginome: That's not true. You cited a story, but I can show you another where an illegal alien spent 1 year in a hospital for complications from a walk in visit. It was the longest stay at this hospital for such a visit. He was illegal from Mexico, had no insurance, and was not turned away for a year. As a matter of fact, as you read the story, you will see that this man't mother even made trips up to visit him. Also from the article, it points out that this hospital, in Fresno CA spent $100 million on charity care.

So many people are just gettig fed up, not so much with the Wall Street system, but how the government takes care of its own people. If this guy would have been just a middle class family man, who had a job, he would have been charged for his care and for that long of a stay it would have wiped out his family economically. If he would have had health insurance, they would have found some way to drop him. But yet, someone who is in the country illegally, gets a free ride for a year. That is the real reason why tensions are increasing between the rich and the poor. An unfair balance in the way assistance is given,and whpo should receive it.

So, there is free health care in America, it's just that the overburdend tax payer pays for it. By the way, do you know what income you need to have in the state of CA to be classified in the top income bracket for state taxes? $45,000 for a person filiing single. So that same guy is paying state taxes at the same rate as any A list Hollywood actor making millions for a movie. So much for taxing "the rich".

Here's the link to the article: http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/01/03/2669593/man-will-leave-fresno-hospital.html

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So if we had the same system as Japan, he still would be on the hook for $300,000.

No way. This page (in Japanese) http://www.bms.co.jp/kogakuryoyo/program01.html calculates the cost to the individual when medical treatment is expensive. Translating your $1 million over a year into yen per month and assuming our patient is under the age of 70 and a low-income earner, the maximum he pays over the year is the equivalent of $5,519.75. (¥35400 per month max)

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There is basically no social safety net in America, at least compared to other developed countries. Greed is everything and poverty is weakness.

Not sure where your getting your information but it's totally wrong. Medicaid is the joint federal / state program for providing care for the poor along with:

The State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) – later known more simply as the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)[1] – is a program administered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides matching funds to states for health insurance to families with children. The program was designed to cover uninsured children in families with incomes that are modest but too high to qualify for Medicaid.

Consolidated Health Care Centers Program: Health Care, Insured or Not The Consolidated Health Care Centers Program is a federal benefit program providing comprehensive primary and preventive health care and social services to medically unserved and underserved populations. Essential medical services are provided without regard to an individual's ability to pay or health insurance

National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program helps low-income, uninsured, and under-insured women gain access to lifesaving screening programs for early detection of breast cancer and cervical cancer.

Public housing, Foodstamps, Public assistance payments (welfare), Federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Rural Housing Repair Loans and Grants program, Unemployment Compensation , Tax breaks.........The list goes on and on . No offense, but as a non-American you really do not understand that American system. It may look like to an outsider that there is no cohesive one stop fits all safety net, but that is totally wrong.

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Alphaape - Yes, it's still a lot of money, but nowhere near the figures you were throwing around. While the Japanese system is far from perfect, the fact remains that a reasonable level of medical care is available to all, and this is a huge factor in the public well-being. While in America, if you have the money you have access to some of the best care in the world and if you don't, you're in big trouble if you get ill. (Unless you're penniless and at death's door, then you get the necessary treatment (if it isn't too late) though because things have been allowed to get worse treatment takes longer and is more expensive, and people complain about having to pay taxes to support ne're-do-wells who can't afford to pay).

The story of the illegal immigrant you mention is actually a story that backs up the need for reasonably-priced health care for all: the man in question was so ill and with so many severe complications because his initial problems had been left untreated. If he'd been able to afford to get help earlier, his treatment would have involved a hospital stay of around two weeks and been much, much less expensive. (The cost of hospital treatment for acute pancreatitis is around $1670 per day, so $23,380 for a 2-week stay) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18090234

And the average cost of an operation to remove gallstones (the patient's initial problem) is around $3,000~$8,000 and involves no more than an overnight stay for keyhole surgery, a few days for open surgery. (http://www.placidway.com/subtreatment-detail/treatment,39,subtreatment,245.html/Laparoscopic-Gallbladder-Removal-Treatment-Abroad) See how much money could have been saved if reasonably-priced primary care had been available.

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The recent developments prove Marx was a genius. Capitalism as it exists now in the USa will not be able to function in its cruel form for long and wrath and dissatisfaction of the poor will lead to some kind of changes. I have never thought that some kind of class actions against the establishment were possible in the bastion of capitalism, but Occupy Wallstreet proved me wrong...Usa is falling apart...falling apart... now wonder USA is looking for a new war, would it be with Iran?

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So many comments here that I have nothing to add unless it gets lost in the heap. One thing is clear is that this is a topic people have many beliefs in and it will not be solved overnight if ever. Robinhood stole from rich and gave to the poor so this problem keeps on returning. If the poor are not taken care of then there will eventually be a revolution like we had with the French Revolution and now the Occupy movement. If there is greed then there will eventually be a backlashing. In Japan this problem does not exist because people are not paid $10M to $100M salaries. Who really needs that kind of money? Nobody needs it so this higher bracket should be heavily taxed and that money can be used for projects that will revitalize the economy like better education standards. People say they made that money themselves but this is wrong--if the system did not exist then they would not be able to make anything. The main point is to help the society and not just keep one man rich for the sake of Capitalism. This may sound like Socialism but I do not subscribe to any ism or view.

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Gee a gap between the rich and poor! What a shocker!

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All but the delusional are finally waking up to realize they've been either treading water or sinking in the last decade.

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Obama can start thinking about installing his own basketball court in the White House. Its his until 2016

What kind of message does that send?

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What kind of message does that send?

Fair call.

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Confucius say: Man who fart in church sit in own pew.

hahahaha jozu desu

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It's not the bucks themselves, it's how the bucks were obtained. All Americans applaud entrepreneurs who identify a need and create a useful product or service to fulfill it. These people obviously work hard and take large risks with serious downsides.

A second tier, though, is that large OB club of executives who parachute in and out of companies, serve on each other's boards (and thus set each other's compensation), and whose downside is limited to simply humongous compensation rather than obscene.

The third, most damaging tier belongs to that of the "vulture capitalists," who financially engineer viable companies to extract their wealth, leaving behind bankrupt hulks. Wall Street is full of this type, and Americans are for the vast part disgusted with them.

Which group Romney belongs to has been brought up by Gingrich et. al., and it is, for all the right-wing dismay at fellow Republicans endorsing "socialism," a very fair question. As Obama has said, true equality is equality of chance, not of outcome, and from that perspective, the US is less equal than it has been for a generation.

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To my knowledge, Romney did not steal his money. He did not aquire it illegally. He got it by attempting to make failing companies successful. What is wrong with that? Why is making money suddenly bad? Why is being successful suddenly bad? Gingrich complained about the people iniitially laid off, but does not seem to understand that a failing company would have laid off people anyway. The only way to avoid it is to make the companies viable again.

Romney also was a pretty successful governor from what I have been reading. His state used to be called 'taxachusetts' and has not been since he was governor. Gingrich is being ridiculous to the point of quoting the New York Times to have a go at Romney. Funnily enough, that same paper is reporting that Gingrich has had his own ties to leverage buyout firms as well.

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As Obama has said, true equality is equality of chance, not of outcome, and from that perspective, the US is less equal than it has been for a generation.

Actually a lot less equal in just two years under Obama not a generation.

2010 Reuters headline......Poverty Rate In U.S. Saw Record Increase In 2009: 1 In 7 Americans Are Poor.

2011 AP headline........... Under Obama US poverty rate swells to 1 in 6

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Anyone who has been a public servant for their life is way out of touch with reality and has no idea of the real world. Look at any one who has been in public service for their lifetime and try to tell me different.

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Ozawa says it was nothing unusual for him to keep 400 millioni yen in his house

Ozawa is not the leader of Japan and never will be.

My point was that the leader of a leading democratic nation need not be born with a silver spoon nor need to be a super-rich baron to win power. Case closed.

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Huge divides between rich and poor is probably the single largest factor which threaten the social fabric of any society. Japan needs to avoid this at all costs. Social capital in America is basically non-existent, the place is a jungle, every man for himself, dog-eat-dog. A country where obscene wealth co-exists side by side with the most appalling poverty and crime. Horrible and it's great that the developed world has seen what the laissez faire economic system leads to in the past couple of years and thinks, 'no thanks'. Countries like Germany and Japan, for all their problems, are much more cohesive, stable, attractive societies than that monolithic corporation across the sea.

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This can be said about Japan too.

Look at the differences in how people behaved when Hurricane Katrina hit versus the March 11 tsunami/earthquake.

I will say that the crime rate is not as high as that in America

No, don't brush it off, crime rate reflects, perhaps more accurately than anything else, the true level of social capital in any given country. Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, the USA the highest. It's self-evident. Same goes for UK (high) versus Germany (lower).

you can see here in Japan how if you live in one ward of Tokyo you are paying way too much for a little apartment to be in a "good area", and two stops over, same size places but not such a good area.

Prices are always higher when you get to the closer to the main districts. That's the same in countries all over the world. Tokyo (and Japan) is almost completely absent of the slums which you can find in nearly every American city. The only slum in Tokyo is the San'ya district and even just looks like it has more litter than other parts of the city, along with graffiti on vending machines. Shock horror! Far less dangerous than any of the countless slums that degrade America.

At least in America, every person is afforded the chance to go to high school and better themselves if they apply themselves, and a few breaks are given to them. In Japan, if your parents can't afford a "good" highschool, you are being set up for long term minimal success.

America has higher rates of illiteracy and school drop out compared to Japan; Japan's education system, for all its faults, consistently scores higher in testing. The idea of 'every person given the chance to go to high school' is just another branch of the American dream myth that has deluded and fooled so many. America's a VAST country, with different populations and ethnicities living in different communities far away from each other. In a country where the population is so divided in racial and monetary terms, telling someone who lives in a deprived, drug-riddled ghetto that they have the same opportunities available to them as a New England student from a middle class family if they work hard in their local school is comical at best, and cruel at worst.

I can go on about many other aspects between Japan and America, but I think in many ways Japan is in just the same situation as America, as you describe it.

Well then, explain why.

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I think the problem is more of poor people being angry about being poor than being angry at rich people. People have been dragging their heels waiting for Washington to do something when they should have been doing it themselves.

I also think the perceived conflict is way overblown. The occupy protests were an exception to the general rule that so long as you dont directly impede anybody nobody cares how much you have or how you got it. Drops in violent crime, theft, and property crime seem to support that. I think the people polled are confusing directional anger with general unease.

Nobody likes uncertainty and nobody in Washington is capable of promoting or sustaining a stable economic atmosphere for growth to occur in. We need to define who actually needs assistance and set firm limits as to what those limits are. Increase SS and medicare age, impose guidelines as to who is eligible for poverty assistance and establish requirements for continued assistance, and a slew of other measures to reflect the economic conditions. Then we need to stick to our limits and commitments.

Countries like Germany and Japan, for all their problems, are much more cohesive, stable, attractive societies than that monolithic corporation across the sea.

They are also largely homogenous and lack the inherant complexity of a nation with 50 state constitutions and hundreds of different ethnic groups with different, sometimes conflicting, values. Geographic and cultural obstacles make any attempt at standardization of services incredibly difficult at best. As a Detroiter I work, shop, travel, and live far differently from somebody in Miami or LA. Having programs that treat us the same is ridiculous.

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They are also largely homogenous and lack the inherant complexity of a nation with 50 state constitutions and hundreds of different ethnic groups with different, sometimes conflicting, values. Geographic and cultural obstacles make any attempt at standardization of services incredibly difficult at best.

Nope, not true. Japan, yes, undoubtedly, but Germany no. The percentage of immigrants in the national population is almost exactly the same there as it is in the USA, 12%.

As a Detroiter I work, shop, travel, and live far differently from somebody in Miami or LA. Having programs that treat us the same is ridiculous.

Yeah, and a person in Hokkaido lives differently from someone in Okinawa. And? Please, people are people everywhere, claiming that dfiferent citizens in the same country should get different rights is bizarre. There are regional variations and differences in EVERY country, and that includes Japan, as subtle as it may be.

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For instance, about 46% of Americans hold a disapproving view that rich people are wealthy because they were fortunate enough to be born into money or have the right connections. But almost as many people—43%—say wealthy people are rich “mainly because of their own hard work, ambition or education.”

And I would not be surprised if near half of rich people were born into it and near half worked for it. How backward do you have to be to think that rich people all got rich one way or the other?

My biggest problem is that so many got so rich by jipping everyone. If I pay you 100 dollars total wages to build a wall and I make 500 dollars profit on the wall, I jipped you. You were not paid nearly the value of your labor. But, of course you don't know that because my profits on your labor are not a matter of public record.

My second biggest problem is that of ownership. Those that own reap the big profits. Those that actually do the work get wages. It should be obvious that the system will collapse one day as that order of things means all the wealth will pool at the top.

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Nope, not true. Japan, yes, undoubtedly, but Germany no. The percentage of immigrants in the national population is almost exactly the same there as it is in the USA, 12%.

European nations generally have inflated immigration numbers because they hop between countries. I have a number of friends and coworkers that have, over the course of their lives, been citizens in 3-4 different nations. The scope and demographics are also massively different. The vast majority of immigrants to Germany are of similar ethnic descent, coming from primarily eastern europe with a sizeable number of Turks as well. By comparison the U.S gets immigrants from everywhere from places that share very little with the U.S in terms of cultural identity.

Yeah, and a person in Hokkaido lives differently from someone in Okinawa. And? Please, people are people everywhere, claiming that dfiferent citizens in the same country should get different rights is bizarre. There are regional variations and differences in EVERY country, and that includes Japan, as subtle as it may be.

Subtle is the key word. Behavior of americans varies radically from state to state. My point is that because a set standard of care and aid cannot be reasonably determined on a national level it should not be provided at that level at all. That is why states were ment to have a certain level of autonomy and why the most recent healthcare act is being challanged, modified, and torn apart in the courts.

It is impossible to set individual standards on a national level in the U.S as they do in other countries. The size, demographics, and regional lifestyle differences make it extremely inefficient.

I only bring this up because the constant comparison people make between other nations and the U.S are often ridiculous because of how different the U.S really is from other nations. If the U.S was run like any other nation on the planet it would dissolve virtually overnight.

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European nations generally have inflated immigration numbers because they hop between countries. I have a number of friends and coworkers that have, over the course of their lives, been citizens in 3-4 different nations. The scope and demographics are also massively different. The vast majority of immigrants to Germany are of similar ethnic descent, coming from primarily eastern europe with a sizeable number of Turks as well

The culture and economies of Eastern Europe are still markedly different to that of Germany, so it's not the case at all that these people can completely assimilate into German society as easily as you assume they can. And of course, there have been huge tensions between the Turkish community and the native population in recent decades. Angela Merkel herself stated that multiculturism has failed, whether that's true or not, who knows, but the statement itself is certainly proof that Germany is far from homogenous like you claimed. It's a multi-ethnic society of many different creeds and races. America isn't unique in having 'different, ethnic groups with different, and conflicting interests' like exceptionalists like yourself like to think.

Subtle is the key word. Behavior of americans varies radically from state to state. My point is that because a set standard of care and aid cannot be reasonably determined on a national level it should not be provided at that level at all. That is why states were ment to have a certain level of autonomy and why the most recent healthcare act is being challanged, modified, and torn apart in the courts.It is impossible to set individual standards on a national level in the U.S as they do in other countries. The size, demographics, and regional lifestyle differences make it extremely inefficient.

Like I've stated before, people will always be people, no matter how much their behaviour differs from state to state, whether 'radically' like you claim, or less so. And certain rights apply to all human beings, no matter if they tan down in Miami or burn up in Detroit. Free healthcare for example. This doesn't and will never compromise anyone, regardless of creed, religion, or ethnicity. The vast majority of developed countries, whether uniformly homogenous in make up (South Korea and Japan) or multi-ethnic (UK, France and Germany) have free, or close to free healthcare, because its recognised as a fundamental human right. Only in America could a 'debate' over whether to make health care free in the 21st century would even have started to begin with. Absolutely insane.

I only bring this up because the constant comparison people make between other nations and the U.S are often ridiculous because of how different the U.S really is from other nations. If the U.S was run like any other nation on the planet it would dissolve virtually overnight.

The US is hardly a model of civility and cohesion to begin with. Worrying about the US being 'run like any other nation' is a strange point to make anyway. More American exceptionalist thinking. Running America like an enlightenment democracy and not a corporate business would hardly bring about Armageddon.

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telling someone who lives in a deprived, drug-riddled ghetto that they have the same opportunities available to them as a New England student from a middle class family if they work hard in their local school is comical at best, and cruel at worst.

Having come from an area not as bad as you depict above, I can tell you that there are opportunities for people who come from those areas. That is part of some of the problem between the classes in America. Those people who come from the middle class are uupset at some of the soical programs that poor have, not so much that they are given to them but that they are squandered. They see money being poured into poor schools and areas, and yet these areas still remain poor, and the only people bettering themselves were the ones who adminsitered the programs or "profited off the poor." Take a look at the"War on Poverty." Great idea, but big failure.

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The vast majority of developed countries, whether uniformly homogenous in make up (South Korea and Japan) or multi-ethnic (UK, France and Germany) have free, or close to free healthcare, because its recognised as a fundamental human right. Only in America could a 'debate' over whether to make health care free in the 21st century would even have started to begin with. Absolutely insane.

Your premise is wrong. There is no "Free Healthcare" just as there is no free lunch. It has to be funded from somewhere and in most countries that burden falls on the taxpayers. Either through VAT taxes, payroll taxes, coporate taxes, property taxes etc. Governments in general spend a vast of amount of their budgets administrating Govt run health care programs and Government gets the cash from the hard work of their citizens through taxing them.

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Having come from an area not as bad as you depict above, I can tell you that there are opportunities for people who come from those areas. That is part of some of the problem between the classes in America. Those people who come from the middle class are uupset at some of the soical programs that poor have, not so much that they are given to them but that they are squandered. They see money being poured into poor schools and areas, and yet these areas still remain poor, and the only people bettering themselves were the ones who adminsitered the programs or "profited off the poor." Take a look at the"War on Poverty." Great idea, but big failure.

So you should just let these areas continue to decline and become ever more deprived? Poverty begets poverty. These areas need help, probably the funds aren't being allocated properly or the right social programming isn't there. It's about changing people's mindsets, which is much harder work than simply pouring money opaquely into these areas. People need to be educated and given hope. These communities are ignored and degraded. Just writing them off, because they fail to improve when they were given some funds is awful and evidence of the 'every man for himself/why should I care about them' ethos that's rampant in laissez faire countries like America.

Germany also doesn't have 50 seperate state constitutions with smaller semi-autonomous districts within them. I do not feel that the U.S Federal government is a realiable or efficient forum in which to make sweeping decisons regarding personal lifestyle choices that are better handled on the local level. Their time would be better served focusing on national security and improving the federal criminal justice system. Additionally economics should be prevented from mixing with politics whenever possible.

Germany has 16 states each of which have their own constitution, again America is no unique in this aspect. The right to decent healthcare is a human right for EVERYONE, regardless of what the constitution of the state they live in happens to be. And it's not like leaving things at the local level has improved anything. Healthcare in America is mostly a disaster, the fact that someone with a cancer is refused treatment and left to die because they don't have health insurance is beyond disgusting and shameful for a country as wealthy as America. And people continually defending this state of affairs is horrifying. No wonder America is such a dangerous, chaotic country, it's individualism gone mad, there's no collective consciousness except when it comes to going to going to war. Yeah, state security is a priority, and why wouldn't it be? Look at all the countries the USA has invaded.

On one hand you state that the U.S is a "monolithic corporation" and on the other you chide it for lacking cohesion. I have always maintained that the decentralization of power within the republic is one of the most attractive features of the U.S system. Life would be so much easier if the government would just do as it was supposed to do, instead I've got to deal with progressives from states I've never even been to trying to force me to buy healthcare I don't want and social conservatives from other ones trying to tell me my friends sexual orientation is a form of insanity. It's just one big headache. Courts and the military, thats all.

Nothing contradictory in what I said. The country is run like a business, with no concern for the welfare of the population, which leads to the the fragmented state of affairs like I described. You say the decentralisation of power is one of the most attractive features of the US system, but what makes US more attractive than any other developed countries to live in? I'd honestly be interested to know. And I agree that it's all a big headache, when any attempt to develop social cohesion is blocked.

Actually I think the reverse. I think the population has a little to much control over congress. The Senate really should not be assembled by popular vote. It was meant to be the house for state interests and to be less affected by the constantly changing opinions of the public. I think we would have far more reasonable discourse if that were the case, but voters love their blood and thunder so we're stuck with bickering partisans as a result.

But you said the decentralisation of power was one of the most attractive things about the US system. But now you're claiming the population has too much power over congress? What?

Your premise is wrong. There is no "Free Healthcare" just as there is no free lunch. It has to be funded from somewhere and in most countries that burden falls on the taxpayers. Either through VAT taxes, payroll taxes, coporate taxes, property taxes etc. Governments in general spend a vast of amount of their budgets administrating Govt run health care programs and Government gets the cash from the hard work of their citizens through taxing them.

You know exactly what I mean. The population of course pools in, (through the use of the 'dreaded taxes' that sends Americans into a frenzy!) because hospitals, medical instruments and the like need to be paid for so the system can be maintained and upgraded. As a result, free healthcare for all citizens. The vast majority of people in developed countries which have free healthcare are completely for it, and don't consider paying taxes for this as thievery, because they know universal healthcare is a right.

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Agreed Taxes need to be extracted from the population to obtain our medical "free care" nirvana.

It is a nirvana, a reality, in other democracies except yours. Nowhere in the developed world but America do people go bankrupt over medical costs, that is if they haven't already died because they couldn't afford cancer treatment. Disgraceful.

I am thinking since America went that free market thinking thing regarding medical care and it had that horrible side effect of actually causing the medical profession to innovate and discover the best medicines and care darn make a profit also is just evil.

Free market thinking regarding medical care is bizarre, when medical care is a human right in the first place. Oh well, I guess economics triumphs over human rights again in the 'Land of the Free'.

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Healthcare in America is mostly a disaster, the fact that someone with a cancer is refused treatment and left to die because they don't have health insurance is beyond disgusting and shameful for a country as wealthy as America.

Its illigal to deny lifesaving treatments in the U.S and private non-for-profit free care clinics are virtually everywhere. Doctors in most catholic hospitals are required to put in hours in hospital free clinics, you just need to make an appointment. There are more options for the ill in the U.S than anybody thinks about because they require a minimum level of work to apply for.

You say the decentralisation of power is one of the most attractive features of the US system, but what makes US more attractive than any other developed countries to live in?

Mobility and choice. When my family fled Cuba most of us went to Miami but a fair number went to Spain and Portugal and at least two went to other countries and they're working the exact same jobs they did when they got there. They cant get out of their positions and they're stuck in the refugee ghettos. Meanwhile my parents went into early retirement and I'm looking to do the same in about 8 years to do some consulting.

But you said the decentralisation of power was one of the most attractive things about the US system. But now you're claiming the population has too much power over congress? What?

Its fairly simple actually. To much power in any one groups hands is a generally bad thing, that includes the mob. They've done a horrific job in picking congressional representatives and and equally horrible job in picking senators. People vote for the loudest person that promises the most stuff and that normally ends up being the person with the deepest pockets and the best connections. Back when states chose senators they sent professionals. House for the people, Senate for the states, President by electoral college, SCOTUS by appointment and approval. That way power is not concentrated in any one group. Similarly duties of governance are supposed to be split between federal, state, and local more evenly. The centralization of power in the federal government has been fairly disasterous both economically and in terms of personal liberty.

Free market thinking regarding medical care is bizarre, when medical care is a human right in the first place.

Considering the even marginal levels of government provided healthcare has lead to an astronomical increase in healthcare costs I'm a little disinclined to think that more governmental care is the solution. If everybody took care of their own healthcare costs and comparison shopped prices would be drastically lower, as it is the goverment just rubberstamps most bills without regard to the cost which is driving up industry costs. Ever wonder why the heathcare act was essentially drafted by healthcare and pharma companies?

I got a back surgery last year, all of my meds, and my monthly doctor visists for less than I paid in FICA taxes because I comparison shop and I play an active roll in my health. People being to lazy to look for alternatives is not my responcibility.

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Healthcare in America is mostly a disaster,

And you know this by what means? Have you been in an American hospital recently? Ever worked in one? The one I worked in surprised me not just for the level of quality care patients got but because of the large numbers of patients from Canada and even Europe. If our hospitals are so bad why were these folks so eager to take a chance on surgery in one and at the relatively high costs?

America has consistently rated in having the worse healthcare in the developed world, despite spending more than twice the amount per person than other nations do. And it beggars belief that so many try and defend this twisted system. I guess invading other countries is more important than the health of your own citizens.

Again - what is your standard here? If it is survival rates for cancer (just one example) you are wrong. I assume you are going to cite that preposterous UN report which puts Cuba (how many Nobel Prize recipients?) ahead of the US. IOW , all you have is opinion, politically motivated "research" polls and the like.

It is a FACT that until the implementation of ObamaCare, forced on the American people, we led the world in medical advances, from diagnostic to therapeutic.

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And you know this by what means? Have you been in an American hospital recently? Ever worked in one? The one I worked in surprised me not just for the level of quality care patients got but because of the large numbers of patients from Canada and even Europe. If our hospitals are so bad why were these folks so eager to take a chance on surgery in one and at the relatively high costs?

There are lots of Americans in European hospitals too. Ever been in one? You'd be surprised at the level of quality care there too, actually nobody except Americans would be surprised because other nations take that kind of care for granted. Health care in America is a disaster, there's no doubt about that, nearly 50,000 die every year because of they can't get access to it, which is shameful, but even more horrifying is that people seem to just accept it, or even write these people off as state scroungers who deserve their fate.

Again - what is your standard here? If it is survival rates for cancer (just one example) you are wrong. I assume you are going to cite that preposterous UN report which puts Cuba (how many Nobel Prize recipients?) ahead of the US. IOW , all you have is opinion, politically motivated "research" polls and the like.

Not just the UN report, which of course you would write off, because it exposes the US health care system for the abomination that it is, but even the Commonwealth report stated the US health care system was the 'worst in the developed world', It's shocking that even Cuba's is better, is that why you were so eager to dismiss the UN's findings?

http://www.bmj.com/content/337/bmj.a889

'The United States ranked last across a range of measures of health care in a comparison of 19 industrialised countries, despite spending more than twice as much per person on health as any other of the countries. It analysed 37 measures, including access to care, quality of care, and health outcomes.'

More political bias, unreconstructed? No, the reality of affairs in your country. And what does it matter how many Nobel prizes are won, if people can't even get access to the results of these innovations? It's health CARE, not just experimentation in laboratories. Americans have such a blind spot when it comes to this issue. The fact that you judge the qualities of heath care systems on how many Nobel prizes are won and ignore the human cost says so much.

It is a FACT that until the implementation of ObamaCare, forced on the American people, we led the world in medical advances, from diagnostic to therapeutic.

At the cost of a fundamental human rights violation and tens of thousands of deaths.

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That's not true. You cited a story, but I can show you another where an illegal alien spent 1 year in a hospital for complications from a walk in visit. It was the longest stay at this hospital for such a visit. He was illegal from Mexico, had no insurance, and was not turned away for a year. As a matter of fact, as you read the story, you will see that this man't mother even made trips up to visit him. Also from the article, it points out that this hospital, in Fresno CA spent $100 million on charity care.

Yes, it is true actually. I cited facts. Nearly 50,000 Americans die every year, because they don't have health insurance. Simple as. You're telling me a story of an alien and how they spent a year in hospital, but that doesn't contradict anything I've said. It actually reinforces my point how dysfunctional and messed up the health system in America is if a 24 year old can die from a tooth infection, but others in the same situation get top of the line treatment. It's arbitrary and senseless. Bizarre discrepancies like this wouldn't occur if the country had universal health care. No need for that Fresno hospital to spend millions on things which would be taken care of by the state in the rest of the developed world.

So many people are just gettig fed up, not so much with the Wall Street system, but how the government takes care of its own people. If this guy would have been just a middle class family man, who had a job, he would have been charged for his care and for that long of a stay it would have wiped out his family economically. If he would have had health insurance, they would have found some way to drop him.

Yeah, you're right, people are getting fed up with how the government takes care of people, mainly because it doesn't, which breeds fear and distrust in massive amounts. When people are left to die on the street because they don't have health care, when communities are completely neglected and written off, when collective heath and prosperity is seen as unrealistic in the distorted individualistic environment of the American jungle, that's why so much anger exists.

But yet, someone who is in the country illegally, gets a free ride for a year. That is the real reason why tensions are increasing between the rich and the poor. An unfair balance in the way assistance is given,and whpo should receive it.

With universal health care, this problem wouldn't exist.

So, there is free health care in America, it's just that the overburdend tax payer pays for it. By the way, do you know what income you need to have in the state of CA to be classified in the top income bracket for state taxes? $45,000 for a person filiing single. So that same guy is paying state taxes at the same rate as any A list Hollywood actor making millions for a movie. So much for taxing "the rich".

There certaintly is no free health care in America, despite what you say. People should get taxed in proportion to their income, like other countries in the developed world, you'll get no argument in that area from me.

Here's the link to the article: http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/01/03/2669593/man-will-leave-fresno-hospital.html

And here are the links again to the other two articles that you were quick to dismiss to tell me about the alien.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/09/17/eveningnews/main5318652.shtml

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/insurance-24-year-dies-toothache/story?id=14438171

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So you are saying it is my responsiblitiy as an American taxpayer, to provide health care for someone who is in my country illegaly? I don't think so. The discrepancies you cite are the result of the regulations that make it hard for middle class Americans to take advantage of the services of health care, that they are subsidizing through their taxes. Yet, someone who is not a citizen gets a free ride. .

It's the government's responsibilty to implement a health care program which provides health care for all citizens, no matter how rich or poor (and the divide is extremely wide in laissez faire, fragmented America). The story of an illegal being provided with health care in your country wouldn't even register if 45,000 CITIZENS of said country weren't already dying every year because this very right was being denied to them. By the way, why do you keep trying to focus in on illegals? We're talking about health care for citizens of a country. Illegals are part of another debate regarding immigration and border control. You keep talking about these illegals (a small amount compared to the rest of the population) to deflect from the thousands of American deaths every year due to the shameful lack of universal health care. There are illegals in European countries too, but those countries still manage to provide universal health care for all citizens. Strange.

But you see, the state is taking care of the costs of the hospital. The majority of the charity cases get paid by Medicare, which is financed through the state by taxes and federal subsidies. I doubt that one hospital alone in Fresno can generate $100 million in donations. If so, they would be on the level of major universities in collecting donations. Americans do give to charity, but not that much.

There wouldn't be any need to have these charity donations if there was a universal health care program in the first place. The lack of proper medical infrastructure that benefits everyone brought about by the privatisation of medicine and putting the free market before human rights has led to this situation where there are huge medical care gaps that subsequent charity attempts to fill in and rectify. The system needs a HUGE restructure and until there is true universal care, which will take a long time, charities will help when people's basic human rights are being violated and ignored in the land of the free.

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Yes it would. Since you say Japan has a better healthcare system than America, the government pays 70%, the individual is responsible for the remainder 30%. So in the case I cited, it cost almost a $1 million for his stay and care. So if we had the same system as Japan, he still would be on the hook for $300,000. But this guy, an illegal alien, does not have to pay anything. All the while, a regular middle income family would not have had the luxury of that kind of extended care, even with health insurance. Most policies have a cap at what they will spend in a year.

You're talking about aliens again. The subject is citizens. Health care for Americans is atrocious, you seem to be agreeing with me on this, by listing the 'middle income' families who are fleeced by a privatised system which doesn't recognise their human rights. Aliens, or no aliens, everyone is entitled to receive health care. It's unfortunate and shocking that a self-proclaimed world leader in democracy refuses to recognise this.

Just multiply this issue, along with how people who sometimes have no right receiving benfits that they don't deserve get them, while those in the middle class are not afforded the same opportunities, and you have the situation America is in today. Those big businesses that get bailed out are just as bad as those who receive benefits that they shouldn't be receiving. I am not saying "screw the poor" but there has to be a better way at determining who is actually eligible to recive help, and those who shouldn't.

The 'every man for himself' philosophy that your nation adheres to, has created this situation of gross inequality. There is basically no social safety net in America, at least compared to other developed countries. Greed is everything and poverty is weakness. More robust social security and universal health care would alleviate the strain ENORMOUSLY for these hard working, honest middle class families you like to talk about. No going bankrupt over medical costs. Oh and big businesses getting bailed out is, just slightly worse than people getting benefits.

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The 'every man for himself' philosophy that your nation adheres to, has created this situation of gross inequality. There is basically no social safety net in America, at least compared to other developed countries. Greed is everything and poverty is weakness. More robust social security and universal health care would alleviate the strain ENORMOUSLY for these hard working, honest middle class families you like to talk about. No going bankrupt over medical costs. Oh and big businesses getting bailed out is, just slightly worse than people getting benefits.

@oginome: Name me one purely socialst country that has all of these safety nets that you wish America had that is running debt free and not worrying about the financial crisis that is going through the world.

As sailwind said in his post, there are numerous programs that abound in America. I have family members who take advantage of them, and there is a safety net. What the angst is in America is that just as in Greece, people are realizing that the "free ride" is about ready to end. Welfare reform back in the 90's under Clinton was supposed to put a limit on the amount of time a person could recevie benefits, but that has gone by the wayside.

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assuming our patient is under the age of 70 and a low-income earner, the maximum he pays over the year is the equivalent of $5,519.75

@cleo: Thanks for the info. But what would it be if you assumed that it was just a middle income earner and not a poor person. How much would it cost them? Also, if you are a low-income earner, where are you going to get $5,519 from? That seems like a lot of money that they somehow would have to come up with.

So, even though the majority of the cost may be paid, people will still be on the hook for something, and that amount owed is what may be the tipping point between being homeless and having a home. I am sure that there are just as many people in Japan living paycheck to paycheck as there are in America, and having to pay an extras $5K will be just as devastating as having to pay the whole bill.

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Not sure where your getting your information but it's totally wrong. Medicaid is the joint federal / state program for providing care for the poor along with:The State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) – later known more simply as the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)[1] – is a program administered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides matching funds to states for health insurance to families with children. The program was designed to cover uninsured children in families with incomes that are modest but too high to qualify for Medicaid. Consolidated Health Care Centers Program: Health Care, Insured or Not The Consolidated Health Care Centers Program is a federal benefit program providing comprehensive primary and preventive health care and social services to medically unserved and underserved populations. Essential medical services are provided without regard to an individual's ability to pay or health insurance. National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program helps low-income, uninsured, and under-insured women gain access to lifesaving screening programs for early detection of breast cancer and cervical cancer. Public housing, Foodstamps, Public assistance payments (welfare), Federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Rural Housing Repair Loans and Grants program, Unemployment Compensation , Tax breaks.........The list goes on and on . No offense, but as a non-American you really do not understand that American system. It may look like to an outsider that there is no cohesive one stop fits all safety net, but that is totally wrong.

So most of these inititives and programs were instituted in the last three years? Still not much of a safety net, when they're barely off the ground and Republicans are already saying they're a strain on finances and looking to have them removed. The disgusting brand of capitalism which was encouraged and celebrated in the USA is responsible for the crisis today, not people getting benefit checks and it's almost comical how people are attacking things like Medicare, which was just introduced just a couple of years ago, after healthcare in your country was already the worst and most costly in the developed world, back when it was a completely privatised, 'free market' endeavour (disgusting). There IS no cohesive safety net. Like I have to keep saying, 45,000 die every year in the world's wealthiest country, because they lack health insurance. No offense, but as an American, you're blind to how your country denies people their basic human rights, or maybe you even encourage it. Yikes.

Name me one purely socialst country that has all of these safety nets that you wish America had that is running debt free and not worrying about the financial crisis that is going through the world.

But America doesn't have a social safety net and still has the same huge economic and financial crisis that other countries have, actually much bigger in fact. And, actually, if you don't remember, the global crisis was kickstarted in that bastion of greedy, immoral capitalism, good 'ol USA, before Obama came into power, so you really can't blame his social safety net policies, which were introduced AFTER for the crisis. But I suppose its human nature to look for a scapegoat and the weakest and most dispossessed in society are ripe for having this anger directed at them. Good on the Wall Street protests for a change. And no, its not that they're angry at being poor like you said earlier. They're fed up at the huge chasm between rich and poor, between have and have-nots, this repulsive divide which has contined to grow throughout the decades and has come to define the monstrous corporation of America. Japan is NOTHING like America in this respect, despite you claiming situation the situation is the same or worse, by comparing the prices for similar sized apartments in different areas of Tokyo as your evidence (ha!).

As sailwind said in his post, there are numerous programs that abound in America. I have family members who take advantage of them, and there is a safety net. What the angst is in America is that just as in Greece, people are realizing that the "free ride" is about ready to end. Welfare reform back in the 90's under Clinton was supposed to put a limit on the amount of time a person could recevie benefits, but that has gone by the wayside.

The situation in Greece is completely different. Citizens were collaborating with other citizens to avoid paying taxes. The whole place was corrupt from the highest levels of government, down to the average neighbourhood.

..Usa is falling apart...falling apart... now wonder USA is looking for a new war, would it be with Iran?

Yep, that's how America likes to roll.

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So most of these inititives and programs were instituted in the last three years? Still not much of a safety net, when they're barely off the ground and Republicans are already saying they're a strain on finances and looking to have them removed. The disgusting brand of capitalism which was encouraged and celebrated in the USA is responsible for the crisis today, not people getting benefit checks and it's almost comical how people are attacking things like Medicare, which was just introduced just a couple of years ago, after healthcare in your country was already the worst and most costly in the developed world, back when it was a completely privatised, 'free market' endeavour (disgusting). There IS no cohesive safety net. Like I have to keep saying, 45,000 die every year in the world's wealthiest country, because they lack health insurance. No offense, but as an American, you're blind to how your country denies people their basic human rights, or maybe you even encourage it. Yikes

@oginome: What country are you from, and does it have a better system than America. And for your info, these programs have been around a lot longer than 3 years. They have been part of the "War on Poverty" for quite some time. What die-hard ideologes like yourself seem to do is not realize that these systems are there.

As far as the American system being decentralized, I have seen many cases reported here in JT of how a strong central bureaucracy like here in has let people slip through the cracks because of an inability to adapt qucikly and meet the needs of the people. There are safety nets in America run by the states, which is how the American system has always been.

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it's almost comical how people are attacking things like Medicare, which was just introduced just a couple of years ago,

@oginome: I sugest you look up what Medicare provides. It was enacted back in 1965, not just a "couple of years ago" as you seem to think.

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What country are you from, and does it have a better system than America. And for your info, these programs have been around a lot longer than 3 years. They have been part of the "War on Poverty" for quite some time. What die-hard ideologes like yourself seem to do is not realize that these systems are there.

I'm from Ireland and my health care system definitely has its (many) faults, but I'd take it over American's human right denying mess anyday. Actually, a large number of those programs sailwinds post were implemented by Obama's administration. You keep talking about the 'War on Poverty', but it basically ended after the late 60s, after the government decided to switch to other priorities. I suppose spending money on annoying things like social reform and health care for everyone gets in the way of big business and invading other countries, right? And please, I'm not a die-hard ideolog, nearly everyone who lives in the developed world outside USA shares the same views I do. Only in crazy America would I be called a 'die hard idelog' for these views... what a crazy country.

As far as the American system being decentralized, I have seen many cases reported here in JT of how a strong central bureaucracy like here in has let people slip through the cracks because of an inability to adapt qucikly and meet the needs of the people. There are safety nets in America run by the states, which is how the American system has always been.

A strong central bureacracy which provides near universal health care for all Japanese. No Hiroko or Tojo will ever go bankrupt over medical costs. And please 'slip through the cracks', that happens every day in America. There is no safety net in America, as I have to keep on saying, 45,000 die every year, because of lack of health insurance and many more basically go bankrupt if they actually can afford the care.

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"stubbornly high unemployment"

I bet it'll still be stubbornly high at the end of Obama's second term. It's going to take at least until the end of the next Democratic president's first term to fix the mess left behind by Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, lol.

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: I sugest you look up what Medicare provides. It was enacted back in 1965, not just a "couple of years ago" as you seem to think.

Oops, I meant Obamacare, my mistake.

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@Ben_Jackinoff

Obama was never poor either and he certainly is rich now. I love how some people want to paint Obama as being part of the '99%', when he is clearly not.

President Obama is worth over $7 million and he makes a cool $400,000 a year. Given that there are 2 million fewer jobs today than when he took office, I would say he is firmly a member of the capitalist bourgeoisie. Certainly he doesn't need all of that money to survive. But instead of practicing what he preaches, he hordes his wealth and pushes the same failed socialist policies that have destroyed communist nations and have Europe on the brink of insolvency.

Social tensions are bound to increase when even the President is playing crony capitalist (Solyndra and other "green" money wasters). The tax system is is corrupting politicians and society as a whole. America could start reforming itself by getting rid of special interest loopholes in the tax code by implementing a fair tax system like the flat tax. That way, politicians cannot sell their vote to the highest bidder and companies would have much less incentive to lobby for special tax breaks. When people knew they were all getting treated the same, then there would be much less reason for the existence of social tensions. People would then truly have an equal chance at being successful.

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Serrano:

I bet it'll still be stubbornly high at the end of Obama's second term.

To quote the Messiah in chief:

“I’ve got four years … if I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition”

Well, it's been three years. He has failed. He has had his one-term proposition.

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Wolfpack,

Exactly my point, Obama is part of the rich, not the poor and not even the middle class.

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But instead of practicing what he preaches, he hordes his wealth and pushes the same failed socialist policies that have destroyed communist nations and have Europe on the brink of insolvency.

Not all of Europe. Germany and the Scandinavian countries are the most socialist countries in Western Europe and their economies are still strong, standard of living still exceptional. America's own economy began to collapse during the latter days of the Bush administration, before Obama came into power and before he pushed the 'socialist policies' that terrify you so. He's the one that inherited the repulsive mess created by the laissez faire capitalism that Americans seem to love so much.

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I'm from Ireland and my health care system definitely has its (many) faults, but I'd take it over American's human right denying mess anyday.

I'm not a die-hard ideolog, nearly everyone who lives in the developed world outside USA shares the same views I do.

Your fellow countrymen do not all hold the same views as you do and have been voting by using their feet lately leaving your vaulted Irish health care system and social safety net with a good many heading to that horrid U.S of A.

Irish emigration rose to the highest since the 19th century with an estimated 76,400 people emigrating in the year to April 2011; an increase of 11,100 on the 65,300 recorded in the year to April 2010, according to the Central Statistics Office of Ireland.

The population continues to dwindle as more and more individuals choose to leave the country in search of jobs and steady income. Common emigration destinations were the UK, Canada, the US, and Australia; Australia is experiencing an increased shortage in skilled labourers.

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Germany and the Scandinavian countries are the most socialist countries in Western Europe and their economies are still strong, standard of living still exceptional.

@oginome: Aan if you follow the news closely, you will see that Germany is really hesitant about bailing out the rest of Europe, and they may be socialist but they realize that they can only do so much before they begin to feel the same pains as the rest of Europe. Wasn't it Merkle who said that the whole "diversity thing" in regarads to allowing the mass migration of non-germans and Europeans into Germany was failing, sue to increas in poverty rates in Germany and all of the other socail ills that are starting to build up in Germany? You are beginning to see the same problems that the US has. There are only so many jobs to go around, and they want their people to get them, and if they have poor and people in need,then of course I don't blamd them for putting their own people first. But when you have massive immigrations of poor people, then tensions will rise. It will not be long before those same tensions that are being fueled in America will be occuring in Europe.

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Your fellow countrymen do not all hold the same views as you do and have been voting by using their feet lately leaving your vaulted Irish health care system and social safety net with a good many heading to that horrid U.S of A. Irish emigration rose to the highest since the 19th century with an estimated 76,400 people emigrating in the year to April 2011; an increase of 11,100 on the 65,300 recorded in the year to April 2010, according to the Central Statistics Office of Ireland. The population continues to dwindle as more and more individuals choose to leave the country in search of jobs and steady income. Common emigration destinations were the UK, Canada, the US, and Australia; Australia is experiencing an increased shortage in skilled labourers.

Ireland is a mess, our country is bankrupt, that's no secret. Our collapse occured because we decided to adhere to the Anglo-American model for most aspects of our economy in the 90s and shun the more socialist Northern European way which is the reason why countries like Germany, Denmark and Sweden continue to thrive and Ireland is in a shambles today. 'Look to Boston not Berlin' was our disgusting mantra back when our economy was seemingly booming and held up as a model of free market, financial based triumph. Ireland became a greedy, materialistic place, just like America, not attractive. People are leaving today not because they hate our social safety net (LOL), but because there are no jobs. Simple. Oh, and you're wrong, everyone in Ireland would still agree with me that free health care is a right. No matter how bad our economy gets, this won't change, because we recognise it as a human right. Like the rest of the developed world, we still gaze in horror and disbelief at health care in your country. LOL at you trying to say that people are leaving Ireland, because they don't agree with free health care. Twister.

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Aan if you follow the news closely, you will see that Germany is really hesitant about bailing out the rest of Europe, and they may be socialist but they realize that they can only do so much before they begin to feel the same pains as the rest of Europe. Wasn't it Merkle who said that the whole "diversity thing" in regarads to allowing the mass migration of non-germans and Europeans into Germany was failing, sue to increas in poverty rates in Germany and all of the other socail ills that are starting to build up in Germany? You are beginning to see the same problems that the US has. There are only so many jobs to go around, and they want their people to get them, and if they have poor and people in need,then of course I don't blamd them for putting their own people first. But when you have massive immigrations of poor people, then tensions will rise. It will not be long before those same tensions that are being fueled in America will be occuring in Europe.

Of course Germany is hesitant about bailing out Europe, they're having to bail out countries like Greece which brought about all their problems on themselves, with not only companies and business, but the average citizen engaging in obscene, widespread fraud. And the rest of what you wrote doesn't really contradict anything I've said. Despite the concern over immigrants not integrating into the culture and economy of Germany, standard of living there is still much higher than the USA. There are social problems there of course, just like there is in Japan, no country is perfect, but the US, with it's obscene divide between rich and poor, is on another level. The US has basically two societies, a first world and third world, which live side by side. Along with the horrifically high crime rates, it is a complete different picture to Germany and Japan.

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LOL at you trying to say that people are leaving Ireland, because they don't agree with free health care. Twister.

Ummm...Healthcare isn't free and with Ireland going bankrupt It will soon not even exist as there isn't any money to pay for it. This is the model you want to the U.S to follow?

And second of all and no offense..........73% of your Countryman knows that your current healthcare system is a mess and healthcare costs are unsustainable also.

The link,

http://www.irishtimes.com/polls/index.cfm?fuseaction=yesnopoll&pollid=9813&subsiteid=326

And some comments on the poll,

we are in the middle of the worst recession since 1935 but yet we pay our consultants the highest wages for consultants in the world, i think this answers the question also, if the big players in the HSE didnt fear the unions so much and cut the huge wages of our health services emploeeys insted of closing beds, then the health service in this country would be so much better :) John Mulcahy Ireland

If the private sector, can do a cheaper job than the public sector and with quality. Then there is something seriously wrong with the HSE. Its over-beuracratic, too many overpaid mangers and secretaries at each desk, nurses are still able to make appointments and why do we need secretaries for that? Emmet Murphy Ireland

No. And let me be the first to say it - nurses (those of whom we can speak no evil) are overpaid and underworked. My most recent experience of the public health system was of waiting more than an hour for a glass of water while a gaggle of nurses hung out in the nurses¿ station down the corridor gossiping about x-factor. Like the rest of their public sector cohorts, I think if they worked in a real job they would realise how good they have it. They don¿t even have to make the beds or clean out the bedpans anymore like in the old days ¿ they have underlings to do that for them now. And as for doctors, consultants, porters, etc¿..don¿t get me started. TaxUnit101 Ireland

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Ummm...Healthcare isn't free and with Ireland going bankrupt It will soon not even exist as there isn't any money to pay for it. This is the model you want to the U.S to follow?

Ireland went bankrupt, because the government decided laissez faire capitalism was the way forward, not because of free health care.

And second of all and no offense..........73% of your Countryman knows that your current healthcare system is a mess and healthcare costs are unsustainable also.

I already said earlier that our health care had many problems, it's not perfect. And sorry, none of the comments you've pulled out contradict anything I've said and no one in the comment section is calling for the privatisation of medicine either. They agree healthcare costs are unsustainable, but to counter this, they want the wages of the staff cut and more beds opened. See that, they're moaning about waiting, about consultants being paid too much and the nurses bitching about x factor, but privatisation isn't even considered, because it's a given in a developed, democratic society that it's inhumane and a violation of human rights. I'd take waiting an hour for a glass of water (an exception, not the rule, that's never happened to me in any hospital) over people dying becaues they can't afford health care.

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More comments from your link that for some reason you neglected to post.

'They would be if it wasn't for the support the state gives to private healthcare. They would be if more money was diverted to primary healthcare and away from the administrative millstone which has been placed around the public healthcare system's neck. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the government to claw back the billions in subsidies by way of tax breaks to private healtcare or tackling the bloated administration which is the HSE or whatever is going to replace it ..... '

'We need either some sort of NHS or some sort of Universal Health Insurance scheme (where everybody is covered and the less well off are subsidised by the taxpayer). The current "two-tier" healthcare system is unacceptable.'

'It is no accident that the UK with its NHS achieves relatively good health outcomes with relatively low levels of expenditure while the United States without a coherent national healthcare system achieves worse health outcomes with higher levels of expenditure.'

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Yet you gripe about the U.S system??????

You're really not getting it, our health care system is FAR from perfect, and most people in Ireland agree reform is needed, but everyone knows that it's NOT in any form of privatisation that we'll find the answer. If anything, citizens want the private sector to at least greatly diminish or at the most be removed entirely, because it's put far too much of a strain on the public system, which has led to the doctors-working-too-many-hours story you just linked. Our problems of doctors emigrating because of working hours (which is related to privatisation and also just the poor economic climate) is still on a different level compared with the reality of tens of thousands dying every year in your homeland because they're denied basic health care. There's actually no comparison to be honest. Yes, I do gripe about health care In America. Health care in Ireland, for all its problems, is still much, much better than the system in the US. Your country officially has the worst level of health care in the developed world, backed separately by both the UN and Commonwealth Fund reports. Tens of thousands are going to die this year. And the next. What an abomination. And it doesn't matter where I'm from. Even if I was from Sub-Saharan Africa, my points would be valid. We're talking about American health care. You're trying to deflect focus from your country's health care disaster to focus on the Irish problems (which serious enough as they are, seem to take on a strangely trivial appearance compared to yours, only compared to yours, mind). Irish health care is nowhere near the best in the developed world, but it's still much better than yours. You're lucky you're comparing to Ireland actually, America's health care system would be shamed even more if it was put next to Germany's. Instead of a public service, it's a corporation which surives on profits and denying people their human rights. Disgusting.

Yet you gripe about the Irish system?

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that happens every day in America. There is no safety net in America, as I have to keep on saying, 45,000 die every year, because of lack of health insurance and many more basically go bankrupt if they actually can afford the care.

@oginome: Answer me this. Before Obamacare passed, he had his union backers urging their people to protest and demand that it get passed, and he used union support to help him get elected, as well as those other Dems who voted for it.

Once Obamacare passed, the waivers started flying. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, more than 1,200 companies have been accorded waivers from the healthcare reform law. So far the ObamaCare waivers excuse roughly four million people, or about three percent of the U.S. population, from having to participate in the program. And I thought that it was designed to help the American people and give us affordable health care. This displays an incontrovertible pattern of crony capitalism, as the law openly leans on the side of labor unions, who just so happen to be strong Democratic supporters who wield tremendous political influence. Ever since the administration strapped a tighter leash on application rules, the unionized sector has remained a prominent beneficiary of ObamaCare waivers.

So much for the rest of us who don't belong to a union, and will not get a waiver. But if it is going to be so good for us, why do companies and unions need a waiver?

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Well next time your back home you can pass that on to your new Pakistani doctor.

By the way, this had nothing to do with the line of mine that you quoted. No Irish citizens will ever agree to having our health system privatised. Every institution in Ireland is feeling the strain now, because of the economic collapse, so it's no surprise health care will feel it also. But believe me, we'll get through this and still continue to keep health care for all citizens by the end of it. We need to learn never to follow the US model again when it comes to economics. Berlin, not Boston for the future.

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There is basically no social safety net in America, at least compared to other developed countries

Could you get your impassioned message out in Spanish? Our border states have been deluged. Why, why do they still come?

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So much for the rest of us who don't belong to a union, and will not get a waiver. But if it is going to be so good for us, why do companies and unions need a waiver?

I never praised Obamacare as a great, or even good, it's simply better than what came before. There is still no universal health care in America. The corruption you're describing does not surprise me.

Could you get your impassioned message out in Spanish? Our border states have been deluged. Why, why do they still come?

Mexico is an upper middle income developing country, it's not in the first world.

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The disgusting brand of capitalism which was encouraged and celebrated in the USA is responsible for the crisis today, not people getting benefit checks and it's almost comical how people are attacking things like Medicare, which was just introduced just a couple of years ago, after healthcare in your country was already the worst and most costly in the developed world, back when it was a completely privatised, 'free market' endeavour (disgusting).

@oginome: Almost half of California's income taxes come from the top 1% of earners. In New York, the percentage is now 41%, up from 25% in 1994. In Connecticut and New Jersey, the top 1% pay more than 40%.Being so dependent on super-rich people is great when times are good, because revenues soar. But the trouble is that the earnings of super-rich people are super-volatile, so when times are bad, or even mediocre, tax revenues plummet.

In a boom year, for example, a successful Wall Street managing director might make $5 million. In a crappy year, he or she might make $1 million. Both of these incomes are otherworldly when compared to what normal folks make, so it's no surprise that most people are in favor of socking it to the rich. But with said managing director paying a big slug of those incomes in taxes, the hit to the state's budget is huge.

All of which is to say: There's a downside to socking it to the rich.

So if you keep wanting to sock it to the rich, even in down times, you will not get as much money as before. So where does the state make it up? By increasing the taxes on the middle class and eventually those who can't afford to pay as much, or they do away with services.

A state like CA has 30 million people, yet over 50% of the state's tax Revenue comes from only 1%. That 1% is in a much better position to move out of the state than the rest. What happens if they do as they call it in sports "The Tiger Woods move" where they move to a state that has no state tax. CA will be in worse shape, and that "tax the rich" mantra will mean taxing those people who are in the middle class who are just getting by.

It's all about how people liike you are framing the issue. Do there need to be some reforms on Wall Street, yes. But is there a growning divide between the classes because of greed, I don't think so. I think people are stating to realize that they need to watch out more for themselves since our government can't do it, and now they are finding ways to try to keep more of what they earn than just throw it away to some politician that will piss it away.

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Almost half of California's income taxes come from the top 1% of earners. In New York, the percentage is now 41%, up from 25% in 1994. In Connecticut and New Jersey, the top 1% pay more than 40%.Being so dependent on super-rich people is great when times are good, because revenues soar. But the trouble is that the earnings of super-rich people are super-volatile, so when times are bad, or even mediocre, tax revenues plummet.

Those figures show that there is indeed a large, large divide between rich and poor in America. What do you feel is the problem? Do you not feel people should pay taxes in proportion to their income? The revenues from the rich don't help the poor and never have. Poverty levels continue to rise. If income distribution was more equal, the same amount in taxes would be created, only it would be spread out over a larger population and not just 1%

In a boom year, for example, a successful Wall Street managing director might make $5 million. In a crappy year, he or she might make $1 million. Both of these incomes are otherworldly when compared to what normal folks make, so it's no surprise that most people are in favor of socking it to the rich. But with said managing director paying a big slug of those incomes in taxes, the hit to the state's budget is huge.A state like CA has 30 million people, yet over 50% of the state's tax Revenue comes from only 1%. That 1% is in a much better position to move out of the state than the rest. What happens if they do as they call it in sports "The Tiger Woods move" where they move to a state that has no state tax. CA will be in worse shape, and that "tax the rich" mantra will mean taxing those people who are in the middle class who are just getting by.

This situation should never have been created, where such a huge divide in wealth occured in the first place. A direct result of laissez faire capitalism. Having such large proportion of taxes paid by the wealthy does not mean they're 'supporting' the poor, it means the system is completely imbalanced and not sustainable.

It's all about how people liike you are framing the issue. Do there need to be some reforms on Wall Street, yes. But is there a growning divide between the classes because of greed, I don't think so. I think people are stating to realize that they need to watch out more for themselves since our government can't do it, and now they are finding ways to try to keep more of what they earn than just throw it away to some politician that will piss it away.

But the government never took care of people in the first place. No universal health care, flimsy, barely non-existent social safety net. Decentralisation of power is what I keep hearing is one of the great things about America, so I thought Americans never expected Washington to look out for them. Anyway, this goes beyond who's in power now, people are just fed up, no matter who they vote in, nothing really changes. Poverty levels rise, the poor get poorer, the rich get richer. The whole paradigm needs to be shifted.

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Mexico is an upper middle income developing country, it's not in the first world.

From what you have posted about your economy and whatnot I think we could say the say about Ireland. But the Irish aren't risking life and limb to get to America. At least, they don't come in the massive numbers they once did.

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I think we could say the same about Ireland * didn't come out right in that post.
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You're lucky you're comparing to Ireland actually, America's health care system would be shamed even more if it was put next to Germany's.

Germany's system is in dire straits also with its "free healthcare".

Final approval has been granted by the German parliament to reform the country’s mandatory health insurance scheme. The overhaul of the healthcare system is seen as vital for Germany to stem increasing costs associated with its public healthcare system, which covers more than 72 million insured people in the country. The move by the German government comes at a time when the country, with the largest economy in Europe, struggles to contain raising healthcare costs and seeks to avoid a predicted €11 billion (US$13.2 billion) shortfall in German public healthcare finances, expected to occur in 2011. The German public healthcare system is calculated at being one the most expensive in the world, with the new reform on mandatory health insurance coming into effect in 2011 in a bid to curb the ever growing cost of health costs on public finances.

Your running out of other peoples money quite quick in Europe to keep socialized medicine a success story.

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Those figures show that there is indeed a large, large divide between rich and poor in America. What do you feel is the problem? Do you not feel people should pay taxes in proportion to their income? The revenues from the rich don't help the poor and never have. Poverty levels continue to rise. If income distribution was more equal, the same amount in taxes would be created, only it would be spread out over a larger population and not just 1%

@ oginome: No I don't think so. If a person is making around $65K and pays around $11K in total taxes. A person making $1million will probably pay around $35K. In my opion, that is enough. Just because he makes that much, there is no reason why after he has paid well above 35%. Government needs to learn how to spend what it has, and not just keep giving money away like it was nothing.

You are missing the point. Only about 300,00 people are putting in the majority of state income tax revenue that is received by the state. How are they ever going to get the state moving if the burden of paying taxes move away. Next they will start taxing those who don't have as much.

So tell me, how much do you think a person should pay in taxes? 50% of their income they make has to be taken away? Where is the incentive to work then, if after you put in all of the effort, it is taken away by the government to be redistributed.

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sailwind

The Irish health agency called for help from Pakistani and Indian doctors as local doctors immigrate because of long working hours and poor career prospects, reported the Irish Times.

Excellent point, but it is next to impossible to impress upon Lefties the importance of incentive. They just don't get it. In oginome's mind these doctors, most of whom basically who put their own lives on hold til they were 30, have left Ireland because they are 'selfish' ,they still believe in 'individualism' , not socialism, the creed of jealous craven losers everywhere.

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Laissez faire capitalism, the creed of fat, selfish, obnoxious Americans everywhere

Including your adopted home of Japan.It's pretty big in South Korea and Hong Kong as well. Taiwan is on board. Socialist India is gone. If I were a devout Marxist that would be the one that really gutted me. Your argument aint with America, it's with billions in Asia. Gonna be quite an education for you,mate.

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Including your adopted home of Japan.It's pretty big in South Korea and Hong Kong as well. Taiwan is on board. Socialist India is gone. If I were a devout Marxist that would be the one that really gutted me. Your argument aint with America, it's with billions in Asia. Gonna be quite an education for you,mate.

Japan's model isn't laissez faire, it's government guided capitalism. You actually thought it was laissez faire and you live here? Wow, the blind will remaind blind I guess. Maybe you should read this

http://www.paecon.net/PAEReview/issue23/Locke23.htm

Hong Kong is another place where laissez faire capitalism has rendered huge divides in wealth. India's a mess, and will remain so even during these so-called boom times which still aren't lifting the country from its poverty hell quagmire. A huge divide in wealth is being created right now

And LOL at you calling me a Marxist because I hate America's brand of capitalism. Typical black and white American extremist thinking. There are other forms of capitalism that work, such as that pioneered in Northern Europe and Japan. But I suppose anyone who goes against private health care is a communist, right?

Actually I am more dumbfounded that when you have a socialized health care system that has turned out so crappy that your own countrymen would rather emigrant and treat strangers then their own fellow citizens...........That this is still being held up as some sort of "success" and role model system for America to emulate is just..... well in my humble opinion not making a very strong case for it at all.

Ireland's health care is far from representative of the best kind of health care in the wealthier countries in Europe. Stop comparing Ireland which has failed by adopting laissez faire capitalism. Yet you keep zoning in on it to deflect from the massive dysfunction in your own system... I've never held up the 'success' of the Irish model for Americans to emulate by any means, our system is a mess, but it still doesn't deny citizens their human rights. Never said emulate Ireland. Emulate the Scandinavian countries, Germany, Japan. It says so much when even our crappy health care system puts yours to shame, and with less government spending.

In short, American spends 16 percent of her GDP on health care. France spends about 12 percent.

And France has universal health care, while America doesn't, despite more government spending in the US. Strange, isn't it?

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And France has universal health care, while America doesn't, despite more government spending in the US. Strange, isn't it?

They control costs through the very ways the article points out. Strange that America should do that first and foremost before anything else, control costs before embarking on your "nirvana" of socialist health care for the U.S.? I think not.

And secondly if socialized medicine has turned out to such a nightmare for your country of Ireland what makes you think the outcome won't be the same in the U.S? Since your willing to put yourself as some sort of all knowing judge as to what is best for America and health care reform in my country what guarantee can you give me that our system will be more like Germany's than like Ireland's is now if we embark on that path?

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oginome,

And just for the record judging how the U.S runs Medicare for our elderly I'm pretty sure we'll turn out out like Ireland instead of Germany...

A four month "Nightline" investigation into Medicare fraud makes one thing perfectly clear: this is a crime that pays and pays and pays. The federal government admits that a staggering $60 billion is stolen from tax payers through Medicare scams every year.

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We don't refuse our citizens health care and let them die.

Please stop with the false information.

The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) is a U.S. Act of Congress passed in 1986 as part of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). It requires hospitals to provide care to anyone needing emergency healthcare treatment regardless of citizenship, legal status or ability to pay.

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You keep running away from the truth. 45,000 die every year, because they don't have health insurance. No failse information. Stop trying to cover up the truth

@oginome: A lot more die each year, and they have health insurance. Where do you get this number from. Considering that a state like CA has 30 million people, and has over 1 million on welfare receiving cash from the government, 45,000 seems like a small number.

Everyone in the U.S. - including those illegally in the U.S. -- is guaranteed access to basic health care. Under a 1968 federal law, all patients seeking care in hospital emergency rooms must be given a minimum level of treatment, regardless of their ability to pay or health insurance status. The law applies to all hospitals that participate in Medicare -- which most do - and requires the hospitals to provide initial patient screening, life-saving and "stabilizing" emergency care and transfers to advanced trauma centers, if needed. Those services must be provided without asking about the patient's ability to pay. Of course, the growing demand on hospitals to provide this minimum level of free care contributes to rising health care costs.

Most people become uninsured because they lose or leave their jobs and regain insurance coverage when they return to work. In 2007, the Census Bureau reported that 253.4 million people -- about 85 percent of the total population -- did have health insurance.

According to Census Bureau data, of the estimated 46 million "Americans" without health insurance, more than 10 million are non-U.S. citizens.

Many young workers, whose employers do offer it, simply do not consider health insurance. According to the Census Bureau, 18.3 million of the uninsured are under age 34.

A 2003 Blue Cross/Blue Shield Association study concluded that, "More than 14 million uninsured Americans are already eligible for health insurance through Medicaid and State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)." These people could automatically be signed up for these programs by seeking care at a hospital. In addition, a Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute study shows that 7 out of 10 uninsured children could be covered if their parents chose to sign up for existing government programs.

We have measures in place in America to address those who have the need. I will say this about Obamacare, good thing that it made it so that health insurers just can't drop people for pre-existing condtions.

In addition to the posts above by sailwind to cut down costs in America the next steps should be Tort reform so that the max amount one can sue for malpractice is capped, and malpractice insurance rates whould go down.

One thing about Obamacare, it calls for the hiring of over 12000 new people at the IRS to monitor who is paying their taxes if they chose not to have health insurance. Is that a good thing?

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@Oginome:

American still can't seem to rid itself of the cult of greed and individualism, 'why the hell should I pay taxes for someone else!' It's sad.

I find statements like these ridiculous. Individualism isn't a cult. It springs from the idea that each person has intrinsic worth and should be treated equally by their government and based on their own merits. This idea alone is at the core of America's greatness. When an persons individuality is taken away, then so are their human rights.

The problem with America today is that it has been incrementally abandoning the idea of individual worth in favor of the collectivist and dysfunction that Europe has followed since Bismarck. Since the 1930's, America has pursued one socialist program after another (Social Security and FDR's New Deal, LBJ's Great Society, Nixon's affirmative action, Bush's Medicare Prescription Drug program, up to ObamaCare. Each of these programs are socialist in nature and have replaced one problem with an even bigger problem as they are unsustainable. America has social programs that cannot be paid for and an entrenched political class and bureaucracy than will fight to the death to keep them no matter the dire fiscal consequences (see Greece). American's have become dependent on government and to save ourselves we must learn to be independent to the greatest extent possible once again.

Socialism will fail in Germany as it has just about every where else it has been tried (only very small Jewish kabutz have been able to pull off a successful collectivist social contract and only because of the very small scale, and cultural and religious homogeniety.

America currently has a socialist health care system. It is mainly run through the government even before ObamaCare. That's why it is such a failure. ObamaCare will only make the issue worse as rationing will become necessary as costs continue to sky rocket.

Meanwhile, the social tensions between the haves (like the Obama's) and the have not's will eventually result in rioting in the streets (just like Greece).

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No, the US health system is almost completely privatised and yet costs are still the highest in the developed world, twice the OECD averge. The 'minimum level of free care' is not what's causing costs to keep on increasing, when your government still spends barely anything on public health care anyway compared to other developed nations.

I guess you have never heard of Medicare and Medicaid - two hugely expensive public health care programs financed by tax payers. Costs are high because we have the scientific know how to provide health care services that other countries refuse because of the expense. That's why so many people from countries "free health care" come to the US for treatment and surgeries that they cannot get in their home countries. In other words, they would be denied their 'human rights' unless they came to America.

No system is perfect in any country. People in countries with "free health care" die all the time because they cannot get care that has been rationed by their governments. America's problem is that their is too much government interference in health care - not too little. The poor have Medicaid. The elderly have Medicare. Two hugely expensive programs that consume ever greater portions of government spending. Now the rest of the country will get ObamaCare - whether we like it or not. I don't mind charitable programs along the lines of Medicaid for the poor, but I don't want my choices taken away from me to get the care I think is best for me. I'm sure that Europeans love to be told that they cannot get treatments that could save their lives or enhance them because they are too expensive. I however, would like to make that decision myself. In other words, I don't want the government to tell me how to live my life. It's a human rights issue for me.

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No system is perfect, but America's is the worst in the developed world. And no, how is there 'too much government intereference in health care' when over 30 million of your own citizens are uninsured?

Being uninsured isn't the same as being without medical care. You seem to think it is but it isn't.

So you'd prefer the system to stay privatised and for millions to remain uninsured, or else go bankrupt if they can afford the care, not to mention the tens of thousands who will continue dying every year because they can't pay for medica treatment? OK.

You keep insisting that America's health care system is totally private and it just isn't. Most health care providers are private but a very large portion of the money used to provide health care services are from the government. Again, Medicare and Medicaid are government programs that together constitute about 23% of all government expenditures. In addition, the government heavily regulates the health care system. The US government (ie. taxpayers) spend a little under $1 trillion on health care each year.

You either know very little about the true state of the American health care system or you are just regurgitating some ideological propaganda. Such divisive rhetoric based on false information only intensives divisions for no apparent gain.

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@oginome:

And yet, while you treat foreigners you let tens of thousands of your own people die each year due to this very same system that you love so much.

I do not love America's health care system. It is a socialist mess that is falling apart at the seams even faster now that ObamaCare has been forced upon the citizenry.

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Individualism has been promoted to a religion in America, more than nearly any other country. There's no sense of the collective or greater good.

The "Greater Good"

A metaphysical concept designating anything that undercuts capitalism and the frivolous American way of life, and/or promotes the new, progressive mode of being. Any action taken with altruistic intentions in mind, regardless of its practical result or purpose, or of the misery that it may produce, is considered a contribution to The Greater Good

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A metaphysical concept designating anything that undercuts capitalism and the frivolous American way of life, and/or promotes the new, progressive mode of being. Any action taken with altruistic intentions in mind, regardless of its practical result or purpose, or of the misery that it may produce, is considered a contribution to The Greater Good

No, not a metaphysical concept, a REAL concept that involves a more equitable distribution of income, universal health care, that kind of thing. A system which crazy Americans seem to see as communism. If it undercuts laissez faire capitalism, then all the better, that economic path has resulted in a nasty mess that's left your economy in a near shambles, with a huge divide between rich and poor, obscene levels of poverty, a shockingly high crime rate, no social safety net, and tens of thousands dying unecessarily every year. Yep the American way of life is pretty 'frivolous' all right.

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REAL concept that involves a more equitable distribution of income,

Redistribution of Wealth:

Act of returning world's resources to rightful owners, the People. Must be performed regardless of one's input in order better to erase the false concept of private property. It is constantly under attack by the right-wing ideologues for threatening capitalism's vile celebration of self-interest and individualism. The equitable society of the future will have no redistribution of wealth because there will be nothing to distribute.

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Act of returning world's resources to rightful owners, the People. Must be performed regardless of one's input in order better to erase the false concept of private property. It is constantly under attack by the right-wing ideologues for threatening capitalism's vile celebration of self-interest and individualism. The equitable society of the future will have no redistribution of wealth because there will be nothing to distribute.

Spare me the quotes, you're showing the typical American communist paranoia I expected. So extremist as usual. More fair and equal wealth distribution isn't going to cause America to fall into the grips of a Stalinist dictatorship. What you're trying to run away from is the fact that laissez faire capitalism has failed. Yep, failed. The countries of Northern Europe have managed to spread their wealth and implement universal health care and as a result, create vastly more attractive societies than America's and they're nowhere near being communist.

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No, not a metaphysical concept, a REAL concept that involves a more equitable distribution of income, universal health care, that kind of thing. A system which crazy Americans seem to see as communism. If it undercuts laissez faire capitalism, then all the better, that economic path has resulted in a nasty mess that's left your economy in a near shambles, with a huge divide between rich and poor, obscene levels of poverty, a shockingly high crime rate, no social safety net, and tens of thousands dying unecessarily every year. Yep the American way of life is pretty 'frivolous' all right.

@ oginome: So everyone should be paid equal is that what you are saying? Tell me, why was it in the old USSR that there were two classes of people, those who had the connections and the rest who didn't. Also, if in the old USSR all were equal, how is it that when it dissolved, a few people in the right position working for government were able to take the land and being to make large amounts of money from selling natural resources. It would seem that if they have had such a collectivist thinking, that the wealth should be shared by all the comrades, and yet it isn't. Same thing in North Korea. Supposedly the workers are in control, but I don't think so.

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More fair and equal wealth distribution isn't going to cause America to fall into the grips of a Stalinist dictatorship. What you're trying to run away from is the fact that laissez faire capitalism has failed. Yep, failed. The countries of Northern Europe have managed to spread their wealth and implement universal health care and as a result,

Yes "People's Capitalism"

Modified capitalism in which exploitation is tolerated on condition that the people's exploiters profess and support the socialist ideology and return most of their immoral profits to the people through taxes. People's Capitalism and allow small amounts of greed and selfishness to create capitalist wealth that we later confiscate for The Greater Good™. A thoroughly cultivated atmosphere of guilt associated with profiteering, forces capitalists to donate even more money for progressive causes. Such symbiosis between wealth creators and wealth consumers has been achieved in most European countries and to some extent in the United States.

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So everyone should be paid equal is that what you are saying? Tell me, why was it in the old USSR that there were two classes of people, those who had the connections and the rest who didn't. Also, if in the old USSR all were equal, how is it that when it dissolved, a few people in the right position working for government were able to take the land and being to make large amounts of money from selling natural resources. It would seem that if they have had such a collectivist thinking, that the wealth should be shared by all the comrades, and yet it isn't. Same thing in North Korea. Supposedly the workers are in control, but I don't think so.

Here we go again with the USSR comparisons. America implementing universal health care and a social safety net isn't going to lead to any sort of communist dictatorship. You're talking about 'two classes of people' but that situation you fear is already blatantly evident in laissez faire America with your huge divides between rich and poor, obscene wealth and poverty.

Yes "People's Capitalism". Modified capitalism in which exploitation is tolerated on condition that the people's exploiters profess and support the socialist ideology and return most of their immoral profits to the people through taxes. People's Capitalism and allow small amounts of greed and selfishness to create capitalist wealth that we later confiscate for The Greater Good™. A thoroughly cultivated atmosphere of guilt associated with profiteering, forces capitalists to donate even more money for progressive causes. Such symbiosis between wealth creators and wealth consumers has been achieved in most European countries and to some extent in the United States.

'As of 2009 and the recent worldwide economic downturn, some analysts have speculated that the German model of social capitalism is resurgent and is the most responsible economic system that still ensures the survival of the free market. With recent economic schemes and company abuses, such as in the Bernard Madoff scandal, the Enron scandal, and the financial crisis of 2007–2010, the German model of a rigidly structured and regulated economy has become more attractive, as part of the financial crisis could be attributed to a lack of regulation associated with laissez-faire capitalism.'

'From 2003 to 2008, Germany (a nation with only 80 million inhabitants) was the world strongest exporter'

Oops, all the while American continues to fall apart because of greed. Germany's economy is much stronger than America's disaster zone.

But like Japanese they aren't reproducing at sustainable rates. Humans vote in many different ways. Norway only has 4 million people to share all the revenues they get from the oil they have.. Northern Europe looks cold boring and EXPENSIVE.

So what, low birth rates are a feature across all developed societies, the fertility rate among native born US Americans is below replacement rate, its only immigrant families in your country that have the high birth rates.

Sweden is home to 15 million. Both of those countries is 99 percent white. Americans like the diversity we have.

Those countries are NOT 99 percent white, seriously, why do Americans assume they have the only diverse nation in the world? Over 14% of Sweden's population are foreign born. The number of immigrants to Norway make up 12% of the population. Those countries like the diversity they have too.

Northern Europe looks cold boring and EXPENSIVE.

And USA looks dangerous, poverty ridden and UGLY.

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In Japan this problem does not exist because people are not paid $10M to $100M salaries. Who really needs that kind of money?

@ Joseph Garrett Baxter: I guess you have not tried to buy a place in Roppongi HIlls or visited some of the high end places in Ginza or seen some of the opulance that one can find in Japan. There are extremely rich people in Japan. Some of it is "old money" and some new.

I am not saying to keep one person rich just for the sake of Capitalism, but then I don't think just because someone is able to build a better mousetrap, I should demand that he turn over half of his income for society. He should pay a fair share of taxes, but not excessive to the point just to make things even.

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Germany's economy is much stronger than America's disaster zone.

Well when you live under America's security umbrella and only pay a pittance of your GDP on your Nations military budget per year because the security the U.S provides you, it does tend to add up to quite the few hundreds of billion dollars over the years to spend on other areas.

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'From 2003 to 2008, Germany (a nation with only 80 million inhabitants) was the world strongest exporter'

Thats cool. It hardly surprises me that Germany is yet again the most powerful nation in Europe. Its a kick upside the head of the One Europe/One World conga line.

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Well when you live under America's security umbrella and only pay a pittance of your GDP on your Nations military budget per year because the security the U.S provides you, it does tend to add up to quite the few hundreds of billion dollars over the years to spend on other areas.

Oh please, America's economy is still vast enough. If military spending was such a burden, than America should have refrained from its even costlier blood-soaked ventures half way across the world to look for non-existant weapons of mass destruction. Even if US security was withdrawn tomorrow, Germany would feel the strain at first, but still end up with economy along the same lines as today and still remain incredibly successful. Japan (especially Japan) and Gemany have monopolised the advanced, high end manufacturing industries which America and the UK neglected to focus on 'finance' and 'spending' (how flimsy) and that is one of the reasons why the former two continue to thrive while the latter are messes.

And I am no communist, so please no more USSR comparisons or cries of 'socialist!' from paranoid Americans. Capitalism can work, but not the laissez-faire kind, which is destined to lead to failure and is the reason why the UK and US compare so badly to the rest of the developed world today on so many levels. Everything that isn't laissez-faire isn't automatically communism. Germany has its own brand of social capitalism which is incredibly successful and Japan has an economic system that is unlike any to be found in the world, seriously, people need to read this to educate themselves on how it differs so radically, because so many arrogantly assume the Japanese just imported American style capitalism.

http://www.paecon.net/PAEReview/issue23/Locke23.htm

I guess you have not tried to buy a place in Roppongi HIlls or visited some of the high end places in Ginza or seen some of the opulance that one can find in Japan. There are extremely rich people in Japan. Some of it is "old money" and some new.

Roppongi Hills and the Ginza are two areas of Tokyo. Of course there are rich people in Japan, but the divide between rich and poor is nowhere near on the same level as that of America, where expensive districts and glamourous shopping avenues are in equal number (or outnumbered) to the ghettos and high crime slums. The wealth in Japan is distributed much more evenly for the most part and has resulted in the maintenance of a harmonious, stable society. 3/4 of Japanese consider themselves middle class.

I am not saying to keep one person rich just for the sake of Capitalism, but then I don't think just because someone is able to build a better mousetrap, I should demand that he turn over half of his income for society. He should pay a fair share of taxes, but not excessive to the point just to make things even.

But he is paying his fair share of taxes, the same proportion as everyone else. If you're going to go by that logic, then the middle class lose half their salary as well, but for some reason we can't let this be the case for the rich? It's not 'excessive', it's fair. You want the rich to get richer. And don't trot out the same line about them 'supporting the poor'. They're don't, the poor get poorer and remain stuck in their same situation, no matter how high a proportion of taxes the rich pay.

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Germany would feel the strain at first, but still end up with economy along the same lines as today and still remain incredibly successful.

I have to agree. Cutting way back on the welfare state, putting in fiscal austerity measures and raising the retirement age to 67 certainly does pay off when times get hard.

But the roots of Germany’s export-driven success reach back to the painful restructuring under the previous government of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder.

By paring unemployment benefits, easing rules for hiring and firing, and management and labor’s working together to keep a lid on wages, Germany ensured that it could again export its way to growth with competitive, nimble companies producing the cars and machine tools the world’s economies — emerging and developed alike — demanded.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/14/world/europe/14germany.html?pagewanted=all

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oginome,

By the way,

The country, dubbed the "sick man of Europe" a decade ago because of its bloated welfare system and chronic over-regulation of markets, has cut back benefits, reformed its labour market and kept its budget deficit under control.

Its state-assisted, short-time working system enabled hundreds of companies to survive the 2009 global downturn with their workforces intact, while other nations were putting thousands of skilled workers on the street. Germany's partners, especially France and the US, have complained that it has contributed to the economic imbalances plaguing the euro zone, prospering at their expense by becoming increasingly productive through years of modest wage deals and cautious government spending.

http://www.thenational.ae/thenationalconversation/industry-insights/economics/germanys-example-to-an-ailing-europe

Tight with the budget. Cut back on benefits, cut back on regulations and Voila! And it's the model you want America to emulate.................Congratulations you are now considered a true Conservative and would fit right in with the Republican party in America.

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Tight with the budget. Cut back on benefits, cut back on regulations and Voila! And it's the model you want America to emulate.................Congratulations you are now considered a true Conservative and would fit right in with the Republican party in America.I

It cut back on benefits, but but it still remains a social capitalist state, Germany does NOT adhere to the ideals of laissez faire capitalism. Even a decade ago, when it was dubbed 'the sick man of Europe', it still had a higher standard of living and better welfare system han the USA and was an exporting powerhouse. Universal health care will always remain universal. The welfare system remains robust. And a government subsidied, reduced working hour scheme introduced in 2009 helped reduce the unemployment rate, unthinkinable in any laissez faire economy. The system was refined, but NOT removed. You keep twisting. Germany remains truly social capitalist, it is not laissez faire and has no desire to be, the Republican party would fail horribly there.

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News for oginome: Germany is not America. America is not Germany. You are comparing apples and oranges. If one in fifteen or twenty people in Germany were there illegally (as is the case in the US) how 'robust' would you estimate their system would be then?

People are people, no matter what country they reside in. Germany has one million illegal immigrants by the way. It's America's problem if it turns a blind eye to the massive influx of illegal immigrants that flood into its country every year just. Tighter immigration control is needed.

Furthermore, if life is so grand in Germany why is it young Germans do not want to validate the system by exercising their ability to do so (and get full state support no less) with the best way known - by creating another generation to enjoy, refine and strengthen the supposedly superior German system? Fact is, young Germans are not having kids (though the Mohammedan immigrants there are .)

You don't get it, the birth rate for native born US Americans is also below replacement level, this is a feature across most developed societies, it's only the immigrants in your country who have the high birth rates.

I suspect you really aren't that keen on Germany, but it's the only country you think you can pass off as a seemingly viable alternative to the free market capitalism you imagine we have in the US.What we have in the US is not strict laissez-faire.Far from it. It is more like interventionist chaos.

I'm far keener on Germany than I am on America. And yes, it is a great alternative to the Anglo-Saxon model. And what you have in the US IS laissez faire.

btw - you have defeated your own argument/demand that the US needs universal health care, tho you obviously can't see it.I'll give you a couple of days.

Oh well, since you know how I've defeated my argument, why not explain it?

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btw - you have defeated your own argument/demand that the US needs universal health care, tho you obviously can't see it.I'll give you a couple of days.

Oh, if this is the quote that you're referring to, then no, I haven't defeated my argument,

'And don't trot out the same line about them 'supporting the poor'. They're don't, the poor get poorer and remain stuck in their same situation, no matter how high a proportion of taxes the rich pay.'

I was referring to when Alphaape stated earlier that 40-50% of the income tax in California, Connecticut and New Jersey comes from the top earning 1%. That doesn't reflect any 'generosity' on behalf of the rich who are 'supporting' the poor, it just reinforces how unbelievably deep the divide in wealth in your country actually is. The poor remain poor, not because most of the taxes come from the rich, (who keep getting richer), but because of the laissez faire economics your country chooses to pursue.

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The wealth in Japan is distributed much more evenly for the most part and has resulted in the maintenance of a harmonious, stable society. 3/4 of Japanese consider themselves middle class.

@oginome: From a USA Today article from 2007:

Income inequality rose twice as fast in Japan as in other rich countries between the mid '80s and 2000, the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reported last week. The gap between rich and poor in Japan is wider than the OECD average. The OECD's 30 members include many of the world's leading economies, such as the USA, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, France and South Korea. Similarly, Merrill Lynch Japan Securities found that the top 10% of Japanese male wage earners now earn 3.2 times what the bottom 10% make; the figure had been steady at around 2.6 times in the late '90s. "I see a serious problem," says lawmaker Takuya Tasso of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan. "Japanese society is dividing into winners and losers, rich people and poor people. The middle class is being destroyed."

The trend is troubling in a country where just about everyone considers themselves middle class and where no one is supposed to get left behind.

"There is an expression in Japanese, ichioku-sohchu-ryu, which literally means, '100 million completely middle class' (or) more naturally, 'a nation of middle-class people,' " says Shigeru Miyagawa, a professor of Japanese at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Newspapers are now asking, 'What happened to ichioku-sohchu-ryu?' "

Article Link: http://www.usatoday.com/money/world/2006-07-23-japan-usat_x.htm

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@ oginome:

There is a huge difference between the rich and poor in Japan, it may not be as apparent to some but it is there. Search back on JT and find the articles about the "freeters" and how they live.

From the same article I mentioned:

Freeters are still being shut out of full-time jobs as they approach their 30s. Japanese companies favor hiring recent graduates, training them well and molding them into loyal employees; freeters are viewed as damaged goods, harder to train and discipline. "Companies are reluctant to hire freeters," says Hisashi Yamada, senior economist at the Japan Research Institute. "Freeters will get old as freeters."

Also being left behind economically are single parents — mostly mothers who had to re-enter the workforce in low-paying jobs after a divorce. More than 50% of working single parents in Japan live in "relative poverty," earning less than half the country's median income, compared with an average around 20% in other rich countries.

So it is not as honky-dory as you keep making it out to be.

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Of course America has a divide in wealth. Look at all the people who immigrate. You start at the bottom more or less. You pick up the langugage, save money, send for family and relatives That has always been the way. I am surprised an Irish person has not learned this. Who do you think built the railways in America?

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You can walk through Tokyo alone in the middle of the night, but imagine doing the same in New York? Yikes

@oginome: Tell that to the 11 yr old boy that was stabbed walking on the street that was featured in the crime section of JT.

But poverty is still not as high as your country, and moreover the nature of the poverty is completely different, none of the drug infested ghettos and crime-ridden slums which blight America.

Of course you know that a lot of these areas fell into decay as a result of not the rich getting richer, but the "Great Society programs" placing rules on the poor that led to their own self-destruction (i.e. no public assistance if a man is in the home, which leads to more unwed mothers).

In Japan, poverty mostly takes the form of things such as, for example, people being unable to afford education fees for their children and who end up working more than one job just so they can reach, or at least look like they're able to reach, the minimum standard of living required by the pressurising standards of Japanese society, just so they can maintain 'face'.

So in other words, keeping up with the Jones' is why there are poor people here in Japan, never mind that companies are not hiring or as it stated in the article, the inequality in pay for single mothers and women in the workplace.

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Of course America has a divide in wealth. Look at all the people who immigrate. You start at the bottom more or less. You pick up the langugage, save money, send for family and relatives That has always been the way

But people aren't working their way up. They stay trapped in poverty. The divide has continued to grow and grow with no end in sight.

I am surprised an Irish person has not learned this. Who do you think built the railways in America?

Learned what? That people immigrate to your country? And what's your 'surprise at an Irish person not learning this?' Do you keep track of what American immigrants get up to abroad?

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Tell that to the 11 yr old boy that was stabbed walking on the street that was featured in the crime section of JT.

Yes, there's crime in Japan, but it's a fact that rates are much much lower than in America. If I told him Japan was one of the safest countries in the world, it wouldn't be a lie. What happened to him was abominable, but it doesn't mean Japan is suddenly as dangerous as America. Pulling out incidences like the boy getting stabbed won't change the truth one bit. You're still safe walking the streets of Tokyo at night, but not New York. There's no comparison between safety levels in Japan and USA.

Of course you know that a lot of these areas fell into decay as a result of not the rich getting richer,

They fell into poverty in the first place because of laissez faire capitalism, which encouraged the divide between rich and poor and neglected areas which fell into decay as of fair game in America's pursuit of growth. They got poorer and the rich got richer.

but the "Great Society programs" placing rules on the poor that led to their own self-destruction (i.e. no public assistance if a man is in the home, which leads to more unwed mothers).

The Great Society Program was all the way back in the 1960s. These communites were mired in poverty and were self-destructing long before any government attempt at trying to rectify their situation, and of course, instead of thinking in the long-term, the War on Poverty was disbanded in the late 60s, which is over 40 years ago now. And the communites have continued to fall apart, without any social safety net or universal health care.

So in other words, keeping up with the Jones' is why there are poor people here in Japan, never mind that companies are not hiring or as it stated in the article, the inequality in pay for single mothers and women in the workplace.

Never said 'keeping up with the Joneses' is why there are poor people, I said that's the form poverty often takes, because of the obsession with 'face' and how people don't sell themselves for drugs like in America. Inequality in pay for single mothers and the treatment women in the workplace are definitely a problem, and that's something which can be found in most societies, and the companies hiring once a year is bizarre, but for all of Japan's problems today, unemployment, crime and overall poverty levels are still higher in America, sorry.

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The Great Society Program was all the way back in the 1960s. These communities were mired in poverty and were self-destructing long before any government attempt at trying to rectify their situation, and of course, instead of thinking in the long-term, the War on Poverty was disbanded in the late 60s, which is over 40 years ago now. And the communities have continued to fall apart, without any social safety net or universal health care.

Not true. In mid-1960s America, the nation's out-of-wedlock birth rate (which stood at 7.7 percent at the time) began a rapid and relentless climb across all demographic lines, a climb that would continue unabated until 1994, when the Welfare Reform Act put the brakes on that trend. Today the overall American illegitimacy rate is about 33 percent (26 percent for whites). For blacks, it hovers at near 70 percent-approximately three times the level of black illegitimacy that existed when the War on Poverty began in 1964.

As late as 1950, black women nationwide were more likely to be married than white women, and only 9 percent of black families with children were headed by a single parent. In the 1950s, black children had a 52 percent chance of living with both their biological parents until age seventeen; by the 1980s those odds had dwindled to a mere 6 percent. In 1959, only 2 percent of black children were reared in households in which the mother never married; today that figure approaches 60 percent.

The destruction of this stable black family was set in motion by the policies and teachings of the left, which for decades have encouraged blacks to view themselves as outcasts from a hostile American society; to identify themselves as perpetual victims who are entitled to compensatory privileges designed to "level the playing field" in a land where discrimination would otherwise run rampant; and to reject "white" norms and traditions as part and parcel of the "racist" culture that allegedly despises blacks.

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@ oginome: And I can speak to the above post, sine I am a Black male who grew up in the 70's, in areas that you like to refer to as ghetto. True I grew up in a Black area, but it was not all ghetto, and people were not worrying about why other people had more than they (at least not to the extent that they are today).

The goal for people in my area, was to do better for themselves, and to try at all costs not to be on public assistance. Now I see people in my old area who demand the right for welfare, while when I ws growing up, people knew it was there, and some had to use it, but it carried a stigma as you not trying to make it on your own. In other words, people didn't have so much of the "entitlement mentality" that they have today.

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Not true. In mid-1960s America, the nation's out-of-wedlock birth rate (which stood at 7.7 percent at the time) began a rapid and relentless climb across all demographic lines, a climb that would continue unabated until 1994, when the Welfare Reform Act put the brakes on that trend. Today the overall American illegitimacy rate is about 33 percent (26 percent for whites). For blacks, it hovers at near 70 percent-approximately three times the level of black illegitimacy that existed when the War on Poverty began in 1964.As late as 1950, black women nationwide were more likely to be married than white women, and only 9 percent of black families with children were headed by a single parent. In the 1950s, black children had a 52 percent chance of living with both their biological parents until age seventeen; by the 1980s those odds had dwindled to a mere 6 percent. In 1959, only 2 percent of black children were reared in households in which the mother never married; today that figure approaches 60 percent.

You're telling me about out-of-wedlock birth and divorce rates increasing, but other factors come into play here, such as the growing emancipation of women over the decades which was mirrored across most of the first world, resulting in the overall number of unmarried mothers increasing not only in America but also in other developed societies, regardess of whether they needed welfare or not. But then look at Japan, the 'out-of-wedlock' birth rate is only 2%, even though the country basically has universal health care and a social safety net greater than America's, simply because of the cultural norms which still places a huge importance on 'the family'. Can't blame welfare for this. America still promotes individualism at all costs, while the group in Japan is more important. The vast majority of Americans who are having children 'out of wedlock' today were not even alive during the short lived War on Poverty era. Those outdated policies from forty years ago have no power anymore and yet the numbers of unmarried mothers continue to soar in an America without a safety net and universal health care. And the Welfare Reform Act didn't help, most of the people it was designed for still remain mired in poverty. 'Illegitimate' is an ugly word by the way, just because someone's parents aren't married doesn't make them illegimitate. That discriminatory word needs to be done away with.

The destruction of this stable black family was set in motion by the policies and teachings of the left, which for decades have encouraged blacks to view themselves as outcasts from a hostile American society; to identify themselves as perpetual victims who are entitled to compensatory privileges designed to "level the playing field" in a land where discrimination would otherwise run rampant; and to reject "white" norms and traditions as part and parcel of the "racist" culture that allegedly despises blacks.

The 1950s was far from a golden age like you like to claim. Black people WERE discriminated against hugely, this isn't some conspiracy theory which the left tried to perpetuate. You talk about the 'stability of the black family' in the 1950s, but racial apartheid and discrimation were basically part and parcel of daily life in America then, especially in the backward South where Republican values reigned supreme.

And I can speak to the above post, sine I am a Black male who grew up in the 70's, in areas that you like to refer to as ghetto. True I grew up in a Black area, but it was not all ghetto, and people were not worrying about why other people had more than they (at least not to the extent that they are today). The goal for people in my area, was to do better for themselves, and to try at all costs not to be on public assistance. Now I see people in my old area who demand the right for welfare, while when I ws growing up, people knew it was there, and some had to use it, but it carried a stigma as you not trying to make it on your own. In other words, people didn't have so much of the "entitlement mentality" that they have today.

The demands for welfare come from people who see no option for themselves, not because they simply feel 'entitled', but because they've been surrounded in poverty and misery their whole lives, because the areas they live in have been neglected and left to decline by the government, and because of the rampant drug abuse and crime which has been left to soar unchecked. There is a sense of hopelessness and despair which leaves people convinced they can't get out of their situation, not because of a (non-existent) social safety net holding them back.

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The leading Republican nominee = rich, rich 1%

But it is same on the other side. Obama is rich. Gore is one of the richest ppl in America, way wealthier than Bush. john Kerry beats all of em together.

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Obama can start thinking about installing his own basketball court in the White House. Its his until 2016.

Yeah, sure. Obama certainly has lived the lifestyle of the '99%'. Well, 99% of the rich anyway.

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As a long-term expat I have to point out that if you are anywhere near the median annual income in the US you are, relative to the rest of the world, in the hated "one percent."

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Angela Merkel herself stated that multiculturism has failed, whether that's true or not, who knows, but the statement itself is certainly proof that Germany is far from homogenous like you claimed.

Germany also doesn't have 50 seperate state constitutions with smaller semi-autonomous districts within them. I do not feel that the U.S Federal government is a realiable or efficient forum in which to make sweeping decisons regarding personal lifestyle choices that are better handled on the local level. Their time would be better served focusing on national security and improving the federal criminal justice system. Additionally economics should be prevented from mixing with politics whenever possible. The less sway they have on each other the better off we'd all be.

Only in America could a 'debate' over whether to make health care free in the 21st century would even have started to begin with.

Its the fairly simple concept that a person does not have the rights to the property or services of another. This also differs radically from state to state. I am happy to live in a state without a mandate, Michigan used to have a rather robust saftey net that has since been robbed blind by leeches in Detroit, generations of professional pan handlers have made many of the states programs untenable.

The US is hardly a model of civility and cohesion to begin with.

On one hand you state that the U.S is a "monolithic corporation" and on the other you chide it for lacking cohesion. I have always maintained that the decentralization of power within the republic is one of the most attractive features of the U.S system. Life would be so much easier if the government would just do as it was supposed to do, instead I've got to deal with progressives from states I've never even been to trying to force me to buy healthcare I don't want and social conservatives from other ones trying to tell me my friends sexual orientation is a form of insanity. It's just one big headache. Courts and the military, thats all.

Running America like an enlightenment democracy and not a corporate business would hardly bring about Armageddon.

Actually I think the reverse. I think the population has a little to much control over congress. The Senate really should not be assembled by popular vote. It was meant to be the house for state interests and to be less affected by the constantly changing opinions of the public. I think we would have far more reasonable discourse if that were the case, but voters love their blood and thunder so we're stuck with bickering partisans as a result.

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Agreed Taxes need to be extracted from the population to obtain our medical "free care" nirvana. I am thinking since America went that free market thinking thing regarding medical care and it had that horrible side effect of actually causing the medical profession to innovate and discover the best medicines and care darn make a profit also is just evil.

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It's arbitrary and senseless. Bizarre discrepancies like this wouldn't occur if the country had universal health care

So you are saying it is my responsiblitiy as an American taxpayer, to provide health care for someone who is in my country illegaly? I don't think so. The discrepancies you cite are the result of the regulations that make it hard for middle class Americans to take advantage of the services of health care, that they are subsidizing through their taxes. Yet, someone who is not a citizen gets a free ride. .

No need for that Fresno hospital to spend millions on things which would be taken care of by the state in the rest of the developed world.

But you see, the state is taking care of the costs of the hospital. The majority of the charity cases get paid by Medicare, which is financed through the state by taxes and federal subsidies. I doubt that one hospital alone in Fresno can generate $100 million in donations. If so, they would be on the level of major universities in collecting donations. Americans do give to charity, but not that much.

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With universal health care, this problem wouldn't exist.

Yes it would. Since you say Japan has a better healthcare system than America, the government pays 70%, the individual is responsible for the remainder 30%. So in the case I cited, it cost almost a $1 million for his stay and care. So if we had the same system as Japan, he still would be on the hook for $300,000. But this guy, an illegal alien, does not have to pay anything. All the while, a regular middle income family would not have had the luxury of that kind of extended care, even with health insurance. Most policies have a cap at what they will spend in a year.

Just multiply this issue, along with how people who sometimes have no right receiving benfits that they don't deserve get them, while those in the middle class are not afforded the same opportunities, and you have the situation America is in today. Those big businesses that get bailed out are just as bad as those who receive benefits that they shouldn't be receiving. I am not saying "screw the poor" but there has to be a better way at determining who is actually eligible to recive help, and those who shouldn't.

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And sorry, none of the comments you've pulled out contradict anything I've said and no one in the comment section is calling for the privatisation of medicine either.

Well next time your back home you can pass that on to your new Pakistani doctor.

The Irish health agency called for help from Pakistani and Indian doctors as local doctors immigrate because of long working hours and poor career prospects, reported the Irish Times.

According to the report, the shortage of junior doctors has become a serious problem in the country.

On a recent trip to India and Pakistan, Irish health officials found more than 420 experienced doctors who, they said, are willing to work in Ireland.

However, the Irish Medical Council said that only 30 of these doctors have applied to register in Ireland

http://tribune.com.pk/story/193351/ireland-looks-to-pakistan-to-help-solve-doctor-shortage/

So you have crappy system that going broke, Doctors that beating feet because they can't stand the working conditions and is now outsourcing your primary care givers to Pakistan and India.

Yet you gripe about the U.S system??????

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From what you have posted about your economy and whatnot I think we could say the say about Ireland. But the Irish aren't risking life and limb to get to America. At least, they don't come in the massive numbers they once did.

Ireland is still a developed country, despite what happened to the economy. There's no comparison between Ireland and Mexico. Despite having to get an IMF bailout, Ireland's GDP per capita is still higher than Japan's and nearly three times as large as Mexico's. Ireland is not a dangerous, drug ridden hell hole like Mexico.

Final approval has been granted by the German parliament to reform the country’s mandatory health insurance scheme. The overhaul of the healthcare system is seen as vital for Germany to stem increasing costs associated with its public healthcare system, which covers more than 72 million insured people in the country. The move by the German government comes at a time when the country, with the largest economy in Europe, struggles to contain raising healthcare costs and seeks to avoid a predicted €11 billion (US$13.2 billion) shortfall in German public healthcare finances, expected to occur in 2011. The German public healthcare system is calculated at being one the most expensive in the world, with the new reform on mandatory health insurance coming into effect in 2011 in a bid to curb the ever growing cost of health costs on public finances.

Are you serious? The money spent on Germany's health care is still nowhere near American levels, no matter how costly it is right now. They'll still keep their universal health care. They'll still keep their lower infant and maternal mortality rate, a system that has the better access and quality of care than America's. You're not one to talk about cost when America is the one that spends twice as much as the rich country average (far more than Germany) on medicine and the numbers keep rising (and would have done with or withour Obama coming into power). And the result of all this obscene cost is still a disastrous system which leads to the deaths of tens of thousands each year. You're desperate to show the European system is in straits, but, when you pull out these stories, you're just highlighting how great it is still is next to America's mess. So Germany's system neads reform? Yep, and so does Ireland's. But not toward the private end and everyone agrees on that. Your health care is still being shamed. Nobody will die in Western Europe because their human rights are denied and profits are put first.

Your running out of other peoples money quite quick in Europe to keep socialized medicine a success story.

No they're called taxes, not just taking money from other people, and no European objects to taxes going toward health care. 'Socialised medicine' is still a success story. America's? Nope, still a disaster and not a model for any country to emulate.

No I don't think so. If a person is making around $65K and pays around $11K in total taxes. A person making $1million will probably pay around $35K. In my opion, that is enough. Just because he makes that much, there is no reason why after he has paid well above 35%. Government needs to learn how to spend what it has, and not just keep giving money away like it was nothing.

Why would it make sense for someone earning a smaller salary to pay a much higher proportion of it towards taxes, compared to someone earning millions. You argument is that the rich should get even richer. Oh dear.

You are missing the point. Only about 300,00 people are putting in the majority of state income tax revenue that is received by the state. How are they ever going to get the state moving if the burden of paying taxes move away. Next they will start taxing those who don't have as much.

Not missing any point. You're trying to make me feel sorry for the rich because most of the taxes come from them, but i just shows to me how unequal the wealth divide is. People should be taxed in proportion to their income, not less for the rich and more for everyone else.

So tell me, how much do you think a person should pay in taxes? 50% of their income they make has to be taken away? Where is the incentive to work then, if after you put in all of the effort, it is taken away by the government to be redistributed.

But if they're rich, the amount of money they make is still gargantuan after taxes. So someone no longer has an incentive to keep working because they'll take home 1,500,000 out of 3 million if the 50% tax is applied? Oh dear, I always knew Americans were greedy, but this is something else. Me, me, me. You seem to recoil in horror for tax money being used 'by the government to be redistributed.' Maybe some if should go towards health care, so your country can finally have a first world health care system that is no longer shamed by even Cuba's? American still can't seem to rid itself of the cult of greed and individualism, 'why the hell should I pay taxes for someone else!' It's sad.

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It's "sad" only because you know nothing about America. That's all. Why should I or any American pay for the health care of even one of the 12 to 20 million million illegal aliens in the States? Would you expect Japanese to pay for your medical care if you (along with millions of your fellow countrymen) were here illegally ?

But it's not for illegal aliens, it's for your fellow citizens. 45,000 of who die every year, because they're denied health care. Ilegal aliens are another debate. Health care is a right, not a privilege, unreconstructed and your country is failing badly on this front.

Excellent point, but it is next to impossible to impress upon Lefties the importance of incentive. They just don't get it. In oginome's mind these doctors, most of whom basically who put their own lives on hold til they were 30, have left Ireland because they are 'selfish' ,they still believe in 'individualism' , not socialism, the creed of jealous craven losers everywhere.

I certaintly don't believe these doctors are 'selfish', I have friends who are studying medicine and I can see how hard they work. Doctors are leaving because the Irish health care system is in need of reform, since the two tier system is unsustainable with the private sector putting a strain on the public system and the poor economic climate in general making everything more difficult. Free health care is not the reason for this problem. Any doctor or med student I know would balk at the concept of privatisation. Nobody in Ireland wants that, in fact they blame the growth of the private sector for many of the healh care problems today. Laissez faire capitalism, the creed of fat, selfish, obnoxious Americans everywhere. And I've never been called a socialist except by an American.

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Excellent point, but it is next to impossible to impress upon Lefties the importance of incentive.

Actually I am more dumbfounded that when you have a socialized health care system that has turned out so crappy that your own countrymen would rather emigrant and treat strangers then their own fellow citizens...........That this is still being held up as some sort of "success" and role model system for America to emulate is just..... well in my humble opinion not making a very strong case for it at all.

So No thanks, I think I'd rather get back to what was being proposed before Obama got his Govt mitts into things. Repeal Obama-care and reform our American system this way.

A Real Health-Care Fix Would Save You $7,100

http://www.smartmoney.com/invest/markets/how-much-could-health-care-reform-save-you/

A better group to do the math is the non-partisan National Academy of Sciences. Its Institute of Medicine ran the numbers in September. It found $210 billion waiting to be saved from unnecessary services, like branded drugs used where generics would do. It also found $85 billion in overspending on doctors and hospitals that are overpriced relative to benchmarks. And there was $195 billion in unnecessary insurance administration costs. And a lot more. The total: $810 billion a year in health-care spending that doesn t make us healthier. That s 10 times the savings Congress is arguing over, only delivered every year instead of being spread over a decade. Per household, it s $7,132 a year.

Article goes more in depth but to summarize:

In short, American spends 16 percent of her GDP on health care. France spends about 12 percent. Cut the costs first through implementing what the article lines out to do (and after Obama care is repealed) and get the costs the same as France 12 percent GDP, then since Americans are used to spending 16 percent after we hit the target of 12 percent we can raise it to 14 percent GDP using the two percent in revenue to help the uninsured obtain coverage.

We have not only made insurance more affordable by going after costs first we could then afford to hike it 2 percent to cover for the less fortunate and provide them a subsidy to buy PRIVATE insurance and still save two percent on what we are forking out now which is still................200 BILLION a year in savings. That's money that we could then put toward paying down Obama's deficit and get away from Government run nightmares. That's how you do it the.

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They control costs through the very ways the article points out. Strange that America should do that first and foremost before anything else, control costs before embarking on your "nirvana" of socialist health care for the U.S.? I think not.

America's health system which is privatised involves much more government spending's than France which has universal health care. It's incredibly strange whichever way you look at it.

And secondly if socialized medicine has turned out to such a nightmare for your country of Ireland what makes you think the outcome won't be the same in the U.S? Since your willing to put yourself as some sort of all knowing judge as to what is best for America and health care reform in my country what guarantee can you give me that our system will be more like Germany's than like Ireland's is now if we embark on that path?

But our health care system is still better than yours and our country had to get bailed out last year. We don't refuse our citizens health care and let them die. You're acting as if the prospect of Irish health care is some sort of doomsday scenario for American, when in fact, for all its problems, it still trumps America which has the worst health care in the developed world. Our economy collapsed because we pursued the path of malignant laissez faire economic development, not because of any 'socialist' policies. Same with America. You're country fell into recession before Obama came into power when the Republicans were still sitting in the White House.

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A four month "Nightline" investigation into Medicare fraud makes one thing perfectly clear: this is a crime that pays and pays and pays. The federal government admits that a staggering $60 billion is stolen from tax payers through Medicare scams every year.

So because of scams and poor level of oversight and control with Medicare, universal health care should just be written off? It's up to the government to implement more stringent levels of oversight. You're describing matters in term of money again. This is a human rights issue. 45,000 of your fellow citizens will die again this year. Economics and money are once again being put before human rights

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The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) is a U.S. Act of Congress passed in 1986 as part of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). It requires hospitals to provide care to anyone needing emergency healthcare treatment regardless of citizenship, legal status or ability to pay.

You keep running away from the truth. 45,000 die every year, because they don't have health insurance. No failse information. Stop trying to cover up the truth.

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A lot more die each year, and they have health insurance. Where do you get this number from. Considering that a state like CA has 30 million people, and has over 1 million on welfare receiving cash from the government, 45,000 seems like a small number.

Those who had health insurance and died were still provided with the necessary health care all along to help them. All that could be done for them was. So your point is moot.The 45,000 who died last year were DENIED this human right. And the fact that you dismiss this as a small number compared to the rest of the population is disgusting. 45,000 is a huge number for the richest country in the world. Even ten people dying because they were denied a human right would be too much. http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2009/09/new-study-finds-45000-deaths-annually-linked-to-lack-of-health-coverage/

Everyone in the U.S. - including those illegally in the U.S. -- is guaranteed access to basic health care. Under a 1968 federal law, all patients seeking care in hospital emergency rooms must be given a minimum level of treatment, regardless of their ability to pay or health insurance status. The law applies to all hospitals that participate in Medicare -- which most do - and requires the hospitals to provide initial patient screening, life-saving and "stabilizing" emergency care and transfers to advanced trauma centers, if needed. Those services must be provided without asking about the patient's ability to pay. Of course, the growing demand on hospitals to provide this minimum level of free care contributes to rising health care costs.

No, the US health system is almost completely privatised and yet costs are still the highest in the developed world, twice the OECD averge. The 'minimum level of free care' is not what's causing costs to keep on increasing, when your government still spends barely anything on public health care anyway compared to other developed nations.

Most people become uninsured because they lose or leave their jobs and regain insurance coverage when they return to work. In 2007, the Census Bureau reported that 253.4 million people -- about 85 percent of the total population -- did have health insurance.According to Census Bureau data, of the estimated 46 million "Americans" without health insurance, more than 10 million are non-U.S. citizens.

Why did you put quotation marks around 'Americans'? Even if over 10 million are aliens, that still leaves over 30 million actual American CITIZENS without health insurance. Disgraceful.

Many young workers, whose employers do offer it, simply do not consider health insurance. According to the Census Bureau, 18.3 million of the uninsured are under age 34. A 2003 Blue Cross/Blue Shield Association study concluded that, "More than 14 million uninsured Americans are already eligible for health insurance through Medicaid and State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)." These people could automatically be signed up for these programs by seeking care at a hospital. In addition, a Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute study shows that 7 out of 10 uninsured children could be covered if their parents chose to sign up for existing government programs.

14 million, that means over 15 million citizens still aren't eligible to receive health care, nevermind the 10 million aliens you like to keep harping on about. And the report on the children show 3 out of 10 of them would still remain completely uninsured. Chilling.

We have measures in place in America to address those who have the need.

Except you don't. No universal care, millions left on the wayside, not 'eligible' (sounds pretty Orwellian!) for a human right.

One thing about Obamacare, it calls for the hiring of over 12000 new people at the IRS to monitor who is paying their taxes if they chose not to have health insurance. Is that a good thing?

I never said Obamacare was brilliant, just better that was there before (nothing).

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I find statements like these ridiculous. Individualism isn't a cult. It springs from the idea that each person has intrinsic worth and should be treated equally by their government and based on their own merits. This idea alone is at the core of America's greatness. When an persons individuality is taken away, then so are their human rights.

Individualism has been promoted to a religion in America, more than nearly any other country. There's no sense of the collective or greater good. 'The core of America's greatness' - how cheesy. Your last line shows up the blatant contradiction of your 'blessed nation'. America is deeply individualistic and yet basic human rights keep being denied, as we see from the tens of thousands of its citizens who die every year because they can't afford health care.

The problem with America today is that it has been incrementally abandoning the idea of individual worth in favor of the collectivist and dysfunction that Europe has followed since Bismarck. Since the 1930's, America has pursued one socialist program after another (Social Security and FDR's New Deal, LBJ's Great Society, Nixon's affirmative action, Bush's Medicare Prescription Drug program, up to ObamaCare. Each of these programs are socialist in nature and have replaced one problem with an even bigger problem as they are unsustainable. America has social programs that cannot be paid for and an entrenched political class and bureaucracy than will fight to the death to keep them no matter the dire fiscal consequences (see Greece). American's have become dependent on government and to save ourselves we must learn to be independent to the greatest extent possible once again.

Not really, America is one of the least 'socialistic' country in the developed world and has been forever. Tax rates are generally much lower their equivalents in European countries and people keep telling me the decentralisation of power is one of the most attractive things about living there. Yet America still remains a chaotic, crime-ridden, poverty-stricken mess with its dual first world/third world societies Go figure. The obsession with big business and laissez faire ideals has led the country to the repulsive state its in, not the implementation of some social programs. You trying to claim America's problems today are based on some failed socialist ideal that subsequent governments tried to enforce is laughable, when even something like health care has never been universal.

Socialism will fail in Germany as it has just about every where else it has been tried (only very small Jewish kabutz have been able to pull off a successful collectivist social contract and only because of the very small scale, and cultural and religious homogeniety.

No, it won't. Germany's socio-capitalist model has created a country of extremely high living standards, high educational attainment, low crime rate and equitable distribution, all of which continue to elude America with its goal of big business and profit before human rights. Germany won't fail, they basically had to reabsorb a broken down, communist country in the early 90s and they still managed to overcome that and continue to have a robust economy.

America currently has a socialist health care system. It is mainly run through the government even before ObamaCare. That's why it is such a failure. ObamaCare will only make the issue worse as rationing will become necessary as costs continue to sky rocket.

America's health system was already an expensive, privatised disaster long before Obama came into power, more costly than in any other country and with the worst overall level of care in the developed world.

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I guess you have never heard of Medicare and Medicaid - two hugely expensive public health care programs financed by tax payers. Costs are high because we have the scientific know how to provide health care services that other countries refuse because of the expense. That's why so many people from countries "free health care" come to the US for treatment and surgeries that they cannot get in their home countries. In other words, they would be denied their 'human rights' unless they came to America.

And yet, while you treat foreigners you let tens of thousands of your own people die each year due to this very same system that you love so much. Like I said, it's inhumane to in have having your country's health 'care' exists as a business with scientists working in laboratories winning Nobel prizes, if your own citizens can't even access the fruit of these discoveries.

No system is perfect in any country. People in countries with "free health care" die all the time because they cannot get care that has been rationed by their governments. America's problem is that their is too much government interference in health care - not too little. The poor have Medicaid. The elderly have Medicare. Two hugely expensive programs that consume ever greater portions of government spending. Now the rest of the country will get ObamaCare - whether we like it or not. I don't mind charitable programs along the lines of Medicaid for the poor, but I don't want my choices taken away from me to get the care I think is best for me. I'm sure that Europeans love to be told that they cannot get treatments that could save their lives or enhance them because they are too expensive. I however, would like to make that decision myself. In other words,

No system is perfect, but America's is the worst in the developed world. And no, how is there 'too much government intereference in health care' when over 30 million of your own citizens are uninsured?

I don't want the government to tell me how to live my life. It's a human rights issue for me.

So you'd prefer the system to stay privatised and for millions to remain uninsured, or else go bankrupt if they can afford the care, not to mention the tens of thousands who will continue dying every year because they can't pay for medica treatment? OK.

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Being uninsured isn't the same as being without medical care. You seem to think it is but it isn't.

Being uninsured means not being able to afford medical care. Tens of thousands keep dying in your country every year because of this. You seem to want to see it as something other than what it is.

You keep insisting that America's health care system is totally private and it just isn't. Most health care providers are private but a very large portion of the money used to provide health care services are from the government. Again, Medicare and Medicaid are government programs that together constitute about 23% of all government expenditures. In addition, the government heavily regulates the health care system. The US government (ie. taxpayers) spend a little under $1 trillion on health care each year.

But like you said yourself, most health care providers in your country are private. America's system is nowhere near socialist, no matter how much you try and shout it is from the roof tops. People are dying because they can't afford prescriptions. 46 million of your countrymen (give or take 10 million 'aliens') are without health insurance, simply because they cannot afford it. That's privatisation Wolfpack. Doesn't happen in other developed countries that actually do have universal health care. This is a problem unique to America, because they've decided to take the 'free market' route when it comes to medicine.

You either know very little about the true state of the American health care system or you are just regurgitating some ideological propaganda. Such divisive rhetoric based on false information only intensives divisions for no apparent gain.

False information? I've presented facts, about the millions were are uninsured, the tens of thousands who die unecessarily every year, and an overall level of heath care that's the worst in the developed world. No false information there. The truth.

I do not love America's health care system. It is a socialist mess that is falling apart at the seams even faster now that ObamaCare has been forced upon the citizenry.

It was a costly privatised mess that was falling apart at the seams long before Obama came to power.

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News for oginome: Germany is not America. America is not Germany. You are comparing apples and oranges. If one in fifteen or twenty people in Germany were there illegally (as is the case in the US) how 'robust' would you estimate their system would be then? Furthermore, if life is so grand in Germany why is it young Germans do not want to validate the system by exercising their ability to do so (and get full state support no less) with the best way known - by creating another generation to enjoy, refine and strengthen the supposedly superior German system? Fact is, young Germans are not having kids (though the Mohammedan immigrants there are .) I suspect you really aren't that keen on Germany, but it's the only country you think you can pass off as a seemingly viable alternative to the free market capitalism you imagine we have in the US.What we have in the US is not strict laissez-faire.Far from it. It is more like interventionist chaos. btw - you have defeated your own argument/demand that the US needs universal health care, tho you obviously can't see it.I'll give you a couple of days.

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From a USA Today article from 2007: - Income inequality rose twice as fast in Japan as in other rich countries between the mid '80s and 2000, the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reported last week. - The gap between rich and poor in Japan is wider than the OECD average. The OECD's 30 members include many of the world's leading economies, such as the USA, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, France and South Korea.

Nothing new here and nothing that goes against anything I've said about the US. Yes Japan has its problems like every other country. The rising poverty level is a problem. But poverty is still not as high as your country, and moreover the nature of the poverty is completely different, none of the drug infested ghettos and crime-ridden slums which blight America. In Japan, poverty mostly takes the form of things such as, for example, people being unable to afford education fees for their children and who end up working more than one job just so they can reach, or at least look like they're able to reach, the minimum standard of living required by the pressurising standards of Japanese society, just so they can maintain 'face'. Yes, it's still awful and it's still poverty, but nobody's selling themselves for crack.

I see a serious problem," says lawmaker Takuya Tasso of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan. "Japanese society is dividing into winners and losers, rich people and poor people. The middle class is being destroyed." The trend is troubling in a country where just about everyone considers themselves middle class and where no one is supposed to get left behind."There is an expression in Japanese, ichioku-sohchu-ryu, which literally means, '100 million completely middle class' (or) more naturally, 'a nation of middle-class people,' " says Shigeru Miyagawa, a professor of Japanese at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Newspapers are now asking, 'What happened to ichioku-sohchu-ryu?' "

This backs up my point. Japan is still largely a harmonious nation of people who see themselves as middle class, despite the problems they've had with rising poverty levels over the last twenty years. Its unique economic system created a vast middle class where income distribution was one of the most equal on Earth. USA has never been like this, the capitalist system it lives by created huge divisions in wealth from the very beginning, resulting in two classes, the hugely rich and unbelievably poor, which blocked it from anything near the level of social harmony or stability that Japan has. Japan today is fretting over the fact that divides are beginning to form in its prosperous, homogenous, uniformly middle class culture. In America, people have woken up to the fact that 1% of the population controls 40% of their nation's wealth. America should be so lucky to have Japan's problems. And don't forget, crime rates in America are still shockingly high, while they remain unbelievably low in Japan. You can walk through Tokyo alone in the middle of the night, but imagine doing the same in New York? Yikes. This is what I mean when I say Japan has much greater levels of social capital than America does.

There is a huge difference between the rich and poor in Japan

There's a divide, but it's not huge, you even posted the statistics yourself

Similarly, Merrill Lynch Japan Securities found that the top 10% of Japanese male wage earners now earn 3.2 times what the bottom 10% make; the figure had been steady at around 2.6 times in the late '90s

That's nowhere near American levels, nowhere near, God, it would make you laugh if it wasn't so sad.

Even if Japan's poverty rate were to reach the same level as America's next year, the country still wouldn't have anyhere near the same sort of monstrous and obscene divide between rich and poor that America has, none of the drug-ridden slums, none of the massive crime levels.

The number of homeless in Japan is officially 16,000 (but probably higher), but even the highest numbers still don't compare to American levels, where at least 3.5 MILLION experience homelessness every year, and over 800,000 each week. There is absolutely no comparison between real American and Japanese poverty levels. Oh and the homeless rate in Japan has been cut by more than half in the last decade.

So it is not as honky-dory as you keep making it out to be.

Never said it was hunky dory, just that it had a higher standard of living, a more attractive society and stronger economy than America, which is true.

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60 years after the US government arrested and send to jail or executed real or alleged "commies", US people (in general) are warming up for the communist/socialist ideas.

Socialism wasn't that bad at all, was it?

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Confucius say: Man who fart in church sit in own pew.

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pamelotJan. 12, 2012 - 10:11AM JST

Confucius say: Man who fart in church sit in own pew.

I do not understand?

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DentShop,

Obama was never poor either and he certainly is rich now. I love how some people want to paint Obama as being part of the '99%', when he is clearly not. I am also not sure why being financially successful, be it Obama or Romney, is supposed to be a bad thing anyway. Even Gingrich, of all people, has been harping on Romney's wealth. I thought that was the so-called 'American Dream'.

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American still can't seem to rid itself of the cult of greed and individualism, 'why the hell should I pay taxes for someone else!' It's sad.

It's "sad" only because you know nothing about America. That's all. Why should I or any American pay for the health care of even one of the 12 to 20 million million illegal aliens in the States? Would you expect Japanese to pay for your medical care if you (along with millions of your fellow countrymen) were here illegally ?

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The countries of Northern Europe have managed to spread their wealth and implement universal health care and as a result, create vastly more attractive societies than America's and they're nowhere near being communist.

But like Japanese they aren't reproducing at sustainable rates. Humans vote in many different ways. Norway only has 4 million people to share all the revenues they get from the oil they have. Sweden is home to 15 million. Both of those countries is 99 percent white. Americans like the diversity we have. Northern Europe looks cold boring and EXPENSIVE.

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