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It Can Happen Here, Actually

If you haven’t read former TAC executive editor Robert Merry’s piece today about how America might actually elect a socialist president, [1] please stop whatever you’re doing and take a look. You might not know that Bob was previously the editor of Congressional Quarterly, and has already forgotten more than most of us will ever know about politics. Take his piece very seriously. He writes, in part:

Axiom 4: In today’s divided America, political decision making resides on a knife’s edge of parity.

Trump won the presidency in 2016 by collecting just enough votes in just the right states to cadge an Electoral College victory. That means we’re operating these days on the margin of politics. Even quite small swings in just a few states could turn the next election against him. And Trump, with his lack of success so far in expanding his base beyond his current 39 to 43 percent approval level, doesn’t project the kind of political force that would make him a strong reelection candidate.

None of this is a prediction. A lot could happen over the next two years. But the idea that the Democrats are killing their prospects for 2020 by lurching leftward isn’t based on sound analytical thinking. The four axioms above suggest that the dynamics of American politics are more complex than that.

So it’s possible that the country could get, for the first time in its history, an experiment in socialist governance, mixed with a far-left push on high-voltage social issues such as immigration, political correctness, and racial politics. That would be a recipe for failure, leaving the country even more desperate for political leadership to restore stability.

Read the whole thing.  [1]

The other day, the NYT published an interesting piece about younger Britons, and why so many of them are keen on socialism. [2] It starts like this:

Alex McIntyre was raised on budget cuts.

The youth center where he went after school was shuttered when he was 10. When he was 11, his mother’s housing benefit was shaved away, a casualty of the Welfare Reform Act. By the time the streetlight in his cul-de-sac began blinking off at midnight a few years later, these events had knitted together into a single story, about a government policy that had defined his childhood.

“Austerity, that’s what I know, that’s my life,” said Mr. McIntyre. “I’ve never known an England that was a different way.”

Now 19 and old enough to vote, Mr. McIntyre is making up for lost time. Over the last six months, he was drawn into the center of the Momentum movement, an ideological marketplace buzzing with rebranded socialism and trade unionism. His parents may have gotten their news from The Sun and The Daily Mail, but he listens to reports on the “crisis of capitalism” from Novara Media, a left-wing independent media group. Over Christmas he started reading Marx.

Mr. McIntyre is the first in his family to attend college, part of a vast cohort of young Britons that was meant to embody upward social mobility. It is a paradox that so many in this bulge, like their counterparts in the United States, are giving up on free-market capitalism, convinced it cannot provide their families with a decent life.

The general election of 2017 exposed the starkest generation gap in the recent history of British politics. Young voters broke dramatically for the Labour Party, whose socialist leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has promised to rebuild the welfare state and redistribute wealth. Hardened against the centrists of their parents’ generation, they have tugged the party to the left, opening up rifts that are now fracturing Labour.

Keep in mind that the UK has been a welfare state since the Second World War, far more than the US has been. Still:

Unlike previous generations, they are expected to foot the bill for an expensive education [3]. The average graduate now owes the government more than 50,800 pounds [4], or $64,000, a debt to be paid back gradually upon securing a well-paid job, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies. The portion of Britons attending college has climbed to 49 percent [5], the highest level ever, but they will graduate into a historic spell of wage stagnation [6].

Robert Ford, a professor of politics at the University of Manchester, recalled Margaret Thatcher’s thesis about homeownership: By allowing low-income Britons to buy the state housing they rented, she could make them into stakeholders in market capitalism, enlarging the Tory Party. With his students, realizing in their 20s that they are not likely ever to own a home, that process has been thrown into reverse.

“All the risk has been shifted onto them,” he said. “They know this is not the situation their parents and grandparents were in. You’ve got a generation since the crisis with lower mobility and lower security. It makes them less convinced that the market delivers good outcomes.”

Read it all.  [2]

I understand why young people like McIntyre despair of capitalism, but what I don’t understand is why they believe that socialism will solve their problems.

Wait, let me rephrase that: I can understand why people who know nothing about the history of socialism would think that socialism is an answer (socialism, as distinct from a modified form of capitalism). Where are the successful socialist economies? Do they really think Scandinavian political economy can work outside of Scandinavia, with its communalist traditions and relative homogeneity? Besides, as the democratic socialist writer Michael A. McCarthy writes in Jacobin, the social democracies of Scandinavia are a good first step on the road to socialism, but they are not the same thing as socialism. [7]

I know, I know, these arguments can easily become overly intellectual in the face of declining economic and social mobility prospects. Does a young man like McIntyre, or his US counterpart, really care about the distinction between social democracy and democratic socialism? All he knows is that he won’t live as well as his parents, for reasons outside of his control.

As you regular readers know, for me, the more worrying aspect of the rise of socialism is the cultural egalitarianism and soft totalitarianism [8] that is inseparable from actual, existing leftism today, whether of the social democratic or democratic socialist kind. I don’t have a book deal yet, but I’m already working on the manuscript for my next book, which will be lessons about socialism from people who lived through it in Eastern Europe and the USSR. The first two chapters after the introduction are about how and why it could happen here — and why Republicans and other defenders of capitalism had better take income inequality and lack of social mobility far more seriously than they do, if they want to avoid a socialist future.

There are right-of-center thinkers already doing this. Ross Douthat’s column today is an excellent summary of where they’re headed.  [9] It’s hard to find a part to excerpt, because it’s all such vital reading. In short, Douthat highlights new books by Tim Carney and Oren Cass, and a couple of new essays by former TAC editor Daniel McCarthy, and by Gladden Pappin. In the essays, McCarthy and Pappin argue for a kind of American Gaullism — that is, for conservatives to give up on the idea of limited government (which doesn’t work anymore, for historical and economic reasons), and instead embrace the idea that the Right should use the state for conservative ends. If you think that “conservative ends” means making America safe for big business, then you really should read McCarthy and Pappin (links are in the Douthat essay) to be disabused of that notion.

Douthat writes:

And the most subtle reader might say that they’re trying to provide the theory for a move that the Republican Party once in power tends to make anyway — both of the last two G.O.P. presidents have been, in some sense, “big government conservatives” — but so far without the strategy, seriousness and self-consciousness required to make the project a success.

I have enough of my own skepticism about the efficacy of state power to be uncertain if the project can succeed. But post-Trump conservatives are likely to be drawn to state-power conservatism not just by theoretical ambition but by a sense of political necessity.

The earlier conservative self-understanding, in which the right was defending nongovernmental institutions against the power of the state, tacitly depended on the assumption that many if not most nongovernmental institutions would be friendly to conservative values. But as civil society has decayed over recent decades, its remaining power centers have also become increasingly left-wing.

Already-liberal institutions — universities, Hollywood, the big foundations and the mass media — are now more uniformly allied with the left than even the very recent past. Corporate America happily donates to Republicans because it fears a Bernie Sanders presidency, but on cultural issues big business courts its younger customers with progressive lobbying and propaganda. In religion, Catholicism under Pope Francis aspires (scandals permitting) to ease its way leftward as well, leaving evangelical Christianity as an isolated bastion with little culture-shaping power.

Yet conservatives can still win the White House and the Congress, which means that the one power center they can hope to control is the one they are notionally organized to limit — the administrative state.

Read all of it.  [9]

My conservatism is almost entirely cultural (religious, social). Most of my culturally conservative friends are Christians who are appalled by Trump, but who reluctantly plan to vote for him mostly because they see the judiciary as the only restraining force against militant social progressivism over the next couple of decades. In other words, the only institution capable of protecting to any degree religious and social conservatives from widely institutionalized, militant progressivism will be … federal judges.

The main focus of my forthcoming book will be on the culture of totalitarianism, defined by Augusto Del Noce as a society in which everything is politicized (which means that totalitarianism can exist within a democracy). The forces of progressive soft totalitarianism — by which I mean, generally, totalitarianism without a police state — are mounting in this culture. People living here who once lived under hard totalitarianism see the signs of it everywhere — but these signs are hidden from the rest of us, in part because we think of totalitarianism as something that requires gulags. It’s not true. 

Anyway, more on that later. The point here is that Bob Merry is right: real economic suffering, plus political volatility, can lead America to vote in a socialist president. I happen to think Trump’s plan to run against the prospect of socialism makes sense, though Americans ought to understand that “socialism” today is not merely a matter of political economy, but also entails a much broader worldview that is inimical to orthodox Christianity and to tradition. That’s an argument for a later time.

What I hope, though, is that enough smart Republicans are reading Cass, Carney, McCarthy, Pappin, Carlson, and other innovative thinkers on the Right, and will get their heads in the game in time to prevent a socialist president. The tragedy looming is that Trump’s incompetence at governing will prevent a true American Gaullist from rising, except down the road, in reaction to actual far-left Democratic Party rule.

 

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133 Comments To "It Can Happen Here, Actually"

#1 Comment By Ed On February 27, 2019 @ 3:41 pm

Get a taste of more government and more taxes, which will please the left and appall the right, and soon enough the pendulum will swing back in the other direction. People who love to beat up on Reagan (or FDR) may not consider that they were useful and necessary pendulum swings that corrected faults in the earlier status quo. I can see why Reagan gets attacked and why some want to move sharply to the left with more emphasis on equity and the common good. I can also see voters getting fed up again with taxes and red tape and economic sclerosis and turning back towards something Reaganesque.

_____

The complaints of the young may have something to do with a lack of meaning in their lives. Not to harp on my new theme, but I wonder if it would be possible to develop new, non-governmental communal or cooperative living and working relationships within the existing system. Or would the for-profit economy, taxes and regulation simply doom such experiments?

It sounds like young people are looking for the kind of arrangements that earlier generations of Americans tried to create in the 1840s, the 1910s, the 1960s, but I wonder how much hope one can hold out for such experiments in a corporate, profit-driven economy, nor is government that much more friendly to non-governmental experiments in community.

#2 Comment By Ed On February 27, 2019 @ 3:51 pm

In the essays, McCarthy and Pappin argue for a kind of American Gaullism — that is, for conservatives to give up on the idea of limited government (which doesn’t work anymore, for historical and economic reasons), and instead embrace the idea that the Right should use the state for conservative ends.

Some saw Nixon as an American Gaullist. Pat Buchanan may have been one of them. More recently he saw Trump as an American Gaullist.

I don’t know that American Gaullism is an ideal or ideology, so much as something one settles for, other options being impossible or less attractive. As a practical way of negotiating between failed or unappealing alternatives there’s much to be said for it. As something to strive for there are problems.

One is that big government conservatism could have all the red tape and bullying that big government liberalism has been known for, only applied to different goals. Another is that excluding the libertarian pole could mean making conservatism more authoritarian (as was the case with Nixon).

#3 Comment By JonF On February 28, 2019 @ 9:49 am

Noah, nothing you said above challenges my point about culture and politics at all. It was assorted accidents of history that kept liberalism (in the larger sense) from developing outside the core Anglosphere for so long, and indeed at one time you wouldn’t have found liberalism even in Britain. And then other accidents of history allowed liberalism to spread more widely. I would never argue that culture is irrelevant, but contingency is ultimately the strongest historical force.
Meanwhile, nothing succeeds like success and some of the social benefits we’re talking about are widely successful across multiple nations. There’s no more reason they wouldn’t be so here than if a cure for cancer or highly efficient solar energy were found in India or China they wouldn’t also work here.

#4 Comment By MM On February 28, 2019 @ 12:51 pm

JonF: “Noah, nothing you said above challenges my point about culture and politics at all.”

So why don’t all industrialized countries, excluding the U.S., have the same domestic policies? Education, health care, welfare, etc.

If those policies always work, everywhere, why do these countries differ? And why do some countries with similar domestic policies have different outcomes?

Could you answer those questions in some detail, please?

#5 Comment By JonF On February 28, 2019 @ 1:50 pm

MM, at a top level their policies are very similar. People on the Left go on and on about Single Payer Healthcare, but that rather uncommon. What is everywhere, except the US, is some form of Universal Healthcare in some form or other, and always with some major role for government as the ultimate backstop, and generally with payers, even when not governmental agencies, in the non-profit sector. Your question is a little like talking why all cars are not duplicates of each other. But cars do share major, indeed massive, design similarities- while the US in this analogy is still not sure about junking the horse-drawn carriage.

#6 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 28, 2019 @ 2:51 pm

In the essays, McCarthy and Pappin argue for a kind of American Gaullism — that is, for conservatives to give up on the idea of limited government (which doesn’t work anymore, for historical and economic reasons), and instead embrace the idea that the Right should use the state for conservative ends.

That’s been tried. Sometimes it was called National Socialism. Other times it was called fascism. Its always ended badly. There was a book about how it might look in the USA, called It Can’t Happen Here.

#7 Comment By Mitchell On February 28, 2019 @ 2:53 pm

“In many respects, democratic socialism was and is close to Catholic social doctrine and has in any case made a remarkable contribution to the formation of a social consciousness.” – Pope Benedict XVI

source: [10]

#8 Comment By MM On February 28, 2019 @ 3:08 pm

JonF: Just one example off the top of my head, the U.S. and U.K. have very different health care systems.

So why are per capita cancer deaths in the U.K. almost 20% higher than the U.S.?

#9 Comment By MM On February 28, 2019 @ 4:36 pm

JonF: “At a top level their policies are very similar.”

Japan and the U.K. are not very similar on domestic policies.

Sorry, pal, back to the drawing board.

#10 Comment By Trimalchio On February 28, 2019 @ 4:42 pm

“So why are per capita cancer deaths in the U.K. almost 20% higher than the U.S.?”

Well, of course, if they were, this would be an incredibly important point. Since they’re not, it’s simply just another Republican lie.

#11 Comment By MM On February 28, 2019 @ 4:52 pm

JonF: “While the US in this analogy is still not sure about junking the horse-drawn carriage.”

Wow, what a broad, realistics perspective you have.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and on a per capita basis, we rank only slightly higher than the countries like Germany, Sweden, and the U.K., according to the OECD:

[11]

And Cancer is the 2nd leading cause of death in the U.S., but on a per capita basis, we rank better than most industrialized countries, again according to the OECD:

[12]

Heart disease and cancer alone represent almost half of ALL deaths in the U.S. annually.

And you equate a health care system with these particular outcomes with a horse-drawn carriage?

Here’s a deal for you: I’ll give you that single-payer dream the left has, for a couple of years. And if U.S. cancer deaths per capita go up, then we unwind the whole system back to the way it is now, and taxpayers all get pro rata refunds.

Sound good to you?

P.S. If you want to demolish the existing private health care system, which is 1/2 non-profit, and take away my quality of care, be sure to make a better argument next time. 🙂

#12 Comment By MM On February 28, 2019 @ 5:04 pm

Trimalchio: “Well, of course, if they were, this would be an incredibly important point.”

I just proved the point by citing the data from the OECD.

Comment, sir?

Am I still a lying Republican?

#13 Comment By TA On February 28, 2019 @ 5:53 pm

[NFR: This is so naive. The deep communalism and conformity (I don’t say that as a slur) of the Dutch has been recognized for ages…

Heh – naive. I take my earlier comment back, I don’t think you know the Netherlands very well.

1) You are looking at them like an outsider. I think you’re more familiar with Italy, so I’d make the parallel of someone saying “Italians are all very similar”. That makes sense to someone at a distance, but not an Italian.

There is a reason it is called “The Netherlands” – as in multiple lands. Randstad vs. Limberg vs. Frisian cultures are different, let alone other geographic divisions. Moreover and more importantly, they don’t see themselves as the same groups. Some of what you say is true for Amsterdam culture, but just like there is more to the U.S. than New York and Los Angeles, there is more to the Netherlands than just Amsterdam. Tell someone from Friesland that they are from Holland and they’ll roll their eyes (and probably just ignore you after that because culturally, the ignorant are not worth anyone’s time). There is a pretty highly shared value of acceptance of diversity so long as it doesn’t impinge on others, though. (i.e. the Fries don’t care what the weirdos in the south are doing as long as they aren’t bothersome.)

Just because you see conformity doesn’t mean they do.

2) A minor point, but regarding your throw away line that there are no “all you can eat” restaurants in the Netherlands. I was pretty sure I’d seen some when I was last there, so I did a quick check. A simple Google search shows a whole bunch and enough that Tripadvisor has multiple lists of “the best all you can eat restaurants” by city.

3) Scandinavia and the Netherlands are frequently brought up as examples of “socialism” done well. However, in terms of the way the term is used the U.S. political rhetoric, every European country is “socialist” – from Sweden to Italy and Portugal to Romania. Somehow, things like universal heath care work in all of those.

#14 Comment By JeffK On February 28, 2019 @ 8:11 pm

@MM, regarding your debate with JonF.

Once again you rely on logical fallacies to make your point. In this case, you take a very complex subject (healthcare), cite a few unrelated statistics, and then generalize from there. Plus, you request somebody support or disprove your strawman proposition.

In particular, you take a cherry-picked statistic (cancer death rates), join it with a specious proposition (socialized medicine sucks), and then make an illogical argument as a non sequitur (higher cancer deaths = worse health care) to demand JonF support/disprove what you say (Strawman). If he doesn’t respond, or respond not to your liking, you win the debate. Bravo!

Logical fallacies: Lying with Statistics #70, Strawman #126, Over Generalization #91.

I’m bored, so here are some facts that show why your method of debate is specious (superficially plausible, but actually wrong). Given preconceived opinions, one can create a variety of propositions from the statistics below. I leave it to others to do so if they wish.

Healthcare coverage per country (% of population)
US 91%
UK 100%
Spending on healthcare per person (2017)
US $10,224
UK $4,246
Smoking rates per person (cigarettes consumed annually)
US 1016.6
UK 827.7
Alcohol consumption per person (liters)
US 9.2
UK 11.6
Life expectancy (years)
US 79.3
UK 81.2
Gun deaths per 100,000 residents
US 0.23
UK 11.96
Road fatalities per 100,000 residents
UK 2.9
US 10.9

List of logical fallacies
[13]
Causes of death worldwide
[14]
Healthcare coverage
[15]
Healthcare spending per capita
[16]
Smoking rates
[17]
Alcohol consumption
[18]
Life expectancy
[19]
Firearm deaths
[20]
Road fatalities
[21]

#15 Comment By MM On February 28, 2019 @ 9:48 pm

JK: “Regarding your debate with JonF.”

We were having a broad discussion about the differences between industrialized countries’ health care systems, their outcomes, etc. and I cited some OECD statistics to substantiate by concerns.

As you’re clearly not interested in participating in that discussion, nor in addressing any of the points I made, I have no interest or obligation in addressing any of yours.

Thanks anyway, though.

P.S. to JonF, Trimalchio: When you make unsubstantiated claims, call others liars, and generally deny the validity of relevant facts, don’t be surprised when open-minded people consider your policy proposals DOA.

I personally like the Japanese health care system, and the U.S. has a lot to learn from it. But it isn’t single-payer, or socialized medicine.

#16 Comment By MM On February 28, 2019 @ 10:46 pm

JK: “unrelated statistics”

Absolutely gorgeous, this bit of close-mindedness. The topic is health care, and I cite per rates of death from heart disease and cancer, not only the 2 leading causes of death, but the causes of approximately 50% of all deaths in the U.S. annually.

And the very same people who want to take away my health care, as well as the health care of over 100 million workers in the private sector, a $1 trillion bite out of the economy, with no guarantee that the cost or quality of what might replace it will be the same or better, call THOSE statistics “unrelated” to the topic under discussion?

All right, whatever guys…

#17 Comment By JeffK On March 1, 2019 @ 7:17 am

@MM says:
February 28, 2019 at 10:46 pmJK:

I knew you would trigger. Predictable as what happens when my German shepherd puppy spots a squirrel.

Yes. Unrelated statistics. Healthcare is much too complex to develop any type of cause and effect analysis based upon survival rates from two specific types of cancers.

Got anything to say about the average UK citizen living 1.5 years longer than a US citizen, even though the US spends 240% per capita more than what the UK spends? Something in the air?

Keep supporting the current system. Employers will continue to pass healthcare cost increases onto their employees. Even you are going to see the light sooner or later.

You rarely provide any details regarding your preferred alternatives. You just troll with specious statements and dubious analysis.

#18 Comment By JeffK On March 1, 2019 @ 7:26 am

@MM says:
February 28, 2019 at 10:46 pm

Have you ever heard of Multivariate Regression Analysis? As the name implies, it is used when there are more than one variable in the data. I am certainly not an expert in it, but I understand it is a concept that usually applies where the data is complex and non-linear. Which is probably 99.9999% of the data sets related to real life.

[22]

#19 Comment By JonF On March 1, 2019 @ 9:19 am

MM, I don’t recall stating “MM is a liar” or words to that effect. If you are going to charge others with making false claims it’s best not to do that yourself. Also, no one is trying to take away your healthcare. We’re actually trying to provide you with superior coverage and much less risk of being bankrupted by healthcare expenses. When a simple ER visit can run up a tab in the 5 digits that’s a risk we all run.

#20 Comment By JonF On March 1, 2019 @ 9:32 am

MM, the similarity lies on the fact that all those other countries regard healthcare as a (semi)public good, which is to be available to all citizens on an equitable basis and not by criteria of wealth or income, just as police protection, the courts, sanitation, and the transportation network are. The details of every nation’s courts or transportation infrastructure do differ- but they share the fact that they are there for everyone, not just those with sufficient financial resources. In short, these are not personal market goods, but public goods.

#21 Comment By MM On March 1, 2019 @ 3:49 pm

JonF: “Also, no one is trying to take away your healthcare. We’re actually trying to provide you with superior coverage and much less risk of being bankrupted by healthcare expenses.”

Your friend Trimalchio called me liar, and he has yet to respond.

And I’m still waiting for your response to per capita rates of cancer deaths in the U.K. vs. the U.S.

By the way, the reason I don’t support your policy proposal is because of what you just claimed. Senator Harris wants to get rid of my private sector health insurance, and by extension, health care options. And over 100 House Democrats just introduced legislation that would wipe out private health care in just 2 years:

[23]

Since neither you, nor your party, are unaware of what my current quality of care is, or what it costs me, it’s impossible for you to guarantee, for me or anybody else in private sector, “superior coverage”, lower costs, better quality, and no tax increases.

I recall Obamacare being sold 10 years ago with many of the same promises, most of which turned out to be big whoppers that took years and hundreds of billions of dollars to ferret out.

So pardon me for not trusting you to deliver in exchange for a massive money + power grab from on high.

#22 Comment By MM On March 1, 2019 @ 4:13 pm

JonF: “The similarity lies on the fact that all those other countries regard healthcare as a (semi) public good, which is to be available to all citizens on an equitable basis and not by criteria of wealth or income.”

Sorry, sir, I have to weigh in on your factually inaccurate claim.

Japan, my favorite international example, is a multi-payer system where 30% of health care spending is out-of-pocket and based on income. Both France and Germany are also multi-payer, with the government picking up most of the tab. But they also allow supplemental private insurance for anyone who can afford it, to pay for better health care options.

It’s fascinating, this isn’t the only issue that progressives want to toss the baby out with the bathwater.

Back to the OECD data, this is the best depiction I’ve found of the state of health care outcomes in the industrialized world:

“Main causes of mortality per country (2015)”
[24]

I’ll have to disagree with your trashing of America’s health care system. There’s room for improvement, particularly on the cost side, but I see the U.S. in the middle of the pack, not at the bottom, not equivalent to a horse-drawn carriage. We’re only a little worse off than the U.K., Denmark, and Germany, from what I observe with these statistics. I don’t see any way to wiggle out of acknowledging that fact.

On the cost issue, the ultimate irony of progressives who want to wipe out private health care and let the government take over is, the government share of health care spending, today, federal, state, and local, is HALF of all health care spending, and represents over 8% of U.S. GDP. In real dollars, that’s grown 120% from 2000 to 2016, faster than inflation, and faster than private sector spending:

[25]

[26]

I’ve noticed here at TAC that nobody on the left advocating single-payer even acknowledges this fact. Why it’s so ironic is because 8% of GDP, that’s the public share in the U.S. only, is equivalent to ALL health care spending in countries like Canada, France, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden:

[27]

And you guys expect me to believe that a government-run single-payer system here in the U.S., with our wonderfully efficient federal bureaucracy, will cover everybody and everything and not increase health care costs or taxes, whatsoever?

Because that’s the promise, that private health care will disappear and we’ll be on par with other European countries in how much they spend on health care as a share of GDP.

How stupid do you think people are?

#23 Comment By Mark Krvavica On March 1, 2019 @ 6:54 pm

When I look at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AKA Sandy Occasional-Cortex), I see a deluded little girl trying to uphold the legacy of Soviet Dictator Joseph Stalin. The fact that “Sandy” has a seat in Congress makes her dangerous, but I must take a stand for my freedom or I will be sent to a gulag by some of her sick followers.

#24 Comment By MM On March 1, 2019 @ 7:41 pm

Re: Medical Bankruptcies

This was one big lie that was used to sell Obamacare back in the day. It was claimed that something on the order of 50% of BKs were due to medical costs. 10 years later, with data, that was shown to be false:

[28]

4% at minimum, even 6% for the uninsured, but nowhere near those inflated claims.

Why should I trust the government with my health care, again? Because the same falsehoods are being peddled all over again…

#25 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On March 1, 2019 @ 11:10 pm

When I look at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AKA Sandy Occasional-Cortex), I see a deluded little girl trying to uphold the legacy of Soviet Dictator Joseph Stalin.

Your vision is severely impaired. Don’t confuse your own hallucinations for reality. I’m going to wait a few years to commit myself as either a devoted fan or implacable enemy, but so far, she seems to do her homework, ask well-researched pointed questions, and conduct herself on the floor of congress with dignity. And she has been a legal adult for some years now, even if she is a good deal younger than Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Mitch McConnell, et al.

Japan, my favorite international example, is a multi-payer system where 30% of health care spending is out-of-pocket and based on income. Both France and Germany are also multi-payer, with the government picking up most of the tab. But they also allow supplemental private insurance for anyone who can afford it, to pay for better health care options.

That doesn’t contradict anything Jon F said.

#26 Comment By JeffK On March 2, 2019 @ 7:38 am

@MM says:
March 1, 2019 at 3:49 pm

“JonF: … And I’m still waiting for your response to per capita rates of cancer deaths in the U.K. vs. the U.S.”

And I’m still waiting for your response as to why people in the UK live 1.5 years longer than Americans yet the US spends 140% more per capita on healthcare than what the UK spends.

What you got to say about that, big boy?

See how it works?

#27 Comment By MM On March 2, 2019 @ 3:47 pm

Jenkins: “That doesn’t contradict anything Jon F said.”

He claimed that countries with universal health care are essentially the same. The NHS in the U.K. and the Japanese health care system are not the same, they’re fundamentally different in how they’re financed and care is provided.

You and I disagree on what the definition of a contradiction is. But then again, you and I disagree on the meaning of election poll statistics, segregationist Democrats who never became Republicans, and a host of other factual matters.

Thanks anyway…

#28 Comment By MM On March 2, 2019 @ 3:49 pm

JK: “See how it works?”

Talking to yourself again, I see. Since neither you, nor JonF, have addressed my original point about per capita cancer deaths, I have no interest or obligation in addressing any of your points.

You did trigger my complete disinterest in your POV, by the way, but this wasn’t the first time. 🙂

#29 Comment By MM On March 2, 2019 @ 4:12 pm

What is it about progressives and facts? They either avoid them like the plague or pretend they don’t exist, particularly when they’re relevant to the topic under discussion.

Anyway, the onus is completely on people who advocate for single-payer to address these issues. It’s the least they owe the 100+ million workers and their families whom they want to forcibly relocate to some vague single-payer government program, with absolutely no guarantee that the cost and quality will be better.

But even if quality wasn’t the issue, there’s a little something called economic reality standing in the way. I’ll cite some more recent data from the OECD:

Total Health Care Spending % of GDP (2017)
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– Australia 9.1%
– Austria 10.3%
– Belgium 10.0%
– Canada 10.4%
– Denmark 10.2%
– Finland 9.2%
– France 11.5%
– Germany 11.3%
– Italy 8.9%
– Japan 10.7%
– Netherlands 10.1%
– New Zealand 9.0%
– Norway 10.4%
– Spain 8.8%
– Sweden 10.9%
– U.K. 9.6%

These countries have universal coverage, by law anway, though in practice they never achieve 100%.

Government-Only Health Care Spending % of GDP (2017)
[30]

– U.S. 9.3% (Medicare, Medicaid, Other Pulbic, covers 36% of the population)

[31]

Given how things are today, it will take some very impressive, and perhaps magical math to make those single-payer promises come true and bring America in line with other countries. Coverage for everybody and everything, no out-of-pockets costs, reduced health care spending, no increase in health care costs or taxes.

This sounds like Obamacare all over again, only now the stated goal is to eliminate private health care, and the bait and switch is in the trillions of dollars.

#30 Comment By JeffK On March 2, 2019 @ 5:16 pm

@MM says:
March 2, 2019 at 3:49 pm

“JK: “See how it works?”

Talking to yourself again, I see. Since neither you, nor JonF, have addressed my original point about per capita cancer deaths, I have no interest or obligation in addressing any of your points.”

It’s pretty clear why I didn’t address your points. But let me restate again. Using the survival rates of two types of diseases as indicative of the quality an entire healthcare system, which costs 140% more than the system in comparison, which covers 10% less people, is nonsensical.

Sure, you like your healthcare, even though the system delivering it is a racket that will eventually bankrupt the country. Costs will keep going up and up. Your employer will pass more and more of the costs to you. Eventually even you may see the light.

You, sir, are a legend in your own mind.

#31 Comment By JeffK On March 2, 2019 @ 5:25 pm

@MM

And now a good article on Medicare for All.

Canada. Almosth alf the cost per capita, with 100% coverage, resulting in an almost 3 year longer lifespan for the average Canadian. Care to address that? I doubt it. It does not fit your ideology.

BTW, this really isn’t for you. It’s for other TAC readers that may not be aware of the benefits of the Canadian system, or have been brainwashed by Faux News against it.

From the article:
“The Canada comparison. A comparison of healthcare costs between the US and 10 other high-income countries allows a detailed comparison of the US and Canada, the most relevant peer country. According to the comparative data, the US spends 17.8% of GDP compared with Canada’s 10.3%, amounting to $9,403 per person in the US compared with Canada’s $4,641.

All Canadians are covered by the healthcare system, while 10% of Americans lack public or private insurance coverage. Total pharmaceutical spending per person per year averages a whopping $1,443 in the US, compared with $613 in Canada.

For example, the cholesterol drug Crestor is $86 per month in the US, and $32 in Canada; the arthritis drug Humira is $2,505 in the US, compared with $1,164 in Canada. Yet despite the much higher health spending per person, life expectancy in the US is 78.8 years, while in Canada it is 81.7 years.”

[32]

#32 Comment By MM On March 2, 2019 @ 11:04 pm

“And now a good article on Medicare for All.”

I’m waiting for any progressive with a brain the address the facts I’ve laid out, but I’m not holding my breath.

But if the reason leftists want to trash the American health care system lock, stock, and barrell, and replace it with something else is life expectancy, it wouldn’t be single-payer or M4A.

[33]

Japan scores the highest, by far. Also high on the list are Australia and Switzerland.

Multi-payer universal health care systems.

Nobody wants to address the benefits of such systems? No surprise, there, because the goal is to destroy private health care.

And for the record, people who speak as if they know what the cost and quality of my health care is, personally, are speaking from a position of complete ignorance.

For the same reason I wouldn’t trust progressives at the federal level with a government-run health care system, I wouldn’t trust progressives around here to walk my dog or mow my lawn for free…

#33 Comment By MM On March 2, 2019 @ 11:23 pm

P.S. I encourage any political party that wants to lose the next election to employ the strategy that’s being expressed here by progressives:

Trash private health care, call those who support it stupid, and promise to get rid of it completely.

I say that in all seriousness because, it’s not just me who feels this way, it’s a majority of workers in the private sector as well:

[34]

– 75% of employed Americans said the healthcare they received was “excellent” or “good”.
– Just over half of employed Americans (54%) say they are satisfied with the total cost for healthcare they pay.

Room for improvement, to be sure. But workers pay attention to rhetoric, and policy proposals, and most importantly they vote.

So continue the strategy guys, it’s a real winner. Promising everything to everybody, and then claiming it will be better and cost less. With absolutely no guarantee, just faith in the State.

Again, how stupid do you think people are?