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Response to Zalatix (Original post)

Fri Jun 29, 2012, 12:17 AM

208. The "broccoli argument?" That's a really poor analogy.

- Everyone doesn't need broccoli (or guns) in order to live, in every single case.

- We don't feel compelled to give people who don't have broccoli (or guns) super expensive Emergency Room broccoli (or guns) to prevent them from dying in the streets

- People's lives are not being destroyed because they need broccoli (or guns) in order to live, or save the lives of their children, parents, and spouses, where even small amounts of broccoli (or guns) cost more than everything they have.

- The broccoli (and gun) industry isn't relying on the life-or-death nature of the need for their products to force people into complicated, opaque schemes whereby they pay for broccoli (or guns) but often don't actually get the broccoli (or guns) when and how they need them, because the profit motive compels a constant increase in profits, which in turn requires constantly lowering the level or quantity of "broccoli." Or "guns." While increasing the price 10 or 20 or 30% per year.

- People aren't being denied life-giving broccoli / guns because they forgot to mention they had asthma for two weeks in the eighth grade. People aren't denied live-giving broccoli or guns because they already needed broccoli or guns at some point before they lost their previous job. Bureacrats aren't being paid huge salaries to devise new ways to cheat dying people out of the guns and broccoli they need to live.

- People aren't forced to keep jobs they may hate, or forgo other opportunities, in order to ensure that they don't lose the ability to obtain broccoli or guns.

- The current, modest reform effort we are all discussing would require people who irrationally, dishonestly, do not believe they will ever need "broccoli or guns" to, IF they are not impoverished, to pay a fee of some $600. There is no coercion, nor threat of imprisonment. A whopping 2% of the population is expected to fall into this category.

Really, this is ridiculous. We live in a civilization, the basis of which is shared use of resources and cooperation for the common good. That's what civilization is. That's how it works. All the other countries not currently impoverished or in utter chaos know this. As Bill Maher so eloquently put it recently, "All the other 'big-boy' nations on Earth have universal health care (in which people are -- gasp -- technically 'forced' to participate).

Regarding health care, which is nothing like broccoli, or guns, our options are limited.

1) We can figure out the most effective way for everyone to have it, which will be expensive, and which will by its nature require both "rationing" of resources on some level, and the subsidization by the younger and healthier of the older and sicker. Kind of like the older, sicker people subsidized all the younger, healthier people by producing and raising them. We already have rationing and subsidies just like this in the "free market" system, which does the same thing, just with pools much smaller than the entire population.

2) We can rely on the bizarre, accidental employer-subsidized system that everyone hates, or something similar, in which some people have some healthcare options, some of the time, and the rest are dealt with through the spectacularly inefficient and expensive method of trying to treat them all in the emergency room, or

3) We can let anyone who hasn't stumbled into the right job at the right time, or joined the military, or gone to prison, die the streets. Which would in fact "free" people from cooperating in the society we all depend on and benefit from, but the reality of which might be less desirable than charging people a small fee for failing to support the system we know they will eventually have to rely upon anyway.

Broccoli and guns my ass.

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LineReply The "broccoli argument?" That's a really poor analogy.
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