Quote of the day

Obama, responds to the latest manufactured controversy from the McCain camp:
“I don’t know what’s next. By the end of the week, he’ll be accusing me of being a secret communist because I shared my toys in kindergarten. I shared my peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”

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38 Comments

  1. Alice
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Considering how much of the means of production the government has acquired in the past month, and how much it already owned before then, almost all of which is also supported by McCain, the question of Obama’s socialism isn’t so much whether or not he is, but whether it would actually make a difference if he was.

  2. llevinso
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Is that his quote from his appearance last night on the Daily Show? If not, he basically said the same thing on there last night. It was pretty funny. And seriously McCain, enough already!

  3. Judith Jewcakes
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    I seriously had an argument with a (progressive) girl at school about whether Obama was a socialist. I said a lot of things, but mostly, “Our police and fire department are far more socialized than Obama’s plans for health coverage, and do you think for a second we’re living in a socialist economy?”
    Seriously. People will buy and repeat anything. I liked when Stephen Colbert had Socialist presidential candidate Brian Moore on his show to say, “Hell no Obama isn’t a socialist…I am.”

  4. Alan
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    This quote reminds me of two things:
    1. PB&J sandwiches are delicious.
    2. I particularly hate the stigma of “socialism” that surrounds universal health care. It’s not like we’re talking about trying to put rich people on the streets with an idea like universal health care, it’s about keeping our citizens ALIVE. But, god forbid we should be socialist. I’d rather let millions of uninsured Americans suffer from life-threatening conditions than lose a petty ideological distinction! (Note: Sarcasm prevalent).

  5. JosephLillo
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    I particularly hate the stigma of “socialism” that surrounds universal health care.
    YES. At what point did “let them die” devolve into economic policy?

  6. bluemoose3277
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    The quote I heard ended with something like “I shared my peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and they called me a redistributionist.”
    I’m glad he’s calling out the ridiculousness of everything.

  7. erinelizabeth
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    So I live in Milwaukee, and went to vote early (for Obama) at the Frank P. Ziedler building, named after the city’s last (but not only) Socialist mayor. Awesome.

  8. Alice
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    I’d rather let millions of uninsured Americans suffer from life-threatening conditions than lose a petty ideological distinction!
    You actually can have it both ways: fund universal health care on a voluntary basis.
    I’ve often heard it said that they’d be willing to pay the increased taxes for universal health care. But that’s a dishonest argument. If they were so willing, they’d already be paying charities for that purpose, or if they already are, having the government take money for health care that they would have donated anyway wouldn’t help the situation. But of course, it’s not about their taxes, but about everyone else’s. People in favor of government-backed universal health care only feel obligated to contribute what they see as their fair share so long as people who otherwise wouldn’t are also forced to contribute, or else are operating on the unspoken belief that society and the government are the same thing, which is only true in an actually socialist nation.

  9. Av0gadro
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    Alice, what makes you think we aren’t giving to charity? I personally give plenty of my money to charity, but that’s clearly not enough. No matter what percentage of my money I’m giving to United Way and Food For X County, it’s not going to be enough to feed and care for everyone. I don’t make that much. So if my taxes were increased to pay for universal health care, and so were everyone else’s, it would do a lot of good to transfer the money I’m donating to the money I’m paying in taxes, if the tax income was much greater than my charities’ could ever hope to be.
    People in favor of government-backed universal health care only feel obligated to contribute what they see as their fair share so long as people who otherwise wouldn’t are also forced to contribute
    If you truly believe this, then your world view is very sad.

  10. Alex, FCD
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    The ‘Obama is a socialist’ camp would evidently not recognize a real socialist if one were to hit them sharply on both shins with a red flag whilst singing The Internationale.

  11. Alice
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Well, if you do, then we’re on the same side in at least that respect; we’d surely get along on this topic if we avoided politics. Indeed, I have no doubt that many people do give very large percentages of their income for charity purely for its own sake, but I was talking about people in favor of universal health care in the aggregate. The fact that we don’t have universal health care despite popular calls to the contrary shows an obvious disconnect between people’s (in the aggregate) desire to have it with their willingness to pay for it. The proposed political solution, then, is to simply force sufficient money out of people who don’t support the cause enough to help finance it personally.
    This is not, as Alan phrased it, a “petty ideological distinction.”

  12. Robos A Go Go
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Health insurance is much harder to get as an individual than if you have your employer or your government working on your behalf. Frankly, our dollars will go a lot further under Obama’s plan than if we gave as much or more to charities.
    And yeah, some people won’t be happy about their tax dollars going to keep people alive, but fuck ‘em if they complain. Tax dollars go to keeping Red States alive too (http://i33.tinypic.com/10htz01.jpg), to the detriment of many Blue States. Do you see California complaining about helping out Alabama? Fuck no!
    It’s only $60 billion, half the cost of keeping us in Iraq, and that’s before factoring in the money it saves by encouraging people on the verge of contracting something preventable before things get to bad and revenues earned by keeping the workforce strong. In all, it’s a small price to pay.

  13. Alice
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Tax dollars go to keeping Red States alive too, to the detriment of many Blue States.
    Why are you saying that as though it goes against my position?

  14. Robos A Go Go
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    Err, it should go against your position. Do you think it’d be better if Red States were forced to support themselves?
    The entire reason we have a government is so we can work together and raise everyone’s standard of living instead of simply letting everyone fend for themselves.
    I mean, fuck, if half the country was bankrupt, it wouldn’t be long until the other half was negatively affected. That’s why Blue States don’t complain about not getting a dollar to dollar return on their tax dollars; because they know that there’s a value to the exchange that isn’t measured in money, and that is necessary for anyone to live happily.

  15. Alan
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    Alice,
    I think the disconnect between people’s cries for universal health care and your perceived lack of willingness to pay for it might be due precisely to the “petty ideological distinction” that you called me out for employing.
    The government has a socialized education system. Money flows freely from the pockets of the wealthy to educate the poor. Why is survival less important than education?
    Because education has not been stigmatized as a “socialist” issue whereas “health care” has.

  16. Alan
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Woops. Why did I put health care in quotes? All of this John McCain coverage must be getting to me…

  17. BlueCat
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    I’m shocked, SHOCKED, that Mrs. Pro-Life Palin does not support universal healthcare. Shouldn’t that be part of a “Right to Life” platform? After all, if life is sacred then we should consider at least basic health care as a human rights issue, rather than a privilege.

  18. Alice
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    Do you think it’d be better if Red States were forced to support themselves?
    I don’t think that’s a meaningful question. States are not homogeneous populations, and contain both people who are net tax payers and people who are net tax receivers. That such categories of people might not be evenly arranged geographically shouldn’t itself strike one as surprising or meaningful. Since cities tend to be wealthier than rural areas, and also more liberal, I’d wager that the Federal transfer of wealth between states mostly records the varying degrees to which states are urbanized. The same is largely true for what determines whether a state is Red or Blue, as can be seen here. States are mostly purple these days.
    The entire reason we have a government is so we can work together and raise everyone’s standard of living instead of simply letting everyone fend for themselves.
    I’ll grant that the maintenance of law and order is essential for everyone’s standard of living, but beyond that, government is not the only, and generally not the best, form of cooperation. Again we have the assumption that if people are not forced to cooperate via government, then they will not cooperate period. Basically, the Hobbsian “state of nature,” except extended far past violent conflict and into every possible form of human interaction. If this idea were true, I can hardly imagine how we ever survived long enough to think up the state in the first place.
    Also beyond the maintenance of law and order, the government cannot raise everyone’s standard of living; it can only redistribute wealth. The only way to increase the overall standard of living is to accumulate capital more quickly than population.
    The government has a socialized education system. Money flows freely from the pockets of the wealthy to educate the poor. Why is survival less important than education?
    You have to specify which government you mean here, since public schools in America are funded by local, state, and federal sources. In any case, I think the difference is actually that public education is given primarily to children, whose welfare is much more commonly accepted as a legitimate state interest, socialized or not. Now, if you want to talk about health care for children, that’s another matters that would bring entirely new arguments in its favor into play. Indeed, we already have universal health care vis-a-vis vaccination for these reasons.

  19. Emeraldcityserendipity
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 1:28 am | Permalink

    This is completely off-topic, but at the end of this week (i.e. this Saturday, 11/1) Jessica will turn 30 (assuming wikipedia is correct). So everyone should wish her a happy 30th and make all our wishes come true by voting out the neocons next Tuesday. Happy birthday, Jessica!

  20. Jessica
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Aw thanks, Devin! So how do folks like the new comments set up?

  21. kat
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Another argument for “socializing” or making something government-run is efficiency and cost.
    We’ve handed over defense, road-building, and education to our governments because it is generally agreed that the government can do such things more efficiently than individuals or the private market. Imagine if our roads were private…and we had to pay tolls each time we went on a new section of road. It might equal out to the same amount of money as our taxes; perhaps, even be fairer, since the highest users would pay the most, but nobody wants that.
    The free market for health care is not working out very well at the moment. A market works efficiently when you you have informed consumers, for the most part. I can go and research cars and figure out which one is the best for me. When I’m having a heart-attack, it’s not possible for me to do research first so I get the best deal. Even in less emergent situations, it is very difficult for the typical health consumer to evaluate the options objectively. Add on to that the inefficiencies in the system because a large portion of cotss end up going to things like insurance administration and advertising, and the private health care market is a mess.
    Centralizing health care would lead to lower costs all around.

  22. Alice
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Not even Obama is proposing “centralized” health care, so I don’t think such efficiency considerations come into play here. Even if it were true that a centralized system is inherently more efficient, then the market would tend towards greater and greater centralization. Certainly, a lack of government management* did not stop Wal’Mart from unprecedented increases in centralization of their industry. The fact that we still have so many different insurance and medical companies tells me that this is not the case here.
    *Wal’Mart has, however, received welfare in the form of subsidies and tax-breaks from numerous local governments, but while they shouldn’t be as profitable as they are, they’d still probably have been successful without such grants.

  23. Robbert
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Very true, but then to many here in Europe, choosing between the democrats and the republicans is like choosing between right and extreme right.
    But then… I’m a socialist, and a green one at that.

  24. Robbert
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Regarding universal health care, A friend of mine made a pretty good comparison of existing European health care systems with The US.
    It can be found on:
    http://www.tiedyedfreaks.org/ace/healthcareAmerican.html

  25. Robbert
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    The problem though, is that your lack of universal health care has made it extremely expensive. The same medical procedure here in Europe costs less then a quarter of what it costs in the US. This is Mostly due to the fact that the health care companies are stock traded and need to make huge profits in order to stay afloat, but also because of the extreme paperwork that’s necessary to figure whether if someone is or is not eligible for medical care, and which type that should be. In other words, the money payed by the 27% of Americans that have health care would cover everyone if it was set up as universal health care as provided to people in The Netherlands, France and the UK.

  26. Robbert
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    The problem though, is that your lack of universal health care has made it extremely expensive. The same medical procedure here in Europe costs less then a quarter of what it costs in the US. This is Mostly due to the fact that the health care companies are stock traded and need to make huge profits in order to stay afloat, but also because of the extreme paperwork that’s necessary to figure whether if someone is or is not eligible for medical care, and which type that should be. In other words, the money paid by the 27% of Americans that have health care would cover everyone if it was set up as universal health care as provided to people in The Netherlands, France and the UK.

  27. Robbert
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    sorry… it looked like it failed to post the first time.

  28. Robbert
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Omn the Contrary:
    Universal health care actually does raise everybody’s standard of living, as it eliminates the fear of going bankrupt when you need medical care, and thus people go to the doctor while the problem is still small and curable.
    As a result you have less carriers infecting the rest of the population, which makes the whole population healthier. the rich included.

  29. Alice
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    On a somewhat related note, when did having health insurance become synonymous with having access to health care? The very nature of insurance is such that most people will pay more into it than they ever get back; you’re paying the company to take the risk of a catastrophe, so you only come out ahead, monetarily, if something unusual and horrible happens to you. People who aren’t particularly risk-adverse would be better off paying medical expenses out of pocket with the money saved from not paying for insurance, and I know that everyone can’t be sufficiently risk-adverse to make insurance worth it.

  30. kristinbb
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that the “right to life” platform has much in the way of supporting life post-birth.

  31. Robos A Go Go
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    “On a somewhat related note, when did having health insurance become synonymous with having access to health care? The very nature of insurance is such that most people will pay more into it than they ever get back; you’re paying the company to take the risk of a catastrophe, so you only come out ahead, monetarily, if something unusual and horrible happens to you. People who aren’t particularly risk-adverse would be better off paying medical expenses out of pocket with the money saved from not paying for insurance, and I know that everyone can’t be sufficiently risk-adverse to make insurance worth it.”
    You should look up healthcare costs and verify that what you believe, that you’ll actually save money by not getting insurance, is in fact true.
    It’s my understanding that it isn’t, and that healthcare costs are in fact the number one reason for bankruptcy in America.

  32. Alice
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    It must be true by the simple fact that private health insurance is profitable. That’s how insurance works: you pay them more than the expected payments in exchange for not having to go bankrupt in the unlikely event something expensive happens to you. The actual insurance product is the assumption of financial risk for a fee, the amount of the fee being premiums minus expected benefits.

  33. Robbert
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    it is profitable by finding loopholes so they don’t have to pay the bills. The concept of existing conditions is stretched to its limits and beyond.

  34. Robos A Go Go
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Insurance may, on average, cost more money than it saves, but on a case by case basis the cost/benefit ratio varies. For someone who would be bankrupted by medical bills if not for insurance, it undoubtedly is worth it.
    So, the question is whether or not the likelihood of not having to use your insurance is worth foregoing it altogether, when that means possibly having your life ruined because of a freak misfortune.
    Personally, unless you’re planning to commit suicide, I don’t think it’s worth the risk.

  35. Alice
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    Insurance may, on average, cost more money than it saves, but on a case by case basis the cost/benefit ratio varies. For someone who would be bankrupted by medical bills if not for insurance, it undoubtedly is worth it.
    You can’t judge the cost/benefit ratio of risk-mitigation service in retrospect. If you could, insurance wouldn’t exist.
    So, the question is whether or not the likelihood of not having to use your insurance is worth foregoing it altogether, when that means possibly having your life ruined because of a freak misfortune.
    Concern for bad outcomes out of proportion to their probability is what’s called “risk-aversion,” which most people have in varying degrees. All I said was that not everyone can be risk-averse enough for health care to be a good deal for them, even when they can afford it.

  36. Alice
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Ahh, meant to say, not everyone can be risk-averse enough for health insurance to be a good deal for them.

  37. unapologetic feminist
    Posted November 1, 2008 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Amazing youtube video about misogyny in the mainstream media:
    http://tinyurl.com/6dmaph

  38. A male
    Posted November 1, 2008 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    I really liked that article comparing the US health system to that of those in the UK and European countries.
    What was important is that it was willing to include some weaknesses in such a universal system, instead of ignoring them or pretending they don’t exist. Yes, even nations with universal health struggle to find ways to fund it, and may not be able to maintain services. In the US, major problems with a universal system once in place would be funding it, because Medicare, even as limited as it already exists, is projected to have a $85.6 TRILLION shortfall in the future. Another is corruption – it is alleged that a full 10% of Medicare spending is lost to fraud.
    And as one who works in health care, you really need to understand how Medicare creates its own bureaucracy and itself limits choices and services, in order to limit spending. Talk to elderly people in your life to see what I am talking about, to hear, for example, how their drug coverage is being cut, and disallowing treatment or services. Talk to people in health care administration about what they need to do to meet Medicare requirements, and reimbursements which do not cover the cost of services provided, in my case, $1,500 per month per resident to provide full time housing, food, care, treatment, medications, recreation, and all other living expenses for people who for their own safety, are judged not able to live independently. If you had chronic medical problems requiring treatment and medications or required 24 hour care down to feeding, bathing, and changing your diapers, or supervision to ensure you didn’t simply wander into the street, how well would you live on $1,500 per month that the government was willing to pay? What standard of living can you maintain, as someone with chronic medical conditions and requiring 24 hour care, on $1,500 a month?

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