What's everyone up to ?

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Bragi

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Re: What's everyone up to ?
« Reply #645 on: August 30, 2012, 03:27:44 pm »
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Socialism only works until you run out of other people's money!!!
How does that differ from your current capitalism: borrowed money is also someone elses money.


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Data

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Re: What's everyone up to ?
« Reply #646 on: August 31, 2012, 01:37:22 pm »
This country was not founded on Socialism. Our ancestors left oppressive nations in exchange for religious and monetary freedoms (taxes).

But people do pay tax in the USA don’t they but the government (made up of rich people) choose to spend it their own way.

However we are not a religious society I admit, If a hopeful Prime Minister said he was religious he might as well chuck in the towel. No chance of getting voted in.


Why should one person work hard for most of their life and have to assist in paying for someone who didn't? There is NO Free Lunch! Someone, somewhere is paying for it!

So what about the people who do work hard but get very low pay, are you saying because they can’t afford good insurance that they should end up in debt too? Or people like our Dave who do give a positive contribution to society but get little reward (money) for doing so and end up in debt. 

No free lunch? Actually we do give free lunches to many of the homeless people or people who have fallen on hard times in the UK, it can happen to the best of us.

Forgive me Art but it doesn’t sound very charitable or religious to me.

There is an old religious saying that goes something like this.

There is no room in heaven for a rich man.

Us Brits would do anything to save our NHS it is the root and basis or our society (Free healthcare for all) whatever colour creed or race, if you are a British citizen and you get ill or need a hospital it will be free, no questions asked, even if you are a lazy scrounger, which some are but the vast majority are just people trying to make a living. There will always be some bad apples in the barrel.  (It is the way of things)

I think we are going to have to agree to disagree before we all fall out with each other and that won’t do because I value our American friends too much.

Diesel why did you start us off on Health Care  :rtfm:

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Bragi

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Re: What's everyone up to ?
« Reply #647 on: August 31, 2012, 02:41:54 pm »
I originally wrote this yesterday, but I got a time-out, and didn't feel like typing it again, but here goes:

If Belgium was in a similar situation as the US is right now, that is, without a general health care system, but with some form of political desire to get it through, it most likely would not happen here as well, though few will ever want to admit to that now, after the benefits have been made so clear to most (except for those lucky few that never get anything in their whole life until they die in their sleep). The simple fact is that most people can only think in short them 'I' concepts (we are all selfish pigs,.. those who don't realize this of themselves, are generally the worst), and most people these days, are usually healthy most of the time (except for the odd flew perhaps), you generally don't see much misery everywhere.
I don't think it is by accident that European countries got their health systems after the second world war, when everybody over here (and I mean everybody, not just the soldiers) were exposed for a longer period of pure horror. People back then were also thinking in short term selfish 'I' mode, but in a different situation. The fact that both wars changed the division of power in Europe also had something to do with it.

Which brings me to my second point.
Yes, in the olden days, lots of people left Europe because of intolerance of all kinds. Economic reasons were also very important (just after the second world war, lots of Belgians emigrated to the US or the Congo, in hopes for better jobs - my own family were almost Congolese/US citizens). Things have changed though.  If you look at the press freedom (http://chartsbin.com/view/1329) Belgium is ahead of the US, same for education: (http://ourtimes.wordpress.com/2008/04/10/oecd-education-rankings/), health- Belgium appears to be to small, but can compare to other European countries (http://conversations.psu.edu/docs/calkins_comparison.pdf) , household savings (Belgium 10x that of Us) http://econ365.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/gross-savings-rate.pdf. this list goes on and on.
The same for goverments spying on their own citizens: what the UK did with their cameras all over the place or the US is doing with communication tracking: this is simply impossible in Belgium. It's even so strict that different police agencies can't link their computer systems together (like local police and federal police), since that would allow them to share info, strictly forbidden over here (the right to privacy is an absolute in Belgium, something US citizens can only dream off).

When I hear things like:
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This country was not founded on Socialism. Our ancestors left oppressive nations in exchange for religious and monetary freedoms (taxes).
I wonder, do people who think this way actually understand 'Socialism', or are they really thinking of 30's area communism?  Do they understand that there are parts of the world that have lots more 'freedom' in many different forms? 


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But people do pay tax in the USA don’t they but the government (made up of rich people) choose to spend it their own way.
I think that's a pretty good summary. While European countries decided to spend their money (mostly) in a more social manner (the robin hood syndrome: take from the rich, give to the poor), the US decided to go to war with their lute.

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Why should one person work hard for most of their life and have to assist in paying for someone who didn't? There is NO Free Lunch! Someone, somewhere is paying for it!
Maffia exists all over the world. It is true that Greek and Italian ded  is mostly caused by maffia practices. This also happened in Belgium, there were some serious problems up untill the 90's. And there is still leakage.
But make no mistake: if you think it is easy for a regular person to get a 'free' lunch, you are seriously mistaken. Just go ask all the economic fugitives who think 'a starvation action' might get people to help them: they will die (and have).


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During our working lives we contribute to a thing called Social Security and upon retirement (usually aged 66 for full benefits or 62 for partial), one can draw a small portion of that money in an attempt to help supplement the individual's retirement savings or pension account. Trouble is, most Americans do NOT save a proper portion of their income because a lot of them would rather "live for the moment" instead of tighten up the belt and save for the proverbial "rainy day".
Currently we are growing a youthful population who feels "entitled" to anything and everything in general. They should immediately have the Showy car, large, not a job but a career with a huge salary and a large house with all the amenities. Yes, they are the entitled ones!
This is true all over the world, also here. The thing is, at some point, people here realized that if you don't force the lesser-smart ones to save, it will eventually cost much more for everyone. So in order to be economically smart, you make the system 'non-optional'.
We also have to contribute to the well-fare system. Only the money that gets collected for this purpose, can be used for the health system. Also, what you pay now, is used for the current needs, the next generation will pay for you (a system that has come under pressure with the baby-boom generation getting to retirement age, and not enough people to replace them).

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DaveMorton

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Re: What's everyone up to ?
« Reply #648 on: August 31, 2012, 05:35:53 pm »
Wow! What was supposed to just be an update on how I was doing has turned into the potential for a nasty flame war! I don't think that anyone expected that! Nor do I think that anyone here wants to see things escalate further. However, I think it would be a good idea for me to try to explain my thoughts and opinions regarding this very sensitive political issue.

For nearly all my life, I've been a VERY conservative person, politically speaking. Even now, I strongly feel that the vast majority of Humanity is being over-governed, and I firmly believe in the axiom, "That government is best which governs least."

Now don't get me wrong, I'm no anarchist. There have to be some rules, mostly pertaining to how we behave toward each other. Otherwise, we'd be constantly at each other's throats. :) But government should only deter the "bad" side of Human Nature; NOT enforce the "good" side. That particular job doesn't belong to those we choose to govern over us, but resides elsewhere. Primarily, the role of encouraging our more loving & nurturing natures belongs with our religious communities and secular benevolent agencies/charities (e.g. The Red Cross, Goodwill, etc.). Many of you see me as poor, and by a great many standards, I certainly am; but I still try my very best to give what I can, as often as I can, to help those who are in much worse shape than myself (and there are a LOT). I guess what I'm trying to say here is that I don't think it's the government's job to enforce charity. Maybe I would feel different about the issue if we Americans had a better track record with choosing those who would lead us, because we seem to be doing a crappy job of it. :(

When our country was first formed, our founding fathers intended for our elected officials to govern PART TIME! Once elected, they would set aside their personal businesses for four to six months, attend to the matters of government, and then step down, returning to their own endeavours. Somewhere along the way, that changed, and we now have "Career Politicians", who spend 15, 20, even THIRTY YEARS or MORE in office, building their power bases, enacting legislation that serves to benefit only themselves and their colleagues, and becoming ever more corrupt as the years go by. Now many of these Career Politicians started out TRYING to change things; to "Shake things up", as it were, but ended up becoming a slave to the "machine", and rather than making things better for the rest of us, only served to make things worse. Now we have these people running the country who know nothing but politics, and they're running the government as a GOVERNMENT, rather than as a business.

Everywhere you care to look (with the exception of SOME governments), individuals, families, small businesses, large corporations, and monstrously huge conglomerates all have something in common: they ALL have to operate within the "means" available to them. In other words, they're cash outflow cannot exceed their cash income, or they quickly begin to have problems, and will soon be unable to function. This applies to you, to me, and even to Apple Computers. It's a VERY simple concept, that even a grade-school student can grasp. Does this seem to apply to the U.S. government? Nope! When our legislators exceed the country's budget, they either want to "shuffle" the money around, to make things look good, or "borrow" the money from other countries with promises that "we'll make it up, soon". Ladies and Gentlemen, here's a news flash: BORROWING YOUR WAY OUT OF DEBT NEVER WORKS!!! It only ends up getting you DEEPER in debt!

Wait a minute! Wasn't I supposed to be explaining how I feel about national health care? How did I get on the subject of deficit spending? Oops? sorry!

Listen, what it boils down to is that I don't feel that it's my government's job to provide my health care unless it's a "quid pro quo" thing. For example, I set aside two years of my life to serve my country in the U.S. Coast Guard, helping to protect people, and helping to keep my little corner of the U.S.A. safe. In exchange for that service, I don't see a problem with having certain limited health care benefits, and had I served longer, or had I been injured and/or disabled in the line of duty, I could accept receiving perhaps full medical benefits. This is only fair, in my eyes. I can also accept someone receiving certain health care benefits in the case of the indigent, yet able-bodied, who put in a few hours per day/week doing public improvement works projects, such as picking up litter along a road, or helping to remove gang graffiti, or something of that nature, that benefits us all. Where I'm torn is how to handle someone who is truly unable to care for themselves. As I get older, I'm finding it harder to justify my older feelings that the government has no place caring for these folks. Now those who are capable, but unwilling, of caring for themselves can still piss up a rope. I have no use at all for deadbeats and slackers. But those who just can't do for themselves? I just don't know anymore.

Anyway, that's basically my take on the issue (and more, obviously). I could literally go on for DAYS about what's wrong with the government of the United States, but I'll refrain, for now. :)

{steps off the soap box, and walks back into the crowd}
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Art

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Re: What's everyone up to ?
« Reply #649 on: September 01, 2012, 01:17:06 pm »
@ GCC / Dave, as a moderator, there will be NO flame wars on this forum I can assure you. A general discussion often has opposing views and while we are friends I am sure our individual views on certain topics will differ. We live in different countries with different laws and customs. Tolerance and understanding is a good thing. O0

@ Data & Bragi,

When I said there's no such thing as a Free Lunch, I mean that Someone, Somewhere is paying for it in one way or another. Nothing is FREE (except for advice). The bread the meat, cheese, condiments, drinks are all provided through or from someone else. Sorry but nothing really to do with the Maffia & my wife IS Italian.
While it might seem to be Free for the person who partakes, it has actually been paid for by some other party / person.

Yes, our freedoms have been eroding one by one until we now live in a government subsidized police state! The average person has their photo taken at least 20 times / day and with tracking devices in practically every cell phone one simply can't run away. I know of people who have been fired because their bosses tracked their cell phone location and turns out that they weren't where they said they were! (I didn't say they didn't deserve to be fired, just how it happened). Our government has the ability (likely have had it for some length of time) to see THROUGH the roofs and walls of our homes and count people (heat signatures). Yes, there's far too much technology being used in a very obtrusive manner.

I want to see the USA adopt and enforce TERM LIMITS on politicians! They should be allowed to serve (note THAT word...SERVE), for no more than 2, Four years terms, THEN they retire from political service and go back to the public sector that first elected them. They will also receive the same health care that they voted for the rest of us, the same contribution toward Social Security as the rest of us! They are NOT Special People with Special Privileges...we elected them in the first place to represent us!!

The lack of enforceable borders of this country is currently a laughable matter! It practically DOESN'T matter!! I don't think a lot of other countries have such a relaxed policy.

Maybe Belgium....;)
In the world of AI, it's the thought that counts!

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Bragi

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Re: What's everyone up to ?
« Reply #650 on: September 01, 2012, 02:34:52 pm »
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I want to see the USA adopt and enforce TERM LIMITS on politicians! They should be allowed to serve
It's a nice idea, but I doubt it will work. After all, your presidency is already limited in length, and that doesn't work either. I would rather think in terms of 'take the money out of it' as in: it's a community service, you don't get paid for it. But if you do that, in the shortest time, there would be no-one left willing to run the country.
An all-out, full democracy, where people can vote on laws for themselves would perhaps be an interesting project. But I don't think it would be a very nice place if you aren't 'joe average', married and with a couple of kids.

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Maybe Belgium...
Definitely. Since the EU, we no longer have any borders. Result: in the last 10 years, the total population has grown by 10%, while at the same time, the nr of Belgians has started to shrink. Certain places in Brussels are more like the Congo then Belgium. Migration is becoming a problem as well over here.
The question is: how do you solve it: by closing borders?  Well, that sort of works. But personally, I think a far better approach would be to take away the original reason why people would want to migrate in the first place: help them make it better in their own countries.

What I meant by maffia was this:
 Belgian organised crime uses many of the same tricks as in Italy: their primary source of income used to be the state (it has shifted to drugs the passed decades though). They had all sorts of schemes with land ownership. For instance: the government (someone with 'dubious' connections) would sell their buildings well below market price and then rent it back for rediculous prices. (turned out to be extremely hard to prove). Or foreigners would be brought into the country, they would get registered as employee for a day in a phony company and than fire them, so that they can collect well-fare, then ship the people back to their home country and continue to collect the well-fare checks. With a couple of 1000 like that, you can cash in some serious dough.

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Art

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Re: What's everyone up to ?
« Reply #651 on: September 02, 2012, 03:42:23 am »
Thanks for some clarification. Wow, the tricks and schemes that people will resort to if they think they can get something for nothing. Greed...one of the oldest, I afraid.

Yes, we do have some regret, concern and confusion especially regarding the future.

One of the best sayings that has been proven again and again:

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

Sadly not many will heed the words or the teachings.

Stay Well!
In the world of AI, it's the thought that counts!

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DaveMorton

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Re: What's everyone up to ?
« Reply #652 on: September 02, 2012, 04:02:34 am »
How about if, instead of term limits, we pay our politicians on a performance-based commission basis, with large bonuses for things like a balanced budget, or improved education stats, and equally huge penalties for budget overruns, or higher unemployment due to legislative issues. I don't really think that "pay them what they're worth" would work, because all the current politicians would end up owing money from the first day, but there certainly needs to be a change. Sadly, it's going to take a full scale revolution to even have a chance to get back to something even remotely workable. :(
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Art

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Re: What's everyone up to ?
« Reply #653 on: September 02, 2012, 07:41:35 pm »
Agreed Dave but I really dislike the idea of "rewarding" a contractor for doing the job they were originally being paid to do in the first place.

Did you ever get MORE money for doing a auto's Tune-up when you used to wrench for a living? Likely not.

Do I get paid more money or a bonus for doing a Really good job at what I do? No.

The state has now adopted this "incentives" idea where they will pay say a Paving contractor an "extra" incentive or bonus is the end result of their paved road is a nice ride as far as rideability is concerned. Man! What happened to taking a bit of pride in your work and doing the best job that you're getting paid to do????! I guess that's simply not good enough!!

Like you said, if some got paid for what they did, they be better off staying at home but I still think ELECTED officials need to perform as well as they can for the term to which they are elected and that shouldn't be more than 4-6 years...Period!!
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TheMikh28

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Re: What's everyone up to ?
« Reply #654 on: September 03, 2012, 09:31:15 am »
How about if, instead of term limits, we pay our politicians on a performance-based commission basis, with large bonuses for things like a balanced budget, or improved education stats, and equally huge penalties for budget overruns, or higher unemployment due to legislative issues.
They'd find a way to cheat the system.  Not only that, but many of them come from money to begin with, meaning it's less the pay than the power and connections that appeals to them.

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Art

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Re: What's everyone up to ?
« Reply #655 on: September 03, 2012, 12:36:51 pm »
How about if, instead of term limits, we pay our politicians on a performance-based commission basis, with large bonuses for things like a balanced budget, or improved education stats, and equally huge penalties for budget overruns, or higher unemployment due to legislative issues.
They'd find a way to cheat the system.  Not only that, but many of them come from money to begin with, meaning it's less the pay than the power and connections that appeals to them.

You're right, it's not about political beliefs or which candidate would be better for the country. It all comes down to who has or can get the most money!!
Same with the legal system and a person's guilt. The one with the most money usually gets the best lawyer (in most circumstances).

In the world of AI, it's the thought that counts!

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Carl2

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Re: What's everyone up to ?
« Reply #656 on: October 30, 2012, 12:55:25 am »
  Interesting conversaton, I've always been interested in why we feel we need this leadership, think it's a basic instinct in mankind.  The largest and most powerful ape sits where he wants, eats the best food and mates with whoever he wants. He would lead the tribe against opposing tribes.  So humans evolved with this need for leadership to protect and defend the tribe.  By the time of the Egyption Pharaoh The pharaoh claimed birthright to the title pharaoh and religion said he was related to the imortal gods.  The pharaohs of course had access to calendars and knew when it was time to send the workers to plant food.  The pharaohs stored the food which was rationed to the people during food shortages.  One prharaoh I remember believed his wife should be afforded the same respect and privileges he had and this was done for him.
  Next on religion, Jesus and his apostles were educated men, they had a bit of power and infulence. I really believe Jesus took the egyptian after life and used it in his phylosophy.  I think he extended the after life to include the common and poor people to have a larger congrigation.  Unfortunataly he was accused of blasthmy and died a criminals death
  Now back to Leadership and some form of Government, I feel that George Washington and his rebel followers wanted the power and money rather than send it to the English king.  Fortunatly by that time educational oppertunities were much more widly spread and the goverment was lead by educated people, but they were educated, wealthy and powerful people that wanted more wealth and power. So now we have the US of America.
We have capatilism which to me means we always have an excess of people to jobs so some people are always unemployed.  We have voting which to me means we have to provide the money they spend on advertizing and TV ads are expensive so we can be involved in our goverment.  They have so much money that I don't feel the average person is represented at all.
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Freddy

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Re: What's everyone up to ?
« Reply #657 on: October 30, 2012, 11:28:42 am »
You know the Ancient Greeks ?  They invented democracy.  They could vote on if those in office had done a good job.  If they did a bad job then they were exiled.  I would love the see that re-adopted...

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Carl2

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Re: What's everyone up to ?
« Reply #658 on: October 30, 2012, 11:59:14 am »
  Just reviewed the ancient Greeks, democracy, probably why we studied it, I remember mostly the Greek gods.  I just feel the average citizen could be better represented. 
 Like the give a dam thing, who knows who cares
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Art

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Re: What's everyone up to ?
« Reply #659 on: October 30, 2012, 01:36:40 pm »
You know the Ancient Greeks ?  They invented democracy.  They could vote on if those in office had done a good job.  If they did a bad job then they were exiled.  I would love the see that re-adopted...
We have that here in the US every four years. It's called the November Elections. If they did good they get re-elected to stay for another 4 year term. If they did not do so good, then they get to pack their shtuff and exit the big doors to make way for a new hopeful!!

Obviously so many people either lack common sense or become blinded by the light of campaign promises that they elect a buffoon but either way I guess change can be good!
(if it's for the good of the people or for the greater good).
In the world of AI, it's the thought that counts!

 


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