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America In Decline: Why Germans Think We're Insane

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posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 03:14 PM
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alternet


As an American expat living in the European Union, I’ve started to see America from a different perspective.

The European Union has a larger economy and more people than America does. Though it spends less -- right around 9 percent of GNP on medical, whereas we in the U.S. spend close to between 15 to 16 percent of GNP on medical -- the EU pretty much insures 100 percent of its population.

The U.S. has 59 million people medically uninsured; 132 million without dental insurance; 60 million without paid sick leave; 40 million on food stamps. Everybody in the European Union has cradle-to-grave access to universal medical and a dental plan by law. The law also requires paid sick leave; paid annual leave; paid maternity leave. When you realize all of that, it becomes easy to understand why many Europeans think America has gone insane.


I have certainly known many people, including myself at one point, who have suddenly fallen out of the middle class and become poor. This recession has caused many more people to become impoverished. It doesn't take much for this to happen -- an accident, an illness, the loss of a job. Even with savings, your money goes very fast when it's all going out and none coming in and even savings run out after a time. Then the creditors descend. Your health insurance premiums double if you become self-insured. You move to less expensive housing. If you're lucky you get food stamps. I do not doubt the statistics that say the American middle class is shrinking rapidly. I know too many people for whom this has become true.

The one point at which I question the article somewhat is the issue of food. There are many food banks and charitable organizations in our area that provide staples and cushion the blow, even if a family's food stamps run out. For the most part food stamps are pretty easy to obtain if your income is low enough to qualify (and that's pretty low here!) Granted, there are people who are too disorganized --ill, mentally ill, mentally challenged, homeless -- to know where these resources are or how to access them or don't have the means of getting there. Many of our mountain families are too proud to ask for assistance even when they have nothing to eat, and they hunt or just go hungry. We have a neighbor who works at a food bank and she says it stays busy almost all the time. But actual starvation has become pretty rare, thank God.

One of the first things to go when a family falls out of the middle class is medical care. No preventative check-ups or dental visits or even follow-up visits. Even in an emergency many people will forego medical assistance and try to tough it out. Some will go to the emergency room, thus racking up enormous bills, but many will just tough it out.

The article is correct in pointing out that only in America are people allowed to fall below a certain acceptable level of existence and receive little or no sympathy or compassion for their plight. Americans seem to think that any aid to the poor is an unjustified expense because the poor deserve to be poor, and assistance could lead to that ultimate of all hateful bogeymen--socialism! At least until it happens to them. It's just a paycheck away for many, many Americans.




posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 03:45 PM
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Europe is not all its cracked up to be.

here in England , Health care is not very good, and getting a dentist is unbelievably difficult.

the european union will fail, - this lumping together of dis-similar nations has been tried before and in time always fails.

I have always admired the USA for being a country that has some balls, and even though I hear some things are a bit bad over there, I am sure things will come good again.

Everyone says China will be the next super power, but i honestly believe the USA will be flexing its muscles for a long time yet.



posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 03:45 PM
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Originally posted by Sestias
The article is correct in pointing out that only in America are people allowed to fall below a certain acceptable level of existence and receive little or no sympathy or compassion for their plight. Americans seem to think that any aid to the poor is an unjustified expense because the poor deserve to be poor, and assistance could lead to that ultimate of all hateful bogeymen--socialism! At least until it happens to them. It's just a paycheck away for many, many Americans.


It is not just in the United States though. I have noticed that the poor in Canada are getting a certain stigma as well, and I am starting to believe that the ones that are doing the crying about the poor and how they shouldn't get more are the very ones that are the closest to being there themselves.

It is fear I believe. Fear of that one paycheck like you say. These people are struggling like mad to stay above that poverty line just so they can feel better at night. But their numbers are growing everyday.

Something has to give, and I hope it's sooner rather than later.



posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 03:48 PM
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reply to post by Onet Wosix
 


The author was talking about Germany and not the UK or the EU.

They do have a point as well. This country (The U.S) is on a slow, but steady decline. Best buck up and ride that wave as well as possible.



posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 04:13 PM
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reply to post by The Sword
 


The US started out a Republic, Consitutional moderate with the rule of law. Through greed and corruption it became a democracy if not Oligarchy. The EU is part of this Oligarchy and so is Canada, harmonizations are happening between all of the countries clearly in preperation for one world government, currency, system.

The thing is, this has to happen to maintain order. Our Civilizations are about to make a leap and enter a new age; unfortunately there is a battle between traditional thinking and those who want the human race to become free of things such as energy dependence.

Essentially on one side you have elites stripping the wealth and devising systems in which they can control the people with relative ease. The other side is the scientists and new age line of thinkers who are starting to awaken to this ploy and are unsettled by it and all that it implies. These people want to free the people from the clutches of big oil giants etc.

In closing, when I say has to happen to maintain order...I am speaking from an elites point of view while they establish and integrate advanced methods to control the people whom work tirelessly with the idea of removing the shackles attached to their brothers and sisters, neighbours alike. You can see this opression at work in patant offices and in the school system now, GMO's and big Pharma, everywhere.

If they had it their way, you would have the same remote disabling feature as a car.

click.



posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 04:43 PM
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reply to post by Onet Wosix
 


not sure where you live as i have lived in south shields(highest unemployment rate in th uk at the time) and i now live in surrey, i suffer from cfs/me and the doctors are great. i go about 3 or 4 times a month and they are always very helpful. i do agree about the dentists though but maybe its different on the contenant.



posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 05:56 PM
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The best healthcare system is…

1. Free to all, at the point of delivery (like the NHS)
2. Able to be combined with private healthcare (entirely at the users cost) for even superior healthcare (unlike the NHS)
3. Privately run, & Competitive (but probably tax 100% exempt). This is because rarely can government (i.e. politicians) run anything more cost effectively than the private sector (hence Communism fails despite looking good on paper)

In other words America needs to focus on basic healthcare for either everybody or at least the very poor. But Obama finances this by making taxing the middle class more (as if they weren’t a significant part of the electorate, or as if their healthcare bills weren’t already expensive enough). America taxes it’s healthcare industry and this is wrong too.

Provision of healthcare to the poor, long term residents of the USA could be funded by cutting back on defence (not raising taxes even more). The US is responsible for over half of worldwide defence expenditure, this is insane given the dollars would save far more US lives fighting real killers like diseases rather than trying to bomb cavemen with million dollar missiles.
The US needs defence but even with reduction to a mere 1550 nuclear weapons, half (or possibly even a third of this) would be more than enough to kick any invader up the ass. As for other areas of defence: Chainsaw them.

US Defence spending = 23% of Federal Spending (and that’s without many real cost-items on the list!!!).
en.wikipedia.org...



posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 09:33 PM
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The point to draw here is that the tax money is not managed properly and as such the poor continue to get poor while the rich get richer.



posted on Dec, 27 2010 @ 10:20 PM
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reply to post by Liberal1984
 

I agree with you on everything except point 3. The government runs Medicare and Social Security very well with less overhead than a private corporation could, in large part because the government isn't in it for profit and private providers would be much more expensive for taxpayers and recipients in order to boost their bottom line. That is the only thing of interest to businesses.

That is the reason many, many people wanted a single-payer plan when healthcare reform was enacted. In the first place a bureaucracy is already in place that administers the huge Social Security and Medicare programs. It would just require expanding the current staff and increasing productivity. Starting from scratch, as a private corporation would have to do, will be much, much more costly for the government and its current beneficiaries as well as more costly for its future recipients.

There are actually some things the government does better than the private sector. Administering large social programs is one of them.



posted on Dec, 28 2010 @ 11:42 PM
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Originally posted by Sestias
reply to post by Liberal1984
 

I agree with you on everything except point 3. The government runs Medicare and Social Security very well with less overhead than a private corporation could, in large part because the government isn't in it for profit and private providers would be much more expensive for taxpayers and recipients in order to boost their bottom line. That is the only thing of interest to businesses.

That is the reason many, many people wanted a single-payer plan when healthcare reform was enacted. In the first place a bureaucracy is already in place that administers the huge Social Security and Medicare programs. It would just require expanding the current staff and increasing productivity. Starting from scratch, as a private corporation would have to do, will be much, much more costly for the government and its current beneficiaries as well as more costly for its future recipients.

There are actually some things the government does better than the private sector. Administering large social programs is one of them.


Could you give us some examples of large social programs that the goverment does better than the private sector and of those examples, a comparison, you know, apples to apples, oranges to oranges. I can't seem to think of any large social programs the private sector used to run and now the goverment runs them better. Thank you. I'll be waiting



posted on Dec, 29 2010 @ 12:42 PM
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reply to post by pinchanze
 

As I said in my earlier post, the government runs Social Security and Medicare very well. In my state most of the social programs (food stamps, medicaid, section 8 housing, etc.) are also efficient and effective. These programs are generally jointly funded by both the state and the federal governments.

If these services were privatized they would cost much more than they do now, and because profits are more important to them than people, they wouldn't mind screwing either the state or the recipient in the process.



posted on Dec, 30 2010 @ 12:10 AM
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I'm 42 ...I've lost my home...now living with my family...I work full time but the is no medical insurance offered where I work...And I'm scared for my children, when will it get better?



posted on Dec, 30 2010 @ 12:58 AM
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I've lived in Germany for over 15 years. I believe every country
has positive and negative amenities. Europe has a great health
care system however they have also had to raise prices. When I
first started living there as a civilian the health care was (not free,
paid for by taxes taken my check) however in recent years you have to pay
10 Euros more every quarter for dental and medical not to mention at the
Pharmacy. They become "less" socialized as years go on and the doctors
strike often because of low salaries. Gas costs about 80-120 dollars to fill
er up depending on what kind of car you drive and they get you coming and
going at the bank if you dare overdraw your account. The taxes as unbearable
and they even have an extra tax on the money you earn if you work overtime.
The Catholic church takes it's dues as a direct deposit from your paycheck
instead of the money plate in the form of a tax (If you are Catholic). All in all I'd
say about 50% of ones paycheck is taken in taxes, medical care, retirement
(Social security).

Good things I liked about Germany was that crime was not that prevalent
(until I started to leave), food is good and the beer is better. You have good
people and bad people just like everywhere and the best thing I liked were
the old buildings......just don't make them like that here in the good old USA.
They have buildings in some places that are over a thousand years old.
Many people have be-deviled the Germans throughout the ages and with good
reasons for sure...ie., the holocaust etc., however we have to remember that
not all Germans gassed Jews, some were even apalled by it just like not all
Jews kill Palestinians and not all Americans like war. I'm sure most Germans
would like to keep their money and not have to spend it on taxes. I have seen
a couple of sides of Germany both light and dark, good and bad and it is always
the people in all Coutries that usually bear the brunt of injustices and tyranny.
My two cents for what they are worth................
edit on 30-12-2010 by Mr. D because: removed free and added (not free, paid for by taxes taken my check).



posted on Dec, 30 2010 @ 01:06 AM
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reply to post by Onet Wosix
 


It may not be very good, but it's better than nothing, don't you think? Here in the states, the poor really have three options when it comes to medical issues.

1) Doing without.
2) Severe debt
3) Fraud

Most opt for #1, for obvious and understandable reasons. However if they were to cross the border in either direction, they could have their teeth fixed, their conditions checked, and their prescriptions filled at minimal or even no personal cost.

Telling us that your medical system isn't as great as you might like is pretty much like a fat man telling a starving Ethiopian that the steak was a little tough.



posted on Dec, 30 2010 @ 01:15 AM
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reply to post by pinchanze
 


I'd settle for just hearing about the government taking over a privately-owned service. There's no such thing, of course.

However, the opposite is not true - the private sector has gained control og a large number of public services, and the result is always the same - skyrocketing costs, followed by a spectacular crash, then loss of the service. This is because when public property switches hands to the private sector, the persons receiving the property pay none of the costs - the property in question is usually rock-bottom prices, far below its actual value, and the recipients of it did not have to invest in the property to any degree past the initial purchase. The prices of the service are elevated while the actual services are cut. This generates a fast, magnificent profit. when the service loses its customer base due to cost to the consumer, it is discarded, at no loss to the private owners, since they bought a multimilliondollar property for a few grand and made several more million on astronomical rates and service cuts.

It happens when the state sells off schools, it happens when the state sells off the electrical grid, the water supplies, services, the airwaves, and even when it outsources for the military. It's a tried-and-true fact that when government services pass to the private sector, the public suffers and the service quickly disappears, while the new owners reap massive profits - that's WHY there is so much pressure for the state to sell off services. You didn't think it was ideological, did you? Good god.



posted on Dec, 30 2010 @ 01:36 AM
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Originally posted by Onet Wosix
Europe is not all its cracked up to be.

here in England , Health care is not very good, and getting a dentist is unbelievably difficult.


I used to work in a dental institute at a London hospital. Anyone could walk in off the street and get treatment for free. They would make you wait for 5 hours and you would be seen by trainees, but you would be seen. It may not be the best, but it's better than nothing.

I have a private dentist now, but treatment is always available for those that don't. You just have to know where to go.



posted on Dec, 30 2010 @ 02:02 AM
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Originally posted by Sestias



The U.S. has 59 million people medically uninsured


Don't need it.

Alternative plan:
1) Pay cash - Negotiate services at a discounted rate prior to treatment
2) Sue someone else if possible
3) Travel out of the country for medical treatment and meds if possible
4) Stay out of the Ambulance and ER unless unconcious and bleeding out profusely
5) Renegotiate bills down after service provided for a 70% reduction
6) Pay renegotiated bills over time - Send 'em $5 a month if that is all you can spare.
7) Last option: Bankruptcy

My entire family hasn't had insurance since 2001



132 million without dental insurance


Don't need it.

Dental bills are relatively inexspensive, unless you have a family and someone needs a crown, a bridge and braces.


Just pay cash



60 million without paid sick leave


Don't need it.

I haven't had sick leave or disability insurance since 2001



40 million on food stamps


Why don't we distribute sacks of rice and beans to people who need it like we do in 3rd world countries?

I mean seriously. I'm not oppossed at all to feeding people but do we need to issue them stamps?

When was the last time you saw someone eat a stamp?

We are insane. Theres no doubt about it.
edit on 30-12-2010 by In nothing we trust because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 30 2010 @ 02:08 AM
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Not to stray off topic here as I surely understand the OP statements regarding income and health care and the lack thereof for working poor families (we live in the same state apparently



But I would say the real reason the German people look to us Americans like we are crazy is because they recognize the signs of fascism and the tell tale hints of the rise of a military dictatorship.

They lived through unimagineable violence, bloodshed and loss at the hands of the Third Reich, and Im sure there is deep regret within their culture that nothing was done to stop what took place in the late 30's and early 40's within their own homeland.

This is 1939 Germany we are living in right now, and Americans have their heads buried in the sand like so many German citizens did. So many are trying to get by and make due and hang on to their luxeries and creature comforts and not make waves, while our government is doing things in our name that we efuse to believe.

So yes, this is why the average German in today's society would see us all as insane. Crazy that we are willing to repeat an awful history. Foolish that we do nothing about it.



posted on Dec, 30 2010 @ 02:12 AM
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Originally posted by BlackOps719

This is 1939 Germany we are living in right now


I see it too



posted on Dec, 30 2010 @ 02:13 AM
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reply to post by In nothing we trust
 


I hate to see people have to be hungry, sick and homeless period. (Much less
so in one of the richest countries in the world). You would think that corporations
that earn Millions, Billions and even Trillions could afford to foot the bill of health
care on their own.
and that sentiment goes for all Countries. Think about it,
they are getting rich because of the people, you would think that they might have
a vested interest in not biting the hand that feeds them............



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