reply to post by rogerstigers
Man, oh man have you hit on my hot button issue! This is the one that gets me labeled liberal. This is the one that gets me into heated, angry,
passionate debates. This is the one that I thought, once upon a time, might just get me banned...
The neocon vs lib war over social services. And it, in actuality, a very, very complex and divisive subject.
I'll start with your ER bill, as an example. On the one hand we've got the idea that America has great medical care available - the best in the
world... and that this should come at a premium. It is just, right, and rational that if you want the best, and you get the best, by God you should
pay for the best.
On the other hand, we've got people who are just plain too poor to afford the best. When you walk into your local ER they don't say "Welcome! Would
you like first class, coach, or economy doctoring?". The rich and the poor, alike, get the same care, from the same doctors, for the most part -
assuming that both land in the same hospital. They get seen in comparable rooms, by whatever Doctor is on rotation.
To the guy who's running the local office of a Fortune 500 company... That visit to the ER is nothing, financially speaking. He breaks out his
insurance card and pays whatever deductibles or copays may apply.
To the guy who's flipping burgers at the local Mickey Dees... Well if he has insurance, it doesn't cover much... And that ER bill will probably equal
out to at least several weeks of his entire paycheck. Maybe more.
IMO sliding scale pricing for medical care IS a fair option to consider in the war over "Obamacare", but I digress.
The point is that the same ER visit for two different people can end up being totally different life experiences. For one it's not even something to
blink about. For the other it is bankruptcy.
And, over this reality, we are forced to ask "Is it fair?"
Of course it isn't fair. It's not bloody fair at all. Should the rich be "penalized" for their success? Of course not. Should the guy who's had bad
luck be penalized for NOT being as successful? I don't believe this to be correct either.
So we seek balance. We, as a society look for the most universally equitable solution available. Well, we say that we do. But, in reality, we don't.
Increasingly we polarize into camps and lash out at the other side.
I watch the wealthy scream that they are OVER paying the way of the poor man.
I watch the poor man justify gaming the system because he feels disenfranchised.
In reaction the rich get more selfish and the poor get more opportunistic and it all turns into some twisted and sick self fulfilling prophecy for
The rich DO become arrogant snobs and the poor DO become a burden upon society as a whole.
Both extremes here offend me greatly. I am currently unemployed and, basically, devastating my retirement savings just to survive. I am currently
living in a cheap neighborhood and I do see people gaming the system. In fact I see quite a bit of opportunism. I have able bodied neighbors who fake
mental problems to get SSI. I have neighbors who collect welfare and food stamps but who also drive brand new $35,000.00 cars and have more and better
"stuff" in their houses than I have ever owned. People who collect benefits and then make a literal fortune selling drugs... It's all here.
Then again, a few years ago, I lived in a very affluent neighborhood and watched the wealthy gaming the system as well. I don't think I had a single
friend, in those years, who paid a cent in taxes. It was a bragging point, in our circles, to announce that your accountant had twisted things so well
that you'd be getting a HUGE refund. And I was always happy to try and win this little game. And did once or twice. There are so many loopholes and
write offs, for the upper middle class, that it's ridiculous, provided you know how to manipulate them.
But these are extremes of behavior, aren't they? Not every wealthy person is a crook who bends tax codes. And not ever poor or disabled person is a
Ultimately, in this argument, it's the honest people who get screwed, on both sides of the issue.
So, for the sake of our futures, and our kids futures, I would hope we can stop thinking in extremes about "the other side" and start trying to find
solutions that work for both ends of the spectrum. For example, reforming the tax code and better regulating and managing social services.
Because the endless bickering about who is right is doing nothing for us.
ETA: Got so impassioned, I forgot to say S&F
edit on 2/5/11 by Hefficide because: see ETA above