Tag: Healthcare

Why Socialist Policies Appeal to More of the Youth

Jack Parkos | United States

It is no secret that more of today’s American youth prefer socialism than older citizens. After all, Bernie Sanders gathered up a large majority of his supporters from millennials and the underage. According to University of Chicago study, 62% of Americans between the age of 18-34 believe that  “we need a strong government to handle today’s complex economic problems”. Another study from the Victims of Communism foundation found that 44% of millennials would prefer to live in a country with socialist policies.

The question soon arises of why the youth seem to show affection towards a system that has historically failed. The answer, though, is not so simple.

Socialist Policies and Time Preference

Time preference theory states that with all things being equal, a person prefers current wealth over future wealth. Different factors can influence one’s time preference (such as if the wealth will increase or decrease over time). Younger people tend to have a higher time preference (meaning they prefer current wealth over future wealth). Thus, many millennials will fall under this category.

This same trait is evident, generally speaking, in their politics. Socialist policies simply tend to reflect higher time preference. Take, for instance, the substation of education. In the short run, it will lower or eliminate costs for college. However, in the future, it will decrease the wealth through higher prices and tax increases, but also increase inflation rates and debt. The youth, on average not having as much of an ability to look towards the future, are more likely to take the current wealth now and ignore future consequences.

Socialism in general has a trend for higher time preference. After all, the need to loot wealth from the “haves” and give to the “have nots” is a direct link of this theory. Why work or save when you can take from those who already have done so?. But this mindset, though materially rewarding initially, is dangerous. It will negatively impact on the economy, as the incentive to produce will fall; when people can keep less of what they produce, they will not have the same motivation to do so. Thus, it goes almost without saying that socialist policies will harm an economy, generally speaking.

A False Definition of Capitalism

It is also worth noting that many socialists paint a false picture of critical issues; what they criticize about the free market really has nothing to do with one, but instead is due to government interference. The cronyism that plagues the nation is not the fault of free market capitalism. The free market does not include lobbying, corporate bailouts, or subsidizing industries. America’s market is not a pure free market like the left claims it to be. Therefore, it makes no sense to condemn capitalism in the first place, when we have yet to see it.

Many millennials blame the free market for the rising price of healthcare. In fact, though, the federal government takes much of the blame here. In 1960, healthcare took up just five percent of the GDP, but in 2017, it was 17.9 percent. Healthcare costs have risen faster than the average annual income. What happened between 1960 and the modern day? In short, the government expanded and subsided the healthcare industry.

Inadequate Government Healthcare

If the government ran healthcare completely, it would be a disaster. The Veterans of Foreign Wars’ healthcare is notorious for its poor quality; imagine this for all healthcare across the whole country. Also, Canada’s healthcare system has many detriments. Our northern neighbors provide healthcare for free to every citizen, at the expense of the government.

However, consequences have been disastrous. This has lead to longer waiting times and a decrease in healthcare. In fact, waits for medically necessary procedures have more than doubled in 25 years. Furthermore, taxes in Canada are significantly higher than those in America. The last thing that our country needs is to go down this path.

Though most Americans do not support a truly free market, the number of people completely disregarding capitalism and praising socialist policies is increasing, particularly among youth. If predictions that millennials will have bigger impacts of elections is true, we should be worried about the future.


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Government Shutdowns and Debt Ceilings

Craig Axford | Canada

Government shutdowns and flirtations with default by putting off raising the federal debt ceiling have become regular occurrences in Washington, D.C. I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised given the number of representatives and senators regularly expressing disdain for the very institution they were elected to run, but still.

Americans like to believe their nation is exceptional, and it is: it’s the only developed nation on the planet that doesn’t guarantee all its citizens healthcare, higher education is more expensive there than just about anywhere else, it has the only government that it’s possible to shut down without having to resort to violence, and it’s the only nation that flirts with suicide by requiring votes on its debt ceiling.

That’s right. No other governments have even one, let alone two, kill switches built into their system. And why would they? What’s the point? Unless the intent is to erode public confidence in government it makes no sense for elected officials to even contemplate closing down popular national parks or giving all the people in charge of enforcing our public health and safety regulations an extended unpaid holiday?

The habit of shutting down the government now and then (as well as the continuing resolutions passed to avoid them) is an unintended bug in the American system rather than a feature of it. So too is the necessity to authorize more borrowing periodically once the national debt has reached a predetermined threshold. Both of these bugs are extremely dangerous but, unfortunately, they are likely to remain unfixed for the foreseeable future.

America’s founding fathers were revolutionaries. As such, they were no fans of the British government, which by the late 18th century was already well established and quite recognizable to any citizen of the 21st century. Though King George III was the titular head of state, like his contemporary successor Queen Elizabeth II, he had very little actual power to match the privileges that came with his hereditary title. Parliament was already very much in charge.

Nothing like what took place in Philadelphia following the American Revolution had ever been seriously considered, let alone attempted, in London. To intentionally sit down and craft rules for a new government quite literally being built from scratch was a radical idea if ever there was one. To call America an experiment is not an exaggeration. As with any experiment, the outcome is unknown until it has come to a close. The American experiment hasn’t ended, but so far it certainly has produced some unanticipated results.

In creating the modern world’s first republic, America’s victorious rebels were faced with the task of establishing rules for a country that no longer had centuries of tradition to fall back on. The norms of the mother country they had just abandoned had evolved over hundreds of years of power struggles between the aristocracy and the crown, with a nascent merchant middle class increasingly making its own demands over the course of the 17th and 18th centuries. The newly independent colonies wanted to distinguish themselves from the nation they had just liberated themselves from, but how?

The US Constitution settled for a president instead of a monarch, while the House of Representatives took the place of the House of Commons and the Senate stood in for the House of Lords. Each elected member of these respective branches is subject to regular fixed terms of office, with the power balanced more or less equally between them rather than resting largely in the representative branch (i.e., parliament) alone. With the exception of the extremely rare and difficult case of impeachment, the US Constitution provides no opportunity to hold any single officeholder accountable for failure during the period between elections, let alone the government as a whole. Federal judges receive lifetime appointments, something else not seen in any other developed representative democracy to this day.

In a parliamentary system, the failure to pass something as routine as an annual budget triggers a crisis. Under the Westminster parliamentary model followed in the UK, Canada and several other members of the Commonwealth, this crisis brings down the government and forces the monarch or her designated representative to dissolve the government and call an election. In unstable periods when minority governments are common, elections tend to be relatively more frequent, while in less turbulent political times a majority government can persist for five years or so before facing a vote.

Likewise, when a parliament authorizes spending beyond the government’s anticipated revenues, it is understood they have necessarily approved an increase in the national debt. Therefore, there is no need to consider raising the debt limit independently. From the perspective of citizens living in parliamentary countries, it makes no sense that the same Congress that approved deficit spending one month can spend time the next flirting with a refusal to allow any borrowing. It’s like having a government that doesn’t know its own mind.

Unfortunately, the kind of crises that bring down governments in parliamentary systems has become commonplace in the United States. Budgets go years without being approved, with Congress lurching from one continuing resolution to the next while various factions hold federal employees and the citizens dependent upon their services hostage until some pet project or favorite policy or another is approved in exchange for keeping things running for a while longer. A Prime Minister Donald Trump would either be facing a vote of the people at this point in the budget process or a leadership challenge by members of his own caucus. One year in office would be unlikely, but four would almost certainly be impossible.

I’ve been living in Canada for the better part of a decade now. On most days I find myself feeling pretty ambivalent about the monarchy if I even think about it at all. That’s not because I can see equal merit in both sides of the argument regarding having someone born into the role of head of state. It’s because I recognize all societies require a sense of continuity and for some countries that can take the shape of a monarchy that has existed in one form or another for centuries. A woman that appears on our money while playing an entirely ceremonial role is harmless, if not for the actual person forced into the job by an accident of birth then at least for the rest of us.

I’m not feeling so ambivalent about having a parliament, however. I have strong opinions about the two Canadian prime ministers I’ve lived under so far. But the extent of my approval or disapproval aside, at least I know that the nearby Pacific Rim National Park will, weather permitting, always be open and that with the exception of national holidays at the local Services Canada office the door will never be locked. Even the UK Brexit debacle hasn’t convinced me parliaments are less effective or ultimately less democratic than the divided governments that have become the norm in the US.

If for some reason, it turns out parliament can’t do its job there will be an election lasting a little over a month while the people try to vote one in with a sufficient mandate to do it. In the meantime, things will go on pretty much as before without any nightly news reports about government employees unable to pay the rent because someone got it into their head they wanted to build a wall. I know it’s incredibly unAmerican to say so, but if you were to put me in a time machine and send me back to 1776, I would tell the founding fathers to get rid of the monarchy if they must, but at least keep the parliament.

Follow Craig on Twitter or read him on Medium.com


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Private Healthcare is a Moral and Pragmatic Necessity

Teagan Fair | United States

The debate about healthcare in America is huge, and both sides have many compelling arguments. However, privatizing as many services as possible appears to be the morally correct choice.

The Moral Argument

The government should not be the ones to provide healthcare for the Amerian people. To understand my ethical side of the argument, we must look at just how this would occur.

The answer to this question is obvious. The government would fund these services using taxpayer money. Of course, taxation in itself is unethical and no more than organized theft. If I were to take your money at gunpoint but use it productively, I still would be a thief. That is the definition of theft: taking somebody’s belongings without their consent.

This makes government, in itself, the biggest and most successful thief in history. They are doing the exact same thing as the previous scenario explains. If you do not give them the money that you rightfully earned, then they will take it by force. Ultimately, they will resort to sending men with guns to collect it or collect you, if you do not comply. Of course, many citizens do not even question this or think twice because society raises us to believe things like ‘taxation is the price you pay to live in a civilized society.’

This is invalid for multiple reasons. First off, the citizens do not consent to money being taken, nor did they sign any ‘social contract’. Sure, the Constitution does mention taxation, but men 250 years ago agreeing upon it does not justify an act of aggression today. Agreement of the founders is not consent.

Second off, government services through taxation might be moral if it was only paid for by those who voluntarily used those services, or personally agreed to pay. However, this is not the case. We are all required to pay these taxes, regardless of whether or not we choose to use them and/or agreed to pay.

Even if I were to take your money and give you something valuable that you may or may not need or want, like medicine, for example, I would still be a thief. This should be no different with government. If the government takes the money of its citizens through coercion and gives them healthcare that they may not even want in exchange, it is still a mass theft. It may be theft that benefits a certain group of people, but this is regardless. Using violence against peaceful people in order to improve the lives of a certain group is wrong. The same moral argument exists for any government service.

The Practical Argument

Now that we have concluded the fact that healthcare through government is unethical, we must ask ourselves whether or not the government’s absence in this field would work as well as its presence. Without a doubt, the absence of the government in healthcare is practically correct and more efficient.

First of all, the private sector provides a greater incentive to work. Government employees tend to receive the same salary regardless of their work input. Those working in the private sector, however, often receive monetary compensation for working harder and more efficiently. When companies directly tie in one’s quality of work with their pay, it gives them an incentive to work harder, helping everyone by accomplishing more.

This general rule holds true for almost all services: the private sector gets the job done better. We see this in many places, including – like our failing public school system or our high number of roads and bridges in poor condition. In many areas, people can widely accept that the private sector ends up being higher quality. The same will apply to healthcare.

Private healthcare also grants patients the luxury of choice. It gives patients the option to choose the doctor they want treating them or the hospital they want to go to. They can choose these things based on the quality of the service provided. The more companies exist, the more options will follow. If one particular company is flawed in some way, perhaps in prices or quality, then they will go out of business. The only options for that company, thus, are changing their ways or closing up. If they fail to change, then perhaps they will lose money or even the building. In its place will come a better company that is more capable to suit the needs of the customers.

Without a doubt, private healthcare is a morally correct idea and also seems to be more efficient This way, we can further attempt to get the government out of the lives of the people while maintaining fairness and quality medical care.


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The True Cost of Socialized Healthcare: Canadian Eugenics

By Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial

Canada is seen by many as the bastion of liberalism. It helps all those that are in need, provides for all of the downtrodden, and Trudeau is the king of political correctness. It seems as if it is a haven for those slightly left of center – especially considering the recent legalization of marijuana. But this progressive machine has a dark underbelly: its socialized healthcare system has resulted in eugenicist practices against Indigenous people.

According to a report from The Washington Post, many Indigenous women have been forcibly sterilized. As revealed by a class-action lawsuit against the Saskatoon Health Region, the province of Saskatchewan, at least 60 women have been sterilized over the course of 20 to 25 years. Many women report never giving any consent to the procedure. Others recall being lied to or pressured during post-birth exhaustion. Either way, the Canadian government has been grossly irresponsible.

Some have described it as an act of genocide, and they are probably right. The decision to target Indigenous women when pressuring/forcing sterilization is no doubt threatening to the Indigenous peoples of Canada, whether intentional or not. Article II of the United Nations convention on genocide prohibits “imposing measures intended to prevent birth within a group.”

This action and similar ones are not a fluke, but a feature of a government-run system.

When healthcare is socialized, consumers don’t get the chance to say “no, I am going to chose a better option.” The Canadian government is the one footing the bill, so they get to choose what happens to the patient. This is especially true if decisions are made mid-procedure, completely removing the need for patient consent.

Nobody in Canada is allowed to say “I will not support such an institution” because they are forced to pay for it through taxes. This guarantees that, no matter what the Canadian government ends up doing, they will continue to be funded. Thus, these public institutions can get away with doing horrendous actions. The preventative measures that can be taken to stop such an action from further occurring are implemented slowly and inefficiently, for that is the nature of state-run enterprise.

A better option would be opening up the market on healthcare and restoring sovereignty to the consumers. Allowing Canadians to say “no, my money will not go towards genocide” is a good thing. Removing the socialized healthcare system would result in the Canadian population no longer being stakeholders in eugenicist practices.


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Movements Are Visionary, Not Cautious

Craig Axford | Canada

Hearings, dialogue and debate are, or at least should be, means to an end in a functioning democratic society. Unfortunately, they’re too often ends unto themselves. Promising to study a problem or hold a hearing “to look into it” is what politicians do to make it appear as though they’re interested without ever having to risk their necks by endorsing a particular idea.

So when likely incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced plans to bring back a select committee on climate change that had been disbanded by the previous Republican majority, it was reasonable for some of the incoming freshmen Democrats to question its real purpose. If committee hearings are going to be held, they’re insisting the hearings be about meaningful climate legislation instead of even more learned testimony on science that’s was settled long ago. As Evan Weber of the Sunrise Movement put it to Politico, “We’ve been talking about the science for the past two decades.”

The incoming Democratic House majority will find it tempting to spend much of the next two years doing little more than poring over Donald Trump’s tax returns, which they will presumably issue a subpoena for early next year. Likewise, the current administration’s cabinet is full of individuals as venal as their chief. It will certainly be refreshing to finally see them all held accountable for their misconduct.

That said, governments don’t build and retain confidence among their citizens merely by diligently investigating corruption. People have proven over and over again that they are willing to tolerate a great deal of unethical behavior in their leaders if, in exchange, they feel they are receiving a reasonable degree of economic and physical security, or even just listened to.

The GOP has mastered the art of creating the illusion that people are getting something in return when they vote for them. Whether it’s so-called “tax relief” or protecting jobs by getting tough on immigration, the Republican Party has consistently been able to convince a significant number of Americans it’s looking out for them even as it stabs them in the back. The antidote to their misleading and often dangerous rhetoric isn’t hearings; it’s direct positive action that translates into real change people can actually see and feel in their lives.

The leadership of the Democratic Party would be wise, therefore, to embrace incoming Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s call for the creation of a select committee that instead of just talking about climate change is charged with drafting legislation to do something about it. She is calling it the “Select Committee on a Green New Deal”.

The select committee shall have authority to develop a detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan (hereinafter in this section referred to as the “Plan for a Green New Deal” or the “Plan”) for the transition of the United States economy to become carbon neutral and to significantly draw down and capture greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and oceans and to promote economic and environmental justice and equality. ~ Section 2 A(i) of the Draft Text for Proposed Addendum to House Rules for 116TH Congress of The United States

 Ocasio-Cortez’s resolution is similar in its approach, if not yet in its level of detail, to Canada’s Leap Manifesto. That document translates the progressive principles that emerged from the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s into concrete proposals aimed at achieving both equality and sustainability.

We want a universal program to build energy efficient homes, and retrofit existing housing, ensuring that the lowest income communities and neighbourhoods will benefit first and receive job training and opportunities that reduce poverty over the long term…We declare that “austerity” — which has systematically attacked low-carbon sectors like education and healthcare, while starving public transit and forcing reckless energy privatizations — is a fossilized form of thinking that has become a threat to life on earth.~ Leap Manifesto (Emphasis included in original)

I had the privilege of working as a DNC organizer for three years. I was hired as part of Howard Dean’s 50 state strategy following his election as Chair of the DNC in 2005. Dean’s vision for party-building paid off in 2006 when the Democrats took back Congress, and again in 2008 when Barack Obama won the presidency.

However, the organizing effort that arose from John Kerry’s defeat in 2004 took place in the context of growing opposition to the war in Iraq and a Democratic Party galvanized against the domestic policies of George W. Bush. Then as now, opposition was the driving unifying force on the left. The failure to clearly and consistently articulate what it was for quickly came back to haunt it in 2010.

Yes, there was the passage of Obamacare in 2009, but Democrats have traveled so far from the eloquence and clarity of leaders like JFK and RFK that even when debating universal healthcare they sound wonkish and inconsistent. As I learned upon my temporary return to the United States from Canada last year, even under Obamacare, plans with high premiums and deductibles are still the norm. Mandating the purchase of insurance that doesn’t really provide much coverage is a curious policy to emerge from a political party with a base that consistently argues healthcare is a right, not a privilege.

The Green New Deal and Leap Manifesto offer the left a way out of the political wilderness they’ve been wandering in since at least 1980. These initiatives provide something to be for. They can finally transform the left of the 21st century into a movement that wants to say YES! to something.

By uniting both labor and the environmental movement behind an effort that creates good paying jobs while providing the public with clean technologies that improve lives in both rural and urban communities, the Democratic Party could ensure itself decades of majority status not unlike the one it enjoyed from the 1930s through 1994. It seems like the obvious choice for them to make. So what’s taking Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Leadership so long?

Follow Craig on Twitter or read him on Medium.com

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