Why can't liberals get their around the concept of "insurance"?
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05-11-2013, 08:25 AM
RE: Why can't liberals get their around the concept of "insurance"?
(03-11-2013 08:06 PM)frankksj Wrote:  Insurance has been around for hundreds of years, most people ultimately buy insurance at one point in their lives, and the definition is so simple it can be summed in 2 short sentences:

From wikipedia: Insurance is the equitable transfer of the risk of a loss, from one entity to another in exchange for payment. It is a form of risk management primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent, uncertain loss.

Car insurance (comp & coll) covers your car in the event of an accident or natural disaster, because those are RISKS, and we pay a premium (insurance) to manage that risk. Car insurance does NOT cover oil changes, tires and brakes. There is NO RISK with those expense. You KNOW in advance that you're going to incur them. Sure, companies will sell plans that cover them. But they are NOT insurance plans. They are maintenance plans.

Health insurance is no different. Like all insurance, it is a way to manage risk--the risk that maybe you'll be unfortunate and get cancer or get hit by a bus and be faced with major bills. When companies like Blue Cross cover planned, predictable expenses like routine checkups, it is NOT insurance! There is no risk, and the management of risk IS the very definition of insurance. Rather it is a maintenance plan, just like the car maintenance plan that covers oil changes, tires and brakes.

So when you listen to people like Obama and many on this forum say that Obamacare mandates everyone buy "health insurance", you have to ask yourself, "Since they don't even know what health insurance is, can we REALLY rely on their opinion of it?" Obamcare makes it illegal to get health insurance, and it mandates everyone buy a health maintenance plan instead.

Next ask financial advisers if maintenance plans are a good value. Anybody who understands the system will say "No, they're a rip off for suckers. It's stupid to pay a middle-man a premium to cover what is a predictable expense". Heck, Best Buy trains their sales people to always offer "maintenance plans" and provides very generous commissions on them, and they can get in trouble if they don't sell any. Why? Because it's pure profit. It's a sucker plan, where a fool and is his money are soon parted. In another post I provided a spreadsheet proving that health maintenance plans are just as much a rip off and will cost the average man at least $1 million over the course of his life.

Why is this concept so complicated for the self-proclaimed liberals to understand? Why can't get their heads around the difference between health insurance (which has value as it's a service to manage risk) vs. health maintenance plans (where you're paying a middle-man a premium to cover predictable expenses)?

The government and corporations are two equally deplorable middle men regarding health insurance.
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05-11-2013, 08:27 AM
RE: Why can't liberals get their around the concept of "insurance"?
Also deplorable is the fact that the health of americans is so bad because:

1. Companies push (billions spent on advertisements) shitty dangerous things that most people call food.

2. People are dumb enough to buy them.

The problem of health in the U.S. by IandI.


Drinking Beverage
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05-11-2013, 08:40 AM
RE: Why can't liberals get their around the concept of "insurance"?
(04-11-2013 09:03 PM)frankksj Wrote:  I could try to reword it differently and use shorter words, but I don't think it will make a difference. I really don't think that sentence is complicated. This ain't string theory. Your average 10 year old could probably understand it. So, my suspicion is that what I wrote IS coherent to you, your mind is just playing a self-defense trick to avoid confronting the issue.

Dream on.

(04-11-2013 09:03 PM)frankksj Wrote:  Really??? That simple, plain English sentence is “incoherent” to you? You can't understand it? So how do you know it's idiotic if you can't understand it?

It simply doesn't make sense as a thing to ask someone. It's a hilariously leading question, tragically fraught with your ludicrous preconceptions.

The question is, "find an issue on which you and I disagree, wherein our disagreement does not lie in you being more violent".

This... does not strike you as a silly and unfair question?

OK then.

I mean, I pointed out to some detail how moral reasoning in human beings is predicated on several bases, which appear to be essentially innate. These are then subject to natural statistical variation, as any human trait.

Now, what you've done, is declare those who do disagree with you (inevitably there are some) to be wrong and inferior. I dunno, that attitude just doesn't seem particularly useful to me.

(04-11-2013 09:03 PM)frankksj Wrote:  See that's how we think differently. If I have trouble understanding something, like say string theory, I try harder and if I still can't grasp it, I just assume I'm not smart enough to get it. Your approach is the opposite: “It's incoherent to me, THEREFORE it must be idiotic.” Trulyx's quote from Bertrand Russell sums it up: “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.”

Well, shucks. I guess you're just smarter than poor ol' mindless violent primitive me.

Hint: this is not a productive approach.

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05-11-2013, 09:54 AM
RE: Why can't liberals get their around the concept of "insurance"?
(05-11-2013 06:56 AM)LostandInsecure Wrote:  I won't argue the minimum wage thing further. I find people who are against raising the minimum wage to be just silly and/or uninformed (or rich lol).

1: What about people who didn't already have coverage before they got ill? We just let then suffer or even die?

2: That is a good start. How do you feel about universal healthcare?

The problem is you're only looking at the desired effect, and completely ignoring the side effects. It's like we have a daughter who is so distraught and stressed over her dog's death (the problem). I propose that we take her on a family outing to get her mind off it, maybe have a party with friends, maybe get her a new puppy. You say 'just inject her heroin and she won't be stressed about the puppy anymore'. And I'm saying 'but what about all the side effects!' And you're saying I'm cold and heartless and don't care about our daughter because I refuse to give her the most effective remedy.

Yes, raising the minimum wage to, say $20/hour, solves the problem of workers not making a living wage. BUT, studies are clear that all you're doing is just eliminating jobs that are worth less than $20/hour, so you thus have fewer workers contributing to the economy, and it creates a drag on the economy. You're not disputing that side effect exists, you're just not considering it.

The same with pre-existing conditions. Yes, if, instead of Obamacare, we simply mandated insurance companies take everyone with pre-existing conditions, this solves the problem. But what are the side effects? You've just given everyone a perverse incentive to NOT buy insurance while they're healthy, and wait until they're sick to get insurance. I don't see you even considering the side-effect, therefore you can't possibly have decided the desired effect outweighs the side-effects.
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05-11-2013, 10:00 AM
RE: Why can't liberals get their around the concept of "insurance"?
(05-11-2013 07:18 AM)black_squirrel Wrote:  Switzerland does not federal minimal wages, but industries have collective
bargaining agreements and minimum wages are part of negotiations.
Countries that truly have no minimum wage are Somalia, Kazachstan and North Korea, not countries I would like to live in.

That's inaccurate. Switzerland (the government) does NOT have a minimum wage. Those bargaining agreements are done by the PRIVATE sector. So, all you're doing is re-affirming what I said all along. If you have a thriving economy, this will empower the private sector to demand high wages, and this is a superior solution to the government forcing employers to pay high wages.

North Korea DOES have a minimum wage. The government sets everybody's wage. It is the system you guys have advocated, with the government taking an active role, taken to the extreme. Somalia, on the other hand, has no government. Liberals always think that "Somalia" is some "gotcha" for a libertarian. No, it's not. Libertarians are NOT anarchists against all government. We want a government that effective defends it's people from violence, rather than subjecting them to it. Somalia doesn't do this. Somalia is very violent. Therefore, Somalia is more aligned with the liberal vision because whoever has the power, gets to make all the rules and force everyone to follow them. It is the opposite of the libertarian vision where everyone is free to make their own decisions.
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05-11-2013, 10:33 AM
RE: Why can't liberals get their around the concept of "insurance"?
@cjlr,

You're forgetting the context. We met in a thread on 'political views', where liberals say 'our thing is equality', conservatives say 'our thing is institutions', and I piped in and said that for libertarians 'our thing is finding solutions to problems that does not involve threatening people with physical force to coerce them into doing something against their will.'

But you hated that definition of libertarianism because it presumes that non-libertarians DO favor solutions that force people to do things against their will. So you kept insisting my definition was wrong. Therefore, I asked you to find one policy disagreement which did not boil down to you wanting to force people to do things against their will and me wanting people to do it voluntarily because it's aligned with their interests.

This is not at all an unreasonable. You challenged my definition, so I challenged you to find one example where the definition was not 100% accurate. That's normal debate. I only taunted you with unflattering caricatures because you kept insisting my definition was wrong even though you couldn't find one example, you then pretended the definition was incomprehensible, and we kept going round and round. The burden is on you because I stated a definition (or rule) and gave numerous examples where the definition held up, you challenged it, so it's up to you to give one example where the definition does NOT hold up. You can't, but somehow you keep insisting my definition is wrong.

IMO, step 1 in any debate is to identify the issue the two sides disagree on. How on earth can you debate something, if you refuse to acknowledge the issue being debated? Like I said many times, I will only disagree with you when you are forcing people to do things against their will. In such cases were you are not, then we have nothing to debate.

The intellectual response would be to either (a) prove my statement wrong by showing an example where I do advocate threatening non-violent people with violence to coerce them to do things against their will, (b) find a policy that we disagree on where you are NOT doing so, or © if there are no examples for a or b, then accept that this is what we're debating and explain WHY you think your system is better.
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05-11-2013, 10:41 AM
RE: Why can't liberals get their around the concept of "insurance"?
(05-11-2013 10:33 AM)frankksj Wrote:  @cjlr,

You're forgetting the context. We met in a thread on 'political views', where liberals say 'our thing is equality', conservatives say 'our thing is institutions', and I piped in and said that for libertarians 'our thing is finding solutions to problems that does not involve threatening people with physical force to coerce them into doing something against their will.'

But you hated that definition of libertarianism because it presumes that non-libertarians DO favor solutions that force people to do things against their will. So you kept insisting my definition was wrong. Therefore, I asked you to find one policy disagreement which did not boil down to you wanting to force people to do things against their will and me wanting people to do it voluntarily because it's aligned with their interests.

This is not at all an unreasonable. You challenged my definition, so I challenged you to find one example where the definition was not 100% accurate. That's normal debate. I only taunted you with unflattering caricatures because you kept insisting my definition was wrong even though you couldn't find one example, you then pretended the definition was incomprehensible, and we kept going round and round. The burden is on you because I stated a definition (or rule) and gave numerous examples where the definition held up, you challenged it, so it's up to you to give one example where the definition does NOT hold up. You can't, but somehow you keep insisting my definition is wrong.

IMO, step 1 in any debate is to identify the issue the two sides disagree on. How on earth can you debate something, if you refuse to acknowledge the issue being debated? Like I said many times, I will only disagree with you when you are forcing people to do things against their will. In such cases were you are not, then we have nothing to debate.

The intellectual response would be to either (a) prove my statement wrong by showing an example where I do advocate threatening non-violent people with violence to coerce them to do things against their will, (b) find a policy that we disagree on where you are NOT doing so, or © if there are no examples for a or b, then accept that this is what we're debating and explain WHY you think your system is better.

I reject your libertarianism as Utopian. It is not achievable.

My view is that basing our political decisions on a concept of social contract is more practical.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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05-11-2013, 10:59 AM
RE: Why can't liberals get their around the concept of "insurance"?
(05-11-2013 10:00 AM)frankksj Wrote:  
(05-11-2013 07:18 AM)black_squirrel Wrote:  Switzerland does not federal minimal wages, but industries have collective
bargaining agreements and minimum wages are part of negotiations.
Countries that truly have no minimum wage are Somalia, Kazachstan and North Korea, not countries I would like to live in.

That's inaccurate. Switzerland (the government) does NOT have a minimum wage. Those bargaining agreements are done by the PRIVATE sector. So, all you're doing is re-affirming what I said all along. If you have a thriving economy, this will empower the private sector to demand high wages, and this is a superior solution to the government forcing employers to pay high wages.
I still don't get your logic. If Switzerland were to adopt the minimum wage
of the USA. How would that negatively affect Switzerland, given that all their
wages are already above this minimum wage?

Minimum wage is a symptom of poverty, it does not cause poverty. There is
a minimum wage in the USA, because it is necessary. But instead of a minimum wage, Government could just pay for the difference of earned wages of
a job, and the minimum amount necessary to make a living. Switzerland
will be voting on a minimum income (not minimum wage). This is a guaranteed
minimum income of $2800/month, even if you don't work.
Quote:North Korea DOES have a minimum wage. The government sets everybody's wage. It is the system you guys have advocated, with the government taking an active role, taken to the extreme. Somalia, on the other hand, has no government. Liberals always think that "Somalia" is some "gotcha" for a libertarian. No, it's not. Libertarians are NOT anarchists against all government. We want a government that effective defends it's people from violence, rather than subjecting them to it. Somalia doesn't do this. Somalia is very violent. Therefore, Somalia is more aligned with the liberal vision because whoever has the power, gets to make all the rules and force everyone to follow them. It is the opposite of the libertarian vision where everyone is free to make their own decisions.

According to this source
http://www.floatingpath.com/2013/02/21/m...aws-world/
N. Korea does not have a minimum wage. Do you have a better source?
What is the minimum wage in N. Korea? $0?
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05-11-2013, 11:27 AM
RE: Why can't liberals get their around the concept of "insurance"?
(05-11-2013 10:59 AM)black_squirrel Wrote:  I still don't get your logic. If Switzerland were to adopt the minimum wage
of the USA. How would that negatively affect Switzerland, given that all their
wages are already above this minimum wage?

Of course if you set the minimum wage BELOW a level where everyone is willing to work, then it has no effect, neither positive nor negative. Setting a $1/hour minimum wage in the US would have no effect one way or nothing since body is willing to work for it anyway. Similarly, if Switzerland set a minimum wage like the US's, at $8/hour it would also have no effect.

But, presumably, you're looking for a positive effect, right? Why pass a law if it has no effect one way or another? The ONLY way that minimum has any effect at all is if you set it HIGHER than what people are willing to work for. For example, in the US, right now there ARE people who are willing to work for $10/hour, and who have labor skills that can justify a salary of $10/hour. So if you raise the minimum wage to $15/hour, you will see a positive effect--the lowest paid worker will now get $15/hour. But you will ALSO see a negative effect because there other workers who WOULD like to work for $10/hour (say a baby sitter looking for work), and there are employers (say a mom needing a baby sitter) who WOULD be willing to hire someone for $10/hour, and, therefore, were it not for the minimum wage, the baby sitter would have a job. But, because you rose the minimum wage, the baby sitter and mom are legally prohibited from engaging in that transaction. Thus the mom has to take the baby with her if she's not willing to pay $15/hour, and the baby sitter is unemployed.

All I'm saying is that for every action there are both pros and cons. A balanced approach is to weigh them and see if the pros outweigh the cons. For example, if you said 'the pro of raising the minimum wage are the lowest paid workers will make 25% more money, and the con is that according to these scientific models, unemployment will only increase 0.1%, therefore, the pro outweighs the con'. THAT is a scientific, pragmatic way to justify a minimum wage increase. But if you guys have blinders on, and don't acknowledge the cons even exist, you are in no position to decide if the cons outweigh the pros.

(05-11-2013 10:59 AM)black_squirrel Wrote:  Minimum wage is a symptom of poverty, it does not cause poverty.

Not necessarily. What if the minimum wage were set to $1 million/hour. What would happen? Would the super market just give in and pay it? Or would the economy grind to a halt and almost everybody would be living in abject poverty, and the system would collapse? Now, if you raise it $.01/hour, the system isn't going to collapse. But, it is STILL putting a drain, albeit an immeasurable one, on the economy. It's impossible that a $.01/hour puts absolutely ZERO drain on the economy, because if that were true, you could raise it $.01/hour 100 million times, until it was $1 million/hour, and there would still be zero effect. ZERO x 100 million is still ZERO. However, the fact that raising it 100 million times would destroy the economy tells you that each time you raise it it IS having an impact.

Again, my preferred solution is to encourage real economic growth so there are more jobs and the salaries go up naturally. The Swiss example proves that this can work.

(05-11-2013 10:59 AM)black_squirrel Wrote:  Switzerland will be voting on a minimum income (not minimum wage). This is a guaranteed minimum income of $2800/month, even if you don't work.
[quote]

Yes, I've been following that closely. Like I said in other posts, in the past decade Switzerland has been abandoning the classic liberal (libertarian) system it had in the 20th century. They dropped the gold standard, they joined the UN and Schengen, and they've been slowly shifting power away from the cantons to Bern. Thus Switzerland in the 21st century is becoming more like the other countries. However, I suspect that with this change Switzerland will start to have a lot of the problems that these other countries have and that by the end of the 21st century they will no longer be in the #1 spot.

[quote='black_squirrel' pid='409402' dateline='1383670760']
According to this source
http://www.floatingpath.com/2013/02/21/m...aws-world/
N. Korea does not have a minimum wage. Do you have a better source?
What is the minimum wage in N. Korea? $0?

It's a silly statement. N Korea sets ALL wages for everybody. So there is obviously is no minimum wage law, because workers aren't negotiating a salary anyway. What they have is like a minimum wage law on steroids, so I don't see the point.
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05-11-2013, 11:43 AM
RE: Why can't liberals get their around the concept of "insurance"?
(05-11-2013 10:41 AM)Chas Wrote:  I reject your libertarianism as Utopian. It is not achievable.

Thank you Chas. Now _THAT_ is a valid criticism. And, you're right, of course, that no country has ever been 100% libertarian (defined as not having positive laws at the national level). Switzerland until recently has been, imo, 99% libertarian, because there have been a handful of exceptions, like the national health insurance mandate.

BUT look at what they accomplished by being as close as possible to the libertarian ideal! They got to be #1 in terms of household wealth, #1 in terms of citizens satisfaction with government, and near the very top in terms of life expectancy, education, low crime, unemployment, etc.

So this is why I don't feel your conclusion is supported by your criticism. Your criticism is that because Switzerland never achieved 100% libertarianism utopia (perhaps because it is unachievable), therefore we should go in the opposite direction and try to be more like the places with the least libertarian systems, like North Korea, where people die young, destitute and miserable.

(05-11-2013 10:41 AM)Chas Wrote:  My view is that basing our political decisions on a concept of social contract is more practical.

But you've hijacked the 'social contract' and are using it to mean the opposite of its intention. The social contract IS a classic liberal (libertarian) idea, which is that the social contract, like every other contract, must be entered into voluntarily. People must be given a choice of political/legal systems to live under, and when they choose the one that suits them best, they are effectively signing the contract and agreeing to subject themselves to that political/legal system.

But you use the 'social contract' in the opposite way. You argue that because someone merely exists he is automatically bound to some 'social contract' that you prescribe and you have the right to shoot him if he tries to escape. There's no voluntary consent. Therefore your concept of a "contract" is invalid. You're really talking about serfdom, but calling it 'social contract' because it sounds better.

Case in point was our debate in the other thread about US taxes. The US, Cuba and N. Korea are the ONLY countries that don't let people born in their borders exit the tax system. You were arguing this is justified by the 'social contract'. But there is no consent. Nobody agreed to be born in a certain place. So a contract is invalid if it's subjected on people after-the-fact and they have no way to escape it. Imagine I did it to you, Chas, and said that because you at one point entered my home, therefore, you are bound to a contract that for the rest of your life means you have to turn over to me all the fruits of your labor and let me decide how much I will keep for myself, and you cannot escape the system, and if you try, I'll bring you into compliance at gunpoint. In that situation, would you still argue that my position was valid because we had some sort of "social contract"? Or would you call it what it is--slavery?
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