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Odds and Ends
Makeover of 2016
15 11, 9:13pm
"I think it says more about you than us that you think that public welfare policies are a Universal RIGHT, and not a privilege. I think most of what you said has to do with differences in our perceptions on the role of government."
It's not actually a question of what I personally believe vs. the US. This is the law of the land in EVERY industrialised, democratic, nation on earth except the US. The US is the anomaly here - it's the only industrialised, democratic, nation never to have had a left wing government and also the only country that doesn't provide a basic social safety-net to all it's citizen as a right.
And this is of course no coincident but as you say depends on the perception of the role of government. A perception which in America is formed by the fact that you don't even have a left-wing party as part of your political discussion but two right-wing parties. No one is speaking for the principles that are commonly accepted in the rest of the world so of course your perception is different.
As you rightly say the political right wing sees government as the enforcer of law and order because that's what suits their interest. The political right represent the moneyed interest - the rich elites - and they need the government to protect their personal property and wealth so they want the government to do only that.
But since they are independently wealthy they can personally buy whatever they need and therefore see absolutely no need for any social safety-net that cover all citizens. "I have what I need so screw everybody else" is their underlying principle.
While the political left in the rest of the industrialised world believe that a nation has a moral obligation (not to mention that it's also smart policy both economically and socially for a host of reasons) to give all it's citizens a basic chance in life. Not everyone has the fortune like Donald Trump to be born into wealth and be set for life from the day they are born. Most people in any country don't and they at some point in life will need support to get by.
There are differing opinions as to exactly how much help the society should provide each individual, but as I say the basic provisions like universal healthcare is acknowledged as a RIGHT in every other industrialised, democratic, nation on earth - except the US.
You provide the usual right-wing counter-point to this here by trying to paint this as something negative. Be it by trying to brand this as a "caretaker" or "nanny" state or trying to paint people who use any support of the government as "moochers" or "freeloader" - implying that they are in fact just lazy persons who could provide for themselves but choose not to.
Implying or directly stating that any nation that choose to implement a universal safety-net would suffer terrible consequences for doing so.
Now if that had been true, all the other countries in the world that have version of these systems would have been miserable failures - but they aren't.
Just look at a few country-by-country comparisons and the US is clearly not some shining example for others to follow.
Median per capita income - the US is 6:th in the world and all five countries with higher median per capita income have a social safety-net as a right for all it's citizens (Norway, Sweden, Luxembourg, Denmark, Finland).
The US has the highest cost for healthcare per capita in the world, spending one and a half the amount of the closest nation which amounted to 17,6% of your total GDP in 2010 (and it's still growing). Still it doesn't have the best care by far, which can be seen by stats like:
Life expectancy - the US ranks 31:st in the world, just below Costa Rica
Child mortality rates - the US has higher child mortality not only then all of western Europe but also countries like Cuba
So the socialist principle of maintaining a social safety-net for all citizens as a right clearly works and produces better results compared to the American example.
As I mentioned before both Norway and Sweden also has more billionairs per capita then the US so the taxes that are required to pay for this safety-net doesn't mean people can't become independently wealthy in countries with this safety-net.
The difference is - as I stated before - that the low taxes on the really rich means that in America a handful of people are INCREDIBLY rich. So rich it's hard to actually express in just words, so here is a video with some charts to go with the words:
Now that's where Americas wealth goes. That's why America - the richest country in the history of the world - is basically broke and the political right pretend that a social safety-net that covers all citizens as a right is some "pie in the sky" dram that can never be realized. The money is there - it's just in the hand of the extremely small number of super-rich who uses part of that wealth to support politicians of both major parties to ensure that this inequality will never change.
And with no political party that questions this fundamental inequality and stands up for the socialist principle that every citizen has a right to a decent chance in life it will never change, unless by the means inequality like this have always been resolved historically - which is by revolutions.
Both the French revolution and the Russian revolution where products of enormous inequality that eventually lead the people to desperate action.
Here is an American billionair making that exact point in a Ted Talk about inequality in America:
Read what I have written here and watch the videos I linked to above - it would be interesting to see what you think after that.