Tred carefully, GOP…

The key social issues are abortion and healthcare.
The first, I’ve outlined before by saying that the Republicans should take a moderate stance on this issue by targetting the unconstitutional nature of the Roe Vs. Wade decision and return the decision to the voters. As someone who’s a British lefty, I wouldn’t be afraid of this because I believe that when argued on moral and ethical grounds, those who favour legalized abortion will win. To turn it into a fundamental right and furthermore to take that decision away from the voters who make up the base of democracy is foolish and arrogant.
The second issue is one where I would appeal to those on the US right and ask them, if not a state run system, then what? Because, my brother is right, that the current system of overlapping and private healthcare systems does not work, punishing even the wealthy for misfortune. A former student of my mother, her sister’s youngest son suffered a dreadful accident when a sand bank collasped on him – by the time he was dug out, he’d suffered severe brain damage. The costs of looking after him have nearly bankrupted the family – this causes economic damage to the nation when family resources are totally diverted from economic progress.
John McCain has rightly pointed to the issue of “portability”, taking insurance from one job to the next. But will this work? Insurance plans differ, one business might baulk at taking on a more expensive plan. The only way that this could work would be for all such schemes to conform to a legally binding standard of coverage.
The USA would probably spend less overall (by a long way) on healthcare by adopting an NHS model, whereby the costs are met through taxation and treatment is free at the point of delivery – no demands for insurance cards by the ambulance crews. If a child can be treated quickly for an illness or injury, then why should this be a disaster for a poor family and an inconvience for a wealthy one? If a nation is ultimately a community, then should not the wealther aid the poorer?

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6 Responses to Tred carefully, GOP…

  1. JOS says:

    We agree on Roe v. Wade, but I have serious misgivings about a state-run healthcare system. Although programs like you National Health provide great access to routine care, the wait for specialty care leaves much to be desired. After all, by limiting (by delaying) access to the most expensive forms of care is pretty much the only way a government, any government, can control costs. The alternative would be to level an even greater tax burden on the citizen. I suppose it’s because I don’t necessarily view a nation as a “community” or see healthcare through the lens of social justice; I tend to take a more libertarian view.
    – JOS

  2. wien1938 says:

    I’m glad we agree over Roe vs Wade and part of the reason for putting up the second half of the post was to ask someone from the libertarian or the right what the alternatives could be. It might be for myself, that I’m having difficulty thinking outside the box, since I’ve always grown up with state-run healthcare.
    From what I’ve seen of the NHS, most people are seen promptly and issues around access to specialists is always debated politically. Part of the way in Britain that we’ve dealt with this problem is to allow the NHS to pay for private consultations or the use of private healthcare facilities, so that patients can be seen quickly.
    It’s an ongoing debate and I would love to hear alternatives, so as the debate can continue.
    Can I ask you a question, JOS? What proportion of average earnings in the USA is absorbed by direct and indirect taxation?
    In Britain, net taxes and national insurance contributions stood at 39.2 percent of GDP. In the USA, 30.8% of national income (GDP) is taxed, but 40% of average personal income is taxed.
    The other measure that the Republicans could adopt to help the poorest in a libertarian fashion would be to create a “personal tax allowance” of between $3,000 or $10,000 of income before taxation sets in. And of course, the Republicans should push strongly for reform of the tax code as it is well known to be inefficient and expensive.
    I strongly disagree with income tax rates of over 40% on the richest as these are the wealth creators in society. So there I differ with the class warfare of the Democrats.

  3. JOS says:

    Richard,

    The U.S. progressive tax structure of the federal income tax system reduces the tax incidence of people with smaller incomes, as it shifts the incidence disproportionately to those with higher incomes – the top 0.1% of taxpayers by income pay 17.4% of federal income taxes (earning 9.1% of the income), the top 1% with gross income of $328,049 or more pay 36.9% (earning 19%), the top 5% with gross income of $137,056 or more pay 57.1% (earning 33.4%), and the bottom 50% with gross income of $30,122 or less pay 3.3% (earning 13.4%). However, if the federal taxation rate is compared with the wealth distribution rate, the net wealth distribution is almost the same as the the share of income tax – the top 1% pay 36.9% of federal tax (wealth 32.7%), the top 5% pay 57.1% (wealth 57.2%), top 10% pay 68% (wealth 69.8%), and the bottom 50% pay 3.3% (wealth 2.8%).

    Not that I’m a supporter of wealth redistribution or even income taxes for that matter. I believe in capitalism and the laws of supply and demand, not government regulation, will ultimately keep prices in check (and that includes healthcare). I believe every citizen should pay his own fair share for the maintenance of government and no citizen should be forced to pay more to make up someone else’s burden. That same sentiment applies to healthcare, I do not believe it is my responsibility to pay for another’s healthcare, nor should anyone be responsible to pay for mine.

    As for income tax code, I agree it is in need of reform. I endorse the U.S. Fair Tax Act that would enact a national retail sales tax, to be levied once at the point of purchase on all new goods and services. The proposal also calls for a monthly payment to households of citizens and legal resident aliens (based on family size) as an advance rebate of tax on purchases up to the poverty level. More importantly, the Act would repeal the 16th amendment and effectively abolish the IRS.

  4. wien1938 says:

    Thanks for the information, JOS!
    I’m certainly moving against the concept of tax credits (supplementing wages). Economically that is something with which I don’t feel comfortable.
    Certainly an interesting scheme. How much revenue would it raise compared to the income tax?
    Well, I would still differ with you over the healthcare issue as those on the poverty line (not always their fault for being there) are priced out of insurance, while there are indications that companies will not offer insurance to those. It is interesting. There is definately a more communitarian spirit in Europe compared to the US. Very interesting political differences.

  5. JOS says:

    Richard,
    There’s considerable concern about the amount of revenue the fair tax would generate. I believe it would give the government much more than it currently takes in via income taxes, but there are still a lot of doubters (although, I’m not convinced the actual reasons are fiscal and not political).

    I’m not sure I agree that there is a greater communitarian or socialistic spirit in Europe than the U.S., simply because of the increasing amount of intrusion of the U.S. government in the lives of its citizens. We’re definitely moving toward socialism here, so we’re not as different as our neighbors across the sea might think. Fortunately there are still enough of us who remember that our country was founded on staunch individualism (maybe we just need another revolution).

    Although you and I don’t agree on everything, I truly enjoy these discussions. I have learned much from you and appreciate your candor when discussing issues. Aristotle said that “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” It’s refreshing to dialogue with someone who is willing to entertain other points-of-view and I hope that you can say the same of me.

    – JOS

  6. wien1938 says:

    Well, the only way to stay honest in a political debate is to be open to new ideas. I still think of myself as politically left, though I’m not sure what that means anymore, other than in Britain, the Labour Party being the only party that cares for the working man.
    These discussions are what make bloggin worthwhile!

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