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Visiting Brits' Observations

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by PatsFanInVa, Feb 14, 2012.

  1. PatsFanInVa

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    I had the chance to spend yesterday with a family business owner from Britain, and his son. The subject came around to politics, and they opined that whatever you think of our current president, "the rest of them are just daft." They both think of themselves as fairly conservative, and noted that British politics had become a relatively narrow spectrum. The three parties that get any seats all agree for the most part, and right now the Liberal Democrats (who've drifted left of Labor) are in a coalition with the Conservatives (the English right.) The Labor party is in the middle.

    They're both well-off, and they both thought it was funny that we nearly rioted against the idea that our own citizens would get health care. The Mrs. said we heard stories that under Britain's NHS, you couldn't get procedures once you're past a certain age, and the son just gestured to his father - an octogenarian who had a hip replacement last year. Both of them were very satisfied with the way NHS works.

    They had a problem with English taxation. Their problem was that "you can have high rates if you like, but you have to collect it." Their perception is that the well-to-do across the pond just move their money under the table to tax havens to dodge their responsibilities.

    They both seemed to "see both sides" of issues touching on public servants. They understand that these people have signed contracts that get them certain perks, and that someone signed on the dotted line for the government years ago. But "the trouble is, now they're doing better than people in the private sector. It's not like America." The teachers are much better paid, according to them... though I wonder. I see the same argument here, where a guy working at 7-11 complains that a teacher makes more than him.

    So, I don't think we saw eye to eye on that principle.

    They both had a good laugh at the problem with Greece: Apparently, to them, it's a minor issue that they've had low retirement ages... To the Brits, they don't look like they have a spending problem, they have a revenue problem. They quoted a stat about some well-to-do area around Athens that was collecting taxes, per annum, in the thousands of Euros, not even the millions... for a whole neighborhood. To hear them tell it, the Greek problem stems from lax tax enforcement more than anything to do w/"spending." (this was in connection w/the earlier conversation about taxation/tax dodging in Britain.)

    The younger of them marveled at the gun deaths here, but acknowledged that culturally, we in the US are very concerned with the "right to bear arms" in the second amendment.... but was just mystified by the argument that "guns don't kill people." He was funny... "of course they do, that's what they're meant to do... if you get a gun and it can't kill people, you'd better get your money back..." They talked about the stats for Liverpool (in terms of gun deaths in a year.) I told them that's what we Americans call "Friday night."

    Then the father said -- you righties will like this part -- "As far as my generation's concerned, you can do what you like... you came over and helped us beat the Nazis, you stood up to the communists, you can be as daft as you want."

    Then both of them talked about the Republican field and were just plain amused and a little mystified... but again, as both put it, it's our choice to make, not theirs.

    One last thing... our political ads on television? They couldn't believe them LOL... apparently truth in advertising is way more important over there (same goes for our product commercials.)

    PFnV
  2. mcgraw_wv

    mcgraw_wv Rookie

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    I went over there 2 years ago, and I find it nearly impossible to discuss government with brits. The Reason is they lack the understanding of what freedom really means.

    They think they are free, yet can't own a gun, pay almost a 50% total tax, and they ensure 1 family gets the Royal treatment, literally.

    Discussing the right to bear arms with a father and son at a bar was impossible. They couldn't fathom needing to be able over throw the government in some future senario, all we need to do is look at Syria to see why the right to bear arms is so important.

    I found inmy discussions with Brits, they have such a lack of understanding of what it means to be an individual and free that they don't understand the want of an American to be free.

    They assume we are voting against our own interests, because they can't understand how valuable choosing for ourselves is the most powerful interest there is.
  3. Harry Boy

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    American guns in Lexington and Concord took care of them and their little "Red Coats"
  4. Drewski

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    The one thing I love about Brit Politics is the way their pols conduct themselves in the House of Commons (at least what I have seen on CSPAN).

    Seems to me it is much like our Congress, but with the addition of an open bar in the lobby and a two drink minimum.

    I love the idea of pols heckling each other for all to see...comedy gold.
  5. Rossmci90

    Rossmci90 Rookie

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    We can legally own shotguns and rifles. Mainly for hunting purposes. Handguns are completely illegal due to the ability to conceal them. The owning of shotguns and rifles is highly regulated and it can take months/years to obtain a licence but I know plenty of people that own one.

    Yes, we pay for the Royal Family. Their upkeep is covered completely by the tax payer and is in the region of £40-£50 million per annum. In return for this agreement, the Royal Family gives ALL of the money it earns from its estates. This equates to about £200 million per annum. In short, the Royal Family gives up all its earnings and gets 25% in return. This does not include the wealth they bring in as a tourist attraction. You only have to look at the recent Wedding/this years Diamond Jubilee to see how much of a boom it is for the economy. Literally thousands of people come to the UK every year because of the Royal Family. Who would visit Buckingham Palace if it was just enough mansion in a city full of them? They visit because the Queen lives there. No other reason. The Royal Family is an overall net gain for the UK economy, to remove them would be to throw away several hundred million £s per year. Does not make sense to anybody. The Queen has NO power. It is a PURELY ceremonial role.

    50% tax is applied to people earning over £150,000 and only applies to earnings over that limit. 40% is applied to people earning over £37,000. Below this it is 20%. The average UK earnings is £24,000. Most people do not pay close to 50%.


    Your last point is one of opinion. You think that Americans have the right to choose. This is interesting because I happened to watch this last night Panorama: Poor America [BBC - 12/2/2012] - YouTube and it didn't seem to me like a lot of those people had a lot of choice. What choice does a working man who earns $5,000 a year have when his insurance would cost $5,000? This is NOT a choice. He is not choosing to avoid insurance. He simply has no means to afford it! To me, Healthcare is a right, not a privilege. You may disagree with that, fine. But to suggest people have more choice because of the American system of healthcare is just ridiculous.

    You say Brits have no understanding of what it is to be free. I disagree. As quoted from that Panorama documentary, America has the least class mobility in the Western world. What happened to the 'American Dream'?

    Just because you think that Brits are ignorant of the American way, does not mean you have to be ignorant of the British way.
  6. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    What's a riot is the idea that they didn't before. You mean "free" health care, right? People who did not have means could and can get treatment.

    Many Americans were satisfied with the way things worked here, too. Not sure what that proves.

    I think we have the same problem.

    Is the fact that they live closer to Greece supposed to impart special knowledge? The revenue problem is partly due to the fact that they have deathbed demographics and little incentive to actually work.

    I marvel at the deaths by stabbing in the UK. What was the bumper sticker I saw in Chesire? "They'll Have My Knives When They Take Them From My Cold Dead Fingers"?

    Anyway, since we are sharing anecdotal evidence, my daughter who moved to London is planning to come back to the U.S. with new husband in tow once she finishes her Masters at LSE in the fall. She states that she does not plan to ever live anywhere else besides the U.S. now (her previous stance before 2.5 years of residing in the U.K. was similar but worked in the opposite direction).

    Interesting stuff. Helps explain why people still support it. Thanks.

    We have a similar situation here where many don't even pay 1%.


    He is eligible for Medicaid.

    I take it that you are not one of the people who provide health care services. You might think differently about the right of others to compel you to work on their behalf if you were.

    I'd have to see the basis for that to comment, but on its face the idea that Britain is less class-bound than America is kind of funny.

    That's true. It is important to continue to share with each other and seek to understand each other's perspective and experiences.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2012
  7. PatsFanInVa

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    We need to have Question Time every week... the Rick Perrys of the world would get practice sharpening up their adversarial speaking skills, that's for sure.
  8. cupofjoe1962

    cupofjoe1962 Rookie

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    Did you ask them about their dental plan?
  9. PatsFanInVa

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    No but their teeth were better than ours and one of them's over 80, I should have
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  10. PatsFanInVa

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    Then explain the wider disparity in health outcomes correlated with economics. Medicaid is great for the officially poor, but the poverty line is pretty low. That leaves the American working poor, and anybody working for a small business not offering a group plan, up a creek. The stats bear that out.

    The part you quoted had to do with the ridiculous myth that the NHS doesn't work, and capitates costs for everyday procedures (or even less "everyday" procedures, like hip replacements,) by denying service to the very old. When we were arguing the affordable care act here, the "death panel" meme was all the rage.

    You might not be first in line for a heart-lung transplant at 85 in any rational health care system, but that doesn't mean the old are put on an iceberg, as the anecdote just related confirms.

    Then why lie, and say "we don't have a revenue problem"? If one person refuses to pay his legal tax share, you can say "I think we have the same problem." I think these two were pointing out it's a matter of degree (see below, on Greece, where nobody pays taxes.)

    Talk to me about what it's "partly due to" after addressing the fact that in neighborhoods where there are scads of swimming pools that show up on aerial photos, only one homeowner has paid the tax on building an in-ground pool. In Greece, evidently, it's widely assumed you'll pay cash for everything. As to proximity enhancing understanding -- hmmmm, not really, unless you go to the country a couple times a year, as these guys do. What might whet your appetite for the stats on Greece, would be if you were responsible, through the ECB, for bailing them out.

    Surprise surprise... although of course they complain about different retirement ages, they complain much more about the bigger problem, which is revenue.

    Again: Greece doesn't have a spending problem. It has a revenue problem.

    Yeah the younger one mentioned that the blade still occupies the place in British recreational violence that the gun holds in the U.S. The body armor british cops use is made to stop blades, not bullets.

    That said, it's easier to kill one person, or many people, with a firearm than with a bladed weapon. I've yet to see a semiautomatic or fully automatic stiletto.

    Check out the murder stats in England and the U.S. -- if you're right, yet the Brits have much lower murder rates, know what you've proved?

    Guns do kill people.

    Anecdotally, they also marvelled at so much wide open space everywhere, so much "untamed" land area, just lying around off the highways, etc. I like those areas. I like that every square inch of our country isn't hemmed in by a stone wall. Lamb and mutton is their beef, and I like my beef (though they made me hungry for lamb talking about it, and I couldn't find any in my supermarket yesterday :eek:)... although, most times you can. You can find ANYTHING in our supermarkets. I like that too. I like that overall, we're so damn wealthy. I like the NFL. I like that we have an awful lot of very hot yet impressionable women.

    That doesn't mean I can't see the things we don't do well. Of course I can see them. That's how you make this country better.

    I'll let Ross answer your other reactions, as they were reactions to his post, except this one:

    Nope. What we do have, however, is a multi-tiered tax system. You'll notice the original claim was that Brits pay something approaching 50% in taxes. The difference between that claimed number and the real number is probably the inclusion of the VAT. You'll also note that people on this board are forever adding (and often double-counting) taxes to claim they pay some exhorbitant amount.

    One thing our layered taxes allows us to do is to tax even the poorest on their groceries, gas, etc. -- and God forbid they drink or smoke (which they do, disproportionately.) They're subject to payroll tax, etc., as well.

    In Britain, they hit them through another layer, the VAT. Both countries have property taxes too, which hits the landowner/homeowner side of society.

    You can't have it both ways. Either complain and wail and gnash your teeth about people who "don't even pay 1%," and admit that nobody in the U.S. pays a high rate; or add up all the different taxes, and complain how terribly hard it is to afford the various layers of taxes. It can't be both.

    Oh by the way -- the rich don't find it hard at all. It's just the middle who do, which is why all the sensible tax reform is talking about stopping tax giveaways to the rich.

    PS, you're half-right on the "on the face of it" remark about upward mobility. You're "right" in that traditionally it works the other way around. The Brits may, in fact, still be less mobile than the U.S. But we're either last or second from the last according to a stat I just recently saw on this. It caught my eye because our social mobility historically has been one feature of our system that blunts people's anger at huge inequality in the U.S. -- if you can dream of something better, you're less disgruntled. But our social mobility has deteriorated in this country in the last few decades, a trend that accelerated wildly in the last 10 years or so, especially from 07 onward.

    And that's the whole point of this thread, not to trash America.

    It's my belief that the Brits do many things well. We do other things well. I think it makes sense to learn from their experiences.

    I see here all the time people who think that makes sense when they fish up one or another story about how terrible British or Canadian single-payer health care is... But faced with the idea that NHS is actually good in the eyes of its customers, all we'll hear about is what a "small" country Britain is (of what, 75 million people? Seems pretty big to me.)

    Every society's different, but by insisting that the differences are impossible to control for analytically, we shoot ourselves in the foot (whereas the Brits, without the benefit of hand-guns, must be content with knicking themselves with the nail trimmer.) Similarly, when you insist that everything is best in the past, okay in the present, and worst of all if it changes, you aren't "protecting America" from anything except progress.

    PFnV
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  11. mcgraw_wv

    mcgraw_wv Rookie

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    He had all the choices in the world to make the bad decisions to get him in that situation. Some people are born with the cards against them ,and you make choices to improve that lot.

    Freedom is the freedom to fail as well. Many of the liberals here on this board want to follow the story that the person who dropped out of school for drugs and sex did it because society and not personal choice. If that's the case, we need to change society. I believe we have personal choice and freedom, and it's up to you to make the most of it.

    If you squander it... you suffer the consequences.

    Again, even in your post, I can see you lack the inate ability to know what Freedom actually is. Freedom is not having government tell you, provide you, assume for you, demand you, restrict anything from you. We aren't 100% free, and were becoming less every day, but we at the core want freedom. Brits are built and raised in the service of their lords, and accept that.

    In regards to your Royal Family... how much revenue could the private sector generate from all the lands your royal family own? I venture to guess far more than 200 million a year.

    Also... just because you have a docile Queen, doesn't mean things can't change, you one day can have a King you isn't interested in sitting on the sidelines, and decides to re-insert themselves back into everything.
  12. Harry Boy

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    Do criminals over there have handguns or do they "obey the law"

    What are your "social problems like" do you have any?
  13. PatsFanInVa

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    McGraw, your above re-cap of the capitalist-"objectivist" mythos is illuminating. I am being serious.

    Your point seems to be:
    - Regardless of your "given" lot, you are free to make decisions
    - Therefore, it is in your own hands whether you become wealthy or remain poor
    - Freedom consists of each person "choosing" the level he wishes to attain, and attaining it
    - And so "liberals" -- the great bogeyman -- are just fouling the gears when they demand what they consider fairness for the great bulk of a society.

    Let's say we have two people. One of them is the son of a very wealthy lawyer, although -- since he is just a baby -- he is not a very wealthy lawyer himself. He's in a beautiful house, surrounded by love, books, and equipment (computers, etc.,) that help his early childhood tremendously. He goes to the best schools, and then "starts" the race to the top -- let's say, working for some middling salary in his dad's law-firm.

    The other one is born to an unwed mother who has to work two jobs, and is "watched" (along w/a few siblings) by a neighborhood mom who doesn't work, who also has a few kids of her own. Nutrition is a matter of the best bang for the buck, catch as catch can -- a lot of sugary stuff, a lot of peanut butter sammiches. You go to school when someone catches you and makes you, and you do it because you're supposed to and because child protective services might take you from your mom if you're ALWAYS truant. After high school nobody you know has gone to college, and it's certainly not an expectation to even graduate high school. As he gets older, a gang takes the place of the lady next door, conferring an extra feeling of family and "protection" -- btw, that's what gang members say they feel from being in gangs.

    Kid A puts forth effort-amount X, and achieves "his due" in life, a thriving law practice, because he "studied and worked hard." In truth it was all Bs and Cs, but that was good enough. His dad's a "legacy" at the law school he goes to, he makes it through, and on his fifth try he passes the bar.

    Let's say Kid B is exceptional. He works like hell, avoids all gangs & other trouble, and not only finishes high school -- which would by itself be a much bigger achievement in his world -- but actually goes to, finds a way to pay for, and graduates college with flying colors.

    Kid B still has an undergraduate degree. Kid A is still set up with a job in a firm where he's going to be a partner.

    Kid A is a run of the mill kid with all the advantages. Kid B is the exceptional kid.

    What's even more apparent is the example of what an "average" kid from Kid B's background can expect -- the kid with the inborn "smarts" and the effort level Kid A showed. That kid's condemned to severely limited outcomes.

    We all see the real world every day, and this is much more how it functions than your high-flying language. But let's analyze these two cases using your logic:

    1. Kid A made the right decisions.

    Well, he made enough right decisions to keep plodding along at whatever level of effort was necessary to get the desired outcomes. Check, I suppose. He made the "decision" to stay in school, where nobody drops out, and made the "decision" to make it through undergrad, where a "gentleman's C" is the rule, and allows him to drink with his frat AND make "good enough grades." Then he makes the "decision" to apply to the legacy law school that accepts his crappy grades.

    1a. Kid B made the right decisions.

    This is also true: He stood out from among his peers, and did what nobody around him did. He was in the top 1% in potential and effort, and this fact allowed him to overcome his circumstances. Once in college, he did nothing but work the job that helped allow him to pay off part of what he owes for loans, and apply himself to studies, conscious that his future is in his hands alone.

    2. It is in each person's hands whether he becomes/remains poor, or whether he becomes/remains rich.

    2a. Kid A remains rich. Kid B becomes middle-class. Kid A did in fact steer clear of remarkable incompetent self-destructive behavior (for which he might get a reality show, but would not take over the law firm.) So, once again, yeah sure, check. He didn't eff it up. He did enough to get by.

    2b. Kid B applied exceptional focus and effort, from an age before most of our brains are even well enough formed to understand consequences fully (scientific fact,) all the way through college. His climb was much, much steeper, and he did more to get there, even though "there" is lower down on the hill than Kid A gets to.

    3. Freedom consists of choosing to be what you need to be in order to get what you want, and you're not free if you acknowledge any differences born of initial conditions.

    3a. Kid A is certainly free enough. He freely balances his need to go to drunken frat parties and spring break with his need to inherit daddy's law firm. He responsibly chooses to the correct mix of the two, and is able to make a nice life for himself, by making the right choices -- with his great freedom, as they say, comes great responsibility. :rolleyes:

    3b. Kid B proves your point, right? Any one of those kids on his block could have done precisely what he did. There is no reason he should be such an exceptional case.

    Yet these facts remain:

    1. Kid B had to work harder than Kid A for lesser outcomes.
    2. Kid B is exceptional; Kid A is more like average.
    3. You are demanding that every kid with Kid B's circumstances be exceptional, and accept the blame if they are average.
    4. You are according every kid in Kid A's circumstances the title of "exceptional" even if they are average.
    5. Beyond what you call these kids, they live in the real world. It's not what you say that matters, it's the outcomes the system delivers to them. The "Kid B"s of the world, with some exceptions, continue to live with their worse outcomes. The "Kid A"s get the better outcomes, unless they really eff it up.

    Finally -- and this is the point on which your analysis hangs -- people will not continue to believe that "anybody who works hard and makes the right decisions makes it," based on observation of case after case that seems more like the Kid A/Kid B dichotomy above.

    In case you don't understand what's wrong with the above, it's the fact that it is unfair.

    You can say "life ain't fair," but you have to say it to a peer, or someone you can fire. You can't say it to someone who gets the short end of the stick when you get the good end, especially if you don't supervise him. He gets pi$$ed.

    It's easy to look at it from the point of view of a middle-class ideologue who likes the Capitalist/"objectivist" mythos, and insist that the real world fit this ideological framework. It's just not reality.

    People see unfairness and people see the channels that perpetuate unfairness. America is getting clear on this fact, and further movement toward wealth concentration is increasingly opposed by the vast majority of Americans who are not the beneficiaries of accumulated and perpetuated wealth.

    It's not okay that the exceptional kid, the smart kid, the paragon of self-discipline, gets to sit at the table and get the smaller greasier cut of meat after the lazy entitled punk gets the good part.

    But the really galling part is that the lazy entitled punk looks at kids who put out the same or maybe even more effort, and calls them lazy and entitled, based on outcomes he pretty much had set up for him out of the gate.

    So what's an average person to think, when he observes the outcomes of average people around him?

    "If I work harder and find some way to be smarter, and really emulate my friend Kid B, perhaps I too can have some small cut of greasy meat?"

    Or is he more likely to think "Fu(k this noise"?

    The equivalent observations of fairness/unfairness are starting to be made by the middle now, not just by the poor. Your myth unravels as the sh1t hits the fan in economic down-times, and the myth-peddlers continue to insist that the poor and middle "just be more exceptional" so they won't be (problematically) poor or working-class anymore. After all, if you want more of something, you tax it less; so we make vast wealth tax free, and everybody will be rich, right?

    Trouble is the myth only works when the likelihood is that if you work hard and apply yourself you'll do well. That's not what everybody sees in the Capitalist/"objectivist" mythos. You still see it among the "haves," and America is still a rich country. So if there are 25% underemployed, unemployed, stopped looking, and have not yet had an on-the-books job.... that's still 75% employed. The project is to convince enough of them that being the day-shift assistant manager at Arby's is a huge leap up from the fry cook, that the unemployed guy is the reason you make $8 an hour, and that the system as a whole is fair.

    It's just not true.

    PFnV
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  14. Drewski

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    No Jersey Selected

    Ross - Was very interested in your previous post. In my "younger" years, travelling the world, never had the opportunity to make it to the UK or Europe, so your note on how the Royal Family interacts with the state (income/revenue wise) was interesting to hear about.

    Now on to some general thoughts (points from various posters...posts).

    1. What sort of social services do Britons get with the tax rates you laid out?

    Basically your tax rates would be in US $:
    Over $235k - 50%
    $58K-$235K - 40%
    <$58K - %20

    Certainly there would be a more encompassing service offering from the state for taking a higher percentage of income no? I think someone in the US making $235K "pays" something like 28-30%.

    2. A point PFnVA raised briefly, but I think is a huge point is - It is easier to provide services (such as healthcare for all) when your "all" is 75M people. The US pop is what, 300M or so. The logistics and costs wouldnt even be in the same ballpark. I just did my taxes. What would it cost me, and people like me, to provide healthcare for all 300M of us? I admit the system we had/have doesnt work. But Im not sure, given our size, the single payer can work as effectively as a smaller population/country.

    3. I find it interesting that hand guns are illegal because they can be concealed, yet stabbing weapons are not - but can equally be concealed. The UK seems like it has a gun policy (short of the handgun part of it) which basically represents my view of guns - non automatic rifles and shotguns for hunting. I still dont understand why Joe Q. Citizen in the US has to have the ability to buy a M-16.

    4. I think if the US was willing to redo their tax structure, we could afford to support more of the "working" poor. I have said many times that the people who need support - I think most people would be willing to support. But when the vehicle to support those people (revenue in the form of taxes) is broken, as well as the system of support (people abusing the system), people are less enthusiastic to do so.

    While I agree with McGraw's point about Freedom allows someone to fail too, there are no doubt some people who have no chance to prop themselves up (the sick, elderly, disabled etc). However there are a number of people who the system allows to be labelled "disabled" and receive support for the rest of their lives - and their issue isnt a disability, its that they like to get high.

    In short, I find it a slap in the face for the government to raise my taxes (hypothetically) to "help the needy more" if they arent also willing to completely ensure that only the truly needy are being supported. If you cut out the deadbeats, sure take more from me to give to someone "who has no chance". If you cant ensure that some jackass with a coke problem isnt going to be supported, then the gov can F off. I realize that im throwing out "small examples" of abuse, and they prolly dont happen "the majority" of the time, but if they happen just once, then my willingness is decreased.

    5.B5 - I thought your post was nicely written and I agreed with many of your points.

    6. Societies around the world should communicate and share more of their knowledge. Throughout human history the greatest advancements in human understanding, knowledge, growth of the species and the like have always been shared between peoples.

    7. HB - I think one of the bigger social problem the UK is having (similarly to the rest of Europe) is immigrant assimilation into the broader society (Ross correct me if I am wrong). The birth rates there are below "replacement" levels while immigrant populations are increasing. Seem to recall many a story dealing with immigrant issues. But as I said, it could have been a story about Europe and not the UK specifically.

    D
  15. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

    Mrs.PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #12 Jersey

    The homicide death rate in England is 1.17 per 100,000 people....in the US it is 5.5. Yes, people can die of knife wounds - but they're much more likely to die of a gunshot wound. Knives are up close and personal - guns are far away and impersonal. I doubt there are too many drive-by stabbings.


    I've been one of those people who provide health care - most of my friends are still those people who provide health care - the majority of us are in favor of it.
  16. Drewski

    Drewski Rookie

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    I read his comment as B5 referring to Drs....there is a difference no?
  17. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Drewski, I raised the oft-cited population "objection" because it's such a red herring. Very brief answer (since you asked Ross not me):

    If you have 4x as many people to serve, and 4x as many people to tax, you're pretty much in the same position. The "logistics" argument, to me, has some merit, though it's got more to do w/land area over population that strict population comparisons. We can also find examples of both sparser populations with a modern state apparatus, and more concentrated populations (like the UK's,) where better health outcomes pertain.

    PFnV
  18. Drewski

    Drewski Rookie

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    But that kinda answers my issue then doesnt it? Our tax system isnt taxing 4X as many people. The super rich can lower their incomes for tax purposes, or flat out move it off shore. And the Lower classes pay next to nothing.

    In reality we are taxing the Middle Class and some rich people. Not everyone.

    From my seat it wont work until you are truly taxing "4X" the people.

    EDIT - From Ross' post -
    "50% tax is applied to people earning over £150,000 and only applies to earnings over that limit. 40% is applied to people earning over £37,000. Below this it is 20%. The average UK earnings is £24,000. Most people do not pay close to 50%."

    If I am reading that correctly. - every £ is taxed. 1-36999£ is taxed at 20%. We dont have the same situation here. On top of that, the average Brit (24K£) is paying 20%. I'm pretty sure the average American is not paying 20% income tax.

    IMHO - fix our tax code then we can talk about fixing social offerings.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2012
  19. PatsFanInVa

    PatsFanInVa PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It so happens that the brother-in-law of the older Brit (my uncle) was head of surgery at a large metropolitan hospital. I remember him being irritated as all get-out at NHS back in the 70s. He's now a fan, as I understand it. Turns out he was reacting to a lot of fears, he said, not what really happened.

    One interesting comment from the older guy there the other day -- the trouble with the NHS as he saw it was that they set it up on a shoe-string. They did their math by saying it would only cost a couple hundred million (with an "m") pounds per annum. Of course that's bollocks - say, five or ten bucks a year per annum per capita. But they were spreading the math around, not keeping it on-budget; the idea was they'd all be so strong and healthy they'd keep working and contributing to the tax base. This part has largely happened, as retirement got pushed back a year or two (though this has its downside as well in periods of low labor demand.)

    So, yes, they do now have to pay for the system - but these guys say that nobody except fringe nuts are against it. It's a leap forward, in their eyes, something you've got to be silly to be against, and well worth the cost.

    Like I've said before this is purely anecdotal -- their "everybody says" and "only nuts oppose it" might not comport w/stats. But if they're the fringies, it would be tough to figure out why the older one votes conservative (I think the younger one is labor, which again, is now the center between their conservatives and liberal democrats.)

    PFnV
  20. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    Great! That will save me a ton of money on my share of the premiums and eliminate the co-insurance/deductibles/co-pays. Please send me their names and numbers so that I can make appointments.

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