Over half of Democrats like socialism

When Democrats are accused of being socialists, they get indignant and complain about conservative name-calling.  But, according to a new Gallup poll, over half of Democrats DO like socialism:

A majority of 53% of Democrats have a positive image of socialism, compared to 17% of Republicans.

Sixty-one percent of liberals say their image of socialism is positive, compared to 39% of moderates and 20% of conservatives.

via Socialism Viewed Positively by 36% of Americans.

HT: Joe Carter

All together, 36% of Americans are favorably inclined towards socialism, which of course means that 64% do not. This suggests, though, that the ideological divisions in this country are not just violations of civility or political exaggerations, but real and deep.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Carl Vehse

    I did not see Gallup’s breakdown by sex and race. Suspicious. Also, note the Gallup caveats:

    “Respondents were not given explanations or descriptions of the terms.”

    “Results are based on telephone interviews with 972 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Jan. 26-27, 2010. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of error is ±4 percentage points.”

    “In addition to sampling error [noted above], question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.”

    This could explain the alleged 20% of those who allegedly identify themselves as “conservative” but allegedly favor socialism. (I enjoy messing up answers I give to people who call for alleged telephone surveys, too.)

  • Carl Vehse

    I did not see Gallup’s breakdown by sex and race. Suspicious. Also, note the Gallup caveats:

    “Respondents were not given explanations or descriptions of the terms.”

    “Results are based on telephone interviews with 972 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Jan. 26-27, 2010. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of error is ±4 percentage points.”

    “In addition to sampling error [noted above], question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.”

    This could explain the alleged 20% of those who allegedly identify themselves as “conservative” but allegedly favor socialism. (I enjoy messing up answers I give to people who call for alleged telephone surveys, too.)

  • Carl Vehse

    I did not see Gallup’s breakdown by sex and race. Curious.

    Also, note the Gallup caveats:

    “Respondents were not given explanations or descriptions of the terms.”

    “Results are based on telephone interviews with 972 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Jan. 26-27, 2010. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of error is ±4 percentage points.”

    “In addition to sampling error [noted above], question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.”

    This last caveat could explain the alleged 20% of those who allegedly identify themselves as “conservative” but allegedly favor socialism. (I enjoy messing up answers I give to people who call about alleged telephone surveys, too.)

  • Carl Vehse

    I did not see Gallup’s breakdown by sex and race. Curious.

    Also, note the Gallup caveats:

    “Respondents were not given explanations or descriptions of the terms.”

    “Results are based on telephone interviews with 972 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Jan. 26-27, 2010. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of error is ±4 percentage points.”

    “In addition to sampling error [noted above], question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.”

    This last caveat could explain the alleged 20% of those who allegedly identify themselves as “conservative” but allegedly favor socialism. (I enjoy messing up answers I give to people who call about alleged telephone surveys, too.)

  • Steven

    This brings to mind the strange mix of idealism and hubris so often displayed by the Left. They recognize the great evils visited upon mankind by socialism’s logical endpoints: communism and fascism, yet they believe that if THEY were in power, then the ideals of socialism would be fully realized without falling into the evils of Stalin, or Hitler, or Pol Pot, or Mussolini, or …

    I have to question the 17% of Republicans that have a positive view of socialism. True, the Republicans have long ago abandoned most of the tenets of conservatism, but to be that enamored of socialism speaks to a failure of our education system that is wide, pervasive, and deep.

  • Steven

    This brings to mind the strange mix of idealism and hubris so often displayed by the Left. They recognize the great evils visited upon mankind by socialism’s logical endpoints: communism and fascism, yet they believe that if THEY were in power, then the ideals of socialism would be fully realized without falling into the evils of Stalin, or Hitler, or Pol Pot, or Mussolini, or …

    I have to question the 17% of Republicans that have a positive view of socialism. True, the Republicans have long ago abandoned most of the tenets of conservatism, but to be that enamored of socialism speaks to a failure of our education system that is wide, pervasive, and deep.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I wonder what the percentages would be if one simply listed the planks of the Communist Manifesto and asked peoples’ opinion about them. A lot of people are sympathetic to socialism when named as such, and I guess more would be sympathetic to Marx’s ideas.

    Pretty sad, IMO.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com Bike Bubba

    I wonder what the percentages would be if one simply listed the planks of the Communist Manifesto and asked peoples’ opinion about them. A lot of people are sympathetic to socialism when named as such, and I guess more would be sympathetic to Marx’s ideas.

    Pretty sad, IMO.

  • Ryan

    Is this statistic something new or has this division been ongoing, for how long? The early 20th Century had many socialist leaning politicians such as Teddy.

  • Ryan

    Is this statistic something new or has this division been ongoing, for how long? The early 20th Century had many socialist leaning politicians such as Teddy.

  • dave

    This is a poll about the popularity/unpopularity of a word because there’s no consistent definition –at least not in this country.

    So from this poll you can’t figure out if people want the government to own the means of production and you can’t figure out if Republicans hate having Medicare.

    A more useful poll would have asked people what they thought socialism meant and based upon their answer, asked them if they liked what they “thought” socialism was.

  • dave

    This is a poll about the popularity/unpopularity of a word because there’s no consistent definition –at least not in this country.

    So from this poll you can’t figure out if people want the government to own the means of production and you can’t figure out if Republicans hate having Medicare.

    A more useful poll would have asked people what they thought socialism meant and based upon their answer, asked them if they liked what they “thought” socialism was.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Seeing as how socialism has accomplished so much good in the world and all…

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    Seeing as how socialism has accomplished so much good in the world and all…

  • Jerry

    dave, I think we’re learning just now what socialism means. We have a president that has affiliated himself with socialists throughout his life. Whatever Obama is for must be socialism, and we’re also discovering that in may regards that’s 180 degrees from our constitution. To return to the original premise of this blog, that would mean a lot of citizens of this country are now opposed to its constitution and that is a deep divide separating them from those who take pride in it. A strange conclusion when previously many voters thought there was little difference between the two parties.

  • Jerry

    dave, I think we’re learning just now what socialism means. We have a president that has affiliated himself with socialists throughout his life. Whatever Obama is for must be socialism, and we’re also discovering that in may regards that’s 180 degrees from our constitution. To return to the original premise of this blog, that would mean a lot of citizens of this country are now opposed to its constitution and that is a deep divide separating them from those who take pride in it. A strange conclusion when previously many voters thought there was little difference between the two parties.

  • dave

    I think Carl’s head’s exploding over the fact that a Republican actually said that they liked socialism despite the fact that many conservatives around the world are vigorous supporters of socialized medicine.

    When I was younger and had a staunchly Republican mentor (native Nicaraguan supporting the Contras and all) as I came of age and turned into a liberal, she would argue with me, except on one issue:

    Health Care.

    I think I remember her words almost perfectly: “I agree with you on that one. It’s just one of those things everybody needs and the government should make sure everyone has it.”

    Staunch Republican.

    Yes Virgnia, there are Republicans that like Socialism.

  • dave

    I think Carl’s head’s exploding over the fact that a Republican actually said that they liked socialism despite the fact that many conservatives around the world are vigorous supporters of socialized medicine.

    When I was younger and had a staunchly Republican mentor (native Nicaraguan supporting the Contras and all) as I came of age and turned into a liberal, she would argue with me, except on one issue:

    Health Care.

    I think I remember her words almost perfectly: “I agree with you on that one. It’s just one of those things everybody needs and the government should make sure everyone has it.”

    Staunch Republican.

    Yes Virgnia, there are Republicans that like Socialism.

  • dave

    Can I simply ask if opposition to socialism boils down to something like this?:

    “If the government takes care of people, they won’t think they need Jesus.”

    ???

  • dave

    Can I simply ask if opposition to socialism boils down to something like this?:

    “If the government takes care of people, they won’t think they need Jesus.”

    ???

  • Wyldeirishman

    Interesting. Is the data skewing the way that it is due to mere partisanship?

    I wonder, concerning those Democrats surveyed, whether or not they would identify as Democrats in the traditional sense of things, or as ‘progressives’ in the truest anti-conservative sense?

    And are there more or less that can (and will) actually articulate this very important distinction?

  • Wyldeirishman

    Interesting. Is the data skewing the way that it is due to mere partisanship?

    I wonder, concerning those Democrats surveyed, whether or not they would identify as Democrats in the traditional sense of things, or as ‘progressives’ in the truest anti-conservative sense?

    And are there more or less that can (and will) actually articulate this very important distinction?

  • DonS

    Unfortunately, many Americans have grown fond of the idea of the government coddling them. They’re big on reward, but not so much on risk anymore. And government has done a nice job of creating a large dependent class of voters by ensuring that the bottom 40% of earners pay no income taxes. That way, it’s all free stuff to them. Who doesn’t like free stuff?

  • DonS

    Unfortunately, many Americans have grown fond of the idea of the government coddling them. They’re big on reward, but not so much on risk anymore. And government has done a nice job of creating a large dependent class of voters by ensuring that the bottom 40% of earners pay no income taxes. That way, it’s all free stuff to them. Who doesn’t like free stuff?

  • DonS

    At least, we are now admitting that it is socialism.

  • DonS

    At least, we are now admitting that it is socialism.

  • dave

    @DonS

    What risk should a parent of 3 kids take to procure health care for their disabled 11-year old in order for you to not mock them and call them “coddled” for wanting national health care?

    I challenge the readers of this site to either support a law that lets patients without money/insurance die in front of the hospital doors or support a system that makes sure their care is paid for one way or another. Some of you want that law assuring that person is paid for, but the difference between you and me is that I’m willing to be taxed for what I expect the government to do/require.

  • dave

    @DonS

    What risk should a parent of 3 kids take to procure health care for their disabled 11-year old in order for you to not mock them and call them “coddled” for wanting national health care?

    I challenge the readers of this site to either support a law that lets patients without money/insurance die in front of the hospital doors or support a system that makes sure their care is paid for one way or another. Some of you want that law assuring that person is paid for, but the difference between you and me is that I’m willing to be taxed for what I expect the government to do/require.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grr. My comments are, once again, getting caught in the spam queue. Maybe this part will get through, though.

    I found the results interesting, in part, because of the commonly touted (on this blog) “fact” that America is 20% liberal, 40% conservative, and 40% moderate. Well, as it happens, the percentage of people with a positive image of the word “socialism” was:
    conservative: 20%
    moderate: 39%
    liberal: 61%
    If you do the math (.2*20% + .4*39% + .4*61%), you would arrive at 28% of the country with a positive image of “socialism”. And yet, the actual total percentage was 36%. Huh.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Grr. My comments are, once again, getting caught in the spam queue. Maybe this part will get through, though.

    I found the results interesting, in part, because of the commonly touted (on this blog) “fact” that America is 20% liberal, 40% conservative, and 40% moderate. Well, as it happens, the percentage of people with a positive image of the word “socialism” was:
    conservative: 20%
    moderate: 39%
    liberal: 61%
    If you do the math (.2*20% + .4*39% + .4*61%), you would arrive at 28% of the country with a positive image of “socialism”. And yet, the actual total percentage was 36%. Huh.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Okay, on the off-chance that any of my foregoing comments ever get posted, I’d like to point out that my math was wrong, and therefore so was I. This is an odd thing to write, since you can’t yet see the error. But you will.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Okay, on the off-chance that any of my foregoing comments ever get posted, I’d like to point out that my math was wrong, and therefore so was I. This is an odd thing to write, since you can’t yet see the error. But you will.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Nearly 1/5 of Republicans support socialism. To which the obvious punch line is: who knew only 1/5 of that party supported Bush?

    And I agree with others that the terms are left undefined in this survey, and thus, reading your own, personal definition into these survey results is not likely to produce an accurate picture. Some of you literally cannot distinguish between socialism and Communism, or maybe even fascism.

    The problems of relying on people’s connotations (or even poorly-informed denotations) is evident when you consider the reactions to practically identical phrases like “free enterprise” and “capitalism”. The former got an 86% positive response, while the latter earned a more modest 61%.

    Let’s face it, “socialism” has become the latest word that conservatives/Republicans flog in an attempt to stir up fear, at least some of which is unjustified.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Nearly 1/5 of Republicans support socialism. To which the obvious punch line is: who knew only 1/5 of that party supported Bush?

    And I agree with others that the terms are left undefined in this survey, and thus, reading your own, personal definition into these survey results is not likely to produce an accurate picture. Some of you literally cannot distinguish between socialism and Communism, or maybe even fascism.

    The problems of relying on people’s connotations (or even poorly-informed denotations) is evident when you consider the reactions to practically identical phrases like “free enterprise” and “capitalism”. The former got an 86% positive response, while the latter earned a more modest 61%.

    Let’s face it, “socialism” has become the latest word that conservatives/Republicans flog in an attempt to stir up fear, at least some of which is unjustified.

  • DonS

    That’s weird. I have a comment hung up in moderation as well, but I can see it. It just indicates that “your comment is awaiting moderation”. I wish that I had actually written something sufficiently profound to deserve the honor of moderation.

  • DonS

    That’s weird. I have a comment hung up in moderation as well, but I can see it. It just indicates that “your comment is awaiting moderation”. I wish that I had actually written something sufficiently profound to deserve the honor of moderation.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Sorry, folks. We are under a spam attack and my filtering software, Akismet, is blocking legitimate comments. Stewart and I–well, Stewart–are working on this problem. I’m checking the queue periodically and releasing the comments as I find them.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Sorry, folks. We are under a spam attack and my filtering software, Akismet, is blocking legitimate comments. Stewart and I–well, Stewart–are working on this problem. I’m checking the queue periodically and releasing the comments as I find them.

  • DonS

    dave @ 13: You have a strange definition for the word “mocked”. How did I “mock” anyone? There are plenty of existing programs that cover the health care needs of disabled 11 year olds without the need for nationalized health care. And exactly how many people die in front of hospital doors for lack of available health care in this country? That only happens when they refuse help, because our laws require emergency rooms to provide urgent care. Stop making stuff up. The real risk comes when a country has universal health care, but is unable to provide adequate resources to fulfill its promises. Then, people do die waiting for their turn.

    And, since you claim to be “willing to be taxed for what I expect the government to do/require”, do you include an extra payment with your tax return each year to help out? Or do you pay only the bare minimum required by law?

  • DonS

    dave @ 13: You have a strange definition for the word “mocked”. How did I “mock” anyone? There are plenty of existing programs that cover the health care needs of disabled 11 year olds without the need for nationalized health care. And exactly how many people die in front of hospital doors for lack of available health care in this country? That only happens when they refuse help, because our laws require emergency rooms to provide urgent care. Stop making stuff up. The real risk comes when a country has universal health care, but is unable to provide adequate resources to fulfill its promises. Then, people do die waiting for their turn.

    And, since you claim to be “willing to be taxed for what I expect the government to do/require”, do you include an extra payment with your tax return each year to help out? Or do you pay only the bare minimum required by law?

  • George A. Marquart

    Of course, the poll did not reveal what percentage of Americans are clueless. I remember a saying I heard from a Moscow cab driver during the eighties: “In Capitalism it’s dog eat dog; in Socialism it’s the other way around.” He knew.
    My guess is that, based on a study some years ago that showed a high percentage of college students in a certain college who were unable to find Chicago on a map, that the vast majority of Americans do not even know what Socialism is, although they are dead set against it. The reason for that, I believe, is due to something that is more prevalent in oppressive dictatorships than in democracies. But that’s a whole other story.
    The current health care debate is not about who will “own” the health care industry, but about how health care is to be paid for. This does not involve “the means of production,” and has therefore nothing to do with Socialism.
    You might argue that “he who pays the musicians has the right to tell them what to play,” and therefore, the government may control the health care providing and pharmaceutical industries indirectly. But they do not object to the government controlling vast parts of our economy through defense related spending.
    The fact is that when Capitalism does not work, it is because of people, and the same is true for when Socialism does not work. Socialism has worked well when the values of society were such that they did not encourage greed and dishonesty. Finland and Denmark are good examples. Capitalism worked well in the United States for the same reason. But, and I am paraphrasing, as J. R. W. Stott said, “Having lost the faith, the West is now loosing its values.” Capitalists are not good people because they believe in Capitalism, nor are Socialists bad because of Socialism.

    Therefore, at least as far as Christians are concerned, it’s back to fundamentals: the proclamation of the Gospel of the Kingdom. The purpose of the Gospel is not to make “good” people, but to make “new creatures.” A side effect is that these “creatures” have values which make either Capitalism of Socialism work.

    Peace and Joy,
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Of course, the poll did not reveal what percentage of Americans are clueless. I remember a saying I heard from a Moscow cab driver during the eighties: “In Capitalism it’s dog eat dog; in Socialism it’s the other way around.” He knew.
    My guess is that, based on a study some years ago that showed a high percentage of college students in a certain college who were unable to find Chicago on a map, that the vast majority of Americans do not even know what Socialism is, although they are dead set against it. The reason for that, I believe, is due to something that is more prevalent in oppressive dictatorships than in democracies. But that’s a whole other story.
    The current health care debate is not about who will “own” the health care industry, but about how health care is to be paid for. This does not involve “the means of production,” and has therefore nothing to do with Socialism.
    You might argue that “he who pays the musicians has the right to tell them what to play,” and therefore, the government may control the health care providing and pharmaceutical industries indirectly. But they do not object to the government controlling vast parts of our economy through defense related spending.
    The fact is that when Capitalism does not work, it is because of people, and the same is true for when Socialism does not work. Socialism has worked well when the values of society were such that they did not encourage greed and dishonesty. Finland and Denmark are good examples. Capitalism worked well in the United States for the same reason. But, and I am paraphrasing, as J. R. W. Stott said, “Having lost the faith, the West is now loosing its values.” Capitalists are not good people because they believe in Capitalism, nor are Socialists bad because of Socialism.

    Therefore, at least as far as Christians are concerned, it’s back to fundamentals: the proclamation of the Gospel of the Kingdom. The purpose of the Gospel is not to make “good” people, but to make “new creatures.” A side effect is that these “creatures” have values which make either Capitalism of Socialism work.

    Peace and Joy,
    George A. Marquart

  • Steve in Toronto

    I have always described my self as center right politically and have always (with one exception of once when I voted strategically for a centrist candidate in hopes of defeating a hard left (I used to live in a very lefty neighborhood) voted either Republican (in fact I was the campaign manager for George Bush (sr.) in my middle schools mock republican primary) or conservative (since I moved to Canada – I am a duel citizen). But I have to admit that 20 years of living in Canada has left me with a very positive impression of single payer “socialist” medicine. A lot of the readers of this Blog will know about the many problems that face the iMonk (Michael Spencer) as a result of his losing his heath insurance when his cancer made it impossible continue at his job as a campus minister. I can’t help feeling that the evangelical community has missed the boat on this issue. In Briton where my wife and my very lefty best friend (and fellow Anglican) is from a high if not overwhelming percentage of evangelicals are on the left. The monothetic support for libertarian economic policy among theologically conservative Christians is puzzling to me.

  • Steve in Toronto

    I have always described my self as center right politically and have always (with one exception of once when I voted strategically for a centrist candidate in hopes of defeating a hard left (I used to live in a very lefty neighborhood) voted either Republican (in fact I was the campaign manager for George Bush (sr.) in my middle schools mock republican primary) or conservative (since I moved to Canada – I am a duel citizen). But I have to admit that 20 years of living in Canada has left me with a very positive impression of single payer “socialist” medicine. A lot of the readers of this Blog will know about the many problems that face the iMonk (Michael Spencer) as a result of his losing his heath insurance when his cancer made it impossible continue at his job as a campus minister. I can’t help feeling that the evangelical community has missed the boat on this issue. In Briton where my wife and my very lefty best friend (and fellow Anglican) is from a high if not overwhelming percentage of evangelicals are on the left. The monothetic support for libertarian economic policy among theologically conservative Christians is puzzling to me.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Of course the term is not defined and people mean different things by it, as the study itself admits. Still, I find it significant that a large percentage of the population and a majority of the current majority party and a minority of the minority party find ANY definition of the term to have a positive connotation.

    Let me just ask: What sense of the word “socialism” do you consider to be positive?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Of course the term is not defined and people mean different things by it, as the study itself admits. Still, I find it significant that a large percentage of the population and a majority of the current majority party and a minority of the minority party find ANY definition of the term to have a positive connotation.

    Let me just ask: What sense of the word “socialism” do you consider to be positive?

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I like potluck’s at church.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I like potluck’s at church.

  • Wyldeirishman

    tODD @ #17

    “Some of you literally cannot distinguish between socialism and Communism, or maybe even FASCISM.”

    Speaking of over-flogged words… :)

  • Wyldeirishman

    tODD @ #17

    “Some of you literally cannot distinguish between socialism and Communism, or maybe even FASCISM.”

    Speaking of over-flogged words… :)

  • Wyldeirishman

    Bryan @ #24

    L…O…L!!! :D

  • Wyldeirishman

    Bryan @ #24

    L…O…L!!! :D

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dr. Veith (@23), if I were to play as fast and loose as many conservatives/Republicans do with the word, then I’d have to consider as aspects of “socialism” most ideas to the left of center, including what is commonly referred to as “social democracy” (which isn’t, technically, socialism, but I feel that’s too fine a distinction for those routinely brandishing the word against Obama, et al.).

    Many of those, of course, are quite popular, even in America: Social security, Medicare, oversight of financial markets (to any degree), universal education, universal health care, other government-provided social services, worker protection laws, consumer protections (e.g. against fraud), anti-monopoly laws, laws protecting the environment, and so on.

    Of course, many of these ideas are found in and even heavily promoted by Republicans, and have been for many decades now. Which is why I don’t think “socialism” is quite as scary as Republicans want me to. And which is why I think the new-found panic over “socialism” when Obama came to office was rather disingenuous, and more about partisanship than actual ideology.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dr. Veith (@23), if I were to play as fast and loose as many conservatives/Republicans do with the word, then I’d have to consider as aspects of “socialism” most ideas to the left of center, including what is commonly referred to as “social democracy” (which isn’t, technically, socialism, but I feel that’s too fine a distinction for those routinely brandishing the word against Obama, et al.).

    Many of those, of course, are quite popular, even in America: Social security, Medicare, oversight of financial markets (to any degree), universal education, universal health care, other government-provided social services, worker protection laws, consumer protections (e.g. against fraud), anti-monopoly laws, laws protecting the environment, and so on.

    Of course, many of these ideas are found in and even heavily promoted by Republicans, and have been for many decades now. Which is why I don’t think “socialism” is quite as scary as Republicans want me to. And which is why I think the new-found panic over “socialism” when Obama came to office was rather disingenuous, and more about partisanship than actual ideology.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Seriously, I can’t discuss socialism without my comments getting put in the spam queue. Fie.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Seriously, I can’t discuss socialism without my comments getting put in the spam queue. Fie.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogpot.com The Scylding

    I think that some of you here nailed it – most folks just don’t know what these terms mean, or what their own arguments imply. I’m sure a large proportion of people out there would agree to the following statment:

    From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

    Then tell them afterwatds that they are now Marxists…

    Actually, a colleague and I have come up with a rule of thumb. In all issues, at least 2/3 of people don’t have a clue, and follow the crowd / believe the propaganda / don’t think for themselves. Sounds harsh, sure. But test it, and you’ll discover how often that is true.

  • http://www.scyldingsinthemeadhall.blogpot.com The Scylding

    I think that some of you here nailed it – most folks just don’t know what these terms mean, or what their own arguments imply. I’m sure a large proportion of people out there would agree to the following statment:

    From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

    Then tell them afterwatds that they are now Marxists…

    Actually, a colleague and I have come up with a rule of thumb. In all issues, at least 2/3 of people don’t have a clue, and follow the crowd / believe the propaganda / don’t think for themselves. Sounds harsh, sure. But test it, and you’ll discover how often that is true.

  • DonS

    Steve @ 22: I agree with you on the issue of one losing their insurance because they can no longer work. This is a huge flaw of employer-paid health care. But, recall, this came about during WWII because liberals thought it would be a clever thing to impose strick wage and price controls on the economy. Of course, fringe benefits were a loophole, and businesses found a way around the wage hike restrictions by offering employees free health insurance.

    So what’s the answer? Throw the whole thing over and give it to the government? That’s not so great when you consider that even the premier of Newfoundland comes to the U.S. to have his surgery. No, the better answer is to make health insurance portable, so that it remains with you whether or not you change jobs. Then, when someone gets really sick and can’t work, they can continue to carry their insurance, and the government can offer help to people who need it merely by continuing to help them pay their premiums rather than taking over their care.

  • DonS

    Steve @ 22: I agree with you on the issue of one losing their insurance because they can no longer work. This is a huge flaw of employer-paid health care. But, recall, this came about during WWII because liberals thought it would be a clever thing to impose strick wage and price controls on the economy. Of course, fringe benefits were a loophole, and businesses found a way around the wage hike restrictions by offering employees free health insurance.

    So what’s the answer? Throw the whole thing over and give it to the government? That’s not so great when you consider that even the premier of Newfoundland comes to the U.S. to have his surgery. No, the better answer is to make health insurance portable, so that it remains with you whether or not you change jobs. Then, when someone gets really sick and can’t work, they can continue to carry their insurance, and the government can offer help to people who need it merely by continuing to help them pay their premiums rather than taking over their care.

  • DonS

    I like potlucks too! Yay for socialism we can agree on! :-)

  • DonS

    I like potlucks too! Yay for socialism we can agree on! :-)

  • DonS

    The Scylding @ 26: Do you really think most would agree with “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”? Yeah, sure, graduated income tax schemes incorporate a piece of that, but most people recognize the difference between what we have now and what Karl Marx sought. If they agree with that statement, they deserve to be called Marxists.

    How about “to each, an equal opportunity to pursue life, liberty and happiness”? Now that’s a statement I can get behind. And it would result in a government that knew both its role and its LIMITATIONS.

  • DonS

    The Scylding @ 26: Do you really think most would agree with “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”? Yeah, sure, graduated income tax schemes incorporate a piece of that, but most people recognize the difference between what we have now and what Karl Marx sought. If they agree with that statement, they deserve to be called Marxists.

    How about “to each, an equal opportunity to pursue life, liberty and happiness”? Now that’s a statement I can get behind. And it would result in a government that knew both its role and its LIMITATIONS.

  • DonS

    Hey, I like potlucks too! Socialism we can agree on! :-)

  • DonS

    Hey, I like potlucks too! Socialism we can agree on! :-)

  • Peter Leavitt

    I like potluck’s at church.

    Classic egalitarian sentimental illusion. A four or five star meal in France couldn’t possibly be compared to potluck fare. When Mary gave Christ a pint of pure nard ointment, she recognized the value of excellence.

    Democratic capitalism practiced by devout Christians hardly precludes valuing excellent food or whatever. There are no more puritanical prudes than devout secular liberals and liberal Christians who preach socialism-lite.

  • Peter Leavitt

    I like potluck’s at church.

    Classic egalitarian sentimental illusion. A four or five star meal in France couldn’t possibly be compared to potluck fare. When Mary gave Christ a pint of pure nard ointment, she recognized the value of excellence.

    Democratic capitalism practiced by devout Christians hardly precludes valuing excellent food or whatever. There are no more puritanical prudes than devout secular liberals and liberal Christians who preach socialism-lite.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Right, tODD, but the issue is not whether certain social policies are good to have. Nor is it that conservatives use that term to bash liberals. The issue is why most Democrats, some Republicans, and a third of the public LIKE the term.

    So, do YOU have positive connotations with the word “socialism”? And if so, is it because you think social security, universal education, etc., are “socialist”? Or do you favor these programs but not consider them “socialist” and so retain negative associations for the word?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Right, tODD, but the issue is not whether certain social policies are good to have. Nor is it that conservatives use that term to bash liberals. The issue is why most Democrats, some Republicans, and a third of the public LIKE the term.

    So, do YOU have positive connotations with the word “socialism”? And if so, is it because you think social security, universal education, etc., are “socialist”? Or do you favor these programs but not consider them “socialist” and so retain negative associations for the word?

  • Peter Leavitt

    Socialism, including its liberal-lite version, basically relies on the nanny state for the welfare of people. A reasonably regulated free economy relies on the work ethic and responsibility of individuals for the welfare of people. The notion that we are somehow “entitled” to state support is foolish in theory and praxis. Look at the some $60 trillion unfunded liability of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

    The fundamental fallacy of socialism is its assumption of equality. The Pilgrims of Plymouth realized, after a year of the near starvation of communal crops, that it made better sense for families to grow their own crops, trade the surplus, and, when necessary, provide for the widow, orphans, and honestly disabled.

    Meanwhile the liberals dream on.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Socialism, including its liberal-lite version, basically relies on the nanny state for the welfare of people. A reasonably regulated free economy relies on the work ethic and responsibility of individuals for the welfare of people. The notion that we are somehow “entitled” to state support is foolish in theory and praxis. Look at the some $60 trillion unfunded liability of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

    The fundamental fallacy of socialism is its assumption of equality. The Pilgrims of Plymouth realized, after a year of the near starvation of communal crops, that it made better sense for families to grow their own crops, trade the surplus, and, when necessary, provide for the widow, orphans, and honestly disabled.

    Meanwhile the liberals dream on.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dr. Veith, you asked (@23), “What sense of the word [...*] do you consider to be positive?” I gave many “senses” in my reply (@27). You say (@35) that “the issue is not whether certain social policies are good to have”, but my whole point is that those issues — which go beyond “social policies”, you will note — are affiliated with that word*, and I consider those policies to have positive implications, to varying degrees. I would offer that many people who do like the term* would, then, be thinking of issues like those.

    How would I answer that question? It depends on the day or the context. On average, I’d likely over-think the question (you’re shocked, I know) and come up with a “no reply” or “don’t know” because I can think of both positive and negative connotations and denotations of the word. Maybe it’s elitist of me, but I really don’t think most people who answer surveys give such questions that much thought.

    *Please note: I’m purposefully not using the S-word (if you will) in an attempt to have my comment not go into the spam queue.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dr. Veith, you asked (@23), “What sense of the word [...*] do you consider to be positive?” I gave many “senses” in my reply (@27). You say (@35) that “the issue is not whether certain social policies are good to have”, but my whole point is that those issues — which go beyond “social policies”, you will note — are affiliated with that word*, and I consider those policies to have positive implications, to varying degrees. I would offer that many people who do like the term* would, then, be thinking of issues like those.

    How would I answer that question? It depends on the day or the context. On average, I’d likely over-think the question (you’re shocked, I know) and come up with a “no reply” or “don’t know” because I can think of both positive and negative connotations and denotations of the word. Maybe it’s elitist of me, but I really don’t think most people who answer surveys give such questions that much thought.

    *Please note: I’m purposefully not using the S-word (if you will) in an attempt to have my comment not go into the spam queue.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Statism, including its liberal-lite version, basically relies on the nanny state for the welfare of people. A reasonably regulated free economy relies on the work ethic and responsibility of individuals for the welfare of people. The notion that we are somehow “entitled” to state support is foolish in theory and praxis. Look at the some $60 trillion unfunded liability of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

    The fundamental fallacy of socialism is its assumption of equality. The Pilgrims of Plymouth realized, after a year of the near starvation of communal crops, that it made better sense for families to grow their own crops, trade the surplus, and, when necessary, provide for the widow, orphans, and honestly disabled.

    Meanwhile the liberals dream on.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Statism, including its liberal-lite version, basically relies on the nanny state for the welfare of people. A reasonably regulated free economy relies on the work ethic and responsibility of individuals for the welfare of people. The notion that we are somehow “entitled” to state support is foolish in theory and praxis. Look at the some $60 trillion unfunded liability of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

    The fundamental fallacy of socialism is its assumption of equality. The Pilgrims of Plymouth realized, after a year of the near starvation of communal crops, that it made better sense for families to grow their own crops, trade the surplus, and, when necessary, provide for the widow, orphans, and honestly disabled.

    Meanwhile the liberals dream on.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Statism, including its liberal-lite version, basically relies on the nanny state for the welfare of people. A reasonably regulated free economy relies on the work ethic and responsibility of individuals for the welfare of people. The notion that we are somehow “entitled” to state support is foolish in theory and praxis. Look at the some $60 trillion unfunded liability of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

    The fundamental fallacy of statism is its assumption of equality. The Pilgrims of Plymouth realized, after a year of the near starvation of communal crops, that it made better sense for families to grow their own crops, trade the surplus, and, when necessary, provide for the widow, orphans, and honestly disabled.

    Meanwhile the liberals dream on.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Statism, including its liberal-lite version, basically relies on the nanny state for the welfare of people. A reasonably regulated free economy relies on the work ethic and responsibility of individuals for the welfare of people. The notion that we are somehow “entitled” to state support is foolish in theory and praxis. Look at the some $60 trillion unfunded liability of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

    The fundamental fallacy of statism is its assumption of equality. The Pilgrims of Plymouth realized, after a year of the near starvation of communal crops, that it made better sense for families to grow their own crops, trade the surplus, and, when necessary, provide for the widow, orphans, and honestly disabled.

    Meanwhile the liberals dream on.

  • dave

    @Veith 35

    I have some positive connotations for the word “socialist” where it refers to achievements of the social democracies in providing for people’s healthcare and welfare. A lot of people think of Western European democracies as “socialist” and though they basically aren’t according to the dictionary –the vernacular says they are. In that case, the word in that context is nothing to run away from.

    Where “socialist” refers to Hitler or Stalin, obviously there’s nothing more negative, but I think the origin of the word predates Hitler and Stalin’s tyranny so why should it be limited to what they did with it?

  • dave

    @Veith 35

    I have some positive connotations for the word “socialist” where it refers to achievements of the social democracies in providing for people’s healthcare and welfare. A lot of people think of Western European democracies as “socialist” and though they basically aren’t according to the dictionary –the vernacular says they are. In that case, the word in that context is nothing to run away from.

    Where “socialist” refers to Hitler or Stalin, obviously there’s nothing more negative, but I think the origin of the word predates Hitler and Stalin’s tyranny so why should it be limited to what they did with it?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    And is that really Peter commenting (@34), or a parody of him? Really, coming out against potlucks (and completely missing Bryan’s humorous intent @24) and egalitarianism and striking a blow (or would that be a coup?) in favor of hierarchically-prescribed Franco-supremicist culinary notions?

    I’ve eaten at some of the finest restaurants in Portland (oh, I know, Pierre, our provençial fare simply doesn’t compare to that found in the more enlightened parts of the East Coast, much less France!), and while much of it was spectactular, there were plenty of misses. I’ve also had some spectactular food at potlucks — yes, that even topped some of the haute cuisine I’ve had. But then, my friends know how to cook. Sorry yours don’t, Peter. Or maybe you just don’t get invited to the good potlucks, with an attitude like yours.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    And is that really Peter commenting (@34), or a parody of him? Really, coming out against potlucks (and completely missing Bryan’s humorous intent @24) and egalitarianism and striking a blow (or would that be a coup?) in favor of hierarchically-prescribed Franco-supremicist culinary notions?

    I’ve eaten at some of the finest restaurants in Portland (oh, I know, Pierre, our provençial fare simply doesn’t compare to that found in the more enlightened parts of the East Coast, much less France!), and while much of it was spectactular, there were plenty of misses. I’ve also had some spectactular food at potlucks — yes, that even topped some of the haute cuisine I’ve had. But then, my friends know how to cook. Sorry yours don’t, Peter. Or maybe you just don’t get invited to the good potlucks, with an attitude like yours.

  • Wyldeirishman

    Peter @ #34)

    “Classic egalitarian sentimental illusion. A four or five star meal in France couldn’t possibly be compared to potluck fare.”

    I don’t think it’s the quality of the food being discussed that’s at issue, but rather the way in which it’s distributed.

    For what it’s worth, I would much rather tear into a proverbial smorgasbord that was knowingly and lovingly prepared by folks with whom I share much more than casual acquaintance than prance about my plate fretting about such important issues as whether or not I’m currently using the correct fork.

    Reverse-snobbery, after all, is still snobbery. :)

    Which leads my severely over-taxed mind to ponder this: when Jesus fed the crowds with just a handful of loaves and fishes, was He being a “socialist,” or was He demonstrating His divine prerogatives? To me, the answer is obvious, but the way that some tend to appropriate what the role of government ought to be in a similar regard (speaking strictly of earthly things, you understand!) makes me wonder, again, whether or not adequate distinctions are in fact being made.

  • Wyldeirishman

    Peter @ #34)

    “Classic egalitarian sentimental illusion. A four or five star meal in France couldn’t possibly be compared to potluck fare.”

    I don’t think it’s the quality of the food being discussed that’s at issue, but rather the way in which it’s distributed.

    For what it’s worth, I would much rather tear into a proverbial smorgasbord that was knowingly and lovingly prepared by folks with whom I share much more than casual acquaintance than prance about my plate fretting about such important issues as whether or not I’m currently using the correct fork.

    Reverse-snobbery, after all, is still snobbery. :)

    Which leads my severely over-taxed mind to ponder this: when Jesus fed the crowds with just a handful of loaves and fishes, was He being a “socialist,” or was He demonstrating His divine prerogatives? To me, the answer is obvious, but the way that some tend to appropriate what the role of government ought to be in a similar regard (speaking strictly of earthly things, you understand!) makes me wonder, again, whether or not adequate distinctions are in fact being made.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, I doubt that Portland potlucks are any better than the usual dismal variety back East. I attend and contribute to them in my church for fine church community but have no illusions as to their culinary value.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, I doubt that Portland potlucks are any better than the usual dismal variety back East. I attend and contribute to them in my church for fine church community but have no illusions as to their culinary value.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@39), quite frankly, you speak from ignorance. That you would attempt to render judgment on potlucks you haven’t attended probably says something about you, but I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader. The fact that potlucks you contribute to are “dismal” also does not speak well of your own culinary skills.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@39), quite frankly, you speak from ignorance. That you would attempt to render judgment on potlucks you haven’t attended probably says something about you, but I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader. The fact that potlucks you contribute to are “dismal” also does not speak well of your own culinary skills.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Still liking the potlucks. May the Lord bring blessing to Peter’s Church in abundant measure and teach him how to cook!

    I agree with much that tODD is saying here though I might not agree that it is a pure good that those government programs exist, even though they might help people. I sorrow over the loss of so many basic things (physical care and service) which I imagine (is that real?) average folks used to do for one another. The answer to this sorrow for me is to receive from Christ and do some of those things for my family and for my neighborhood again – all the while relying on Christ’s blessing to forgive me for the billions and trillions of ways that I fail my fellow man each day. Lord have mercy. (And bless Peter’s cooking). P.S. I always thought I liked nice things, but what do I know? After all, I grew up in Boise and now live in SLC. But, hey – I like it! God be praised that both University and Seminary could not lift me out of my backwards ways!

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Still liking the potlucks. May the Lord bring blessing to Peter’s Church in abundant measure and teach him how to cook!

    I agree with much that tODD is saying here though I might not agree that it is a pure good that those government programs exist, even though they might help people. I sorrow over the loss of so many basic things (physical care and service) which I imagine (is that real?) average folks used to do for one another. The answer to this sorrow for me is to receive from Christ and do some of those things for my family and for my neighborhood again – all the while relying on Christ’s blessing to forgive me for the billions and trillions of ways that I fail my fellow man each day. Lord have mercy. (And bless Peter’s cooking). P.S. I always thought I liked nice things, but what do I know? After all, I grew up in Boise and now live in SLC. But, hey – I like it! God be praised that both University and Seminary could not lift me out of my backwards ways!

  • Steve in Toronto

    Hello DonS
    The fact that premier of Newfound land (a gentleman by the name of Danny Williams who made a substantial fortune as a corporate lawyer before entering politics) or that another prominent Canadian politician Belinda Stronach (The daughter of a auto parts magnate) or countless professional hockey players seek health care in the United States only reinforces a point that I would have thought was indisputable: If price is no object there is no question that the finest health care in the world can be found in the United States. But the question is not wither or not a socialized medical system is the best for the captains of industry (it is clearly not) but wither or not is healthy (or even moral) for christens to reflexively defended a heath care system that leave so may people venerable to financial ruin if they lose there jobs due to poor health. I personally favour a two tier system along the lines of Briton’s where the NHS and a privet system exist side by side but it’s not a slam dunk. There are real benefits (both social and economic) to a single payer model along the Canadian lines. There is no question that the vast majority of Canadians are very happy with their health care system in fact they are insufferably smug about it. The fact that socialized medicine is not even open to debate in (theologically) conservative circles in the United States revels a very real flaw in the way christens think about politics. The abortion issue is a red hearing. Public funding for abortions will likely have a negleable effect on the overall number of children killed and I don’t know of any conservative Christians who think that Quakers should be allowed opt out of paying income tax because they don’t want to pay for our nations defence and any way it very likely the even the most hardened feminists would give up on public abortion coverage if it meant universal coverage in other respects)

    Peace
    Steve in Toronto

  • Steve in Toronto

    Hello DonS
    The fact that premier of Newfound land (a gentleman by the name of Danny Williams who made a substantial fortune as a corporate lawyer before entering politics) or that another prominent Canadian politician Belinda Stronach (The daughter of a auto parts magnate) or countless professional hockey players seek health care in the United States only reinforces a point that I would have thought was indisputable: If price is no object there is no question that the finest health care in the world can be found in the United States. But the question is not wither or not a socialized medical system is the best for the captains of industry (it is clearly not) but wither or not is healthy (or even moral) for christens to reflexively defended a heath care system that leave so may people venerable to financial ruin if they lose there jobs due to poor health. I personally favour a two tier system along the lines of Briton’s where the NHS and a privet system exist side by side but it’s not a slam dunk. There are real benefits (both social and economic) to a single payer model along the Canadian lines. There is no question that the vast majority of Canadians are very happy with their health care system in fact they are insufferably smug about it. The fact that socialized medicine is not even open to debate in (theologically) conservative circles in the United States revels a very real flaw in the way christens think about politics. The abortion issue is a red hearing. Public funding for abortions will likely have a negleable effect on the overall number of children killed and I don’t know of any conservative Christians who think that Quakers should be allowed opt out of paying income tax because they don’t want to pay for our nations defence and any way it very likely the even the most hardened feminists would give up on public abortion coverage if it meant universal coverage in other respects)

    Peace
    Steve in Toronto

  • dave

    @Peter 43

    Well you obviously don’t know what fanatical foodies Portlanders are.
    The standards for potlucks up there is probably a bit higher than we are used to elsewhere…just like our potlucks always have Chinese food.

  • dave

    @Peter 43

    Well you obviously don’t know what fanatical foodies Portlanders are.
    The standards for potlucks up there is probably a bit higher than we are used to elsewhere…just like our potlucks always have Chinese food.

  • dave

    Call me whatever you want if you are so inclined.

    Call me socialist. Say I like socialism. We’ve long strayed from the dictionary definition so just call me whatever you want.

    I want universal health care one way or another and unless we aren’t the greatest country in the world there is no reason why we cannot deliver it.

    If you come to any conclusion about my faith based on thinking the same thing many members of the Lutheran Church Canada think, then you are deluding yourselves.

    It’s insane to leave health care and insurance purely to market forces because no system like that has ever covered everybody fairly or completely.

    But probably everybody here believes in at least some regulation, which suddenly puts you on the same spectrum as me. Not a pure capitalist. Will you be able to sleep at night?

    My faith doesn’t prevent me from getting together with my other fellow Americans to see that all have access to high quality, government backed healthcare, either through insurance or through government provided resources.

    I don’t really care what anybody calls me for thinking that because what I think is right. I already have healthcare and frankly, the Republican plans would save me more money than Democratic plans which would cost me more but help those without.

    You tell me which option should make a Christian sleep better at night?

  • dave

    Call me whatever you want if you are so inclined.

    Call me socialist. Say I like socialism. We’ve long strayed from the dictionary definition so just call me whatever you want.

    I want universal health care one way or another and unless we aren’t the greatest country in the world there is no reason why we cannot deliver it.

    If you come to any conclusion about my faith based on thinking the same thing many members of the Lutheran Church Canada think, then you are deluding yourselves.

    It’s insane to leave health care and insurance purely to market forces because no system like that has ever covered everybody fairly or completely.

    But probably everybody here believes in at least some regulation, which suddenly puts you on the same spectrum as me. Not a pure capitalist. Will you be able to sleep at night?

    My faith doesn’t prevent me from getting together with my other fellow Americans to see that all have access to high quality, government backed healthcare, either through insurance or through government provided resources.

    I don’t really care what anybody calls me for thinking that because what I think is right. I already have healthcare and frankly, the Republican plans would save me more money than Democratic plans which would cost me more but help those without.

    You tell me which option should make a Christian sleep better at night?

  • John C

    I am sorry to say folks, you’re living in a mixed economy — always have, always will. The market has not been free for some time. The government has always intervened in the market in some form — tarrifs, property rights, tax incentives, consumer law……….
    Government largesse has been distributed mainly through the industrial /military complex and the farming community.

  • John C

    I am sorry to say folks, you’re living in a mixed economy — always have, always will. The market has not been free for some time. The government has always intervened in the market in some form — tarrifs, property rights, tax incentives, consumer law……….
    Government largesse has been distributed mainly through the industrial /military complex and the farming community.

  • John C

    In other words, the notion of rugged individualiam has always required government support.

  • John C

    In other words, the notion of rugged individualiam has always required government support.

  • DonS

    Steve @ 46: Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Believe me, I appreciate what a difficult issue this is, and how many people have been bankrupted by their loss of insurance just when they needed it most. There is no question that the current U.S. system needs fixing.

    The situation that concerns you, though, is what happens when one cannot continue in his job, because of poor health, and therefore loses his insurance. The way to fix this is to unhinge health insurance from employment. Make it portable. And I have nothing against government assistance for those who become ill and cannot work. That assistance can come in the form of paying for continuance of the patient’s private insurance.

    We want to get to the same place — providing for the truly needy. I just think converting to a universal rationed care model, worsening everyone’s health care, is akin to killing a gnat with a bazooka. It’s overkill. Let’s try the surgical, private sector-oriented approach first, and in the process, improve liberty for all Americans.

  • DonS

    Steve @ 46: Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Believe me, I appreciate what a difficult issue this is, and how many people have been bankrupted by their loss of insurance just when they needed it most. There is no question that the current U.S. system needs fixing.

    The situation that concerns you, though, is what happens when one cannot continue in his job, because of poor health, and therefore loses his insurance. The way to fix this is to unhinge health insurance from employment. Make it portable. And I have nothing against government assistance for those who become ill and cannot work. That assistance can come in the form of paying for continuance of the patient’s private insurance.

    We want to get to the same place — providing for the truly needy. I just think converting to a universal rationed care model, worsening everyone’s health care, is akin to killing a gnat with a bazooka. It’s overkill. Let’s try the surgical, private sector-oriented approach first, and in the process, improve liberty for all Americans.

  • Steve in Toronto

    Thanks for your gracious words DonS
    I am not really qualified to engage in a detailed policy debate on healthcare. The only point I wanted to make was that the likely readers of this blog needed to stop reflectively opposing any public policy that has its roots in European Social Democracy. That being said I think that the problems with the health care system in the United States have a lot more in common with an elephant then a nat. Making heath care portable would certainly help but it would not address the problems of the working poor, the self employed or those with pre-existing conditions. We also need to figure out a way to keep heath care cost from rising at multiples of the rate of inflation. As a conservative I instinctively oppose utopian schemes but looking at other wealthy western democracies for alternatives to our very flawed system is not an incompatible with a conservative world view. The fact is that both Canada and Europe manage to provide more people with better heath care for less money then the United States is a fact that conservative policy makers (and the voters that support them) have to come to terms with.

    God Bless
    Steve in Toronto

  • Steve in Toronto

    Thanks for your gracious words DonS
    I am not really qualified to engage in a detailed policy debate on healthcare. The only point I wanted to make was that the likely readers of this blog needed to stop reflectively opposing any public policy that has its roots in European Social Democracy. That being said I think that the problems with the health care system in the United States have a lot more in common with an elephant then a nat. Making heath care portable would certainly help but it would not address the problems of the working poor, the self employed or those with pre-existing conditions. We also need to figure out a way to keep heath care cost from rising at multiples of the rate of inflation. As a conservative I instinctively oppose utopian schemes but looking at other wealthy western democracies for alternatives to our very flawed system is not an incompatible with a conservative world view. The fact is that both Canada and Europe manage to provide more people with better heath care for less money then the United States is a fact that conservative policy makers (and the voters that support them) have to come to terms with.

    God Bless
    Steve in Toronto

  • DonS

    Thank you, as well, Steve. Interestingly, if you are willing to pay cash for your medical care here in the U.S., you can typically obtain a 60-70% discount over the price if a third party, be it government or private insurer, is involved. You just have to ask.

    That tells me that the ubiquitous involvement of third party payers in almost every medical transaction, no matter how small or routine, is greatly contributing to the health care cost crisis. Isolating the patient further from an awareness of the cost of health care is unlikely to address the cost crisis that you rightly decry. The recent Obamacare proposals didn’t even pretend to rein in costs, for example. They raised them, and compensated for that by raising taxes.

    In my view, we need to move away from comprehensive health care insurance to catastrophic insurance, coupled with health savings accounts which are in the control of the patient. For the needy, the government could contribute to those HSA’s. This would be the surest move toward cost containment, and would actually transfer the control of wealth to those who need it most, while greatly decreasing the fraud and corruption which plagues our current government health insurance programs, such as MediCare.

    God bless you as well.

  • DonS

    Thank you, as well, Steve. Interestingly, if you are willing to pay cash for your medical care here in the U.S., you can typically obtain a 60-70% discount over the price if a third party, be it government or private insurer, is involved. You just have to ask.

    That tells me that the ubiquitous involvement of third party payers in almost every medical transaction, no matter how small or routine, is greatly contributing to the health care cost crisis. Isolating the patient further from an awareness of the cost of health care is unlikely to address the cost crisis that you rightly decry. The recent Obamacare proposals didn’t even pretend to rein in costs, for example. They raised them, and compensated for that by raising taxes.

    In my view, we need to move away from comprehensive health care insurance to catastrophic insurance, coupled with health savings accounts which are in the control of the patient. For the needy, the government could contribute to those HSA’s. This would be the surest move toward cost containment, and would actually transfer the control of wealth to those who need it most, while greatly decreasing the fraud and corruption which plagues our current government health insurance programs, such as MediCare.

    God bless you as well.

  • Steve in Toronto

    Catastrophic insurance and health savings accounts saving accounts appeal to the libertarian in me as well but I fear that both would discourage the poor and low middle class from getting the kind of preventive care that pays big dividends in the long run. As I said before I am not very well informed on this subject but I do wonder if catastrophic insurance and health savings why has no jurisdiction been able to successfully implement them? And in any event there does not seem to be a constituency outside of a few right wing think tanks for such policies. Remember Social security privatization? Just because it’s seems like a good idea doesn’t mean a political will exists for the reform.
    Remember politics is the art of the possible
    Cheers
    Steve in Toronto

  • Steve in Toronto

    Catastrophic insurance and health savings accounts saving accounts appeal to the libertarian in me as well but I fear that both would discourage the poor and low middle class from getting the kind of preventive care that pays big dividends in the long run. As I said before I am not very well informed on this subject but I do wonder if catastrophic insurance and health savings why has no jurisdiction been able to successfully implement them? And in any event there does not seem to be a constituency outside of a few right wing think tanks for such policies. Remember Social security privatization? Just because it’s seems like a good idea doesn’t mean a political will exists for the reform.
    Remember politics is the art of the possible
    Cheers
    Steve in Toronto

  • DonS

    Steve, HSA’s coupled with high deductible catastrophic policies are currently available in the U.S. I have one and I love it. About 15% of Californians are currently insured in such a way. Maybe you weren’t aware of that fact. Of course, part of the Obamacare package was to eliminate them, because they don’t fit into the liberal concept of moving health care more in the direction of third party payers.

    My policy, though it carries a high deductible, does provide for a wellness visit to a doctor each year, without deductible. I believe this is required by California law. So, this addresses your concern regarding the poor being able to obtain preventive care.

    Actually, though, recent studies demonstrate that preventive care is not cost effective, population-wide, and may not actually reduce ultimate disease onset in a meaningful way. Additionally, there is a concern that all of the unnecessary scanning may actually increase one’s susceptibility to certain diseases later in life because of the excess radiation exposure. So, I would favor the option for a patient to delete the covered preventive care visit and save the money. In any event, though I concur that we have a moral obligation as a society to provide life saving care and treatment to anyone, regardless of their ability to pay, that obligation hardly extends to guaranteeing everyone a right to an annual colonoscopy. Please.

  • DonS

    Steve, HSA’s coupled with high deductible catastrophic policies are currently available in the U.S. I have one and I love it. About 15% of Californians are currently insured in such a way. Maybe you weren’t aware of that fact. Of course, part of the Obamacare package was to eliminate them, because they don’t fit into the liberal concept of moving health care more in the direction of third party payers.

    My policy, though it carries a high deductible, does provide for a wellness visit to a doctor each year, without deductible. I believe this is required by California law. So, this addresses your concern regarding the poor being able to obtain preventive care.

    Actually, though, recent studies demonstrate that preventive care is not cost effective, population-wide, and may not actually reduce ultimate disease onset in a meaningful way. Additionally, there is a concern that all of the unnecessary scanning may actually increase one’s susceptibility to certain diseases later in life because of the excess radiation exposure. So, I would favor the option for a patient to delete the covered preventive care visit and save the money. In any event, though I concur that we have a moral obligation as a society to provide life saving care and treatment to anyone, regardless of their ability to pay, that obligation hardly extends to guaranteeing everyone a right to an annual colonoscopy. Please.

  • dave

    @Steve in Toronto 52:

    I hate to break it to you, but looking at how other wealthy democracies is against the American Conservative viewpoint except when it’s regarding guns laws in Switzerland –that being acceptable reason to look at Europe for an idea.

    And regarding the points about Health Savings Accounts, you are correct in your observation.

    Imagine you are in California (which has malpractice lawsuit caps) and paying $12,000/year for health insurance in the high risk pool. Under McCain’s plan, you get a $5,000/year voucher to help you buy insurance. Unfortunately, next year, Blue Cross raises your premium and you are paying $16,000/year –but will your voucher go up at the same rate? No. So you drop your health insurance because it’s that or being homeless/not eating. Then you get sick but since it’s not ER type care, you can’t get the treatment. Then you get sicker and can’t work. Now you are truly indigent and once you are completely destitute you can qualify for the government program that will pay your medical care (which is now not only astronomically expensive, but hopeless). Also since you are not working, you can’t pay any of it.

    And that’s the best system Republicans are willing to support. And for what? To save taxpayers money, when in reality, we are paying more here in the US than anywhere else.

    And our people aren’t even living longer.

    Thinking Health Savings Accounts, Tort Reform and Buying insurance across state boundaries is going to fix that isn’t knowing it will fix it –it’s having faith it will fix it.

  • dave

    @Steve in Toronto 52:

    I hate to break it to you, but looking at how other wealthy democracies is against the American Conservative viewpoint except when it’s regarding guns laws in Switzerland –that being acceptable reason to look at Europe for an idea.

    And regarding the points about Health Savings Accounts, you are correct in your observation.

    Imagine you are in California (which has malpractice lawsuit caps) and paying $12,000/year for health insurance in the high risk pool. Under McCain’s plan, you get a $5,000/year voucher to help you buy insurance. Unfortunately, next year, Blue Cross raises your premium and you are paying $16,000/year –but will your voucher go up at the same rate? No. So you drop your health insurance because it’s that or being homeless/not eating. Then you get sick but since it’s not ER type care, you can’t get the treatment. Then you get sicker and can’t work. Now you are truly indigent and once you are completely destitute you can qualify for the government program that will pay your medical care (which is now not only astronomically expensive, but hopeless). Also since you are not working, you can’t pay any of it.

    And that’s the best system Republicans are willing to support. And for what? To save taxpayers money, when in reality, we are paying more here in the US than anywhere else.

    And our people aren’t even living longer.

    Thinking Health Savings Accounts, Tort Reform and Buying insurance across state boundaries is going to fix that isn’t knowing it will fix it –it’s having faith it will fix it.

  • Steve in Toronto

    Thanks for response Don but we are now to deep into the weeds for this ex-pat to follow God bless and I am glad that you at least are happy with your health care.

  • Steve in Toronto

    Thanks for response Don but we are now to deep into the weeds for this ex-pat to follow God bless and I am glad that you at least are happy with your health care.

  • Steve in Toronto

    p.s. There are very health center right political movements in England, Germany and some parts of Scandinavia apt nothing to compare to the American tea parties. In Canada we are currently blessed with our most conservative government in 20 years.of

  • Steve in Toronto

    p.s. There are very health center right political movements in England, Germany and some parts of Scandinavia apt nothing to compare to the American tea parties. In Canada we are currently blessed with our most conservative government in 20 years.of

  • DonS

    dave @ 56: It’s not clear to me how your hypo related to HSA’s. I think you are confused. McCain’s campaign proposal from 2008 related to the issue of unlinking health insurance from employers, not HSA’s. And, I believe the proposal included inflation adjustments for the tax credit. As for costs, my premium for a comprehensive policy including free preventive care for a 50 year old male is about $435 per month, with a $3,000 deductible. Not bad. It could be substantially lower if the state didn’t mandate so many benefits.

    There is no credible evidence that moving responsibility for health care from the private sector to the government will lower costs. In fact, all of the evidence is to the contrary (when has a government entitlement program ever cost less than advertised?). And if government health care is not substantially cheaper, you haven’t solved anything. The government has no money of its own — only what it extracts from the private sector. And it can’t even handle the debts it has already accrued.

  • DonS

    dave @ 56: It’s not clear to me how your hypo related to HSA’s. I think you are confused. McCain’s campaign proposal from 2008 related to the issue of unlinking health insurance from employers, not HSA’s. And, I believe the proposal included inflation adjustments for the tax credit. As for costs, my premium for a comprehensive policy including free preventive care for a 50 year old male is about $435 per month, with a $3,000 deductible. Not bad. It could be substantially lower if the state didn’t mandate so many benefits.

    There is no credible evidence that moving responsibility for health care from the private sector to the government will lower costs. In fact, all of the evidence is to the contrary (when has a government entitlement program ever cost less than advertised?). And if government health care is not substantially cheaper, you haven’t solved anything. The government has no money of its own — only what it extracts from the private sector. And it can’t even handle the debts it has already accrued.

  • dave

    @DonS 59:

    “There is no credible evidence that moving responsibility for health care from the private sector to the government will lower costs.”

    Medicare is cheaper than privately insured medical care.

    Medical care is provided by, paid for, or procured by heavily regulated insurers in many wealthy nations around the world –all for less than our less regulated, more private system costs us. Far less.

    Are you saying that the United States can’t do what other countries do? Are you saying that the United States is not as good as other countries?

    Fine, go ahead.

    But don’t go arguing things aren’t possible when dozens of nations are doing it and don’t pretend to be looking at evidence when you won’t even look across the border.

  • dave

    @DonS 59:

    “There is no credible evidence that moving responsibility for health care from the private sector to the government will lower costs.”

    Medicare is cheaper than privately insured medical care.

    Medical care is provided by, paid for, or procured by heavily regulated insurers in many wealthy nations around the world –all for less than our less regulated, more private system costs us. Far less.

    Are you saying that the United States can’t do what other countries do? Are you saying that the United States is not as good as other countries?

    Fine, go ahead.

    But don’t go arguing things aren’t possible when dozens of nations are doing it and don’t pretend to be looking at evidence when you won’t even look across the border.

  • DonS

    dave @ 60: How do you figure that Medicare is cheaper than privately insured health care? It has supplanted private health care in the 65+ market so there is no way to compare. Besides, it is bankrupt, and providers are dropping it at ever increasing rates.

    You cannot compare U.S. health care costs to those in other countries, because the level of benefits and the standard of care in the U.S. is far higher. That’s why the wealthy and connected in those other countries come here when they need vital care. Other countries contain costs by rationing. You want elective surgery — wait 3-5 years. You need surgery — you still might wait a year or more, or die on the waiting list. If we move to that kind of rationing, we can save costs too. Is that the direction you wish to go?

    The key is that the Democrats did not offer to substantially reduce costs in their recent plan. Not at all. In fact, after the first ten years, after the benefits were fully in place, and even after the substantial tax increases, costs were projected to go up.

    So, to answer your question — yes, the U.S. could do what other countries have done. But, once the American people understood the trade-offs, there would be a revolt.

  • DonS

    dave @ 60: How do you figure that Medicare is cheaper than privately insured health care? It has supplanted private health care in the 65+ market so there is no way to compare. Besides, it is bankrupt, and providers are dropping it at ever increasing rates.

    You cannot compare U.S. health care costs to those in other countries, because the level of benefits and the standard of care in the U.S. is far higher. That’s why the wealthy and connected in those other countries come here when they need vital care. Other countries contain costs by rationing. You want elective surgery — wait 3-5 years. You need surgery — you still might wait a year or more, or die on the waiting list. If we move to that kind of rationing, we can save costs too. Is that the direction you wish to go?

    The key is that the Democrats did not offer to substantially reduce costs in their recent plan. Not at all. In fact, after the first ten years, after the benefits were fully in place, and even after the substantial tax increases, costs were projected to go up.

    So, to answer your question — yes, the U.S. could do what other countries have done. But, once the American people understood the trade-offs, there would be a revolt.


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