Short Read

America: The Grim Truth

 

Some of the claims in the article are untrue (70% of taxes going to the military) and others are just nuts (the government is going to lock the place down...they don’t want their “recruits” escaping. They don’t want YOU escaping)

 

However, let's take a look at the primary claim:

"You (Americans) have the worst quality of life in the developed world – by a wide margin"

 

and some of the supporting claims

Americans have:

-less access to health care

-poorer diets (less healthy)

-Low quality food (more processed, more contamination, etc)

-More reliance on meds

-Less vacation time (more stress)

-Expensive education (starting life with high debt)

-Greater Debt Overall

-Higher Bankruptucy rates (see above on debts)

-Less freedom (drug tests, surveillence)

-Misinformed citizenry (Fox News, Right/Left wing media)

-An uneducated population

-Corrupt politicians

-Crushing Debt

-etc, etc, etc.

 

I'd love to hear from anyone, but especially those of you who reside outside of America and can provide objective viewpoints.

 

 

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A relative of mine was hit by a car as a young teen. He was in a coma for two months. He is grown now but he had massive brain injuries, and living on ssi, a total of $674 a month. Yes, he is living high on his $20 in monthly food stamps.

He has tried to work but because of his injuries has problems acting properly in social situations. His math skills are at a 3rd grade level, other skills just slightly above. He has spent years trying to get at a higher level but he never retains the info.

The only time he gets nice things such as computers, or tv's is when a family member buys it for him. He does occasionaly like to get a burger with his leftover $8 a month after paying his bills.

Selling drugs is a very popular way to make money in the ghetto, and yes, I know about the ghetto, I am from South Boston and work with many people who live in the ghetto. Heck, 70% of Jacksonville is ghetto.

People who are just getting disability or welfare CANNOT by that income alone afford these luxuries you speak of.

As far as staying in bed until noon, well, I am able to do that and am not on any type of assistance nor am I making money illegally.

Becky, since most of your family is on disability I am sure you can inform us how easy it is to get on it.

You do realize just having a doctors note will not get someone disability right? That they cannot get it without a lot of time, medical records and an evaluation by DDS.

I could see the local DDS office somehow being in cahoots with the lawyer, but that would be rare. I still am sticking to my guns that getting disability is tough, I have some experience in this area.

 

Yes, I do understand people work under the table, but that is sort of on the lines of selling drugs, as it is not reported and not income from disability. Mainly I find it absolutely annoying when people act like those on some sort of assistance are living high on the hog, they cannot without shacking up with someone, selling drugs, or working on the side.

 

People who are on most of these assistance programs are allowed to work, it may only be part time or low income. Could you live on $674 a month? No, and if that was all you had coming in you would try to earn more. Those who get more than 674 are either on ssdi or have dependents, except some states add a small bit to the federal amounts.

 

Lastly, not to be insulting, but maybe your family really could not hold a job, I mean from what you say they do seem a bit messed up. My relative is on disability not because of physical problems but mental health reasons.

As far as fat people, normally they would not get disability for being fat alone, it is not one of the acceptable illnesses, but obese people have other health problems, because they are obese, that may qualify them as disabled, such as heart problems or skeletal issues.  

I think we are pretty much on the same page though, I do not like people taking advantage of assistance and agree many do.

 



Apparently you have no idea what chronic pain is?  I wish it on you and see is you could work at any job with it for even a month.  People in wheel chairs are not necessarily in pain and their minds are usually very active.  People in chronic pain have lots of issue including sleep deprivation, memory problems, chronic fatigue and inability to concentrate.

 

You crude judgement of other people's life and health issues is despicable.

RVS,

I'd rather live in a world where people weren't robbed at gunpoint for what they perceive as 'living a better life in reality'. I am not opposed to programs that help the needy. Not at all. I simply believe it is immoral to force another to give it up. I think we  humans can come up with a whole lot better system than involuntary taxation and wealth distribution. The ends do not justify the means.

Michael, 

 

Am I correct in assuming that freedom of choice and individual liberty as you perceive it will always trump any obligations following from a social contract?

 

Would you agree or disagree with the statement that some things are too important to be left to market forces alone? 

RVS,

First question: That would depend on the social contract. By contract, are you suggesting that I read the terms and agreed? I would say, under the 'contract' I now live, yes, if I had to answer with one word, but the way I see it, the best way to serve society as a whole is to have a government that only monopolizes retaliatory force and protects individuals from any and all impingements of liberty or freedom of choice over one's own means of living. This certainly may include laws that don't allow for the exploitation of any person.

Second question: I really do not mean to be difficult, but what market forces specifically do you refer to? If it is a force that directly impinges on the rights of an individual, then yes, I agree. But if it is a force that simply creates wealth for those who wield it, then no, I disagree.

Michael, 

 

Of course, it does depend on the content specific to each social contract. For the sake of argument, would you, if you were a supreme judge and ruler of your own utopia disregard certain obligations born from an agreed upon social contract in favor of freedom of choice and personal liberty? 

 

I was just wondering about your philosophical stance towards the subject, more so then the practical application. More of a statement of value I suppose, then practical application. Which is why my original question was non-specific.

 

what market forces specifically do you refer to?

 

With market forces I meant the raw forces of the market, supply and demand. 

 

Specifically I was wondering as to your thinking in regards to what role government should play in transactions between legal persons. Would there be a government hand involved in protecting (perceived) weaker economical parties? Or would these transactions that are the basis for the interactions of the economy be guided by personal contracts? 

 

I really do not mean to be difficult

 

I don't believe your are, it can be difficult enough to discuss politics and philosophy in real life. You can imagine see that it is more so online. I know it can sometimes be hindered by my nationality, English is my 2nd language after all so I try not to be too much of an a**hole with my assumptions.

 

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to (hopefully) clarify my intent. 

 

if it is a force that simply creates wealth for those who wield it, I disagree.

 

So if I understand your position correctly, you would look as to what effect the government (laws) would have on society in respect to personal liberty. Economic consequences follow from these laws but they are not aimed at economics per se?

Rob,

I am going to assume that this agreed upon contract would function to inhibit the violation of individual rights. These obligations would be things like the majority can't vote to take some people's money and give it to others. And I would not disregard these. I think the only valid thing that we can agree upon, on each other's behalf, contractually, is to respect each others personal right to our own lives. If, as a judge, I deemed a certain business tactic or practice to be in direct violation of another, I would call it illegal. Direct violation, mind you, not simply one person out competing another. I think it is fundamentally immoral to hold one person back, simply because they are 'ahead', so another can catch up. It is a different story if one person directly steps on another, but I don't think that hard working successful business people can be shown to be stepping on others in as much as they are successful. I think capitalistic business people get blamed for the pain and suffering of 'the little people' inappropriately. And I think the corruption they perpetrate is positively proportional to the government assistance that they get. Financial success, in and of itself, does not hurt others. There will always be a bell curve of success based on poeple's ability to adapt to whatever natural or market forces there are. Artificially imposing sanctions on the most capable, for being most capable, is 'right off the bat' immoral. Even with wealth redistribution, the poor with still be poor and the rich will still be rich, only there will be less rich people and more poor people (than there otherwise would be). Welfare increases the size and power of the less successful who then vote more of the rich people's money away from them and then they call it good. I think the whole society is held back artificially.

If I understand your last sentence, which I'm not sure I do, I think it is accurate of my stance. Based on the nature of reality and the singular nature of choice, morality and ethics is always in respect to the individual, because 'social conscious' or 'social conscience' are not real things. They are metaphors, for only a single mind can be conscious or have a conscience. Some economic manifestation of personal liberty might be perceived by some or even many as making their life difficult, but a government cannot and should not try to make people equal, they are not, by nature. A government can and should make it so each individual has the freedom to do what they may with it, it cannot guarantee happiness or prosperity, that is each person's personal responsibility to themselves. It cannot remove the need for a person to make their way through this life on their own merits and their own brains. Giving groups assistance makes them dependent on it. I think we are fostering dependence.

People get so upset when I talk about voluntary taxes or paid citizenship or fee for service, but with all the bureaucracy that it takes for the government to do what it does now, I not only don't see an obstruction to private enterprise providing education, infrastructure, health-care, charity, philanthropy and other assistance, I think they will do it better.

 

Thinking about government and economic reform hurts my brain. I look at our system and say, what would be the most painless way to fix it. I don't think there is one. The republicans and the democrats are equally to blame. Anyone that explicitly claims one side if more at fault is delusional.

Both sides pander to special interest groups. Our national mass media is tainted. The education system is mismanaged and poorly funded in many areas.

Where does one start to fix something that is broken in so many areas? 

Give me an electric circuit and I can trouble shoot it. I like to apply the same tactics I would use there on the US. But with so many faults that seem to cascade on top of each other... like I said where to start? Was there an initial problem that we can address? 

I don't have the answers to these questions. I do know that asking them is important though.

What do you call taking my money against my will by threat of incarceration? Cooperation? Moral? Good? It's fucking theft! Armed robbery. It doesn't matter to you that you need to take it by force. I think that is a pathetic celebration of human weakness and neediness.

 

It's called keeping society afloat.  Since there assholes out there like you who are greedy and wouldn't give there dieing mother a dime.

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