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On socialised healthcare

June 2007

On socialised healthcare:

If you can have full employment by killing Germans, why can't you have full employment building hospitals, building schools.

If you can find money to kill people, you can find money to help people.

— Tony Benn, interviewed in Michael Moore's Sicko

Michael Moore propaganda, of course, but the statistics and the stories seem to bear him out.

stan_ commented:

because building hospitals relies on either: A. taxes or B. private investment. healthcare isn't as black and white as Macca's being to blame for his irresponsible fat ass

Matt commented:

Stan, do you even bother reading? How do you think war is funded? His point is, if you can fund a war, surely it's as plausible to use the same means to fund healthcare for your citizens.

Matt commented:

Can I just add to that that A. this is in fact WHAT THE UK DID and B. it still seems to be working for them, 50 years down the track.

I am more than happy to pay a little more tax, if it means universal, free healthcare for everyone.

Paul H commented:

Have the economics of this been discussed? I think the way it worked in the war was that everyone was prepared to put in more effort for less personal return, instead this additional productivity was invested in the governement (i.e taxes) for the war effort. So as I understand it, the same thing should be possible now, if people were willing to accept a lower standard of living for the same level of effort they are currently using. But then I am not an economist.

stan_ commented:

"Stan, do you even bother reading? How do you think war is funded? His point is, if you can fund a war, surely it's as plausible to use the same means to fund healthcare for your citizens."

any government spending is bad, including spending on war (which in the US' case is funded via foreign borrowings, mostly from China - in which they expect a return - you don't just invest into something for nothing - they're not just going to throw free money for your country's health system) - mate problems are not as simple as health care isn't universally free therefore the way to solve it is to pour more money into it - that's what governments have been doing for all of history and it hasn't solved the problem, and when it has been tried it's fucked up the entire economy (eg. Cuba). also since Labour have come into power an extra 10 billion is being spent on health per year yet waiting lists are increasing (due to lack of competition in the health sector (a result of the government's anti-private hospital regulations), therefore making it an inefficiently run state monopoly, and there are doctor shortages because when your only employer is the public system then you either demand more via unions or go overseas where private hospitals offer greater incentives

"Can I just add to that that A. this is in fact WHAT THE UK DID and B. it still seems to be working for them, 50 years down the track."

you can only either have A or B - if you choose A then it comes at a social cost to the rest of the economy's overall standard of living (as explained above), and if you choose B then you cannot have the state competiting with the private sector because it results in unfair competition, as one has no incentive to deal with problems as it has its hand in the unlimited (until they decide they want to go overseas) taxpayer's purse and therefore no responsibility (take for example the state energy sector - http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/466/story.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10445493&pnum=0). you say it's what the UK did - so they can both go to war with taxes AND pay for universal healthcare? why not look at the number of homeless people on their streets and ask why there's not full employment or a decent welfare system?

I am more than happy to pay a little more tax, if it means universal, free healthcare for everyone. # ×

you think your "little more tax" is making a difference, in reality it's doing fuck all overall and it's the richest 10-12% of the country who are the source of the government's pretty much entire budget. that's where tax makes a difference - and the more you tax them, the more they invest their money elsewhere. people like you and the Alliance party think you can achieve all these ideals but expect other people to pay for it. it's easy to act altruistic if you're not personally responsible for saving the world and just tell other people to do it

stan_ commented:

by the way in case you didn't understand the above bit regarding the UK - if there is more private investment then there is more business therefore more jobs and more people able to afford healthcare

you can't just fund something via tax and not expect it to screw up the way the whole country's monetary system works. one of the most fundamental economic principles is that [food] is scarce and there's no such thing as a free lunch, you either buy it for yourself or someone else does, and if you bite the hand that feeds you then you end up with no food at all. the goal is not to achieve equality of outcome, but equality of opportunity to make the best of your outcome

Matt commented:

Stan, I'm tired of your huge generalisations, unsupported opinions, and parroting of ACT propaganda. If you cannot participate in a reasonable and civil manner—and offer evidence beyond 'I've studied economics, and also, ACT said so'—I'm going to just delete your comments, because I cannot be bothered with your rubbish.

Christina commented:

Case in point of that level of healthcare working: Denmark. Their tax is stupendously high (approx 2/3 of their income, I think), but they get free (and one suspects good) healthcare from the cradle to the grave. Things like food, heat, transport and housing are also comparatively affordable. Obviously, though, you'd have to actually go live there to properly study that cough

Not sure if the UK is a good example - their NHS gets more flack and is more bureaucratic than our health system! I've known Poms to sing our system's praises, if you can believe that! :D

If you have a wee gander at some of New Zealand's early years, you'll notice we were the prototype of functional socialism back in the day (up until about the mid-60s if I remember correctly). I think it worked OK, but that high level of healthcare and etc also came with very strict governmental control on things like product consumption and freedom of speech. There's a bit of a trade-off everywhere, I suspect.

Paul: you wouldn't be procrastinating, at all, would you? :P

stan_ commented:

if it's evidence you want you're welcome to borrow my economics textbooks, either let me know where you want me to drop them off or where i can meet up with you to hand them over to you

stan_ commented:

here's a place you can start - http://jim.com/econ/contents.html

stan_ commented:

ps. the fact that you think i'm making huge generalisations, unsupported opinions and parroting propaganda just shows you don't even follow the news or government budgets each year and pay attention to the fact that waiting lists and doctor shortages are a huge problem in NZ right now