Comments Posted By Surabaya Stew
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Thanks for a second round of replies, gentlemen. Since this thread is about to be declared over, I shall be brief.

DaleB, your wife must be a saint. The only thing worse than being a patient in a metropolitan Emergency Room must be working there! (This is speaking from a personal experience courtesy of King's County.) I believe earlier points about there being no such thing as a free lunch have an especial relevance in your example. Surely the hospital that employes your wife makes up the money it looses on the uninsured from the rest of us; even charity costs something. The point that I was making is that we all pay for the uninsured to use the emergency room, in the form of higher insurance rates, higher fees, more taxes, more appeals for donations, etc.

John Galt, HSA's are a great idea that have little chance of working for the simple reason that most Americans are unable to put aside money to take care of their health. To clarify, lets go through some basic things that hardly anybody saves for:


Please tell me if you know of an average American who put down 100% to buy their home. How many of us make payments of our cars every month? I think most of us have had student loans, am I nuts? Don't even pretend that most of us save for retirement! And now saving for personal health care costs? Frankly, you are asking way too much from people! Not to rag on you, because you are correct when you describe the federal governments ability to manage health care. For some reason, the States seem to do a much better job of these things; perhaps because they understand this:

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Ok, so I lied about being brief. Thanks for putting up with me!

Comment Posted By Surabaya Stew On 20.06.2008 @ 23:10

Thank you all for the replies and counterpoints. A special thank you for Captain Hate; I try my hardest to keep an open mind, and I like coming to this site not to preach to the choir, but to get some real opinions; we will be sure to chat soon. As for the rest of you...

Rick, I didn't reply to jambrowski in my last post because his comment had not posted at the time. What is the average delay between making a comment and seeing it posted? I understand that this is probably beyond your control, but is there a way to make posting more timely?

John Galt, I really agree with your point about the federal government not taking on more responsibilities than called out for it in the Constitution. To be honest, I really don't care if achieving universal coverage in this country is accomplished entirely by the private or public sector or by some combination of the two. It seems like you and me had similar ideas about responsibility when we didn't have insurance, and I commend you for taking that positive approach. However, this does not cover the catastrophic things that can happen to ones health, like cancer or a tumor, or disability. Who pay for that when one does not have insurance? We all do! It is that very real danger (and expense) that health coverage really is needed for. I suspect having the states mandate it the same way they mandate drivers insurance is probably the best way to achieve it; politically and culturally it is the most sensible course of action for America. (Why Romney couldn't make this a winning issue is a whole other story!)

Thomas Jackson, I can only conclude that local government differs in its efficiency and fairness depending on which municipality and service one is talking about. Obviously, we have vastly different experiences when it comes to water!

By the way, I feel confident in stating that no child in Thomas Jackson's community gets an "average" of 11,000 dollars per year in spending. A more likely breakdown of actual costs are:
Regular kids: 5,000
Gifted kids: 6,000
Bilingual Ed kids: 20,000
Special Ed kids: 40,000
Now try telling the parents of a Special Ed. child to educate their kid on 11,000 a year and to make up the difference through their own pocket. You may as well tell a person with a brain tumor to sell their house to pay for their operation.

This actually happened to my Aunt. She transfered title of the home to her kids and declared bankruptcy rather than do such a thing. As jambrowski reminded us, "there is no such thing as a free lunch" and to this day, we are all paying for my Aunt's brain tumor, as well as millions of others who use our system and don't pay for it.

Sorry to get off topic so much, but I really can't get worked up about oil refineries. Obama or McCain won't do much about it no matter what they say.

Comment Posted By Surabaya Stew On 19.06.2008 @ 22:39

Thanks to all for posting; let me do some follow up. It's always nice to get feedback when I haven't properly explained myself

Chris, thanks for pointing that out about local government as opposed to national government control of water supply. Here in New York, our municipal water supply does a magnificent job, threatened only federal meddling in watershed and filtering "mandates" to be paid by us overtaxed Manhattanites. I should have been more clear; perhaps water was not the best example.

John Galt, have you never been without insurance. Just try going without it for a while and see if your feeling don't change. What is the point of having the best health care in the world if you can't afford it? If not wanting to feel vulnerable to sickness when one is out of a job makes me a lefty, then so be it. (BTW, I would never argue that France is the best model to follow, but since they are a First World country, it is impossible to conclude that they are doing everything wrong.)

Captain Hate, thank you for that example out of Cleveland, I shall look it up tonight. Kucinich has always stuck me as a naive figure; this looks like quite an interesting counter-point. (On a slightly different note, isn't it interesting that the deregulation of the Telephone industry went quite well, while the deregulation of the Electricity industry is a complete clusterf*ck?)

I do agree with Rick's point about oil refineries and distribution; it is way too complicated and will cost too much for the government to ever take over, so why even talk about it? Just a load of election-year hot air, me thinks. I would like to add that many of the private fire companies that still exist all over the USA are in all likelihood, volunteer organizations, which is quite a different thing all together. And to answer your question about a Public entity doing better than a private one doing the same task, my answer would have to be the US military vs. Contractors. If ever a company in this day and age deserved to be nationalized for the way it has ripped off the taxpayers and dishonored the nation, it is Haliburton.

Comment Posted By Surabaya Stew On 19.06.2008 @ 12:08

Hello Rick, do I qualify as one of your "lefty friends"? I assumed I was moderate, but whatever floats your boat!

Yes, I can certainly think of a very big business that government generally runs better that private enterprise. Its called water. That's right, local governments with municipal water boards building reservoirs and water mains are far more capable of delivering a quality product to the consumer than private enterprise. Just ask the French, who have suffered with private companies providing brackish water at inflated prices for 200 years. Ever wonder why they don't bathe daily? We wouldn't either if we were paying up the ass for something we take for granted.

In my studies, private companies do better than government in 99% of types of businesses. However, that 1% is often composed of some of the biggest markets we have, such as water, electricity, national defense, and primary healthcare. In my opinion, its just a matter of deciding what are essential services and non-essential ones, then letting public and private forces do what they are best at. Does this make me a lefty?

Comment Posted By Surabaya Stew On 19.06.2008 @ 08:34


I agree with the posters on this thread that most people are able to differentiate between the American people and the American government; that certainly has been my experience in my travels. That being said, it should be pretty obvious that most of the world supports Obama because they are sick of Bush and his party. I agree that these feelings should have little influence in deciding whom to vote for, but unless one lives in a bubble, its impossible to say its not a factor. Were I a businessman dependent on exporting American goods, it may even be the deciding factor.

In case you were wondering, 90% of negative comments I hear about America and Bush while I am traveling come from Europeans... and I only travel in Asia!

Comment Posted By Surabaya Stew On 13.06.2008 @ 15:55


"...and make America safe for snake oil salesmen once again."

I love this line! You mean Obama is going to continue Bush's policies of ripping off America? As if McCain would never peddle BS to the citizens? Come on, try harder...

Comment Posted By Surabaya Stew On 9.06.2008 @ 02:03


Wait a second...this assumption about John McChange assumes that he will make no mistakes or screw-ups from now until November. How likely is that? For example, remember the 1976 Presidential campaign? "There is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe..." That single remark doomed Ford that year, and made Carter look like a genius by comparison. McCain is a man with a temper and a loose cannon for a mouth; already he has made some foolish remarks. To be sure, he hasn't gotten called out on them as much as Obama and Clinton have for their own stupidity, but how can the MSN ignore him for much longer now that Clinton is almost out?

Comment Posted By Surabaya Stew On 2.06.2008 @ 17:40


Hey Rick, just want to let you know that any time you make a valid argument against Obama, at least 5 commentators have to make points against him that are such without lucidity and reason, that it nearly negates your post altogether. Very frustrating!

By the way, I look forward to you writing the next installment of "What ails Conservatism". This Obama-nonsense hasn't distracted from that goal, right?

Comment Posted By Surabaya Stew On 1.06.2008 @ 23:15


Hello Rick,

An interesting read so far, nice work! However, I do have a few questions...

To what extent are Republicanism and Conservatism bound together? Must they always be linked in matrimony? It is my impression that for many years, "Liberal" Republicans and "Conservative" Democrats were more than an oxymoron; for example there was the Northeast branch of the GOP and the Dixiecrats who had policies and social views considerably out of the party mainstream. Is a bi-partisan Conservative revival a possibility? How about a third party?

Ok, I'll shut up now; keep up the good fight!

Several people have made the point that Republican and conservatism are two different things. I agree to an extent. To me, conservatism is more than a philosophy it is a theory of governing. As such, the GOP is the vessel in which conservatism pours its ideas, its passions, its people.

Obviously, that vessel is cracked. And conservatism itself is moribund - despite what some of the Pollyannas here say. It has lost its ability to fashion a way of governing that the majority of people agree with much less understand and identify with. Saying you want "smaller government" is like saying "I want it to rain tomorrow." It is irrelevant. And lower taxes, higher defense spending, less regulation, etc. is not a philosophy - those are political talking points.

Stay tuned for how I think the philosophy of conservatism - in which there isn't much wrong at all - can be refocused to address the real needs of people. That's what Packer was pointing out and that's the future of conservatism as far as I'm, concerned.


Comment Posted By Surabaya Stew On 27.05.2008 @ 22:20


I agree, DrKrbyLuv; Lebanon is not a country for the faint of heart, as its incredible complexity ensures that it can never be easily summarized. (Perhaps thats why it has been largely ignored by the MSN and 99% of political bloggers.) Whether one agrees with Rick or not on his opinions, he sure didn't choose an easy topic to write about! Nice job...

Comment Posted By Surabaya Stew On 26.05.2008 @ 22:05

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