Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Panem et circenses

Only 2 As a loaf (about 55p)
Rome fell because it taxed itself out of existence providing bread and circuses to the masses.  Proving that it has learned absolutely nothing from this, 21st century Britain is doing exactly the same thing.  In fact, they're going the Caesars one better by charging the taxpayers £20.64 a loaf for the "free" bread.

What's the difference between the NHS and a vampire?  A vampire doesn't pick your pocket while he sucks you dry.

Update: What this "envy of the world" is costing.


Ironmistress said...

Then again, what is the choice?

David said...

Give people their money back and tell them flatly that paying for health care is not the government's concern. Note the first part of the sentence. It's extremely important. To paraphrase The Life of Brian, they've got to sort it our for themselves.

The problem is, frankly, this: Even if the NHS was everything its supporters claim it is, it doesn't work. It's a prescription for national suicide. A health service that costs four times as much as national defence? It's bankrupting the country. It's the political version of a cuckoo chick that shoves the native chicks out of the nest. The simple, unadorned fact is that we can't afford this monster even if it did as it is claimed, which it most emphatically does not. It's a useless monster of a bureaucracy that sucks money out of the economy and gives back nothing but overpriced gluten-free bread at extortionate costs.

Abolish it.

eon said...

Another fact that went almost unnoticed in the screeds by those hammering Mr. Delingpole was the two pounds sterling per loaf price of gluten-free bread over the counter in the UK. (I assume that it's just for the gluten-free sort- I hope it is, at least).

The same sort of bread costs about $2/20 oz. loaf at my local grocery. The wheat bread I prefer goes for $1/20-oz. If bread costs the equivalent of $3-4 per loaf in Britain, that's pretty strong indicator that inflation is rising and getting close to the out-of-control range.

And it looks like the usual culprit is responsible. Namely, a government that never met a tax hike or a spending program it didn't immediately fall madly in love with. The NHS being only one symptom of the malaise.

At some point, as Lady Thatcher said, they are going to run out of other people's money. And what will they do then?



Ironmistress said...

Give people their money back and tell them flatly that paying for health care is not the government's concern.

So you basically suggest plutocracy as the solution of the health care problem?

There are four basic problems on leaving health care on the mercy of the markets.

1. Those in the most dire need of health care are usually those who are least able to pay for it.

2. Health care is a natural cartel. The same commodity everywhere, no real choices, no quality differences and it is a commodity without which humans cannot survive.

3. Privatized health care supplied with private health insurance industry creates inevitably an arbitrage. The small guy gets really screwed.

4. Most people really are not able to deal and decide with their own monies, and especially so when it comes to health care. They screw it up when left on their own devices. Humans are not rational creatures, but emotional, and they are not driven by common sense but by emotions. The result with your suggestion will be even worse mess-up than with NHS.

I mean, the real-life examples with privatized health care really do not encourage trying. The US system is completely screwed up, producing poor and over-supplied services on horribly inflated prices and the Swiss really don't like theirs either.

I personally would rather go to a doctor who'd first ask "What is wrong with you?" than "Who is your insurance provider?"

The real solution is not to demolish, but to restructure it. To analyse what is the reason of the costs and then do something with it. Funny that almost every other EU nation manages to provide excellent health services in reasonable price on public health care system.

Mind you that 70% of all personal bankruptcies in US are due to health care bills. You really don't want that to happen in UK, do you?

Anonymous said...

it would also help if the government made better attempt at stamping out "Health Tourism" which costs GB shed laods of money per annum...Micen90

David said...

Ironmistress: Your points are moot. No one can afford a welfare state healthcare system. The whole of Europe is sinking under that Ponzi scheme and some nations may not survive the current crisis. The choice is not between government health care no health care. It is between a society collapsing under an unsustainable system versus government getting out of a business it should never have been in the first place. Whatever the solution is, the welfare state, like all Marxist utopias, is an utter, destructive failure and must be abolished before it abolishes us.

Ironmistress said...

David, so far my country has had no problems. Neither has had Sweden, Germany or Italy with their health care systems.

What you suggest as an alternative can be summarized in one sentence: neurosurgery for the rich and amputations for the poor. That's how the things work in the real world.

Your hatred on anything public, your hatred on society, your hatred on democracy and your mistrust on your own nation and her leaders is just strange. Why do you think plutocracy (where the small guy has absolutely no word to say) would work any better?

Welfare state BTW is NOT a Marxist utopia. It is a Lutheran utopia. And what comes to Marxism, last time I read the news China was doing rock and roll while US was about to go bankrupt. The real world just doesn't always work as theory would imply.

David said...

The only hatred I have is for tyranny and you already know my arguments against the rest of your points, so I shan't bother to repeat them.

Do not indulge in such personal remarks again or I shall close this thread.

Ironmistress said...

Which is the lesser evil: a society where the strong reign over the weak or a society where the rich reign over the poor?

If I am to be asked, plutocracy is the most deprave form of tyranny.

David said...

I will say this once and once only: NO ONE IS ADVOCATING A BLASTED PLUTOCRACY!!!!!!!!

William Jury said...

David is correct. It doesn't really matter whether or not we have an answer for "who" should provide health care coverage (government, private industry, a fairy godmother, etc.) or how that coverage should be funded. The painfully simple truth is that the government cannot afford the current system, evidenced by both reductions in defense spending (one of the primary priorities of national governments) and increases in health program costs. In the end we might not be able to afford that which is necessary. Needing a particular product in no way guarantees that you will be able to afford it. And before I am judged too harshly, I am a type 1 diabetic and my son was born with a club foot. I am very thankful for insurance and highly attuned to the costs of medical care. But a nation cannot continue to spend money it does not have. This is not an issue of tyrany, nor plutocracy, nor marxism -- it is an issue of bureaucracy, and bureaucracies consume money in the process of creating inefficiency. Of course, some ideologies (and political parties) do seem to favor the creation of bureaucracies more than others...

Doublegoodspeak said...

Comrade Ironmistress, the practice of Doublespeak is best left to the Profezionales.

Ironmistress said...

David, Capitalism, when left to its own devices, leads inevitably into Plutocracy. It doesn't need to be advocated: it is the natural result of unchecked and unbridled Capitalism.

We have a phrase in Finnish pakko kuin köyhän kuolema, literally "mandatory like a poor man's death". That described well the situation before the national health care in Finland: when anything nasty happened, the rich survived and the poor died.

In the real world Capitalism in health care leads into neurosurgery for the rich and amputations for the poor. Is that what you really want?

What comes to national defence, my own nation has conscription - basically each and every Finnish male is a soldier and a lot of women (like myself) are too. All the men in my family have served. I have volunteered in the navy and have the rank of Sub-Lieutenant in the reserves. My nation kicked the butts of both USSR and Germany in WWII, and was never conquered by either.

Finland learnt by the bitter way that the only way a small nation can keep her independence is to speak softly, keep away from big boys' games and alliances and carry a big gun. Finland does not belong in NATO, it is neutral and independent and has never received any military aid from USSR, US or UK whatsoever. Finland spends 1.3% of her GNP to national defence and 8.4% on health care. Nobody complains.

And we have the best air force in the whole world. Only the Israelis come close.

David said...

Ironmistress, I do not enter into discussions with you any longer because it is pointless. Every time we get into this discussion you not only use the same talking points, but the same exact words over and over again without paying a blind bit of attention to what anyone says in reply. You continue to do this apparently under the assumption that after everyone else gets fed up and leaves that you've "won" as if discourse was a rhetorical game of sitzfleisch.

I much prefer to have an actual interchange of ideas, which I do know you are very capable of and I often welcome your remarks. What I cannot abide is your habit of heaving up a small army of straw men and wild assertions in the vaguest of terms and then expect me and the visitors to swat at them. I have neither the time nor the inclination to do so. No one has mentioned capitalism, no one has mentioned plutocracy, no one has advocated ANYTHING save in reply to you! The point that is being discussed is whether Britain's NHS and by extension the welfare state has become so expensive that it threatens the core functions of the central government. It isn't about brain surgery vs amputations nor the doughty Finns nor little guys getting screwed nor the price of tea in China. This thread, like others that you insist on hijacking, has become about as pleasant as a party where some nerk hangs about the bar and insists on talking MGs ad infinitum.

And no, I will not debate this with you. Stay on topic and stop gainsaying like a chatbot. You're capable of better, so please show it.

Fruitbat44 said...

Well, I agrree with Ironmistress that "I personally would rather go to a doctor who'd first ask "What is wrong with you?" than "Who is your insurance provider?" "

That said the idea that anyone who disagrees with the notion of state healthcare is adovacting dictatorship is not something I agree with, and I certianly do not for one second think that Mr Szondy is a friend of tyrants!

However I do feel that the abolition of the NHS is touch too radical. The doughty Mark Steyn talks of a local health authority advertising for the post of "Assistant Deputy Public Relations Specialist . . . " Yeah, I think that there's plenty of room for reform there short of abolition.

And it could be argued that the health of the nation is something the government should take an interest in.