Off Topic Messages

Thu Apr 27, 2006 12:10 am

Pete Dube wrote:
Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote:
It's common to tar the government and much of that might be earned, but on this issue in the USA, it's the insurance companies, drug companies and such that have cornered the market on paperwork and bloat.


No argument with that Greg.

Gregory Nolan Jr. wrote:
On the whole, American citizens are unaware how much more vacation time and benefits their counterparts in the UK, Germany, France, Holland, Finland, Sweden, Canada, etc. have in 2006. We may prefer our "lean" and "agile" economy (lower unemployment but then stingier benefits) but there's lots we could learn from.


But don't they also have rather high taxes?


Our benefits are getting smaller and smaller. Where I work the common practice is too layoff full-timers and hire them back as part-time, thus sticking it to us benefits wise. The future will be, ( and mark my words) where people will have two-part time jobs, as opposed to a full time job.
This is what major coporations is striving for. We've allready seen this with General Motors I believe.

Thu Apr 27, 2006 12:10 am

But do the higher taxes result in really less money in your pocket? You may be losing something on your taxes but think of what you gain by not having to pay medical costs which as you grow older become a larger and larger part of your monthly outlay.

Fri Apr 28, 2006 1:18 am

Joe Car, people are waking up to that vision of the future and not going to sit still for it. Don't look for leadership just yet from the US work force, which rather likes to be drubbed into submission or so it seems.

And Bike is right that the counterargument is that you do get something for those taxes. A shorthand way of looking at it as that Europe (at least until the recent huge influx of immigrants, which is throwing this vision off) has a notion of society where there may not be as many millionaires, but there also few poor people, just more (apparently contented) people in the middle.

The Europeans I've known rather like it this way compared to the increasingly "dog eat dog" vision of society in the US. Given their druthers, I think many Americans might re-think the society we've accepted as "natural" as we increasingly see the rich get richer while what we call the "middle class" (usually the working class) sees its hard-won benefits and wages take a drubbing. Being ethnically and racially divided, it's long been hard to get people to think about themselves as a class, so loyalties tend to be siphoned off by other appeals that have little to do with everyday living standards, tax policies and other things that actually affect how people do in life. That, and the reality / myth that everyone thinks they're going to be the next "entrepreneur" or next millionaire tends to make class politics a bit of a hard-sell historically. With wages down essentially since 2001 (a wage cut on average, in fact), it's no wonder the bloom is off Bush's rose.

It's so bad out there lately for workers that I say : "let 'em have a smoke if they have to...!" (Had to bring it back on topic... :lol: )

Fri Apr 28, 2006 11:38 am

I was reading an interview with Peter Falk the great actor and an avid smoker yesterday. He said that while he respected the aims of the anti-smoking crowd, he wished that they wouldn't be so over the top. He said, "It's getting to the point where you could light up in the Grand Canyon and somebody would be watching you from twelve miles away with a pair of a binoculars yelling "Put that out! Can't you see I'm allergic."

We've confined most of our discussions to restaurants and the like but this also applies to things like pool halls. Who ever heard of anti-septic pool hall? You expect to walk in there and be covered smoke. It's part of the ambience. It's not supposed to be nice.

Fri Apr 28, 2006 3:55 pm

Regarding socialized medicine isn't the major drawback the waiting period for treatment?

Thu May 04, 2006 4:36 pm

Pete Dube wrote:Regarding socialized medicine isn't the major drawback the waiting period for treatment?


Am I to take it the lack of response to my inquirey is due to the waiting period being the Achilles heel of socialized medicine?

Thu May 04, 2006 5:27 pm

Funny you should say that, Pete, as I've been meaning to add a comment to this much flogged (and now off-topic) thread that most Canadians (and Western Europeans, I believe) are very happy with their health care.

The one most common rap on all such systems is that in some cases (usually super-expensive, rare surgury), is that rationing and waiting lines is one of the downsides. The upside is that on the whole, these public-oriented health systems do a much better job of protecting the public health. Indeed, we already "ration" health care in the US, to the tune of millions unisured or paying through the nose for coverage. Even those with the best health care coverage, often through a union collective bargaining agreement, year after year see huge percentages being eaten up by our disgustingly complicated system instead of seeing their actual wages go up.

From what I've been able to gather, those who champion this argument usually have a larger agenda that partly involves making sure that the profiteering that goes on in US health care (the pharmacological / medical / insurance complex) continues unabated. Either that, or they are an ideologue who can't fathom that the government should be involved in any sector of the economy, never mind the reality of such alleged "intrusions" in the "free marketplace," which incidentally is never totally going away.

There is some apparent truth to the waiting list claim, but it seems to be like a red herring. There are trade-offs in everything and society has to make a decision about what it most values.

Also, we see little clamoring in Canada and Europe for the U.S.-style health care "system."

The Bush Adminstration's minimalist, decentralized plan (i.e. "dump the responsiblity on local governments") against the prospect of a Bird flu pandemic is further proof at how vulnerable our rag-tag system makes Americans.

Back on topic:
likethebike wrote:I was reading an interview with Peter Falk the great actor and an avid smoker yesterday. He said that while he respected the aims of the anti-smoking crowd, he wished that they wouldn't be so over the top. He said, "It's getting to the point where you could light up in the Grand Canyon and somebody would be watching you from twelve miles away with a pair of a binoculars yelling "Put that out! Can't you see I'm allergic."

We've confined most of our discussions to restaurants and the like but this also applies to things like pool halls. Who ever heard of anti-septic pool hall? You expect to walk in there and be covered smoke. It's part of the ambience. It's not supposed to be nice.


Great story and I couldn't agree more. I frequent bars (pubs / taverns)frequently of late and the few smoking bars that exist are really not that oppressive with all the ventilation systems - and the ability to choose a good seat. It all works out fine. What a big hue and cry over nothing. There's only so much one can control in life.

When I first moved to one of a town near a major city that had banned smoking, I didn't know it and left that jazz bar wondering why everything was just too "clean" and perfect, like a bad movie set or something. I liked my clean clothes as I left, but couldn't help thinking how dull the joint was.

Mind you, I've experienced "sick" buildings before in the workplace (with unknown fumes in the ventilation system) and raised holy hell over it... :evil: