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  1. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    You know I've got a rep for being a right wing fascist but even I support public healthcare unconditionally. It baffles me that people could rally against something so goddamn fundamental. Then again growing up in Australia I've never known anything different...
    Completely agree. I find it hard to believe the US still doesn't have something along the lines of a health service for all. This is the US, the "good guy" super power.

  2. #42
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mouton View Post
    Hey, I read New York Times, which is your regional news source.

    Also, I don't say Americans do not understand their own politics. I say I don't understand* American politics. Hence this thread.

    *Well, I kinda do. But I am bewildered people actually think like that.
    Heh, the New York Times is a VERY specific and biased source. I think that is one of the things that doesn't get across. For most European nations (to my knowledge), there either aren't enough news sources to have such polarizing narratives or the politic spectrum is too spread out (along a subset of the left side of things) to really have the same problems we have. You really need to at least be aware of multiple US sources to get "the full picture" as we are pretty much polarized by Repos and Demos. There are at least two sides to every story, and villifying one side while letting the other group of assholes off scott free is just annoying.

    And my main problem is: If a bunch of Americans started saying how a country should run things while completely ignoring the history of the nation or the current political and economic status of the nation (sort of like we do :p), they would be screamed at and called horrible. If I said all French people were lazy smokers, I would be called an asshole. If I said all Germans do nothing but drink beer and eat sausage, I would also be an asshole (but probably a lot closer to correct... Also, I could go for some beer and sausage :p). But it is okay to say that all Americans are belligerent assholes and to lump us in with various idiotic groups or stereotypes. And that gets annoying after a while (why I generally avoid this subforum).
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  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    Heh, the New York Times is a VERY specific and biased source.
    Well, any source is biased. They key is to pick sources that, despite their bias, will not distort the reality more than necessary.

  4. #44
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Grizzly's Avatar
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    How about BBC America?


    For those inclined to know, Obamacare is inspired by the Dutch health care system (although that is from what Obama said to our then-prince and princess, so ther emight have been some geopolitical stuff involved).

    Here is what it entails.

    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    Pharmaceuticals cost a fortune and get patents because making meds is hard.
    Well, it is. however....
    Last edited by Grizzly; 01-10-2013 at 10:17 PM.

  5. #45
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mouton View Post
    Well, any source is biased. They key is to pick sources that, despite their bias, will not distort the reality more than necessary.
    I think his point is that in US politics ... becasue our parties are highly polaraized despite being very, very close together on a global political spectrum ... a source can be extremely and consistently biased in ways that will not stand out to those not intimately familiar with US politics but that are non-trivial with respect to US politics. Things that might look like random noise and generic bias to the unfamiliar represent hard, long-running partisan line-drawing here that people will fight over vehemently, and lose elections and viewers over.

    I'm not entirely sure I agree, but I think that's at least in the general direction of Gundato's idea. Feel free to correct me, Gundato. I don't think it's wrong, I just haven't thought about it beyond attempting to summarize it. If nothing else I certainly agree that in the political climate of the US, what counts as "distorting reality" doesn't map easily onto other political systems. It sucks, but that's what happens when your parties hate each other despite being WAY too similar.
    Last edited by gwathdring; 01-10-2013 at 10:20 PM.
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  6. #46
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    I think his point is that in US politics ... becasue our parties are highly polaraized despite being very, very close together on a global political spectrum ... a source can be extremely and consistently biased in ways that will not stand out to those not intimately familiar with US politics but that are non-trivial with respect to US politics. Things that might look like random noise and generic bias to the unfamiliar represent hard, long-running partisan line-drawing here that people will fight over vehemently, and lose elections and viewers over.

    I'm not entirely sure I agree, but I think that's at least in the general direction of Gundato's idea. Feel free to correct me, Gundato. I don't think it's wrong, I just haven't thought about it beyond attempting to summarize it. If nothing else I certainly agree that in the political climate of the US, what counts as "distorting reality" doesn't map easily onto other political systems. It sucks, but that's what happens when your parties hate each other despite being WAY too similar.
    More or less. Like how people are saying the republicans are solely to blame and drew the line in the sand. Both parties have been looking for something to fight over and this just happened to end up being it. NEITHER side wants to back down, and all vilifying one side while exonerating the other does is make bullshit like this more appealing.

    Mouton was pretty much right on the money: You have to look at multiple sources. I don't know how it works in most European countries, but my understanding is that no one political party really has an overwhelming slice of the pie in any of the countries, so you just have the news channel's narrative, not the party's narrative. Because I have met plenty of people who have felt they were "well informed" because they watched CNN and MSNBC (think of that as "I watch Fox and Fox").
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  7. #47
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    For those on the outside looking in, it's important to bear in mind that as stupid as the government shutdown is, much of the concern about the health care bill is legitimate. The health care bill does a lot of great things that republicans conveniently don't talk about. One thing it doesn't really touch, though, is the issue of price controls and/or straight-up public insurance offerings. Further, it's an extremely expensive piece of legislation and our country is rather in debt. Democrats are terrified to talk about welfare reform and Republicans tend to mean the kind of reform that involves guillotines when they talk about it ... but we need to reform ALL of our entitlement programs. At present, social security is going to utterly collapse within the next handful of years. The current working populace is facing reduced retirement earnings because of the recession and within the decade will be facing no social security despite having paid to keep that sinking ship afloat for their entire working life. Likewise for the ailing medicare.

    Bear in mind how large a country the US is. Our bureaucratic headaches have nothing on China but we're the third largest nation at 300,000,000 and we're spread out over one of the largest physical nations to boot with a massive rural population. We also have a system of Federalism that ensures everything gets even more complicated: jurisdiction is even more muddied, more employees are being paid and more paperwork is being done (though Federalism has plenty of perks). Administering government programs has a lot of overhead cost here. We lose a lot of money just implementing programs before we get to spending the useful money. On top of that, we have a ridiculous number of people on welfare--especially food stamps--and those programs are running out of administrative support infrastructure and money. Our entire entitlement structure is crashing and burning and this just adds more to it ... and even then, by analyses from both sides of the fence it doesn't even get to the heart of the health care problem despite being one of the most expensive bills in US history. If we're going to do debt-financed welfare, we might as well have tried to tackle the crazy high costs and the ridiculous back-and-forth escalation between care providers and insurance companies that leaves uninsured and under-insured patients utterly screwed. Obama's bill, setting aside for a moment all of the wonderful reforms throughout it, mostly offers to subsidize insurance essentially footing the bill for the indiscretions of the health care industry. It helps the general public, but it's a stop-gap measure at a time when we're running out of money because of too many stop-gap measures. Of course, then there's all the wonderful, nougat-y reform sitting in the middle of that rather cheap and awful chocolate coating. So ... I'm not exactly opposed to the bill and I definitely have no respect for Republican discourse and tactics here.

    Obama is right to hold his ground and ignore the Republican blackmail. He and his party are wrong to dismiss these concerns as idle bellyaching rather than honestly asses the state of affairs. He's in his last term. He doesn't need to win re-election. He has little to fear from cutting to the core of the matter and discussing it openly unless his administration a) doesn't know what it's doing or b) is overly focused on a Democratic victory in 2016. Democrats might not look like the bad guys here ... but that's because they're in a position of political luxury and don't have to bother compromising in order to look lovely. Obama's not running for re-election and Americans split their blame for this whole mess between him and the Republican congress ... Democrats get out of this scott-free without having to lift a finger and as a result the only fingers they're bothering to lift are those pointing at Republicans.
    Last edited by gwathdring; 01-10-2013 at 10:48 PM.
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  8. #48
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    For those on the outside looking in, it's important to bear in mind that as stupid as the government shutdown is, much of the concern about the health care bill is legitimate. The health care bill does a lot of great things that republicans conveniently don't talk about. One thing it doesn't really touch, though, is the issue of price controls and/or straight-up public insurance offerings. Further, it's an extremely expensive piece of legislation and our country is rather in debt. Democrats are terrified to talk about welfare reform and Republicans tend to mean the kind of reform that involves guillotines when they talk about it ... but we need to reform ALL of our entitlement programs. At present, social security is going to utterly collapse within the next handful of years. The current working populace is facing reduced retirement earnings because of the recession and within the decade will be facing no social security despite having paid to keep that sinking ship afloat for their entire working life. Likewise for the ailing medicare.

    Bear in mind how large a country the US. Our bureaucratic headaches have nothing on China but we're the third largest nation at 300,000,000 million and we're spread out over one of the largest physical nations to boot with a massive rural population. Administering government programs has a lot of overhead cost here. We lose a lot of money just implementing programs before we get to spending the useful money. On top of that, we have a ridiculous number of people on welfare--especially food stamps--and those programs are running out of administrative support infrastructure and money. Our entire entitlement structure is crashing and burning and this just adds more to it ... and even then, by analyses from both sides of the fence it doesn't even get to the heart of the health care problem despite being one of the most expensive bills in US history. If we're going to do debt-financed welfare, we might as well have tried to tackle the crazy high costs and the ridiculous back-and-forth escalation between care providers and insurance companies that leaves uninsured and under-insured patients utterly screwed. Obama's bill, setting aside for a moment all of the wonderful reforms throughout it, mostly offers to subsidize insurance essentially footing the bill for the indiscretions of the health care industry. It helps the general public, but it's a stop-gap measure at a time when we're running out of money because of too many stop-gap measures. Of course, then there's all the wonderful, nougat-y reform sitting in the middle of that rather cheap and awful chocolate coating. So ... I'm not exactly opposed to the bill and I definitely have no respect for Republican discourse and tactics here.

    Obama is right to hold his ground and ignore the Republican blackmail. He and his party are wrong to dismiss these concerns as idle bellyaching rather than honestly asses the state of affairs. He's in his last term. He doesn't need to win re-election. He has little to fear from cutting to the core of the matter and discussing it openly unless his administration a) doesn't know what it's doing or b) is overly focused on a Democratic victory in 2016. Democrats might not look like the bad guys here ... but that's because they're in a position of political luxury and don't have to bother compromising in order to look lovely. Obama's not running for re-election and Americans split their blame for this whole mess between him and the Republican congress ... Democrats get out of this scott-free without having to lift a finger and as a result the only fingers they're bothering to lift are those pointing at Republicans.
    Well said, and largely mirrors my own thoughts
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  9. #49
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    our entire entitlement structure is crashing and burning and this just adds more to it
    I think the reason Europeans find this odd is that as a percentage of GDP the US spends far less than any EU state, (44-50% of GDP in EU vs 38% ish in the US) and that of that spending a greater portion of yours is on the military and less on welfare. So it's genuinely baffling to us, when you hear people saying spending is out of control. In the UK the amount of debt in the country escalated to 158% GDP of the whole country to kickstart the NHS, and yknow what we survived and it still works. Though in terms of debt as a % of GDP we are far closer these days of course, it's only when repayments of said debt get about certain limits it's worth worrying about. Americans on all sides of the spectrum seem far more wedded to the small state ideal.

    Anyway most arguments above concerning debt and spending would apply in the EU as well but we manage to get along fine, which is likely the confusion.

    Anyway from the outside looking in, the US constitution is one of the most genuinely insane documents I've ever come across. It is fascinating though as the American psyche is considered to be massively patriotic and yet suspicious of Government, though the only thing that enshrined America is a classic document of government.

    As for Obamacare, it is likely fucked. The aims they have of providing healthcare for all only seem achievable by a root and branch transformation. All the insurance exchanges and private interest of companies involved makes it stink of compromise, though probably the best compromise that can be achieved with the US system.

  10. #50
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mickygor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    I think the reason Europeans find this odd is that as a percentage of GDP the US spends far less than any EU state, (44-50% of GDP in EU vs 38% ish in the US) and that of that spending a greater portion of yours is on the military and less on welfare. So it's genuinely baffling to us, when you hear people saying spending is out of control. In the UK the amount of debt in the country escalated to 158% GDP of the whole country to kickstart the NHS, and yknow what we survived and it still works. Though in terms of debt as a % of GDP we are far closer these days of course, it's only when repayments of said debt get about certain limits it's worth worrying about. Americans on all sides of the spectrum seem far more wedded to the small state ideal.

    Anyway most arguments above concerning debt and spending would apply in the EU as well but we manage to get along fine, which is likely the confusion.
    Europe's not getting along fine. Several countries would be bankrupted were it not for the generosity of more successful (relatively speaking) countries bailing them out, which damages their only tepid recovery from the initial crash, whilst exacerbating the debt problem and making the eventual crash of the eurozone even worse. The entire continent is relying on interest rates staying as low as they are, which if historical trends are to suggest, isn't going to be for much longer. In the UK, public (inclusive of pension promises) and personal debt combined reaches several times our GDP. While interest rates are at 2%, this is fine, but if you take a look at Greece, all it takes is a little wavering of confidence that the country can sustain the debt, and interest rates will rise to a point where the doubt that they can becomes certainty that they can't, and interest rates spiral out of control, bankrupting the country.
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  11. #51
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mickygor View Post
    Europe's not getting along fine. Several countries would be bankrupted were it not for the generosity of more successful (relatively speaking) countries bailing them out, which damages their only tepid recovery from the initial crash, whilst exacerbating the debt problem and making the eventual crash of the eurozone even worse. The entire continent is relying on interest rates staying as low as they are, which if historical trends are to suggest, isn't going to be for much longer. In the UK, public (inclusive of pension promises) and personal debt combined reaches several times our GDP. While interest rates are at 2%, this is fine, but if you take a look at Greece, all it takes is a little wavering of confidence that the country can sustain the debt, and interest rates will rise to a point where the doubt that they can becomes certainty that they can't, and interest rates spiral out of control, bankrupting the country.
    Sorry, Germany, France, the UK, Scandinavia, Holland are getting along fine. Though why on earth would you include private debt? As that's irrelevant to the Government. The point remains government borrowing remains far lower than it has in the past as a % of GDP and Government spending on the debt is also much lower than in the past. The economy can weather it fine. Debt is not the problem with the economy here, there's no demand in the economy causing it to stall. The Eurozone isn't going to crash now either.

    On top of that and how it relates back to my original point. Throughout the period the countries I listed have all sustained far higher % of expenditure than the US and specifically % expenditure on welfare.

    I mean fuck look at Japan they've been in recession for 20 years nearly now. I've not noted an end of civilisation there yet. EDIT: OK double checked that, it's been deflating and in and out of recession since the late 90s. Got my numbers wrong.
    Last edited by Zephro; 01-10-2013 at 11:38 PM.

  12. #52
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    I think the reason Europeans find this odd is that as a percentage of GDP the US spends far less than any EU state, (44-50% of GDP in EU vs 38% ish in the US) and that of that spending a greater portion of yours is on the military and less on welfare.
    Whoa there. Hang on. GDP? Maybe. But entitlements make up the biggest piece of spending with Obama's bill in play. By a lot. Even before they did! You have been grossly misinformed about US finance. Taxes are a whole different ball of wax, but comparing to GDP is kinda unfair unless we want to also talk about taxes.

    Our welfare spending outstrips out military spending in terms of budget. In 2012, for example, Social Security and Medicare made up almost a quarter of our budget each. In both 2012 and 2013, military spending came in at 15-20%. Now ... that doesn't take into account additional allocations. Bush's administration in particular abused those to feed extra money to the military without budgeting for it up front. Otherwise we wouldn't have had the money to support the wars at all.
    Last edited by gwathdring; 01-10-2013 at 11:45 PM.
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  13. #53
    Lesser Hivemind Node Juan Carlo's Avatar
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    It's not even republicans who are doing this, though, rather it's a very small faction of hard right extremists that have succeeded at taking over a slim majority of a minority party and are able to shut the entire government down because of it.

    Kind of makes you envious of parliamentary systems.

  14. #54
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    Whoa there. Hang on. GDP? Maybe. But entitlements make up the biggest piece of spending with Obama's bill in play. Taxes are a whole different ball of wax, but comparing to GDP is kinda unfair unless we want to also talk about taxes.
    OK I went and looked up the exact numbers UK vs US and to be fair you're closer than me:
    http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/
    http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/go...penditure.html
    I'm rather used to taking pensions and welfare payments as one big lump as that's how the budget works here. And it's 36% in the UK vs 26% in the US, but the government spends 48% of our GDP vs 38% of the US GDP.

    So I think it's still fair to say we spend more relatively speaking on welfare. Though I'm surprised to see US expenditure on healthcare as a % of spending is 2% higher than the UK. HOW?!?!?!?! I genuinely don't understand how that's possible when it's not even implemented yet.

    I think it probably backs up my gut instinct that the only way to provide universal healthcare is to provide universal healthcare, not set up weird exchange systems that still involve insurance companies and private doctors with their current wages. Which seems impossible in the US.

    My girlfriend still can't afford to get any insurance and is rather desperately waiting on Obama care, so I have been following the bureaucracy involved.

  15. #55
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    OK I went and looked up the exact numbers UK vs US and to be fair you're closer than me:
    http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/
    http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/go...penditure.html
    I'm rather used to taking pensions and welfare payments as one big lump as that's how the budget works here. And it's 36% in the UK vs 26% in the US, but the government spends 48% of our GDP vs 38% of the US GDP.

    So I think it's still fair to say we spend more relatively speaking on welfare. Though I'm surprised to see US expenditure on healthcare as a % of spending is 2% higher than the UK. HOW?!?!?!?! I genuinely don't understand how that's possible when it's not even implemented yet.

    I think it probably backs up my gut instinct that the only way to provide universal healthcare is to provide universal healthcare, not set up weird exchange systems that still involve insurance companies and private doctors with their current wages. Which seems impossible in the US.
    Now you're starting to see how a way-left-of-center non-partisan with no love for either party and a strong belief in universal health-care (like me) can resent Obama's healthcare bill AND it's opponents!

    There are no winners here. The Democrats are probably congratulating themselves on coming out of this clean despite royally fucking up the healthcare bill and silently celebrating the utter stupidity of the Tea Party. Meanwhile moderate republicans are likely kicking themselves for going along with the awful, awful, uncompromising party line during the drafting of the health care bill, and are terrified of the state of affairs both of the bill and of the behavior of their peers and what it means for re-election.

    Though some of it is poor implementation ... I go back to my earlier claims. The US is huge, federalist, and populous. Our bureaucratic overhead dwarfs yours whether you weight it by GDP or not. So some of the extra cost is just stuck there.

    This is a nice look at the proposal-stage budget for 2012. It's a lovely visual breakdown. Just becasue I think it's cool. In particular, on the left-hand panel? Click "Isolate Discretionary Spending."

    http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html...1/0119-budget/

    If you really want to point to other places our military spending could go? Look at education. Now THAT is a crying shame.
    Last edited by gwathdring; 02-10-2013 at 12:02 AM.
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  16. #56
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mickygor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    Sorry, Germany, France, the UK, Scandinavia, Holland are getting along fine. Though why on earth would you include private debt? As that's irrelevant to the Government. The point remains government borrowing remains far lower than it has in the past as a % of GDP and Government spending on the debt is also much lower than in the past. The economy can weather it fine. Debt is not the problem with the economy here, there's no demand in the economy causing it to stall. The Eurozone isn't going to crash now either.
    Why wouldn't you include private debt? They're both provided by the same investors, and either public or private debt collapsing will kill the banks and drag the other one down with it. Either way, if you removed private debt from the equation we're still several times our GDP in debt. On top of that, one of the reasons there's no demand in the economy is private debt - even on a personal level, I can't afford to buy much more than food and utilities at the moment, because the rest of my income is going on debt. The same could be said for every house owner with a mortgage that is struggling to get by at the moment, which all sources suggest is a majority of house owners. What with another housing bubble forming, that's gonna be an issue all of its own in a few years. The idea that the UK is doing okay is laughable. I've lost count of the number of times I've seen the state celebrating 0.1% growth over a quarter, in the media. That's not recovery. That's not good.
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  17. #57
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Fumarole's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    Though I'm surprised to see US expenditure on healthcare as a % of spending is 2% higher than the UK. HOW?!?!?!?! I genuinely don't understand how that's possible when it's not even implemented yet.
    The video posted earlier in the thread addresses this.
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  18. #58
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwathdring View Post
    Now you're starting to see how a way-left-of-center non-partisan with no love for either party and a strong belief in universal health-care (like me) can resent Obama's healthcare bill AND it's opponents!

    There are no winners here. The Democrats are probably congratulating themselves on coming out of this clean despite royally fucking up the healthcare bill and silently celebrating the utter stupidity of the Tea Party. Meanwhile moderate republicans are likely kicking themselves for going along with the awful, awful, uncompromising party line during the drafting of the health care bill, and are terrified of the state of affairs both of the bill and of the behavior of their peers and what it means for re-election.

    Though some of it is poor implementation ... I go back to my earlier claims. The US is huge, federalist, and populous. Our bureaucratic overhead dwarfs yours whether you weight it by GDP or not. So some of the extra cost is just stuck there.
    There's truth in there being extra cost due to the US being larger. Some parts of the EU like Scandinavia suffer it, whereas the UK is more densely packed like other bits of the US.

    It's a sad compromised bill which I think I said originally. It's just I think it's the best thing that the US system can pass, the checks and balances only really seem to work to create something with built in conservatism and resistance to change. But that's where I think Europeans and Americans get off on the wrong foot, whether you consider that good or bad.

    Anyway graphs on the UK economy:
    http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/debt_history
    We've had far worse debt problems, far worse repayments problems and I don't think anyone is going to say that living in the UK is hell on earth or a disaster. The tories just like whipping up fear. The fundamental problems these days is an utter lack of demand for anything we produce or do (except GTA-V it seems).

  19. #59
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mickygor View Post
    Why wouldn't you include private debt? They're both provided by the same investors, and either public or private debt collapsing will kill the banks and drag the other one down with it. Either way, if you removed private debt from the equation we're still several times our GDP in debt. On top of that, one of the reasons there's no demand in the economy is private debt - even on a personal level, I can't afford to buy much more than food and utilities at the moment, because the rest of my income is going on debt. The same could be said for every house owner with a mortgage that is struggling to get by at the moment, which all sources suggest is a majority of house owners. What with another housing bubble forming, that's gonna be an issue all of its own in a few years. The idea that the UK is doing okay is laughable. I've lost count of the number of times I've seen the state celebrating 0.1% growth over a quarter, in the media. That's not recovery. That's not good.
    No it's just under 80% of GDP. As I say, it's a lack of demand. I don't include private debt because it's of an utterly different kind, there isn't going to be a run on a bank any time soon but the national debt is not tied up with private consumer banks.

    The housing bubble will be a massive problem but that's not because of the recession that's because of the tories.

    Actually a mortgage is a terrible example. That isn't bad debt, because the alternative is paying a landlord, who likely has an even worse mortgage and is charging you a % on top as profit. But once it is paid off you've invested in your own future. But analogies from national economies to family rarely make sense.
    Last edited by Zephro; 02-10-2013 at 12:11 AM.

  20. #60
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gwathdring's Avatar
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    This is a fun graphic from Wikipedia:

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi..._world_map.PNG

    Not sure how accurate it is, but it's interesting. I think maybe there's a link between government services and ballooning defecits/debts ...
    Last edited by gwathdring; 02-10-2013 at 12:32 AM.
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