RE: `capitalist' character values

From: Smigrodzki, Rafal (SmigrodzkiR@MSX.UPMC.EDU)
Date: Thu Jul 26 2001 - 17:25:48 MDT

I wrote:

>How about providing a guaranteed 1500 kcal of cheapest food/day,
>about 30sq.ft space in a shelter, and other necessities, no cash.
>This would assure that only those who really need help would take
>it (and only those who need it actually deserve it).

Brian said:

Sounds like the description of a jail cell.....

#### But there is huge difference - you can walk out any time if you think
you can do better on your own. You are free.

Aside from that, this approach would very cheaply (how much would it cost to
provide what I described - 10-20$/day ?) provide a full safety net (medical
care would be also included under certain circumstances) for all who need it
- the unemployed waiting for a job, the elderly who didn't save enough, the
battered wife who had to run from her husband - but no freebies for
cheaters. A low price for a clear conscience.


Okay, he's 16, which means he should be covered by his parents insurance, unless he has no parents in which case he's a ward of the state. Those provisions would apply.

#### What if the parents don't feel like paying the insurance? Kids shouldn't have to pay for their parent's stupidity (in this case, kid with stroke, I would pay for his treatment and collect as much as possible from his parents)

---- The question is always who's going to pay, I'm of the mind that individual adults are responsible for themselves and their children.

#### 100% agreement. If you can't provide - don't proliferate. However, being "responsible" for me means doing your best, doing the right thing. Sometimes this is not enough to live - say, you make 10 000 $/year, flipping burgers. You are not smart enough to get a better job but you are honest and careful. You want to pay for your health insurance but it would cost you 7 000 $. Even if you rent a single room and share it with 3 other guys and eat leftovers at McDonalds, you cannot afford it. No car, no fun, no CD's, no dating (well, maybe sometimes). If you have no health care, even a simple ruptured appendix can kill you. I feel I have a duty to help, if I can. I think in this case, if you prove your responsible thinking by paying as much as you can, you should get help - money to cover the rest of what needs to be paid. This is life-saving money, and not encouraging indolence.

---- Brian:

There should be limited means for special cases, and there are.

##### I agree with you.

>>I do care about people and as I stated here in the U.S there are >>provisions, but I do not support an enlarging of these provisions >>when every piece of evidence we have says it will be to the long >>term detriment of all involved.

>#### Very good. Could you perhaps elaborate - give examples of >situations where you would feel morally obliged to render help? >(some real life stories, persons, ages, especially those that >describe the limits of your charity). Also, what "provisions" do >you mean specifically?

Quite the trap you've set. ;)

###Thank you.

My favorite biblical story was always the good Samaritan.

I've rendered first aid at numerous accidents, interfered in a few crimes, and have been known to make considerable contributions to charity. I'm a regular donor of platelets to the American Red Cross (18 times 2 units each last year, 8 this year plus this Sat) and a member of the national bone marrow registry. In short, I've never walked away from anyone who needed my aid with the exception of a few bums pretending to be homeless. (there is a difference).

### Sorry if I ever implied you might be uncharitable.

Probably my only limits are those of ability.

I guess by provisions I mean I don't support the idea of a government run universal health care system. I had a taste of that when I was in the military, and didn't like it a bit.

### I agree that a government-run system would be bad but I still think that tax-derived subsidies for coverage for the very poor (through private insurers, not Medicaid) would be OK. I had a taste of goverment-run health system back home in Poland and didn't like it, either.

----- Brian:

I'm convinced most people who do support the idea are convinced that everything will remain the same only everyone will be covered. I know that won't be the case.

>By the way, I am also strongly opposed to a balloning welfare and >wealth-transfer system. Any transfer that is supposed to give a >"decent" life (free cable, food stamps, rent) is wrong - because >the state threatens to kill the taxpayer for the sake of other >persons' amenities, trifles, little wishes. Only that help which >is absolutely and unavoidably necessary to prevent innnocent >people from dying or physically suffering (like having a cancer >melting your bones), is IMHO acceptable.

Well, there are public hospitals for this, like Chicago's Cook County.

#### Isn't it a case of "your tax money at work"? Maybe sometimes (very infrequently, just a little bit) taxes lead to something good happening?

------ Brian: I just happen to know people with two homes, three cars, two of them SUV's who go on big vacations every year, and complain that they can't "afford" health insurance.

Some people need help getting their priorities straight.

### Exactly. If you have money for more than the barest necessities (as outlined before) you have to use it properly, and if you blow it on trinkets - don't come begging for help when the "unthinkable" but so predictable happens.

I don't suggest offering subsidies to anybody who can pay by him/herself.

The only reason why I support the use of taxes for charity (as opposed to just voluntarily chipping in myself) is because there are some totally uncharitable, selfish jerks out there (probably not a single one on this list) - and they should chip in too (why - well, that's a long story for another post).

Somehow, I am getting the impression our ideas are more similar than it appeared in the beginning of our discussion.

Rafal Smigrodzki MD-PhD Dept Neurology University of Pittsburgh

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