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What Soviet Medicine Teaches Us

http://mises.org/story/3650

by Yuri N. Maltsev

In 1918, the Soviet Union became the first country to promise universal "cradle-to-grave" healthcare coverage, to be accomplished through the complete socialization of medicine. The "right to health" became a "constitutional right" of Soviet citizens.

The proclaimed advantages of this system were that it would "reduce costs" and eliminate the "waste" that stemmed from "unnecessary duplication and parallelism" — i.e., competition.

These goals were similar to the ones declared by Mr. Obama and Ms. Pelosi — attractive and humane goals of universal coverage and low costs. What's not to like?

The system had many decades to work, but widespread apathy and low quality of work paralyzed the healthcare system. In the depths of the socialist experiment, healthcare institutions in Russia were at least a hundred years behind the average US level. Moreover, the filth, odors, cats roaming the halls, drunken medical personnel, and absence of soap and cleaning supplies added to an overall impression of hopelessness and frustration that paralyzed the system. According to official Russian estimates, 78 percent of all AIDS victims in Russia contracted the virus through dirty needles or HIV-tainted blood in the state-run hospitals.

Irresponsibility, expressed by the popular Russian saying "They pretend they are paying us and we pretend we are working," resulted in appalling quality of service, widespread corruption, and extensive loss of life. My friend, a famous neurosurgeon in today's Russia, received a monthly salary of 150 rubles — one third of the average bus driver's salary.

In order to receive minimal attention by doctors and nursing personnel, patients had to pay bribes. I even witnessed a case of a "nonpaying" patient who died trying to reach a lavatory at the end of the long corridor after brain surgery. Anesthesia was usually "not available" for abortions or minor ear, nose, throat, and skin surgeries. This was used as a means of extortion by unscrupulous medical bureaucrats.
"Slavery certainly 'reduced costs' of labor, 'eliminated the waste' of bargaining for wages, and avoided 'unnecessary duplication and parallelism'."

To improve the statistics concerning the numbers of people dying within the system, patients were routinely shoved out the door before taking their last breath.

Being a People's Deputy in the Moscow region from 1987 to 1989, I received many complaints about criminal negligence, bribes taken by medical apparatchiks, drunken ambulance crews, and food poisoning in hospitals and child-care facilities. I recall the case of a fourteen-year-old girl from my district who died of acute nephritis in a Moscow hospital. She died because a doctor decided that it was better to save "precious" X-ray film (imported by the Soviets for hard currency) instead of double-checking his diagnosis. These X-rays would have disproven his diagnosis of neuropathic pain.

Instead, the doctor treated the teenager with a heat compress, which killed her almost instantly. There was no legal remedy for the girl's parents and grandparents. By definition, a single-payer system cannot allow any such remedy. The girl's grandparents could not cope with this loss and they both died within six months. The doctor received no official reprimand.

Not surprisingly, government bureaucrats and Communist Party officials, as early as 1921 (three years after Lenin's socialization of medicine), realized that the egalitarian system of healthcare was good only for their personal interest as providers, managers, and rationers — but not as private users of the system.

So, as in all countries with socialized medicine, a two-tier system was created: one for the "gray masses" and the other, with a completely different level of service, for the bureaucrats and their intellectual servants. In the USSR, it was often the case that while workers and peasants were dying in the state hospitals, the medicine and equipment that could save their lives was sitting unused in the nomenklatura system.

At the end of the socialist experiment, the official infant-mortality rate in Russia was more than 2.5 times as high as in the United States and more than five times that of Japan. The rate of 24.5 deaths per 1,000 live births was questioned recently by several deputies to the Russian Parliament, who claim that it is seven times higher than in the United States. This would make the Russian death rate 55 compared to the US rate of 8.1 per 1,000 live births.

Having said that, I should make it clear that the United States has one of the highest rates of the industrialized world only because it counts all dead infants, including premature babies, which is where most of the fatalities occur.

Most countries do not count premature-infant deaths. Some don't count any deaths that occur in the first 72 hours. Some countries don't even count any deaths from the first two weeks of life. In Cuba, which boasts a very low infant-mortality rate, infants are only registered when they are several months old, thereby leaving out of the official statistics all infant deaths that take place within the first several months of life.

In the rural regions of Karakalpakia, Sakha, Chechnya, Kalmykia, and Ingushetia, the infant mortality rate is close to 100 per 1,000 births, putting these regions in the same category as Angola, Chad, and Bangladesh. Tens of thousands of infants fall victim to influenza every year, and the proportion of children dying from pneumonia and tuberculosis is on the increase. Rickets, caused by a lack of vitamin D, and unknown in the rest of the modern world, is killing many young people.

Uterine damage is widespread, thanks to the 7.3 abortions the average Russian woman undergoes during childbearing years. Keeping in mind that many women avoid abortions altogether, the 7.3 average means that many women have a dozen or more abortions in their lifetime.

Even today, according to the State Statistics Committee, the average life expectancy for Russian men is less than 59 years — 58 years and 11 months — while that for Russian women is 72 years. The combined figure is 65 years and three months.[1] By comparison, the average life span for men in the United States is 73 years and for women 79 years. In the United States, life expectancy at birth for the total population has reached an all-time American high of 77.5 years, up from 49.2 years just a century ago. The Russian life expectancy at birth is 12 years lower.[2]

After seventy years of socialism, 57 percent of all Russian hospitals did not have running hot water, and 36 percent of hospitals located in rural areas of Russia did not have water or sewage at all. Isn't it amazing that socialist government, while developing space exploration and sophisticated weapons, would completely ignore the basic human needs of its citizens?
"The filth, odors, cats roaming the halls, drunken medical personnel, and absence of soap and cleaning supplies added to an overall impression of hopelessness and frustration that paralyzed the system."

The appalling quality of service is not simply characteristic of "barbarous" Russia and other Eastern European nations: it is a direct result of the government monopoly on healthcare and it can happen in any country. In "civilized" England, for example, the waiting list for surgeries is nearly 800,000 out of a population of 55 million. State-of-the-art equipment is nonexistent in most British hospitals. In England, only 10 percent of the healthcare spending is derived from private sources.

Britain pioneered in developing kidney-dialysis technology, and yet the country has one of the lowest dialysis rates in the world. The Brookings Institution (hardly a supporter of free markets) found that every year 7,000 Britons in need of hip replacements, between 4,000 and 20,000 in need of coronary bypass surgery, and some 10,000 to 15,000 in need of cancer chemotherapy are denied medical attention in Britain.

Age discrimination is particularly apparent in all government-run or heavily regulated systems of healthcare. In Russia, patients over 60 are considered worthless parasites and those over 70 are often denied even elementary forms of healthcare.

In the United Kingdom, in the treatment of chronic kidney failure, those who are 55 years old are refused treatment at 35 percent of dialysis centers. Forty-five percent of 65-year-old patients at the centers are denied treatment, while patients 75 or older rarely receive any medical attention at these centers.

In Canada, the population is divided into three age groups in terms of their access to healthcare: those below 45, those 45–65, and those over 65. Needless to say, the first group, who could be called the "active taxpayers," enjoys priority treatment.

Advocates of socialized medicine in the United States use Soviet propaganda tactics to achieve their goals. Michael Moore is one of the most prominent and effective socialist propagandists in America. In his movie, Sicko, he unfairly and unfavorably compares health care for older patients in the United States with complex and incurable diseases to healthcare in France and Canada for young women having routine babies. Had he done the reverse — i.e., compared healthcare for young women in the United States having babies to older patients with complex and incurable diseases in socialized healthcare systems — the movie would have been the same, except that the US healthcare system would look ideal, and the UK, Canada, and France would look barbaric.

Now we in the United States are being prepared for discrimination in treatment of the elderly when it comes to healthcare. Ezekiel Emanuel is director of the Clinical Bioethics Department at the US National Institutes of Health and an architect of Obama's healthcare-reform plan. He is also the brother of Rahm Emanuel, Obama's White House chief of staff. Foster Friess reports that Ezekiel Emanuel has written that health services should not be guaranteed to

"individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia."

An equally troubling article, coauthored by Emanuel, appeared in the medical journal The Lancet in January 2009. The authors write that:

"unlike allocation [of healthcare] by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious discrimination; every person lives through different life stages rather than being a single age. Even if 25-year-olds receive priority over 65-year-olds, everyone who is 65 years now was previously 25 years. Treating 65-year-olds differently because of stereotypes or falsehoods would be ageist; treating them differently because they have already had more life-years is not."

Socialized medicine will create massive government bureaucracies — similar to our unified school districts — impose costly job-destroying mandates on employers to provide the coverage, and impose price controls that will inevitably lead to shortages and poor quality of service. It will also lead to nonprice rationing (i.e., rationing based on political considerations, corruption, and nepotism) of healthcare by government bureaucrats.

Real "savings" in a socialized healthcare system could be achieved only by squeezing providers and denying care — there is no other way to save. The same arguments were used to defend the cotton farming in the South prior to the Civil War. Slavery certainly "reduced costs" of labor, "eliminated the waste" of bargaining for wages, and avoided "unnecessary duplication and parallelism."

In supporting the call for socialized medicine, American healthcare professionals are like sheep demanding the wolf: they do not understand that the high cost of medical care in the United States is partially based on the fact that American healthcare professionals have the highest level of remuneration in the world. Another source of the high cost of our healthcare is existing government regulations on the industry, regulations that prevent competition from lowering the cost. Existing rules such as "certificates of need," licensing, and other restrictions on the availability of healthcare services prevent competition and, therefore, result in higher prices and fewer services.

Socialized medical systems have not served to raise general health or living standards anywhere. In fact, both analytical reasoning and empirical evidence point to the opposite conclusion. But the dismal failure of socialized medicine to raise people's health and longevity has not affected its appeal for politicians, administrators, and their intellectual servants in search of absolute power and total control.

Most countries enslaved by the Soviet empire moved out of a fully socialized system through privatization and insuring competition in the healthcare system. Others, including many European social democracies, intend to privatize the healthcare system in the long run and decentralize medical control. The private ownership of hospitals and other units is seen as a critical determining factor of the new, more efficient, and humane system.

Yuri N. Maltsev, senior fellow of the Mises Institute, worked as an economist on Mikhail Gorbachev's economic reform team before defecting to the United States. He is the editor of Requiem for Marx. He teaches economics at Carthage College.
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  • Michael 2009/08/24 13:58:44
    Michael
    +20
    Socialized medicine? Oh, well...

    I came from the Soviet Union where we used to have FREE MEDICINE, FREE EDUCATION, FREE HOUSING...

    Housing? You had to stay in line for 10-20 years to get a bigger apartment, given that you were qualified. My family wasn't qualified, despite my wife, 4 children, and me living in 1 bedroom apartment (it was 1 square foot bigger than the norm).

    Telephone? You had to stay in line for 7 years.

    Healthcare? My mother died from heart attack because the arrived ambulance ran out of heart medicine. My wife got blood infection giving birth to my son, who also got pneumonia and almost died. The average age in Soviet Union was probably 45...

    Education? High education was kinda not bad, especially in technical areas (computers, math) in a few big cities, but most people who didn't go to big city college were barely literate.

    And of course, in order to get good "free" education, or good "free" medical care, or good "free" housing, or anything else supposedly "free", you had to BRIBE government officials.

    Bribes were everywhere. Since nobody could make money the legal way, everybody had to demand bribes for everything he did, so he could bribe somebody else.

    The only category of people who had really FREE and GOOD stuff were communist "nomencla...



    Socialized medicine? Oh, well...

    I came from the Soviet Union where we used to have FREE MEDICINE, FREE EDUCATION, FREE HOUSING...

    Housing? You had to stay in line for 10-20 years to get a bigger apartment, given that you were qualified. My family wasn't qualified, despite my wife, 4 children, and me living in 1 bedroom apartment (it was 1 square foot bigger than the norm).

    Telephone? You had to stay in line for 7 years.

    Healthcare? My mother died from heart attack because the arrived ambulance ran out of heart medicine. My wife got blood infection giving birth to my son, who also got pneumonia and almost died. The average age in Soviet Union was probably 45...

    Education? High education was kinda not bad, especially in technical areas (computers, math) in a few big cities, but most people who didn't go to big city college were barely literate.

    And of course, in order to get good "free" education, or good "free" medical care, or good "free" housing, or anything else supposedly "free", you had to BRIBE government officials.

    Bribes were everywhere. Since nobody could make money the legal way, everybody had to demand bribes for everything he did, so he could bribe somebody else.

    The only category of people who had really FREE and GOOD stuff were communist "nomenclature", all those communist and union bosses...

    But of course you are familiar with that. After all, Barack Obama eats only meat which costs $100 per pound, drinks only $200 wine, and spends $100,000s taxpayers money everytime he is going out with his wife.

    All the time he is telling American people to cut spendings and to sacrifice. Very familiar words, just like all those members of Politbureau used to say.
    (more)

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  • Mari 2009/11/23 07:20:34
    Mari
    +1
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Theattle Thompson
    To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;
    Sent: Friday, November 13, 2009 10:21 PM
    Subject: A serious read you won't forget from a doctor



    Is this truly what the American citizens voted for??





    Subject:

    An Indianapolis doctor's letter to Sen. Bayh about the Bill (Note: Dr. Stephen E. Frazer, MD practices as an anesthesiologist in Indianapolis , IN )
    Here is a letter I sent to Senator Bayh. Feel free to copy it and send it around to all other representatives. -- Stephen Fraser

    July 23, 2009

    Senator Bayh,

    As a practicing physician I have major concerns with the health care bill before Congress. I actually have read the bill and am shocked by the brazenness of the government's proposed involvement in the patient-physician relationship. The very idea that the government will dictate and ration patient care is dangerous and certainly not helpful in designing a health care system that works for all. Every physician I work with agrees that we need to fix our health care system, but the proposed bills currently making their way through congress will be a disaster if passed.

    I ask you respectfully and as a patriotic American to look at the following troubling lines that I have read in the bill. You cannot possibly belie...









































































































    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Theattle Thompson
    To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;
    Sent: Friday, November 13, 2009 10:21 PM
    Subject: A serious read you won't forget from a doctor



    Is this truly what the American citizens voted for??





    Subject:

    An Indianapolis doctor's letter to Sen. Bayh about the Bill (Note: Dr. Stephen E. Frazer, MD practices as an anesthesiologist in Indianapolis , IN )
    Here is a letter I sent to Senator Bayh. Feel free to copy it and send it around to all other representatives. -- Stephen Fraser

    July 23, 2009

    Senator Bayh,

    As a practicing physician I have major concerns with the health care bill before Congress. I actually have read the bill and am shocked by the brazenness of the government's proposed involvement in the patient-physician relationship. The very idea that the government will dictate and ration patient care is dangerous and certainly not helpful in designing a health care system that works for all. Every physician I work with agrees that we need to fix our health care system, but the proposed bills currently making their way through congress will be a disaster if passed.

    I ask you respectfully and as a patriotic American to look at the following troubling lines that I have read in the bill. You cannot possibly believe that these proposals are in the best interests of the country and our fellow citizens.

    Page 22 of the HC Bill: Mandates that the Govt will audit books of all employers that self-insure!!

    Page 30 Sec 123 of HC bill: THERE WILL BE A GOVT COMMITTEE that decides what treatments/benefits you get.

    Page 29 lines 4-16 in the HC bill: YOUR HEALTH CARE IS RATIONED!!!

    Page 42 of HC Bill: The Health Choices Commissioner will choose your HC benefits for you. You have no choice!

    Page 50 Section 152 in HC bill: HC will be provided to ALL non-US citizens, illegal or otherwise.

    Page 58 HC Bill: Govt will have real-time access to individuals' finances & a 'National ID Health card' will be issued!

    Page 59 HC Bill lines 21-24: Govt will have direct access to your bank accounts for elective funds transfer.

    Page 65 Sec 164: Is a payoff subsidized plan for retirees and their families in unions & community organizations: (ACORN).

    Page 84 Sec 203 HC bill: Govt mandates ALL benefit packages for private HC plans in the 'Exchange.'

    Page 85 Line 7 HC Bill: Specifications of Benefit Levels for Plans -- The Govt will ration your health care!

    Page 91 Lines 4-7 HC Bill: Govt mandates linguistic appropriate services. (Translation: illegal aliens.)

    Page 95 HC Bill Lines 8-18: The Govt will use groups (i.e. ACORN & Americorps to sign up individuals for Govt HC plan.

    Page 85 Line 7 HC Bill: Specifications of Benefit Levels for Plans. (AARP members - your health care WILL be rationed!)
    Page 102 Lines 12-18 HC Bill: Medicaid eligible individuals will be automatically enrolled in Medicaid. (No choice.)

    Page 12 4 lines 24-25 HC: No company can sue GOVT on price fixing. No "judicial review" against Govt monopoly.

    Page 127 Lines 1-16 HC Bill: Doctors/ American Medical Association - The Govt will tell YOU what salary you can make.

    Page 145 Line 15-17: An Employer MUST auto-enroll employees into public option plan. (NO choice!)

    Page 126 Lines 22-25: Employers MUST pay for HC for part-time employees AND their families. (Employees shouldn't get excited about this as employers will be forced to reduce its work force, benefits, and wages/salaries to cover such a huge expense.)

    Page 149 Lines 16-24: ANY Employer with payroll 401k & above who does not provide public option will pay 8% tax on all payroll! (See the last comment in parenthesis.)
    Page 150 Lines 9-13: A business with payroll between $251K & $401K who doesn't provide public option will pay 2-6% tax on all payroll.

    Page 167 Lines 18-23: ANY individual who doesn't have acceptable HC according to Govt will be taxed 2.5% of income.

    Page 170 Lines 1-3 HC Bill: Any NONRESIDENT Alien is exempt from individual taxes. (Americans will pay.)

    Page 195 HC Bill: Officers & employees of the GOVT HC Admin.. will have access to ALL Americans' finances and personal records.

    Page 203 Line 14-15 HC: "The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax." (Yes, it really says that!)
    Page 239 Line 14-24 HC Bill: Govt will reduce physician services for Medicaid Seniors. (Low-income and the poor are affected.)

    Page 241 Line 6-8 HC Bill: Doctors: It doesn't matter what specialty you have trained yourself in -- you will all be paid the same! (Just TRY to tell me that's not Socialism!)

    Page 253 Line 10-18: The Govt sets the value of a doctor's time, profession, judgment, etc. (Literally-- the value of humans.)

    Page 265 Sec 1131: The Govt mandates and controls productivity for "private" HC industries.

    Page 268 Sec 1141: The federal Govt regulates the rental and purchase of power driven wheelchairs.

    Page 272 SEC. 1145: TREATMENT OF CERTAIN CANCER HOSPITALS - Cancer patients - welcome to rationing!

    Page 280 Sec 1151: The Govt will penalize hospitals for whatever the Govt deems preventable (i.e...re-admissions).

    Page 298 Lines 9-11: Doctors: If you treat a patient during initial admission that results in a re-admission -- the Govt will penalize you.

    Page 317 L 13-20: PROHIBITION on ownership/investment. (The Govt tells doctors what and how much they can own!)

    Page 317-318 lines 21-25, 1-3: PROHIBITION on expansion. (The Govt is mandating that hospitals cannot expand.)
    Page 321 2-13: Hospitals have the opportunity to apply for exception BUT community input is required. (Can you say ACORN?)

    Page 335 L 16-25 Pg 336-339: The Govt mandates establishment of=2 outcome-based measures. (HC the way they want -- rationing.)
    Page 341 Lines 3-9: The Govt has authority to disqualify Medicare Advance Plans, HMOs, etc. (Forcing people into the Govt plan)

    Page 354 Sec 1177: The Govt will RESTRICT enrollment of 'special needs people!' Unbelievable!

    Page 379 Sec 1191: The Govt creates more bureaucracy via a "Tele-Health Advisory Committee." (Can you say HC by phone?)

    Page 425 Lines 4-12: The Govt mandates "Advance-Care Planning Consult." (Think senior citizens end-of-life patients.)

    Page 425 Lines 17-19: The Govt will instruct and consult regarding living wills, durable powers of attorney, etc. (And it's mandatory!)
    Page 425 Lines 22-25, 426 Lines 1-3: The Govt provides an "approved" list of end-of-life resources; & nbsp;guiding you in death. (Also called 'assisted suicide.')

    Page 427 Lines 15-24: The Govt mandates a program for orders on "end-of-life." (The Govt has a say in how your life ends!)

    Page 429 Lines 1-9: An "advanced-care planning consultant" will be used frequently as a patient's health deteriorates.

    Page 429 Lines 10-12: An "advanced care consultation" may include an ORDER for end-of-life plans. (AN ORDER TO DIE FROM THE GOVERNMENT?!?)

    Page 429 Lines 13-25: The GOVT will specify which doctors can write an end-of-life order. (I wouldn't want to stand before God after getting paid for THAT job!)

    Page 430 Lines 11-15: The Govt will decide what level of treatment you will have at end-of-life! (Again -- no choice!)

    Page 469: Community-Based Home Medical Services = Non-Profit Organizations. (Hello? ACORN Medical Services here!?!)

    Page 489 Sec 1308: The Govt will cover marriage and family therapy. (Which means Govt will insert itself into your marriage even.)

    Page 494-498: Govt will cover Mental Health Services including defining, creating, and rationing those services.


    Senator, I guarantee that I personally will do everything possible to inform patients and my fellow physicians about the dangers of the proposed bills you and your colleagues are debating.

    Furthermore, if you vote for a bill that enforces socialized medicine on the country and destroys the doctor-patient relationship, I will do everything in my power to make sure you lose your job in the next election.

    Respectfully,

    Stephen E. Fraser, MD

    Dear Reader,
    I urge you to use the power that you were born with (and the power that may soon be taken away) and circulate this email to as many people as you can reach. The Power of the People can stop this from happening to us, our parents, our grandparents, our children, and to following generations.
    (more)
  • Diane T 2009/09/16 14:25:37
    Diane T
    +1
    Thank you for your hard work! keep it up.
  • marquise Diane T 2009/09/16 14:26:37
    marquise
    +1
    I am not sure it helps....people who are listening are the same ones that are already aware of it....
  • Maria 2009/08/27 16:56:14
    Maria
    +2
    hey say to no to communist healthcare
  • rightside 2009/08/26 22:19:09
    rightside
    +3
    But the more powerful become more powerful.
    Who cares if the poor die for lack of care.
  • Michael 2009/08/26 18:24:17 (edited)
    Michael
    +4
    Russian newspaper (former communists, "It takes one to know one")
    http://english.pravda.ru/opin...

    American capitalism gone with a whimper

    It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American decent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people.

    ---

    These past two weeks have been the most breath taking of all. First came the announcement of a planned redesign of the American Byzantine tax system, by the very thieves who used it to bankroll their thefts, loses and swindles of hundreds of billions of dollars. These make our Russian oligarchs look little more than ordinary street thugs, in comparison. Yes, the Americans have beat our own thieves in the shear volumes. Should we congratulate them?

    These men, of course, are not an elected panel but made up of appointees picked from the very financial oligarchs and their henchmen who are now gorging themselves on trillions of American dollars, in one bailout after another. They are also usurping the rights, duties and powers of the American congress (parliament). Again, congress has put up little more than a whimper to their masters.

    ---

    Putin Warns US About Socialism

    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin h...





    Russian newspaper (former communists, "It takes one to know one")
    http://english.pravda.ru/opin...

    American capitalism gone with a whimper

    It must be said, that like the breaking of a great dam, the American decent into Marxism is happening with breath taking speed, against the back drop of a passive, hapless sheeple, excuse me dear reader, I meant people.

    ---

    These past two weeks have been the most breath taking of all. First came the announcement of a planned redesign of the American Byzantine tax system, by the very thieves who used it to bankroll their thefts, loses and swindles of hundreds of billions of dollars. These make our Russian oligarchs look little more than ordinary street thugs, in comparison. Yes, the Americans have beat our own thieves in the shear volumes. Should we congratulate them?

    These men, of course, are not an elected panel but made up of appointees picked from the very financial oligarchs and their henchmen who are now gorging themselves on trillions of American dollars, in one bailout after another. They are also usurping the rights, duties and powers of the American congress (parliament). Again, congress has put up little more than a whimper to their masters.

    ---

    Putin Warns US About Socialism

    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said the US should take a lesson from the pages of Russian history and not exercise “excessive intervention in economic activity and blind faith in the state’s omnipotence”.
    “In the 20th century, the Soviet Union made the state’s role absolute,” Putin said during a speech at the opening ceremony of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “In the long run, this made the Soviet economy totally uncompetitive. This lesson cost us dearly. I am sure nobody wants to see it repeated.”
    Sounding more like Barry Goldwater than the former head of the KGB, Putin said, “Nor should we turn a blind eye to the fact that the spirit of free enterprise, including the principle of personal responsibility of businesspeople, investors, and shareholders for their decisions, is being eroded in the last few months. There is no reason to believe that we can achieve better results by shifting responsibility onto the state.”
    Putin also cautioned the US against using military Keynesianism to lift its economy out of recession, saying, “in the longer run, militarization won’t solve the problem but will rather quell it temporarily. What it will do is squeeze huge financial and other resources from the economy instead of finding better and wiser uses for them.” Putin’s comments come in sharp contrast to Russia’s own military buildup and expansion.
    Putin also echoed the words of conservative maverick Ron Paul when he said, “we must assess the real situation and write off all hopeless debts and ‘bad’ assets. True, this will be an extremely painful and unpleasant process. Far from everyone can accept such measures, fearing for their capitalization, bonuses, or reputation. However, we would ‘conserve’ and prolong the crisis, unless we clean up our balance sheets.”
    “The time for enlightenment has come. We must calmly, and without gloating, assess the root causes of this situation and try to peek into the future.”
    Share and Enjoy:
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  • Diane T Michael 2009/09/16 14:24:29
    Diane T
    +1
    I read that article as well. Sobering , too bad we have to go to foreign news sources for the truth.
  • brotherplease 2009/08/26 15:45:03 (edited)
    brotherplease
    nice story too bad for them
    but we are not heading for that.. nice try..

    this is what we are heading for and it's better than the US system now.

    Swiss System:
    "This consumer-driven, universal coverage system provides excellent health care for the sick, tops the world in consumer satisfaction, and costs 40 percent less, as a percentage of GDP, than the system in the US. The Swiss could spend even less by choosing cheaper, high deductible health insurance policies, but they have opted against doing so. Swiss consumers reward insurers that offer the best value for the money. These competitive pressures cause Swiss insurers to spend only about 5 percent on general and administrative expenses, as compared to 12-15 percent in the US. And unlike Medicare, the private Swiss firms must function without incurring massive unfunded liabilities. Competition has also pushed Swiss providers to be more efficient than those in the US. Yet they remain well-compensated."


    http://business.theatlantic.c...
  • Michael brother... 2009/08/26 16:47:08 (edited)
    Michael
    +1
    Do you really want to compare the US with Swiss???

    Switzerland has a mandatory draft for police service, that includes small arms training. When you are discharged, you are required to keep and maintain your weapon. All Swiss citizens keep a rifle in their homes, and Switzerland has the lowest violent crime rate of any western country.

    If you want to be consistent, you should become an NRA member and buy AK-47.

    Swiss is NOT America, they are not a bunch of liberal sissies living in big government ghettoes (i.e. cities) and receiving welfare and free government cheese.
  • brother... Michael 2009/08/26 17:57:29
    brotherplease
    maybe but their health care system is a success by all accounts and standards.
    it costs less than our system what on earth is wrong with that? are you planning on saying no to every good idea?
  • Michael brother... 2009/08/26 18:08:18 (edited)
    Michael
    +4
    1. 1000 pages bill written by 1200 lobbyists? Nobody has even read it yet. How do you know it is a good idea or not?

    2. I doubt it will be anything like Swiss, I doubt it is a good idea. I will never support anything produced by Obama, Pelosi, and the rest of communists liars.

    Btw, what do you think about Swiss love for weapons? You didn't answer.
  • brother... Michael 2009/08/26 19:31:24
    brotherplease
    I didn't answer b/c it's not relavent to the health debate however to satisfy your curiousity I'd say if we had a crime rate that was like the Swiss then I'm all for it guns for everyone. They probably screen people a lot better than we do and I bet b/c their health system is so great crazy gun people are well medicated so they don't fire off too much.
    So why don't we toss our bill and just adopt the entire Swiss system.? you could start a petition. I'm also 100% for tort reform it makes sense to me.
  • Michael brother... 2009/08/26 20:44:00
    Michael
    +3
    Swiss people were warriors for 2,000 years. They teach children to handle and respect weapons and to be responsible members of society. There is no litter on the streets either.

    Toss the bill? Sure. Tort reform? Sure. Adopt Swiss system? Maybe, after a transparent and honest discussion.

    If only Barack Obama made good on his promises:

    "We will sit around big table and discuss healthcare reform. It will be televised on CSPAN. There will be no lobbyists and back-room deals".

    Yeah right, big liar. 1200 lobbyists wrote your bill, and everything was decided behind closed doors. Deal with trial lawyers (no tort reform), deal with big pharma (no generic drugs), deal with AMA, deal with AARP, deal with ...
  • brother... Michael 2009/08/26 20:47:20 (edited)
    brotherplease
    I don't know what to say - the do nothings let big pharma and insurance companies rape and plunder our health care system so this is how we got here..this didn't evolve in a vacuum... deals can be made and if they don't work they can be broken...
  • Michael brother... 2009/08/26 21:12:45
    Michael
    +3
    Are you talking to me??? What do I have to do with big pharma, George Bush, or Republicans??? I have never voted for any of them.

    I prefer Minarchism. I believe that Republicans and Democrats are both statists / fascists who support either private monopolies, or government-supported monopolies, or collusion between them.

    Read "The Conservative Manifesto" by Mark Lavin

    Capitalism is the process of continuing destruction and rebirth. Capitalism is the process of evolution, survival of the fittest, adaptation to changing environment. Evolution is the undeniable reality, and if you don't like it, too bad.

    Take small businesses in the US. About 50% of them are closed in a year, and new businesses appear in their place, et cetera.

    Monopolies, on the other hand, are the anti-thesis of capitalism. When a company reaches the monopoly status, it is excluded from fair market, it does not participate in the process of continuing destruction and rebirth, it does not participate in evolution.

    It doesn't matter if that monopoly is PRIVATE or GOVERNMENT, monopoly is BAD.

    P.S. It is interesting that Conservatives are trying to preserve capitalism (which is a self-correcting and evolving mechanism), and so-called "Progressives" want to replace it with totalitarian all-encompassing...





    Are you talking to me??? What do I have to do with big pharma, George Bush, or Republicans??? I have never voted for any of them.

    I prefer Minarchism. I believe that Republicans and Democrats are both statists / fascists who support either private monopolies, or government-supported monopolies, or collusion between them.

    Read "The Conservative Manifesto" by Mark Lavin

    Capitalism is the process of continuing destruction and rebirth. Capitalism is the process of evolution, survival of the fittest, adaptation to changing environment. Evolution is the undeniable reality, and if you don't like it, too bad.

    Take small businesses in the US. About 50% of them are closed in a year, and new businesses appear in their place, et cetera.

    Monopolies, on the other hand, are the anti-thesis of capitalism. When a company reaches the monopoly status, it is excluded from fair market, it does not participate in the process of continuing destruction and rebirth, it does not participate in evolution.

    It doesn't matter if that monopoly is PRIVATE or GOVERNMENT, monopoly is BAD.

    P.S. It is interesting that Conservatives are trying to preserve capitalism (which is a self-correcting and evolving mechanism), and so-called "Progressives" want to replace it with totalitarian all-encompassing government monopoly which makes progress impossible.

    P.P.S. A teacher in high school did an interesting experiment. Children believed that communism was a good idea, so he said "OK, let's make communism in our classroom. Let's combine all grades and split them equally".

    The average grade before the beginning of "communism" was 80. After first test, the average became 75, then 72, then 70,... until everybody failed.

    You see, why would anybody work harder, if everybody got the same grade???
    (more)
  • brother... Michael 2009/08/26 22:53:10
    brotherplease
    I edited my response to say "the" do nothings..
    and the rest of that long essay you wrote is about communism.. I've seen it first hand and it doesn't work More Americans should see it up close and see it's failures.. See my profile pic?

    I agree on monopolies and I hope we break em up good in the health care industry..

    Is Switzerland communist? I hadn't noticed Canada? England? Surely we could make some changes to our health care system without becoming the USSR ? ha ha

    I mean seriously... I have faith in our checks and balances system that we won't go there.. and if we do well I have a 2nd passport from Europe current and ready at all times.
  • Michael brother... 2009/08/26 23:02:41 (edited)
    Michael
    +2
    Government monopoly (or private monopoly working under government protection) is the worst. You can break up private monopoly, but you can do nothing against the government.

    Checks and balances were created for a single purpose: To prevent the government from monopolizing anything.

    Once the government becomes a monopoly (or colludes with private monopolies, just like it happens right now), there are no more checks and balances.

    "Free" press? Own by monopolies.

    Executive branch? Full of former Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan bosses and lobbyists.

    Legislative branch? Sold out to the highest bidder.

    Judicial branch? Owned lock, stock, and barrel by the same monopolies.

    There is no freedom of speech, there is no democracy, there is only Big Government left.

    P.S. I am renewing my 2nd passport, just in case...
  • brother... Michael 2009/08/26 23:12:28
    brotherplease
    agreed on all - don't have the answer.. if only speaking of health care it's a broken system as is.. if we shake it up maybe we'll get lucky The Swiss system doesn't seem to be overly big brothered. choosing from over 85 private companies seems like a good deal to me..

    I'm Irish - though American first. and you?
  • Michael brother... 2009/08/27 16:21:13
    Michael
    Russian/Jewish/German/Tatar/who knows?

    though American first as well
  • BillySteve brother... 2009/08/27 03:22:13
    BillySteve
    +1
    That's nice... you have a 2nd passport.

    What about the rest of us?

    How about you go to Europe and enjoy the European experience, or do you lack the family ties, the insider names, the secret handshake? Is that why you want us to change, so you can make it big over here?
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