Tuesday, November 03, 2009

America Is Insane: War vs. Health Care

President Obama just signed a 680 billion dollar "defense" appropriations bill. That does not include the cost of either war!

But we're having an enormous debate about spending 90 billion dollars a year for health care (which will probably end up being deficit neutral anyway!)

America is insane. There's all the money in the world for wars and guns and planes and bombs and soldiers stationed all over the world (we have 50,000 military personnel in Germany alone!) but spending a tiny fraction of that on health care is somehow deemed irresponsible socialism.

Hat tip: Chris Hayes via Ezra Klein.


Random said...

The United States spent $2.2 trillion (yes, that's twelve zeroes) on health care in 2007, of which 46% (or just over 1 trillion) was government spending. The $90bn is merely an increase on current spending, not total spending as you are implying with your comparison. The USA doesn't need to spend more on health care (it already spends more as a proportion of GDP than just about any other country in the world) - it might need to spend what it is currently spending in different ways, but that isn't what the Democrats in Washington are offering (assuming any of them have actually read the bill they are voting for).

Jewish Atheist said...


Good point on the total vs. increase, but the fact remains that nobody's even talking about seriously cutting military spending while a slight (in comparison) increase in health care spending is being talked about as if it were proposed by Joe Stalin. (Also when Obama increased the size of the military budget less than Republicans wanted, he was trashed by the "fiscally conservative" right for it.)

The other point is that we spend so much on health care, as a nation, because we don't have a legitimate left-leaning party. Basically every other country on Earth pays a fraction of what we pay for each unit of health care: tests, drugs, doctor visits, surgeries, you name it.

There are various techniques of fixing that problem, from (actually) socializing medicine to establishing a single-payer system to allowing the government put limits on prices... but all of those are too liberal for America, where we're more worried about corporate profits than citizens' welfare.

Comrade Kevin said...

Of course. It reveals our screwed up priorities when a bill to save peoples' lives or at least allow them the ability to live with some degree of health gets criticized for being too expensive but any time the military needs money allocated for its needs, no one says how are we going to pay for it?

Stopped Clock said...

Who actually benefits from Obama's healthcare plan? If it is so great, why the need to force people to sign up by fining them $750 per year if they don't?

Silus said...

Well, I wouldn't call this Obama's plan. From his lackluster support of it, I would guess his stance was to get a bill, ANY bill with the label 'health care' to pass. The bill itself isn't great, really. It does not solve the problem with our current system; cost.

As was mentioned above, the U.S. does spend more per person on health care than any other nation, and yet we do not receive the best care by far.

I've always felt that having for profit businesses in charge of people's health was kind of odd. Their ultimate goal is to generate money, not care for people...

SJ said...

Jewish Atheist You need to watch fox news and listen to rush limbaugh more. XD

Anonymous said...

You should ask yourself about the education. How much money is being given to schools every year compared to the money that is given to wars and healthcare.

"wouldn't it be great if schools got all the money they needed and the government had to hold a bake sale in order to buy a bomber?"

Anonymous said...

"Good point on the total vs. increase, but the fact remains that nobody's even talking about seriously cutting military spending while a slight (in comparison) increase in health care spending is being talked about as if it were proposed by Joe Stalin."

In theory, war spending is a "one time expense".

In theory, medical care is an "ongoing expense"

But the real difference is that people recognize that wars is something that governments are designed to be responcible for. However, it is debateable if healthcare is something that the government should be responcible for. Healthcare is something that doctors are responsible for. And nobody, not even the far left is suggesting that every doctor become a public employee. (like firemen and policemen are)

Anonymous said...

BWHAHAHA..you guys want to talk about priorities?

Let's talk about how the government spent $11T on the Porkulus so unemployment could soar past 10%.

I "hope" you're enjoying the "change."

Does "read my lips...no new taxes" sound familiar?

topk said...

sorry for offtopic, i have a question
was spinoza an atheist?
and what are your opinions on him?

JAlanKatz said...

Well, sure, but I'm not sure the presentation as if there were a trade-off is useful. First, the government doesn't really have much concern for matching income to outgo, it just borrows or prints what it needs, so it's not as if there's some finite pie being divided up here.

Now, on the specifics, war has a readily identifiable constituency which is very rich and entwinned with the governmental apparatus. The people who are hurt by warfare policies are: foreigners - mostly poor ones, poor families here, and the like. So war gets funded because its supporters can exert power, and its opponents cannot. Healthcare "reform" would benefit some of the powerful, but also has a strong negative constituency among the powerful. Unlike war, its victims are right here, and some are powerful (read rich.)

This is not starry-eyed idealism, this is the reality of how government makes spending decisions. That's why I claim that government is not good at making socially beneficial spending decisions, and so should not be allowed to take my money to spend in evil ways.

ovdechabemet@yahoo.com said...

Why is every single militant atheist a socialist?

Maybe they think that, if they provide a government that provides cradle-to-grave coverage of all needs, that people will forget about asking G-d for their needs.

That was the Soviet ideal. Didn't work.

The Democratic Party was the party of the Jews (of all religious levels) when it stood for a strong military and social values.

A JFK clone couldn't win the Dem nomination in 2012. Look at Joe Lieberman - he's the last of the old style Democrats - and he had to run as an independent!

It seems to me that Jews become atheists because they are first and foremost interested in fitting in with the left-wing politicos - and that pesky detail of Torah values gets in the way of that.

Anonymous said...

your blog sucks.

EnnisP said...

Defense spending and health care reform, two emotionally charged issues, don't belong in the same discussion. Mixing and comparing them generates emotional turbulence only.

And, as was pointed out, the "facts" can be used to mislead.

I didn't know how much the US spent on health care before reading Ezra Klein's write up but my first thought was, where are the references to substantiate these figures. In other words, it wasn't believable. Thankfully, Random shared some interesting facts.

The truth is, we will end up with health care reform that misses the point (crap) not because of the amount spent but because law makers and the public they represent can't get beyond their emotional selves.

Hey JA. Your blog doesn't suck. Glad you're still writing.

Anonymous said...

did i just see someone equate Universal Healthcare with Stalinist Russia?

even though every 1st world democratic country in the world except America has Universal healthcare programs?

do you seriously think that any of these modern countries with socialized healthcare today is anything like the U.S.S.R of old?

could you have made a more intellectually bankrupt and historically inaccurate comparison?