Debate Rounds (3)
Well, CitizenL, let me start by stating that I accept your challenge with reference to your poll question, limited Round 1 statements, and my original reply.
Before we can engage in any serious debate, I must first discuss two important concepts: racism and sarcasm. The reader will see how these are relevant to your comments.
For the sensitivity-challenged, "racism" involves hatred, intolerance, the belief in racial superiority, and so forth.
Why do I say that CitizenL is a racist? Well, there's his caricature of a black man as a freeloading illeterate who flaunts garish clothing. I wonder which racial group makes up the largest fraction of poor folks in the U.S. I checked around, and, wow, what alot of poor white folks (http://www.nccp.org...) Not that surprising, given that there are more of us to be poor. But when CitizenL is making his best argument against those freeloading poor folk, what does he use? Yes, that's right--a caricature of a black man.
CitizenL is a racist, as evidinced by his racist post. He believes that, deep down, you're racist as well, which is why he thinks this caricature will connect with you.
I find myself facing the unenviable task of explaining the fairly intuitive concept of sarcasm. Let's start with my reply to CitizenL's racist post.
Behold! Sarcasm! I ask you, fair reader, does my post claim that CitizenL is a wife beater and an embezzler? Or does it make the point that one loaded question is as good as another? I could, at present, comment that methinks the CitizenL doth protest too much, but, let's face it, it's unlikely that he's a wife beater or an embezzler, and we all know that. Because. Sarcasm.
So, what's the point in all of that? Dear reader, I do wish you to understand that CitizenL most certainly is a racist. And that he doesn't understand sarcasm. Or logic. However, it's more than that. For, if I'm to assert that my dearest challenger has asked a loaded question, it's worth asking, how loaded is it? Is it as loaded as a loaded potatoe? That sounds good about right now. But I digress.
Let's consider whether Obamacare has raised rates as our fair fellow claims. First of all, our friendly CitizenL is surely correct that premiums are on the rise. If fact, the pesky things have been on the rise for quite some time now, along with the price of pretty much everything else!
What does this mean for dyed-in-the-wool communists such as myself (reference section 1, part 2, if you're a sad little man who writes books full of gibberish but thinks he's important enough to make Portraits of himself for not understanding sarcasm)? Surely, the fact that health insurance prices have been rising by 10% or so a year is absolutely devastating to anyone who thinks it's unfair to caricature blacks to make a point about health insurance premiums and the smudging of the inviolate precepts of bootstrapism!
As it turns out, not so much. Premium increases have been cut in half.
You don't say. So, health insurance premiums are rising less than they were before? And for that matter, health care costs?
But what about all the discusssion of premiums that are soaring "as much as 78%"?
Well, even that source observes that the study discussed focused on plans without much enrollment and restricted itself to an unrepresentative (did I just say "unrepresentative"?...that's not very fun...) sample:
So what's causing all the ruckus? As you might expect, dear reader, if you're still awake (and no, I wouldn't blame you), much of the problem is that the natural variation in the data gives people ample opportunity to cherry-pick. For instance, Florida's Republicans enacted a law that prevents the state government from carrying out its usual role of rejecting unmerited health insurance premiums, as part of an ongoing campaign to make the AHA look costly. And some states create false averages by failing to weight the averages based on the numbers of people actually purchasing a plan.
So, what's the validity of the idea that people are paying more in premiums because of Obamacare? Especially the $200 more that CitizenL claims (despite the fact that the average health care premium is too low, at less than $400, for this to make any sense at all, http://pwc.to...)? The answer's simple. It was a true loaded question. It had no validity at all.
And, while I'm sad to become so serious, what of CitizenL's claim that the increase is due to paying for medicaid for lazy black men who dress in fake furs and sport dashing fedoras? Well, as it turns out the real fear was that the pre-existing conditions provisions would create an upsurge in premiums, so CitizenL probably should have posted a demeaning photograph of a cancer patient, or something more relevant, like that. In any case, it was still just so much hot air.
Thus could end my slightly cringing sally into the grotesqueness that is our dear challenger's menagerie of unscrupulous blacks, contorted facts, and warped logic. However, in his casting down his guantllet, we, unfortunate reader, must find that he has slipped in to this subject some assertions about various other things, all of which are American dreams. And it is my grudging duty to wake us from this nightmare.
What is the American Dream? As poorly defined as it might be, I will accept our challenger's proposition that it is the idea that hard work has a payoff in terms of a better life. But the fact is that social mobility is just as bad as it's ever been, and economic inequality is worse than it's been in quite a while. People at the bottom are unlikely to rise to the top, and, more relevantly, unlikely to rise beyond where they are. People are likely to remain in the class they are born to, and more likely in the U.S. than in other comparable nations. That's a fact.
For a moment, let's challenge the notion that the American dream goes to the hard worker. I suggest that higher wages go to the individuals who are percieved to capture more wealth for the wealthy, not to the individuals who necessarily create more value. In fact, a highly compensated person might actually disrupt an industry, lowering the total value of the industry, just because that puts more absolute wealth in the hands of a few investors. (read Jaron Lanier's Who Owns the Future). Reader, challenge people who ask you to accept mantras.
I will close by noting that there is no reason you, reader, should believe either contestant runs a business, even if he does. What you should consider is the likelihood that the well-off tell stories about themselves to justify their pleasant lot in life, which is what our challenger has done. Is this attitude reasonable? As established by mobility data, the luck of your birth (but please don't stop trying) is a big factor in your income status for life. In fact, luck is huge, because not everyone who works hard and smart can win the biggest rewards (again, see Who Owns the Future). The philosopher Rawls has proposed that we would have better policy preferences if we would adopt a "veil of ignorance" that would not allow us to assume our successful lot in life. Bringing this all home, studies have shown that people who are afforded wealth (whether in real life or in experiments, whether liberal or conservative), on average, seek to justify their status as deserved even when, intellectually, they know they did nothing to earn it (as in unfair dice in an experiment).
So, why shouldn't we have Obamacare? Because my opponent is entitled to his fortune, while others are deserving of theirs.
As far as wealth and sharing it with others there is a limit. There is no incentive for those who were "not born well" to work towards what they want. There are too many people in this country that feel entitled to everything. They come in all colors and religion too. It is time that everyone pull their own weight. My spouse and I started out early with a family. We had a system. One worked overtime while the other stayed home with the kids. We had 2 kids, not 5 because we could not have supported more than 2. We got our bachelors and masters degrees by alternating enrollment in college, one went to school and then the other one went. We also took jobs that were hard to support our family, jobs nobody wants to take today because they feel it is beneath them or its too hard.
Everyone is entitled to human rights but it ends there. Nobody is entitled to reap the benefits of others who have worked hard to get where they are. If you cannot afford health care get a 2nd job, we did. If you cannot afford health insurance for kids, don't have them. If you cannot afford health insurance get a roommate. Don't expect other people to carry you through life. You may have to forego the car and the clothes for awhile to become self sufficient but many others have done it.
I also want to say Beagle it would be helpful if you would form your own opinions instead of reading those of others. Your time would be better spent working more and obtaining an education so you, too, would be self sufficient.
In response to our (not so) fair challenger, let me begin by discussing the concept of trolling. A "troll," in our usage, is no longer an odd fellow extracting blood or coin from individuals crossing a bridge. No, a "troll" is one who instigates for the sake of watching the ants run around, or, in even more current usage, attempts to carry on an absurd conversation.
This is not unrelated to the fact that our challenger is a racist. For, when he trolls, to gain attention for himself, or just for the fun of stirring things up, what does he do, but post a racist caricature of a black man. Which we're all sure was clearly the most easily found, accessible, image, not really selected for any other purpose...not...but then again, why argue this with a racist troll? Why point out that my comment about Communism was sarcasm? Everyone knows it already, just as clearly as they understand that CitizenL is probably enjoying this, as I type, and that there is no escape. For if you wrestle with a pig, you'll get dirty and the pig will like it.
But, dutifully trudging through this "debate," apparently "facts," "education," and "forming your own opinions" comes down to posting racist caricatures to malign people one doesn't like as part of a grossly inaccurate statement about the premium costs of Obamacare. Those things couldn't possibly have anything to do with carefully investigating and supporting your opinions with...um...evidence. Because as we all know, a well-formed opinion is really something that just feels right to us. You know, things that you just believe, with no evidence--regardless of evidence! Those are the best opinions.
Personally, I have a dread of such opinions, which are clearly not shared by CitizenL, who is willing to base his entire "argument" based on a sheer assertion of opinions unfounded in any kind of discussions among peers, data, other evidence, or even anything reasonably resembling analysis.
There is no reason for me to discuss CitizenL's alleged life and work history, or to dignify his implication that I'm uneducated or not hard-working. There's no reason to assume that I'm opposing vacuousness because I need some kind of subsidy from society--although I'm happy to be helping people. And CitizenL's claim to authority is meaningless. Data, discussion recognizable as between non-anonymous, credible persons--those kinds of things are evidence. Which is why I have presented evidence, rather than meaningless assertions about my personal experience that you, fair reader, cannot possibly confirm or rely upon.
I like to make judgments based on facts, with the understanding that "when the facts change, my opinions change. What do you do, [dear reader]?" Should we entertain CitizenL's bald assertions of opinion as credible debate? I think not.
CitizenL has provided nothing but his own poorly delivered opinion.
As for the remainder of CitizenL's commentary, we live in a world where people make mistakes and where bad luck is a reality. The fact that there are people who work hard and get ahead does not change the fact that there are people who work hard and have bad fortune. We do not live in a "just world," which is a psychological bias that people get what they deserve. I am sorry to admit that I treasure such things as science, but, here is an appropriately titled website with some more of those things that I believe just because people tell me them, and not because those things involved careful collection of evidence and analysis. http://youarenotsosmart.com..., we find a discussion of said just world delusion.
The world is not just. As explained and supported by data that other people just made up and told me (previous argument, also, see, sarcasm re whether it was made up), people don't just get ahead. There's no reason why I should believe that this is because they aren't trying. Look at the picture of what education gets you. http://nces.ed.gov... gets you more, but it also gets you more in debt. But can you say that education was, in that case, a bad choice? Look at the average earnings of people without it. Do you really think that (for the highly educated average) 60K, taxed, after loan payments and living expense, leaves a great deal of room for insurance? Do you really think that (for the low-educated average) 25K leaves much room for insurance?
This belief in a just world--and in the idea that people in the economy are getting their just desserts, is foolish. Get educated, or maybe you're not that smart, it doesn't matter. Life is not easy. People don't deserve to go without healthcare. People don't deserve hardship.
Maybe they don't "deserve" anything at all one way or the other, but this attitude that people could have simply made different choices and thus deserve sickness and hardship is sickening and absurd.
I'm free to look at the world and decide that striving for meeting certain basic needs on a universal basis will make us all better off, as individuals are free to compete and to succeed and to fail and to conquer and to lose in a world that is free of the current moral and practical implications of such events. And I'm free to say that anyone who calls me a "communist," accuses me of not forming my own educated opinions, or just hopelessly blathers on about his conviction that people get what they richly deserve, is not thinking very hard or very well about the subject.
"Let us abandon your way, for it is without merit."
--I doubt our challenger knows the origin of the quote, altered to prevent overly easy googling (have fun "educating" yourself!)
I do know what I am talking about when it comes to the billing for health care. I have worked for insurance companies and in billing. Someone has to pay. Beagle wants everyone to have everything but someone has to pay for it. If everyone took this attitude who would pay? Consider it like a wagon. If the few truly needy ride in the wagon while the rest of us pull it there is no hardship for anyone. When everyone gets in the wagon who will pull it?
No Beagle, start taking responsibility for yourself. Like I said, you can get a second job and start pulling your weight. Many of us have done it and it does work. Racism works all ways too. I would call you a racist. You need to leave race out of the picture. It has nothing to do with anything.
As far as a troll, you would be the definition of this. Trolling for anything you do not have to earn. People like you are turning us into a third world country. Nothing is free in the end Beagle. There is a cost for everything. Another thing, stop trolling the internet for articles that support your nonsensical opinions. I could do the same.
And thus the close of this ordeal grows nearer. Reader, I am deeply sorry if you are still reading this. My opponent has ceased to read anything--clearly he didn't read my last response, as I have not put forward any arguments why people need to take care of me, and rebutting CitizenL's absurd comments was the predominant focus of my last reply.
In response to CitizenL's instructions that I stop using the term racist, and that I, in fact, am the racist, let me reply: CitizenL is a racist. In fact, CitizenL is the worst kind of racist. CitizenL is the kind of racist who, when confronted with evidence of racism, says, "there is no racism...and, behold, my genius flash of insight, YOU are the racist for talking about racism." He says, "You need to leave race out of the picture. It has nothing to do with anything." Nevertheless, when it's time for him to make false representations about the cost and beneficiaries of Obamacare, what does CitizenL do? That's right, he posts a demeaning caricature of an illiterate, flashy, black man. And he follows it up by claiming that's just the picture that was easiest to get ahold of. In what circles, I wonder?
Yes, when CitizenL thinks he can drive home a point about the kind of person he claims benefits from Obamacare, he sees race and plenty of it. But if someone else points it out, that person's the racist for seeing race. What absurdity. CitizenL is a racist.
CitizenL says that he has a problem with people who take advantage of the system, not hard workers. I am about to commit the horrible crime of using internet sources to support my argument, because this is the internet where one can provide links to evidence.
The vast majority of individuals without insurance (or who end up on Medicaid) are from working families. http://kff.org... majority of Medicaid spending is on 5% of the Medicaid population, those who need extensive long-term or acute care, which likely includes a number of the individuals CitizenL claims he has no problem supporting. http://kff.org...;
And, of course, Obamacare isn't just about the Medicaid expansion or subsidies for hard-working people who just don't earn enough. It's about insuring people with pre-existing conditions, assuring that insurance packages meet basic quality standards, and so forth. In fact, most people like Obamacare if they don't know its name, suggesting that the real opposition comes from misinformation spread by people like CitizenL. http://www.alternet.org...'s_really_in_it
.Anyway, I need to go do that work that CitizenL doesn't think I do, at a job with long hours that CitizenL doesn't think I work, and so forth. I'd like to point out in closing that, while CitizenL has based virtually all of his "arguments" on attacks on my character, I have based none of my arguments on attacks against his. For, pointing out that his arguments are in fact racist, or that his claims about himself (even if they are true) actually fit understood models of psychology and self-justification, is not a character attack. It's simply a discussion of the evidence that has been provided, on a subject that CitizenL wished to discuss--his original post and my reply.
CitizenL is a racist, and his depiction of the beneficiaries of Obamacare is racist.
His claim that Obamacare results in a $200 premium increase is false.
CitizenL's description of who benefits from Obamacare is not accurate and complete.
CitizenL doesn't appear to understand basic things like sarcasm, how fact-based opinions are derived, etc.
I could go on, but won't. If anyone is reading this, I feel sorry for you. I should not have cast pearls before swine.
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