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Socialized Police

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Isn't time we got rid of socialized police and socialized fire departments? What's with this communist system of giving everyone the same level of fire and police protection based on their need?

I think cops should start asking how much you earn before interrupting a mugging. I think firemen should assess the net worth of the people in a burning building before they go in. The rich have it better and that's just the way it is! And if you don't like it, go live in Cuba!

I heard Larry Elder, a conservative talk show host here in LA, talking about how nothing in this country is based on equal service for the rich and the poor -- and that's just the way it is! Everything else is socialism and must be rejected out of hand. His solution for people without healthcare? Go get charity!

I'm not kidding. That's what he said. He cited an example of how the rate of charity giving slowed down (although overall contributions did not) when FDR started Social Security. See Social Security is bad, too. It slowed down charitable giving just a little. How about the fact that it made sure no elderly American starved for the last seventy years? Hogwash, let them eat charity!

Modern day conservatives have become so radical I can't quite believe what they're saying. The only thing more amazing is how unaffected the mainstream media is. They continue to treat them as if they have a legitimate point.

I wonder if the media would even say anything if conservatives tried to privatize the police or the fire departments across the country? You think it's not possible? They've already privatized half the army. There are now more private contractors working for us in Iraq than US troops. Hiring this many mercenaries who are -- and will continue to be -- in the business of war should have seemed like a profoundly bad idea. Instead it was greeted with indifference. Will it really be any different if they try it with the police?

Could you imagine if we applied this extreme privatization philosophy across the board? The poor can't afford police insurance, so the police won't stop massive crime on the streets because they can't tell if the victims are insured or not. Firemen check to see if you have fire insurance before they pull you out of a fire. Or they check to see if they can deny your claim because of a pre-existing fire.

This argument for unfettered corporatism (capitalism has many checks built into it, and has never been a system that advocated turning over all the responsibilities of government to private corporations) would literally lead to chaos. It is one step removed from anarchy. Ironically, it comes closer to Karl Marx's absurd vision of a communist utopia where the government melts away than any true form of capitalism.

If we won't tolerate chaos and anarchy in our police and fire departments where people's lives are on the line, why do we tolerate it when it is in our healthcare system -- and people's lives are on the line?

I think this is the best point Michael Moore makes in Sicko. The reason I repeat it here is because it should be repeated every single time conservatives mention socialized medicine. If there's nothing wrong with socialized police and socialized firefighters, why is it a given that socialized medicine must be wrong?

There are some things we should not base on your salary, and whether you live or die is one of them. You know why? Because we are human. We do not have a heart of coal, we care about each other. We pull each other out of burning buildings, we pay for police to protect one another and we should pay for at least a minimum amount of care for the sick so that they do not die because no one would care for them.

I understand the limitations of communal healthcare. I know that rich people can always get more healthcare. I have no problem with that. I also understand that rich people can augment the police force by hiring private security. God bless them. I don't begrudge them any of that. Like most other Americans, I plan on becoming rich and hiring extra doctors and security for myself as well. I might even hire extra firemen.

But we have to at least give people the minimum. We can't tell someone that is dying that we cannot save them. Yes, there will be some treatments that are too experimental, some that are not worthwhile and some patients will simply be too far gone to help. Any system of healthcare has to make hard choices, but do we want those choices to be made based on a profit motive? Is the best system of healthcare the one where doctors are given an incentive not to treat people?

Every system will have flaws and its share of heartbreaks. Even universal healthcare won't cover every operation or every treatment. I understand that we might not be able to afford all of the healthcare we wish to have. I live in the reality based world. I understand our limitations. But I also understand the enormous limitations of our current system and the possibilities of change.

No other nation spends as much money as we do on healthcare per person. And we are still ranked 37th in the world. We are not getting our money's worth.

There is a better way. It involves all of us pulling together. It involves a different system. So when you hear someone tell you that the rich will always get everything better than the poor in this country and there is no other way, don't believe the hype. And ask them if they mind the socialized police and fire departments we have all across the country -- and if they plan to stop using them any time soon.

The Young Turks

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