Thursday, July 05, 2007

"Sicko" and student loans

I saw Michael Moore's film on the American health care crisis tonight at a New York City multiplex. It's a strange experience to go out for an evening's entertainment only to view a piece of agitprop that indicts in the strongest moral terms where we're going as a society--hospitals dumping indigent, disoriented senior citizens on Skid Row, babies dying after they're turned away from a hospital their insurance doesn't cover, a hardworking middle aged couple that loses their house because of medical bills. You cry, you shake your head, but what does it all mean? A blockbuster for the Weinstein brothers. Democratic proposals for health care don't come close to the free universal coverage in the rest of the Western world that Moore touts as superior to our system (OECD statistics agree.) How are we going to get from there to here? Not (just) by watching a movie.

Moore also mentions student loans several times as part of a complex of debt and lack of security that makes average Americans into worried workers desperate to keep their jobs under any circumstances, loath to protest either the government or working conditions. He features an elderly, distinguished British Labor Party politician who speaks eloquently about how debt keeps people afraid and demoralized.

On the other hand, looking at the reforms currently on the table for student loans gives me hope. Political consensus can change lightning fast and I can and do hope for the system to be set on the right path and improved considerably in the next Presidential term. I think Sicko could be good just because it forces even the most chauvinist to admit that America doesn't do everything better than everyone else.


Anonymous said...

"On the other hand, looking at the reforms currently on the table for student loans gives me hope."

I don't think any of that would make any differfence in the long run as long as we have a debt based money system.

Anonymous said...

God, you really don't have a clue, do you?

Anonymous said...

Prepare for the coming storm... as big money armors-up for a huge-money domestic war on fairness.

Remember, once that wave hits, contrary to what they say, greed is not good, and mutual aid is not evil.

And join "Volunteer Bodyguards for Moore". We appreciate MLK and the Kennedeys, but we don't want any more martyrs.

Anonymous said...

"Democratic proposals for health care don't come close to the free universal coverage in the rest of the Western world"

Whatever you may think of other country's medical systems one thing must be made clear: they are not FREE. Someone has to pay for medical care and it's grossly inaccurate to talk about it like it has no cost. Universal coverage is never universal, as well. "Free universal health care" is never provided anywhere by anyone.

Anonymous said...

Too bad you didn't go to Harvard, Anya. Then you could have taken Ec 101. THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH.

Socialist countries like Sweden and France pay for their "free" health care through higher tax rates and lower innovation and productivity.

As for education, there is a reason the best students come to America. Do you really think the Sorbonne compares to Yale?

The real question is why you think your Yale education should be paid for by others. You got a clear leg up. Why should that be my tax burden, or anybody elses?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Dear Anya,

Generation debt, student loans, helth care crisis, social security, etc. are all peripheral issues.

The root cause of all these problems is debt based money system.

For example, under a debt based money system, if someone was to earn and save $1M, the $1M has to be first borrowed by someone else. In other words, for someone to become rich, other people have to go in debt. It's that simple.

In order for the U.S. to become rich, third world counties had go deep in debt.

In order for baby boomers to retire off their and others' savings, younger generations have to go deep in debt.

Also note that borrowers also have to pay intersts on the money that they borrowed, so by definition, the economy is always in shortage of money. For example, if you borrow $10K, you can't just return the $10K. You have to return $10K plus the interests, let's say the sum of the interests is $1K. Then, you are $1K short. To meet this shortage, someone has to first borrow and you have to earn the borrowed money. The process continues and the economy is perpetually in shortage of money and to meet the shortage, debt must grow. You work hard and more people go in debt.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that you would watch any tripe coming from a lowlife like Moore. I had given your intelligence more credit than that. I had thought you were wise for your years, appears I was wrong. Look at the truth of national health care. My family came here from England and their healthcare system is woefully inadequate. There is no innovation and no incentive for new treatments and systems. The old are the last to get treated as they are not "productive" members of society. On the other side of the coin the USA has the best healthcare system in the world. We have more innovation, more R&D, and develop more and the rest of the world uses what we develop. If it weren't for the USA's greedy capitalistic healthcare system the rest of the world would suffer as well. The problem with healthcare is that no one wants to take care of themselves, they want the government to do it. Well guess what? We are the government. National health care will do only one thing, it will force middle and upper class to pay more than they already are to help support more of the indigent. There are no FREE lunches. You need to quit subscribing to the leftist propaganda and form your own opinions based on fact. I'll be happy to tell you the truth.

Anonymous said...

Under the debt based money system, in order for one group of people to prosper, you have to transfer hardship to other groups of people.

So, if you accept the debt based money system and fight for your generation debt, it really means that you are going to attack and take away from other generations.

Anonymous said...

John said...
I can't believe that you would watch any tripe coming from a lowlife like Moore. I had given your intelligence more credit than that. I had thought you were wise for your years, appears I was wrong. Look at...

Wisdom is an interesting thing. One thing it requires is non-fallacious reasoning. Fallacious reasoning cannot be trusted. Take, for example, the snippet above. Moore is labelled a low-life, and we are urged on that basis to disbelieve every word Moore says. Again, irrationalism triumphs. This is a bald-faced example of the ad hominem logical fallacy.

Whatever the height of Moore's life, when he says the the US private healthcare system creates more big-bureaucracy than any public system in the industrialized world, the way to evaluate that statement is not to evaluate your feelings about Moore, but rather to look for some better information sources to confirm or disconfirm his statement.

In terms of wisdom, anyone who refrains from succumbing to the ad hominem fallacy will be wiser than those who trumpet it and revell in it.

think like the rich said...

i liked moore's movie, and liked his past movies. im a devote capitalist, but the student loan/high cost of tuition in usa requires reformin, an uneducated population is just a plain bad investment!

Anonymous said...

"Socialist countries like Sweden and France..."

I was unaware that France had become a Socialist country. Have you ever heard of Nikolas Sarkozy and Francois Fillon ? It so happens that they are both members of France's major right wing party. As for Sweden, they have a king and a liberal-conservative prime minister.

"As for education, there is a reason the best students come to America. Do you really think the Sorbonne compares to Yale?"

Indeed it does, and favourably so ! Why do you think the best European graduates are in such demand over here ?

Anonymous said...


Could you please also watch "The Money Masters, How International Bankers Gained Control of America" by Bill Still if you haven't?

This DVD will give you great knowledge of why we have "Generation Debt" in this country.

Anonymous said...

I am allowed to call Moore a lowlife. I am a veteran who fought for this country, her people, and all she stands for. Moore is a traitor who is trying to undermine the faith in our system of government. I was in service when our commander in chief was a draft dodger, yet I pledged to do what was needed and follow the leadership that I sometimes did not agree with. I did not do this blindly but with the knowledge that whether I agreed with our leaders or not they were working to do what was right for our great nation. I urge patriotic Americans to ignore and denounce Moore as he is profiting by turning Americans against our leadership, and our country.

As far as those wanting a socialist society I urge you to live in a country that is socialist for a year, you will have a newfound respect for this great land of ours when you come home.

Addressing the "ad hominem " comment.... isn't this exactly what Moore does? Moore attacks our leadership, our country, and our captialist system based on nothing more than his disdain for conservatives.

Anonymous said...


Check this out. Nice picture, is it?

Anonymous said...

THe Moneymasters is interesting reading for sure. The debt system did not start in this country, or in the last hundred years though. There has always been a system of debt in society since there has been society. I am confident that there was a caveman banker who negotiated barter transactions and took a cut off the top. The #1 problem is that people can't wait. They want a new car, they borrow. They want a new house, they borrow. They want to eat a dinner out, they borrow. They want to get an education, they borrow. No one is willing to wait for the things they want while they earn the money to buy. This gives banks, and the financial industry the leverage they need to make an easy living. I got out of college with NO debt. I did this by paying as I went, and working part time jobs. I also had a very little help from my GI Bill. It took me six years and a lot of bologna sandwhiches to get out but I did it with no debt. So it can be done. Of course once I started making a salary as an Engineer I began spending more than I made. The reasoning was simple, I will make this money in the next couple of months and pay it back. Next came credit cards, loans, and cars. Then I found myself $200k in debt and paying nearly $15k a year in intrest. Half my take home income was spent just paying for the privledge of buying today and paying tomorrow. One day it hit me that I could have so much more out of life if I spent that $15k on me rather than give it to the creditors. I sold the house, downgraded cars and paid off the credit cards. I lived in a mobile home that had more leaks and mice than you could believe. I went cash positive in four years. I have gone back in debt for a larger house as I now have a family, but I set it up for a five year pay off. The lesson from this is that I put myself in the position, not the financial institutions. There is no need for reform on student loans, there is no need for student loans. If this country went to a cash based system the middle class would increase their standard of living by 25%, roughly the amount is financing they incur. The upper class do not finance as much and already live more this way. The lower class do not have the opportunities for financing that the middle class do and are actually better off. Before anyone jumps in and says the governement needs to do more for the lower class hear this, the lower class need to do more for themselves. I left home at 17 and had absolutely nothing. While my family may have been lower-middle class I started life with no class status. I have never taken anything from my parents since leaving and have been on my own since. This great country of ours offers more opportunity for anyone who wants to take it than any other country on Earth. It's a sad fact that most do not want to work at it. I have personally seen people come from the lowest groups of the inner cities, and with NO government help raised themselves to great heights. We have to get rid of all the government aid. It is killing the middle class of America as they are the ones who foot the bill for it.

Anonymous said...


The problem is that by the design of the debt based money system, your hard work and success caused some other people to go in debt. The money that you have is someone else's debt.

The harder you work and the more successful you become, you are putting more people in more debt.

Is it any wonder that some people complain?

And, if these people didn't go in debt, you wouldn't have any money that you have under the debt based money system no matter how hard you work or want to work.

One more thing that I want to add. The debt based money system is a huge problem, but any money system that is privately controlled can and will eventually be just as bad. I agree with Bill Still that a gold standard is not a solution so long as it is privately controlled.

Anonymous said...

Another good book is

The Grip of Death,
A study of modern money, debt slavery and destructive economics

by Michael Rowbotham

Anyone who is interested in Generation debt should read this book also.

Anonymous said...

Dear Generation Debt,

You helped the economy. By going in to debt, you created money that the economy was needed. Now, you need to service your debt. The economy needs more money. In this pyramid scheme of debt money system, you need to put more people and new people in to debt and more debt through your hard work in order to create new liquidity of money. Sales and marketting. These are the direct functions to put more people in debt, but your hard work is needed whatever your profession might be.

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