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Registered May 19, 2010
turtledove's most recent comments:
- On 24 May 2013
How austerity has failed Europe,
Austerity might seem like a good idea on paper, but it is not without its issues, particularly as the "austerity" isn't balanced between the public and private sectors.
I lived in Ireland from 2008-2011. I suffered with the rest of the masses as frequent levies substantially eroded our net income. Unlike here, decisions about instituting income levies (taxes) can be made virtually overnight. You learn about it one day only to find that it has taken effect with the very next paycheck. The first income levy resulting in a decrease of 10% to our net pay.
So, like us, people cut back on their spending habits. The next thing you see is that a store, a restaurant, or a movie theater is closing its doors, leaving all those workers unemployed. So now the government has reduced its tax base while increasing the number of people receiving unemployment benefits. So, we institute another levy to try to make up the difference.
I watched this cycle repeat itself over and over again in the three years I was there. All this was going on while parliament was voting themselves pay increases. Those retiring ministers were walking away with very richly funded pensions (some in the millions of Euro). The Health Services Executive (the largest employer in Ireland) was found to have tremendous waste (duplicate jobs, people with no job descriptions, salaries that outpaced anything in the private sector, etc...) Was anything done to trim the waste? Very little.
My point is that austerity was only applied to half the equation. The only cuts made to social programs were small potatoes, made to programs that covered people with the least ability to fight back. Sure, they trimmed benefits to medical card holders, all the while the fat cats at the HSE continued to receive their salaries and fund their pensions. Some changes happened after these facts were made public, but not nearly at the level of austerity that the rank and file were expected to endure.
A one-sided austerity program is useless.
- On 23 May 2013
California picks 13 health plans for state-run insurance market,
The whole system makes me absolutely sick. Fee schedules have been pretty constant for the last 20 years in areas considered to be elective. Since insurance doesn't traditionally cover things like plastic surgery or IVF, prices are based on actual costs and what people can actually pay for such treatment. What's gone up in price? The drugs! Of course, those are often covered by insurance. Insurance companies inflate the costs of everything they touch. Now, with costs as they are, we are virtual prisoners of the system.
- On 21 May 2013
Why pedophilia is a witch hunt and the laws are ridiculous,
There was some guy a few years back who almost hit a young teen with his car after she ran out into the street like a three-year-old. Right or wrong, he got out of his car and grabbed her arms and yelled at her for so thoughtlessly risking her life. He was arrested for holding her against her will. He, too, was registered as a sex offender because apparently holding a child against her will qualifies as a sex offense (the context, it seems, is irrelevant, at least in this case). It happened somewhere in the Midwest. Wish I could find that article. It was very sad. Even the judge said that having to put the guy on the sex offender's registry wasn't right.
The worst part of these examples is that it takes resources away from the real victims and criminals.