Author Topic: General Society Got It Wrong  (Read 11392 times)

scantee

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #50 on: October 11, 2017, 02:34:59 PM »
There is no such thing as a free college education.

^ this is the best post.  The entire OP is factually incorrect, because the education is not "free". 

I assume what the original poster meant by free is affordable. Assuming that is the case, do you have a substantive contribution to this discussion about the importance, or lack thereof, of affordable education and health care?

I have seen nothing in this thread that lends me to think that is a valid assumption. If it were, I think my earlier post outlining just how affordable education currently is would be a substantive contribution about the affordability of education... since no one has refuted that post (which since it's based on verifiable factual numbers isn't surprising) and the OP specifically stated that he believes we are "headed in the wrong direction" on higher education, I'd say my posts outlining how the status quo can/is actually quite affordable.

Do you
have anything of substance to add to that discussion?

The data on this topic show that the cost of two-year schooling (i.e., community college, tech schools) has risen just as dramatically as the cost of four-year colleges. While two-year programs still cost less than four-year ones, comparatively, the affordability of all types post-secondary educations has gone down over the past three decades. This suggests that we are headed in the wrong direction pretty much across the board, since there are increasingly few options that can be considered affordable alternatives to a four-year degree. Rather, we have a range of options that are considered somewhat to extremely expensive for typical middle-class families.

Roe

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #51 on: October 11, 2017, 03:03:54 PM »
Education can certainly be free - for the recipient. That there is a cost for the state and taxpayers is another matter. That's why we can ask the question "would it be worth the cost to provide free education?". I doubt anyone on this forum belives free education=no cost at all!

If anyone does believe that im glad they found the forum, time to get learning.



gaja

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #52 on: October 11, 2017, 03:06:04 PM »
There is no such thing as a free college education.

Ugh!  Of course, but when society benefits in the long run, then steering a life toward productivity and away from selling drugs (for example) is as close to free (long run positive) as need be.  Or do we just deny opportunity to smart youths and see where that gets us?  What do you prefer or propose as a superior alternative?

Let's start with recognizing that a college education is in no way the only way to have productive life away from selling drugs (for example). That plumber making 6-figures without a college education is probably more valuable to society than many underwater-basket weaving degree holders...

So, what about your "smart youths" (that apparently are too smart to be productive in society without college education)? Let's see, they could.... go to college like they do now? Get scholarships to help with the costs. Take out small loans for STEM degrees?

A student here (with decent grades) can go to public college for ~$14k/year (in fact, a friend's daughter is doing just that right now)... including room and board. Now, making minimum wage that's going to take almost 40 hours/week of work year round, so let's assume they can only cover 1/3rd of that and have to take out loans for the rest. After 4 years of college they'd have ~$37k in loans to pay back over many years in their new, college educated, career.

Of course, that assumes they come from a family that doesn't qualify for any financial assistance beyond the basic scholarship. For those with a poor family financial capability, it gets even cheaper as more grants and scholarships become available. So that less advantaged person can get a college education for as little as $0/year with our current system...

So, knowing that a child with no college savings can get a college education and only have a loan for about the same amount as a decently optioned Ford F150, why in the hell would someone think I need to further subsidize their education costs, AND do it through the notoriously inefficient and wasteful federal government??

What is rarely mentioned in the comparison between the Nordic and US education systems, is that vocational training is an integrated part. Students choose at age 15 if they want to go to vocational high school (plumber, builder, electrician, tailor, etc), or if they want to take the high school that gives them the foundation for college/university.

So a plumber will start earning apprentice salary at age 17, and full salary when their peers start college. Total life pay can therefore be higher for a tradesperson than for a college educated person. The reason for the system is to try to get people to choose careers based on what they are best suited for, not what they can afford. But it is also built to avoid having to fund loads of unnecessary college degrees.

Underwater basket degrees are limited in Norway, since the state will only fund a small number of those studies (I would guess you would find them at the academy for art?) We have calculated that we need about 720 new police officers a year, so that is the number of places there are at the police academy. The other 3000 applicants have to find something else to do. Practically anyone who wants to study STEM will get into the classes they want, but very few get into the academies for veterinary, medical or dental degrees.

Yep, we are socialists (or social democrats if you want to be nitpicking). The majority of us do not believe it is a good idea to leave education to the market forces. That works for us, but YMMV.
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partgypsy

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #53 on: October 11, 2017, 03:11:58 PM »
Due to income equality, and lack of social safety nets, there are far more differences in economic and educational levels and mobility, as well as status between the poor and the higher classes, compared to other western European countries, I would far rather be a poor person there, than in the us, and it keeps getting worse. And being that we all live in the same society, should concern all of us. Look at epi.org.  I do have to point out people in the us have more cash than other contries. But u have to look at ability to get affordable housing, ability to have healthcare, ability to have decent public education, and safety, to loo k at quality of life
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 03:17:58 PM by partgypsy »

hoping2retire35

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #54 on: October 11, 2017, 03:19:03 PM »

What is rarely mentioned in the comparison between the Nordic and US education systems, is that vocational training is an integrated part. Students choose at age 15 if they want to go to vocational high school (plumber, builder, electrician, tailor, etc), or if they want to take the high school that gives them the foundation for college/university.

So a plumber will start earning apprentice salary at age 17, and full salary when their peers start college. Total life pay can therefore be higher for a tradesperson than for a college educated person. The reason for the system is to try to get people to choose careers based on what they are best suited for, not what they can afford. But it is also built to avoid having to fund loads of unnecessary college degrees.

Underwater basket degrees are limited in Norway, since the state will only fund a small number of those studies (I would guess you would find them at the academy for art?) We have calculated that we need about 720 new police officers a year, so that is the number of places there are at the police academy. The other 3000 applicants have to find something else to do. Practically anyone who wants to study STEM will get into the classes they want, but very few get into the academies for veterinary, medical or dental degrees.

Yep, we are socialists (or social democrats if you want to be nitpicking). The majority of us do not believe it is a good idea to leave education to the market forces. That works for us, but YMMV.
I think the problem with the US is a lot of people want to reach "their full potential" which means a college degree. The costs are not, or at least do not have to be, too expensive. You can afford $30k in student loans if you are getting an engineering degree, but probably not for a social work. Parents, counselors, everyone pushes this. However, I think everyone would vehemently oppose what you mention above, conservative or liberal wouldn't matter. Just too much of being told what to do.

Too bad there is not a middle way.

jmecklenborg

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #55 on: October 11, 2017, 03:23:43 PM »
There is no such thing as a free college education.

Yes there is.  The rich kids have it all paid for -- the tuition, the living expenses, the car.  I own a rental near a state university with 40,000 students.  They are putting up apartments complexes left and right for the wealthy students -- pools, underground parking, etc.  Thousands of new units in the past 5 years, all with safe garages for the cars they didn't earn. 

The kids who are renting the cheap houses and working the service jobs with no cars will leave with $30,000+ in loans.  The kids living in the yuppie apartments have trust funds with their names on them. 

gaja

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #56 on: October 11, 2017, 03:47:46 PM »

What is rarely mentioned in the comparison between the Nordic and US education systems, is that vocational training is an integrated part. Students choose at age 15 if they want to go to vocational high school (plumber, builder, electrician, tailor, etc), or if they want to take the high school that gives them the foundation for college/university.

So a plumber will start earning apprentice salary at age 17, and full salary when their peers start college. Total life pay can therefore be higher for a tradesperson than for a college educated person. The reason for the system is to try to get people to choose careers based on what they are best suited for, not what they can afford. But it is also built to avoid having to fund loads of unnecessary college degrees.

Underwater basket degrees are limited in Norway, since the state will only fund a small number of those studies (I would guess you would find them at the academy for art?) We have calculated that we need about 720 new police officers a year, so that is the number of places there are at the police academy. The other 3000 applicants have to find something else to do. Practically anyone who wants to study STEM will get into the classes they want, but very few get into the academies for veterinary, medical or dental degrees.

Yep, we are socialists (or social democrats if you want to be nitpicking). The majority of us do not believe it is a good idea to leave education to the market forces. That works for us, but YMMV.
I think the problem with the US is a lot of people want to reach "their full potential" which means a college degree. The costs are not, or at least do not have to be, too expensive. You can afford $30k in student loans if you are getting an engineering degree, but probably not for a social work. Parents, counselors, everyone pushes this. However, I think everyone would vehemently oppose what you mention above, conservative or liberal wouldn't matter. Just too much of being told what to do.

Too bad there is not a middle way.

Well, in reality you have more choice in Norway, since you can afford all the options. You just have to get good enough grades to get the place you want. If you don't get the grades, and have the money,  there are also some private options available, but not a lot. Turns out, when you can get a farmer's degree for free compared to going to the us and paying $$$ for veterinary school, the free alternative was good enough.

It has been a long road training the counselors to give the students good advice. Also, it is an uphill struggle to get the society to see the vocational jobs as high status. Especially since there has been an influx of people from other European countries willing to work very cheaply.
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Johnez

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #57 on: October 11, 2017, 03:59:44 PM »
There is no such thing as a free college education.

Yes there is.  The rich kids have it all paid for -- the tuition, the living expenses, the car.  I own a rental near a state university with 40,000 students.  They are putting up apartments complexes left and right for the wealthy students -- pools, underground parking, etc.  Thousands of new units in the past 5 years, all with safe garages for the cars they didn't earn. 

The kids who are renting the cheap houses and working the service jobs with no cars will leave with $30,000+ in loans.  The kids living in the yuppie apartments have trust funds with their names on them.

The smart (or well informed) will go to community college the first two years and apply for grants. The unfortunate will be preyed upon by for-profit "schools" and end up paying for a worthless degree. Everyone else obeys the "get into a 4 year mantra" and pays.

jlcnuke

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #58 on: October 11, 2017, 04:31:36 PM »
Education can certainly be free - for the recipient. That there is a cost for the state and taxpayers is another matter. That's why we can ask the question "would it be worth the cost to provide free education?". I doubt anyone on this forum belives free education=no cost at all!

If anyone does believe that im glad they found the forum, time to get learning.

I'd argue that there are people (possibly on this forum) who don't understand the difference between "free" and "a given person didn't have to pay for it themselves".

I'd also argue that the better question is "would it be right to take the hard earned money from some people to make college more affordable for some other people they don't know?" with the follow on of "if so, who are the unlucky people who's hard earned money we're going to take to pay for it? (maybe just a 1% tax on all investments... we could screw over everyone using a 4% SWR with that one and generate a bunch of money so little timmy doesn't graduate with an engineering degree and debt that's only slightly larger than what most people graduating borrow for their first "real" car!).
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SecretSquirrel

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #59 on: October 11, 2017, 04:56:47 PM »
Before talking about whether individuals or governments (via taxation of said individuals) should pay for higher education, we should talk about why higher education has been rising much faster than inflation. Cost is the root problem here, just like with healthcare.

In my opinion, like in healthcare, we have a broken valuation system. The "consumers", i.e. the college goers, are folks that have been conditioned to believe that a college education is a necessity. Simultaneously, most have not been taught to analyze the cost vs benefit equation. In other words, will paying $X for degree in Y be financially prudent? This creates unhealthy demand.

On the other side of the equation we have student loans, which are the only type of loan you cannot get rid of via bankruptcy, or any other legal protection. The government made it so that student loans are "guaranteed" money in the sense that the borrower is obliged to pay the loan, no matter the circumstances. Consequently, lending institutions, the government being one of them, do not have to do their due diligence in issuing student loans because they cannot be discharged. To get any other loan, a lending institution will attempt to calculate the risk of your default (which is not possible with a student loan) by looking at your credit history, income, debt, and assets. For a student loan, you simply need a pulse. Thus, you can borrow $100,000 to study something that leads to an income incapable of repaying the loan. This creates an unhealthy supply (of money).

When you have unhealthy demand and an unhealthy supply, costs can easily get out of whack with reality.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 04:58:23 PM by SecretSquirrel »

FI-in-no-time

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #60 on: October 11, 2017, 05:36:54 PM »
While there are areas where we can do better, I wouldn't trade living in the US for any other country.  Sure we have our problems, many of them you pointed out: rapidly rising healthcare costs, education costs, prescription drugs etc....

One common theme I see with all of these problems is special interests and lobbying.  We need leaders with a spine who are not always running for re-election or worried about impacting their speaking fees after they leave office.  Tough choices need to be made and governing by public opinion polls won't get us where we need to be.

As for education, I haven't seen anyone mention military service or the GI Bill.  The Air Force paid for my undergrad and provided training that I will forever be grateful for.  Those that aren't interested in the military for whatever reason - check out AmeriCorps.

pecunia

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #61 on: October 11, 2017, 08:31:24 PM »
When I was a kid in the 1960s, my parents got a World Book Encyclopedia.  Within the pages, it showed what countries produced what.  On many of the pages, the United States was a leader.  In the years hence, our businesses have been outsourced. 

We are taught that this is a law of nature.  We are taught that we live in a "world economy."  We are taught that there will be trade wars if we do not accept business, "as is."

Well folks - A lot of the world had cheap labor in the 1960s.  It wasn't out sourced then.  We made our own stuff.  The money was spent here and stayed here.  Have you ever considered that we don't have to accept business, "as is?"  Have you ever thought that economics is more often an act of mankind rather than an act of providence?

I think the biggest thing that is wrong today is that our businessmen and our politicians "gave away the store."

We used to have something called "The Basic Education Opportunity Grant."  It helped pay for my college.

I think we got it wrong by our business practices.  The technological innovations of the past 50 years should be trickling down to all of us.  Too many of us have to work multiple jobs with no benefits to make ends meet,..............AND,...............the trend does not seem to be reversing.  Thank you for reading this.

Roe

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #62 on: October 11, 2017, 11:34:06 PM »
Another nordic perspective here. One huge advantage with free education would be easier movement between income classes. While big class and income divides may not be that much of an issue, little movement crossing that divide certainly is. If anyone can get a high quality education on equal terms, then anyone can cross that divide.

Atleast in theory. I haven't seen any research (although there should be lots on the topic), but my impression is that there are other factors that work against us. In the end the free education might not benefit us with the mobility between classes that i thought it would.

That doesn't mean I think we should start charging for education. The drawback with socialism is that you are locked into it. If you have a high taxes, people have less money and are less able to pay for things themselves. With high taxes state must pay for pretty much all major expenses. You can't take all that money and say "btw, you pay for this bit yourself", because no one would be able to. Even if you lower taxes with the savings in education cost, that is a low gain for everyone. That low gain isn't enough for the few that are currently in need of education.

While im not saying one system is better than the other, the US system means there is more adaptability built in. You pay lower taxes, and you pay for your major expenses yourself (or trough insurance etc). If the state wants to make something free or subsidize it, the raised taxes is a low loss for everyone, while the people currently in need of the free thing can get it free.


jmecklenborg

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #63 on: October 12, 2017, 12:22:20 AM »
I think we got it wrong by our business practices.  The technological innovations of the past 50 years should be trickling down to all of us.  Too many of us have to work multiple jobs with no benefits to make ends meet,..............AND,...............the trend does not seem to be reversing.  Thank you for reading this.

When I was a kid my dad worked as a contract lawyer but we lived on the same street as many blue collar families.  The dads were able to support the whole family by working industrial jobs -- the man next door was a railroad locomotive engineer, the one across the street worked at the jet engine plant.  Another worked as a grocery store manager.  Those are all crap jobs now.  In the past the moms worked if they wanted to...now they have to.   

Many wants have come down in price (big televisions, flying to distant vacation destinations rather than driving to state parks) but some needs have increased in price exponentially.  Education, health care, and housing in the growing cities (conversely, housing is perversely cheap in declining cities and rural areas).

Meanwhile the United States refuses to support public transportation in most areas and so forces its underpaid service workers to toil endlessly just to afford the car that gets them to their crap job.  When I was a kid my dad rode the bus to work...we moved out of the area but service on that bus line has since been cut. 


runbikerun

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #64 on: October 12, 2017, 12:42:39 AM »
There are so many factors involved in the differences between the US and Europe in particular that it's genuinely difficult to tease out the relevant ones. Approaches to public transportation, primary and secondary school funding, firearms ownership, healthcare funding, and dozens of other things play their part.

Based on median income, the US places about fifth or sixth in the world depending on the exact methodology. In each case, the Scandinavian countries do better. But even then, I'm not sure if that's an accurate reflection. How do you weigh a slightly smaller median income but much better social mobility against the US model? Do we subtract money for healthcare when comparing the US to the UK to account for the fact that the NHS is completely free at the point of use? How do we weigh the fact that the British state has historically been pretty comfortable using its monopsony power to hold costs down, and thus spends less per capita on healthcare for all than the US does on limited care for some? Does the fact that the US is more hostile to unions play a role?


MrThatsDifferent

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #65 on: October 12, 2017, 02:11:54 AM »
Australia: pros: universal healthcare, or cheap private; gun control, not banned, not abused; affordable college education, gov provides reasonable loans; no tipping, people paid fair wages, 10% retirement accounts for all workers, means tested pension.

Cons: expensive housing, food and goods.

America seems ass-backwards and suicidal.

Bucksandreds

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #66 on: October 12, 2017, 07:24:36 AM »
When I was a kid in the 1960s, my parents got a World Book Encyclopedia.  Within the pages, it showed what countries produced what.  On many of the pages, the United States was a leader.  In the years hence, our businesses have been outsourced. 

We are taught that this is a law of nature.  We are taught that we live in a "world economy."  We are taught that there will be trade wars if we do not accept business, "as is."

Well folks - A lot of the world had cheap labor in the 1960s.  It wasn't out sourced then.  We made our own stuff.  The money was spent here and stayed here.  Have you ever considered that we don't have to accept business, "as is?"  Have you ever thought that economics is more often an act of mankind rather than an act of providence?

I think the biggest thing that is wrong today is that our businessmen and our politicians "gave away the store."

We used to have something called "The Basic Education Opportunity Grant."  It helped pay for my college.

I think we got it wrong by our business practices.  The technological innovations of the past 50 years should be trickling down to all of us.  Too many of us have to work multiple jobs with no benefits to make ends meet,..............AND,...............the trend does not seem to be reversing.  Thank you for reading this.

Well thought out post.  I'd say the best Tax reform that could be passed would be one that benefits companies that employ (With good wages) the most employees in the US. If Ford and GM would save Tens of millions of dollars, moving some factories back to the US then they just might do it.

GuitarStv

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #67 on: October 12, 2017, 08:06:42 AM »
When I was a kid in the 1960s, my parents got a World Book Encyclopedia.  Within the pages, it showed what countries produced what.  On many of the pages, the United States was a leader.  In the years hence, our businesses have been outsourced. 

We are taught that this is a law of nature.  We are taught that we live in a "world economy."  We are taught that there will be trade wars if we do not accept business, "as is."

Well folks - A lot of the world had cheap labor in the 1960s.  It wasn't out sourced then.  We made our own stuff.  The money was spent here and stayed here.  Have you ever considered that we don't have to accept business, "as is?"  Have you ever thought that economics is more often an act of mankind rather than an act of providence?

I think the biggest thing that is wrong today is that our businessmen and our politicians "gave away the store."

We used to have something called "The Basic Education Opportunity Grant."  It helped pay for my college.

I think we got it wrong by our business practices.  The technological innovations of the past 50 years should be trickling down to all of us.  Too many of us have to work multiple jobs with no benefits to make ends meet,..............AND,...............the trend does not seem to be reversing.  Thank you for reading this.

Well thought out post.  I'd say the best Tax reform that could be passed would be one that benefits companies that employ (With good wages) the most employees in the US. If Ford and GM would save Tens of millions of dollars, moving some factories back to the US then they just might do it.

The kinds of unskilled labour that people used to get in the 60s (basic assembly line type stuff) isn't likely to ever come back.  It's not just a matter of things being outsourced to China.  It's cheaper to set up a fully automated line and hire one engineer to look after it than it is to pay a couple dozen people to do the work (and generally do it worse) that machines will perform.  Right now the low labour rates in asia are masking this fact, but if what you proposed were to come true it would only hasten automation, not bring jobs back.

Bucksandreds

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #68 on: October 12, 2017, 08:28:46 AM »
When I was a kid in the 1960s, my parents got a World Book Encyclopedia.  Within the pages, it showed what countries produced what.  On many of the pages, the United States was a leader.  In the years hence, our businesses have been outsourced. 

We are taught that this is a law of nature.  We are taught that we live in a "world economy."  We are taught that there will be trade wars if we do not accept business, "as is."

Well folks - A lot of the world had cheap labor in the 1960s.  It wasn't out sourced then.  We made our own stuff.  The money was spent here and stayed here.  Have you ever considered that we don't have to accept business, "as is?"  Have you ever thought that economics is more often an act of mankind rather than an act of providence?

I think the biggest thing that is wrong today is that our businessmen and our politicians "gave away the store."

We used to have something called "The Basic Education Opportunity Grant."  It helped pay for my college.

I think we got it wrong by our business practices.  The technological innovations of the past 50 years should be trickling down to all of us.  Too many of us have to work multiple jobs with no benefits to make ends meet,..............AND,...............the trend does not seem to be reversing.  Thank you for reading this.

Well thought out post.  I'd say the best Tax reform that could be passed would be one that benefits companies that employ (With good wages) the most employees in the US. If Ford and GM would save Tens of millions of dollars, moving some factories back to the US then they just might do it.

The kinds of unskilled labour that people used to get in the 60s (basic assembly line type stuff) isn't likely to ever come back.  It's not just a matter of things being outsourced to China.  It's cheaper to set up a fully automated line and hire one engineer to look after it than it is to pay a couple dozen people to do the work (and generally do it worse) that machines will perform.  Right now the low labour rates in asia are masking this fact, but if what you proposed were to come true it would only hasten automation, not bring jobs back.

I'd say that both your and my position are a little oversimplified. Yes there are less employees per unit of production today but many jobs that due still exist that produce goods for sale in the US are done in China and Mexico. Incentivizing 'reshoring' of these jobs through non coercive measures would, without any doubt, add jobs (Many of them semi skilled jobs) here.

panda

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #69 on: October 12, 2017, 08:44:20 AM »
The kids who are renting the cheap houses and working the service jobs with no cars will leave with $30,000+ in loans.
Most likely they aren't leaving with $30,000 or more in debt.

The median student loan debt is only $13,000.
75% of borrows have less than $29,000 (source).

Most of the students while shocking high amounts of debt are actually in the minority.

That doesn't mean I think we should start charging for education. The drawback with socialism is that you are locked into it. If you have a high taxes, people have less money and are less able to pay for things themselves. With high taxes state must pay for pretty much all major expenses. You can't take all that money and say "btw, you pay for this bit yourself", because no one would be able to. Even if you lower taxes with the savings in education cost, that is a low gain for everyone. That low gain isn't enough for the few that are currently in need of education.
Of course the complicated bit is that most socialist countries also try to make sure the needs are paid for and allow people to make their own choice in terms of the wants. That makes it really difficult to do a fair comparison because it's difficult to put a monetary price on mental health benefit of never needing to worry about health care. Plus, you have high taxes, but how is that any different from having high health insurance premiums? If you are losing US$1,000/month for health care services, does it matter if it's going to a governmental organization or a for-profit company?

As for education, I haven't seen anyone mention military service or the GI Bill.  The Air Force paid for my undergrad and provided training that I will forever be grateful for.  Those that aren't interested in the military for whatever reason - check out AmeriCorps.
The MGIB paid for part of a bachelors, masters, and my (in progress) PhD; plus I was able to finish an associates degree while in the service for free (although I might have paid for a parking pass?). However, military service is not for everyone and there is no guarantee that you can walk into a recruiting station and enlist.

crazyworld

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #70 on: October 12, 2017, 08:55:57 AM »
I agree that the US is in decline, when it doesn't have to be. We are backward in our entire healthcare system, in public education and how our tax law is structured, so for example salaries and work are taxed at a much higher rates than passive income, inheritance, and corporate earnings, accelerating the income inequity in the US. The U.S. was ranked the 6th worst among 173 countries (4th percentile) on income equality measured by the Gini index.[34]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_inequality_in_the_United_States

I encourage people to read this summary. Economists say the level of wealth inequity currently experienced in our country reduces economic productivity, economic mobility, and also fosters a less democratic political system, as power is concentrated in the hands of the wealthy, who then pass laws to maintain or increase that inequality. The free market does not work in this situation. We do not have a free market situation. The CEOS and board have hijacked it for their own gain.

You know how someone keeps saying Make America Great again? And so many people think back about the post war boom of the 1950-1980, where there was a feeling of general prosperity for all? Those years corresponded to when income inequality was at its lowest area. We are never going to make America great again in the current situation.

+1 to this; also as someone else mentioned, the US will see a slow decline over time.  Look at our infrastructure, airports, Flint water issue as examples.  We are so rich and we can't fix any of it?  How so? We've been great for a while, but with wealth distribution getting skewed, the country is not spending its resources wisely.  Wealth = power, its in fewer hands, and the rich are able to dictate policy.  They don;t need affordable education, affordable healthcare, local jobs, public transit. They need a solid police & military to protect their local/international interests and politicians who will make it easy for them to open up trade and keep their taxes low. 
Sorry, complete tangent, getting off my soapbox now =)

marielle

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #71 on: October 12, 2017, 09:14:01 AM »
I honestly don't get why students don't take their first two years of college at the local community college/Junior college. It is way cheaper. The instructors are just as qualified (some teach at a nearby university even). Most first year courses of any major can be taken there. Nooooooooo, we need to get away from the parents, pay for a dorm, buy all kinds of crap we don't need and get boozed up every weekend lol. I realize half that isn't true for many 4 year students, but college really isn't that expensive if the first 2 years are at Junior college.

This isn't always the best choice. Some majors, particularly STEM, have major-specific classes the first two years that are all prerequisites for each other. That's how my major was, starting with the very first semester of classes. Many students who transferred in got screwed even though it was across the same school system, not even community colleges! I graduated high school with over 30 credits from my local community college because we could take free classes, but I was able to keep only a few of the classes. If I knew the exact degree I was going to go for, I could have transferred a couple more, but at most I'd save a semester. Possibly two if I took 17-18 credit hour semesters on top of transferring a semester's worth. The classes I was able to keep were a couple math classes, a science elective, and I think maybe some other gen ed elective.

For liberal arts majors it may be easier, but not for majors where there are a lot of specific group projects, labs that differ school to school, or classes that may not be offered at a community college. I know my school focused a bit more on labs and projects than typical, but you almost always lose some credits when transferring. Some community colleges specifically have programs for transferring though.

Not to mention, it can be hard to make friends when you transfer in after two years but that's a minor point. It is much harder to make friends after college, most groups/activities I try to be involved in now have people much older than me. Which is fine for those events/volunteering, but not typically the type of friends I'd casually invite to my apartment to hang out with due to differences in lifestyle.

runbikerun

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #72 on: October 12, 2017, 09:22:44 AM »
That doesn't mean I think we should start charging for education. The drawback with socialism is that you are locked into it. If you have a high taxes, people have less money and are less able to pay for things themselves. With high taxes state must pay for pretty much all major expenses. You can't take all that money and say "btw, you pay for this bit yourself", because no one would be able to. Even if you lower taxes with the savings in education cost, that is a low gain for everyone. That low gain isn't enough for the few that are currently in need of education.
Of course the complicated bit is that most socialist countries also try to make sure the needs are paid for and allow people to make their own choice in terms of the wants. That makes it really difficult to do a fair comparison because it's difficult to put a monetary price on mental health benefit of never needing to worry about health care. Plus, you have high taxes, but how is that any different from having high health insurance premiums? If you are losing US$1,000/month for health care services, does it matter if it's going to a governmental organization or a for-profit company?

[/quote]

Incredibly, it's not even a straight dollar-to-dollar comparison. The British spend less per capita on public and private healthcare combined than the USA does on limited public healthcare alone, and get the NHS into the bargain.

mm1970

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #73 on: October 12, 2017, 09:40:23 AM »
Quote
his isn't always the best choice. Some majors, particularly STEM, have major-specific classes the first two years that are all prerequisites for each other. That's how my major was, starting with the very first semester of classes. Many students who transferred in got screwed even though it was across the same school system, not even community colleges!

I think the CC to university switch works pretty well in many areas, because there are "established" programs.  My local college had a "3-2" program for engineering with a top 10 engineering school.  The classes you needed to take at the local university were defined.

Our local CC has direct STEM programs with all of the UC schools.  It's very common to do 2 years at CC then transfer, even in STEM.  But these are well-defined.

I used to think that the bummer with those programs was that they were all pretty much "3-2", meaning it would take you 5 years to finish your engineering degree, based on the differences in the schools.  But then I realized, starting with the engineers working for me who were born in the 1980s, that finishing in 4 years is pretty rare these days, particularly at state schools.  From what I hear, it's simply because there are too many students and not enough slots for the required classes.

Back in my day, most people finished at my small private school in 4 years.  But if you flunked a class, it took 5, because of pre-requisites and the fact that classes were only offered once a year, either fall or spring.


Knaak

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #74 on: October 12, 2017, 09:45:31 AM »
When I was a kid in the 1960s, my parents got a World Book Encyclopedia.  Within the pages, it showed what countries produced what.  On many of the pages, the United States was a leader.  In the years hence, our businesses have been outsourced. 

We are taught that this is a law of nature.  We are taught that we live in a "world economy."  We are taught that there will be trade wars if we do not accept business, "as is."

Well folks - A lot of the world had cheap labor in the 1960s.  It wasn't out sourced then.  We made our own stuff.  The money was spent here and stayed here.  Have you ever considered that we don't have to accept business, "as is?"  Have you ever thought that economics is more often an act of mankind rather than an act of providence?

I think the biggest thing that is wrong today is that our businessmen and our politicians "gave away the store."

We used to have something called "The Basic Education Opportunity Grant."  It helped pay for my college.

I think we got it wrong by our business practices.  The technological innovations of the past 50 years should be trickling down to all of us.  Too many of us have to work multiple jobs with no benefits to make ends meet,..............AND,...............the trend does not seem to be reversing.  Thank you for reading this.

Well thought out post.  I'd say the best Tax reform that could be passed would be one that benefits companies that employ (With good wages) the most employees in the US. If Ford and GM would save Tens of millions of dollars, moving some factories back to the US then they just might do it.

The kinds of unskilled labour that people used to get in the 60s (basic assembly line type stuff) isn't likely to ever come back.  It's not just a matter of things being outsourced to China.  It's cheaper to set up a fully automated line and hire one engineer to look after it than it is to pay a couple dozen people to do the work (and generally do it worse) that machines will perform.  Right now the low labour rates in asia are masking this fact, but if what you proposed were to come true it would only hasten automation, not bring jobs back.

I want production to come back to the US not so much for the jobs, but for the environmental impact.  We put environmental regulations in place to protect our air and water, then we allow corporations to move their manufacturing overseas where they don't have to abide by those regulations.  So, not only are they polluting at pre-regulation levels to manufacture the products, they are also polluting as they ship the products thousands of miles.  What good was it to put those regulations in place when they lead to more pollution?

I would like to change free trade to fair trade by creating a level playing field.  If a corporation wants to sell their goods to US consumers, they must abide by US environmental regulations, regardless of their country of production.  Same goes with worker safety.  All corporations selling goods to US consumers need to abide by our OSHA regulations.  Don't want to abide by our regulations?  No problem.  You just can't sell your goods here.

Once manufacturers in other countries have to abide by our environmental and safety regulations, it will most likely be too expensive to produce the goods 7,000 miles away and pay for those additional shipping costs.  Those manufacturers can then move back to the US and set up automated plants that produce a fraction of the pollution of their overseas plants.

partgypsy

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #75 on: October 12, 2017, 09:46:56 AM »
I was going to say the same thing, that because the curriculum is not standardized across colleges and majors, you may need to take more classes or re-take classes if first attend a community college first. My nephew did that and transferred, and was able to graduate in 4 years (and saved him a bunch of money), but he had to take a higher course load per semester to accomplish it.

What is encouraging, is that many public high schools are now allowing high school students to take college level courses, or courses that can apply for college credit. Both my daughter and niece will be eligible to start taking that track starting their junior year in HS. 

NorthernBlitz

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #76 on: October 12, 2017, 09:49:18 AM »
What I think society has gotten wrong here in the US is tipping. Pay waiters etc a decent wage and get rid of the B.S. tipping system we have now.

A lot of servers who work places with a loyal clientele would disagree with you.  They really can make excellent money if they've got happy regulars and a mid-priced menu. 

However, there are also places that make you want to gouge out everyone's eyes out with a spoon, because half of your restaurant patrons are cheapskates who pay the last dollar of their bill in dimes, definitely don't have enough for a tip, and treat you like a servant instead of a server.  Working in THOSE places would be much less unpleasant if the paycheck wasn't hanging on the whims of someone who will probably just round up to the next dollar and call it good, because you didn't give them exactly seven lemon slices with their water and 24 croutons, and you can't make your noodle soup gluten-free.

I'd argue that the "high end" places where the servers are making good money could use higher pay to attract better servers and the lower end places wouldn't offer as attractive an income for their servers. In the end, "overall" it could easily work just fine (like it does in most countries around the world) and would be a better system overall.

Oh, the other thing: prices that don't reflect what you'll pay. In many (most?) countries, the advertised/shown price is what you pay. Not what you pay before all taxes and fees etc are added on. I think the former is a much better system personally.

It also can lead to a 2-class system in a restaurant where those who work in the kitchen are the under class.

http://freakonomics.com/podcast/danny-meyer/

marielle

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #77 on: October 12, 2017, 09:51:29 AM »
Quote
his isn't always the best choice. Some majors, particularly STEM, have major-specific classes the first two years that are all prerequisites for each other. That's how my major was, starting with the very first semester of classes. Many students who transferred in got screwed even though it was across the same school system, not even community colleges!

I think the CC to university switch works pretty well in many areas, because there are "established" programs.  My local college had a "3-2" program for engineering with a top 10 engineering school.  The classes you needed to take at the local university were defined.

Our local CC has direct STEM programs with all of the UC schools.  It's very common to do 2 years at CC then transfer, even in STEM.  But these are well-defined.

I used to think that the bummer with those programs was that they were all pretty much "3-2", meaning it would take you 5 years to finish your engineering degree, based on the differences in the schools.  But then I realized, starting with the engineers working for me who were born in the 1980s, that finishing in 4 years is pretty rare these days, particularly at state schools.  From what I hear, it's simply because there are too many students and not enough slots for the required classes.

Back in my day, most people finished at my small private school in 4 years.  But if you flunked a class, it took 5, because of pre-requisites and the fact that classes were only offered once a year, either fall or spring.

Interesting, I've never heard of the problem with not enough slots for classes. I always heard that people finish in 5+ years because of difficulty, either due to taking a lighter course load than scheduled or failing and messing up pre-reqs. It doesn't make sense for a school to not keep up with demand. Mine started offering more and more classes, including some over the summer that weren't available before, due to increased demand. Maybe it's rolling back around to how it was when you graduated. I'm not really sure how to begin searching for data on something like this. It took me 4 years and no summer classes for a BSME even though I switched my major after the first semester. The CC classes from highschool definitely helped offset that and I also got an override to take two classes in one semester even though one was technically a pre-req for the other. I definitely lucked out there.

Roe

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #78 on: October 12, 2017, 10:03:40 AM »

That doesn't mean I think we should start charging for education. The drawback with socialism is that you are locked into it. If you have a high taxes, people have less money and are less able to pay for things themselves. With high taxes state must pay for pretty much all major expenses. You can't take all that money and say "btw, you pay for this bit yourself", because no one would be able to. Even if you lower taxes with the savings in education cost, that is a low gain for everyone. That low gain isn't enough for the few that are currently in need of education.
Of course the complicated bit is that most socialist countries also try to make sure the needs are paid for and allow people to make their own choice in terms of the wants. That makes it really difficult to do a fair comparison because it's difficult to put a monetary price on mental health benefit of never needing to worry about health care. Plus, you have high taxes, but how is that any different from having high health insurance premiums? If you are losing US$1,000/month for health care services, does it matter if it's going to a governmental organization or a for-profit company?

Yes, it's extremely different to compare, given the many variables. Can't even compare purchasing power, since you would have to first decide how much of the americans money is going towards things that is free over here.

About the US$1,000/month, there is a big difference, even if we would pay the same no matter what system we are in. With low taxes you make your own decisions about what to spend money on. Maybe you decide to go YOLO and have no health coverage? Maybe everyone in your family gets a heart attack on their 35st birthday and you decide it's more important to see the world. Or more realistically, you are healthy with good finances and lower your premiums with a sky high deductible. No matter the reason, that's savings you can direct to an area where you personally are more at risk.

I don't have that choice, those US$/1,000 is lifted from my pay each month no matter what. I can't accept higher risk in one area and be more risk adverse in another, it just is what it is. With high taxes, my area of control is severely restricted.

The lock in effect that socialism creates means the government has to provide for all needs. It's citizens can't. As soon as one need fall trough the cracks, huge problems arise.

GuitarStv

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #79 on: October 12, 2017, 11:31:23 AM »
When I was a kid in the 1960s, my parents got a World Book Encyclopedia.  Within the pages, it showed what countries produced what.  On many of the pages, the United States was a leader.  In the years hence, our businesses have been outsourced. 

We are taught that this is a law of nature.  We are taught that we live in a "world economy."  We are taught that there will be trade wars if we do not accept business, "as is."

Well folks - A lot of the world had cheap labor in the 1960s.  It wasn't out sourced then.  We made our own stuff.  The money was spent here and stayed here.  Have you ever considered that we don't have to accept business, "as is?"  Have you ever thought that economics is more often an act of mankind rather than an act of providence?

I think the biggest thing that is wrong today is that our businessmen and our politicians "gave away the store."

We used to have something called "The Basic Education Opportunity Grant."  It helped pay for my college.

I think we got it wrong by our business practices.  The technological innovations of the past 50 years should be trickling down to all of us.  Too many of us have to work multiple jobs with no benefits to make ends meet,..............AND,...............the trend does not seem to be reversing.  Thank you for reading this.

Well thought out post.  I'd say the best Tax reform that could be passed would be one that benefits companies that employ (With good wages) the most employees in the US. If Ford and GM would save Tens of millions of dollars, moving some factories back to the US then they just might do it.

The kinds of unskilled labour that people used to get in the 60s (basic assembly line type stuff) isn't likely to ever come back.  It's not just a matter of things being outsourced to China.  It's cheaper to set up a fully automated line and hire one engineer to look after it than it is to pay a couple dozen people to do the work (and generally do it worse) that machines will perform.  Right now the low labour rates in asia are masking this fact, but if what you proposed were to come true it would only hasten automation, not bring jobs back.

I want production to come back to the US not so much for the jobs, but for the environmental impact.  We put environmental regulations in place to protect our air and water, then we allow corporations to move their manufacturing overseas where they don't have to abide by those regulations.  So, not only are they polluting at pre-regulation levels to manufacture the products, they are also polluting as they ship the products thousands of miles.  What good was it to put those regulations in place when they lead to more pollution?

I would like to change free trade to fair trade by creating a level playing field.  If a corporation wants to sell their goods to US consumers, they must abide by US environmental regulations, regardless of their country of production.  Same goes with worker safety.  All corporations selling goods to US consumers need to abide by our OSHA regulations.  Don't want to abide by our regulations?  No problem.  You just can't sell your goods here.

Once manufacturers in other countries have to abide by our environmental and safety regulations, it will most likely be too expensive to produce the goods 7,000 miles away and pay for those additional shipping costs.  Those manufacturers can then move back to the US and set up automated plants that produce a fraction of the pollution of their overseas plants.

Yeah, that idea makes sense at the macro level.  Couple problems with it though:
- It's notoriously hard to enforce regulations in third world countries . . . I suspect that pretending to follow the rules while your inspector is around and then switching back to the normal polluting ways when he's not would be common occurrence.  It would be in the interests of foreign governments to facilitate this.  Implementation is really tough.
- The American people are not used to paying the environmental (or living wage) cost of anything they buy.  When iPhones cost 20,000$ and T-Shirts go up to 30$ from 4$ there's going to be tremendous political backlash.  Nobody gives a shit about the environment when it costs them lots of money.
- The higher costs will result in reduced consumerism.  Good for the environment, bad for many businesses.  Eventually people would probably shift back from replaceable stuff to stuff that will last a while and can be mended . . .  but until then you're going to have heavy political pressure from corporations and lobbyists on this.

coppertop

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #80 on: October 12, 2017, 11:59:20 AM »
There is no such thing as a free college education.

Ugh!  Of course, but when society benefits in the long run, then steering a life toward productivity and away from selling drugs (for example) is as close to free (long run positive) as need be.  Or do we just deny opportunity to smart youths and see where that gets us?  What do you prefer or propose as a superior alternative?

Let's start with recognizing that a college education is in no way the only way to have productive life away from selling drugs (for example). That plumber making 6-figures without a college education is probably more valuable to society than many underwater-basket weaving degree holders...

So, what about your "smart youths" (that apparently are too smart to be productive in society without college education)? Let's see, they could.... go to college like they do now? Get scholarships to help with the costs. Take out small loans for STEM degrees?

A student here (with decent grades) can go to public college for ~$14k/year (in fact, a friend's daughter is doing just that right now)... including room and board. Now, making minimum wage that's going to take almost 40 hours/week of work year round, so let's assume they can only cover 1/3rd of that and have to take out loans for the rest. After 4 years of college they'd have ~$37k in loans to pay back over many years in their new, college educated, career.

Of course, that assumes they come from a family that doesn't qualify for any financial assistance beyond the basic scholarship. For those with a poor family financial capability, it gets even cheaper as more grants and scholarships become available. So that less advantaged person can get a college education for as little as $0/year with our current system...

So, knowing that a child with no college savings can get a college education and only have a loan for about the same amount as a decently optioned Ford F150, why in the hell would someone think I need to further subsidize their education costs, AND do it through the notoriously inefficient and wasteful federal government??

Thank you for recognizing that the trades are just as valuable as are the professions, if not more so.  We now live in a world where companies will not interview a person for a secretarial job without a college degree.  Ridiculous.  ...my kids all started out at community college, then transferred to a four-year institution.  They saved a bundle and cc did not hurt them at all. The oldest has a Ph.D. in Immunology.  The second is an attorney.  The third has a Master's in Speech Pathology.  If they had decided to enter the trades, I would have been just as happy with them. 

I know a young man who wanted to be an auto mechanic.  His mother said, "You are too smart for that."  His response was, "Because you want a really, really stupid person to work on your car?" 

jmecklenborg

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #81 on: October 12, 2017, 12:08:44 PM »
The kids who are renting the cheap houses and working the service jobs with no cars will leave with $30,000+ in loans.
Most likely they aren't leaving with $30,000 or more in debt.

The median student loan debt is only $13,000.
75% of borrows have less than $29,000 (source).

Most of the students while shocking high amounts of debt are actually in the minority.


25% is still a huge number of people.  It can happen in an undergrad program -- even for in-state people at a state school -- when someone is forced to withdrawal for personal reasons, then can't get back on track right away.  I had a roommate who went on spring break to Colorado and drove the rental car off the side of the mountain in a storm an hour after getting there.  The car was rented in his name but with his girlfriend's credit card so it voided the insurance.  As a poor college student he was forced to pay $14,000 to the car rental place so he dropped out of school and worked two jobs.  So he owed the tuition + the $14,000. 

His sister developed a rare intestinal disease and had to drop out twice.  Luckily she had a mother who worked for a public school so they had great health insurance (I heard she was only paying $100 out-of-pocket per month for extended hospital stays) but she had to eat the cost of the first withdrawal and a failed second attempt to get back in school.  So she probably has $15,000+ in debt for semesters where she hardly set foot on campus. 

I own a house with a street address that is a variation of an apartment building's address on the same street.  I get tons of mail in that mailbox from the apartment building, and a ton of that mail is bill collectors coming after student loans.  I got so much mail for one guy that I eventually opened some of it out of curiosity and he had over $80k in outstanding loans from a variety of community colleges and vocational schools.  That guy's life is ruined because he went to school. 

Knaak

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #82 on: October 12, 2017, 12:59:44 PM »
When I was a kid in the 1960s, my parents got a World Book Encyclopedia.  Within the pages, it showed what countries produced what.  On many of the pages, the United States was a leader.  In the years hence, our businesses have been outsourced. 

We are taught that this is a law of nature.  We are taught that we live in a "world economy."  We are taught that there will be trade wars if we do not accept business, "as is."

Well folks - A lot of the world had cheap labor in the 1960s.  It wasn't out sourced then.  We made our own stuff.  The money was spent here and stayed here.  Have you ever considered that we don't have to accept business, "as is?"  Have you ever thought that economics is more often an act of mankind rather than an act of providence?

I think the biggest thing that is wrong today is that our businessmen and our politicians "gave away the store."

We used to have something called "The Basic Education Opportunity Grant."  It helped pay for my college.

I think we got it wrong by our business practices.  The technological innovations of the past 50 years should be trickling down to all of us.  Too many of us have to work multiple jobs with no benefits to make ends meet,..............AND,...............the trend does not seem to be reversing.  Thank you for reading this.

Well thought out post.  I'd say the best Tax reform that could be passed would be one that benefits companies that employ (With good wages) the most employees in the US. If Ford and GM would save Tens of millions of dollars, moving some factories back to the US then they just might do it.

The kinds of unskilled labour that people used to get in the 60s (basic assembly line type stuff) isn't likely to ever come back.  It's not just a matter of things being outsourced to China.  It's cheaper to set up a fully automated line and hire one engineer to look after it than it is to pay a couple dozen people to do the work (and generally do it worse) that machines will perform.  Right now the low labour rates in asia are masking this fact, but if what you proposed were to come true it would only hasten automation, not bring jobs back.

I want production to come back to the US not so much for the jobs, but for the environmental impact.  We put environmental regulations in place to protect our air and water, then we allow corporations to move their manufacturing overseas where they don't have to abide by those regulations.  So, not only are they polluting at pre-regulation levels to manufacture the products, they are also polluting as they ship the products thousands of miles.  What good was it to put those regulations in place when they lead to more pollution?

I would like to change free trade to fair trade by creating a level playing field.  If a corporation wants to sell their goods to US consumers, they must abide by US environmental regulations, regardless of their country of production.  Same goes with worker safety.  All corporations selling goods to US consumers need to abide by our OSHA regulations.  Don't want to abide by our regulations?  No problem.  You just can't sell your goods here.

Once manufacturers in other countries have to abide by our environmental and safety regulations, it will most likely be too expensive to produce the goods 7,000 miles away and pay for those additional shipping costs.  Those manufacturers can then move back to the US and set up automated plants that produce a fraction of the pollution of their overseas plants.

Yeah, that idea makes sense at the macro level.  Couple problems with it though:
- It's notoriously hard to enforce regulations in third world countries . . . I suspect that pretending to follow the rules while your inspector is around and then switching back to the normal polluting ways when he's not would be common occurrence.  It would be in the interests of foreign governments to facilitate this.  Implementation is really tough.
- The American people are not used to paying the environmental (or living wage) cost of anything they buy.  When iPhones cost 20,000$ and T-Shirts go up to 30$ from 4$ there's going to be tremendous political backlash.  Nobody gives a shit about the environment when it costs them lots of money.
- The higher costs will result in reduced consumerism.  Good for the environment, bad for many businesses.  Eventually people would probably shift back from replaceable stuff to stuff that will last a while and can be mended . . .  but until then you're going to have heavy political pressure from corporations and lobbyists on this.

- I agree implementation and enforcement would be difficult, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't try.  I don't know about you, but I like clean air and water.  Also, while it would be hard to track some of the day-to-day stuff, it would be pretty easy to track the big, expensive stuff like making sure the manufacturer bought approved equipment to mitigate pollution, the buildings were built to code, etc.

- Yes, we've had it easy for so long that nobody really understands the true cost of what they buy.  Most people don't care about pollution, buildings collapsing on workers, or even child labor, so long as it's all happening "over there."  As for the cost of goods, you can already get American-made clothing for reasonable prices.  You can get a t-shirt for $13 that's made in California, jeans for $55, etc.  Sure, they aren't competing with Walmart prices, but they are cheaper than most designer jeans people buy nowadays.

- I consider reduced consumerism a huge win instead of a problem, but I agree with you that there would be a tremendous pushback from corporations.

SimpleSpartan

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #83 on: October 12, 2017, 01:32:14 PM »
The cost of education has skyrocketed over the past 20 years. In the 1980s you could work part time and actually pay for college with minor loans left over.

I have no right answer but the cost of education is too darn high.

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Uh that's exactly what I'm doing now. Living at home going to a cc and working part during the school year and full time in the summers. Wages are also growing people need to stop complaining.

mm1970

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #84 on: October 12, 2017, 02:03:05 PM »
Quote
his isn't always the best choice. Some majors, particularly STEM, have major-specific classes the first two years that are all prerequisites for each other. That's how my major was, starting with the very first semester of classes. Many students who transferred in got screwed even though it was across the same school system, not even community colleges!

I think the CC to university switch works pretty well in many areas, because there are "established" programs.  My local college had a "3-2" program for engineering with a top 10 engineering school.  The classes you needed to take at the local university were defined.

Our local CC has direct STEM programs with all of the UC schools.  It's very common to do 2 years at CC then transfer, even in STEM.  But these are well-defined.

I used to think that the bummer with those programs was that they were all pretty much "3-2", meaning it would take you 5 years to finish your engineering degree, based on the differences in the schools.  But then I realized, starting with the engineers working for me who were born in the 1980s, that finishing in 4 years is pretty rare these days, particularly at state schools.  From what I hear, it's simply because there are too many students and not enough slots for the required classes.

Back in my day, most people finished at my small private school in 4 years.  But if you flunked a class, it took 5, because of pre-requisites and the fact that classes were only offered once a year, either fall or spring.

Interesting, I've never heard of the problem with not enough slots for classes. I always heard that people finish in 5+ years because of difficulty, either due to taking a lighter course load than scheduled or failing and messing up pre-reqs. It doesn't make sense for a school to not keep up with demand. Mine started offering more and more classes, including some over the summer that weren't available before, due to increased demand. Maybe it's rolling back around to how it was when you graduated. I'm not really sure how to begin searching for data on something like this. It took me 4 years and no summer classes for a BSME even though I switched my major after the first semester. The CC classes from highschool definitely helped offset that and I also got an override to take two classes in one semester even though one was technically a pre-req for the other. I definitely lucked out there.

Yeah, it was new to me too.  I'm not sure when the shift happened from it taking 5 years because of difficulty/ taking it easy to "cannot get the classes", but I've definitely heard of these issues.  Maybe more common in schools with trimesters?  It would be interesting to get the data - mostly I just hear the anecdotes from students or their parents.  Because now I'm old, and even though I have a kindergartener, most of my HS and college friends have kids in college.

PoutineLover

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #85 on: October 12, 2017, 03:18:24 PM »
Quote
his isn't always the best choice. Some majors, particularly STEM, have major-specific classes the first two years that are all prerequisites for each other. That's how my major was, starting with the very first semester of classes. Many students who transferred in got screwed even though it was across the same school system, not even community colleges!

I think the CC to university switch works pretty well in many areas, because there are "established" programs.  My local college had a "3-2" program for engineering with a top 10 engineering school.  The classes you needed to take at the local university were defined.

Our local CC has direct STEM programs with all of the UC schools.  It's very common to do 2 years at CC then transfer, even in STEM.  But these are well-defined.

I used to think that the bummer with those programs was that they were all pretty much "3-2", meaning it would take you 5 years to finish your engineering degree, based on the differences in the schools.  But then I realized, starting with the engineers working for me who were born in the 1980s, that finishing in 4 years is pretty rare these days, particularly at state schools.  From what I hear, it's simply because there are too many students and not enough slots for the required classes.

Back in my day, most people finished at my small private school in 4 years.  But if you flunked a class, it took 5, because of pre-requisites and the fact that classes were only offered once a year, either fall or spring.

Interesting, I've never heard of the problem with not enough slots for classes. I always heard that people finish in 5+ years because of difficulty, either due to taking a lighter course load than scheduled or failing and messing up pre-reqs. It doesn't make sense for a school to not keep up with demand. Mine started offering more and more classes, including some over the summer that weren't available before, due to increased demand. Maybe it's rolling back around to how it was when you graduated. I'm not really sure how to begin searching for data on something like this. It took me 4 years and no summer classes for a BSME even though I switched my major after the first semester. The CC classes from highschool definitely helped offset that and I also got an override to take two classes in one semester even though one was technically a pre-req for the other. I definitely lucked out there.

Yeah, it was new to me too.  I'm not sure when the shift happened from it taking 5 years because of difficulty/ taking it easy to "cannot get the classes", but I've definitely heard of these issues.  Maybe more common in schools with trimesters?  It would be interesting to get the data - mostly I just hear the anecdotes from students or their parents.  Because now I'm old, and even though I have a kindergartener, most of my HS and college friends have kids in college.
It took me 5 years to finish my engineering degree. I started out on track to finish in 4, but with a very heavy courseload. I failed one class that was a prerequisite for a few others in my third year, couldn't retake it until the next year because it was only offered in one semester, which delayed my graduation by a full year. I didn't mind too much though, I was able to maintain a full course load by taking a few language courses that I was interested in learning anyway, and my schedule went down to 4-5 classes per semester instead of 5-6 so it was a lot more manageable.
I am also very glad that I moved away for university even though it cost me a little more, learning to live alone and manage my own money was very important to me and I'm in better shape now than many of my friends who lived at home and never gained independence.

aceyou

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #86 on: October 12, 2017, 05:38:11 PM »
I'll add one. 

I think one thing we got wrong is that the whole health insurance industry should not exist. 

Every person who has health insurance has to pay a company to operate as a middle man between people and actual health care.  And every doctors office and hospital and physical therapy place, etc, has to pay someone on THEIR staff to handle insurance claim issues.  There is a tremendous cost just to facilitate this middle man system. 

If we go to single payer, then we can wipe out an entire cost and enormous health care cost that does nothing to actually provide health care to people. 

Most of the first world provides health care to all their citizens, and at a lower average cost than here in the United States. 

As a rebuttal, I often have americans tell me "yeah, but the care in the US is so much better"!!!   Since most countries with single payer systems have higher life expectancies than us, I find that difficult to really believe. 

pecunia

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #87 on: October 12, 2017, 07:46:41 PM »
Quote
I think one thing we got wrong is that the whole health insurance industry should not exist. 

I think you'll get a lot of agreement there.  At least not exist, as it presently is.

Quote
As a rebuttal, I often have Americans tell me "yeah, but the care in the US is so much better"!!!

It ain't better if you can't afford to get some.

Besides, how do these folks know it's better?  Our corporate media isn't totally honest about things.  The aggregate states don't seem to agree.

ysette9

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #88 on: October 12, 2017, 09:34:21 PM »
From reading various wiki articles on this subject. I conclude we in the US do not have better outcomes. This is by standards such as life expectancy, vaccine rates, maternal and infant deaths, and so forth. We spend more than all developed countries on healthcare, not just most. I keep saying that this is a situation where we in the US could have our cake and eat it too: by adopting a system like others we could cover everyone and save money at the same time. How often in life can you get more for less?
"It'll be great!"

Linda_Norway

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #89 on: October 13, 2017, 12:54:04 AM »

As a rebuttal, I often have americans tell me "yeah, but the care in the US is so much better"!!!   Since most countries with single payer systems have higher life expectancies than us, I find that difficult to really believe.

Often there are unexpected countries that have really good quality in their hospitals. Isn't Chile a country known for really good healthcare? And Spain?

I remember seeing a TV serie some years ago where a Turkish girl was studying in Norway for a year. When she broke her leg, she went back to Turkey to have the operation, because she trusted Turkish hospitals more than the Norwegian ones. Sometimes our prejudices might not be so well funded.



marty998

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #90 on: October 13, 2017, 05:20:21 AM »
Many Australians go to Thailand for their dental work.

And for their, um, gender reassignment surgery too...

Some countries simply have a competitive advantage at certain things...

As a rebuttal, I often have americans tell me "yeah, but the care in the US is so much better"!!!   Since most countries with single payer systems have higher life expectancies than us, I find that difficult to really believe.

You guys seem to be very good at exercising your freedom of choice to be unhealthy. However, in some respects, your corporations have simply gotten very good at peddling addictive sugary crap onto an unsuspecting population, and then promising that every ailment can be fixed with a pill.

Maybe the food and pharmaceutical companies are in cahoots on that...

CSuzette

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #91 on: October 13, 2017, 06:55:11 AM »
The NHS in the UK is being idolized but there is no recognition that most people with means also carry private insurance. NHS care is very bare bones. Anyone heard of the fracture clinics?  Forget about “my doctor”.  Elective knee surgery. Better have private insurance or get on a plane to Mexico.

JustGettingStarted1980

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #92 on: October 13, 2017, 07:39:50 AM »
Our (United States) entire food system is simply crap.

Sure, no one is starving, which is a step up from some 3rd world nations, but the easy availability of carbs and sugars in our society [in combination with our car-centric society] has led to a skyrocketing obesity and diabetes rates, which is currently hundreds of thousands of people unnecessarily every year.

Sugar/Carbs kill about 100K/year (via Diabetes, Heart Disease, Strokes, Peripheral Arterial Disease) per the CDC

Guns kill about 30K/year

https://oneinabillionblog.com/tag/diabetes/

ncornilsen

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #93 on: October 13, 2017, 08:00:22 AM »
When I was a kid in the 1960s, my parents got a World Book Encyclopedia.  Within the pages, it showed what countries produced what.  On many of the pages, the United States was a leader.  In the years hence, our businesses have been outsourced. 

We are taught that this is a law of nature.  We are taught that we live in a "world economy."  We are taught that there will be trade wars if we do not accept business, "as is."

Well folks - A lot of the world had cheap labor in the 1960s.  It wasn't out sourced then.  We made our own stuff.  The money was spent here and stayed here.  Have you ever considered that we don't have to accept business, "as is?"  Have you ever thought that economics is more often an act of mankind rather than an act of providence?

I think the biggest thing that is wrong today is that our businessmen and our politicians "gave away the store."

We used to have something called "The Basic Education Opportunity Grant."  It helped pay for my college.

I think we got it wrong by our business practices.  The technological innovations of the past 50 years should be trickling down to all of us.  Too many of us have to work multiple jobs with no benefits to make ends meet,..............AND,...............the trend does not seem to be reversing.  Thank you for reading this.

Well thought out post.  I'd say the best Tax reform that could be passed would be one that benefits companies that employ (With good wages) the most employees in the US. If Ford and GM would save Tens of millions of dollars, moving some factories back to the US then they just might do it.

The kinds of unskilled labour that people used to get in the 60s (basic assembly line type stuff) isn't likely to ever come back.  It's not just a matter of things being outsourced to China.  It's cheaper to set up a fully automated line and hire one engineer to look after it than it is to pay a couple dozen people to do the work (and generally do it worse) that machines will perform.  Right now the low labour rates in asia are masking this fact, but if what you proposed were to come true it would only hasten automation, not bring jobs back.

Not to mention, even with the outsourcing, we can't find the workers to expand our manufacturing facility. They don't want to work there, they have chemical addictions that preclude them from working there... the jobs aren't coming back, and there's noone to fill them.

dresden

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #94 on: October 13, 2017, 08:21:51 AM »
Our (United States) entire food system is simply crap.

Sure, no one is starving, which is a step up from some 3rd world nations, but the easy availability of carbs and sugars in our society [in combination with our car-centric society] has led to a skyrocketing obesity and diabetes rates, which is currently hundreds of thousands of people unnecessarily every year.

Sugar/Carbs kill about 100K/year (via Diabetes, Heart Disease, Strokes, Peripheral Arterial Disease) per the CDC

Guns kill about 30K/year

https://oneinabillionblog.com/tag/diabetes/

On the plus side this should help with our social security and pension issues.

jmecklenborg

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #95 on: October 13, 2017, 10:20:48 AM »
The NHS in the UK is being idolized but there is no recognition that most people with means also carry private insurance. NHS care is very bare bones. Anyone heard of the fracture clinics?  Forget about “my doctor”.  Elective knee surgery. Better have private insurance or get on a plane to Mexico.

I can't comment about the NHS because I have never visited England but I will respond to the accusations heard around the United States that predict "waits" if we switched to a Europe-style system.  The fact is that depending on what your particular malady is here in the United States, you will wait MONTHS to see a specialist. 

Why does this happen despite the large numbers of specialists in every U.S. city?  Because after visiting a primary care doctor, you are funneled into a particular "group" or "network".  So instead of being able to see the first available urologist or neurologist, you have to schedule with the one office in your network.  A medium-sized city will have 10+ different offices with multiple specialists each spread between hospitals and independent clinics.  But you can't simply go to the next office that has an opening. 

While in the circuitous process of diagnosing an unusual or complex condition, months and months are wasted waiting around to simply get in for a first meeting.  Then 6 weeks, 8 weeks -- whatever -- to see them for a follow-up.  I currently have a follow-up scheduled for January -- a full 6 MONTHS after first seeing a specialist, because she is going on maternity leave.  I called around until I could get in somewhere else and will be paying out of pocket on October 26. 

People all around the United States are suffering degenerative conditions that haven't yet been diagnosed or properly diagnosed thanks to these ridiculous waits. 


wenchsenior

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #96 on: October 13, 2017, 10:55:03 AM »
The NHS in the UK is being idolized but there is no recognition that most people with means also carry private insurance. NHS care is very bare bones. Anyone heard of the fracture clinics?  Forget about “my doctor”.  Elective knee surgery. Better have private insurance or get on a plane to Mexico.

I can't comment about the NHS because I have never visited England but I will respond to the accusations heard around the United States that predict "waits" if we switched to a Europe-style system.  The fact is that depending on what your particular malady is here in the United States, you will wait MONTHS to see a specialist. 

Why does this happen despite the large numbers of specialists in every U.S. city?  Because after visiting a primary care doctor, you are funneled into a particular "group" or "network".  So instead of being able to see the first available urologist or neurologist, you have to schedule with the one office in your network.  A medium-sized city will have 10+ different offices with multiple specialists each spread between hospitals and independent clinics.  But you can't simply go to the next office that has an opening. 

While in the circuitous process of diagnosing an unusual or complex condition, months and months are wasted waiting around to simply get in for a first meeting.  Then 6 weeks, 8 weeks -- whatever -- to see them for a follow-up.  I currently have a follow-up scheduled for January -- a full 6 MONTHS after first seeing a specialist, because she is going on maternity leave.  I called around until I could get in somewhere else and will be paying out of pocket on October 26. 

People all around the United States are suffering degenerative conditions that haven't yet been diagnosed or properly diagnosed thanks to these ridiculous waits.

Yup.  I live in a city of 300,000+ with two major medical centers (one associated with a state university) with associated hospitals and multiple associated clinics around the city. I have insurance through one of the major carriers.  When getting a specialist referral for neurology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, or urology, it has been routine for there to be a delay of 8 to 12 weeks prior to a first appointment, even when symptoms are worrisome. For followups, the doctors will usually leave you with..."see you back in 6 weeks," but when I actually sit down with the admin person to schedule, it turns out they are booked out (again) 8-12 weeks already.  Hell, I just went on the hunt for a new GP, and the wait was 8 weeks after I called a  bunch of different clinics (most GPs were not taking any more patients)!

The only specialists that I have ever gotten into within 4 weeks to see were an in-network dermatologist and a private practice ear/nose/throat/allergy doc.

This, 'we don't have to wait to see specialists in the U.S.' stuff is pure unadulterated bullshit.

SubmarineNavigator

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #97 on: October 13, 2017, 11:12:50 AM »
I went to a state university in the 1980s. It was cheap and no frills. I was on the GI-bill and I worked f/t the whole time. I left college with no debt.

Today as a retiree, I volunteer through a few different groups on-campus at this state university [different state]. These are mostly Liberal Arts majors. Nobody attends classes consistently all semester long. The university pays for educational 'trips' for every student, in mid-semester. I am shocked at how much money the university is throwing at these kids, to attend conferences around the nation. Any conference remotely related to your LA major and you get a paid round-trip. These are not STEM majors and it is a bit of a party school, I have a hard time justifying the whole setup. These kids are racking up a huge debt, and their 4-years at university is all a party.

It is offensive that Federal tax dollars are paying for this.

runbikerun

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #98 on: October 13, 2017, 11:27:18 AM »
The NHS in the UK is being idolized but there is no recognition that most people with means also carry private insurance. NHS care is very bare bones. Anyone heard of the fracture clinics?  Forget about “my doctor”.  Elective knee surgery. Better have private insurance or get on a plane to Mexico.

"Most people with means" is a description that's hard to quantify, but healthcare expenditure from voluntary insurance represents 3.4% of overall healthcare expenditure in the UK according to the Office for National Statistics (https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthcaresystem/bulletins/ukhealthaccounts/2015). This is about ten times smaller than the equivalent figure for the US (https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/NationalHealthExpendData/downloads/highlights.pdf).

We should also control for the fact that healthcare spending in the UK is about 9% of GDP, while in the US it's about 17%. In other words, the UK spends approximately 0.3% of its money on private health insurance, while the US spends about 6.5%, or somewhere in the region of twenty times as much. The figure for the privately insured in the UK isn't zero, but it's vastly smaller (and cheaper) than the UK, and measured by most typical proxies for healthcare quality (life expectancy, maternal mortality, etc) there's very little difference.

gaja

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Re: General Society Got It Wrong
« Reply #99 on: October 13, 2017, 11:56:15 AM »
The waiting time is mainly* a feature, not a bug. If there is something serious, or something that has to do with kids, I have never experienced any waiting. When I went to the doctor asking about a lump in the breast, they sent me to the hospital for scans the same day, and I got out with a clean bill of health in less than two hours. But when there is stuff that might get better if you wait it out, you will be sent home with a scheduled date some weeks or months away. Back pains and knee problems are typical examples of diagnoses that might include some waiting, and maybe a visit to a physical therapist. My youngest has Erb's palsy, and while US kids with that diagnoses normally get an operation within the first few years after birth, we waited until she was 8 years old. That waiting periode included regular visits with medical experts, and loads of physical therapy. When the medical team finally decided that this wouldn't get better without surgery, she was in the hospital in less than three months. It could have been sooner, but we had to find a good time to be away from work. At the same age, a lot of those US kids are in hospital for their second or third surgery. The crazy thing is that they get those surgeries covered by insurance, but not the long term physical therapy that is necessary to make the kids healthy.

Please do also remember that the waiting statistics often include scheduled appointments that should not be pushed forward in time. For instance will the 5 month pregnancy scan be scheduled as soon as someone finds out they are pregnant. The statistics will then show that woman waiting 3-4 months to get a scan. We could get rid of those pregnancy related waiting lists, but it would kind of defeat the purpose. Another example is my deaf kid: Since she goes in for hearing tests and check ups once a year, the only time she is not on a waiting list is the one hour a year when she is at the hospital for the check up.


*The main caveat to waiting lists in Norway being a good thing, is regarding mental health. Waiting for help when you are struggling mentally makes you worse, not better. We really need to allocate more money to mental health care.
Travelling southern Norway, Iceland and the Faroes in an electric car: http://travelelectric.blogspot.no/