How I could save the U.S. $300 billion a year

 
unsmoked
 
Avatar
 
 
unsmoked
Total Posts:  8585
Joined  20-02-2006
 
 
 
05 February 2019 09:50
 

Easy.  If it was up to me, instead of spending $611 billion a year on military, I would spend the same as Russia and China combined - about $284 billion.  (China $215 billion, Russia $69 billion).
https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2017/04/24/the-top-15-countries-for-military-expenditure-in-2016-infographic/#4fea646443f3

Another thing, if my fellow citizens really wanted to save some serious change, like a few trillion dollars . . . instead of flushing $2,000,000,000 ($2 trillion) down the toilet every year to pay for health problems, they’d change their eating and drinking habits.  https://www.cms.gov/research-statistics-data-and-systems/statistics-trends-and-reports/nationalhealthexpenddata/nationalhealthaccountshistorical.html

Image Attachments
 
Hedgehogs_story.jpg
 
 
 
Cheshire Cat
 
Avatar
 
 
Cheshire Cat
Total Posts:  1279
Joined  01-11-2014
 
 
 
05 February 2019 11:14
 

You are absolutely correct. The military budget is bloated and is a form of corporate welfare, and the so-called health care industry is parasitic and a national disgrace.

U.S. health care spending grew 3.9 percent in 2017, reaching $3.5 trillion or $10,739 per person.  As a share of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, health spending accounted for 17.9 percent.

In an ideal world, people would look at the absurdity of this waste of money and completely reform military spending and health care. But…

You probably already know what I’m about to write: Human beings are not rational.

Greed, a prime motivation for so many people, especially in the United States, runs rampant. Some even see it as a virtue. Powerful interests that make obscene amounts of money creating lethal weapons and who profit from illness, have bought and paid our political representatives to do their bidding exclusively. These paid-for politicians use fear to justify the corporate welfare going to the military. We can never spend too much to protect you and your family, can we? They spout platitudes about how the US health care system is the greatest in the world, and that socialized health care will lead to “death panels.” They do the bidding of their masters extremely well. They’ve learned that when “the common good” conflicts with profit, manipulating people through fear is the most effective weapon to use.

The worst qualities of humanity are on display; the greedy manipulating the fearful.

 

 
 
icehorse
 
Avatar
 
 
icehorse
Total Posts:  7618
Joined  22-02-2014
 
 
 
06 February 2019 08:49
 

yup and yup.

Once again, we either have become or are fast becoming an oligarchy. This is an issue that 99.99999% of us can and should work together on. The word oligarchy is one we should demand our political candidates start speaking.

 
 
hannahtoo
 
Avatar
 
 
hannahtoo
Total Posts:  7176
Joined  15-05-2009
 
 
 
06 February 2019 10:02
 

But then, you see Stacey Abrams selected to deliver the Democratic response to President Trump.  So there is a counterweight to the oligarchy.  I disagree that the majority of Americans think that the US must be the leader and protector of nations.  Attitudes are shifting to favor partnerships and globalism, because they want our government to focus more on domestic concerns.  This is not so much “America First” as “let’s get real.”  The world is interdependent.  Geopolitical realities are not the same now as they were in the middle of the 20th century.

As for health care, people aren’t “selfish,” they’re just human and therefore have struggles with willpower.  People will always eat too much crap that tastes good, most will not exercise enough, and a minority will be abuse alcohol, cigarettes, and other substances.  But it certainly will help to have good medical care available to everyone, so that small problems don’t have to become disabling or life-threatening.  The healthcare system could also give incentives for good choices, as many insurance companies do already.  Drug prices and other care costs could be fairly controlled.  Poor kids could be served healthful meals and have daily physical activity at school.

The oligarchs don’t control everything.  Look at the rise of LGBTQ rights and the MeToo movement.

 
icehorse
 
Avatar
 
 
icehorse
Total Posts:  7618
Joined  22-02-2014
 
 
 
06 February 2019 10:23
 
hannahtoo - 06 February 2019 10:02 AM

But then, you see Stacey Abrams selected to deliver the Democratic response to President Trump.  So there is a counterweight to the oligarchy.  I disagree that the majority of Americans think that the US must be the leader and protector of nations.  Attitudes are shifting to favor partnerships and globalism, because they want our government to focus more on domestic concerns.  This is not so much “America First” as “let’s get real.”  The world is interdependent.  Geopolitical realities are not the same now as they were in the middle of the 20th century.

As for health care, people aren’t “selfish,” they’re just human and therefore have struggles with willpower.  People will always eat too much crap that tastes good, most will not exercise enough, and a minority will be abuse alcohol, cigarettes, and other substances.  But it certainly will help to have good medical care available to everyone, so that small problems don’t have to become disabling or life-threatening.  The healthcare system could also give incentives for good choices, as many insurance companies do already.  Drug prices and other care costs could be fairly controlled.  Poor kids could be served healthful meals and have daily physical activity at school.

The oligarchs don’t control everything.  Look at the rise of LGBTQ rights and the MeToo movement.

But the oligarchs control the military and the health care system. So i agree with your goals, but the oligarchs do not, and they are blocking your very sensible solutions and orientations.

 
 
unsmoked
 
Avatar
 
 
unsmoked
Total Posts:  8585
Joined  20-02-2006
 
 
 
06 February 2019 12:28
 

quote:  “The estimated cost of drug abuse in the United States—including illegal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco—is more than $820 billion a year and growing. Substance abuse in the U.S. costs society in increased healthcare costs, crime, and lost productivity.”

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-are-the-costs-of-drug-abuse-to-society-63037

Take one minute to scroll down this article.

Costs By Drug Type
The total costs related to each type of drug include:

Tobacco: $300 billion
The total economic cost of smoking annually includes nearly $170 billion in direct medical costs for adults and more than $156 billion in productivity that’s lost because of effects from exposure to secondhand smoke and untimely death.

Alcohol abuse: $249 billion
Binge drinking accounts for $191 billion of the total cost to society for excessive alcohol consumption. Most of the cost is associated with lost productivity at work (77 percent), while other factors include legal expenses (10 percent), medical expenses from binge drinking (11 percent), and healthcare expenses from alcohol-related accidents (5 percent).

Illegal drug abuse: $193 billion

Prescription drug abuse: $78.5 billion

Other Costs to Society
The total costs to society for substance abuse goes beyond the financial costs. Other costs include:

The spread of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C
Deaths from overdose
Effects on unborn children
Crime, unemployment, domestic abuse, divorce, and homelessness

Impact on Workplace Productivity
Drug abuse costs the nation more than $120 billion per year in lost productivity, according to The National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC). Included in that lost productivity are reduced labor participation, incarceration, premature mortality, hospitalization, and participation in treatment programs away from work.

Q:  Even if we never smoked, I wonder how many of us grew up in a fog of second-hand smoke?  How many of our childhood health problems were caused by that?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZPUZyOfwZU

 

 
 
hannahtoo
 
Avatar
 
 
hannahtoo
Total Posts:  7176
Joined  15-05-2009
 
 
 
06 February 2019 13:15
 
icehorse - 06 February 2019 10:23 AM
hannahtoo - 06 February 2019 10:02 AM

But then, you see Stacey Abrams selected to deliver the Democratic response to President Trump.  So there is a counterweight to the oligarchy.  I disagree that the majority of Americans think that the US must be the leader and protector of nations.  Attitudes are shifting to favor partnerships and globalism, because they want our government to focus more on domestic concerns.  This is not so much “America First” as “let’s get real.”  The world is interdependent.  Geopolitical realities are not the same now as they were in the middle of the 20th century.

As for health care, people aren’t “selfish,” they’re just human and therefore have struggles with willpower.  People will always eat too much crap that tastes good, most will not exercise enough, and a minority will be abuse alcohol, cigarettes, and other substances.  But it certainly will help to have good medical care available to everyone, so that small problems don’t have to become disabling or life-threatening.  The healthcare system could also give incentives for good choices, as many insurance companies do already.  Drug prices and other care costs could be fairly controlled.  Poor kids could be served healthful meals and have daily physical activity at school.

The oligarchs don’t control everything.  Look at the rise of LGBTQ rights and the MeToo movement.

But the oligarchs control the military and the health care system. So i agree with your goals, but the oligarchs do not, and they are blocking your very sensible solutions and orientations.

The US finally got out of Vietnam, despite what the oligarchs may have wanted.  They got us into it, but protesters got us out.  At some point, the representatives must do what the people want in order to get their votes.  I’d say healthcare-for-all is the next big push, as people from every affiliation are being negatively impacted by our broken system.

 
Cheshire Cat
 
Avatar
 
 
Cheshire Cat
Total Posts:  1279
Joined  01-11-2014
 
 
 
06 February 2019 15:26
 
hannahtoo - 06 February 2019 01:15 PM

The US finally got out of Vietnam, despite what the oligarchs may have wanted.  They got us into it, but protesters got us out.  At some point, the representatives must do what the people want in order to get their votes.  I’d say healthcare-for-all is the next big push, as people from every affiliation are being negatively impacted by our broken system.

I hope you’re right, Hannah. I hope enough people will open their eyes and see how rigged the system has become, and in a wave of disgust, demand change. But there are now so many obstacles institutionally in place to block the will of the people, that I find it all very discouraging.

The Supreme Court is now stacked with ultra-conservative judges who will always side with big business over the interests of the greater common good. This means that legal abominations such as the Citizens United ruling, where corporations are considered “people” and have the right to use unlimited funds to bribe politicians, all in the name of “Free Speech,” will be upheld and even built upon.

Neither political party talks about much needed campaign reform, probably because they love getting all that corporate cash. Politicians like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren talk about our corrupt system, but the corporate Democrats will do all that they can to derail them. It’s astounding how far Sanders got in the last presidential race considering how the Democratic party was secretly against him, and the way the news media was infatuated with Trump and never covered him.

And of course, there’s the Republican party’s systematic and organized voter suppression effort that seems to be working. It shows how bad things have gotten when one of the two major political parties is opening trying to undermine democracy.

 

 
 
hannahtoo
 
Avatar
 
 
hannahtoo
Total Posts:  7176
Joined  15-05-2009
 
 
 
06 February 2019 17:48
 

Again, I think the fact that the Democrats chose Stacey Abrams to give the response to Trump was telling.  She did highlight voting rights.  The first bill introduced by House Democrats in January, HR1, bill also addresses these issues.  Though it probably would be stopped by the Republican Senate, I think it shows the differences between the parties.

Bernie Sanders did get lots of attention.  He was a big part of the Presidential debates until he lost the nomination.  But he was too much, too fast.  In any case, he greatly influenced the Party Platform.  We can’t change everything at once.  Voting rights seem to be key to a just system and would be cost neutral.  And a switch-over toward green technologies + universal healthcare, that is, real security for the public, need to be top of the list.

 
Garret
 
Avatar
 
 
Garret
Total Posts:  469
Joined  16-01-2019
 
 
 
08 February 2019 06:11
 
icehorse - 06 February 2019 10:23 AM
hannahtoo - 06 February 2019 10:02 AM

But then, you see Stacey Abrams selected to deliver the Democratic response to President Trump.  So there is a counterweight to the oligarchy.  I disagree that the majority of Americans think that the US must be the leader and protector of nations.  Attitudes are shifting to favor partnerships and globalism, because they want our government to focus more on domestic concerns.  This is not so much “America First” as “let’s get real.”  The world is interdependent.  Geopolitical realities are not the same now as they were in the middle of the 20th century.

As for health care, people aren’t “selfish,” they’re just human and therefore have struggles with willpower.  People will always eat too much crap that tastes good, most will not exercise enough, and a minority will be abuse alcohol, cigarettes, and other substances.  But it certainly will help to have good medical care available to everyone, so that small problems don’t have to become disabling or life-threatening.  The healthcare system could also give incentives for good choices, as many insurance companies do already.  Drug prices and other care costs could be fairly controlled.  Poor kids could be served healthful meals and have daily physical activity at school.

The oligarchs don’t control everything.  Look at the rise of LGBTQ rights and the MeToo movement.

But the oligarchs control the military and the health care system. So i agree with your goals, but the oligarchs do not, and they are blocking your very sensible solutions and orientations.

I think there’s a moment right now that could be capitalized on.  Serious distrust of the system across the spectrum, massive income/wealth inequality that people are feeling, and a desire for fairness.  A party that focuses on voting rights as the core method of solving problems (ie: We can solve our problems together, but first government has to represent us.) could find major success in the current climate.  While democrats narrowly lost in Florida, the ballot measure to give felons the right to vote passed nearly 2:1.