Welfare and warfare

by on March 24, 2017 at 12:55 pm in Current Affairs, Economics, History, Law, Medicine, Political Science | Permalink

But it is also a question of history and, more specifically, of how welfare states in the rest of the world developed alongside warfare. European welfare states began in Prussia at the end of the 19th century, when war with France required the mobilisation of a large number of civilians. Britain’s welfare state has its origins in the discovery that many of the men who presented themselves to recruiting offices during the Boer war were not healthy enough to fight. Before the second world war, British liberals would have seen the creation of a government-run national health service as an unwarranted intrusion of government into private life. After 1945 it seemed a just reward for a population that had suffered.

In America this relationship between warfare and health care has evolved differently. The moment when the highest proportion of men of fighting age were at war, during the civil war (when 13% of the population was mobilised), came too early to spur the creation of a national health system. Instead, the federal government broke the putative link between war and universal health care by treating ex-servicemen differently from everyone else. In 1930 the Veterans Administration was set up to care for those who had served in the first world war. It has since become a single-payer system of government-run hospitals of the kind that many Americans associate with socialised medicine in Europe. America did come close to introducing something like universal health care during the Vietnam war, when once again large numbers of men were being drafted. Richard Nixon proposed a comprehensive health-insurance plan to Congress in 1974. But for Watergate, he might have succeeded.

That is from The Economist.

1 Ray Lopez March 24, 2017 at 1:06 pm

War is catalyst for change. WWI was a big push towards Big Brother.

2 Glenn March 24, 2017 at 3:09 pm

“War is the health of the State”

3 Ray Lopez March 24, 2017 at 10:05 pm

Yes, first time I learned about Randolph Bourne, you might say it’s a case of the Bourne Identity. He’s quite right, and I predict Trump will use war (as Bush did) when he becomes even more unpopular, mid-term, to boost his popularity. Taking out North Korea would almost certainly, if the economy remains robust, guarantee him a second term. And his daughter no doubt wants to beat Chelsea as the first woman president, you can be sure.

4 msgkings March 24, 2017 at 10:38 pm

How badly is Trump hoping for a nice little terrorist attack to get everyone to rally behind him as he goes to war…Bush II was considered a dopey joke who stole his election too. Until 9/11. Then he was still a dope but everyone was backing him for a while.

5 So Much For Subtlety March 25, 2017 at 3:59 am

You don’t think that comment says a lot more about you than about Trump? Projection, much?

6 Jan March 25, 2017 at 4:52 am

Of course Trump wants something to happen that gives him an excuse to go forward with his borders, army and brown people agenda. However, he would probably squander the opportunity by bungling it and his agenda would tank quicker than W’s did. DJT has already proven himself to be a liar, dilettante, poor negotiator and rash decision-maker. He’s also incredibly unpopular, which means he will be kept on a short leash with any forays into “very bad ideas”.

7 So Much For Subtlety March 25, 2017 at 4:59 am

Again we see the depravity of the modern Left who insist on judging everyone else by their own standards.

Trump’s “borders, army and brown people agenda” is very popular and with the control of both Houses he should have no problems moving forward with it. He is hardly in trouble. The problem is with the things Trump does not mean – he is a mainstream Democrat and always was. He has no problems with Gay marriage, Transsexuals in bathrooms – or with a single payer scheme. He will struggle to get those things through.

But none of this matters to people who are beyond a mere Derangement Syndrome

8 Jan March 25, 2017 at 5:17 am

Ok great! Then it should be no problem for his agenda to sail through with this very popular agenda and control of both houses. Easy peasy.

I’ll just wait over here while you trip over yourself trying to run away from the president that evangelical Republicans elected in a landslide. You know, the guy who principled, extreme conservatives like Ted Cruz whose wife Trump publicly mocked have gone out of their way to grovel before. Derangement Syndrome indeed.

9 anon March 25, 2017 at 9:51 am

I was just thinking, as I made my morning coffee, that “control of both Houses” is what we thought.

But no one predicted a House still divided, and ungovernable, even with Republican majority.

I did call the “no wonks” thing though, earlier here than the press.

10 anon March 25, 2017 at 9:58 am

Maybe you don’t follow the details:

The Republican leadership in the House could not produce a bill that the Republican majority in the House could pass.

Trump foolishly pushed that forward, but he didn’t author the disaster. I would not even put it on Ryan alone.

Republicans have to learn how to govern.

11 anon March 25, 2017 at 9:59 am

And “So Much,” calling your own failures someone else’s “derangement” is not how you get there.

12 So Much For Subtlety March 25, 2017 at 5:37 pm

Jan March 25, 2017 at 5:17 am

Ok great! Then it should be no problem for his agenda to sail through with this very popular agenda and control of both houses. Easy peasy.

So far, so good. Or rather the only problems he is having is with the Deep State that is determined to over-turn the election.

In the meantime I notice you are not defending your vile, unsubstantiated, projection. You may be that sort of person but it does not mean everyone else is too.

9 anon March 25, 2017 at 9:51 am

But no one predicted a House still divided, and ungovernable, even with Republican majority.M

America does not look ungovernable to me. The fact that Trump and Ryan tried to save Obamacare doesn’t make it so.

10 anon March 25, 2017 at 9:58 am

The Republican leadership in the House could not produce a bill that the Republican majority in the House could pass.

Good. So what?

Republicans have to learn how to govern.

There is an inherent conflict between Beltway insiders like Ryan and the base. That has not gone away. Trump claims to fight the former on behalf of the latter so we will have to see how it works out.

11 anon March 25, 2017 at 9:59 am

And “So Much,” calling your own failures someone else’s “derangement” is not how you get there.

What failures? This is a great outcome. What is more, you all are changing the subject because you do not want to talk about the actual topic – Msg’s and Jan’s vile gutter attacks. Based, it seems, on what they would do if they were President. The fact that you are running away from their claims is proof of how vile those claims were.

13 Jan March 25, 2017 at 7:58 pm

So much losing from SMFS. Not one substantive response about the far right winger Trump’s failing agenda that all the evangelicals and and the most conservative folks voted for. Hang in there buddy. Pence, when he’s sworn in, might give ya something to fight for. 🙂

14 Thomas March 25, 2017 at 8:57 pm

Border agenda has stumbled because ideological leftists have made unconstitutional and unprecedented decisions against it,. One of those decisions does so by granting Constitutional rights to foreigners in foreign countries. If the Congress responded to this judge’s intentionally unconstitutional decision with impeachment, the dishonest left would respond by claiming that using a constitutional check is fascism.

The right is always at a disadvantage because its opponents don’t believe in right and wrong.

15 anon March 25, 2017 at 9:07 pm

I don’t think “So Much” understands what just happened.

Trump, Ryan, Freedom Caucus, and moderate Republicans just learned that they cannot fulfill the promises that each has made to their constituency.

This has nothing to do with non-Republicans or Democrats.

The party itself is split and cannot vote together. Voting with Trump populists (better insurance) sells out Freedom Caucus (full repeal). And vis-versa. Republican moderates are caught in the middle, neither ready for Trump’s populist promises nor extreme repeal.

16 anon March 25, 2017 at 9:09 pm

And Thomas wants to blame leftists in a drama with no leftists.

Priceless.

17 Thomas March 25, 2017 at 9:23 pm

No leftists in the border drama? Someone better let the ninth circuit, the federal district judge in Hawaii, Sally Yates, every leftist journalist, every leftist NGO, and anon himself from a few weeks ago know. Dimwit

18 Thomas March 25, 2017 at 9:24 pm

As for the Republican Healthcare bill, this turn of events makes clear that Republicans are not a monolith like Democrats.

19 anon March 25, 2017 at 9:36 pm

Monolith? Go do some reading. The Democrat’s left wing wanted single payer in 2009. Not only that, Obamacare included 161 Republican amendments.

http://www.salon.com/2010/02/23/hcr_amendments/

20 So Much For Subtlety March 26, 2017 at 4:16 am

13 Jan March 25, 2017 at 7:58 pm

What losing? What is more, why would I want to talk about whatever random distraction you can come up with when the issue is your vile comments?

15 anon March 25, 2017 at 9:07 pm

No, I don’t care what just happened. Because you are trying to change the subject – which remains the vile nature of the Left.

But if I wanted to change the subject I would point out my comment above about the differences between insiders like Ryan and the Freedom Caucus. On this issue anyway. We will see about other questions.

21 anon March 26, 2017 at 11:33 am

For 8 years right wing but jobs could be a flock of loosely aligned trolls. They could complain that anyone who was not exactly their kind of rightist was a vile leftist.

They never needed to agree, to be for anything, together.

Now when they are called on to get together and run the government, what have they got? Just more “vile leftists.”

Sad. The worse deal ever. Losers.

22 So Much For Subtlety March 26, 2017 at 6:24 pm

anon March 26, 2017 at 11:33 am

As usual you do not understand. The Republicans have in fact agreed on a lot of things. The problem is that Trump does not mean some of it. Which is still irrelevant. As the issue is, despite your best efforts to change the subject, Jan and Msg’s vile comments. Which were vile. Not every leftist agreed with them – although I bet most do – so vile cannot apply to all of them.

Still, keep fighting the good fight. Avoid the issues where you will lose. Focus on changing the subject. It could work.

23 Calvin Hobbes March 24, 2017 at 1:20 pm

Greg Cochran says that “medicine” was, on balance, doing more harm than good before 1900. Maybe sawing the limbs off of wounded soldiers was a good thing during the Civil War, assuming that they would have died otherwise, but aside from that medicine in those days was largely quackery.

Medicine as a pseudoscience

https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2016/03/31/medicine-as-a-pseudoscience/

QUOTE:

Back in the late 19th century, Christian Scientists did better than others when sick, because they didn’t believe in medicine. For reasons I think mistaken, because Mary Baker Eddy rejected the reality of the entire material world, but hey, it worked. Parenthetically, what triggered all that New Age nonsense in 19th century New England? Hash?

This did not change until fairly recently. Sometime in the early 20th medicine, clinical medicine, what doctors do, hit break-even. Now we can’t do without it. I wonder if there are, or will be, other examples of such a pile of crap turning (mostly) into a real science.

24 x March 27, 2017 at 8:54 am

Similarly, homeopathic preparations that had zero effect used to be better than the “allopathic” treatments …

25 Art Deco March 24, 2017 at 1:25 pm

I’m a Bathroom warrior with perverts in my eyes! A Bathroom warrior, got perverts in my eyes!!

26 Thomas March 25, 2017 at 9:00 pm

“If you don’t believe that Mayweather Jr. should be able, tomorrow, to declare himself a female and murder a woman in the ring, the day after becoming a man again, you are transphobic.” -The DNC

27 vet March 24, 2017 at 1:56 pm

So, do Vets “earn” their welfare rights regardless of their role while the remainder of the populace must prove their worth or value of care for not having had signaled their willingness to participate let alone sacrifice self for the greater good? Maybe just provide single-payer “socialized” default coverage for children or less abled until they can or do chose to join the ranks?

28 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ March 24, 2017 at 1:57 pm

Yes, vets get their benefits, as long as they aren’t deported for being Mexican.

29 Thiago Ribeiro March 24, 2017 at 2:08 pm

Service garantees citizenship, I mean, benefits.

30 AnonLawyer March 24, 2017 at 4:36 pm

A (not crazy) reason is that the military subjects service members to unique levels of medical danger in view of the pay they receive – an enlisted infantryman running around for 20 years with a 50 pound rucksack tends to be hard on the body, but he’s not getting the $120K/year that a firefighter receives. VA coverage has been overbroad for a while though. I recall my exit briefing including something along the lines of “tell the flight doc about every ache and pain so that its service connected if something develops 40 years from now.” I wouldn’t have a problem limiting the VA to actual on-duty or war-related injuries.

31 MMK March 24, 2017 at 5:01 pm

The fact that the American military has basically become welfare with dignity for a significant portion of the enlisted (and officer) population needs to be explored more.

32 Thiago Ribeiro March 24, 2017 at 5:08 pm

Fair enough. A friend of mine is a retired sergeant at the Brazilian Army. The service destroyed his knees.
Yet, I think American attempts at addressing healthcare are somewhat awful.

33 Amigo March 24, 2017 at 7:13 pm

Info I can find shows median salary of a firefighter to be in 44K to 47K range.

https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes332011.htm

http://www1.salary.com/Fire-Fighter-Salary.html

34 Jan March 25, 2017 at 4:59 am

There’s probably a not tiny number that do get >$100k. But that is likely for much more experienced firefighters with overtime, etc. Often a few anecdotes translates to a new talking point that is applied to a whole group of people, especially when the speaker is already skeptical of that group. (See: the ban on “lottery winners” enrolling in Medicaid that was written into the Republicans health care proposal)

35 Agra Brum March 28, 2017 at 3:13 pm

Would you like to learn more?

36 Bill March 24, 2017 at 1:57 pm

What the article misses is that during WWII and during price controls that followed, employer tax deductible plans came to the for as wage and price controls did not affect health plans being used as a tool to attract and hold employees, and the laws provided for a tax deduction to the employer and no recognition of income to the employee.

So, WWII and the aftermath did affect the path we took.

37 Glenn March 24, 2017 at 3:22 pm

Also, WWII was the spur for America’s current vast school-lunch/breakfast programs & food subsidy programs.

President Harry S. Truman began the ‘national school lunch program’ in 1946 as a military national security measure.

Truman did so after reading a study that revealed many young American men had been rejected from the World War II draft due to medical conditions caused by childhood malnutrition.

LBJ later greatly expanded that overall effort as part of his “Great Society” welfare behemoth.

38 Thiago Ribeiro March 24, 2017 at 5:11 pm
39 Bill March 24, 2017 at 5:13 pm

And, WWII was an egalitarian exercise, because persons of all classes bled red. Egalitarianism leads is associated universal healthcare.

On the other hand, stratified societies with elites and unlikely to have universal healthcare

And

More likely to engage in

Human Sacrifice.

“The researchers found that human sacrifice was widespread in Austronesia, occurring in 25% of egalitarian cultures, 37% of moderately stratified societies and a whopping 67% of highly stratified cultures. Stratification and human sacrifice were clearly linked…” https://www.wsj.com/articles/human-sacrifice-as-a-tool-of-social-control-1490379093

40 Anon7 March 24, 2017 at 9:29 pm

Unfortunately, the pathos of distance is crushed under the steamroller of modern egalitarianism.

41 Harun March 24, 2017 at 9:45 pm

There is no world war now. But poor people pay few taxes. Somebody’s bleeding but it’s not unemployed young men playing call of duty.

42 Bill March 24, 2017 at 10:49 pm

Harun,

Poor people actually pay more in taxes as a percent of income when you consider taxes of all sources.

“Every state and local tax system, from Alaska to Wyoming, is inherently unfair to the poor, according to a new study by the progressive research organization Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. States without a graduated personal income tax and high sales taxes are the worst, but every state has some inequity, the report said.

As multiple states grapple with ways to raise revenue to stave off budget deficits or pay for underfunded state services, many are considering adding to the very taxes that are hardest on the poor – excise taxes, sales taxes and fuel taxes, in particular.

According to the report, the lower one’s income, the higher the effective state and local tax rate. Combining all state and local income, property, sales and excise taxes that Americans pay, the nationwide average effective state and local tax rates by income group are 10.9 percent for the poorest 20 percent, 9.4 percent for the middle 20 percent and 5.4 percent for the top 1 percent, the report said.

In the 10 states with the most regressive tax structures, the bottom 20 percent pay up to seven times as much of their income in combined taxes as their wealthy counterparts. Washington state is the most regressive, taxing its poorest residents at 16.8 percent while taxing the top 1 percent at only 2.4 percent. Other states with the most regressive systems are Florida, Texas, South Dakota, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Arizona, Kansas and Indiana, the study said.”

Here is a link to the Pew Report: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2015/1/15/the-poor-pay-a-higher-percentage-of-income-in-taxes

43 Anon7 March 25, 2017 at 3:22 am

Paying a higher share of a low income does not mean that they pay very much in state and local taxes (and it’s the Nanny Bloomberg types who are most eager to penalize the poor with higher sin taxes on alcohol and tobacco). What’s more it completely ignores federal taxes, which are much more progressive (particularly with EITC), as well as transfers.

44 Bill March 25, 2017 at 9:19 am

Anon,

Not “very much” of income in absolute terms (because they don’t have much) but high in relative terms of their total income, without considering even the limited size of their discretionary income.

Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s so much fun being poor.

I always like it how people also look upon healthcare coverage as some great “benefit” for the poor. I mean, I can’t think of anything more fun than being sick and being on an IV.

But, maybe, in your case, maybe you derive pleasure from having a doctor stick his finger up your ass during your annual physical.

Going to a doctor or hospital–poor or not–is not some leisure time or pleasurable activity.

45 Anon7 March 25, 2017 at 2:55 pm

It is a great benefit to get taxpayers to pay for treating the carpal tunnel syndrome caused by playing video games all day long so that one can go back to playing them all day long.

46 Thomas March 25, 2017 at 9:05 pm

Bill, your study appears to ignore federal taxation. Surely, that wasn’t an agenda driven decision to avoid the negative federal tax rates of the poor. Surely, it wasn’t designed in order to produce a dishonest result that would fool foolals.

47 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ March 24, 2017 at 1:59 pm

“Trump did everything to pass this bill except learning the specifics of what it does and how to explain them to the American people” – @BenjySarlin

48 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ March 24, 2017 at 2:49 pm

“It’s almost as if realtors and bloggers for the KKK aren’t great at crafting legislation!” – @ReformedBroker

49 msgkings March 24, 2017 at 2:50 pm

Then what’s Paul Ryan’s excuse?

50 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ March 24, 2017 at 2:57 pm

“Bruh! I was a ski instructor, not a realtor.” – @TO_Resident

51 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ March 24, 2017 at 4:15 pm

‘The bill would have passed if it weren’t for all the illegal “no” votes.’ – @philipaklein

52 TMC March 24, 2017 at 4:28 pm

Obviously you have to pass it to read it.

53 Jan March 25, 2017 at 5:08 am

If only the master dealmaker Jared Kushner hadn’t been skiing in Aspen, this thing could have gone through. You don’t let your top genius advisor go on vacation when you’re on the cusp of a rare opportunity to take down 1/5 of the economy and leave 24 millions without insurance–it’s irresponsible.

54 Thomas March 25, 2017 at 9:07 pm

How many of those 24 million are those who would choose to forgo insurance in the absence of Obama’s mandate? I mean, I’m sure you are trying to be dishonest, right?

55 anon March 25, 2017 at 9:22 pm

Maybe you should offer a repeal and replace plan for the Republicans. What can you all agree on, vote together on?

56 Thomas March 25, 2017 at 9:31 pm

The best plan is a radical one like universal medicaid with an enormous income-based deductible. Of course, the party of fat-pride, childhood sex changes, and abortion of black babies would label Hitler any politician that made a woman buy her own birth control.

The Republican plan sucked, the Republicans aren’t idealogues in lockstep like the aforementioned abortion party, and do nothing may pass.

57 anon March 25, 2017 at 9:38 pm

Dude. Get used to being in charge.

If that is the Republican plan, why aren’t they voting on it?

Why not last week?

58 anon March 25, 2017 at 9:41 pm

“We can’t govern because we are shouting at the rearview mirror.”

Lol.

59 prior_test2 March 24, 2017 at 2:23 pm

‘European welfare states began in Prussia at the end of the 19th century, when’ Bismarck was scared of the Reich being overthrown by the working class. As noted, the SPD ‘began in 1875, primarily as a Marxist organisation, formed from the union of two workers’ parties. The newly formed SPD was able to quickly tap into a large supporter base of industrial workers and unionists. In the 1877 Reichstag elections SPD candidates received more than 500,000 votes and won 13 seats. Though these figures meant the SPD was a minor party and unable to influence policy, its rapid growth and increasing popularity alarmed the imperial government. In 1878 the German chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, promulgated the first of several Anti-Socialist Laws. Two failed attempts to assassinate Kaiser Wilhelm I in 1878 provided Bismarck with a pretext; he blamed the SPD and its Marxist ideology for fuelling revolution and terrorism. For much of the 1880s, the SPD was targeted by numerous police raids, individual arrests, surveillance and hostile government propaganda. Several militant unions were also targeted or broken up. Though the SPD continued to operate during this period, the party found it difficult to attract members or potential candidates for the Reichstag.

The SPD survived Bismarck’s suppression, however, and by the late 1880s it was again on the rise, fuelled by a revived union movement.’ http://alphahistory.com/weimarrepublic/social-democratic-party-spd/

Odd how when talking about Germany, the political power and role of unions and workers is completely ignored while talking about war and the rise of a state that provided pensions, workmen’s compensation, and health insurance.

60 Millian March 24, 2017 at 6:24 pm

Really, the comic idea that the British government didn’t know the position of the working classes until they asked them to fight in South Africa, or until some guy drew a map of cholera cases and a pump in East London.

61 The Engineer March 24, 2017 at 2:41 pm

The VA’s single payer, socialized medicine aspects are what Vets dislike the most about it. Many would prefer just to be covered by a Medicare type program that allows them to go to any doctor they like.

62 Moo cow March 24, 2017 at 3:11 pm

40% are eligible for Medicare yet they choose VA (2009)

The rest could choose private insurance. But they don’t.

63 msgkings March 24, 2017 at 3:41 pm

Um, yeah pretty telling not going private when they don’t have to pay for VA insurance.

64 Thomas March 25, 2017 at 9:08 pm

Only 40% choose the free product and you call that a succes? Embarassing logic.

65 MatteoZ March 24, 2017 at 2:42 pm

“Viewed from the rest of the world, this debate has an unreal quality.”
nailed it!

66 Dino March 24, 2017 at 2:44 pm

The Civil War did produce a large old age/survivors/disability pension system. Social Security was also the largest expansion of the welfare state under the New Deal.

Maybe America’s historically relatively widespread availability of relatively high-wage work, and the connection between work and health care coverage, made state health care coverage seem redundant. Thus, only those who could not work were considered worthy of welfare, broadly defined, which was provided through the pension and Social Security systems. This can also explain why state health care coverage for people 65+ came so much sooner than more general coverage.

67 Dino March 24, 2017 at 2:50 pm

I meant to say the Civil War created an oasdi pension system in the form of Union veterans pensions.

68 rayward March 24, 2017 at 2:45 pm

The link between war and medicine is two-fold: one, war provides a laboratory for educating young doctors, what with dismembered bodies and limbs and no chance of being sued for malpractice or for being accused of heresy; and two, after the war, the educated young doctors come home to apply what they had learned in war on civilians, whose confidence in the skills of the doctors is in large part a product of ignorance of what the doctors don’t actually know. I mean, would there be Medicare absent the Greatest Generation that deserved it? As compared to the malingerers and dope heads today who should be allowed to die but are kept alive by Medicare and the doctors who self-refer and drain the health care system so those who really deserve the doctors’ efforts are instead left to die.

69 static March 24, 2017 at 5:14 pm

The VA is more single provider than single payer.
I notice no leftists are suggesting we expand it to “VA for all”, as they are wont to do with Medicare. Perhaps because it exposes the rationing government that their desired changes will bring.

70 Edgar March 25, 2017 at 2:39 pm

Using the VA as a model for US healthcare reform has been considered: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2089116/ And if I remember correctly Bernie Sanders actually supported that direction when he was Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Its not really all that bad an idea for reform on the public side of healthcare delivery. As the Economist intimates, it is rather wasteful for the US to allow nearly every committee in Congress to dip their fingers in health policy and to authorize their own little health program fiefdoms. Besides Veterans Affairs, Armed Services has TRICARE, Oversight and Government Reform has the Federal Employees Health Benefits System; Interior has the Indian Health System, Justice has the Bureau of Prisons Health Services Division; Energy & Commerce has a finger in everything health related, Foreign Affairs has beau coup international health programs, and HELP of course has more health programs than it can count. President Trump wisely has given OMB Director Mulvaney some time to survey this swamp and make drainage plans. If the House Freedom Caucus supports these efforts, then shooting down the AHCA may not have been the catastrophe feared. Ultimately if the current federal health program quagmire can be dealt with effectively, Republicans will have the leverage to repeal and replace with a truly efficacious and economical alternative.

71 Millian March 24, 2017 at 6:21 pm

No! I would never, ever believe a one-line unsourced quip from the 20-year old interns in The Economist. Big systems evolved at the same time (armies and social welfare) but did not cause each other! An equally glib but more accurate précis is that when poor people started shooting rich people in the same country, they got votes and then welfare.

72 Zach March 24, 2017 at 7:01 pm

Before the second world war, British liberals would have seen the creation of a government-run national health service as an unwarranted intrusion of government into private life. After 1945 it seemed a just reward for a population that had suffered.

So what, the coal industry was a cherry on top because the population was extra super good?

Labor nationalized healthcare after WWII because they had the votes and it was part of their program. They nationalized a lot of other stuff, too.

73 ChrisA March 25, 2017 at 7:10 am

Well arguably Labour won the election after WW2 because it was felt that the Conservative’s messed up in the 1930’s and got the nation into another world war. My family folk memory is that also the working man got to see a lot more of the aristocratic class at work (as officers) during WW2 and thus lost a lot of respect for them, so increasing support for class warfare as practiced by Labour. Another factor was that the state control of the economy worked quite well during the war, which is normal when everyone shares pretty much the same goals. So the Overton window was significantly shifted towards state control. Taken together these factors support the assertion that WW2 was responsible for Labour 1945 and the welfare state. These factors were so strong, that even after the Conservatives won back power in 1951 they didn’t dismantle the welfare state and most of the state control of industry but actually continued to increase it. Thatcherism was as much a reaction to the 1951 to 1966 as to the1945 administrations.

74 Rich Berger March 24, 2017 at 7:51 pm

This is not Bagehot’s Economist.

75 Ray Lopez March 24, 2017 at 10:24 pm

Bagel Hot’s wha? 😉 Yes, I stopped subscribing to the Economist when they stopped, around the mid-1990s, being concerned about the twin US deficits: the US budget deficit and trade deficit. Now I still read it, for free, on Piratebay or RARBG.

76 msgkings March 24, 2017 at 10:39 pm

20 years later and those deficits haven’t been a problem. So maybe they were right?

77 Agra Brum March 28, 2017 at 3:16 pm

Never let facts impinge on ideology!

78 dux.ie March 24, 2017 at 8:29 pm

Case and Deaton latest paper on mortality of middle-aged less educated white American.

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/03/economic-despair/520473/

“””Case and Deaton theorize that this trend is not happening in Europe because of the social safety net there. While middle-aged whites in the United States are left adrift once economic opportunities go away, those in Europe are provided with financial support and health care that make it easier to be satisfied with life, Deaton believes.”””

79 msgkings March 24, 2017 at 8:51 pm

It’s probably partly the safety net, but it’s also just a different culture. In the US you are what you do, especially for men. First thing people ask when they meet you is what you do for a living. In Europe it’s far less important to people’s identity. So there’s less stigma and despair if you aren’t working.

80 ChrisA March 25, 2017 at 7:20 am

Any real experience with welfare in Europe would quickly change your mind that it is effective. My view is that doctors in Europe are simply prescribing vastly less dangerous medicines, here is the data that supports this;
http://recoverybrands.com/drugs-in-america-vs-europe/
I think the reasons for this are partly cultural; Americans just don’t have a proper drinking culture, where you can go to a bar or restaurant and hang out with people. And they drink a lot less than Europeans. Alcohol is a drug that we have had thousands of years to adapt to, and a bottle of wine a day is much less harmful than a handful of opiates. It is also partly due to the increased state control of medicine, doctors in Europe don’t get the same incentives as the ones in the US where the more they treat the more they get paid. So doctors in Europe don’t tend to worry so much about pleasing their clients, i.e. by prescribing happy pills so much.

81 The Anti-Gnostic March 25, 2017 at 12:30 am

The political party that can get legislation passed and then say with some level of credibility, “No American will ever again go bankrupt from a cancer diagnosis” will probably be in power for as long as they want. The rest of the industrialized world does it, so somewhere in the sofa cushions I imagine we can find the means for catastrophic coverage and some mix of market reforms for routine care.

This is low-hanging fruit; somebody is going to pick it.

82 Boonton March 25, 2017 at 8:14 am

War was previously an ‘average affair’. Average soldier of one country wasn’t that different from the average soldier of another, hence numbers would win. In one sense Germany was a bit ahead of its time as it was able to briefly appear to be winning against the USSR, which had a lot more people. They invested a lot more capital in soldiers but the USSR eventually caught up enough to turn the tide.

But today ‘average is over’ in the sense that the US fighting forces are elite. The armed forces, absent bloated budgets, are less about recruiting and more about screening. ‘A few good men’ are more effective than legions of stormtrooper like average men.

If you subscribe to the view that state exist to fight wars, then the optimal policy would no longer be a welfare state that tries to get the average as high as possible but a Darwinian state that leaves everyone to fend for themselves with the military recruiting out the few who show great promise.

I do not, however, think the idea that states exist to make war has been demonstrated.

83 Troll me March 25, 2017 at 1:45 pm

If 10% of the population is on a guaranteed minimum income, might there be some concern for what shenanigans the state might be able to draft them into “voluntarily”?

The question of what unemployed people on a guaranteed minimum income would get up to is not trivial.

I’d like to think that puttering about as inventors, lots of networking, regularly taking odd courses (assuming regular educatoin is already complete), etc., will lead to this having beneficial effects in the dollars and cents (GDP growth) kind of way. But what if some Stalinist Orwellian regime gets some other types of crazy ideas about what could be done with an unemployed army of tens of millions on the dole?

Nationalism plus guaranteed minimum income are not teh best mix, but for practical purposes a guaranteed income in coming decades to address robots (if they do in fact jobs are lost in aggregate, and not created as every previous period of disruption) only works if you have some exclusionary principle – the one available to us now is the nation state.

Solve the contradiction.

84 The Original D March 25, 2017 at 3:52 pm

I’m agnostic about UBI. I don’t know if it would work, and I can’t for the life of me see a political path to it.

If the US ever becomes totalitarian, I think it will be more along the Brave New World lines. We already have soma in the form of marijuana. If we ever get the male pill the government will have to either radically incentivize reproduction lest we go the way of Japan, or open the borders even further. I think the former will be an easier sell than the latter.

85 Troll me March 25, 2017 at 7:56 pm

On the matter of incentivizing reproduction, it may be worth looking to the Scandinavian examples, some of which Canada has followed (too early for clear data in cases that have been implemented).

1) Handing out cash (a “baby bonus”) is not generally found to be highly effective at increasing birth rates. Most jurisdictions which formlerly had a baby bonus for pro-natalist reasons no longer use this approach.

2) One is for fathers to be able to access parental leave after the birth of the child. Say there are 12 months parental leave – this can be shared half and half between the parents. Men usually being more hesitant about children than women, this seems likely to have a strong effect.

3) A very solid safety net for young parents is important. When you are young, you are relatively more poor. You need SECURITY to raise children, and responsible parents will not intentionally conceive until they are fairly certain. In Quebec, this is manifest through $7 a day child care access. However, children who spend less time with familial caregivers in their youngest years may, marginally, (causality?) have lower quality social integration through school, basically the opposite of what is generally expected to result from regular interaction with other children as toddlers.

4) Child credits of various forms. Basically, this amounts to a monthly or quarterly cash transfer, for each child. In poor countries this is usually conditional on the child attending school and having regular health checkups. Knowing about these backstops, which kick in even for well-to-do parents who potentially face job loss, etc., can make the decision to have kids easier.

Finally, for good research, look to Quebec. Their status as “francophone island in an anglophone sea” makes it very easy for them to justify themselves, as a matter of existential preservation (not of the insane delusionary type coming from those who speak of refugees as living in “invader centres” and the like). Since the discussion does not degrade to variants of “keep out smelly inferior brown people”, it is easier to openly discuss how pro-natalist policies and cultural preservation go hand in hand.

86 Thomas March 25, 2017 at 9:19 pm

Troll me providing yet another example of the left being pro-existence of every demographic and cultural group except one: people who look like themselves but diverge politically. It’s a pretty disgusting position but it is quite popular.

87 Troll me March 25, 2017 at 9:33 pm

I am not aware of any “left wing” aspect to this argumentation. It discusses pro-natalist views geared towards increasing labour market participation and GDP growth.

And anyways, your troll is completely illogical, as is most common.

88 Thomas March 26, 2017 at 12:05 am

Are you daft? Let me dumb this down for you: You would call what Quebec is doing racist, if and only if, it were done by American whites. You are a disgusting racist.

89 Troll me March 26, 2017 at 12:30 am

Well, it’s a little different when you’re 1% of the population of the continent, as compared to the dominant group of the most powerful entity in the history of the planet.

But go on and tell us how victimized you are.

And yes, they are racist in Quebec. Mainly towards people with anglo accents like me.

90 Me troll March 26, 2017 at 2:00 pm

A former employee of mine was an Anglo from Quebec. She was far more intelligent than Nathan, but similarly infected with PC. Hearing her talk about life there was fascinating. Her head would quietly explode as she tried to reconcile the daily petty viciousness of the Francophones with her SJW beliefs.

Ahh, Nathan and his numbers… Why make the denominator the population of North America alone? Include the whole New World and they’re only 0.5%

91 Troll me March 26, 2017 at 2:22 pm

I feel good when I shit on people.

That’s how low I am.

92 jorod March 25, 2017 at 5:41 pm

And the VA is very wasteful.

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