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Being a metalhead is a disability in Sweden

Discussion in 'ProgPower USA Lounge' started by adaher, Jul 19, 2011.

  1. Cheiron

    Cheiron Member

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    Longshot, you are correct. There are a lot of low/no-tax folks, who just want it so that they spend it on guns and beer (or whatever else entertains them). I want it, because I believe that a person should not be forced to surrender their income, based on the threat of violence or incarceration. What I would do with it, would be to turn around and continue to help out my community, by doing what is needed to have these services still existing in some form (I would vote with my dollar for a lot of modifications to how these services are provided, but still, the essential services I still value).

    You lack personal freedom when you are not able to chose how you will utilize the fruits of your labor. The more that government demands of you in this way, the more interest they have in how you manage your economic life, thus the more they are likely to meddle. This meddling then extends to your social life, because your social life has an impact on your economic life, and on the economic life of others. The latter impact is not felt, usually, until the state starts to experience a certain degree of economic hardship.
     
  2. Comic Book Dude

    Comic Book Dude Rockin'

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    It's kinda funny how the government officials who are most likely to enact laws that meddle with your social freedoms, are usually conservatives who say that they hate taxation. They don't want government to hassle with your money, but your personal life?.....all bets are off.
     
  3. Prog_Please

    Prog_Please Member

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    I'm curious. Does Sweden have a flat tax scheme or a progressive taxation scheme?
     
  4. Pellaz

    Pellaz Tigron of Immanion

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    Both...although based on the link I posted earlier, the progressive portion of the tax (it's paid to different taxing authorities) is a small portion overall.


    I know what the long-term tax solution in the U.S. will have to be, probably in about five years, but, to borrow a quote from Gandalf the Grey, "I shall not utter it here." :heh:
     
  5. adaher

    adaher Member

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    Since someone asked about my tattoos comment earlier(yes, I know we've moved way beyond that), what I meant is that tattoos are not particularly associated with metal. Some metal artists are heavily tattooed, but most are not, nor were they in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. In fact, I'd say metal artists are much less likely to have tats than punk,rap, or R&B artists these days. So describing his tattoos as part of his metal identity is asinine. Long hair I can see, although it's not necessary, for about 30 years nearly everyone in metal had long hair. But associating tattoos with metal is like associating Autotune with metal. Some people use it, most don't, and it's far more prevalent in other genres.

    As for the relative merits of the US vs. Sweden, each side has its advantages. Sweden is poorer. But the people are more economically secure. The median after-tax household income in Sweden is $22,889 compared to the US's $31,011. If you think the $8000 or so difference is worth what the extra public services, bully for you. If you prefer to have more control over how you spend your money, then you're probably already here in the US. A quarter of the world's Swedes live in the US. So evidently many preferred what we were doing.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Median_household_income

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swedish_American
     
  6. MartinW

    MartinW Member

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    ...

    You know that the vast majority Swedish Americans emigrated about a century ago, right? If not, it's right there in the first paragraph of the Wikipedia article you yourself just linked to.

    Add two, three, maybe even four generations after that. They aren't "a quarter of the world's Swedes", they're Americans. Of course they live in America. That's where most Americans live.
     
  7. adaher

    adaher Member

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    You act as if that makes Sweden look better, that they only got their act together well enough to stop a mass exodus less than 100 years ago.

    That would imply that in addition to the tradeoff of less money for more services, there's also the small matter of Sweden's stability.
     
  8. MartinW

    MartinW Member

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    "Got our act together"? Ye gods. Do you expect a country to be the same as it was 100 years ago? The USA definitely isn't, and neither is Sweden. We went from being a poor, peripheral and starving country (mostly due to our low population and disadvantageous geographic location, which "American values" would hardly have been able to save) to one of Europe's strongest economies (thanks to a stable, non-corrupt government and a high demand for natural resources after WW2). Strangely enough, people stopped emigrating in any meaningful numbers during the post-war era, despite the fact that the vast majority of it was lead by a decidedly left-wing government. Huh.

    edit) I should also point out that the current Swedish welfare state didn't properly develop until the main waves of emigration to the United States had ended. Social democracy was introduced as a governmental ideology in 1920, and reached its apex much later.
     
  9. adaher

    adaher Member

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    My point is that 100 years is nothing to the US, much less a country like Sweden which is much older. Emigration wasn't just caused because Sweden was poor, it was also caused by Sweden being politically unstable. And this is a country that was not only around for 500 years, but was a world power for a good part of that period. But a world power that still had enough problems at home that the people wanted to live someplace else. Until recently.

    Now if you only want to talk about right now, fair enough. Except that's not looking that great either. Sweden has slipped from 5th in the world in per capita income in the 1970s to 23rd today. It's only a matter of time before emigration becomes an issue again. Even now, Sweden has exported 100,000 Swedes with college degrees, between 1987 and 2002.

    http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.or...ious_issues/articles/2800/sweden_s_brain_gain

    For now, you're importing more brains than you're exporting, but that's only because Sweden is still a heck of a better place to live than Eastern Europe or Africa. And I'm not sure Sweden can be a nation of immigrants like the US. After all, your country is named after your race. Can it still be Sweden if most people aren't ethnic Swedes?
     
  10. adaher

    adaher Member

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    I don't want you to get the impression that I think Sweden is inferior to the US. There are advantages and disadvantages to both places. Better economic security in Sweden vs. more economic opportunities and more money in the US. Less crime, more social cohesion in Sweden. Warmer climate here.

    But given the growing wealth disparity between the US and Sweden, you are going to see more Swedes chase the money. Sweden will have to change to be competitive, and there have been a lot of positive changes. Sweden in many ways is actually more right-wing than the US. Sweden has private retirement accounts, our government failed in its attempts to privatize Social Security. Sweden doesn't have an official minimum wage. Sweden has a decentralized health care system. So there's a lot that the US could learn from Sweden without compromising our principles and traditions. Likewise, there's a lot Sweden can learn from the US without becoming like us.
     
  11. MartinW

    MartinW Member

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    100 years is nothing? On what do you base this assumption? I really couldn't disagree more. From the mid-1800s up until now, practically everything has changed fundamentally.

    The 1940s =/= right now. Sweden has been one of the most politically stable countries in the entire world for almost 70 years. Yes, that is a significant number.

    As for the issue of future immigration/emigration, it's practically impossible to speculate. There are so many economic and social variables to consider before even attempting to take a guess. I would also be very careful with assuming that average income is the main reason for emigrating today.

    In response to your second post:
    That "economic opportunities" are better in the United States is debatable at best. This study finds that the socio-economic standing of one's parents plays a smaller role in social mobility in the Nordic countries compared to the United States, for example. But really, in the end this is just about how you define "opportunity".

    Also, Sweden's lack of legal minimum wage is because the powerful labor unions have negotiated towards de facto minimum wages - i.e. not particularly right-wing.
     
  12. adaher

    adaher Member

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    Labor unions negotiating with management is more free market than the government setting a wage. So in that way, Sweden is more free market than the US.

    The socio-economic numbers aren't wrong, but they are flawed. They aren't comparing like to like. Social mobility is easier in Sweden because the rich are less rich and the poor are less poor. There's only $60,000 seperating the top 10% from the bottom 10%. All it takes for someone to reach Sweden's top 10% is to get a degree and a good job. The US's top 10% is a little harder to crack, our top 10% starts at around $200,000/yr.

    A fair look at social mobility wouldn't look at quintiles, it would look at absolute income. What are the chances that someone born in Sweden poor can crack $200,000/yr vs. someone in the US. Cracking $60,000 vs. our $200,000 isn't really a fair comparison. $60,000 is our upper middle quintile.
     
  13. Dominick_7

    Dominick_7 Member

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    Great discussion. Thanks for keeping it thought provoking and civil.
     
  14. OrbWeaver

    OrbWeaver BECAUSE FALCONER

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    Both MartinW and Adaher's posts are proving educational. I'm enjoying reading. :)
     
  15. adaher

    adaher Member

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    Here's a question I've never been able to get an answer to:

    How do the counties decide what is and what is not covered in the health care system? I know that Sweden doesn't have the rationing problems Canada and Britain do, but no one can cover everything.

    For example, in Uppsala, Sweden has a proton beam therapy center. Proton beam therapy is a really awesome, but extremely expensive, cancer treatment. Since 1989, 1000 Swedes have undergone this treatment. How did the system decide who got the treatment and who didn't? Were the 1000 all cashpayers and the treatment just isn't covered by the government insurance?

    Now in the US, Medicare covers this, but our Medicare is truly open-ended, which is why it's making us broke. Plus we only cover the elderly, so our system can afford to be more generous. Everyone else has to pay cash if they want it, unless their insurance is truly kick-ass. In Britain, the NHS covers it, but can only ration out care to a few hundred individuals per year.

    The reason this is important for the US is that now that we're moving towards universal health care, we can't be as generous as we were when we were just covering the elderly. We need to find out how other countries limit access so that we can get our system to the point where it's affordable.
     
  16. AeonicSlumber

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    Canada having rationing problems is kind of a myth perpetuated by insurance companies and lobbyists over here. There's a pretty huge number of Americans without health insurance that go to Canada on round trip shuttles just to get cheap medication, so if that's the case it follows there aren't really "rationing problems." Or at least, they aren't as dire as lobby groups and insurance companies make them out to be.
     
  17. adaher

    adaher Member

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    The extent of rationing problems is a matter of dispute, often exagerrated by conservatives in the US while at the same time minimized by defenders of the system. However, single payer systems in general limit costs primarily by denying some expensive treatments for all patients, and by making non-emergency cases wait. Canada tracks its wait times, so this is public information. Defenders of the system say that since emergencies are handled immediately and at no cost to the consumer that this accomplishes something the US does not. But that's not really true, because in the US you can get your emergency treated immediately as well, at no cost if you are too poor to pay your bill. What makes access to health care access to real health care is the ability to see doctors quickly for preventive care and non-emergency care, and to get the necessary care for chronic treatments.

    Ehlers-Danlos is a chronic condition that can be debilitating. My wife has it. We currently have insurance, so she has access to an impressive array of care options that help her manage the condition. If we lose our insurance, we're going to be in trouble. But what if I lived in Canada? I wouldn't have to worry, right? Wrong. Ehlers Danlos patients in Canada that my wife talks to on a Facebook group say that they get stabilized when they have emergencies, plus some painkillers, and that's the extent of it. Which is exactly what would happen in the US if I didn't have insurance at all. Except I'd get a bill.

    The primary advantage of single-payer health care is that no one need endure financial ruin because of health care bills. However, it does not follow that everyone gets good health care. Everyone gets as much health care as the system can provide.
     
  18. MartinW

    MartinW Member

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    Vermont passed a bill this year to introduce state-wide single-payer healthcare. In a few years we might know how that turned out compared to earlier/other states.
     
  19. adaher

    adaher Member

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    Given Vermont's income and demographics, it will probably work fine. Single payer would fail in a place like Texas though.

    The irony of universal health insurance is that the more a country or state needs it, the less likely it is to work. It's easy if 95% are insured and you just need to get that 5%. In a state like Texas where 25% are uninsured, they'd never be able to afford it.
     
  20. AeonicSlumber

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    I'm glad this thread is so civil and all, and I love your posts in this thread, I really do man. But let's be real, this is a load of BS bro. Health insurance companies don't care what your socio-economic status is, the hospital will nuke your credit into oblivion if you're too poor to pay the bill. I know, it's happened to a very dear friend of mine.
     

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