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Old 12-05-2006, 06:30 AM
 
Location: Haddington, E. Lothian, Scotland
752 posts, read 596,819 times
Reputation: 175

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimbercuddles View Post
FistFightingHairdresser...I do respect your opinion, and I do not claim to know everything about America's economy and infrastructure...however, what options would you suggest that we would have done differently regarding the tradgedies of 9-11 and Katrina? I'm really curious.
I claim no expertise in leadership or public administration, but my very uneducated response would be:

Iraq: stay out of it.
9-11: Take out the Taliban (done), increase the size of Special Ops by several-fold (not done), freeze Saudi assets (not done)
Katrina: put the NG on call before the thing hit

These are very simplistic responses, I know, but it's quite a far sight more than Mr. Bush did, which is stupefying.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimbercuddles View Post
Another subject that I'm interested in is....what percentage of your paycheck do you actually get to keep? How do the Social Security and Health Insurance systems work in Scotland? I've recently read that one of the only countries that is "better" to live in would be Norway. Any info would be greatly appreciated...thanks.
My total take home is approx. 68% of my paycheck. That includes income tax, health insurance, pension, and property tax. I also get a company car which is taxed as well, but it's cheaper than owning. On top of that we pay 17.5% VAT, but things like food, medicine and books are exempt. Here's a shocker, we pay about $6/gallon for gas.

Health Insurance is universal. Services are provided by the NHS, which is made up of regional trusts funded separately by Scotland and England/Wales. There's also a system of private insurance and hospitals that's often provided as an employment benefit. For us, the NHS is perfectly adequate. Dentists that work on the NHS are hard to come by up North, so most people go private. Coming from America I'm kind of a fetishist when it comes to teeth cleaning, so I pay the $30/month out of pocket for insurance rather than fight for an NHS dentist.

The downsides: my total takehome is somewhat less than the States and things here *are* more expensive. The upsides: I can live a life on foot without sitting in a car, the schools are great, universities are accessible to most regardless of income, and our medical services are spanking new (true for Scotland, not so true for poor England).

The life here isn't for everyone, it all comes down to what priority you place on things. For me, the tradeoff is worth it. I don't value buying a lot of stuff or having a big house, my kids have an awesome school, I have great neighbors and a fine local pub. All things considered, I got it made.

Again, what country is "better" is all a matter of personal taste. I have a friend who lives in Estonia and loves it, but to look at their stats you wouldn't think so. Different strokes.

I think Norway is able to provide generous benefits due to its oil revenues.
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Old 12-05-2006, 06:40 AM
 
Location: Haddington, E. Lothian, Scotland
752 posts, read 596,819 times
Reputation: 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by thecuban View Post
She not alone, there are elephant's in the room today! Would you rather have a flip flopper as a president. Because there are plenty of those in the liberal party. I will vote for the war but then I changed my mind. Isn't that what bulimic people do? They eat the food then they change their mind and puke it up. All for what? To be skinny and popular!!!
Don't like flip-floppers either. I wouldn't vote for anyone who voted for the war. Kinda leaves me short on choices, regrettably.
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Old 12-05-2006, 09:43 PM
 
421 posts, read 244,658 times
Reputation: 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by FistFightingHairdresser View Post
Don't like flip-floppers either. I wouldn't vote for anyone who voted for the war. Kinda leaves me short on choices, regrettably.

I was going to say your choices are few. Howard Dean stood firm and I don't know who else.
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Old 12-06-2006, 03:40 AM
 
Location: Navarre, Florida
327 posts, read 174,615 times
Reputation: 86
FistFightingHairdresser...so is it your opinion that we should get out of Iraq immediately? Or did you mean that we shouldn't have invaded them in the first place? I need the answer to those questions before I respond to the first item.

9-11...I agree with the increasing of the Special Ops..I'm surprised that hasn't been done, but maybe soon now that Rumsfeld is no longer in the game.

So you think that Saudi Arabia's assets are the ones to be frozen? Would you elaborate just a little? Why?

Hurricane Katrina...this is where I will try not to write a book. I lived in Baton Rouge during Katrin and Rita. First of all, you must know that the local and state government in Louisiana is pretty much the most corrupt, scandalous and inept of all the states. That's just the beginning. You stated that we should have put the National Guard on call before Katrina hit. We did...but unfortunately Blanco (gov.) refused to give President Bush the authority to bypass her for several days. She's kind of a control freak, from what I understand...it was even mentioned by Nagin (mayor).

It is common knowledge that in order for a city to be able to have a successful evacuation in the event of a hurricane, a mandatory evacuation must be given at least 50 hours in advance (immediate coast)....Nagin decided that 19 hours might be enough. (and you think it's mostly Bush's fault?) Not only that, but by that time it was virtually impossible for anyone to get fuel, rental cars...any sort of transportation. To this day, no one really knows why all of those buses were just sitting there. (Is that Bush's fault?) Inadequate planning is the fault of the local and state government, in my opinion. We weren't able to use our cell phones for a month after Katrina....there was no back-up communication. People were using Ham radios for 911 calls.

Ok, so you realize this is a subject I feel very strongly about...I think most people have NO CLUE as to the enormity of this disaster. The city was a bowl filled with water because the levees were breached, not overflowing, which is a huge difference. How do you rescue so many people with literally no communication and in some areas, to shallow of water for boats, but too deep for vehicles. With that said, I personally think they did a wonderful job of rescuing all of those people within that time period. Think of how many boats and helicopters it took to rescue those thousands of people....meanwhile the media is complaining about the 30 thousand people who went to the superdome and didn't bring enough food for a couple of days. (they were told to bring enough for 3 days) It was a priority at that time to search and rescue...yes, the people at the dome were hungry and thirsty and didn't have decent bathroom facilities...but they were alive and safe from the water. I think the worst part was that the media seemed to think that the government was required to give these people food and water. Why? You know, if they would have started walking north, even very slowly, they would have been out of harms way within about two hours. What if there were no superdome or if people weren't allowed to seek shelter there? Then what?

The Red Cross, Salvation Army and other charities were not allowed in the immediate area for several days because of safety concerns...no one knew to what extent the water was contaminated or polluted.

Here is what infuriated me the most regarding this tradgedy...the rescuers were afraid to help people because the victims were shooting at the helicopters and boats...I've never heard of such a thing with any other rescue mission. Unfortunately, these people ruin it for all of the others and that is the sad part.

Okay, I am so sorry to write a book, but I was right in the middle of Katrina and I wish more people were aware of what really happened.
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Old 12-06-2006, 03:48 AM
 
Location: Navarre, Florida
327 posts, read 174,615 times
Reputation: 86
FistFightingHairdresser...I also wanted to comment on living in Scotland. I do agree with you...it really depends upon a person's priorities and what benefits him/her the most. There is no utopian country, that's for sure. Scotland sounds nice and I've seen pictures...it's beautiful. I'm just not sure I would want to give away that much money for government benefits...thanks for the info.
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Old 12-06-2006, 08:49 AM
 
Location: Haddington, E. Lothian, Scotland
752 posts, read 596,819 times
Reputation: 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimbercuddles View Post
FistFightingHairdresser...I also wanted to comment on living in Scotland. I do agree with you...it really depends upon a person's priorities and what benefits him/her the most. There is no utopian country, that's for sure. Scotland sounds nice and I've seen pictures...it's beautiful. I'm just not sure I would want to give away that much money for government benefits...thanks for the info.
Spot on. There is no paradise on Earth. Just to be fair, I can also tell you about the Scotland outside my lovely green patch. The one where heroin addicts scratch away their miserable lives as their kids turn feral in soulless cement housing blocks. You can see that here too, and it's not a pretty sight.

The way I look at my finances, actually, I end up spending the same amount of my paycheck for services in Scotland and the US. The difference is that in Scotland they're called "taxes" and in the US they're called "fees". What's important to consider is how efficiently your taxes/fees are being used to deliver the service.

In my experience I've perceived very little difference between whether a service is provided by the private sector or the public. The private sector generally stinks because they try to maximise profit at the expense of customer service. The public sector generally stinks because staff have jobs for life and have no motivation to deliver good service.

My take, anyway.
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Old 12-06-2006, 08:59 AM
 
Location: Haddington, E. Lothian, Scotland
752 posts, read 596,819 times
Reputation: 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimbercuddles View Post
FistFightingHairdresser...so is it your opinion that we should get out of Iraq immediately? Or did you mean that we shouldn't have invaded them in the first place? I need the answer to those questions before I respond to the first item.

9-11...I agree with the increasing of the Special Ops..I'm surprised that hasn't been done, but maybe soon now that Rumsfeld is no longer in the game.

So you think that Saudi Arabia's assets are the ones to be frozen? Would you elaborate just a little? Why?

Hurricane Katrina...this is where I will try not to write a book. I lived in Baton Rouge during Katrin and Rita. First of all, you must know that the local and state government in Louisiana is pretty much the most corrupt, scandalous and inept of all the states. That's just the beginning. You stated that we should have put the National Guard on call before Katrina hit. We did...but unfortunately Blanco (gov.) refused to give President Bush the authority to bypass her for several days. She's kind of a control freak, from what I understand...it was even mentioned by Nagin (mayor).

It is common knowledge that in order for a city to be able to have a successful evacuation in the event of a hurricane, a mandatory evacuation must be given at least 50 hours in advance (immediate coast)....Nagin decided that 19 hours might be enough. (and you think it's mostly Bush's fault?) Not only that, but by that time it was virtually impossible for anyone to get fuel, rental cars...any sort of transportation. To this day, no one really knows why all of those buses were just sitting there. (Is that Bush's fault?) Inadequate planning is the fault of the local and state government, in my opinion. We weren't able to use our cell phones for a month after Katrina....there was no back-up communication. People were using Ham radios for 911 calls.

...

Okay, I am so sorry to write a book, but I was right in the middle of Katrina and I wish more people were aware of what really happened.
Hi again,

Sorry I had to snip some of our post so this would take. I'll see if I can distill this into something short & sweet. In Iraq, I can't see a reason why we should continue to stay there. Short of choosing a side (Shiite, Sunni or Kurd) and lining up against everyone else, there's no way to judo the situation there into something stable. Maybe I'm pessimistic, but that's the way I interpret it. Since our re-stated aim is to bring about a stable, democratic, multi-ethnic Iraq, the one avenue of victory we have -- choosing a side -- is not an option.

So I say the only option left is to get the hell out. Not because it's going to be pleasant to watch the bloodbath that follows, but we have to see this for the ancient, tribal, Arab war that it is. Like it or not it takes a dictator like Saddam Hussein to terrify these people into living peacefully with each other. And we're not in the dictatorship business, at least not yet.

As for the Saudis, they've been the financiers of global terrorism for decades. Let's not pretend we're friends because they have oil. Most of their assets are locked up in the US, that's why we should shut them down. Some might argue that the Saudis would respond by shutting off the oil, which is true..but oil is fungible and someone else will pump it. Eventually the Saudis, starved for cash, would have to turn the pumps back on. It would hurt us bigtime, but they'd have to blink before the US would. And who knows, maybe we'd enjoy a knock-on benefit of actually thinking about energy conservation again.

This is the most powerful lever we have in the fight against terrorism, folks, and we don't even think about using it.

Aaaaaaaand finally, Katrina. All the stories about shooting at helicopters, etc. certainly makes one shake one's head at the state of humanity. But how hard would it have been to line up boats to start ferrying people out? I only have the media as a channel of information, maybe I'm blinkered, but it looked to me like there was a lot of standing around and not much action.

Last edited by FistFightingHairdresser; 12-06-2006 at 09:11 AM..
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Old 12-06-2006, 04:09 PM
 
Location: NOVA - retiring to OKlahoma
569 posts, read 1,121,243 times
Reputation: 353
OMG! I just read all 14 pages of this thread and I'm **** near blind now!

Let me start off by saying that I "lean" slightly to the right. I just want to hit upon some of the different topics this thread has tackled.

Government "Cheese"
Welfare reform was passed on Clinton's watch by the Republican led Congress. Yes, Clinton signed it into law, but that is what the majority of Americans wanted. Beside Clinton is a "Conservative Democrat".

During the previous 40+ years the Democratic led Congress kept increasing the "entitlements" handed out. Another poster said the Dems know how to handle the poverty situation better. Throwing free money at it is not the solution. You wouldn't believe the number of houses, in the 'hood, that I've been in where they have a new plasma TV's, furniture, etc. while their kids are getting govt. subsidized meals at school because the parents are "broke". Before somebody asks how I know, it is because I am a police officer in DC. I'm for helping people that truly need it but the deadbeats that take the money and use it for luxury items need to be cut off.

Deficit
Yes, the budget was balanced on Clinton's watch, but once again it was done by the Republican led Congress. Remember, Congress controls the purse strings. That being said, both parties need to cut out the "pork". All the elected officials are wasting tax dollars on pet projects for the home districts which helps them get re-elected. Which when you think about it that is all they are worried about. The election is only a month old and both parties are already jockeying for the '08 elections.

The current deficit was made up by many different factors including the war, Katrina, Rita, tax cuts, etc. I personally have benefited from the tax cuts. It has kept the economy going strong. Tax revenue has set records that last 2 years. They say that this deficit is the highest in history. Let me ask this, ratio wise how does this deficit compare to years past? Remember everything is more expensive now. 50 years ago you could buy a car for a few thousand dollars, now the avg. price is $30K. It's all relative.

War
I personally am glad we are over there. I believe in the long run it will benefit this nation. Unfortunately since the 60's, a portion of this country has lost its stomach for war. Since all the media shows is the likes of Cindy Sheehan and the bad images of Iraq and doesn't report any of the good things happening over there, it tends to add fuel to the fire.

One thing that irks me is that when this country was at peace no parents were complaining about the benefits their child was getting from the military, reserves, National Guard, etc. But now, for some, the miltary, govt., etc are evil if their child has been deployed overseas. Why don't we ever hear anything in the press about all the parents that support the war and what the children are fighting for?

****, I went on too long. That's my 2 cents worth, I'll get off the soap box now.
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Old 12-07-2006, 12:52 PM
 
Location: Haddington, E. Lothian, Scotland
752 posts, read 596,819 times
Reputation: 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdbeard5 View Post
The current deficit was made up by many different factors including the war, Katrina, Rita, tax cuts, etc. I personally have benefited from the tax cuts. It has kept the economy going strong. Tax revenue has set records that last 2 years. They say that this deficit is the highest in history. Let me ask this, ratio wise how does this deficit compare to years past? Remember everything is more expensive now. 50 years ago you could buy a car for a few thousand dollars, now the avg. price is $30K. It's all relative.
The tax cuts haven't kept the economy going strong. The economy has been running on deficit spending. It's like adding $1000 to your monthly paycheck from your MasterCard and saying you're finances are solid.

Yes the debt is relative, that's why it's evaluated in real terms. To give you an idea of the impact of debt, it's better to measure it as a % of GDP (national income) rather than just comparing absolute numbers.

This chart illustrates:

http://zfacts.com/metaPage/lib/National-Debt-GDP.gif (broken link)
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Old 12-07-2006, 06:43 PM
 
421 posts, read 244,658 times
Reputation: 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by rdbeard5 View Post
OMG! I just read all 14 pages of this thread and I'm **** near blind now!

Let me start off by saying that I "lean" slightly to the right. I just want to hit upon some of the different topics this thread has tackled.

Government "Cheese"
Welfare reform was passed on Clinton's watch by the Republican led Congress. Yes, Clinton signed it into law, but that is what the majority of Americans wanted. Beside Clinton is a "Conservative Democrat".

During the previous 40+ years the Democratic led Congress kept increasing the "entitlements" handed out. Another poster said the Dems know how to handle the poverty situation better. Throwing free money at it is not the solution. You wouldn't believe the number of houses, in the 'hood, that I've been in where they have a new plasma TV's, furniture, etc. while their kids are getting govt. subsidized meals at school because the parents are "broke". Before somebody asks how I know, it is because I am a police officer in DC. I'm for helping people that truly need it but the deadbeats that take the money and use it for luxury items need to be cut off.

Deficit
Yes, the budget was balanced on Clinton's watch, but once again it was done by the Republican led Congress. Remember, Congress controls the purse strings. That being said, both parties need to cut out the "pork". All the elected officials are wasting tax dollars on pet projects for the home districts which helps them get re-elected. Which when you think about it that is all they are worried about. The election is only a month old and both parties are already jockeying for the '08 elections.

The current deficit was made up by many different factors including the war, Katrina, Rita, tax cuts, etc. I personally have benefited from the tax cuts. It has kept the economy going strong. Tax revenue has set records that last 2 years. They say that this deficit is the highest in history. Let me ask this, ratio wise how does this deficit compare to years past? Remember everything is more expensive now. 50 years ago you could buy a car for a few thousand dollars, now the avg. price is $30K. It's all relative.

War
I personally am glad we are over there. I believe in the long run it will benefit this nation. Unfortunately since the 60's, a portion of this country has lost its stomach for war. Since all the media shows is the likes of Cindy Sheehan and the bad images of Iraq and doesn't report any of the good things happening over there, it tends to add fuel to the fire.

One thing that irks me is that when this country was at peace no parents were complaining about the benefits their child was getting from the military, reserves, National Guard, etc. But now, for some, the miltary, govt., etc are evil if their child has been deployed overseas. Why don't we ever hear anything in the press about all the parents that support the war and what the children are fighting for?

****, I went on too long. That's my 2 cents worth, I'll get off the soap box now.


I wish you could have gone on longer.
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