Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Arguing a Point

There are so many touchy issues in politics today. Gay marriage, abortion, national health care, etc etc etc...

These are the types of issues that really hit a chord in people, who then tend to forget how persuasion works. They try to appeal to people's emotions, use slippery slope arguments (if this happens, then this will happen, then this, and then we're wearing government issued coveralls in the United States of Communism.) I know that people have strong opinions, and it can be tempting to exaggerate and make pretty ridiculous analogies, because a lot of the time, those sorts of arguments can seem to work. However, wouldn't we rather have a nation of people who want to see both sides of the issue? People who can listen to an argument and decide for themselves what they believe? Shouldn't we encourage open discussion from both sides? I like the website,


I think it's a great place to learn about BOTH sides of the story on lots of hot topics. Sometimes the arguments get heated, but at least you're reading both sides of an issue and you can pick what you believe. The following video is an example of something that DOES NOT provide all the information you need to make an informed choice...or any information really. I don't even want to post it, but it's an example of what I'm talking about in terms of biased arguments, so I will.


I am not a political expert and I'm not so sure where I stand on health care, and this isn't really even supposed to be a blog about health care, it's meant to be a blog about how to argue a point without infuriating the very people you're trying to convince. Do they think anyone who disagrees with National Health Care is going to convinced by that video?

The following is an example argument for both sides of health care from the
http://www.balancedpolitics.org/index.htm website. It got really long, so I just included the first two arguments for each side.


It's no secret that health care costs are spiraling out of control in this country. On average, we now spend more per person on health care than both food and housing. Insurance premiums are multiplying much faster than inflation, which prevents economic growth and leaves businesses with less money to give raises or hire more workers. While the quality and availability of medical care in the United States remains among the best in the world, many wonder whether we'd be better off adopting a universal government-controlled health care system like the one used in Canada.


1. The number of uninsured citizens has grown to over 40 million. Since health care premiums continue to grow at several times the rate of inflation, many businesses are simply choosing to not offer a health plan, or if they do, to pass on more of the cost to employees. Employees facing higher costs themselves are often choosing to go without health coverage. No health insurance doesn't necessarily mean no health care since there are many clinics and services that are free to indigent individuals. However, any costs not covered by insurance must be absorbed by all the rest of us, which means even higher premiums.

2. Health care has become increasingly unaffordable for businesses and individuals. Businesses and individuals that choose to keep their health plans still must pay a much higher amount. Remember, businesses only have a certain amount of money they can spend on labor. If they must spend more on health insurance premiums, they will have less money to spend on raises, new hires, investment, and so on. Individuals who must pay more for premiums have less money to spend on rent, food, and consumer goods; in other words, less money is pumped back into the economy. Thus, health care prevents the country from making a robust economic recovery. A simpler government-controlled system that reduces costs would go a long way in helping that recovery.


1. There isn't a single government agency or division that runs efficiently; do we really want an organization that developed the U.S. Tax Code handling something as complex as health care? Quick, try to think of one government office that runs efficiently. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? The Department of Transportation? Social Security Administration? Department of Education? There isn't a single government office that squeezes efficiency out of every dollar the way the private sector can. We've all heard stories of government waste such as million-dollar cow flatulence studies or the Pentagon's 14 billion dollar Bradley design project that resulted in a transport vehicle which when struck by a mortar produced a gas that killed every man inside. How about the U.S. income tax system? When originally implemented, it collected 1 percent from the highest income citizens. Look at it today. A few years back to government published a "Tax Simplification Guide", and the guide itself was over 1,000 pages long! This is what happens when politicians mess with something that should be simple. Think about the Department of Motor Vehicles. This isn't rocket science--they have to keep track of licenses and basic database information for state residents. However, the costs to support the department are enormous, and when was the last time you went to the DMV and didn't have to stand in line? If it can't handle things this simple, how can we expect the government to handle all the complex nuances of the medical system? If any private business failed year after year to achieve its objectives and satisfy its customers, it would go out of business or be passed up by competitors.

2. "Free" health care isn't really free since we must pay for it with taxes; expenses for health care would have to be paid for with higher taxes or spending cuts in other areas such as defense, education, etc. There's an entitlement mentality in this country that believes the government should give us a number of benefits such as "free" health care. But the government must pay for this somehow. What good would it do to wipe out a few hundred dollars of monthly health insurance premiums if our taxes go up by that much or more? If we have to cut AIDS research or education spending, is it worth it?