Thursday, December 30, 2010

A classic example of a half-truth


I've been doing a fair amount of research into media bias, from both the left and the right of US politics. There's a lot of it about. I hope, on this blog, to be able to present fair, objective and honest opinions, always pointing out where I'm coming from, so you're in no doubt as to my perspective on what I report here.

I've been growing more and more annoyed at the blatant bias shown by some left-wing or 'progressive' media outlets and resources. One, in particular, seems to be consistent in its overwhelming bias: AlterNet. Here's just one example of how they warp and twist the truth.

The European Union has a larger economy and more people than America does. Though it spends less -- right around 9 percent of GNP on medical, whereas we in the U.S. spend close to between 15 to 16 percent of GNP on medical -- the EU pretty much insures 100 percent of its population.

The U.S. has 59 million people medically uninsured; 132 million without dental insurance; 60 million without paid sick leave; 40 million on food stamps. Everybody in the European Union has cradle-to-grave access to universal medical and a dental plan by law. The law also requires paid sick leave; paid annual leave; paid maternity leave. When you realize all of that, it becomes easy to understand why many Europeans think America has gone insane.

. . .

Some social scientists think that making sure large-scale crime or fascism never takes root in Europe again requires a taxpayer investment in a strong social safety net. Can we learn from Europe? Isn't it better to invest in a social safety net than in a large criminal justice system? (In America over 2 million people are incarcerated.)

Unlike here, in Germany jobless benefits never run out. Not only that -- as part of their social safety net, all job seekers continue to be medically insured, as are their families.

. . .

Perhaps the only way for us to remember what we really look like in America is to see ourselves through the eyes of others. While it is true that we can all be proud Americans, surely we don't have to be proud of the broken American social safety net. Surely we can do better than that. Can a European-style social safety net rescue the American working and middle classes from GOP and Tea Party warfare?


There's more at the link.

What the author of this article (using the pseudonym 'Democrats Ramshield', of all things!) carefully fails to mention is that the 'European-style social safety net' of which he or she is so enamored is also the reason why so many European nations are virtually bankrupt today. They've been borrowing money to keep up their entitlement programs, which have become so expensive that they can no longer be funded through taxation. I've mentioned the European financial crisis here before, and you won't have to look far to find many articles about it in the current news headlines.

It strikes me as the height of dishonesty to argue the benefits and advantages of a policy that is simultaneously bankrupting many of the nations that have implemented it. Fairness? Balance? In AlterNet's dreams! There are many other articles at AlterNet that demonstrate the same lack of fairness and even-handedness as this one.

I'm open to honest discussion and debate with anyone, from any perspective. I'll even post here, on this blog, arguments with which I disagree, but which are honestly and cogently presented, so that my readers can make up their own minds. However, when I see such blatantly partisan dishonesty, I write off the source (and the person) concerned as unworthy of attention from any serious person.

Peter

6 comments:

suz said...

I've been trying to find balanced newsmedia analysis. What sources do you use?

Old NFO said...

Peter, as discussed, you will be lucky to get anyone who is not spouting the 'party' line on this...

cybrus said...

They don't mention the vast inferiority of the provided "cradle-to-grave" medical care. We may spend a lot more, but we definitely get more too.

Also, having a cradle-to-grave medical safety net means you have a cradle-to-grave nanny too.

Anonymous said...

And unmentioned of course is that those same European countries had the US military covering their worthless asses for 50 years...

Graybeard said...

Remember, Dr. David Berwick, the appointee in charge of Medicare, has praised the English NHS. Apparently you have to go all the way to Harvard to find a fan of the NHS. You sure don't find too many in the UK, from everything I've read!

Anyway, Dr. Berwick believes they keep costs down by restricting supply. That's right: reduced supply leads to reduced costs.

"In a speech marking the 60th birthday of the NHS, he praised the it for deliberately creating scarcity: "You [the NHS] plan the supply; you aim a bit low; historically, you prefer slightly too little of a technology or service to much too much and then you search for care bottlenecks and try to relieve them.""

Apparently Dr. Berwick believes that medical care is the only thing in the known universe that the law of supply and demand doesn't apply to.

Anonymous said...

I've noticed that many people who want free healthcare are the same people who graduated from high school with me. In high school most took the easy gimme classes and partied. Having terrible grades they couldn't get into college. Instead of looking for a trade such as an electrician or a plumber (both examples of amazing jobs that can pay nearly six figures), they would rather wait tables and whine about how they can't afford good healthcare and how it should be free. Even those who made it into college generally choose worthless degrees such as sociology, psychology, english, and history. All are fine degrees if you can make it in academia, but they have no industrial or private-sector application. This sense of entitlement is rampant among my own friends my age. Simply because they obtain a degree they believe they are automatically worthy of a house and new car every few years. Healthcare? Why not let the rich pay that? What they don't understand is that the people who worked their butts off in high school and college , or even those who became employed in a trade, have to support them with their own tax money. Its truly ridiculous.