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September 02, 2012

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So, you compared the US to two countries not allowed a military because of...well, you know... a country with full health care which makes patients wait months 9or years) for breast cancer surgery, and a country upon which absolutely no other country depends upon for protection. Good choices.

So who should the US be compared to, John Derby? Oh, I forgot, it's so exceptional that it can't be compared to anyone else and you can't learn from anywhere else. None of the comparisons are going to be perfect, but they are revealing. And if you're going to make uninformed comments about UK healthcare, maybe I should throw in the fact as a Brit that life expectancy is higher in the UK than the US.

Doctor Science - would there be any chance of adding in France to your very interesting data as a contrast to Germany (centralised versus devolved, more military-focused)?

"two countries not allowed a military"

Um, that's interesting. Britain, Germany, Japan, Sweden -- they all have very large military forces. Just nowhere near as large as the United States'. Which was the article's point.

And, of course, the United States is one of the safest countries in the world, which hasn't been invaded since 1814.

two countries not allowed a military because of...well, you know...
Actually, the only thing that the German and Japanese do not have is nuclear weapons. Otherwise, their militaries are rather large. Japan, for example, is about the sixth largest spender on defence, worldwide.

a country upon which absolutely no other country depends upon for protection

This is not really the case. The geopolitics of Northern Europe are a lot more complicated than you would think. The Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) are actually relying quite a lot on the unilateral security guarantees that Sweden issued a few years ago. The relationship between Finland and Sweden is more bidirectional: the Swedes rely a lot on the Finnish land defence, but in the event of a Fenno-Russian crisis, the Swedish navy and air force would most likely be thrown into the game, as they have officially indicated.

Well, technically, there was the 1863 invasion of the United States by the Confederate States.

5) Government has run too long without a reboot. The most recent "reboot" for the US government was over 140 years ago. Government doesn't automatically work for the interest of the people, often it doesn't at all. Government for the interest of the people requires mechanisms to force the political class to benefit the people in order to benefit themselves.

Our political class has had over a century to accumulate and perfect a collection of work-arounds and exploits that defeat those mechanisms, and so free themselves to govern for their own benefit regardless of the damage they do to everybody else.

I think we're ripe for something approaching a revolution.

Among the least useful metrics for determining the 'size' of a country's military is spending. US cost of labor is hugely higher, for example, than the PRC. The only meaningful comparisons are numbers and quality of personnel and equipment.

If you want to talk about defense policy, discuss where US vital interests do and do not lie and then budget accordingly, but be prepared to live with the result.

Just recently we saw NATO have to turn to the US to overthrow Khadaffi. That's how powerful NATO minus the US is, despite the fact that NATO outspent Libya.

U.S. labor costs may be higher, but nowhere near enough to justify spending a trillion dollars on defense or enabling the Navy to ask that their warships arbitrarily be replaced every several years or so at the cost of several billions, regardless of the amount of use they've seen.

Compare that with the shrieking over there even being a minimum wage, and you can't ignore the fact that this country's priorities are seriously screwed up.

magistra:

No problem. I just put up the data and pie chart for France. Briefly: overall gov't spending extremely high, 55% of GDP. But the distribution of spending is very much like other European countries: 3% each for defense and police, education 11%, health 14%, social protection 42%.

Brett:

5) Government has run too long without a reboot.

Believe it or not, I think I agree with you. When I was thinking about what might have happened to make governments in Europe & Japan more efficient and respected than in the US, I wondered if WWII might have been part of it. I think the metaphor of a reboot is a good one, in which case WWII in Germany and Japan counted as a *hard* reboot.

I think we're ripe for something approaching a revolution.

This should scare the pants off you -- think about what rebooting Germany and Japan cost the world, in human and economic terms. How do you get a hard reboot of the US government without WWIII?

Doc,

I am not asking anyone else to do this. But these are the quewstions I would have:

1) You say:

"how much of a commitment they've made to supporting the bottom 20% of the income distribution"

yet those programs, in Sweden for example, are NOT just for the bottom 20%. I have no idea about the other countries. And, as you've kind of noted, SS and Medicare in the US are for everyone, with minimal means testing.

(I would also question the depiction of the "comfortable" middle class. I'm not sure how comfortable the middle class is in this country.)

2) I think it would be useful to know how much of the police/defense counts the National Guard/Air National Guard etc.

I would also point out that all of these numbers have gone up as the Federal government has taken on more and more in the last 50 years. Without the Federal component of education how would we fare, and both economically and educationally. Without the Federal war on drugs how do those numbers fare? States at this point have to fight with the Federal government over marijuane laws, for example.

You seem to assume that Federal centralization would reducee cost

This is bound to undercut economies of scale.

while I assume the local distribution channels would have to exist and the added overhead is less efficient.

Idle question - when you did the regression coefficient for economy of scale, did you assume a linear decrease? Eyeballing the dots, I'm more inclined to believe a line closer to 1/x than just x.

Doc,

This should scare the pants off you --

I wager Brett is thinking more along the lines of the comfortable attaining their final consolidation of power via a coup d'etat, not so much a bloody revolution.

The amount of boodle the well-off get from government largess is indeed staggering, but politically all we get are puzzled looks and "who,me?"

Among the least useful metrics for determining the 'size' of a country's military is spending.

Assuming the OECD is allowing for trade-weighted currency valuations and comparing "real stuff" to "real stuff" this objection has absolutely no validity.

Remember that, to a large extent, most Western nations don't spend that much on defense because the US military, through one treaty organization or another, takes on much of the burden. There could well be arguments that we shouldn't be doing that, but our large defense expenditures are not just because we're horribly inefficient.

And that's not to say that we aren't inefficient. I worked for ten years at a defense contractor, and I could definitely attest to that. Congress uses the Pentagon as a jobs program, and defense contracts frequently over-specify the work to be done.

That said, I know very few people, Republicans included, who "resist the very idea of government." Aside from the libertarians, a significant portion of the GOP resists what they consider excessive government. But yes, I agree that many Americans have little respect for government bureaucrats; however, to a large extent that's probably warranted by the rampant inefficiency and plain lack of concern for quality that so many civil service workers show. It's hard to respect a functionary who makes it clear that they don't really care what problems you're having. Unsurprisingly, this is largely the fault of Congress as well. After all, one part of their reelection strategy is "constituent service" which is primarily helping voters work around recalcitrant bureaucracies. The lack of responsiveness is a feature, not a bug.

On the other hand, it is far from clear that the large safety nets in other nations are actually sustainable. The recent budget crises don't exactly suggest that following their path is a great idea.

I think we're ripe for something approaching a revolution.

the center never wants one because the center is cowardly/comfy.

conservatives, by definition, don't want one.

when radicals try one, conservatives accuse them of hating America and of supporting whatever enemy conservatives hates the most that year. because, though conservatives might pay lip service to wanting change, they do not want the kind of change radicals will bring.

we saw this with the labor movement. we saw this in the 60s. we recently saw this with the Occupy-ish stuff.

any 'revolution' is going to have to come from an external force, not from within.

Sam Johnson:

Yes, I wondered about that, too. Which of these functions do you think I should use to re-run it?

I think your regression analysis should be multivariant. In addition to population two other variables I suspect have a strong influence on spending level are:

1. Racial and cultural homogeneity of the population - The US is an extremely culturally and racially disparate, whereas the other countries much less so right down to absolute minimal. It is hard to achieve unified policies and programs when the citizens identify as separate groups with separate interests.

2. Income inequality level - this can be measured rather neatly by the Gini Coefficient, the idea being that income inequality functions to increase inefficiency in governement interaction in much the same way as racial and cultural divisions, with citizens requiring very different government interventions across socio-economic status. The income disparity in the US is rather extreme (think about the difference between the bttom two quintiles and the top).

Because of these two variables the comparison between the US and the countires is an apples/oranges thing.

That said, the US does spend way too much on defense and this is due to the mil/indust complex as well as certain ingrained notions concerning exceptionalism and manifest destiny.

The LE/incarceration rate and associated spending is out of control and this is largely due to variables 1 & 2, IMHO.

Doc, it does scare the pants off me; History is not replete with examples of successful revolutions. (In the sense of increasing liberty, rather than exchanging masters.) Our own "revolution" here in 1776 was very little of the sort, as England had long since given the colonies a great deal of practical autonomy, and was attempting to take it away again. That makes 1776 more like a defense against external invasion than a revolution.

But the situation, in terms of rule of law, appears to be deteriorating at an accelerating rate, even as the threat of monetary meltdown looms. Each election cycle seems to make the previous look tame by comparison.

I think we're into the endgame for democracy in the US unless something drastic happens, and by that I do NOT mean repudiating the 1st amendment in favor of systematic political censorship, as some advocate. Things are getting ever more antagonistic, because people sense that end is coming, and whoever is on top when the music stops playing might stay there.

It's for all the marbles now, that's why things are getting so ugly.

Bobbyp, are you under the impression I like the GOP? I was a life long libertarian until the late 90's, and I didn't leave the LP out of love for the GOP, but because they, in combination with the Democrats, had succeeded in rendering third parties an utterly futile approach to change.

As I said to a friend earlier in the week, I may be stoked to defeat Obama, but regard the GOP establishment, in WWII terms, as the USSR to the Democrats' Axis. Not so much an ally as an enemy to be saved for after November.

I suspect a lot of conservatives view the GOP that way at the moment.

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

The US has the lowest gini coefficient of education (I wasn't aware that the concept has been applied to education). So, at least concerning education, we seem to be getting some bang for our buck; that despite the challenge of a culturally heterogeneous population.

That depends on whether you can actually consider a lot of the things people have been majoring in an "education". It's one thing to have a wide distribution of people educated in stuff that enables you to make a living, and quite another if they're getting degrees in basket weaving and ethnic studies. (Although I may be unfair to basket weaving degrees; Have you priced hand woven baskets lately?)

Note, this doesn't mean that degrees in non-paying subjects are worthless. Just that they're luxury goods, and luxury goods are what you buy after making sure you're not poor. I think too many people have been misled into purchasing luxury degrees when they should have been trying to become employable.

Re military spending, we've got a bad case of imperial over-reach, aggravated by the fact that, unlike most empires in history, we forgot to collect the tribute. I think we need to get back to being just another country. This isn't because I want America to be reduced, it's because I *don't* want us reduced; As just another country, we have the prospect of being a really great just another country. As a hegemon, we're doing a good job of destroying ourselves, not just economically, but destroying what's best about us.

There's a useful concept which I did not invent, the "values trap." A values rtrap is when people believe something which causes them to be disfunctional but go on believeig it any way. Most of conservative philosophy falls inot this catagory.

The essence of the values trap which causes the US to be so unable to grabble with budgets is the old Calvinist belief that God shows His favor by makig the best people prosperous and that therefore poverty and misfortunes are character faults. There's a bit of the old Medieval notion of people haveing their proper place i the order of things hanging around, too. Those old notions are stil with us in the updated Social Darwinism embodied in the buget proposals of Ryan and Romney. The same notions rear their ugly heads whenever we as a society try to discuss our federal budget.

It doesn't help that we mislabel subsidies for the military industrial complex and military actions as "defense".

A large part of the problem is that governmental institutions are driven to a non-trivial degree by factors extrinsic to the purpose of those institutions. Most notably, but not exclusively, regulatory capture by the interests being regulated.

Defense spending should not be used by Congress as a jobs program for their districts. If defense spending was really about defending the country, we would not be paying for weapons and aircraft even the Pentagon doesn't want; we would be putting military bases and training facilities where it made sense to put them, not divvying them up who needs the most porkbarrel back home or who was the best fund-raiser; and defense policy would be a lot nimbler when it comes to updating tactics and strategy, rather than protecting the economic and political interests of groups who've gotten addicted to the vast windfall associated with obsolete tactics, strategies, and equipment.

Healthcare reform should have been about delivering healthcare in the mot utilitarian way (the most good for the most people); not about making sure the insurance and pharmaceutical industries got their cut.

Financial reform should have been about ending the 40-odd years of deregulation that turned every financial institution into a jobs program for con artists and grifters.

And of course it hurts that the GOP despises both the government and most Americans. You don't get "good government" when the people running it don't believe there is such a thing; and you don't get a "government of the people, by the people, and for the people" in a plutocracy.

It is hard to achieve unified policies and programs when the citizens identify as separate groups with separate interests. -- Blackhawk12

I'd agree that citizens increasingly identify as separate groups. But I don't think I would characterize those groups as primarily racial and cultural. Rather I'd call them primarily socio-economic.

Some racial and cultural groups belong primarily to a single socioeconomic group, which tends to confuse things. For example, there are lots of relatively poor blacks who identify with Democrats -- as many of the non-black poor do. But rich blacks are just as likely to be Republicans as rich non-blacks. Similarly with any other racial or cultural group you care to name, as far as I can tell.

Where things get interesting is which of these socio-economic groups join together in the two parties. That's where things can get cultural. But even then, the biggest driver seems to be "which other socio-economic group do I see as the biggest threat to my well-being?"

That's how lower-middle class (whites) come to join the upper class as Republicans: they see those below them (the poor) as a threat, just as the rich see the middle class as a threat. In contrast, the poor and the upper middle class see those above them as the bigger threat, and end up joined together as Democrats.

In short, if you look at who people fear economically, specifically whether they mostly worry about those above them or those below them you can go a long ways to seeing who they will join and who they will oppose. This isn't really economic determinism, because the decision on who to fear is maleable. But it becomes less maleable as the perception rises that it is getting harder to move up. Still easier than in a lot of other places, but harder than it used to be here.

I wonder if Brett know that only 2.9% of bachelor degrees awarded annually, out of some 1.6 million, are in what is grouped together under "liberal arts and humanities" and that only 0.5% are awarded in gender and ethnic studies, and the most awarded degrees are by far awarded in business, education, and health professions?

(PS I don't actually wonder.)

"Healthcare reform should have been about delivering healthcare in the mot utilitarian way (the most good for the most people); not about making sure the insurance and pharmaceutical industries got their cut."

I agree with everything you posted CaseL accept for the above in that you have made the perennial liberal mistake of not including physicians and hospitals as a greedy interest that must get its cut.

"But I don't think I would characterize those groups as primarily racial and cultural. Rather I'd call them primarily socio-economic."

I don't know about that. You really think that poor Southern white folk are going to want the same programs or to share the pot with poor urban blacks and Hispanics? I am pretty sure they don't. Heck, even the poor urban Hispanics want for themselves and are in conflict with the poor urban blacks.

Same goes for Catholics versus babtists, etc, etc.

People often are locked into clannish identification and think in terms of that only and clannishness becomes increasingly petty regarding the boundries membership.

Brett, when you say "unlike most empires in history, we forgot to collect the tribute", I immediately think of this:
http://www.wnd.com/2003/07/19844/

Also, very cute how you repeat the talking point that overturning Citizens United means "repudiating the 1st amendment" (by which you mean, "repudiating the idea that spending unlimited money is protected under the First Amendment").

I don't have time to look up the cites but I've seen the info and contrary to Fuzzy, there is no correlation between "safety net" spending and countries hit hardest by the economic downturn. Some of the largest social security (small s) spenders in northern Europe did the best in the downturn.

Unaccustomed as I am to agreeing with Brett, I am uncomfortable with the degree that the left and right are unable to listen to each other. This seems functionally similar to the slope that the US kept slipping down in the early 1800s about slavery, which eventually made civil war inevitable. My fears are that we will continue to become more divided until being ungovernable is resolved with either a violent conflict or military dictatorship. (Not imminently, but gradually over maybe 20 years.)

This seems functionally similar to the slope that the US kept slipping down in the early 1800s about slavery, which eventually made civil war inevitable.

Yep. Much as it would be better not to have to get to that point, some things are worth fighting for.

Phil, may I introduce you to a concept you're apparently unfamiliar with? "http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/example>Examples"

"Also, very cute how you repeat the talking point that overturning Citizens United means "repudiating the 1st amendment" (by which you mean, "repudiating the idea that spending unlimited money is protected under the First Amendment")."

Burt, to be specific, I don't believe the 1st amendment protects unlimited spending, except in the specific context speech and printed matter. Of course, that's the precise context campaign 'reformers' want to regulate the spending of money.

Because it's not the money they're trying to regulate, it's the speech...

Yes, Brett, thank you for those "examples" of something so trivial in the scheme of things that they can successfully be ignored away in the context of discussing education spending by government. Very useful, as always.

(In case everybody isn't up on it, "We're wasting millions of taxpayer dollars for people to learn transgender studies and postcolonial Indian literature" is the rallying cry of the "We need more MBAs on college boards of regents/we need to get rid of Pell grants/we need to get rid of subsidized student loans" crowd, of which I'll bet Brett is a card-carrying member.)

2009:

Business 347,985
Social sciences and history 168,500
Health professions and related clinical sciences 120,488
Education 101,708
Psychology 94,271
Visual and performing arts 89,140
Biological and biomedical sciences 80,756
Communication, journalism, and related programs 78,009
Engineering 69,133
English language and literature/letters 55,462
Liberal arts and sciences, general studies, 47,096
Security and protective services 41,800
Computer and information sciences 37,994
Multi/interdisciplinary studies 37,444
Parks, recreation, leisure, and fitness studies 31,667
Agriculture and natural resources 24,988
Public administration and social services 23,851
Physical sciences and science technologies 22,466
Family and consumer sciences/human sciences 21,905
Foreign languages, literatures, and linguistics 21,158
Engineering technologies 15,503
Mathematics and statistics 15,496
Philosophy and religious studies 12,444
Architecture and related services 10,119
Theology and religious vocations 8,940
Area, ethnic, cultural, and gender studies 8,772
Transportation and materials moving 5,189
Communications technologies 5,100
Legal professions and studies 3,822
Library science 78
Military technologies 55
Precision production 29
Not classified by field of study 0


from here

What's a degree in "Business"? Is it training to run Apple, a Motel6 franchise, or a lemonade stand? Is it, possibly, an excuse to spend 4 years on a campus away from your parents -- a more politically correct excuse than "English Language and Literature"?

"Precision Production" is a major I have to learn more about. Likewise "Military Technologies".

"Security and protective services" must be an interesting field of scholarship. I wonder what courses are required for a degree. Also, what fraction of the 41,800 graduates are seeking employment in the ...yuk.. public sector.

--TP

More MBAs? God forbid we get any more MBAs. Only reason there's so many jobs for MBAs as it is, is that people with MBAs are deciding who gets hired...

Security and protective services degrees are usually either Criminal Justice type degrees or dodgy "Homeland Security" degrees offered by for-profit institutions aiming at grabbing GI Bill money from students who want a degree and a path to airport and customs jobs. Bilboards advertising the latter popped up all over in the wake of 9/11.

My fears are that we will continue to become more divided until being ungovernable is resolved with either a violent conflict or military dictatorship.

over what?

the single-digit percentage over which the top 1% of income earners are taxed on their 250,000th dollar? the precise construction of the old-age health-care safety net?

what exactly is it that you all think the rest of the Kardasian-watching, Bud-Lite-Lime-drinking, USA-Today reading country is so riled-up about?

You really think that poor Southern white folk are going to want the same programs or to share the pot with poor urban blacks and Hispanics?

Why not? They don't have to hang out at each other's houses or associate with one another in any other significant way to support the same policies or programs. Voting patterns don't have to equate to people identifying with each other on a personal level. Even if you think people of different backgrounds are generally incapable of liking each other, you don't have to think they won't vote for the same programs from which they would benefit.

Too many MBAs and an overly imperial US on the same day? Brett's on a roll. We could turn him to the dark side, yet.

Note, this doesn't mean that degrees in non-paying subjects are worthless. Just that they're luxury goods, and luxury goods are what you buy after making sure you're not poor.

The US economy generates approximately $50,000/yr. per capita (i.e., everybody). We are not poor. Advanced degrees and more leisure are different goods, not "luxury" goods.

So your little diatribe here left me, well, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indifference_curve>indifferent.

what exactly is it that you all think the rest of the Kardasian-watching, Bud-Lite-Lime-drinking, USA-Today reading country is so riled-up about?

There is a BLACK MAN in the White House.

Re Citizens United and free speech:

"Corporations are people*, my friends" -- Mitt Romney

* So is Soylent Green

Re "useless" degrees:

A University is not a trade school, no matter how much the Job Creators want it to be. Spend four years getting a degree in Ethnic Studies or Contemporary Media or any other Liberal Art and you'll be very good at writing, doing research, comparing different authorities, describing various viewpoints, and digging hard data out of crap.

For decades, the path to Business Management started with a Liberal Arts degree. Nowadays, it seems to be more important to know how to write Excel macros than to write a coherent position paper.

There is a BLACK MAN in the White House.

Yes, indeed, this is what they are riled up about.

I just don't like him. Can't stand to look at him. I don't like his wife - she's far from the First Lady. It's about time we get a First Lady in there who acts like a First Lady and looks like a First Lady.

From NPR (via democratic underground).

I don't want another civil war, and I'm praying (not sure to whom) that the country does the right thing without it. But, you know, I don't want to live in a racist country.

".....you don't have to think they won't vote for the same programs from which they would benefit."

If that were the case, if socio-economic status was the variable defining the interest of voters, then there would be NO Republican party. It would die a quick death due to lack of support from 99% of the voting public.

This is important to realize because it's where liberals fail miserably - from a political perspective - and where the right wing has deviously devised a successful strategy.

By becoming the party of amerikan values the right wingers are *against* welfare (read blacks and hispanics) and illegal immigrants (read hispanics) and abortion (read uppity women) and gays (read unamerikan freaks and pet projects of snotty college elitists).

They have offered a voice for anyone who hates. That's alot of people. The dislike of the perceived outgroup outweighs the rational vote for economic self interest. Thus the right continues to stay in the game.

That said, the right does make more sense on some issues, like gun rights, where liberals shoot themselves in the foot, as usual. The small government pitch makes sense too. Even though it's obvious they won't really do it, it still sounds good.

Any how, the point is that the right has exploited the fact that people vote more for clan "values" and myths than they do economic self interest.

"I don't want another civil war, and I'm praying (not sure to whom) that the country does the right thing without it. But, you know, I don't want to live in a racist country."

The People voted for a black man because that's how desperate they were. The black man offered much shiny hope. He failed to deliver. Now the choice is between the failed black man or a crazy rich elitist white man. There is a sense that 99% of us are screwed either way. It's a powder keg that just might explode. I'm laying 25% chance of civil war in 2013. 45% chance of civil war by 2015.

And I'm laying 19 to 1 odds that we'll just muddle along for another 10 years.

Wasn't there a blog exchange about the exaggerated extant that poor whites vote right-wing?

I think it was centered around a paper: What’s the Matter with ''What’s the Matter with Kansas?'' by Larry Bartels

Rich State, Poor State, Red State, Blue State: What's the Matter with Connecticut? by Andrew Gelman, Boris Shor, Joseph Bafumi, David Park

No Money, No Honey, No Church: The Deinstitutionalization of Religious Life Among the White Working Class by W. Bradford Wilcox & Jeremy Uecker

I have since reformatted my hard-drive, so I can not find the blog links where I found these, however the theme was that the biggest gain republicans made were among white middle-class low education types. Folks who who did well under Democratic social democracy, (high paying union jobs, big government hand-outs from 1950s-1980s,tax breaks for the new middle-classes) and wish the government would restrict those benefits from the the next generation.

"low education" as in, only needing a high school diploma to enter the middle-class.

I'm laying 25% chance of civil war in 2013. 45% chance of civil war by 2015.

This is complete nonsense. There is a nil chance of a US civil war in 2013. A civil war requires two sides with real weaponry. In 2013, the most you could get would be a coup d'etat, or a large amount of civil unrest.

At present, the US military and homeland security apparatus form a large and bureaucratically incoherent, but ideologically relatively homogeneous block. For a civil war to start, you would need a large portion of the US military and security services to defect on a different side from the National Command Authority. Otherwise, you wouldn't get a civil war. You would get a number of massacres.

It is possible that a democratically elected president might be ousted from power by a conspiracy involving Secret Service, the Marine Corps security forces of the White House and a number of general officers, but if such thing happened successfully and swiftly, no portion of the rest of the US military would start a civil war over it.

In fact, there would be no need for violence. I would say that even the threat of collective resignation by the most important combatant commanders and service chiefs would force the resignation of the president at the present political climate.

Lightening Bug,

Soylent Grey is corporations.

I'm laying 19 to 1 odds that we'll just muddle along for another 10 years.

Confounding factor: climate change. Many graphs worse than the worst case as envisioned just ten years ago.


Aus has an excellent safety net, for now, unemployment and disability: no time limits, aged pensions, student and family support payments too. All of these are income and asset tested. We also have a medicare program that covers everyone, but you can purchase private insurance for extras and private hospital visits.
Maybe we are too small for comparison purposes.

1)
"how much of a commitment they've made to supporting the bottom 20% of the income distribution"
yet those programs, in Sweden for example, are NOT just for the bottom 20%. I have no idea about the other countries.

In Germany and UK also, many social services are actually used by all levels of population.

As an example of how this works in Finland, which has a system similar to Sweden:
* I got a college degree and a doctorate without tuition. The goverment actually gave me a rather large grant, which was not dependent on the income of my parents. I graduated without any student loans.
* Daily, I use subsidised mass transit.
* My dental and medical care are paid for by the government, with means testing only for hospitalisation bills. Out-of-the pocket portion is very low (ca. 20 euros for a visit, with a total payment cap of 600 euros).
* My pharmaceuticals are subsidised (40-100% of the cost and a maximum out-of-the-pocket cost of 700 euros per year), with no means testing.
* My unemployment insurance is rather good (400-500 paid days at 60 % of my income).
* If I'm on sick leave, I receive 70% of my income for 300 days, after which, if the illness continues, I can usually get a medical retirement.
* My children go to a heavily subsidised municipal day-care. The cost is slightly means-tested but has a cap around 230 euros per month and child.
* My children's medical and dental care has no out-of-pocket costs at all.
* For maternity and parental leave, the state pays 90-70% of the income of the leave-taking parent for about 11 months.
* If I die, my family will get widow's and orphan's pensions.

So, as a middle class person, with a family, I get quite a lot of government service for my money.

Debbie, I think the reason why is that 25 years ago, 50% of all your workers were in a union. On the other hand, in the US, union membership peaked at 28%... in 1954.

Having the critical mass to enact these programs in the 70's is a key, I think.

Bobbyp: "The US economy generates approximately $50,000/yr. per capita (i.e., everybody). We are not poor. Advanced degrees and more leisure are different goods, not "luxury" goods."

Let me repeat: Luxury goods are what you buy after making sure you're not poor. The fact that somebody else has money is never justification for you buying a luxury good.

"exactly is it that you all think the rest of the Kardasian-watching, Bud-Lite-Lime-drinking, USA-Today reading country is so riled-up about?

There is a BLACK MAN in the White House."

Oh, come off it. They're riled up about gasoline being twice as expensive, (And not providing as good of mileage because of ethanol in it.) the official unemployment rate being above 8%, the real one being twice that, real incomes dropping, hamburger over $3 a pound... They're riled up about watching empty houses rot while they're stuck in apartments with the rent going up at several times the admitted rate of inflation 'cause they can't get a mortgage. (And because the admitted rate of inflation is a crock.) They're riled up over all the ways their lives suck much more than they did just a few years ago. That the only reason anybody would be riled up about Obama is if they were racist is just a bedtime story Democrats tell themselves because they can't ever admit they elected an (charitably) incompetent. And because calling anybody they disagree with a racist has become a spinal reflex.

Oh, and lightning bug? A university is just a trade school with pretensions. "We're not a trade school" is just a rationalization they use for screwing over people who came to them to become more employable.

I wouldn't expect a revolution in 2013, unless Obama did something so Stupid it deserved to be capitalized, like canceling the elections. And while he may be incompetent at governing, he isn't stupid.

At the same time, revolutions don't happen because the people in power intend for them to happen, but instead because they miscalculate what they can get away with. And our elites are getting awfully out of touch.

And the idea that the only weapons you have to worry about are the governments' weapons in case of a revolution is... Well, it's what gun control was trying to make sure of, I suppose, but gun control failed. I would say that if we have a revolution in the US, it's more likely to follow the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unintended_Consequences_%28novel%29>Unintended Consequences model, than be a split within the government. Which is fairly unified, and that's the problem, they're unified against us.

Oh, come off it. They're riled up about gasoline being twice as expensive, (And not providing as good of mileage because of ethanol in it.) the official unemployment rate being above 8%, the real one being twice that, real incomes dropping, hamburger over $3 a pound... They're riled up about watching empty houses rot while they're stuck in apartments with the rent going up at several times the admitted rate of inflation 'cause they can't get a mortgage. (And because the admitted rate of inflation is a crock.) They're riled up over all the ways their lives suck much more than they did just a few years ago.

In that case, they must have really had too much beer, because they forgot all about the financial crisis that caused most of the above, and the fact that corporate executives now make 230 times as much of the average worker (rather than the 20 times they made 40 years ago). Blaming Obama instead of the deregulators who want to turn them into slaves? They do that because they hate black people (among the many people that they hate). See the NPR-quoted woman above.

Basket weaving?

Also:

As an aside on the issue "proper functions of government" as it relates to the guns and butter question, I note that the first enumerated power in Article I section 8 authorizes Congress to raise money through a variety of means to (a) pay debts, (b) provide for common defense, and (c) provide for the general welfare.

What is most definitely *not* authorized, anywhere in the Constitution, is a standing army. On the contrary.

Just a point of historical interest, for the originalists among us.

And the idea that the only weapons you have to worry about are the governments' weapons in case of a revolution is... Well, it's what gun control was trying to make sure of, I suppose, but gun control failed.
This is a nice line but it is woefully inadequate in the historical view. Any industrialised government is fully capable of putting down any armed insurrection that has only personal firearms. Domestic terrorism will not destabilise a regime that has a firm grasp on its security forces. (E.g. Northern Ireland, Germany, Spain, Algeria etc.) Even in the fantasy novel Unintended consequences, the terrorists only won because the government backed down, voluntarily.

Thus, you might get domestic unrest with or without the 2nd amendment, but you will never be able to challenge the government without the support of a large part of the military.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2012/08/29/b9023a52-f1ec-11e1-892d-bc92fee603a7_story.html>“The demographics race we’re losing badly,” said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.). “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”

There won't be a civil war because there is no significant divide iin the population that is worth getting killed over. There is a real threat of a coup. In fact, that's the goal of the Republican party: a quiet de facto coup by packing the judiciary with corporatists and rightwing extremist activists, by enacting voter suppression laws, by getting the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling,by maiinstreming hatem and fear mongering, and thereby entrenchiig the power of the one percent as represented by teh Republican party so that we have a one party state and only the illusion of a democracy. It's a coup tha tis very close to being successful. If the coup fails by current tactics, a quick military coup might become necessary and could happen. If it does I'm willing to bet that all the fake patriots who have so far been able to rationalize away every act of the Republican party will rationalize away the formal overt end of democracy, too.

Tea Party Express Chair believes Obama doesn't "love the country the way we do.

Watch the video to see her dance around defining what she means by "we" and "love the country" and "our heritage." I'm sure it has something to do with gas prices and mortgages.

That $3 a pound hamburger is powerful stuff...

One of the many times in life it pays to be a vegetarian.

wait, people are blaming Obama for the cost of hamburger?

is that because he caused the multi-year drought, or because he didn't do an effective rain dance to end it?

I think it is because he ate dogmeat as a child, which then had a knock-on effect.

RE; civil war: I am thinking of a combination of the following:
a continued drought that raises food prices to levels that force severe cuts in welfare spending, war with Iran that morphs into WW3 and raises fuel prices to unprecedented levels, a continued failing economy, an election this November in which the winner is perceived to have "stolen" the vote, a record heat wave next summer, global unrest and then some wildcard event (POTUS assassinated?) that serves as the fuse that sets the whole sh!t house up in flames - like the '67-'68 riots, but on a national level and encompassing areas beyond the inner cities. This then leads to a declaration of martial law and a significant curtailing of civil liberties which, in turns, takes the scene from rioting and general unrest to full fledged civil war.

Yes, gun control has failed (as it should) and the citizens are sufficiently armed to make this happen. There would be enough military defections (including the National Gaurd and there armories) that the People would have all of the weapons they need.

The kardashian watchers would be on the sidelines and would become collateral damage. That is their lot in life. Such people experience such fates in all revolutions and civil wars.

few are a morally rotten as those who sit in their comfy chairs, wishing for the deaths of others so that they may someday live in political purity.

"...because they forgot all about the financial crisis that caused most of the above, ..."
A lot of us have the sense that government did more than its share to create the financial crisis.
"...and the fact that corporate executives now make 230 times as much of the average worker (rather than the 20 times they made 40 years ago)."
CEO compensation has closely tracked corporate capitalization for decades. Corporations in general are about six times larger than they were four or five decades ago. One advantage of size is that they can fill skyscrapers with experts to deal with all the laws and regulations that affect them.
"Blaming Obama instead of the deregulators who want to turn them into slaves?"
What deregulators? The increase in federal regulations during the Bush was greater than in any previous administration. There was plenty of regulations. A better argument would be that existing regulations weren't enforced, enforced perversely or were themselves a big part of the problem. Regulations can be an obstacle for the honest and a cover for the dishonest.
"They do that because they hate black people (among the many people that they hate). See the NPR-quoted woman above."
Quoting a single individual isn't proof of anything. Besides you can disapprove of how someone looks or acts without skin tone being a factor.

By becoming the party of amerikan values the right wingers are *against* welfare (read blacks and hispanics) and illegal immigrants (read hispanics) and abortion (read uppity women) and gays (read unamerikan freaks and pet projects of snotty college elitists).

They have offered a voice for anyone who hates. That's alot of people. The dislike of the perceived outgroup outweighs the rational vote for economic self interest. Thus the right continues to stay in the game.

I don't disagree, actually. But what GOP spinmeisters also managed to do is convince people that the GOP's prefered policies would help them, or at least wouldn't hurt them, despite the reality being to the contrary. I'm not denying resentment of the other as a general matter. But I do think that, if people understood the reality of the GOP's platform, they wouldn't be swayed by fear or hatred of the other to the point that they would be willing to vote against their own interests. As I wrote, they don't have to like each other to vote the same way.

Abortion and gay marriage are sort of outside of the scope of what I'm talking about, though abortion rights might prove more important to the women who vote against them if they end up having an unwanted preganancy. The abstractions of that argument seem a lot less important when they meet with the realities.

That aside, you wrote specifically that people don't want to "share the pot." But they have to believe that they actually do get a share before deciding they don't want a share. Therein lies the rub.

So, as a middle class person, with a family, I get quite a lot of government service for my money.

Lurker, you just don't seem to realize how much of your liberty has been taken away from you because of what you describe. You're being oppressed, even though it might seem like you're being helped and that the quality of life in your country is higher because of the social policies in place. Invisible chains, they are, you poor devil.

"few are a morally rotten as those who sit in their comfy chairs, wishing for the deaths of others so that they may someday live in political purity."

I hope that's not aimed at me. I don't civil war. I'm just stating what I think is likely.

Think of it this way; what does a Montana rancher have in common with someone living in an east coast urban environment like Boston or NYC? What does someone living in the hills of Kentucky have in common with the rancher or the east coast urbanite? What does someone living in Compton have in common with any of the above or with someone living in Beverly Hills or even Santa Monica?

The only thing that binds people living in these disparate circumstances together is a common identity as "Americans". Otherwise, the union makes no sense whatsoever. It should be clear that the sense of being an American is ideological in basis and not actually practical from a self interest perspective. Once the (increasingly) fragile ideal is seen as no longer functioning in any meaningful way there is no way to cause the Montana rancher to be bound to the poor black in Compton or the east coast urbanite.

See if you can answer this: why is the union good? Why is it better than several separate countries with boundries based on regional economic and life style realities?

I actually cannot find a satisfactory answer to that question.

"That aside, you wrote specifically that people don't want to "share the pot." But they have to believe that they actually do get a share before deciding they don't want a share. Therein lies the rub."

I know I don't get a share of the pot beyond roads to drive on and a military that seems to no longer protect me, but goes running off of crazy foreign adventures with no rational purpose. Otherwise, I pay and pay for others.

Maybe some day I'll collect social security and medicare, but that's a little ways off yet and I am not convinced that those programs will be there for me if and when the time comes.

What do you get from "the pot"?

What do you get from "the pot"?

Stoned to the bejesus, my man.

Seriously, though, I thought we were talking about, for example, poor Southern whites voting against their own self-interests just because they don't like urban blacks. You were specifically talking about people who do or would get some benefit from a given policy, or so I thought.

Perhaps heating assistance would be a good example of something that would help poor people regardless of their race or urban versus rural environment.

I didn't think this was about you and me. And I don't vote out of resentment of people's ethnicity, anyway. Do you?

But I do like the fact that my bank deposits are insured and that I can buy canned goods grown by total strangers with a high degree of confidence. It helps that people are prevented from dumping chemicals wherever they like, too. I'm glad no one makes paint with lead in it anymore. That's pretty good. Buying gasoline that I'm reasonbly sure won't ruin my car's engine is nice. It's good to know I'm getting the right amount relative to the posted price, too. It's nice to know that, if a serious defect is found the model car I drive, that someone has to tell me about it and fix it. That's cool. I like to know the ingredients and nutritional content of the food I buy. I'm into having enough fiber in my diet. I'm glad there's a rating system for the efficiency of my appliances so I can make better informed purchases of them. It's great that the electrical service coming into my house is reasonably safe and very unlikely to blow up or catch fire. I like the internet. That's a good one. It's nice that someone checks out airplanes on a rigorous basis, and that freight trains have proper signaling so they don't crush me at crossings.

I have to go, but thanks for asking. Maybe I'll add some stuff later.

"I didn't think this was about you and me."

It isn't. I asked as a rhetorical method designed to ellicit a hard look at possibly unexamined yet deeply held ideas; to wit, that the union is inherently good and sustainable; because I am not sure it is either.

"And I don't vote out of resentment of people's ethnicity, anyway. Do you?"

Nope. Not at all - accepting those who hold duel allegiance, one to this country and the other to the zionist entity. These people are blood sucking subversives and are going to get all of us in a lot of trouble (see WW3). I will not vote for any candidate that shows an unusual level of pandering to them.


"Seriously, though, I thought we were talking about, for example, poor Southern whites voting against their own self-interests just because they don't like urban blacks."

We were and are.

We are also talking about why any interest group in this vast and diverse continent would want to sacrifice his interests - real or perceived only - for members of a union that he will never meet, nor care to meet, and whos interests appear unrelated if not opposed to his. It is bigger than just the racial tensions, which are largely an illusion created by the natural tendency of humans to organize things into in groups and out groups based on some very superficial qualities. Yet, though you are idealistic and think we can overcome this tendency, it seems throughout history, all over the world, that a substantial proportion of humans cannot transcend simple racial, religious and cultural bigotry and that the bigotry has always been the source of much strife and human suffering. Stupid, but there it is.

Otherwise, there are very real regional divides in this country pertaining to economic interests and life style/culture that cannot be ingored. So, I ask again, why is the preservation union desirable to those regional interests? and that is, of course, a question that can be ignored and probably will be.

"I have to go, but thanks for asking. Maybe I'll add some stuff later."

uh huh. You don't need a federal government for all of those things you listed. I fact, the federal government, along with corporatists, is working to erode the functioning of some of them.

Still, I like those things too. The question is, is having those things worth what comes with them? Examples of add ons being an immense and immensely costly military, an immense law enforcement/domestic profiling and spying/penal system, Dick Cheney, Wall St banking crises, Iraq/afghanistan and (?) Iran wars............

"Any industrialised government is fully capable of putting down any armed insurrection that has only personal firearms."

Right...

Probably true of small and/or stupid insurrections. Certainly not true of widespread insurrections, or ones that aren't stupid enough to engage in organized battles with military forces. I mean, do you really think Americans are the only people in the world incapable of asymmetric warfare? You think there aren't at least several million people in this country who could throw together an IED if they saw reason to?

Do you realize that long range shooting, AKA "sniping", is a popular civilian sport? Heck, military snipers use firearms developed for the civilian market?

And how is a nation dependent on tax revenues from a modern economy to finance it's military forces supposed to engage in military actions against the places where the revenues are generated?

Man, do I ever hope the people running our government aren't thinking like that. Thinking that you don't have to worry if you spark revolution, because you could crush it easily? Is THAT the sort of thinking you want the people in charge to engage in?

Like I said, nobody provokes a revolution intentionally, but rather by making mistakes about what they can get away with. Including mistakes about how easy it would be to crush insurgents, I suppose.

http://www.infowars.com/money-insider-us-will-see-violent-civil-unrest-in-2012/

That article contains a few worthwhile links. Bottom line, the feds think there is going to be civil unrest up to an including revolution and they are preparing for it.

And yes, the plan is to crush out protests and revolts by force of arms. IMO, that will backfire and make those crushed into martyrs and galvanize the people into an effective revoltionary force.

I am always fascinated by how lib.s - like hairshirt - suddenly become jackbooted fascists boasting of and relying on their beloved centralized goverment's ability to kill discent. True character doesn't take long to emerge when even the thought of pressure rears up.

This is bound to undercut economies of scale.

I'm interested in the relative impact of lack of local control vs. economies of scale. I'm not saying economies of scale don't come into play, but I'm not convinced that savings are the end result when you detach local accountability. Frex, I'm not so sure we get a real bang for the buck from "No Child Left Behind." And lack of local tailoring can also result in inefficient funding outlays. Not to mention that the budget for the Fed DOEd has increased from 14B to 65B+ while having apparently had no positive impact on results. My impression is that incredible inefficiencies of lobbying, turf wars, etc. that occur in Washington vastly outweigh any economies of scale on education. But I'm open to more information.

This is particularly obvious in our military spending, which is grotesquely large compared to every other country in the world,

And our responsibility disproportionate to boot. Pretty much what Fuzzy Face said.

Corruption.

Not necessarily disagreeing here, but your list is short.


Resistance to the idea of government.

Resistance to the idea of big, inefficient intrusive government. I.e., "bureaucracy is a method for turning energy into solid waste" type of government. Add in a penchant for making laws that are hopelessly complex (and by design?!!), a lack of a line item veto, pork barrel politics by almost everyone involved, a federal government nuetron star trying to become a black hole by accretion of governmental function and you have a problem, IMO. If that is "government", then, yes, I am resisting the idea.

The funny thing is, I remember real, live violent civil unrest. Bombings, assassinations, cities on fire.

All of those things happened, during my lifetime.

And that wasn't the first time. We've had a number of periods when civil and political violence was quite common.

What happened in each of those cases was that society - our political and economic laws and institutions, as well as people's own behaviors and attitudes - changed, such that the underlying causes of the violence were, to some degree, addressed.

I hope we don't have widespread violence, but if we do, I expect that we will weather it. Because he have before, more than a few times.

And I second HSH's list of things that make a continued commitment to political union worthwhile. And the unnecessary wars and Dick Cheney crap is not essential part of the deal, they're just a consequence of electing sorry examples like GWB.

But hey, if you really want out, go. Unlike folks of 150 years or so ago, I'm sure as hell not taking a bullet to stop you. Via con dios, amigo.

The fascination and obsession with bloodletting is, to my eye, perverse. There are other ways for people to sort out their issues.

I am always fascinated by how lib.s - like hairshirt - suddenly become jackbooted fascists boasting of and relying on their beloved centralized goverment's ability to kill discent.

Um ... what???!!! Do have a quote or something? I have no idea what you're on about here, but that's happened before.

You don't need a federal government for all of those things you listed.

Maybe not all of them. But I doubt most of them would happen, at least not very effectively, without one. That is, of course, a counterfactual. You asked what I do get. In this universe, I've gotten those things because of the federal government.

I fact, the federal government, along with corporatists, is working to erode the functioning of some of them.

I agree, and I oppose that.

The question is, is having those things worth what comes with them? Examples of add ons being an immense and immensely costly military, an immense law enforcement/domestic profiling and spying/penal system, Dick Cheney, Wall St banking crises, Iraq/afghanistan and (?) Iran wars............

I don't like these things, either. But I don't see that these things necessarily come along with those things I like. Are you suggesting we shouldn't have a federal government at all? Do environmental regulations lead somehow to unjustified wars?

So, I ask again, why is the preservation union desirable to those regional interests? and that is, of course, a question that can be ignored and probably will be.

That's a fine question. I won't ignore it. I just think that you overestimate the differences you describe. I don't deny their existence. I just think they can be overcome enough of the time that things don't have to go to total sh1t because of them. It happens imperfectly, to be sure. But it doesn't have to be an unworkable disaster, IMO.

Did he really say "Zionist entity"?

Yes, and it's not the first time.

Anyway, the idea that expecting your government to do its job and protect your stuff when idiots start shooting each other in the streets in some ill-fated revolution is "jackbooted fascism" is so far past crazy I don't even have a word for it.

Yes, I fully expect that, if a bunch of self-styled militants decide to launch a "revolution" in my neighborhood, the duly constituted authorities will put them down. Not only do I expect it, I encourage it.

Yes

"Um ... what???!!! Do have a quote or something?"

Perhaps I misunderstood you. I thought you were pooh poohing the idea of revolution because the federal government, which I gather you like, would simply crush any such by force of arms; a good thing if you like the federal system. I probably read too much between the lines. Apologies.

"I agree, and I oppose that." "I don't like these things, either. But I don't see that these things necessarily come along with those things I like"

Yet these things are still happening at an accelerating rate regardless of which party is in the WH.

So, the question is, at bottom, what if the federal government decides to just do as it pleases against the will of 99% of the people and no viable candidate is offered to the 99% and the government's attitude becomes a blatant and bleak, "Screw you. You don't like it? Well take your beat down like a dog and starve quietly or we'll unleash our killing power in the form of the US military on your sorry noisy @sses". ?

The governemnt would no longer be functioning as intended. Do you just lie down and take it? Or do you rise up in revolt?

I am certain that any militant action in my neighborhood will not be quelled by my Zionist entity.

"Did he really say "Zionist entity"?"

Skocking?

So a bunch of nuclear armed rightwing religious "self-styled militants" took control of Ohio and attempted to secede from the union, displacing or killing Phil and his neighbors in the process, using violence as needed and then some, and renamed Ohio, "Reganstan", you would recognize the new name, would you?

In fact you have made it clear that would want those people stopped - "...the duly constituted authorities will put them down. I encourage it".

Just saying.

Any way, this, "This is bound to undercut economies of scale.

I'm interested in the relative impact of lack of local control vs. economies of scale." is more interesting and germane.

I agree with bc. All of that hoohaw over economies of scale is just that. It's an over-rated concept even in the private sector and it speaks to benefits of decentralization of policy.

So a bunch of nuclear armed rightwing religious "self-styled militants" took control of Ohio and attempted to secede from the union

My wife's from Akron. I don't really see this in the cards.

I can't even get the Orthodox Jews in my neighborhood to walk on the sidewalk instead of the street, or their kids to pick up candy wrappers. Nuclear terrorism is probably a little beyond their ken.

I am curious about the candy wrapper problem. Maybe its just me.

Well, it's not just the Jewish kids who are slobs, there are just more of them. Plus their stuff is easier to identify because it comes from the kosher grocery store down the street, thus the wrappers are in Hebrew.

The Flav-r-ice wrappers I see all summer, though, could come from anyone.

Do you just lie down and take it? Or do you rise up in revolt?

I might bide my time, all the while plotting and scheming to increase my odds, to be sure there were sufficient resources, that I had support from others. I doubt I would run headlong into sure death for no foreseeable benefit to my loved ones. (Ooohh, this is fun! It's like Red Dawn - full of awesome!)

For your scenario of the 1% putting the rest of us under their fascist thumbs to happen, the US military would have to agree to do the actual roundin' up and shootin' parts. I mean, I agree that the full force of the police and military would not be stopped strictly by a revolt of the armed civilian citizenry, regardless of how widespread it was. But I don't think anything would go down that way. A good chunk of the police and military would revolt along with everyone else. But who knows what sort of result that will have in the end? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, perhaps?

There's no good outcome to what is inherently a total clusterfnck, given what you're proposing, blackhawk, regardless of what I might or might not do. But I don't see such as being very likely.

I could see Waco-like occurrences, and I might not agree with the government's responses to them. That doesn't mean I'd run out and get shot in support of whoever the analog to the Koreshians might be, though. Would you?

Well phil,I don't see any Zionist entity help there either. :)

Resistance to the idea of big, inefficient intrusive government

When folks say things like this, I'm always curious to know what an efficient, non-intrusive government looks like, to them.

What does an efficient, non-intrusive Department of Education do?

Nobody ever likes to talk about this flipside, where pi gets redefined to be equal to three, or geology gets rewritten so that the planet is really 6,000 years old.

There are worse things in the world than bureaucratic inefficiency. It seem to me, anyway.

And if "just the right amount" of government was easy to measure, there'd be nothing to discuss. Because everybody wants "just the right amount". Nobody I know is interested in government for its own sake.

If only my cousin Eric still lived in Tel Aviv, he might be able to help me with my candy wrapper problem. ;_;

For your scenario of the 1% putting the rest of us under their fascist thumbs to happen, the US military would have to agree to do the actual roundin' up and shootin' parts.

This sounds about right to me.

To my knowledge, the closest we ever came to this was in '33, but the coup plotters made the mistake of recruiting Smedley Butler to lead the charge. By that time, he was sick and tired of going to war for rich guys, and he apparently turned them down.

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