Date: Dec 7, 2012 4:52 PM
Author: Paul A. Tanner III
Subject: Re: WG 13 Announcement: CERME 8 [Turkey]

On Fri, Dec 7, 2012 at 2:02 PM, kirby urner <> wrote:
> On Thu, Dec 6, 2012 at 10:15 PM, GS Chandy <> wrote:
>> My question is: how, in even such 'nominal democracies' that are extant
>> today, do we go about making people aware of such facts of our economic and
>> social lives? By and large, we do not know how to do that.

> Paul and I talk passed each other a lot because he casts himself in the role
> of a "big government" advocate (as a conservative might put it), whereas I'm
> more interested in "democracy in the workplace" and/or/also "micro
> democracies".
> I have a history with DemocracyLab ( and its project to
> shepherd social networking software to fruition which supports democratic
> forms of self steering (more trustworthy than mob rule by warlord dons, the
> Mafia model) but perhaps only at an ultra-local level.
> Picture a building of boarding school size, a small campus, with 200
> permanent or semi-permanent staff and a constant turnover of some 1000-2000
> passers through or semi short stay visitors.
> This could be a democratically administered institution with integrated
> medical facilities, perhaps rather deep in some wilderness, perhaps
> dome-covered. Or maybe picture a small military base like on Okinawa, but
> reprogrammed (i.e. "converted") to run as a democracy, not as a military
> hierarchy (more Athens, less Sparta).
> The Occupy camps were incomplete experiments along these lines,
> demonstrations. The chief concern of many campers was to role model a
> micro-society in which egalitarian ideas and spontaneous organization were
> possible. Doing so in the middle of a city, with lots of traffic, in full
> view of the police and justice center, not to mention city hall, provided a
> useful microcosm, an experiment. I learned a lot, felt like my experiments
> at CERN or on the Hubble were finally being run. The camp became
> overwhelmed by folks in need of social services, with the onlooking social
> service people feeling they had better treatment facilities in the vicinity
> whereas the camp was cold, the bathrooms clogged. The social service people
> helped the camp mercy kill itself. We saw we weren't able to cope with a
> city's caseload, but we'd all learned a lot. I posted a lot of my own
> analysis in Psychiatry Today (a blog post):
> Now think of refugee camps around the world, lots of them. No, not just in
> the Middle East, not by a long shot. Think of how any community of any real
> size needs to self organize in some way. Software might help, but even more
> useful are living demonstrations. If one refugee camp gets its act together
> and structures as a democracy that works, a success story... that could
> prove catching. But you need catalyzing ingredients, and you need ways to
> spread the memes you want to spread (a kind of cross-fertilization). This
> might require a small fleet of smallish jets, with various paint jobs and
> tail fins (an art project for homeless kids: show Food Not Bombs fleet,
> what it might look like).
> Paul is thinking in terms of a Federal government, on the model of Sweden or
> Norway, but perhaps in the vicinity of Washington DC somewhere. I'm not
> sure where he plans to buy the land and send the bulldozers. It could take
> awhile to construct a parallel reality in which competent Federal leadership
> gets a building. How will it then get its share of the taxes? Will
> Congress approve. Just seems like a long shot to me. And besides, were
> Paul successful in creating a competent Federal government, it would need to
> run democratically, by definition, so here again there might be need for
> DemocracyLab and what we "the Occupy people" learned from our study of
> refugee camps. We could offer a few pointers.
> So maybe someday, Paul, the new president, and I, the seasoned foodie, can
> have a good meetup and help bring about the moral revolution he envisions
> for his country.

This above is evidently a response to my

"Re: WG 13 Announcement: CERME 8 [Turkey]"

in which among other things I pointed out the morally challenged
inconsistency of being against and even denigrating big government,
the only thing that would end so much suffering and premature death
caused by among other things lack of proper health care, yet
practicing and otherwise being in favor of private charity. And my
reply is to simply reiterate the mathematical facts:

As I've documented before many times, the sum total of health care
spending that would have to happen to meet all the unmet need in the
US (more than 50 million with no insurance coverage and almost another
50 million who are underinsured) is on the order of 1 trillion dollars
more per year that is currently being spent, this 1 trillion being
roughly 7% of the 15 trillion nominal GDP, which present spending
being all public and private spending combined, roughly 18% of nominal
GDP, almost 3 trillion.

Because of the fantastic waste cause by the private sector in heath
care spending, a big government single payer system like Canada's
would reduce the cost by maybe a third. That is: Although about 97% of
Medicare Parts A and B is actual health care, as low as 60% of all
private health care spending actually is for health care rather than
paper pushing and profits and executive compensation. We also have the
problem of private health insurers having the legal right to increase
profits by refusing to pay for that which doctors order in terms of
diagnosis and treatment. This causes the doctor clinics and hospitals
to hire more and more people and/or outside companies that do nothing
but try to get the private insurance companies to pay for these things
that doctors order. All this along with the vast number of different
private insurance companies causes a typical large hospital now to
have the same number of private-insurance-dealing paper pushers and
actual health care providers.

Solving this nightmare via a single payer system would reduce the
total spending on those presently covered from roughly 18% to roughly
12% of GDP. This means that with a single payer system, covering the
almost 100 million above would bring the cost up to 16%, allowing an
expansion of coverage for all that would bring the total back up to
18%. This means that the amount of extra spending that would be needed
would be no greater than 0.

Yet you are against this solution.


Because it's the "evil" of "big government"?

Yes, financing this of course would mean increasing government
revenues quite as a percentage of GDP a bit by redirecting so much of
all that health care spending that is not presently going through
government to being where it is going through government. But so what.

See the truth - see this graph from 2006

that shows health care spending as a percentage of GDP among many countries.

And here's more, showing the horrible evil of being against the "evil"
of "big government":

Presently 41 states do not allow even just Medicaid for the vast
majority of their homeless population as well as for all their
under-65 working poor who have no dependents under 18 (the vast
majority of the homeless are under-65 working poor who have no
dependents under 18). That's right - no government-financed health
care at all for the vast majority of homeless and all of these types
of working poor. Why? It is because of the anti-Christian
anti-government attitude of conservatism, expressed along the lines
of: "These homeless and working poor are a bunch of able-bodied bums
who - as Romney said - should take responsibility for their own

Important Note 1: So many believe the lie that the Emergency Room (ER)
takes care of these people! The ER does NOT take of these people! The
ER is legally obligated ONLY ascertain whether a presented condition
is that which legally qualifies at that moment as a life-threatening
emergency and if it does to treat it until it no longer is such. If it
is not such then they show you the door with "referrals" - which are
meaningless and useless ands empty since these people in question do
not have the money to make pay for the referrals. The vast majority of
all health care need is NOT that which legally qualifies at a given
moment as a life-threatening emergency!

Important Note 2: So many believe the lie that private charity will
save the day. Private charity CANNOT save the day! Going back to the
above, even if private charity could provide heath care with the
efficiency of single payer - meaning that above 1 trillion per year of
unmet health care need would be down around 700 billion per year - it
is practically mathematically impossible for private charity to cover
any more than a few percentage points of the unmet need. The sum total
of all the many different types of private charity has always been
roughly 2% of nominal GDP, about presently 300 billion per year. Only
about 10% - about 30 billion - of that could realistically be diverted
to cover that 700 billion to 1 trillion per year of unmet health care