Ineffective Government, an outcome of our definition of "Freedom"?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Seattle, Jan 28, 2023.

  1. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Regulations and laws are not "socialism" - see my explanation above. Some laws and regulations are socialistIC. That does not mean they equate to socialism. It means the adjective "socialist" can be used to describe those laws.
    I disagree. MOST things do not need regulating. The color of cars being sold? Not important to regulate. Car's maximum acceleration? Not important to regulate. Clothing styles? Shoe styles? Board games? Dime store novelties? All of those are best left to the free market to decide.
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  3. billvon Valued Senior Member

    No. Laws on apple production have little to do with culinary endeavors. However, a law that regulated kitchen safety (i.e. one that mandated that a kitchen has a sink) would be a culinary law, since it applies to food preparation.

    Not really. Laws here restrict freedoms by delinating what people or organizations CANNOT do. There are no laws that say you are free to buy a car, for example. The laws that we have restrict your rights to do that - for example, by requiring you have a driver's license to buy a car in a dealership.

    However, if you want to say that any law that restricts free capitalism is a law that _pertains_ to capitalism, feel free.
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  5. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Most complex systems that involve people need some regulation. Calling laws "socialist" adds nothing however.
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  7. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Other than semantics, what have we accomplished by going down this particular rabbit hole? We need "socialist" laws to prevent slavery. OK. What someone unclear on that point?
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Maybe I should sit back and let you and Seattle figure out the definition of socialism. He is correct that such laws as you describe could easily be called capitalist.

    Meanwhile, the thing about Dave being poor is a word game on a couple of levels. First, you're not using an extraordinary definition of poverty. Moreover, Dave can be an example of being poor just as, per your explanation, the end of slavery is an example of socialism. But, still, that 「abolition of American slavery is an example of socialism」 is kind of extraordinary. To wit: When are human rights not human rights? When they are "economic in nature". You know, like being a slave is "economic in nature".

    And, hell, between the fourteen words and the new labor law in Arkansas, maybe rape↑ can be "economic in nature", because the workforce needs kids in order to support the economy to preserve the whi―... y'know, never mind. Are anti-abortion laws "economic in nature"?
  9. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Apparently. But if that's cleared up, great!
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    It's concomitant to separating capitalism from freedom.
  11. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    My OP was about people not being able to get anything done in the name of "freedom". We can't curb corporations in their lobbying in the name of freedom, we can't clear up the streets due to freedom, etc.

    It wasn't about capitalism. It's pretty obvious to most that capitalism to one degree or another has worked better than the alternatives even though it comes with issues of its own.
  12. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Wow. So you honestly didn't understand that?

    I have overestimated you. In the future I will calibrate my posts better.
  13. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Because saying so is a lot easier than making sense.

    What is your literary basis for American abolition as socialism? (You don't have one, do you?)

    You have to understand, Billvon, that you say so does not automatically make something true. If you have a reason for thinking of abolitionists and the Union Army as socialists, then go for it.

    If it was socialism, we would have skipped Jim Crow. Remember, it was the former slave owner who knew "separate but equal" wouldn't work.
  14. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Freedom and Mortality

    Ten years ago, a panel at the National Institutes of Health issued a report under the title, Shorter Lives, Poorer Health. These years later, the U.S. has experienced an unprecedented second consecutive annual reduction in average life expectancy, and last week we learned that the latest statistical analyses show maternal mortality reached an historical high mark in 2021. Steven Woolf, lead author of the maternal mortality paper told National Public Radio this was the first increase he has encountered in his career: "It's always been declining in the United States for as long as I can remember."

    The broader outlook:

    Across the lifespan, and across every demographic group, Americans die at younger ages than their counterparts in other wealthy nations.

    How could this happen? In a country that prides itself on scientific excellence and innovation, and spends an incredible amount of money on health care, the population keeps dying at younger and younger ages.

    One group of people are not surprised at all: Woolf and the other researchers involved in a landmark, 400-page study ten years ago with a name that says it all: "Shorter Lives, Poorer Health." The research by a panel convened by the National Academy of Sciences and funded by the National Institutes of Health compared U.S. health and death with other developed countries. The results showed – convincingly – that the U.S. was stalling on health advances in the population while other countries raced ahead.

    The authors tried to sound an alarm, but found few in the public or government or private sectors were willing to listen. In the years since, the trends have worsened. American life expectancy is lower than that of Cuba, Lebanon, and Czechia.


    Ten years ago, American children were less likely to live to age 5 than their cohort peers in other affluent nations. Study authors describe a "U.S. health disadvantage", with lower lifespan expectancy and lesser health than in other high-income countries.

    Woolf explains that ten years ago, "We went into this with an open mind", trying to figure out the how and why of that disadvantage. Across age and ethnicity, economy and geography, "What we found was that the problem existed in almost every category we looked at."

    That's why, says Eileen Crimmins, professor of gerontology at the University of Southern California who was also on the panel that produced the report, they made a deliberate choice to focus on the health of the U.S. population as a whole.

    "That was a decision – not to emphasize the differences in our population, because there is data that actually shows that even the top proportion of the U.S. population does worse than the top proportion of other populations," she explains. "We were trying to just say – look, this is an American problem."

    If we consider several ways of looking at the numbers, such as public health and medical care, individual behaviors, social factors, living environment, and public policies, Woolf says, "In every one of those five buckets, we found problems that distinguish the United States from other countries."

    Yes, Americans eat more calories and lack universal access to health care. But there's also higher child poverty, racial segregation, social isolation, and more. Even the way cities are designed makes access to good food more difficult.

    "Everybody has a pet thing they worry about and say, 'it's oral health' or 'it's suicides' – everyone has something that they're legitimately interested in and want to see more attention to," says John Haaga, who was the director of the Division of Behavioral and Social Research at the National Institute on Aging at NIH, before he retired. "The great value of an exercise like this one was to step back and say, 'OK, all of these things are going on, but which of them best account for these long-term population level trends that we're seeing?' "

    The answer is varied. A big part of the difference between life and death in the U.S. and its peer countries is people dying or being killed before age 50. The "Shorter Lives" report specifically points to factors like teen pregnancy, drug overdoses, HIV, fatal car crashes, injuries, and violence.

    "Two years difference in life expectancy probably comes from the fact that firearms are so available in the United States," Crimmins says. "There's the opioid epidemic, which is clearly ours – that was our drug companies and other countries didn't have that because those drugs were more controlled. Some of the difference comes from the fact that we are more likely to drive more miles. We have more cars," and ultimately, more fatal crashes.

    "When we were doing it, we were joking we should call it 'Live free and die' …", Crimmins says..

    And while it was not all bad news, ten years ago, even the good news was laced through with shadow": With higher survival rate after 75, higher screening and survival rates for cancer, better attendance of blood pressure and cholesterol, lower stroke mortality, fewer smokers per capita, and higher average income, Americans are still showing some sort of "disadvantage": "Behind the statistics," the study said, "are the faces of young people – infants, children, and adolescents – who are unwell and dying early because conditions in this country are not as favorable as those in other countries."

    But if sometimes the recommendations seem pretty straightforward—

    The NIH should undertake a "thorough examination of the policies and approaches that countries with better health outcomes have found useful and that may have application, with adaptations, in the United States," the authors wrote.

    In other words: let's figure out what they are doing that works in other places, and do it over here.

    Dr. Ravi Sawhney, who helped conceive of and launch the "Shorter Lives" study at NIH before he left the agency, had high hopes that the report would make a mark. "I really thought that when the results came out, they would be so obvious that people would say: Let's finally do this," he says.

    Ten years on, how much of the detailed action plan has been done?

    "To be brief, very little of that happened," Woolf says.

    Woolf suggests NIH officials were not interested in promoting awareness of the report, nor following up on research recommendations. Crimmins suggests, "There was a little bit more research, but there wasn't any policy reaction. I thought there might be, because it's embarrassing, but it just tends to be ignored." She also noted that some interest comes from people seeking "marvelous things they think are going to delay aging". Haaga agrees that, "Not nearly enough has been done, given the stakes and whate we could learn."

    In response to NPR's request for comment for this story, NIH pointed to a subsequent panel on midlife mortality, several initiatives the agency has undertaken on disparities between subgroups within the U.S., and a recent paper funded by NIH that looked again at international life expectancy.

    Outgoing NIH Director Francis Collins told NPR in 2021 that it bothered him that there hadn't been more gains to American life expectancy during his tenure. In his view, the success of NIH in achieving scientific breakthroughs hadn't translated to more gains because of problems in society that the research agency had little power to change.

    Woolf calls it a misconception to assume that America's great scientific minds and medical discoveries translate to progress for the health of the population. "We are actually very innovative in making these kinds of breakthroughs, but we do very poorly in providing them to our population," he says.

    DSHS Secretary Xavier Becerra considered life exepectancy during a recent press conference, pointing to Covid, vaccine hesitancy, mental health, and firearm violence. Of the latter, he said, "We can't touch everything. We can't touch state laws that allow an individual to buy an assault weapon and then kill so many people. We can only come in afterwards."

    CDC, like NIH, responded to NPR by pointing out some of their research work on related subjects, and HHS ducked a question suggesting a national commission to address life expectancy and health concerns.

    Sawhney blames the federal government, complaining that Americans already know they are overweight, sicker, and shorter-lived than others, but, "It's just the NIH and the CDC that don't want to take the responsibility for that failure."

    Crimmins observed that lawmakers and other officials just don't like the issue. She convened a meeeting with CDC, and brought international experts, only to be told, "we can't have anything but an American solution to these issues". Haaga agrees that "international studies are not the flavor of the month", and "never will be".

    Woolf believes the larger tragedy of excess deaths in the U.S. "dwarfs what happened during COVID-19 … We've lost many more Americans cumulatively because of this longer systemic issue."

    And the answers these experts describe are familiar: Learn and understand what works, and then apply those solutions, such as universal health care, health and safety protections, education access, and early childhood wellness.

    But that's the thing: Americans aren't ready to agree to that sort of outcome, ostensibly for the sake of "freedom".


    Simmons-Duffin, Selena. "'Live free and die'? The sad state of U.S. life expectancy". National Public Radio. 25 March 2023. 26 March 2023.
  15. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    If you start a company↑, and cannot be successful without breaking the law, we might wonder↑ about the business↑ model↑. Or, rather: It happened again.

    Because, of course it did.

    Investigators from the department's Wage and Hour Division found two 10-year-old workers at a Louisville McDonald's restaurant among many violations of federal labor laws committed by three Kentucky McDonald's franchise operators. The investigations are part of the division's ongoing effort to stop child labor abuses in the Southeast region.

    The division investigated Bauer Food LLC, Archways Richwood LLC and Bell Restaurant Group I LLC – three separate franchisees that operate a total of 62 McDonald's locations across Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland and Ohio – and found they employed 305 children to work more than the legally permitted hours and perform tasks prohibited by law for young workers. In all, the investigations led to assessments of $212,754 in civil money penalties against the employers.

    “Too often, employers fail to follow the child labor laws that protect young workers,” explained Wage and Hour Division District Director Karen Garnett-Civils in Louisville, Kentucky. “Under no circumstances should there ever be a 10-year-old child working in a fast-food kitchen around hot grills, ovens and deep fryers.”

    (U.S. Department of Labor↱)

    Today's exploited child labor is tomorrow's economic uncertainty.


    Wage and Hour Division. "Three McDonald's franchisees in Kentucky pay $212K in fines after federal investigations find 305 minors — including 10-year-olds — working illegally". United States Department of Labor. 2 May 2023. 2 May 2023.
  16. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Weren't those kids, the manager's kids?
  17. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    All three hundred five of them?
  18. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    The story I saw was about a McDonald's manager who took his 3 kids to work. Don't let me interrupt your outrage though.
  19. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    Sorry you missed the headline in the notes.

    Here, let's try it this way:

    Wage and Hour Division. "Three McDonald's franchisees in Kentucky pay $212K in fines after federal investigations find 305 minors — including 10-year-olds — working illegally". United States Department of Labor. 2 May 2023. 2 May 2023.

    Please accept my apologies for not being clear enough in my prior citation↑ of the DoL press release.
  20. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    OK. It's OK to work at 16 there but all but the two 10 year olds, who were a manager's kids, were between 14-15.

    They got fired. Farm kids work all the time like that but I guess it's different in a McDonald's. It's illegal but not high up on my list of earthshaking problems.

    Undoubtedly those kids weren't straight A students on a college track and they weren't forced to work and at least they weren't selling drugs (perhaps their other option?).
  21. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Valued Senior Member

    A note on definitions of freedom:

    A 16-year-old boy died Saturday from injuries sustained in an industrial accident at a sawmill in a northern Wisconsin County.

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the fatality, and has made a referral to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division for possible child labor violations concerning hazardous occupations, according to Scott Allen, the Labor Department’s regional director for public affairs and media relations ....

    .... A GoFundMe post set up for the family said the rural community in Florence is "in absolute shock." A comment on the page from a family member said the boy is an organ donor, and his loss will help "bring new life to seven more people."

    The death comes amid a push over the last two years to loosen regulations governing what jobs minors can perform in the workplace. Lawmakers in 14 states — including Wisconsin — have proposed rolling back child labor laws, according to the nonprofit Economic Policy Institute.

    "The trend reflects a coordinated multi-industry push to expand employer access to low-wage labor and weaken state child labor laws in ways that contradict federal protections," the organization wrote in a May blog post. "And the recent uptick in state legislative activity is linked to longer-term industry-backed goals to rewrite federal child labor laws and other worker protections for the whole country."

    (Schulz, "Teen"↱)

    In Wisconsin, child labor complaints increased more than four hundred percent between 2018 and 2022, and the U.S. Department of Labor reports a sixty-nine percent increase in illegal child labor cases. Earlier this year, a food sanitation firm paid over a $1.5 million in fines after, "At least 102 minors between the ages of 13 and 17 worked for Grant County-based Packers Sanitation Services Inc., or PSSI, one of the country’s biggest food safety sanitation companies" (Schulz, "Wisconsin"↱).

    The solution, of course, is more freedom. In Wisconsin, maybe fourteen year-olds need the freedom to serve your drinks (Bauer↱). In Iowa↱, the solution was more freedom to censor the schools, but also more freedom for students to "see that kind of income" instead of "having to wait until they were 18".

    In Arkansas↗ employers need more freedom to employ children, and even without parental approval. The Republican sponsor suggested that eliminating parental consent would "restore decision-making to parents concerning their children" (Vrbin↱). Because, y'know, freedom.

    The kids who enjoy this freedom will suffer for it, and for the rest of their lives. Look back at how this thread started↑, because this is the sort of freeedom that leads to homeless addicts in urban centers. This is how you end up with masses of undereducated, overworked, aching laborers to whom we might overprescribe addictive drugs, and for the freedom of pharmaceutical manufacturers to enjoy the profits of creating addiction.

    Or, let's talk about definitions of freedom. It's one thing if government can be very effective at creating problems, but at some point we need to take notice of how many people seem to want it that way.

    Sure, the OP "wasn't about capitalism", but in that sense it really isn't about "people not being able to get anything done", and what we're left with is that cheap satisfaction of telling people to "grow up and be responsible".


    Bauer, Scott. "Bill would allow 14-year-olds to serve alcohol in Wisconsin". Associated Press. 1 May 2023. 3 July 2023.

    Cotton, Max. "New Iowa laws take effect Saturday including overhaul of child labor rules". WHO 13. 30 June 2023. 3 July 2023.

    Schulz, Joe. "Teen boy dies following industrial accident at northern Wisconsin sawmill". Wisconsin Public Radio. 3 July 2023. 3 July 2023.

    —————. "Wisconsin company pays $1.5M fine for illegally employing over 100 children". Wisconsin Public Radio. 17 February 2023. 3 July 2023.

    Vrbin, Tess. "Arkansas bill to remove work permit requirement for children under 16 goes to Sanders’ desk". Louisiana Illuminator. 4 March 2023. 3 July 2023.
  22. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    What we're left with is not being about to have campaign reform due to Citizens United and not being able to get drug addicts, criminals and the mentally ill off the streets in Seattle due to their "freedoms".

    You are the only one obsessing on kids working at McDonald's and elsewhere. Very few people disagree with you views on those situations in the first place.

    Compared to the rest of the world, is kids working a significant problem compared to Africa or Asia?

    Walking around Seattle what strikes you as wrong, all the crime, drugs, etc or too many working kids?
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2023
  23. billvon Valued Senior Member

    "I can't believe you're arresting me for shoplifting a few phones, officer! I mean, aren't you supposed to be catching REAL criminals like drug dealers? Go do your effing job and leave me alone!"

    That approach has been shown not to work well in, say, San Francisco.

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