Let me clear up common misconceptions that people outside of the US tend to have about Americans:
1) There is not one person in America that does not have access to healthcare. Whether or not they can afford the bills after the fact is the issue.
2) Americans aren't opposed to paying into systems that helps others in their time of need. However, people in America are opposed to the rampant abuse that occurs in those systems and the fact that they are poorly run (in large).
3) Everyone in the US would like healthcare to be more affordable.
Take Sweden for example. Swedes pay somewhere in the neighborhood of 50% of their income in taxes. However, most of them seemingly are ok with it because they realize the value of those taxes through other benefits like education, healthcare, public transportation, etc.
In the US, our public education (prior to college) is garbage. Our healthcare system is top notch, but expensive. Our public transportation is essentially non existent outside of the largest cities (+2mil people). Our welfare benefits are average, but abused. And when you consider that only half of the US is actually paying federal income taxes, it upsets those of us that are the ones putting in the money.
I have about $500 taken out of my paycheck every two weeks that goes straight to the federal government. Personally, I don't feel like I'm realizing much benefit from it and that's what is upsetting to me.
I had to be what never was.
---------- Post added 2012-11-17 at 06:07 PM ----------
The only thing Germany really has in large amounts is brown coal, yet we still import 21% coal from Russia. As well as we import 41% of natural gas, and 31% of oil from Russia.
In my younger days I was very left leaning. Left from the SPD. When getting older, I shifted kinda to the center. One comes to reason and starts to respect good ideas no matter from which side they originate. One thing however never changed.
I too believe in "free" (because it isn't free at all, just intelligent organized) healthcare, and Welfare.
People come first.
As a fellow American of 39 years I can offer you my personal take on what you asked right there in the boldface.
There are a couple reasons for this... not just one.
The first reason - Competition. America (and American capitalism in general) has beaten it into our heads that competing with your neighbors is supposed to be a good thing. Supposedly competition was to drive down product prices and supposedly drive people to find cheaper and alternative ways to out-perform their competitor. Supposed result is the consumer is supposed to win via obtaining cheaper products.
What in reality has happened is that human emotion and greed took over and the competition craze has gone into an unsustainable tornado. In the name of competition, fellow Americans began sacrificing the very lives of the people whom their products were meant for in the first place. Food quality is cheapened for competition reasons, jobs get taken from Americans and sent to other countries for competition reasons, migrant undocumented workers replace American workers for competition reasons, ect...
The second reason - News sources sacrificing quality for shock-value for ratings grabs. Right now, Americans are literally making decisions off of regurgitated news... decimated and twisted into something that is designed for polarizing ideologies all in the name of rating. Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Rachel Maddow, Sean Hannidey, John Stewart, Bill O'Reiley and Steve Colbert are all in the exact same business as Freddy Kruger - designing nightmares to scare you so you keep watching them. The problem is, people believe them, thinking they're an accurate news source giving them the "REAL" news... which is nothing more or less than them deliberately filtering it with words to make you angry/fear/laugh/hate the information. As funny as John Stewart/Steve Colbert is - I had to stop watching them as their comedy is based soley on deliberately editing what our political leaders say out of context to look like fools and idiots. That's NOT a good source of information...
Incidentally, this is being compounded by the aforementioned competition, as those networks are constantly striving for increasing their ratings numbers - thus need to resort to higher shock-values and more pandering/fear mongering.
Third Reason - Survival of the Fittest re-written as part of the American Dream. You asked "what happened to helping fellow people?" In America, it was the combination of the two above that leads to the third reason - our society is designed to out-compete our very next-door neighbors and encourage jealousy, getting them to buy more crap they don't need - and to convince them that their neighbor doesn't care about you and is, in fact, out to get you. Americans are told the ultimate goal in life is to be some high-society big-shot superstar... the leader of the pack... the alpha male! That's how you get the respect, the fame, the money and the ladies! And this involves stepping on others - and EVERYBODY will step on you to get that!
And if you ask people why they do that? They actually will tell you "Because it's in our basic nature as animals".... saying that as if it justifies themselves for their actions and selfish decisions. >_<
I remember one guy I was working with late-night. We were talking about what drives us on in our lives and he said this: "For me, it's my children. I will provide anything for them! I will gladly step on, push aside and stab anybody in the back just to give my children a better life". I couldn't tell you how horrible that sounded to me... he actually uses his love of his children to justify hurting other people for his own greed. What's really sad is that it's backed by the noblest of intentions - providing for your kids. But this guy doesn't believe that society will help his children... he believes they're going to fight against his kids and himself... thus he believes he has to act the same way.
Also, Ayn Rand has gained a cult-following in America, which basically sights that individual greed can improve oneself, one of the more popular books even being entitled "The virtue of selfishness" - and thus supposedly "improve society"... which is complete bunkam. One friend I know who's a big Ayn Rand follower drove past a flipped over car on the highway with a person screaming in it. She said it wasn't her problem, and was worried it could be a trap to get her. She didn't even bother calling the police to let them know of the issue. Another time I remember, this same woman also laughed at the scene in the movie "Captain America" where Steve Rogers jumped on the grenade to protect his fellow soldiers. She said "Why the hell would he do that!?!" My other friend said "To prevent the shrapnel from flying out." She then responded "Why the f*$k would he want to do that? He still gets killed!"
These are just a few of the reasons I could think of off the top of my head. There's probably a lot more reasons, but the basic gist of it is this unsustainable enforcement of competition instead of cooperation.
The example of top notch athletes that earn millions every year is a horrendous example to begin with.
You know, I want to remind you here, that the Worlds best heart transplant specialist, the pioneer of that kind of surgery, was from South Africa. Professor Barnard, as prime example.
Such things have absolutely nothing to do with any healthcare system in any given country. Kobe Bryant could afford to pay millions on medical treatment, if he had to. It's nothing but a talent issue. There are specially gifted doctors spread out all over the world, and people just sometimes do or have to go there, if the best treatment is needed. There are also Germans traveling to the USA for treatment, because the best specialist just happens to be there.
I don't know where Kobe went. But I do know for example that Dr. Mueller-Wohlfarth is a World renowned specialist in sports injuries.
He's the team doc for Bayern Munich for decades, as well as the doc of the German National Football team. What he treads will heal.
Magic hands... Some doctors have that... And it's not a matter of the country.
You're just going off of persona opinion and conjecture... not any facts at all.
For that matter... how could SOMEBODY possibly abuse a universal health-care system!? o_O
Also explains why China will be the new "hit" market as they are emerging, why Angela Merkel has personal visits to get loans from there or end high value contracts for german/european companies.
Bottom line is I would never compare Germany to USA, they are so different in almost every aspect.
---------- Post added 2012-11-17 at 06:31 PM ----------
As German who lives in the US for almost 15 years now, I cannot agree more.
Yet, I cannot help times and again, finding myself doing just that... Comparing.
But at the same time I only compare when I run into ignorance. And why is that?
As German I grew up in what we call an elbow society. Survival of the fittest. Whoever is weaker than we are, we push aside with our elbows.
if you don't know what I mean try going shopping on a Saturday morning at a mid size or larger super market... It's a battlefield, a war zone. Keep an eye on your ankles. lol
We also adopted capitalism from the USA and progressed it. We have, what experts call a "aggressive social capitalism".
Which translates into, Germans making good money, if they work continuously. Our middle class is large, and up until the reunion of the two states West&East, the upper class was about on par with the lower class in percentage. Poverty was barely existent. We have everything, we don't have to worry too much.
But that comes with a price. The aggressive part of the term comes to play.
The state keeps you in it's stranglehold. You sure make a lot of money, but you sure spend a lot too.. Not much leeway to break out of that, just like that.
We are World record holders on savings. Germans tend to save up on money, before they spend anything.
Whereas an American goes and buys a car, usually through financing, the German saves up the money, then goes and puts the money down, all at once.
That's how we roll. That's how we do it, because that's how it's suppose to be done.. That's how we think in our small minds.
The overwhelming amount of cars on German streets are paid off. From the newest, to the oldest model you see.
So, all in all.. we are culturally conservative. Yet we still value social aspects above everything else.
And if we assholes (compare with the supermarket behavior) can do it, Americans who are generally a lot more polite, and on local level a lot more caring for one another (what they do for each other on neighborhood level is amazing) could do that too.
All it would need is them to stop falling for fear propaganda from corporate driven politicians.
---------- Post added 2012-11-17 at 12:50 PM ----------
And if one paid attention to the presidential campaign... it was never argued that a large number of Americans doesn't have access to health care.
All what was argued was:
Obama said, everyone will have it.... Romney said, even more won't have it.
Generally however, ER's cannot refuse treatment, no matter what insurance situation you have.
It may however turn out to be horrible treatment, like the very bare minimum, in case you don't have insurance.
Last edited by Wildtree; 2012-11-17 at 06:44 PM.
The husband eventually died... and she's now in the process of moving to Mexico.