TOT, there are problems with leaving certain basic functions, like health care, to the states. States have different economic levels. A poor state would have to ration care more than a wealthy one. A baby born in Mississippi would have a lower chance of survival than a baby born in Minnesota. That is not my idea of a decent life for all. With federal funding, these inequalities could be evened out.
By the same token, having education locally funded from property taxes guarantees that wealthy communities will be able to give their kids a better education than a poor one. Even if you believe that "anyone can be a millionaire" in the US, you have to admit that unequal education does not give everyone the same start.
Not so fast my friend (in my Lee Corso voice)!
As it pertains to infant mortality, poor people today have coverage via Medicaid and CHIPS. Many take advantage of what these programs offer, but many do not and what we find in poorer states like Mississippi is higher infant mortality rates due NOT to lack of healthcare services, but rather due to these factors:
- Mothers not working to be in good health prior to becoming pregnant: not addressing any chronic medical problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
- Mothers not eating a healthy diet supplemented with prenatal vitamins such as folic acid.
- Mothers not getting a healthy amount of exercise.
- Mothers smoking, drinking alcohol, or using recreational drugs.
- Mothers not getting early and continuing prenatal care throughout the entire pregnancy, and not following the advice of their healthcare provider.
These factors are the leading causes of infant mortality accounting to government findings. All of these factors can be, even AS IT STANDS NOW, addressed by the mother to be whether she is poor or well off. The conclusion that can be drawn based on what the data bears out as well as what experience has shown (1st hand experience in some cases) is that despite the availibility and affordability of services, that the segment that properly employs what is available to them will have better results.
Having the individual states handle the healthcare of citizens is more efficient than having it handled at the federal level as there is less of a buraucracy to deal with, the implementors of the plan are closer to those than will be affected by the plan, and when compared with nations that are successfully employing such programs, the populations of those nations is more comparable with the populations of many of the states as opposed to the entire USA.
I will agree that education from property taxes as it stands now creates inequality, that's why I beleive the taxing authority should be the city/parish/county as opposed to a school district or municipal utility district. It a city was the taxing authority for school taxes, the entire population of the city would benefit the same from those tax dollars as wealthy subdivision property owners taxes would not just go to the schools in thteir neighborhood, but to all schools within that city.
The stasus quo with education being handled at the federal level is FAILING us miserably as it is terribly inefficient and wastes money consistantly. There is more accountability locally.
What we don't seem to get in the US is that we are blinded to the outcomes of certain ideologies. That makes us pennywise and pound foolish. I have Danish friends who are shocked that we would rather spend on fancy alarm systems, cameras and security guards everywhere instead of taking care of people decently. And of course, people around the world are appalled at our high prison population-- again, we would rather spend 50,000 a year to keep someone in jail than spend 40,000 on that person to keep them out.
It is a sad state of affairs when the social services of jail are better than those on the outside. (I am not saying jail conditions should be made worse! They are already miserable, esp. local and state prisons. Privatization of prisons costs the government more and gives the prisoners even worse conditions--making the men and women inside meaner and tougher. Good times for all when they get out.)
Just looking at the money, so-called liberal ideas are cheaper than many so-called conservative solutions. And more humane.
A change in the drug laws could help reduce the prison population. Reagan's War On Drugs has failed and we need to reevaluate how we approach this subject. On the subject of prisons, our tort law needs to be reformed and addressed. In addition, we must find a way to more efficiently deal with crimes that will not involve extended prison terms.
My ideas are perhaps more drastic than most, but I believe they would yield more of the desired results than what is currently in place. For instance, I would have sex offenders including rapists (statitory rape on a case by case basis) and child molestors (including priests BTW) castrated. I wonder how that will affect the repeat offender rate?
An issue that seems to me to get ignored when discussing or should I say comparing the USA to other countries is the degree to which each country is ethnically, socio-economically, religiously, educationally diverse. The more diversity exists, the more difficult federal implementation of programs is as they attempt to "fit" the problems of a very diverse population into a "one size fits all" solution.