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  1.    #1  
    An example of the wrong direction our country is headed:
    Wal-Mart memo proposes employee cost cuts.

    Notable quote: "The memo acknowledged that Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, had to walk a fine line in restraining benefits because critics attacked it for being stingy on wages and health coverage. Chambers in the memo acknowledged 46 percent of the children of Wal-Mart's 1.33 million United States employees were uninsured or on Medicaid."



    An example of where our country should be headed:
    Egalitarian Finland most competitive, too.

    Notable Quote: "Fifty years ago, Finland was known for little more than the wood pulp from its endless forests. A poverty-stricken land of poorly educated loggers and farmers on the edge of the Arctic Circle, few paid it any attention.

    Today, this small Nordic nation boasts a thriving hi-tech economy ranked the most competitive in the world, the best educated citizenry of all the industrialized countries, and a welfare state that has created one of the globe's most egalitarian societies."


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    We can do better for ourselves and our succesors.
  2. #2  
    I cannot remember the stats, but I remember reading a study about 12 months ago ranking our education against others in the world. We did not rank so well (i.e. among the bottom) with test results, degrees earned, and drop out rates. This is a hard question with solutions proposed from moving all schools to private schools, to making parents financially and criminally responsible if a kid drops out by greatly tightening down the laws and their enforcement.

    One thing I do like about our educational system, is anybody can always go back and finish if they screwed up and dropped out or wanted to change their profession. This is not always easy in other counties. When I lived in England in 89-91, I talked with a several kids at age 16 who needed to decide right then what they wanted to do with their lives because that was the crossroads in their education to continue and in what direction. It is certainly possible, but it is a lot harder over there go back and redo it over there than it is here.
  3. cardio's Avatar
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    #3  
    Wal-Mart and Finland, how do they compare? I agree we can and should do better, but realistically politics will never allow it. Too many people automatically see anything Democrat sponsored as evil if they are Republican and Democrats call everything sponsored by a Republican to costly. Even on this board, too many closed minds.
  4.    #4  
    The examples are meant ot show how one Capitalist approach fails to accomplish social beenefits and the other Capitalist approach not only succeeds greatly with delivering healthcare & education but is also the most competative on the planet.

    Regardless of party philosophy, we have to look around and say to ourselves, "Damn, that works." then apply this to our own society.
  5. #5  
    I'm not sure that the Finland example shows great success in delivering healthcare:

    Finland maintained high R&D spending even during the dark days of an economic crisis in the early 1990s that saw GDP fall 13 percent in three years and unemployment climb to 17.9 percent.

    The legacy of that crisis disappoints many Finns: for the past 10 years successive governments have grown stingier than they used to be, and though social spending has held steady, services have not improved in the way they used to.

    The public health system in Helsinki, for example, is overcrowded with older Finns. "You wait a long time to see a doctor, and then you don't see him for very long," complains Sirelius.

    Pensions have risen by only three percent in real terms since 1993 - ten times more slowly than wages. Many jobs lost in the crisis have not been replaced, and unemployment stands at 8.6 percent.

    "The cleavage between rich and poor is perhaps widening," says Jouko Kajanajo, the head of social research at the Social Security headquarters. "At any rate, the increase in equality has stopped."
    It appears that, like most societies, they have things that work well (education, support for child-bearing and child-caring, unemployment support) and things that do not work as well (see above concerns of the citizenry).

    And, in the case of the Wal-Mart memo, what you are seeing is the struggle for a business entity to maintain low prices (which is the big draw) while addressing higher operating costs. When the price of milk goes up, the average citizen does not shurg his/her shoulders in recognition that the cost of doing business constantly grows. Instead, we accuse of gouging. We complain bitterly of how tough it is on the little man, as though corporations have unlimited resources.

    At the same time, the citizens demand healthcare from the corporations (still expecting prices to stay low).

    You'll note that the Finns consider themselves to be at crossroads. One commentator said that the society is not well suited for the kinds of innovation that is needed to continue to grow sustain the types of advancement they have been making.

    What do these two examples have in common? They each show that one has to make decisions about what it will finance and what it will not. Further, they each show that one has to weigh what types of inconvenience it can tolerate in order to achieve its priorities.
  6. z3bum's Avatar
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    #6  
    While Finland has an interesting system, I feel it's far to socialist for America. American's can't even deal with $4/gallon gasoline, imagine what it would be like here if you worked eight hours a day and only got to take home maybe 30 percent of your pay? If you made $60,000 a year and can spend $18k, on food, a car, some bikes, a house, kids, etc. You have to cut out a lot in life. Most people living in big cities with single incomes would not be able to afford houses and would have to live in much smaller condos. No vacations, as you wouldn't have money for that. All to give everyone free healthcare, college education, etc. Isn't it too much of a tradeoff?
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  7.    #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by shopharim
    I'm not sure that the Finland example shows great success in delivering healthcare:


    It appears that, like most societies, they have things that work well (education, support for child-bearing and child-caring, unemployment support) and things that do not work as well (see above concerns of the citizenry).

    And, in the case of the Wal-Mart memo, what you are seeing is the struggle for a business entity to maintain low prices (which is the big draw) while addressing higher operating costs. When the price of milk goes up, the average citizen does not shurg his/her shoulders in recognition that the cost of doing business constantly grows. Instead, we accuse of gouging. We complain bitterly of how tough it is on the little man, as though corporations have unlimited resources.

    At the same time, the citizens demand healthcare from the corporations (still expecting prices to stay low).

    You'll note that the Finns consider themselves to be at crossroads. One commentator said that the society is not well suited for the kinds of innovation that is needed to continue to grow sustain the types of advancement they have been making.

    What do these two examples have in common? They each show that one has to make decisions about what it will finance and what it will not. Further, they each show that one has to weigh what types of inconvenience it can tolerate in order to achieve its priorities.
    Let's look at Infant mortality rate:

    Rank Country Value / Unit
    1. Singapore 2.28 deaths/1,000 live births
    2. Sweden 2.77 deaths/1,000 live births
    3. Hong Kong 2.97 deaths/1,000 live births
    4. Japan 3.28 deaths/1,000 live births
    5. Iceland 3.31 deaths/1,000 live births
    6. Finland 3.59 deaths/1,000 live births
    7. Norway 3.73 deaths/1,000 live births
    8. Malta 3.94 deaths/1,000 live births
    9. Czech Republic 3.97 deaths/1,000 live births
    10. Andorra 4.05 deaths/1,000 live births
    11. Germany 4.20 deaths/1,000 live births
    12. France 4.31 deaths/1,000 live births
    13. Macau 4.39 deaths/1,000 live births
    14. Switzerland 4.43 deaths/1,000 live births
    15. Spain 4.48 deaths/1,000 live births
    16. Slovenia 4.50 deaths/1,000 live births
    17. Denmark 4.63 deaths/1,000 live births
    18. Austria 4.68 deaths/1,000 live births
    19. Australia 4.76 deaths/1,000 live births
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    Keep going
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    20. Belgium 4.76 deaths/1,000 live births
    21. Liechtenstein 4.77 deaths/1,000 live births
    22. Canada 4.82 deaths/1,000 live births
    23. Luxembourg 4.88 deaths/1,000 live births
    24. Netherlands 5.11 deaths/1,000 live births
    25. Portugal 5.13 deaths/1,000 live births
    26. United Kingdom 5.22 deaths/1,000 live births
    27. Ireland 5.50 deaths/1,000 live births
    28. Monaco 5.53 deaths/1,000 live births
    29. Greece 5.63 deaths/1,000 live births
    30. San Marino 5.85 deaths/1,000 live births
    31. New Zealand 5.96 deaths/1,000 live births
    32. Aruba 6.02 deaths/1,000 live births
    33. Italy 6.07 deaths/1,000 live births
    34. Cuba 6.45 deaths/1,000 live births
    35. Taiwan 6.52 deaths/1,000 live births
    36. United States 6.63 deaths/1,000 live births


    The simple fact that that an employer of 1.33 million Americans does not insure nearly half of it's employees' children is disgusting. Wal-Mart is a cancer not only on this Country but on this planet.
  8. cardio's Avatar
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    #8  
    "Wal-Mart is a cancer not only on this Country but on this planet."

    Why did'nt you just say at the beginning that this was just to slam a business.
  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by dathomas
    The simple fact that that an employer of 1.33 million Americans does not insure nearly half of it's employees' children is disgusting. Wal-Mart is a cancer not only on this Country but on this planet.
    I find the liberal fetish over WalMart completely fascinating.

    No one is forcing those 1.33 million employees to work there.

    Employers who provide such benefits are obviously better places to work., but it's not the employer's responsibility to, "insure nearly half of it's employees' children". It's the parents' job to care for their children's needs - not WalMart's.
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  10.    #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by cardio
    "Wal-Mart is a cancer not only on this Country but on this planet."

    Why did'nt you just say at the beginning that this was just to slam a business.
    It's not just Wal-Mart but rather their business philosophy. There has to be some give back to the community instead of a purely parasitic one.
  11. #11  
    I refuse to shop at Wal-Mart. Instead, I just go to.....SUPER WalMart!
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  12.    #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by phurth
    I find the liberal fetish over WalMart completely fascinating.

    No one is forcing those 1.33 million employees to work there.

    Employers who provide such benefits are obviously better places to work., but it's not the employer's responsibility to, "insure nearly half of it's employees' children". It's the parents' job to care for their children's needs - not WalMart's.
    Driving manufacturers overseas get's rid of well paying factory jobs and replaces them with low paying service jobs. And BTW, what is the predominant means of obtaining health insurance in the U.S.?
  13. cardio's Avatar
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    #13  
    Quote Originally Posted by daThomas
    It's not just Wal-Mart but rather their business philosophy. There has to be some give back to the community instead of a purely parasitic one.
    Wal-Mart is a business not a charity organization. I don't see Abercrombie & Fitch out on the front lines of charity either. Geez, if you don't like their practices don't shop there.
  14. cardio's Avatar
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    #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by daThomas
    Driving manufacturers overseas get's rid of well paying factory jobs and replaces them with low paying service jobs. And BTW, what is the predominant means of obtaining health insurance in the U.S.?
    My guess is that the liberal lawsuits against companies (Hot coffee from NcDonalds burned me syndrome) and the workers comp costs (I was doing something stupid at work and got hurt so the company needs to pay me to stay at home) are a major factor in the factories going overseas. Not sure how Wal-Mart caused that.
  15.    #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by cardio
    My guess is that the liberal lawsuits against companies (Hot coffee from NcDonalds burned me syndrome) and the workers comp costs (I was doing something stupid at work and got hurt so the company needs to pay me to stay at home) are a major factor in the factories going overseas. Not sure how Wal-Mart caused that.
    How incredibly stereotypical of you, however, FACTS:

    "So when it comes to cause and effect, we attribute our woes primarily to the export boom in China -- and before that, in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan. But scholars now explain that since Japanese cars and electronics swept into America in the late 1970s and '80s, most of our job and industry losses didn't happen primarily because of Asia's aggressive export policies.

    Instead, the experts tell us, these are self-inflicted wounds. American companies played a central role in the rise of China and the Asian Tigers. The seismic shifts in the global economy, they say, have been largely driven by American companies -- not just by multi-national manufacturers like GE or Hewlett Packard moving production overseas, but by giant American retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, Toys "R" Us and Home Depot, and brands like Nike or Liz Claiborne galvanizing Asians to export to the U.S.

    The Americans, they say, have gone well beyond merely hunting for bargains already being produced in Asia. In fact, both academics and business executives report, American retailers have actively driven outsourcing -- teaching East Asians how to design and manufacture products for American consumers, creating their own house brands in league with Chinese and Asian producers, and then bluntly warning beleaguered U.S. manufacturers that they'd better move their American plants to China and Asia if they want to survive.

    Years of extensive interviews with Asian and American manufacturers, as well as study of trade flows, have persuaded Professor Gary Hamilton of the University of Washington, that the big box retailers, epitomized by Wal-Mart, have been "driving a massive restructuring of production worldwide; moving jobs from the U.S. and Europe to Asia. They do it by setting price points and forcing suppliers to meet their targets. Only lowest-cost labor can meet their targets, and that means producing in Asia."

    Case in point: Bill Nichol, CEO of Kentucky Derby Hosiery, a sock manufacturer that has supplied Wal-Mart for 40 years. He credits Wal-Mart with forcing his company to be more disciplined and efficient, but he adds: "Their message to us, surprisingly, is, 'There's a broad market out there. If you want to focus on the lowest-cost part of the market, it's obvious that you can't do that in the United States'." So half of Nichol's 1,500 U.S. employees will soon be out of work and he'll have to open plants in China and other low-cost countries to hang onto his Wal-Mart account.

    We heard that story again and again from American manufacturers in sectors as diverse as electronics, apparel, bicycles, furniture, and textiles. They expressed private dismay at the relentless pressure from the likes of Wal-Mart and Target to cut costs to the bone in America and then, when that did not satisfy the mass retailers, more pressure to move production to China or elsewhere offshore. But most did not dare to go on camera and tell their story publicly for fear of jeopardizing their remaining sales to Wal-Mart."
  16. cardio's Avatar
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    #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by daThomas
    It's not just Wal-Mart but rather their business philosophy. There has to be some give back to the community instead of a purely parasitic one.
    Here is a snippet from Wal-Marts site

    Wal-Mart is leading the corporate drive to assist in relief efforts, with $17 million in cash donations to aid emergency relief efforts including $15 million to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, $1 million to the Salvation Army and $1 million to the American Red Cross.
    Provided $3 million worth of merchandise and in-kind donations throughout Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas to shelters and command centers.
    Provided more than $9.2 million in cash assistance to impacted associates through Wal-Mart's Associate Disaster Relief Fund.
    Gave $20,000 in cash donations to assists various animal shelters and organizations taking in lost animals in hurricane impacted areas
    Raised more than $7 million in public contributions made directly by customers at our 3,800 Wal-Mart and SAM'S CLUB locations. These dollars will be donated to emergency relief efforts.
  17.    #17  
    Quote Originally Posted by cardio
    Here is a snippet from Wal-Marts site

    Wal-Mart is leading the corporate drive to assist in relief efforts, with $17 million in cash donations to aid emergency relief efforts including $15 million to the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund, $1 million to the Salvation Army and $1 million to the American Red Cross.
    Provided $3 million worth of merchandise and in-kind donations throughout Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas to shelters and command centers.
    Provided more than $9.2 million in cash assistance to impacted associates through Wal-Mart's Associate Disaster Relief Fund.
    Gave $20,000 in cash donations to assists various animal shelters and organizations taking in lost animals in hurricane impacted areas
    Raised more than $7 million in public contributions made directly by customers at our 3,800 Wal-Mart and SAM'S CLUB locations. These dollars will be donated to emergency relief efforts.
    OMG, are you serious? This is worth jobs going overseas? And not to be a cynic but how much of those donations are tax deductible?
  18. cardio's Avatar
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    #18  
    Quote Originally Posted by daThomas
    How incredibly stereotypical of you, however, FACTS:

    "So when it comes to cause and effect, we attribute our woes primarily to the export boom in China -- and before that, in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan. But scholars now explain that since Japanese cars and electronics swept into America in the late 1970s and '80s, most of our job and industry losses didn't happen primarily because of Asia's aggressive export policies.

    Instead, the experts tell us, these are self-inflicted wounds. American companies played a central role in the rise of China and the Asian Tigers. The seismic shifts in the global economy, they say, have been largely driven by American companies -- not just by multi-national manufacturers like GE or Hewlett Packard moving production overseas, but by giant American retailers like Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, Toys "R" Us and Home Depot, and brands like Nike or Liz Claiborne galvanizing Asians to export to the U.S.

    The Americans, they say, have gone well beyond merely hunting for bargains already being produced in Asia. In fact, both academics and business executives report, American retailers have actively driven outsourcing -- teaching East Asians how to design and manufacture products for American consumers, creating their own house brands in league with Chinese and Asian producers, and then bluntly warning beleaguered U.S. manufacturers that they'd better move their American plants to China and Asia if they want to survive.

    Years of extensive interviews with Asian and American manufacturers, as well as study of trade flows, have persuaded Professor Gary Hamilton of the University of Washington, that the big box retailers, epitomized by Wal-Mart, have been "driving a massive restructuring of production worldwide; moving jobs from the U.S. and Europe to Asia. They do it by setting price points and forcing suppliers to meet their targets. Only lowest-cost labor can meet their targets, and that means producing in Asia."

    Case in point: Bill Nichol, CEO of Kentucky Derby Hosiery, a sock manufacturer that has supplied Wal-Mart for 40 years. He credits Wal-Mart with forcing his company to be more disciplined and efficient, but he adds: "Their message to us, surprisingly, is, 'There's a broad market out there. If you want to focus on the lowest-cost part of the market, it's obvious that you can't do that in the United States'." So half of Nichol's 1,500 U.S. employees will soon be out of work and he'll have to open plants in China and other low-cost countries to hang onto his Wal-Mart account.

    We heard that story again and again from American manufacturers in sectors as diverse as electronics, apparel, bicycles, furniture, and textiles. They expressed private dismay at the relentless pressure from the likes of Wal-Mart and Target to cut costs to the bone in America and then, when that did not satisfy the mass retailers, more pressure to move production to China or elsewhere offshore. But most did not dare to go on camera and tell their story publicly for fear of jeopardizing their remaining sales to Wal-Mart."
    And why are the production costs lower overseas? The liberal lawsuits require the companies to maintain a stable of lawyers, the cost is passed on to us (fair enough if we are the one requiring them to have lawyers). The cost of insurance, to include workers comp and unemployment insurance is out of control and again passed on to us and again we caused it by trying to get something for nothing. The cost of shoplifting and looting. So we as the American public force the fatories overseas as much as any retailer. However individuals refuse to accept the fact that they are as guilty as anyone else.

    If you want to help stop the exporting of factories #1 Buy American made products only. Where was your computer chips manufactured, how about your television? # 2 Support legislation to reduce frivilous lawsuits #3 Support tougher laws on shoplifting and looting
  19. cardio's Avatar
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    #19  
    Quote Originally Posted by daThomas
    OMG, are you serious? This is worth jobs going overseas? And not to be a cynic but how much of those donations are tax deductible?
    UHHH the reply was to your statement of they should give back to the community instead of being a parasite. And who cares how much is tax deductble, I use every tax deduction that is legal to include my donations to charities. Stay on the same topic as you start if you can.
  20. #20  
    Quote Originally Posted by daThomas
    Regardless of party philosophy, we have to look around and say to ourselves, "Damn, that works." then apply this to our own society.
    ......or just move to Finland.
    I've heard that polar bear steaks are tough, but maybe if you marinated them in beer they'd turn out all right.
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