"Express" (hah!) Scan-it-yourself checkouts

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David Nebenzahl wrote:

I'd suggest you look to move to a state with a non-bankrupt economy.
There is a rather notable correlation between that "red/blue" state map and a map of the condition of states economies. From the last election results it appears that a lot of voters noticed this correlation. You don't have to agree with either political wing, but it's pretty clear that more conservative economic policies and more limited social "entitlements" equate with a more stable and prosperous economy for everyone.
Sitting here in Texas where the economy has hardly seen a bump, I note that throughout this claimed recession, our economy has continued to do very well. Indeed we have seen a huge influx of people moving here looking for work, and it seems most of them are finding it.
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On 11/29/10 01:11 pm, Pete C. wrote:

If I may be permitted a comparison with another country:
The Australian Dollar is pretty much equal to the US Dollar. Australia's minimum wage is $15/hr. Australian workers get a minimum of four weeks paid leave per year (shift workers get five weeks), and some contracts prescribe that this holiday pay is paid at a rate 17.5% higher than the regular rate -- because going on vacation tends to be more expensive then normal living. Australian workers get eight paid national holidays per year, plus two paid State holidays per year. There is no time limit on unemployment benefits. Australians pay a 1.5% surcharge on taxable income as a health insurance premium -- so even those who are unemployed still have health insurance. Australian universities do not charge tuition to citizens and bona fide residents. The Australian economy is booming. It recently reported its ninth straight year of economic growth.
Perce
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"Percival P. Cassidy" wrote:

Well, here in Texas, I'm sitting at my desk working from home as I do every day, making approximately $45/hr, with four weeks of paid vacation per year plus 10 paid holidays, and I contribute approximately 1.25% of my pay towards my very good health insurance.
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On 11/29/10 04:56 pm, Pete C. wrote:

How typical are you of Texas residents? What is the minimum wage per hour in Texas? How many weeks paid leave mandated by law? What does it cost to attend University in Texas? What percentage of his/her wage would a minimum-wage (or average-wage) worker in Texas have to pay for health insurance?
Perce
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"Percival P. Cassidy" wrote:

Texas is a large and diverse state, I'd be solidly "middle class", there are a lot of people here making a lot more than I am, and a lot of people making a lot less than I am.

Dunno, I think Federal $7.75 or something like that, however a minimum wage is a pretty meaningless thing, really just a vote buying tool for politicians. What happens is that a politician promises to raise the minimum wage and thus buys votes from the lower income folks without the education to understand what that really means.
There is a natural balance in the economy of buying power to hours worked at various skill levels of employment. When the minimum wage is raised, the relatively few people who actually make minimum wage get the impression that they are doing better since they see bigger numbers in their pay. What really happens is that a raise in the minimum wage raises the cost of those few workers and thus raises the cost of the products and services that they produce, this raises the costs to those who purchase those products or services and the effect continues to trickle up causing an inflationary ripple which in six months or so has rebalanced the economy so those few people making minimum wage have the exact same purchasing power they started with, even if the numbers are larger. Many of those people who vote for said politician thinking it will help them actually make more than minimum wage and so they don't even see a brief benefit.

None beyond state and federal holidays I believe.

I haven't looked. Certainly the community colleges are quite cheap for residents and a bit more for non-residents. Then you go up to the fancier colleges and of course costs increase.

That is all over the spectrum, since health insurance plans are all over the spectrum. There are state sponsored insurance plans that cover children of low income families for little costs. The commercial health insurance costs vary with group affiliations where large companies have more bargaining power, and also with what the plans cover, some are very basic, some are very complete.
Despite all the political propaganda and hype in the media, the fact remains that some 86% of the U.S. population has some type of health insurance coverage. The remaining 14% includes a large portion of mostly healthy younger people who choose to not have health insurance, so in reality, they're trying to "reform" a health care system that works for 95%+ of the population. That 5% of the population that is truly uninsured can still get care from many sources from clinics to hospital emergency rooms.
All the comparisons to other countries health care systems neglect to factor in the much larger population in the U.S. and it's much wider geographic distribution. A country that is a fraction of the size of the U.S. in both population and area can provide "universal" health care with a relatively small number of government run hospitals, something that simply isn't possible in the U.S.
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There is no requirement for employers to pay you for any holiday, that is a benefit, not a right.
--
You'll be Ok, Enjoy. Life is nothing more than a bunch of mini
vacations all rolled into one. - Old Gringo
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wrote:

Most countries with universal health insurance have for-profit health care providers, not just government hospitals. One big difference is the health *insurance* companies are non-profit, and price controls on providers are exercised. No 20% skimming by insurance companies, and no $100 aspirins. Doesn't keep the docs and hospital owners from getting wealthy. Some countries allow private insurance companies to make a profit selling supplementals.
The biggest difference is the political systems. In the U.S. the pols are bought off by those with the bucks. All information about this is readily available on the internet. Anybody can find out how the various systems work, what they cost in terms of GDP, and the quality of service.
I don't buy your saying population and geographic size means anything. If that were true we would have trouble finding gas and food too. Rural areas always have less access to services, and always will. What's more relevant is the obesity rate, which is what makes the U.S. different from other countries regarding health care. The U.S. is king of fat asses.
Your 86% figure might reflect pre-2010 employment figures. Real unemployment is said to be 15% or more now. I doubt that many unemployed have health insurance. Probably go to the ER or apply for Medicaid. Besides that, having insurance doesn't mean one is happy with it.
When I was making +$100k the $5k I was paying for health insurance was no big deal. Didn't even notice it. Now that I'm retired my wife the cook provides the insurance. Still costs us $5K yearly, but the insurance doesn't pay as much, and she pulls down a massive $17k yearly. That's 29.5% of her gross. I think of it as a 29.5% tax due to a screwed up health care system. Her workmates use the emergency room and public aid. They just can't afford that tax, which is even more for them because they make less than my wife.. We can afford it. We hardly use med services, but I look at it as the "keep my house" tax in case there's a major med event. The recent health care bill will subsidize her premiums over 9.5% of income staring in 2014, if it survives.
You can look at those subsidies in 2 ways at least. Socialism for citizens needing health care. Socialism for health insurance companies and health care providers. Probably both. Though the Dems may have had noble motives, too many were owned by med industry lobbyists. Not having a "public option" pissed everybody off.
There's a reason old folks don't want to give up their Medicare. They like their socialism. So does the health care industry. Plenty of docs using gov money to buy their Mercedes. All it takes to turn a "capitalist" into a "socialist" is to give him a cut of tax money.
--Vic
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happen in order get a real amount of money from Mcare in addition to the insurance companies. Also, the actual amount paid by MCare to run the place is within a couple of percentage points of the evil insurance companies (which also pay much more than the government programs). The low figure often cited is what Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services pays for their administrative expenses such as some research, schmoozing with Congress and the oversight of the Financial Intermediaries. The FIs are the people (EDS, BC/BS, etc) who do the heavy lifting of paying claims, etc. When you figure back in the money that is sent to the FIs to do the actual work, the expenses aren't all that different.

You aren't seriously equating the costs of hospitals and physicians with that gas stations McDonalds?

There are some others. For instance, the biggest contributor to infant mortality is the age of the mother. US leads the league in teen pregnancies, this is a societal as opposed to purely medical concern. Same thing with life expectancy where the loss of a teen to a driveby or drug OD impacts that stat much more than keeping a 70 y/o alive for a few extra years.

those with government programs were any more happy with MCaid as the others were with BC/BS.

as much. They are seeing many of the same things others have. You are already seeing many docs refusing to take new MCare patients and some are thinking seriously about getting out of it all together. Private insurance largely subsidized MCare for years and now they are pushing back. Has all sorts of interesting things going forward.

Yet studies have shown for at least the last 10 years that MCare pays around 80 cents for every dollar the Evil Insurance COmpanies pay for the same thing. MCaid runs around 64 cents.
--
"Even I realized that money was to politicians what the ecalyptus tree is to
koala bears: food, water, shelter and something to crap on."
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wrote:

Never mentioned cost. When you argue population and geographic size is a problem for universal health care, the same applies for private insurance. Far as I know, in the U.S. anybody can find insurance no matter where they live. Access to service is the issue. No surprise. Whether fast food, gas, or med providers I have many more at hand and more choice than those in rural areas. But this summer I had to go to downtown Chicago's Magnificent Mile to find an oral surgeon in my expensive Aetna HMO plan. Required an hour and a half car/train/bus journey because I won't drive downtown. There's oral surgeons all around me within 10-15 minutes. Good chance many of them take Medicare.

Yep, a whole slew of factors. But Medicare costs are nearly all old folks. Lots of them are fat, with attendant maladies like diabetes, heart disease, joint replacements, etc. There's no sense arguing about the percentage of Medicare cost at "end of life." It's published and you can find it on the internet.

"health insurance" sometimes. But I prefer "health tax." Don't know what payment Medicaid requires, and don't want to. I have read that Walmart and Kroger employees are common Medicaid customers.

Who would be happy being a patient at an inner city hospital? Those who have it in my family are tickled to death with Medicare. But they buy full supplements, which cost some coin. And they don't go to inner city hospitals. Like to brag about how a knee or hip replacement "didn't cost them a penny." hehe. Guess that half of their SS check going to supplemental premiums doesn't count.

You can't squeeze blood from a stone. That's what the health care industry will learn. They will always need customers. The good med capitalists will take the gov socialist money and stay in business. Their alternative is a wholesale importation of Indian and Chinese docs and administrators to fill the gap and lower costs even more. That's my guess at a solution. Competition. Survival of the fittest.
--Vic
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things apply in Canada where the rural areas are underserved, especially in the specialities.

really the last year, but last few hours or days. The acute stage of dying is what gets costly. And even for many oldsters, you don't know if this is the big one until it is over.

distinction with a tax on your car or house for insurance?

practiced in inner city hospitals. The county generals are mostly teaching hospitals for the local medical school. My inner city hospital was all faculty in the attending, many quite literally world renowned. It was just the other clientel that turned people off.

So even under the government plans there is a heavy tax.

government pretending during WWII that paying health insurance costs was not part of the wage freeze. This divorced the payment people (employers) from the users (you and me). Then over the years it was made worse as more and more of the out-of-pocket expenses were picked up by someone else. I don't think it is coincidence that as the o-o-p expenses paid by the patient dropped from 50% in the 60s to less than 20% now that healthcare inflation went up and amount of GPD going to healthcare also skyrocketed. That s what happens when you hide 80% of the costs. Plus since it was a benefit you don't want to leave any money on the table at the end of the year. Plus we haven't had health insurance (if insurance is defined as taking a big risk that is rare and spreading around many people) since the demise of the old Major Medical plans. Unlike some places that ration by things like queues (Canada) or just not making something available (in parts of the EU), we don't really ration things at all so the excess demand goes to increasing prices until the system collapses.
--
"Even I realized that money was to politicians what the ecalyptus tree is to
koala bears: food, water, shelter and something to crap on."
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Vic Smith wrote:

The greatest problem we have with health care is the lunatic left who claim that health care is a right. The simple fact is that *nothing* that requires the labor of another person is or can ever be a right. You do not have a right to force a doctor to treat you without compensation. You do not have a right to force a pharmaceutical company to develop medicines for you without compensation. You do not have a right to force surgical supply companies to produce surgical tools for your surgery without compensation. You do not have a right to force a gas company to produce the oxygen and nitrous oxide you require without compensation. The only *right* you have is to pay those provides a fair price for their services and products.
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Not typical at all. No one I know makes $45 as an employee working from home. Even when I worked for HP, some workers were permitted to do "some" work at home, but still had to show up most of the time.
At $45/hr he makes about $93,000 a year (in the top 20 percentile), which is easily double what the average male worker earns: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States
10 Paid holidays are atypical too. Most employers offer 6-8 paid days off. With some sick/personal days thrown in there too. Most employers will offer 1-2 weeks of paid vacation after 1 year of service, but the pay rate is the same as your regular pay. This applies to "real" jobs. Fast-food workers and retail clerks rarely get any of these "perks". They are the ones making $7.25 -$10.00/hr. (which is not a livable wage).
If this guy only pays 1.25% of his salary towards health insurance, he is very well off. I typically pay 10-15% for "very good" insurance (and that's with the employer's subsidy).

The minimum wage is set by the Federal Government @ $7.25 per hour, with no consideration of cost of living adjustments. For example, using the calculator here: http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/savings/moving-cost-of-living-calculator.aspx
A person moving from Houston,TX to Los Angeles, CA would need to make 45.1% more in order to maintain his standard of living.

None, period.

My local community college charges $66 for in-district residents, $136 for out of district Texas residents, and $228 for all others. This is per credit hour. Community college only gets you to a Associate's degree. To attend a real university the costs are much higher. Many people choose to do the community college thing first to save money.

It all boils down to if your employer offers it for one, and the quality of the insurance varies greatly (some only pay 70% of bills with a big $5000 deductible, while other plans pay 100% of bills with no deductible).
There is no way to answer your question without a huge research project being done!
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vacations all rolled into one. - Old Gringo
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"G. Morgan" wrote:

Not atypical either. There are a *lot* of telecommuters and there are a *lot* of people who make much more than I do, both in Texas and around the U.S.

I certainly don't feel like the top 20% by a long shot. I don't live in any sort of fancy house, don't drive a yuppmobile (ok, I do have a $60k truck, but I actually use it as a truck), etc. and being single I should theoretically be doing better than someone with the same income and more mouths to feed.

The bulk of workers have "real" jobs.

I suppose it depends on your definition of "livable wage", since most of the noted positions are filled by teenagers and students who live with parents and thus do not have housing overhead and many other expenses.

Health insurance costs for a single person are less than those for a larger family unit. I also work for a large company so they have good negotiating clout with insurers.

http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/savings/moving-cost-of-living-calculator.aspx
Why would any sane person move to LA?
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I'm sure there are, but as the commercial says: "results not typical".

What, do you spend all your dough partying? :)

I'd be curious to know what percentage of workers do receive a good benefit package these days.

That may have been true at one time. Next time you go to Exxon or whatever take note of the clerks age. I see more and more older folks (not retirees) working those jobs.

You are truly blessed.

So they can smoke pot legally?
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vacations all rolled into one. - Old Gringo
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On Mon, 29 Nov 2010 16:12:50 -0500, "Percival P. Cassidy"

How big a problem do Australians have with illegal immigration, or even legal immigration?
It is basically a "closed shop".
Maybe we should send you 20 or 30 million people who will work for $50 a day, still expecting all of those "free" services and see what happens to your economy.
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On 11/29/10 05:10 pm, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

There is some illegal immigration: stowaways and overstays, plus a northern coastline that is not easy to police 100%. I think that legal immigration is still being encouraged -- for people with money to invest in starting a business.
In earlier times, immigration was on a much larger scale: at one time, it was said, Melbourne was the third-largest Greek-speaking city in the world; I don't know whether it's still true.

Where are you getting the "20 or 30 million" figure? Is that the number of allegedly illegal immigrants in the USA? A pro-rated figure for Australia would be approx. 2 million.
I'm not sure how illegal immigrants would avail themselves of the health care service because they wouldn't have the necessary ID.
Perce
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On 11/29/10 05:53 pm, Percival P. Cassidy wrote:

... or with special skills. The official total number of "settlers" (those intending to stay rather than coming as visitors or students) for the 2008-09 financial year was 158,021.
Perce
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"Percival P. Cassidy" wrote:

That last bit is a big problem in the U.S., the leftists do everything they can to ensure that legal residency is not checked in providing those "free" services, thus causing the bulk of the problems in our social services, particularly health care since those illegal immigrants, regardless of where they are from tend to breed at a much higher rate than legal U.S. residents / citizens.
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You mean like in 1982/1983 when unemployment hit 10.8% ?
--
Better to be stuck up in a tree than tied to one.

Larry Wasserman - Baltimore Maryland - lwasserm(a)sdf. lonestar.org
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On Nov 29, 7:40am, "Stormin Mormon"

Shoot, that's just capitalism in action. Nobody is making Lowe's use dual-language signage. They are simply exercising their freedom to collect those Spanish-speaking dollars.
Cindy Hamilton
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