Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Wall Street Journal Europe.

I've often claimed that being right wing is simply a lack of reflection. Its probably a bit rich for someone in my position, i.e. unemployed loser, to make such a claim, but whenever I doubt its truthfulness, all I have to do i pick up a copy of the Wall Street Journal Europe which is distributed free at my university.

The WSJ Europe, which according to Wikipedia has a circulation of 87.000,(1) is so right wing it makes The Daily Telegraph seem like socialistic propaganda. It basically only has one narrative to tell, which it compensates for by repeating it daily in its editorial and comments pages, which is: Continental Europeans are poor, stupid and evil; while Anglo-Saxons, i.e. Americans and to some extent British, are the people God has chosen to courageously and morally lead the world to the utopia of total economic liberalism.

In today's editorial, other than praising John Bolton as one who speaks "with moral clarity," it actually claims that Germany's health system is the cause of that countries high unemployment. The Journal is worried that Senator Edward Kennedy's proposed Medicare for All Act will make the US "more like Germany."

The Journal's argument is that the German system, requiring all employers and employees to contribute to the federal health insurance, makes businesses unwilling to hire workers. I find that argument unconvincing as health insurance for most Americans is also related to their employment as a benefit, i.e. its part of the expenditure that employers have when hiring employees. Not only that, but the US spends a much higher proportion of its GDP on health care than Germany or any other European country with a universal health insurance system.(2) American employers are therefore paying much more in health insurance schemes than European employers.

Although I admit that there are advantages to the American health system, its ridiculous to argue that it is less of a burden on employers and employees, than the German system. It is also, in my opinion, amoral, because its favours the rich and leaves large sections of society uncovered. I, for example, would love to move back to the USA (the country of my birth), but financially its impossible because I presently couldn't get health insurance!

How the editors at the Wall Street Journal can argue the way they do, without questioning how the private system in the US works, is beyond me. If its not due to unwillingness (or inability) to reflect deeper over the issue, then its just me who's too unintelligent to understand their right wing gospel.

(1) I don't know Whether that figure is with or without the freebie's.
(2) Numerous studies have documented this, see for example:
Evens, B.T. and C.Prichard, 'Cancer survival rates and GDP expenditure on health,' Public Health, Sept. 2000, 336-339. or
Nordqvist, Christian. 'Health Expenditure Often Does Not Match Life Expectancy' Medical Health Today, 26 Sep. 2006 on www.medicalhealthtoday.com.


At 11 December, 2006 10:55, Blogger karlund said...

That wasn't too bad!!
Though I think sometimes you have a tendensy to put an equal sign between conservatism and liberalism, which simply doesn't work altough a very common mis-conception.
At the core of conservatism lies the idea that everything should remain the same, hence a lack of reflection, whereas the core of liberalisme is about creating a society based on "freedom" or liberty principles, therefore room for reflection.

But this is probably a discussion night in its own right ;-)
By the way, it was nice meeting up on Saturday...

At 11 December, 2006 23:23, Blogger Torsten Pedersen said...

Hi Karlund,

Yes, you are probably right. My 'tirade' against the 'right wing' was (of course) full generalisations and without consideration of diferences between liberal, conservative, neo-conservative and facist right wingers.

The Wall Street Journal should, however, know better than present information without putting it in context, while at the same time ingnoring evidence that dosen't support their argument.

It was really good to see you and I hope you have a great time in Italy.

At 12 December, 2006 12:15, Blogger karlund said...

Well - I guess that WSJ just work within the current (or pre-election) American political climate. Where you can easily present information without evidence or out of context! Most readers of the paper will probably believe it, just as they believed "They have weapons of mass-destruction!"
Let's hope the US won't start a war on hospital services ;-)


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