An email today from a progressive organization confirmed that 76% of Americans prefer single payer health care. They were asking for money to air an ad that merely told senators that the matter was urgent.
Three things astonish me about the health care debate. One is that it seems to be the only issue that raises red flags about future costs. The second is the myth that bureaucrats only come in government garb, and the third is the difference between a salary for an honest day’s work and a profit.
Profit is taken by investors after the costs of running a business, including salaries, have been paid. A non-profit business is one that covers its costs, including the salaries of its officers and employees, but doesn’t reward anyone for simply having provided the capital. Commentators never seem to get around to pointing this out. Even when they affirm that health care is a right, not a privilege, they don’t seem to follow that train of thought to its logical conclusion, which is that there is no reason to reward anyone for providing the capital required to run health care.
This leads to the second point (counting backwards), which is that government does not have a monopoly on bureaucracy. Anyone who pushes papers rather than creating something, whether it be a piece of art or an automobile, is essentially a bureaucrat. The ultimate bureaucrat is someone whose papers determine what happens to you, whether you like it or not. So when opponents of health care reform cry out: “Don’t let a bureaucrat make your health choices, he’s right: but private health insurers, like governments, are run as bureaucracies. The difference is that when the health insurance bureaucrats have been paid their salaries, investors receive profits. When a government bureaucrat gets his salary, the expense stops there. The government doesn’t make a profit on health care. By definition, a government doesn’t make a profit on anything.
That’s why we pay taxes. Our taxes are the equivalent of the capital that investors put into a private company. Investors are rewarded with the profits the company makes. We are rewarded for paying taxes with the benefits they enable government to provide us, starting with our right to live a healthy life.
Now to the third, or first point: There being little leeway to argue away the above facts, opponents of tax-based, non-profit health care, as opposed to investor-based health care for profit, raise the red flag of future deficits. But they do not do that when it comes to the costs of war. Or any other non-life enhancing expenditure.
Beyond that, there seems to be a gentleman’s agreement among all parties in congress that comparing the cost of war to that of health care is taboo.
And beyond that, pointing out that we are going to war in order to secure the carbon with which to render the planet inhospitable to humans would be unthinkable.
Eleven days already since my last post! My only excuse is that I’ve been trying to advance other writing projects. Multi-tasking is the sign of our times, alas.
Readers will have noticed that this site has only one page and even that is incomplete. I’m still trying to find the right host, and even with support, building a site is difficult. My apologies. I hope readers will be patient, as other writing projects must take priority.
Perhaps it’s just as well, because, well, what can one say about the state of the world that hasn’t already been said? I think we focus too much on the daily story, the latest coup, the growing ranks of homeless and hungry, here and abroad. I’m trying to find the right balance between being on the right side of the issues – or history, as President Obama said recently – and accepting that life equals disorder.
Of course we have to be on the right side of the issues! But perhaps we can manage that better if we realize that the various dramas that are being played out are variations on one theme: that of inequality. A moving documentary seen on public television narrated by Mia Farrow iabout Rwanda fourteen years after the massacre of Tutsis by Hutus shows how survivors and murderers – who have been released from jail – are coping with forgiveness, as they try to put their lives back together. We have always been told that this was a tribal issue, but in the intro-duction to the documentary, I learned that the Tutsis constituted a sort of upper class of farmers, while the Hutu were herdsmen. If you dig a little into any conflict, you usually find a significant economic factor.
A step in the right direction toward building a global economic system was recently taken by the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon who called for new international institutions to regulate finance, feed the hungry and create jobs.
At the same time, a coup in Honduras leaves observers wondering: the ousted president was a left-winger, yet the coup was condemned by President Obama. Will it eventually turn out that right-wing elements in the CIA cooperated with the Honduran military to oust a president who is supported not only by a majority of Hondurans,but by the growing cohort of Latin American left wing governments? And that the purpose would be to embarrass President Obama?
This morning the news is that Ahmadinejad’s side is heating up, a full three weeks after the election. A major hardline newspaper called for Moussavi and former president Khatami to be tried in a “people’s court”. I wrote in a previous blog that nothing could stop the situation in Iran from getting out of hand. No one could know at the outset what the coming bifurcation would lead to. Just as it seemed that Iran could enjoy a green revolution, the flow of energy through the system accelerated to a bifurcation point that took the direction of greater repression.
Britain and the United States are too conscious of the military danger to be behind this: but Israel may be trying to force its “masters” to include Iran in its military intervention in the region, which already includes Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. They may be right to assume that the American public will continue to do nothing, as “NATO” gets deeper and deeper into a quagmire.
In case you think I”m being too pessimistic, get this: yesterday, 1000 immigrants were sworn in as American citizens in front of a castle at…… Disney World. It would be funny if it weren’t tragic: your new government is telling you right from the start that life in America is one big fairy tale.