Corruption With A Growl

Excerpted from Jacob Riis’ autobiography, The Making of an American, ©1901:

You bring up the people slowly to a reform programme, particularly when it costs money. They will pay for corruption with a growl, but seem to think that virtue ought always to be had for nothing. It makes the politicians’ game easy. They steal the money for improvements, and predict that reform will raise the tax-rate. When the prophecy comes true, they take the people back in their sheltering embrace with an “I told you so!” and the people nestle there repentant.

When the investment bankers manipulated the market for their personal gain, requiring a trillion dollars in bailout money to cover their losses, there was no real debate:  the money was instantly available.

People are dying and going bankrupt  from lack of affordable health care, but that, we are told, costs too much money.

Jacob Riis, buried more than a century ago, would not be surprised.

All of his books are in the public domain and may be downloaded freely from Project Gutenberg, HERE.

(One question I am seldom asked is, “So, what are you reading these days?”)

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Sha la la la la la

The Evil Party™’s plan will allow insurance companies to charge seniors quintuple what everyone else pays, whereas under the Slightly Less Evil Party™’s plan they would only be charged triple.

Either way, I’m seeing zero incentive to save money for retirement.  Under the auspice’s of either plan you’re likely to die deeply in debt, probably impoverished.

So unless you have some special affection for the health care industry’s shareholders– and personally, I do not– the only strategy that makes sense under this system is to save nothing, live for today, and live the best life you can for as long as you can.

Double D

One problem we’ve had lately is with what I call “Digital Doctors,” both human and veterinary. They want to run a battery of tests, then base their diagnosis solely on the numbers, charts, and graphs they see on the screen.

I’m not saying testing and diagnostics aren’t important. I’m saying they should pay more attention to the patient sitting in front of them.

*bang*

Steve Scalise pushed through a “health care” bill that will strip coverage from millions of people, resulting in the deaths and suffering of– at a minimum– thousands.

They will die one at a time, surrounded by family or alone. They will live lives of poverty, crushed by overwhelming debt. They will linger in pain, even though cures and medications exist, because they don’t have the means to access them.

Violence doesn’t always happen with a bang.

Sometimes it’s as quiet as the stroke of a pen.

Compassion

Actor/author Wil Wheaton went through a recent health scare with his wife that required multiple trips to the emergency room.  This is the part of his story that resonated with me, because I realized that in all of the times I’ve been to the hospital with my Mona, we’ve never heard these words:

“That isn’t normal for a kidney stone or constipation,” the doctor says. “I’m going to get you an ultrasound, and some more pain medication.” Then, she does something I realize that the two other doctors we’ve seen since this all started didn’t do: she takes a moment and says, “I’m so sorry that you’re in so much pain, and I’m sorry that hurt so much. We’re going to figure out what’s going on with you, and I won’t send you home until we do.”

Read the whole account at WilWheaton.net.

Second Verse, Same as the First

From CBS News:

Roughly half of all U.S. families have no money set aside for retirement, Federal Reserve data show. Not a cent. But even that alarming savings deficit doesn’t fully capture the emerging socioeconomic crisis facing what is, after all, a rapidly graying nation.

That’s because even Americans who work diligently to prepare for their later years are falling behind, thwarted by a confusing, patchwork system that has placed the burden of saving for retirement squarely onto individuals.

Well, yeah.  That was by design.

Thirty years ago employers provided a pension benefit as part of their employees compensation, but then corporations realized they could make more profit by taking that benefit away and putting the money they saved into their own pockets.  The stock market soared, Ronald Reagan was hailed as a genius, and most employees didn’t even realize they’d just taken a massive pay cut.

Keep an eye on your health care.  Under the guise of “personal responsibility,” they’re going to do it again.

I guarantee it.