A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
I’ve been waiting a long time to use that Emerson quote in one of my articles. Alas, it looks like I’ve finally found my chance.
In case you think your eyes are deceiving you, let me assure you they are not. That is a jacked up smart car. In the midst of an economic depression, imminent inflation, more government spending and excess than ever in history, a so-called healthcare crisis, and a weakening U.S. dollar, it’s good to know that our society can still come up with something like the creation above. And we’re going to talk about that more in a little while.
For now, let me ask you this: are there any issues more banal and worn out than healthcare reform and Bernie Madoff? There probably are, but I can’t think them off the top of my head. Well, there is Michael Jackson. Can’t he just be dead now? What’s the hold up?
In any case, you should probably know that I wouldn’t lose a minute of sleep if I never heard the words “Bernie” and “Madoff” in the same sentence on CNBC again. The same goes for “healthcare” and “reform.” But since that’s not going to happen, and since these two topics are bringing me dangerously close to the brink marking the boundary between sanity and abject lunacy, I’ve actually canceled my cable subscription. Yes, it’s true: I have decided to rely exclusively on the internet for information that I can custom-tailor to never mention healthcare reform or Bernie Madoff. Ever.
Having made my confession, however – and Bernie Madoff aside — I nonetheless feel as though I would be remiss if I didn’t at least make a small effort to put forth my own solution to the healthcare “crisis” before I permanently eradicate it from my daily media diet. I doubt anyone is going to listen to me, but in the end, that doesn’t really matter. Because I do have a solution. And, in fact, it is a very good solution.
If you don’t know it already, I’m going to make this as clear and succinct as possible: I loathe collectivism at all but the most local levels, and I’m not a big fan of it even there. So the idea of having to be identified by anything at the federal or state level, other than my name – like a Social Security number (for instance) – is absolutely abhorrent to me. Likewise, I think huge government programs are wasteful, foolish, and inefficient.
I know, I know. Some of you are frothing at the mouth, positively perfervid with the desire to sink your socialist fangs into my free market hide. All I can say is this: dissent if you like, but history has my back on this one, and I’m probably not going to engage you in some drawn out debate about how wonderful (for instance) Social Security is, and how it’s not going to break our children. Mostly, I’m not going to argue the point because the dollar is going to fail long before Social Security has a chance to break our children, but that doesn’t absolve the program from its complete inefficacy. And as for the dollar — well, I’ll resume my inexhaustible tirade about its impending failure soon enough. Don’t you fret.
I’d like to preface my proposal by pointing out that there are several reasons healthcare is so expensive. First, at every available juncture, the government destroys competition in the industry as much as it can. Second, because so many people fail – or refuse – to obtain health insurance, the losses healthcare providers incur when the uninsured get sick have to be spread out among those who can pay. Third, subsidies and entitlements have inflated healthcare prices astronomically, because when the government gets involved in facilitating transactions, prices go up. If you don’t believe me, take a look at the roles Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac played in creating easy money for unqualified home buyers. Simply put, the government caused the housing bubble. Similarly, it is largely responsible for ever-increasing tuition costs. And yes, it is a major factor in the skyrocketing costs of healthcare.
I don’t know how things are done in other states, but here in Texas, anyone seeking to renew his or her license plates, or trying to get a new driver license has to show proof of automobile insurance. It’s the way the state makes sure everyone carries at least liability insurance on his or her vehicle, and it mostly works. So my question is this: why couldn’t such a system be applied to the healthcare industry? I’m obviously not a fan of fat bureaucratic programs, but if the government has to get involved, why can it not play the role of forcing consumers to provide proof of health insurance as a prerequisite to buying goods and/or services that might not be considered… well … absolutely necessary.
Here is a short list of expenditures that might require the would-be consumer to procure such proof:
1. Budweiser. In any quantity.
2. Admission to strip clubs.
3. Spinners. (For those of you uninitiated, spinners are those absurd, excessively garish rims that continue to move even when a car is stationary.)
5. Body modifications of any sort, including — but not limited to – tattoos, piercings, embedded fingernail art, hair extensions, liposuction, and nose jobs.
6. Southern Comfort.
8. NFL, NBA, NASCAR, and NHL paraphernalia.
14. Trunk woofers.
15. Anything made by Nike.
16. Small, pure-bred canines.
17. Jacked-up smart cars.
18. Any article of camouflage clothing.
Of course, there is one other possible solution to this whole mess. We could just sentence Bernie Madoff to reform healthcare. That seems fair.
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You can buy his novel Discipline wherever books are sold.