Boo-hoo! American crybabies and health care
By Craig J. Cantoni
March 7, 2007
Americans are crying that health care is expensive. It’s irrelevant to the snivelers that the gross
inefficiencies of the health care system are due to the government killing a
consumer market in health insurance and care 65 years ago and then burying the
corpse 42 years ago with Medicare. Like
a baby having a temper tantrum, they just want the government to do something.
Meanwhile, roads are full of cars costing three times the
cost of stripped-down models, restaurants are full of overweight people paying
four times the cost of a home meal, bars are full of people paying five dollars
for a margarita, shopping malls are full of people buying frivolous stuff on
credit, convenience stores are full of people buying lottery tickets and
four-dollar packs of cigarettes, casinos are full of people on fixed incomes,
subsidized sports stadiums are full of people dropping a hundred bucks on
tickets and five-dollar beers, a zillion Starbucks outlets are full of people
paying five times what a cup of coffee full of fat would cost at home, ears are
full of cell phones with high monthly charges, and houses that are twice as
large as the houses of their grandparents are full of big-screen TVs, extra
bathrooms and fancy stoves that are seldom used.
If you think that only rich people are spending money in
these ways, you’ve been in a coma for the last 25 years.
Yet Americans snivel about rising health care costs and
whine about a $25 co-pay for medicine or a visit to the doctor. Worse, in the worst case of convoluted
thinking since Marx wrote Das Kapital,
most Americans want the government to give them free medical care, which is the
most expensive kind of medical care, even though the government caused the
inefficiencies in the first place.
DON’T AMERICANS UNDERTAND THE CONCEPT OF TRADEOFFS?
Sorry, I let my Italian emotions get the best of me.
Of course they don’t.
Babies can’t think beyond their immediate gratification.
The numbers are squishy and depend on the political agendas
of the sources, but the average household spends per annum about $2,500 at
restaurants, $9,000 in credit card debt, $8,000 in car expenses, and $13,000 in
Oh, let’s not forget the cost of government. City, county, school district, state and
federal taxes vary by locale and family, but where I live they consume almost
half of the average household income.
The typical husband and wife will pay close to $200,000 in public
education taxes over their lifetimes, and the cost of the federal government
alone averages about $22,000 per household, not counting the $600,000 in
unfunded liabilities per household for Social Security and Medicare. Curiously, Americans aren’t demanding that
the government do something about the skyrocketing cost of government. Could the reason be that much of the cost of
government is hidden?
If Americans downsized their homes and car engines by
one-fifth, reduced discretionary spending by one-fifth, and cut taxes by one-fifth,
they could easily pay their health care costs out of their own pockets and
still have a higher standard of living than 98 percent of the world.
For god’s sake, please spare me claptrap about the poor not
being able to afford health care. An altruistic
concern about the poor is not why most Americans are crying about health care
costs while drinking double lattes and running up cell-phone bills in their
status wagons. Their crying because they’re
spoiled brats who are just as immature as when mommy pulled them in a little
Besides, it’s not necessary to nationalize the health care
industry to help the poor. Because some
people can’t afford food, housing, clothing and transportation, everyone isn’t
forced to buy food in government commissaries, to live in government housing,
to wear government uniforms, and to take government transportation.
Don’t expect politicians to piss off voters by telling them
to grow up, don’t expect newspapers to piss off readers by telling them to grow
up, and don’t expect businesses to piss off employees and customers by telling
them to grow up.
Well, I’m not afraid to tell them: Grow up and piss off!
An author and columnist, Mr. Cantoni can’t be found at
Starbucks, but he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.