call me a socialist

Listen. I'm middle-aged and I'm allowed to have some entrenched opinons. Here's what I believe and don't even bother trying to convince me otherwise.

I think there are some things that do not work in a for-profit business environment. When you have an eye on the bottom line first and foremost in these areas, these businesses will eventually suffer. No wait, the BUSINESSES won't suffer but the product or people they serve? WILL SUFFER. So no more push polls, Phoenix University. Bottom line, yes, the bottom line has to exist, but it can't be the main goal of ANY OF THESE SERVICES.

Medical care
Scientific research (at least some of it can't be product driven)
Help for the poor
Help for children at risk**
Fire fighting
Emergency services
Consumer safety
Crime fighting

Well, well. Isn't that interesting. So many of these things are run by the government. Maybe because it makes freaking sense? No one else is going to run this crap as a non-profit .... or in some cases as a charity. There will be no return on any investment in some of these areas--it least not in terms of hard, cold cash. And for people who can only measure success using profit as their tool, this has to be a nightmare.

It is possible to live in a world where we don't use public money to solve problems. After all, we have a history of small government in the good old days.

First to go in this new no-or-low-government intervention world: the kids, the mentally and physically impaired, because they don't have the funds to pay for anything. Most of us no long pay a tithe to a centralized church to take care of our poor. Beggars are already part of the landscape. A few more would make the cities more colorfully third world.

About the other services. There are other ways to run them, of course. We could pay a group like the Bow Street Runners and anyone who had money could get crimes investigated. The rest of us would usually be SOL if any sort of investigation is required.

Education. So we have to pony up for our kids. What percentage of the population really needs to know how to read? For the rest of us, maybe we can send our 12 years olds to be apprentices again.

We'd have to pay for fire insurance again so only the people who paid would get the pumpers to show up when their houses are burning down. So what if in the past some of those "fire companies" tended to show people what would happen if they forgot to pay their dues?

Defense....well. . We could reinstate the nobles system. I guess rich people could pay groups like Blackwater. One guy with a private army. Of course that army would have the employer's interests at heart.

And there's the stuff like infrastructure. Toll roads! They worked for centuries. Seriously, that one actually makes sense to me (until I try to drive into NYC. Grrr.)

So, sure. It can be done. But I suggest anyone who wants the good old days actually should read about how horrendous life could be. And we didn't even get into the fun stuff like researching the causes and cures for diseases.

Oh and medical care... well. That dropping-through-the-cracks archaic for-profit system is still part of our life, isn't it? Only these days we can't pay for our babies' births with a goat or two. Just do a search on Medical Insurance Nightmare and get stories like this one. or this one. or this one. or. . .


oh, and speaking of which, prisons should also not be for-profit. (and when we stop educating kids and feeding the poor we'll need more prisons) Why? Because when money comes to the forefront of the equation we have things like this happening. Or this


  1. Since last fall's financial industry belly flops, I'm inclined to add "financial services" to that list.

  2. I'm sitting over here in France feeling Quite smug.

    For those Americans who don't know the French system - it's a mix of private and public healthcare and coverage. The government basically takes care of the financial aspect, but the system is mostly run by the private sector. (doctors are not considered public workers - and since universities (and med school) are free, they don't have huge debts to repay and can start earning money right away. Our doctors aren't very wealthy, although most surgeons and specialists do very very well.
    Our healthcare system isn't perfect, but it's practically free. We pay upfront and get reimbursed - there are both private and public hospitals and doctors, people can get their own insurance or use the government's, or get a complimentary insurance to beef up the public one. We don't pay for hospital stays, surgery, and doctors are quite reasonably priced (they can set their own fees but there is a minimum though not a maximum - you get reimbursed for the minimum, of course, lol). (it costs about 25$ to see a doctor, and there are no waiting lists for anything.
    I'd really like the US to get universal healthcare. I was financially ruined when my twins were born in the US (we had no insurance) and a good friend of mine in FL had to declare bankruptsy and lost her house and business because of medical bills relating to her children's birth and health troubles - and she was insured! (oh - and most French do NOT consider themselves socialists, lol)

  3. Sam, most people are one medical disaster from bankruptcy, even those with coverage thanks to insurance caps (max they'll pay in a year or per illness/incident). It's a huge problem. Funny how nobody says public schools, roads, etc. are socialism but health care is the end of days. *eye roll* I do think some system will go through this year; I just hope it is a good one, better than "everybody has to have insurance" without keeping the insurance companies in line. See above, maximum pay problem which will bankrupt people who HAVE insurance.


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