This is a rather long lecture by Milton Friedman on the issues of government in medical care. As it is so long I’m not going to write a lot, but you should watch it because, despite being over 3 decades old, every word is still very relevant.
Tag Archives: medical care
…not good for anything… …but they provide a pointless distraction.
So over the last couple of days liberals of all stripes have called me and friends of mine cold, lacking in empathy, privileged (because apparently using reason to judge a statement makes you a privileged member of the upper class…this does not speak well of the intelligence of the 99% if this statement were true) and heartless for critiquing the numerous, pointless, pathologically riddled with lies and half truths, and nothing but worthless whines of all the schmucks who claim to be “the 99%” (who strangely tend to endlessly piss off the 47% who actually pay taxes).
So let me give a blanket critique of the “99% whiners” because I can guarantee you that each and every one will fall somewhere in this critique. Why do I feel that these people need a complete, total dressing down? Well first because I remember reading in the Bhagavad Gita:
“Charity given for the sake of righteousness, without expectation of return, at the proper time and place, and to a worthy person is considered to be in the mode of goodness. But charity performed with the expectation of some return, or with a desire for fruitive results, or in a grudging mood, is said to be charity in the mode of passion. And charity performed at an impure place, at an improper time, to unworthy persons or without proper attention and respect is said to be in the mode of ignorance.”—Bhagavad-Gita Ch17. 20-22
And I find giving to people who whine and choose to not improve themselves, but demand others pay for them to be quite literally the “unworthy persons” warned about in this point. Intelligent religions over all of history have made a distinction between giving for the sake of helping people improve themselves and just giving because they want (or does no one remember that you’re not supposed to give a man a fish) . But still they feel you should give them anything they want because I have and they don’t…because they think they are entitled to my empathy and compassion because they were born, because I am under some order to love my neighbor…well guess what, because I can actually read I know I am advised to “love my neighbor as I would love myself” and let me tell you I am very critical of myself when I succumb to my worst habits, my worst inclinations, and my worst faults. People who don’t love themselves, but ask me to feel compassion for them are the most rank hypocrites. But why do I say they don’t love themselves…well generally rational self-interest, the love of yourself that this guy 2,000 year ago advocated (I’m sure he was a disgusting egotist for such a suggestion) tends to mean people take care of themselves, to better themselves, to have some concern for their well being…or at least to work in their best interests.
So let me ask about all the people who claim to be in “the other 99%”, have they acted always in their best interests? (Now I will admit I do not meet all of the points I’m about to go over…but I’m not asking for sympathy. You can be a good person and not do these things…you cannot be a sympathetic one and not meet all of these requirements).
Let me ask, did you graduate high school?
Cause the other 99% percent seems to suffer from a rather bizarre level of unemployment. Now the people who have the highest levels of unemployment. I hate to say this but a lot of these 99%’s are not exactly singing the virtues of their education while they’re complaining about unemployment (not all but a lot) which makes me ask if they’re unemployed because no employer would legitimately be insane enough to hire them if they had a choice. Which is made all the sadder because, as a high school teacher, I know how unspeakably easy it is to get a high school diploma. Really. With schools, charter schools, alternative schools, online schools and GED you have to try to NOT get a diploma. It takes work–Lots of work—to not pass high school. Yet around 16% of this country manages to do it. Oh, yes some of you might argue about the quality of the diploma (I have no argument there, only to say that given how low that quality is, it’s kind of sad when you can’t reach that bar) or the schools are not set up to teach students…to the latter point I would say that I would bet that even in the worst school in America there is one teacher there who actually does give a shit and if you went to them with an honest desire to learn, a drive to do whatever they asked, and willingness to be helped they would help anyone who came to them. THERE ARE NO EXCUSES FOR NOT HAVING A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA OR THE EQUIVALENT. And before I could even possibly feel sorry for someone I need to see that they have the brains and self respect for even the most bare bones level of education. Yet I don’t see a lot of 99%’s talking about their education…
Which brings me to my second question, did you go to community college, a trade school, or state school?
This is tied to the first. If you don’t have the desire for self improvement, why should my money or the money of the 1% go to you? Getting an AA at a community college is possible, even on a minimum wage salary. Same is true of a trade school. It will take time, but it is possible. So when I see all these people who say, “I worked for 30 years” I always have to wonder what were they doing those 30 years. The signs are designed to elicit sympathy, so if they were doing something like nursing, or teaching, or getting an education they would include that. But they almost never include what they were doing. Would full disclosure of what you were doing not elicit sympathy? But back to schooling, anyone if they scrimp, save and work for it can get an AA or trade school degree which would make it far more unlikely that they would ever be fired and make it far more likely that you will get a new job easily if you were fired. Anyone can do it and anyone with a half functioning brain knows that education provides a safety net.
Do you like your job and don’t need anymore education. Fine. Commendable. You did what we recommended to find something you like and do that. But you knew that staying in that one position, not constantly improving yourself, not making yourself more skilled, not seeking a better job or position came with a risk and that risk was that when the shit hit the fan you were the most expendable person around. There is nothing wrong with not seeking more education than the job you enjoy needs…but don’t come crying to me. You took that risk. I take lots of risks, I don’t ask anyone to be held responsible for them but myself.
Why do I put state college there? Because a lot of these people on these 99% pictures list their tuition debts at levels far exceeding what a state college could cost to a state resident (even with room and board). This means they chose a private school or an out of state school knowing what the cost would be. Yet, somehow, as implicit in their whining is they think their debt is too high. Well if it was too high, go to a state school. I went to a private school, but I was under no illusion that I would be tying an albatross around my neck for the next 30 years—and I’d do it again in a heart beat. It was worth it. But don’t complain to someone else because you don’t want the bill for the services you used. Don’t want high college debt? Go to a cheap community college, get your AA then go to a state school for the BA. If you’re working fulltime you won’t be more than a high car loan worth in debt.
Let me ask did you get a degree in a practical skill or a hard science?
And a lot of these whiners who complain about their college debt also bitch about not having a job. Which is odd because the unemployment rate for college graduates is around 4.4%. So I have to ask, what did you get your degree in? Was it sociology? Women’s studies in relation to Enlightenment culture? A Master’s degree in Music theory? What possible degree did you get that makes a high school graduate a more appealing hire? I got a B.A. in English with a minor in Education, I knew that this qualified me to teach English and not much else, good thing I wanted to be an English teacher…but I got a degree in a field I wanted to go into and I knew there was a reasonable need for the profession. What worthless liberal arts degree did you think it was a good idea to drop 60K on…because I can promise you if we split that 4.4% into hard science degrees and Liberal arts, the hard science ones would be much lower than 4.4%. You wanted to study what you wanted to study. Fine, it’ s your right. But when you have given yourself a skill set that makes you unemployable you should learn to live with the consequences of your actions and not whine to me about it.
Did you refrain from having children until you were married?
Oh, here is a big one for the people whining about their lives in “the other 99%” they bitch about child costs but very often I do not see reference to a spouse. I know some wonderful women who had children before they got married and who are doing well in life (strangely they don’t whine a lot about things being other people’s fault), but I get the feeling they’re going to not only tell their own children, but society in general, having children before marriage is really, really dumb. I would even go as far to say that having children before you’re relatively financially stable is a questionable move, but let’s deal with the more egregious problems. Having children, married or not, employed or not, makes your life infinitely more complicated and difficult. More rewarding, certainly, but infinitely more complicated.
And I’m sorry but I can’t feel sorry for people who have children when they’re not ready. It’s not like it just randomly happens without any personal choice (okay yes there are two exceptions, one involves rape and then you have my instant compassion and desire to help you, and the second way usually also comes with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh…but these are the exceptions, not the general rule) on your part being involved. Yes, are the deadbeat dad’s also to blame, hell yes, and I will instantly support a law that says that dead beat dads who don’t pay should have the very organs that got them into this mess surgically removed…but I don’t see many 99% people arguing for more personal responsibility, so that’s neither here nor there. You made your bed, you sleep in it, don’t ask me to subsidize your bad choices and I won’t ask you to subsidize mine.
Let me ask did you work hard at your job before you were fired?
Oh so many of these people who say, “I am the other 99%” seem to have lost their jobs. Oh boo-hoo. I know some people have lost their jobs because their companies went under, but if they were competent I think a good many of them got new jobs. And other people are fired because they refuse to go along with the incompetence/unethical behavior of their superiors, and again if they were competent they probably got a new job relatively quickly. But you know what, most people who get fired– get fired because they’re the worst person on the job. Businesses that need to fire 1,000 people don’t fire their 1,000 best employees—no they tend to try to fire their 1,000 worst employees. (Unless it is a union job and then they are required to go by seniority. But I don’t see many people identify themselves as “the other 99%” being against such corrupt union practices, in fact if anything I’ve see n nothing but support for unions. And well it’s a little hard to feel compassion for someone who loves their destroyer.) So I really have to ask, every jackass who complains about A. losing a job and B. not being able to get a new one, did your prior work ethic and skill set have anything to do with those things? Because even in this economy I have a really hard time thinking that someone with a good education, a strong work ethic (which breeds strong recommendations from your coworkers), and dedication can’t find a job. Yes it may not be as good a paying job or even one they really want, but it’s a job, and people with good work ethics tend to find those jobs. So really, can you tell me straight faced you were the best employee the company had and that despite your skills and work ethic you lost your job. Or is it that these whiners who worked for 20 years and were then laid off were laid off because they just sat in that one job for 20 years, becoming complacent and letting their skill rust, seeking only to meet the bare minimum of work…a minimum which during economic hardships gets reset at a level higher than they’ve ever given.
Let me ask do you have friends? Real friends?
I am the world’s biggest asshole. There are days I make Greg House look like a cuddly puppy. And I know without a doubt that if I were to lose my job or my apartment or come down sick that in addition to my family I have at least a dozen friends who would take me in and do whatever was in their means to help me get back on my feet if I needed it…as I would do for them without even thinking.
How few real friends must these people have to have no one to fall back on. How bad are all of these people that they have to whine that the rich should have their wealth stolen from them. I’ve always noticed that when I complain about these people on their blogs that so many of the friends of these self reported “other 99%” are quick to call me heartless and unempathic for not wanting to share my money for someone I don’t have any respect for…well where were you when your friend was in need? You’re quick to chastise me for not wanting to share my hard earned money with someone I dislike, did you so graciously share every dime you could with your friends? Did you stop going to the movies to help pay for that extra $20 for your friend’s chemo? Did you cut back on dining out? Did you make up the spare room for them so they wouldn’t have to pay rent? There are friends in my life who I will put myself in debt for to help them, because they are worth it. Where were you for your friends? Or is beating up on people who use logic instead of blind unquestioning corrupted empathy the extent to which you will go? With friends like you…
Let me ask, do you have character?
Obviously the mere act of whining states no. But let’s ignore this for a moment. The fact of the matter is that many of these people shade facts, use half truths or out right lies to drum up sympathy. All of it is ethically equivalent to lying. And anyone who engages in it is totally without character. Let’s use the most recent picture I’ve seen to make the rounds as an example. (And I’m using screen shots from his blog instead of just links…because I’ll be honest, he strikes me as the kind of guy who would go back, edit the facts, and then call me a liar).
He uses the phrase “part time” to get sympathy because we all think of part time as less than 40 hours of work…a technical definition is 30 hours or less.
He says here in his picture that the insurance he was getting wouldn’t cover his treatment of cancer.
Yet on his blog he states:
He was not “part time” in any conventional sense until after his diagnosis. So that’s a half truth at best. And at 60 hours he must have been making more than the limit that Arizona aid requires. So let me ask you what is a fair limit? How many people should be allowed on state and federal aid. Give me a dollar figure of where the line should be?
He outright lies when he says churches won’t help.
So they did help up to a point. Yes could they get the money in time, no, but this guy says he has stage IV cancer…it takes time for churches to raise money for charity, they can do it, but just because you can’t have it now does not mean churches can’t and aren’t willing to help, they’re bound by the same laws of economics everyone is. (Laws that state it would be much easier to raise money for charity if it weren’t for the fact that Americans are being beaten down with massive government regulation and taxes, you know what the 99% is demanding).
But my personal favorite is his implication that his minimum wage insurance wouldn’t cover his treatment. Why do I love this one…well…this one from his blog announcing that he has cancer…
It’s so hard being a pathological liar when you don’t have the entire DNC there to help keep your lies straight. So which is it?…is it that the insurance wouldn’t cover it (which in reality, I have my doubts, most plans, even crappy, will always cover the removal of a tumor…they just won’t cover the chemo and radiation because those treatments actually have an obscenely low success rate…especially on Stage IV cancer…but who knows it could be a really, really crappy insurance plan) or is it that you stopped paying for insurance of your own free will (he looks to be in his 40’s which would makes this an incredibly dumb move, given how after 40 your chances of major disease jumps, no matter how little he’s getting paid). It’s one or the other, it can’t be both. Either you had crappy insurance or you stopped paying for it. Being a liar is so difficult when you have to keep all your lies straight.
(I could do a whole blog on how he seems to be saying he hated the pay cut that saved the business from bankruptcy and by extension everyone else’s job…but let’s ignore his gross lack of economic understanding for the moment).
Did you maintain a healthy community life?
This one is actually part of the friendship question. As Aristotle observed no one can live completely out of society and be considered a good person unless they are a beast or a god. And there are remarkably few who can live with only a few close friends as their primary contact. Most people need human connection to be considered a good person…so if you shunned society for so long, why is it society’s responsibility to take care of you. Seems rather selfish and self-serving….but I forget I’m the egotistical and unempathetic one.
Did you start saving from an early age?
Really there is no excuse for this one. If you didn’t save you’re either an idiot or knowing taking a risk hoping that whatever you are putting your money into will pay off. If it’s the latter you wouldn’t bitch because you knew it was your fault and your fault alone. If you’re an idiot, well, as you can guess, I’m not inclined to sympathize with you.
Oh and a lot of these people have a lot of medical problems. Cancer seems to the biggest one. Strangely, unlike every cancer patient I’ve ever seen they’re awfully vague about what they have…they describe having cancer and then describe symptoms that sound like benign cysts. They say they have cancer….but if you can track down their blog they use the technical term for a throat doctor…which makes me ask how much did you smoke?
So before you want me to feel sorry for your disease let me ask some other things:
Do you ever habitually smoke or drink?
Lung cancer is one of the 3rd most common types of cancer up there (when you add in all the other cancer that smoking can increase the odds on the whole smoking related thing because it’s the number one killer). Now if you smoke or drink I do not look down on you. I understand it’s a wonderful feeling. Hell, if I could afford the habit, I would look like a sixth member of the Rat Pack with the amount of alcohol and nicotine I would be putting in my body. But guess what, I would blame only myself when I got diagnosed with a disease caused by my habits.
Do you over-eat? Do you exercise? Did you not lead a sedentary life style?
I’m sorry but a lot of diseases are heavily related to lifestyle and asking me to pay for medical treatment that was the direct result of the fact you did not care for your body…I’m having a hard time caring.
Now if you have a disease or condition that is no fault of your own, of course I feel for you. I mean I wouldn’t expect someone who from childhood was deaf and blind to be able to write books and take care of herself…oh wait. Or someone who had their neck broken to be expected to learn to breath on their own again without the help of a machine and make it a goal of walking again…oh wait. Or someone with a degenerative neurological disease to make major contributions to science and beat all odds by living to 70…oh wait. Damn, is it just me, or are there enough cases of people with a debilitating disease overcoming the challenges that disease brought and showing us the best of humanity not by whining others should take care of them, but by doing what no one thought they could, that it makes it hard to take the major whiners seriously. My heart goes tends to go with one group and not the other.
Did you abuse drugs?
Kind of a no brainer. But given the amount of crack pipes they found at Zuccati Park, I feel the need to mention this one. I do believe that people can recreationally use certain drugs and not have it damage their life…but most of the time that is not the case, and if you feel the need to engage in this kind of activity don’t expect me to feel sorry for you. (And of course there’s that little hypocrisy about the money spent on drugs that could have gone to savings or self betterment).
And finally do you learn and grow…or do you whine?
I believe that all of life is a giant classroom from which we are supposed to learn from. And the best lessons are the hardships, the crucibles that show us what we are made of, and what, if we choose to, is the best within us. Choosing to whine about it on the internet. Not exactly what I would call learning. Frankly, even ignoring this point I doubt anyone who claims that they are “the other 99%” could claim that they have not made the mistake I have detailed.
I know some of the people who whine and bitch and moan about their problems when they read this will wish I got to experience their hardships. They’ll wish I lose my job. They’ll wish I get cancer or some other debilitating disease. Bring it on. I’ve dealt with unemployment before with grace and honor. I can do it again. As for disease…well I had to die of something, I accepted that decades ago, and because it will not come as a shock I guarantee you I will not whine or say that it is unfair or that others should help me because they have more than I do. I promise you that in my death I will have more honor, courage, and virtue than those who claim to be in “the other 99%” have in their entire lives.
Now will all of these apply to everyone, no…but you show me someone who over time earned a college level education when times were good in a practical field, who always gave their best and excelled at work, who lived a healthy lifestyle and didn’t engage in behavior that was utterly lacking in common sense who is in on hard times but still trying to support themselves, looking for any job, because no job is below them, or has come down with a debilitating disease, I have and will help them in any way I can. I have not seen one person like that claim “I am the other 99%.”