Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In Defense of Government

Husband, 23, accidentally
shoots 50 year-old wife
during fantasy sex.

Perhaps I am an exception, but I rather doubt it. I have been wondering why it is that so many people seem to think the government is either more incompetent or bureaucratic than other organizations, especially private businesses. You know, all the claims the government should not take over health care because it would be so terrible, government should stay out of business entirely, the private sector can do everything better, and blah, blah, blah. This is, I guess, just part of Saint Ronnie’s horribly destructive and ridiculously stupid claim that “Government is the problem,” as well as our unbelievably ignorant belief that socialism would be a fate worse than death.

I have now been involved as an adult citizen of the United States for 60 years. During this time I have been involved with most, if not all, government agencies and programs, at one time or another, the Post Office, Public Education, the Forest Service, the United States Army, the Veterans Administration, the GI Bill, Social Security, Medicare, the IRS, Passport Services, and perhaps others I do not even remember. Thinking back about this I do not recall any serious problems with any of these agencies.

I cannot say the same for my involvement with other organizations such as the telephone companies, energy companies, banks, insurance companies, and even large Universities and Department Stores. With all of these organizations, especially banks and insurance companies, I have horror stories involving bureaucratic hang-ups and absurd problems you can scarcely believe. There is not room here for me to bore you with all the details of these problems that range from having a telephone company suddenly decide, completely unknown to me, that I had an unlisted number, an embarrassing problem that took literally months to correct, to learning that a bank was literally cheating me out of money in several different ways I was unaware of, that took four trips to the bank to correct, to having an insurance company insist to me with apparently no compunction whatsoever that I had been in a collision when I had not, a problem that required an amazing amount of time and effort to correct. I have other stories as well, with large Universities in particular, that would make you fervently wish for the efficiency and expertise you will find in the Post Office or the IRS. Because of my personal experiences with various organizations I absolutely do not believe the government is any more incompetent or bureaucratic than other large organizations. Furthermore, when dealing with governmental agencies, even if I did have problems, I would not have to worry they were trying to profit from my misfortunes or problems. There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the worst example of unnecessary profiteering from human misery has to do with the health insurance industry. Indeed, that is their sole purpose for existing, to make a profit from the health problems of the citizenry. There is no reason whatsoever why insurance companies should have anything to do with health care, they provide no health care at all, and in fact make their ill-gotten gains by denying health care to those who need it the most. They are nothing more than disgusting parasites, no more than tapeworms sucking their nourishment from unfortunate humans who have nowhere else to turn. There is no doubt the United States needs a sensible single-payer health care plan, similar to the ones that all other industrialized countries have, one that does not require a middle-man in the form of a bloodsucking insurance company. It is quite likely the case that the only way to bring health care costs under control, as well as keep our country relatively solvent, is to move to such a system. You can be sure the Republicans will fight tooth and nail to prevent it.

“Them as has, gits.” I don’t know where this saying came from, but it seems to sum up beautifully and simply the philosophy of our current Republican party (if it can be said they have enough mental capacity to have an actual philosophy). I’m not sure how it happened, or how it developed, or why, but it seems to me the United States is unique in its disrespect for the well-being of its citizens. As far as I know, no other “advanced,” “industrialized,” “civilized,” “modern,” “literate,” “developed,” nation treats its citizens with such total contempt.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.
Herman Melville

White-tailed deer and coyotes seem to be particularly well-suited to their current environments.

1 comment:

Patricia said...

This is simply to wish you a happy new year and to thank you for your blog. What a treat to read such intelligent observations in such articulate and trenchant prose.

Reading your blog makes me wish I might have taken a course from you...
Does "moriolekafa" come from a language of Papua New Guinea?
You have mentioned spending time in the Highlands there. I am a retired Foreign Service officer and from 1997-1999 PNG was among eight South Pacific island nations whose political-economic fortunes were my reporting/analysis responsibility. An orientation trip there was (regretably) limited to Port Moresby, hardly a showcase for indigenous cultures...
Anyway--may you continue to enjoy good health and a keen mind for many years, and may you continue to write your blog for your own pleasure and that of people who are complete strangers to you.
Cheers. Patricia Stigliani (Bellingham, WA)