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Philip Slater

Philip Slater

Posted: September 9, 2009 03:23 PM

America's Number One Sucker Confronts Health Care Reform


The Rugged Individualist--America's Number One Sucker--cheers when needy people are deprived of food, battered women are deprived of protection from brutal husbands, children are deprived of education, etc., because this is "getting government off our backs." He's particularly interested in getting government off the backs of corporations who spend billions on lobbyists seeking favors from that same government, the costs of which are passed on to the Rugged Individualist consumer.

While their primary focus is anti-government, these Republican and Libertarian freeloaders are perfectly happy to drive on government-built roads and over government-built bridges, and call a policeman or fireman when they need him, or cash a social security check, or hike in a National or State Park, or take advantage of the thousand and one other services governments provide. They just don't want to pay for all this 'bureaucracy.' (Oddly enough, these 'anti-government' advocates are curiously silent when it comes to the largest, most corrupt, and most wasteful bureaucracy on the planet: the Pentagon. They have an almost worshipful attitude toward an arms industry that can't even lay claim to being a capitalistic enterprise, since it doesn't compete on the open market but is assigned contracts with an automatic 10% profit built into them.)

Every nation in the West except ours has a viable, national health care system that covers everyone, yet at the mere mention of the possibility of retrieving American medicine from its corporate swindlers, it only takes some Goebbels-like demagogue to start gabbling 'socialized medicine' to send the Rugged Individualist scurrying under his bed in terror.

Medicare spends 3% of its funds on overhead. Insurance companies spend as much as 30%. And where does that money go? To exorbitant executive salaries, of course. But most of it goes to maintain a large staff of folks whose main function is to avoid paying for your health care. The Employee of the Month is the one who saves the company the most money--by denying your claim, finding a 'preexisting condition', raising your premium, or canceling your policy. John McCain argues against a public option because he knows the insurance companies can't compete!

In other words, the Rugged Individualists are willing to pay more to have people cheat them out of what they're paying for.

The Individualist has forgotten the first rule of power: 'Divide and Conquer.' He's divided himself from the rest of society. And he's been conquered.

(In his inauguration speech, Obama talked of a whole new way of doing things. To understand the cultural paradigm shift that engendered this change--the shift that both the American Right Wing and the Taliban have resisted so fiercely, see my website for information on The Chrysalis Effect: The Metamorphosis of Global Culture.)