Are pretty essential when I’m taking a break in summer between work and an appointment. C & I are in Merrifield, VA, waiting to go over to see my counsellor, drinking cooling bevvies and surfing.
We’re Number One! We’re Number One!
But sometimes we don’t think so, do we? In fact I wonder how often American really thing we’re number one. See, that <subject redacted> focus group was concerned with an initiative of President Obama’s, to reform a national “system.” What struck me was that nobody seemed to feel that even though we’re number one, have quite a bit of money, and a rather large amount of smart people, it would be beyond this country to do what all of our peer nations have done. (By peer nations I mean the OECD countries, or the G8 countries plus Australia, Korea, New Zealand – the developed west, of which we love to think of ourselves as leader.)
And what is that incredibly difficult task, so beyond us? It’s providing a basic “thing” to everyone in the country regardless of their ability to fork over the cash. Almost everyone agreed it would be a “Good Thing” (except one person who insisted that ‘lots’ of people don’t bother with insurance because they’re young and healthy and stupid). But nearly everyone didn’t think we could do it while shrinking the overall cost of this thing. Never mind that that peer group spends quite a bit less of their GDP on this thing than we do.
Oh, we’ll not be able to control costs! (Why not? Because…because…because we’re powerless against big companies and big associations and big unions. (So much for being a sovereign nation.)
Oh, we’ll wind up with one-size-fits-all government thing. (But nobody’s proposing anything like the British National “Thing” Service.)
Oh, our deficit will balloon and it’ll be a disaster. (And flying balls of brimstone will descend on us. This is a variant of the ‘we are held hostage by powerful economic interests’ argument.)
Basically the naysayers don’t believe that we’re as capable (if not more capable) of creating a rational, efficient system than, oh, say, the French.
See, the French, and nearly all of that peer group, have longer life expectancies than we do. They live longer than we do. (Which gives the lie to the AARP’s arguments that reform means putting our wrinklies on ice floes while playing Taps and watching them drift away.)
I know, we spend a pile on defense. But that argument implies that we value bombs and guns and spies more than the lives of our old people. Or our children. I guess that’s a legitimate way of looking at the world. But surely we can get a bit better, while maybe not replacing all our forces with big white flags?
I dunno. A country which could put a man on the moon, construct the interstate highway system, and supply West Berlin by air for over a year, could do something better than the shambolic, inefficient, and expensive ‘system’ we have now.
True that…now about the eye candy…
Well you’ll have to wait; I can’t stand fiddling about with it from my laptop. Here’s a handsome heads up, though, thanks to gracious permission we will soon be drooling over a man hot enough to warrant an interruption in Bruno Schuind’s run.
And you can guess who! Clues would be….this paragon of sexiness is actually a successful entrepreneur, an accomplished drummer (heavy metal preferred), a local (to me) lad made very good, and goes by a three-letter nickname which I, out of deference to his dishiness, never apply to him. Oh, and he’s recently moved to the upscale Noe Valley area of San Francisco and is most famous for a now-closed web site which dealt with the casualties of the dot-com bust.
Write your answer to this cute conundrum on the side of a brand new Maserati Quattroporte, preferably in champagne metallic, register it in my name and ship it to my house, preferably with a half-uniformed chauffeur (please ensure to pay his wages).
Or e-mail. Winner gets the incomparable acclaim of being mentioned on this very blog!