And finally, New Rule, not everything in America has to make a profit. You know, if conservatives get to call universal health care "socialized medicine," I get to call private for-profit health care "soulless vampire bastards making money off human pain."
Now I know what you're thinking. "But Bill, the profit motive is what sustains capitalism." Yes. And our sex drive is what sustains the human species, but we don't try to f**k everything. It's OK for some things to remain nonprofit just when like when it comes to sexual relations, some people are off-limits, like your cousin, or your sister, or if you're a leading Republican, your wife.
Now it wasn't that long ago that when a kid broke his leg, his parents took him to the local Catholic hospital, the nun stuck a thermometer up his a**, the doctor stuck some plaster on his ankle and you were done. The bill was $1.50, plus you got to keep the thermometer.
But like everything else that's good and noble in life, some bean-counter decided that hospitals could also be big business, so now they're not hospitals anymore; they're Jiffy Lubes with bedpans. The more people that get sick and stay sick, the higher their profit markets. Which is why they're always pushing the Jell-O.
Did you know that the United States is ranked fiftieth in the world in life expectancy. And the forty-nine loser countries where they live longer than us, oh, it's hardly worth it. They may live longer, but they live shackled to the tyranny of nonprofit health care. Here in America, you're not coughing up blood, little Bobby. You're coughing up freedom.
The problem with President Obama's health care plan isn't socialism, it's capitalism. When did the profit motive become the only reason to do anything? When did that become the new patriotism? Ask not what you could do for your country. Ask what's in it for Blue Cross-Blue Shield.
And it's not just medicine. Prisons used to be a non-profit thing. And for good reason -- who the hell wants to own a prison? By definition you're going to have trouble with the tenants. It is not a coincidence that we outsourced running prisons to private corporations and then the number of prisoners in America skyrocketed. There used to be some things we just didn't do for money.
Did you know, for example, that there was a time when being called a "war profiteer" was a bad thing? FDR said there he didn't want WWII to create one millionaire. But I'm guessing Iraq has made more than a few executives at Halliburton into millionaires. Halliburton sold soldiers soda for $7.50 a can. They were honoring 9/11 by charging like 7/11. Which is wrong; we're America. We do not fight wars for money. We fight them for oil.
And my final example of the profit motive screwing something up when it used to be non-profit: TV news. You know, I heard all the news anchors this week talk about how much better the news coverage was back in Cronkite's day, and I thought, "Gee, if only you were in a position to do something about it."
But maybe they aren't. Because this isn't Cronkite's day, when delivering the news was considered a loss leader and a civic duty. Making money was the job of The Beverly Hillbillies. And now that we have reporters moving to Alaska to hang out with the Palin family, the news is The Beverly Hillbillies.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
On Friday's Real Time with Bill Maher, Bill noted that "not everything in America has to make a profit." That's true, after all we don't care if police or fire stations make a profit, do we? Read the transcript (emphasis mine), and watch the video.