(links and images still need to prettify’d, but the text is set)

“The easiest way to steal a man’s wallet is to tell him you’re going to steal his watch.” -Leigh Bardugoh


Pictures of Money

Lazy Thinking is Bad for your Health You ain’t got nothing if you ain’t got your health. Good thing we live in a modern country that has the necessarily trained personnel, equipment, hospitals to find each in, and sufficient medication to treat diseases. Beyond these reassurances we might feel pretty good knowing we spend the most on healthcare on a per capita basis. Everything should be gravy but it is more like a gravy train for the industry without the beneficial health results for the patients. https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2017-health-care-spending/ Bloomberg Typically, you pay, you receive a commensurate service. Looking over the physical instruments and education poured into the medical staff one would be forgiven for expecting a high level outcome. However, in looking at results we see that something is amiss. There are high rates of diseases, early deaths, and drug addiction (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/07/us/drug-overdose-medical-examiner.html) . Running these outcomes back through the meat grinder that is the healthcare system we have reason to be worried, suspicious, and angry about the results. More goes into health outcomes than just the money put in, our situation relative to other countries proving just that, so it is about time we be more skeptical about the current arrangement.

Why do we even have employer provided healthcare (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/05/upshot/the-real-reason-the-us-has-employer-sponsored-health-insurance.html) ? This adds an extra administrative burden and cost to private industry, disproportionately so for small to midsize businesses (https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertlenzner/2013/10/01/obamacare-enriches-only-the-health-insurance-giants-and-their-shareholders/#5589ccf03077) , and makes our citizens beholden to a private company over something that is one of the most personal of needs. A company can certainly get better insurance rates than a bunch of individuals, so how come not do this on a societal basis? Have all the citizens as a group bargain for a health plan.


New York Times / New Yorker / Mankoff

Of course I am being naive. I am charming in that way. I lean too often towards justice over dollars. Let us go the other way and offload more of the state’s responsibilities to private industry. These extra services can be added to the benefit packages offered by businesses to distinguish themselves further with competitive add-ons beyond a simple wage, which for the vast majority of us has not seen any change in 30 years (http://www.epi.org/publication/charting-wage-stagnation/) .

We will quit taxing people to pay for schools and make it part of an employee’s choice. If they do not feel the need to have it, because they do not have children or their children are grown, no problem. You do not pay the education insurance.

Police? Fuhgettaboutit (https://youtu.be/pS6zJ7IsJkM) ! You live in a safe neighborhood where you trust your neighbors and vice versa. Skip the Police Insurance or double down if your situation is the reverse. Get double coverage because cops will stop one mugger but probably not an accomplice if you have gone for the skimpy plan or have a high deductible and no more cash available, common after a mugging.

We decide as a society that some things are too important to be left to the open market. We realize that we are all better off when we all chip in. This is a known approach to a familiar problem. So common we have a term for it: market failure (https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/marketfailure.asp) , where self interested individual behavior leads to poor group outcomes, commonly resulting in goods not being priced at what they are valued.

Part of what makes the health issue so nefarious, as with other examples in this series, is the time delay on outcomes of poor choices or options. This delay from cause to effect obscures the harm done and makes it easy to make and hide bad choices, both for ourselves and the citizens we are supposed to look out for. In looking at moral actions it is commonly considered a requirement to step outside of our narrow point of view and its associated self interest, to see issues from multiple angles so as to weigh the consequences and balance out the decision against multiple claims. For our health we need to also step outside the present moment and take a longer time horizon into consideration.

Bad health or some bad luck along the way has the ability to knock out all purpose and resolve for being. On top of the horror of losing one’s physical abilities, mental faculties, sustaining self image, and fickle friends, insult is heaped on top of everything else when the bill comes in. What is money in a case as desperate as failing health? Nothing and everything. Nothing is more important but without money, or enough of it, the necessary care may be withheld or not forthcoming in a responsive manner. Preventive care is eventually no longer possible and we devolve into palliative care.

Those bad decisions will play themselves out in time. The results are already baked into the system, regardless of wishful thinking or negligence. We may think of these as side effects but that is just lazy thinking refusing to admit that that “there are no side effects - only effects (http://web.mit.edu/jsterman/www/All_Models_Are_Wrong_%28SDR%29.pdf) .”

Bogged down by work, commuting, mobile phone distractions, new beer releases, and the latest celebrity news (really people? Either you’re 14 years old or need to get a life) where does one find the time to think things through? Surely (https://youtu.be/KM2K7sV-K74) the talking heads in our echo chambers will provide the soundbites needed to dampen our anxiety. Regurgitating this garbage (garbage in, garbage out), both to ourselves and to others, will soothe our worries and make us appear as if we know what is what. What’s what is an abdication of responsibility.

Our representatives and financial gurus are sticking to their lazy interpretations of the world but at least for them it is working out. This “working” is usually to our detriment so what is our excuse? There is none. No one is being asked to spend hours each evening studying or dedicating their weekends to library immersions (what’s a library?), though that does not sound too bad once you get over your celebrity news withdrawal and harness some shock therapy to disabuse yourself of checking your posts, tweets, and feeds every five minutes. You want to talk fear of missing out? Guess what dip shit, you are missing it right now. All the time. It is not a question of missing out, that is constantly happening, but of prioritizing the things we wish to pay attention to.

We are sold several myths and have learned to swallow them without making a face, often retaining an imbecile smile while they go down. Privatization can do no wrong, the public sector is corrupt and incompetent, bankers can be trusted to self report (https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/09/trump-administration-wants-wall-street-to-self-report-its-crimes) , manufacturing jobs are coming back, and, the whopper underlying all others, that “the market” is a natural event like the weather and not something fashioned by our decisions to reflect our standards and beliefs (anyone remember child labor?).

https://politicsofpoverty.oxfamamerica.org/2017/04/big-league-tax-dodging/ Big-league tax dodging (Oxfam) The academics, politicians, and pundits put forth exhibit blanket lazy thinking. Is this a conspiracy of dunces? Perhaps. Most likely it is nothing more malicious, or less pathetic, than a view of the world that ensures their salary (https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/21810-it-is-difficult-to-get-a-man-to-understand-something) and/or political contributions (https://maplight.org/story/democratic-holdouts-on-medicare-for-all-have-received-twice-as-much-insurance-industry-cash-as-sponsors/) .

Ultimately it is sheer lunacy to chastise a wolf, it is their nature to hunt. At the end of the day we are the dupes so most of the blame resides with us. Even as victims (https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/dec/15/america-extreme-poverty-un-special-rapporteur) , harping on the fact gets us only so far and very little sympathy. It is up to us to not swallow whole the spoon fed story-line.

Don’t be lazy. Be a fox (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hedgehog_and_the_Fox) : know many things, stay sharp, stay vigilant, stay alive.