Column by Paul Hein.
Exclusive to STR
The pretty TV newsperson was interviewing a doctor about the coming crisis in the funding of health care. It seems that physicians will be taking a 27% cut in reimbursements by Medicare, which will not, however, make a corresponding cut in their expenses. (Thank God I’m retired!) Can a doctor opt out of Medicare? Sure, but then he’s not allowed to see Medicare patients. For certain specialties, that would be the kiss of death. It wasn’t mentioned, but would appear obvious, that in order to maintain his standard of living, the doctor will be sorely tempted to charge for extra services and tests. This, in turn, will likely lead to charges of over-billing, doing unnecessary procedures, etc., and bring about a crackdown on Medicare “abuse,” thus making the situation even worse for the hapless physician. Damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. In short, health care, especially as regards Medicare, is a mess, and getting messier.
On the same program we learned of the worsening financial crisis in Europe, with desperate attempts being made by the U.S. to protect the euro. If I understood the commentators correctly, this will take the form of soaking up some euros, by replacing them with dollars. But as this will mean creating billions more dollars, it amounts to swapping one inflation for another. The actual solution is obvious: there IS no solution, other than letting the overinflated fiat currencies collapse, which will happen sooner or later anyway, regardless of “interventions.”
And how about the riots around the world, including camp-outs in many American cities? We are told that the campers are furious that the 99% are being abused by the 1%, however unfounded that claim may be. But if their anger is not always well directed, they at least realize that things are badly out of order in our society, and they’re sick and tired of being ripped off. In some instances, the police are responding with unnecessary violence, as police are wont to do nowadays, as they seem to be morphing into a highly militarized force. Resentment of the police by a segment of the population is matched by resentment of the campers by another. Polarization! The phrase “divide and conquer” comes to mind.
My wife informs me that the price of food is escalating, and we take more care now in what we buy, where we buy it, and what we pay. It’s not surprising, with dollars being churned out as fast the computers can create them, that goods are becoming more expensive, at least in terms of those dollars. The TV financial commentators assure us that the price of commodities is going to go through the roof. We are bombarded by TV ads for gold and silver--unheard of a few years ago.
Yet, as we pay more and more for less and less, taxes will be increased so that the U.S. can pay its bills with a little less borrowing--a double whammy! Where will it end? And what’s good about all the bad news?
What’s good is that things never get better until they’ve gotten worse. Human nature being what it is, people will endure injustice almost indefinitely, until a breaking point is reached. That breaking point may be imminent. I think—I hope!--that people are waking up to the fact that the government, which in theory exists to protect us, is destroying us. Our safely, our privacy, our property, our fundamental rights--what’s left of them--are being rapidly eroded. Our rulers are looking after themselves and their cronies, and regard us as so much cattle to be milked and sacrificed. Is it too much to hope that Americans are beginning to realize that government is not our friend, but our enemy; and that the time has come to set it aside--gently, if possible?
It can be claimed that the mess we’re in is because our rulers are incredibly stupid and inept. Or, perhaps, they know exactly what they are doing, and are deliberately destroying our society to merge us into a one-world tyranny, with a single currency. Or perhaps our Congresspeople are just talking suits, fronts for the real, behind-the-scenes, rulers. Does it make any difference? Things must change, in any event.
Of course, change, per se is neither good nor bad; but maintaining the status quo is definitely dangerous. My fellow frogs, the water in this pot is getting awfully hot. Let’s bail out while we can!