I've been trying to cure myself of a serious case of news addiction without recourse to the use of a West Coast rehab center. While the weather's nice out there this time of year, based on some of what I used to see on the news regarding the treatments of their celebrity clients leads me to believe that their success rates hardly make it worth the effort of showing up.
Fortunately however, I'm still able to vaguely recall the days when I quit smoking cigarettes many years ago. One of the best treatments to prevent potential relapses in those days was to, after not having had one in a couple of weeks, force myself to smoke a cigarette. Not only was there no satisfaction in the experience, but the the re-introduction often left me shaken and sickened by doing so. So I decided to try the same method where my inclination to gather information was concerned.
(Strangely however, picking up the practice of smoking the occasional cigar years later had no similar effect on me. But that's another story ...)
Speaking of stories, I was surprised to discover that after days of not giving in to my obsession, the weekend shows appeared to be a 'Land Where Time Stands Still', as they continued covering the Healthcare.gov website in both its primary and secondary roll outs through a combinations of wearying critics and terrifyingly naive apologists.
The former had little to add to the discussion beyond terrible numbers that few if any understand. As for the even more terrible consequences that loom in the years ahead, it's my belief that most won't understand them until they come crashing through their door like the battering ram of your local constables on a warrantless search.
As for the latter, they seemed little more than suicidal shock troops purporting to be spin masters. These strident minions vociferously denounced attacks on the simple math of what was a pretty obvious failure, and sought a ringing endorsement for its vague future of unicorns and rainbows by comparing this program to rollouts of soon-to-be bankrupt big government efforts at wealth redistribution in our past, whose waste and corruption are a constant reminder of why government should be trusted with nothing more complex than the DMV.
Forget that wage and price controls during WWII created employer-supplied medical coverage in the first place, the historical result being what we now need to be saved from. Forget that this program was designed to provide access to care and is as yet causing a sizable short term net loss in those covered. Forget that a major premise of the system will be that by forcing more coverage on everyone (whether they need, want it, or not) we will somehow work magic and make more cost less. Forget that by restricting the marketplace that we not only raise costs, but have gained Insurance company subsidies as an insult to this marketplace injury. Forget as well that giving the government control of healthcare gives them collateral control of damn near everything else from the kinds of foods we eat to the amount of exercise we get. (As for smoking, you can forget that ... unless of course, it's marijuana.)
So what is the mainstream media informing us of: the website, the website, and the website ...
It's not the problems of successfully signing up for the ACA that should cause unease, but the danger that lies beyond such short-term concerns. So while both saddened and amused by the myopic fare on these Sunday 'puppet shows', I was able to find far deeper truth imbedded in their cinematic counterparts. In this case, such information came in the form of an equally pointless argument held between Paul Newman and Robert Redford in the classic film "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid:
I couldn't have said it better Paul; but as I watch with almost fatal complacency at the rocks below where the ACA is concerned, it's Redford's retort on the subject that keeps coming back to me: