Free Stuff and Misdirected Anger

If you haven’t realized by now, most of my posts are about dumb (in my humble opinion) things I find on my Facebook page. Today’s topic is about a video of Dinesh D’Souza using an analogy to describe the problem of often discussed “free stuff” presented in this campaign cycle. You can watch the full video by following the link below, or if you would prefer not to give them the click I will recap the relevant section below (I click so you don’t have to).

First off I love edited videos like this that are intentionally manipulative. This was filmed supposedly in a debate setting with Bill Ayers. Presumably there was a rebuttal. If this analogy was so fantastic, why not include the rebuttal? “Proud Cons” are actually setting up their readers for failure. Some poor conservative keyboard warrior is going to present this analogy to some smart ass Bernie Sanders supporter like me and get ripped to shreds. The least Proud Cons could do is give them a chance to prepare a counter rebuttal.

Dinesh converts “Free Healthcare” into a grocery store experience. Which is smart, not everybody can relate to the necessity of a life saving medical intervention, but we’ve all stood in line to buy some cocoa puffs. In Dinesh’s scenario everyone now has the opportunity to go to a grocery store, fill up their cart with whatever they want and when they get to the cash register “somebody else will pay.”

The first thing Dinesh claims will happen is everyone will then fill up their cart with things they don’t need, “12 cartons of milk and 45 cartons of bologna” to be specific. This isn’t the main point I want to make, but let’s pause here for a second. Not only is this an extremely cynical view of humanity, but simply doesn’t transfer back to the healthcare field. No one goes to the doctor for the fun of going to the doctor. Even if nothing is wrong, people go to the doctor because they think something is wrong. The two concerns Dinesh might possibly have about people “filling up their carts with things they don’t need” are Hypochondriacs and drug seekers, both of whom might finally be able to afford treatment under Bernie’s medicare for all plan.

The second thing Dinesh claims is the grocery store  will realize that they can charge whatever they want because the person receiving the benefit is not the person paying. He concludes that the benefit receiver and the grocery store are conspiring together to rip off the taxpayer (never mind that the benefit receiver is a tax payer). I concede this might be possible in Dinesh’s hypothetical grocery store, but it is exceedingly unlikely that benefit receivers will load up with 45 cartons of the hospital’s equivalent of bologna. And we know that with better access to health care people spend less money on healthcare because they receive the preventative care they need to avoid expensive health issues down the road. So it is the hospitals jacking up their prices that are left holding the proverbial  “screwing the american taxpayer” bag.

We see the same thing play out in terms of minimum wage, or a living wage. Workers demand a higher minimum wage, congress raises the minimum wage (after raising their own salaries first, of course) and then the corporations jack up prices to maintain profits, to maintain CEO salaries, to maintain executive bonus. And people, in all of their wisdom, direct their anger at the people who only want to live above the poverty line if they are working a full time job, or to work a full time job instead of being cut off at 39 hours. Newsflash, if a corporation can’t afford to pay its employees a decent wage, it hasn’t earned that profit.

If higher prices are the concern the anger should be directed at the people responsible, that is, the hospitals who are more concerned about profit than patients. The anger should not be directed at those who want to use the healthcare system without filing for bankruptcy.