I’ve never understood people who don’t notice costs. Maybe it was because we didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up, maybe it was bicycling around to deliver papers in the snow . . . but I don’t think so. My life wasn’t all that rough. I think it is good old Scottish common sense. It is sensible to assess price in terms of worth. Or as Franklin would see it – is the value of the time I spent earning that money a good exchange for the use or pleasure it provides. From different perspectives, this was what I thought when I set prices in my business and when I wander around a store, touching and thinking about that dress or dish.
I’ve long wondered about D.C.’s ability to spend money. As a Kelly girl, I found state and federal offices squandered time in ways private businesses never did. We know the stories of lottery winners whose money is gone in half a year. I suspect someone who considers the lottery a good investment probably isn’t all that good at assessing worth, though they may be misled by winning.
Anyway, a man leaves our presidency who squandered our money (whether it was two planes to Hawaii for Christmas or money to sketchy solar companies or cash for clunkers). In eight years he doubled a debt it took well over 200 years to build. He is followed by a guy known for ostentatious (even vulgar) taste. But it is the latter who chooses a WWII role – that of a dollar-a-year guy; his vice-president proudly declares they are returning 20% of the transition money. I hadn’t thought of Trump in such bourgeois (and patriotic) terms. Of course I’d been pleased he was trying to reduce costs on a presidential plane and he took pride his renovation came in on time and under budget. It was easy to associate Scott Walker with those virtues, but harder Donald Trump. (The multiple wives, the fevered tweets seemed to signal a less self-disciplined approach. But the apparent closeness of his family hints that his relationships are a good deal more complex than I’d assumed.) But Trump is that guy.
Apparently he has that most bourgeois of habits – looking at the right hand side of the menu. The Dutch, who defined the market economy and bourgeois life, would understand; a British shopkeeper – the essence of Victorian England – would; and fifties suburban America, with the men home from the war and the women canning and reading and raising kids, would.
I appreciate someone who considers the pocketbook of whoever is paying – especially when I’m one of those paying. What kind of person thinks, someone else is paying, so I need to restrain myself, I need to choose well? And what kind of person thinks, someone else is paying, so I can have a good laugh over the fact that there really weren’t any shovel-ready jobs? The former has a mature imagination that thinks beyond himself, the latter does not.
So, the Democrats slow walk the Cabinet – knowing in the long run they’ll lose but like adolescents throwing eggs at mailboxes, they do it because, well it irritates someone and they can. They waste time like they waste money. They have little imagination and poor priorities.
Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, remarkably shallow, tell the cabinet appointees the “metric” is money. If Price wants less money to go to health care, he isn’t compassionate. What a strange metric. The money spent per pupil in Washington D.C., in New York, on Indian reservations is a multiple of that spent in most rural and suburban schools – ones with higher graduation rates and test scores. Are they learning should be the metric – and what are they learning. Money doesn’t buy education nor does it buy health care. It can help. But it is not the metric.
Early on in the nominating process, Bret Baier asked Perry about the number of people without insurance in Texas. Perry said that his state’s citizens had access. Access he repeated – access. It didn’t do pregnant women in south Texas much good if they had “coverage” when the expense of malpractice insurance had cleared out the ob/gyns. Limiting tort payments brought doctors – and access – back. The VA’s doctors saw fewer patients than doctors in other settings. Perhaps their pay per patient was higher, their care wasn’t.
The metric for good care is accessibility and quality. Medicine should be an attractive field, drawing people who are interested in science and people, who want to heal; teachers should love their subjects not their unions. Who wants to be a cog in Washington machinery? Nor what normal person wants Washington to decide on an operation or a classroom?
We need scientists who want to be doctors and scholars who want to teach, we want them in sufficient quantity and quality and with sufficient passion that our medical care and our education will not only be affordable but excellent. We want our schools not to spend more but to teach more, our medicine not to cost more but to treat patients more energetically and creatively. We’d like schools & hospitals that work – do what they are created to do. And responsibility should rest with patients and parents/children.
The metrics Democrats apply in hearings are foolish and counterproductive. It is galling that they preach of “compassion.” Their “compassion” would infantilize us all. Their “free” medicine and schools would be pretenses of each and soon we’d be Venezuela. We get what we pay for; we look at the right hand of the menu. We’ve heard enough from these two and we aren’t impressed by her minority status or his populism. They are fooling themselves if they think they are compassionate. But they aren’t fooling us.