Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cash for A Clunker

We pony up far more than any other nation for health care. We spend, per capita, over 44% more on health care than the Swiss. This is not because our care is 44% better than the care in affluent Switzerland.

There are people who argue this, who'll make the case that America has the best health care in the world. They'll argue that we pay Cadillac prices to provide Cadillac care. I'd agree, with one small caveat. Having actually experienced health care in America, I can state with authority that the Cadillac in question is a 1972 Coupe deVille with 375,000 miles on the clock. That you're pouring money into something doesn't make it inherently good.

And oh, are we pouring cash into our clunker.

Our "system" ends up costing us eight hundred and thirty six billion dollars more every single year than the care the Swiss get. That's close to three thousand bucks for each of us. Sure, we aren't paying "taxes." We're paying "fees" that are far higher than the taxes we'd otherwise have to pay. In the absence of those fees, even additional taxes (gasp) would end up saving us economy-saving amounts of money in the long run.

Clinging to the system we've got is like hanging on to that old beater that spends all its time in the shop or up on blocks. Yeah, our mechanic wants us to keep it. So does the Republican senator he pays to come around our house and talk to us about how much better they made cars in 1972. It's a classic! Those new cars are just too confusing! They're unAmerican!

But when all your neighbors are spending less to drive cars that are faster, more efficient and reliable, clinging to that money pit isn't a sign of independence.

It's a sign you're a fool.