27 September 2010: Who Really Rules the Roost?
A friend of mine was raving about her new job--$59,000 a year with benefits! Quite something for a teacher just out of college. Benefits!?
Nothing to worry about. Coverage for health, eyes, dentistry, long-term disability, short-term disability, life and, in three months, retirement annuities.
Trouble is, what's the take-home pay? Let's see: she took home somewhere around $33.5 thou. Can anyone live on that these days? Especially when they're taxed at the above-mentioned official income? Don't forget the tax dedux: city, state, and feds.
I thought for a while about the psychology of beating your brains out against what MIGHT happen--anything from a toothache to a serious, lifelong disability. Beating your brains out against what WILL happen: health deterioration from excessive job-related stress that will eat into those benefits and make you glad you have them. Self-defeating, No?
Then I thought about insurance premiums. Must be pretty high even in group plans to suck so much out of the gross salary.
Then it occurred to me that my friend was beating her brains out to support these various insurance &c. companies. Who was her real employer?
Slavedriver? Sure wish the government would do something about those exorbitant insurance rates. They're trying to, but the Tea Party in particular don't like that. I wonder how many of them work for insurance companies?
I know of a shy, self-effacing guy who didn't know what to do with his life until he got a job with an insurance company and rose quickly to the ranks of a multimillionaire. Easy to see why. I had a summer job working for an insurance company as an undergraduate, but that's how long it lasted. $26 an hour back in the late sixties. Believe it. When the person I was temporarily replacing died, they offered me her job, and I said no.
So who's in charge here? Who is anyone in this country without insurance, and how many are destitute spending much of their incomes on it?
Are we purchasing peace of mind instead of being horsewhipped by a phobia of worst-case scenarios?
Who's in charge here? Peace of mind should be on the house, shouldn't it? Do best-case scenarios exist outside of gambling halls and the NYSE?
Life is a gamble. Every step we take is a gamble. People half my age drop dead of massive heart attacks and strokes.
So insurance is definitely among the "ocracy" afflictions that torment society here.
What others are there? Mediaocracy (ask Danny Schechter). Corporatocracy. Plutocracy. Oligarchy. OPECocracy. Militarocracy. Big-lobbyocracy. Pharmaocracy. Legalocracy. And more.