Thursday, October 7, 2010

On house fires and ObamaCare

You've probably heard about the South Fulton Fire Department - the one that wouldn't put out a house fire because the homeowner hadn't paid his yearly $75.00 fire protection fee. 

This thing is a great parable/metaphor for about a dozen different things, but let's hit some of the high points. 

* Let's start by saying that most of us would've put out the fire if we owned a fire truck.  We would have done it at no charge.  Once.  Maybe five or six times.  But after that.... 

* People fear what would happen if libertarians got their way and more and more government services were privatized.  (People wouldn't have access to government services if fees weren't paid, etc.)  Well, that's already happening with government services, isn't it? 

* Do you think that a lot of people who had not yet paid their $75.00 fee to the South Fulton Fire Department have now done so?  In a hurry?  Ya think? 

* If the South Fulton Fire Department had put out this fire, do you think anyone in his right mind would have paid the $75.00 fee next year? 

* If you were in the business of putting out fires for people who had paid a yearly $75.00 insurance policy, how many fires could you put out for no charge before you went bankrupt ?  Would anyone ever pay your $75.00 insurance policy if they knew that you were always on call and willing to sacrifice your time, equipment, and/or life for no charge? 

* And now the big one.... Once ObamaCare goes into effect, insurance companies won't be able to turn away people who haven't been paying insurance premiums.  If you're willing to pay a (relatively) small fine up front, they have to take you as a customer and start paying all your medical bills.  Will anyone in his right mind pay for insurance before he gets sick? 

* I'm going into metaphor overload.  Have a good day ! 


Harper said...

Agree to all your points.

I like that CareFlight offers a 'membership'. $50 per person, per year covers all the emergency transport they provide (helicopter, fixed wing and in some places, ground). Out here in the sticks, CareFlight is called for all trauma cases (shock, compound fractures, burns, etc.), due to the distance to a trauma center. If you aren't a member, you simply have to pay their astronomical fees. You would think this fire department could do the same.

TarrantLibertyGuy said...

Yeah... I would've thought that they could have put out the fire and then charge them a ton of money (it's expensive to put out fires!). If they didn't pay, I'd believe the FD would have every right to file a workman's lien on the property (or a claim against insurance payout, etc.).

Randian capitalist sensibilities and just 'being a reasonably good guy' doesn't have to be mutually exclusive.

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Cedric Katesby said...

The owner had actually paid the $75in previous years.
This year he forgot.
What a sucker, eh?
Let's all have a good chuckle at his expense.
Damn freeloader.

If you aren't a member, you simply have to pay their astronomical fees. You would think this fire department could do the same.

The owner tried.
He offered to give them any amount they asked for.
In the meantime, the fire crept slowly (very slowly) to his house.

It slowly (very slowly) got larger.

And so it engulfed his house.
And he and his family lost everything.

Including his pets.
They burned alive.
Happy thought, right?

I wonder what they sounded like?
Would the yelps and screams of burning animals sound anything like the sound of say, a swat team shooting your dog on a drug bust?
Would it sound better or worse?
What was the moral thing to do in this case?

Hey, what if next time it was not just pets?
What if it was a handicapped relative?
What then?

The fire brigade showed up in the first place because of the neighbouring property (that had paid the $75 fee).

Yet the fire started on the wrong side of the fence.
So the fire had to get bigger and bigger and take out a house and then cross the property line before the fire brigade would do anything.

What's easier to put out?
A big fire that already has a head of steam or a small fire that has only just started on some back-yard dry grass?

If I was the neighbour, even if I did not give a rat's ass about the other guy, I would want the fire brigade to earn their pay by stopping the fire instantly at the source....well away from my own property.

What if it was a very large property with a very, very large fence line.. like two neighbouring farms?
(You only have one fire-truck, remember.)

The fire line could cover dozens of acres of land. Not just a back-yard.
Do you really want your farm protected from a neighbour's fire only when the fire actually makes to your fence-line?

I've seen and fought farm fires.
You don't wait.
A fire is a living beast.
With a mind of it's own.
The threat level and speed can change in a blink of an eye.
You have to see it to believe it.

It's not just your fire.
Not just your problem.
It's the entire communities problem.
The fire itself doesn't recognise property borders. It doesn't care.

Kinda like infectious diseases.
Diseases don't care if you are a legal citizen or not.
Passports do not grant protection from diseases.
You stop them at the source.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Pertussis, anyone?

Or perhaps, letting it all burn was all for the greater good?
Maybe, just maybe, it was the moral thing to do.
The Christian thing to do?

The Whited Sepulchre said...

As always, great to hear from you on something other than you-know-what, and you raise some good points.

Everyone else,
Do the paragraphs, line breaks, etc. in Cedric's comments always remind you of the works of e e cummings?

Cedric Katesby said...

Do the paragraphs, line breaks, etc. in Cedric's comments always remind you of the works of e e cummings?

You've read Cummings?
I had no idea.
You know, we really do have to talk one day and swap notes.

As for being compared to him, well, I'll assume that you meant it as something of a backhand compliment.
Yet, it's a compliment I'll shamelessly take.
One does not get compared to greatness every day.

"While some of his poetry is free verse (with no concern for rhyme or meter), many have a recognizable sonnet structure of 14 lines, with an intricate rhyme scheme. A number of his poems feature a typographically exuberant style, with words, parts of words, or punctuation symbols scattered across the page, often making little sense until read aloud, at which point the meaning and emotion become clear. Cummings, who was also a painter, understood the importance of presentation, and used typography to "paint a picture" with some of his poems.
The seeds of Cummings's unconventional style appear well established even in his earliest work. At age six, he wrote to his father:


Following his novel The Enormous Room, Cummings's first published work was a collection of poems entitled Tulips and Chimneys (1923). This work was the public's first encounter with his characteristic eccentric use of grammar and punctuation.

Some of Cummings's most famous poems do not involve much, if any, odd typography or punctuation, but still carry his unmistakable style, particularly in unusual and impressionistic word order.
Cummings's unusual style can be seen in his poem "Buffalo Bill's/ defunct" from the January 1920 issue of The Dial.Readers sometimes experience a jarring, incomprehensible effect with Cummings's work, as the poems do not act in accordance with the conventional combinatorial rules that generate typical English sentences (for example, "why must itself..." or "they sowed their isn't..."). His readings of Stein in the early part of the century probably served as a springboard to this aspect of his artistic development (in the same way that Robert Walser's work acted as a springboard for Franz Kafka). In some respects, Cummings's work is more stylistically continuous with Stein's than with any other poet or writer.

In addition, a number of Cummings's poems feature, in part or in whole, intentional misspellings, and several incorporate phonetic spellings intended to represent particular dialects. Cummings also made use of inventive formations of compound words, as in "in Just"[20] which features words such as "mud-luscious", "puddle-wonderful", and "eddieandbill."
Many of Cummings's poems are satirical and address social issues..."