Toddlers are by nature selfish. The first thing that a toddler develops is the sense of self. It’s why the “Terrible Twos” are so terrible. They don’t yet comprehend anything outside of themselves; they don’t realize other people (and animals) have feelings just like they do. It’s not their fault, truly, it’s just biology.
Toddlers also don’t have much in the way of what we’d call “common sense” yet since they haven’t had the benefit of experience to tell them how to behave. No one leaves a toddler completely to their own devices because you know, as an adult, you need to look out for them; you know they need to be monitored for their own protection and the protection of others.
All children need guidance. They need to learn and grow and learn not to pull the cat’s tail, the dog’s ears, or bite the neighbor kid. They need to be taught that their actions have consequences; that the things they do can hurt other people (or animals.)
And hopefully, when raised right, you wind up with a decent human being who has learned how to share, has learned compassion for other people, has developed morals and a moral compass, and who generally plays well with others.
Corporations are also selfish. They look out for their bottom dollar; the stock prices; the profit margins. They have no thought for the average person, the consumer, the worker or anyone who doesn’t sit on the board of trust. In this case, though, it IS their fault. They grow only on the backs of those below them.
Corporations don’t have “common sense” either. Common sense says we’re all in this together and being a good person means being fair. But being a good corporation means doing everything possible to maintain the advantage no matter the cost to others.
And so, corporations also need guidance. They need oversight and regulation to keep them in line and to try and prevent the worst atrocities from being routine. We learn from history that left to their own devices, corporations will – and do – kill their own employees.
(One need only look at something like the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire from 1911 for an example of the consequences of unregulated labor. As a common practice of the day, managers locked the exits to prevent unauthorized breaks, resulting in the death of 146 workers. Many of whom literally jumped to their death from the 8th, 9th, and 10th floors rather than face the flames. This incident brought these practices to light and lead to sweeping change and labor regulation, including many health and safety laws we take for granted today.)
The Argument Against Health Care Reform
One of the most common arguments against health care reform (The Affordable Care Act also known as “ACA” and “Obamacare”) is the belief that the government has no business in telling people what they can and cannot do about health insurance. They oppose government oversight and reform because they mistakenly believe the system is best when regulating itself. You will often hear statements like, the free market regulates itself.
This could not be further from the truth.
The “free market” lead to workers being locked inside a burning building. It’s regulation and oversight which keeps that from happening.
The “free market” is what leads insurance companies to spend upwards of 40% of their premiums on “administrative costs” (i.e. profit) as opposed to your actual health care. (Resulting in doctors getting paid less for their services.) Regulation and oversight means you get a rebate if they take in too much money.
The “free market” lead children to be kicked off insurance for getting sick or even for being born with a pre-existing condition. Regulation and oversight make that illegal now and further prevent lifetime limits on coverage. (Meaning, a child born with a heart defect for example, will be covered and covered for as long and as much as it takes, not denied for being born sick or coverage to stop mid-treatment because it’s costing the insurance company too much money.)
The “free market” isn’t going to suddenly develop a conscious. It’s not going to grow a heart and help people because it’s the right thing to do. Leaving health care up to “the free market” leaves us, the consumer, without any power or help or rights. It leaves us at the mercy of the bottom dollar of the corporation – a position which never benefits the consumer.
Just like toddlers, corporations MUST be governed; they MUST be regulated. There MUST be rules in place to protect people from their selfish actions.
What we need in this country is MORE oversight not less. What would be best would be if we could join every other civilized country in the world and make ours a universal system for all. That may be a long way off given the very toddler-like mentality of most Americans on this subject (“I have mine, so screw you!”) but forward momentum is still progress.
Ultimately, just like toddlers, we need to drag health care kicking and screaming into the a better future for ALL Americans.