Friday, August 27, 2010

Spinning Your Wheels

Salon has a great interview with the author of a new book:  "Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?": America's misguided culture of overwork.
Here is a great quote:

Can we adopt this German working life in the U.S.? Is it even feasible?
We do things that are more socialist than Europe does, but we don’t call it that. We have some things left over from the New Deal that a lot of European social democracies aren’t even close to, like time-and-a-half for overtime and social security. The single biggest single-payer socialist medical system in the world is in the United States: Medicare. Untouchable. Defended by Republicans. But it’s more socialist than the German health care system. The problem with it is that it coexists with several other systems that are not socialist at all and just pay scandalous windfalls to private vendors.

The whole system is just grossly inefficient. All of those European countries have one system. There’s cost control. There’s no cost control here; there are four or five systems competing simultaneously. To get cost controls, we’re going to have to have one system of payments for everybody. Now either we go to a free market system or a German insurance system or a single payer system. Although I don’t understand how it could happen at the moment, I just see no alternative in the long run except that the U.S. goes single payer across the board. Not because I believe in single payer over these other systems but just because of the facts on the ground. You’ve got to have one system and we aren’t going to trash Medicare. That will never happen.
Yes, let's keep in mind that just because you are sitting at a desk does not mean you are working.  Just because you put in 12 hours doesn't mean anything got done or anything became better.  Just because you never see your family doesn't mean you are a productive hero of a beast.  And let's also not forget that the United States has quite a few socialist policies that the most conservative of us cling to like a life raft.  


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