Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fairy Tale

(With apologies to Damon Knight...)

Hey Dad, got a minute?

Sure son. What's up?

I've just been reading some stuff in the newspaper and it's kind of hard to understand...

No problem son. I just read the sports section myself and why they picked that new football coach is a mystery to me...

No Dad. I'm not talking about the football team. It's this stuff on the editorial page...

Hold it right there son. You're not reading that trash by Beatrice Weems are you? I hear she owns a bookstore over in High Top.

No Dad. Its this article by Abner Trout.

Hey, now you're talking son! Abner's the kind of guy who knows what he's talking about. What's so hard to understand?

Well its about this health care stuff...

OK. Let me see the article....

Hummm... Seems to make sense to me. Let's see. Says here the government is trying to take over health care. Abner says they do the same thing in all those communist countries.

Well what's so bad about that Dad? Won't that mean everybody will get health insurance and prices will go down?

Woah son. Where'd you hear that?

Well that's what Tommy says.

Tommy? Hey, isn't he that kid whose father teaches economics over in High Top?

Yeah, so what?

Didn't I tell you before you can't trust eggheads like that? There isn't a one of 'em who could hold down a job in the real world.

OK. OK. Sorry Dad. But here's what I don't understand...


Well Mister Trout says we got a great system just the way it is 'cause its all based on private enterprise. And private enterprise is just about the bestest thing there is. Mister Trout says it always works better than anything else...

You bet it does son. Listen. Every time government gets their grubbly little hands on something it always turns out costing more and doing less. Abner says that right here in black and white.

Well Dad, that's what I don't understand...

How so, Son?

Well, Mister Trout says we don't want "European style" health care.

You got that right son. Abner says those countries over there use socialized medicine. And that never works.

Well that's just it Dad. Tommy says France spends about half what we do per person on health care and England spends about a third. And they cover everyone over there.

So what, don't those countries have crappy health care? You get what you pay for son.

Not according to the World Health Organization Dad. They rank all those countries ahead of us in terms of quality of care. That's what Tommy says.

Say, maybe you shouldn't be hanging around kids like Tommy...

He gets straight A's Dad. But that's beside the point. What I don't understand is if private enterprise always works best and over there they pay less and get more, wouldn't that mean they're the capitalists and we're the socialists?

Hummm. You got me stumped there son. Maybe we should write the Chronicle and get Mr. Trout to look into that...

Don't hold your breath Dad.

OK smarty pants. Why don't you and I just go read something together that makes more sense.

Sure Dad. How 'bout "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"?

Sounds like a plan to me son. I always liked that one.

Up anchor Dad and full speed ahead. Can I go first?

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