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Tip of the Hat, Wag of the Finger

I’ve not blogged a rant in a long, long time. But there’s some really inane stuff floating around, and darn it all, I have opinions! To be heard! So here’s a list…

Health Care

American friends, your president is not trying to turn you into socialists. He’s trying to ensure everyone is treated with a minimum level of humanity. This isn’t big government, it’s the lowest bar possible — and America is the least-developed of the developed nations on this front. There’s a lot of fear and misunderstanding going around, and although I won’t claim to be an expert, here’s some things I know from my Canadian experience that I think American’s don’t know:

Canada has socialized health care. This means that there are no choices or options: we pay a tax, we get healthcare. We get the same healthcare as all other Canadians, and its good healthcare. Yes, there are waits — but they’re based on the priority of your needs, not how much you’re willing to pay. Our medical people are competent, caring, hard working and effective. And we’re never ever refused critical care for insurance reasons.

But Obama is not deploying the Canadian system. Despite its infrequent flaws, it would be a good benchmark to start from. In fact, what he’s rolling out is a wonderfully American take on public healthcare: it includes what you’re good at, and keeps government involvement to a minimum. It allows you to keep your free market, while still ensuring a minimum standard of humanity.

See insurance doesn’t work if only unhealthy people have it. Try selling insurance in a 3rd world country and you’ll go out of business really quick: People who are already sick will sign up in droves. People who are healthy will not. The insurance fund will go broke helping the sick, because costs will exceed revenues. Its a pretty simple economic formula.

However, the reverse is possibly worse: excluding people with “pre-existing conditions” ensures that the only folks who don’t need healthcare can have it. This means that insurance company revenues soar, and people who are sick die (or go broke trying not to.)

Obamacare has essentially only two differences to what you have now: everyone can have it, and everyone should have it. This ensures that neither worst-case scenario can happen. The mandate means you pay into a system you might not need. The law preventing exclusion based on pre-existing conditions means you can get into the system because you will eventually need it. These rules don’t change the “free market” concept. You still get to chose your insurance company, your healthcare provider and your own health strategy. And if you already have healthcare, you aren’t impacted. The government isn’t setting up death panels, to decide if you live or die. And the government isn’t going to show up at your pelvic exam (like some ads suggest.) They’re leveraging the free market, with basically only two major restrictions, to ensure that people don’t take advantage of health insurance, and health insurance doesn’t take advantage of people.

Basically its making sure you don’t become a 3rd world country, mmkay?

Irony and Individualism

If everyone buys the same “ironic” products, because they’re made for “individualists”, I’ve got news for you: those products are no longer ironic or made for individuals. They’re mass market products, made for their broad appeal. Why are my only choices in eyewear right now ironically like the options available in the 50s when we didn’t have advanced plastics and metal molding techniques? Surely all these people in oversized eyewear are going to figure out that they look like everyone else and reject these designs eventually, right?

Same goes for huge cell phones. If I wanted a tablet, I would have bought a tablet. Can someone please make a nice looking phone that will fit in my pocket?

“Millennials”

Oh, I despair for my generation. If I read one more article about how the poor millennials can’t find their footing in these trying financial times, I think I’ll puke. No one owes us a career, and no one is going to give us our parent’s lifestyle. These things have to be earned. I literally reviewed a resume from a millennial who wanted to work here because he was in need of a “new hobby!” You don’t get a job you love just because you love doing something. You study, you get a job, you work your butt off, you grow your skills, and if you’re lucky, you will eventually end up doing something you love — but even then, it will still be work.

The “recession” that started around 2008 had nothing on the Great Depression (despite common comparisons in the press). Our grandparents knew what work was. A part time gig at Whole Foods, teaching Zumba classes on the side, doesn’t count as work. Not even if you did it for 80 hours a week. Don’t even get me started on the MLM “company” you think you’re running. And that over-priced car you’re financing isn’t yours, any more than the house you hope to get into by the time you’re 40 will be.

You want to know the secret formula to a fulfilling career? 25 years of keeping your nose to the grindstone and/or a text book. Your mother may appreciate how special you are, but your employer wants to know what skills you bring to the table. Put another way: we are not special. We may be connected and digital, we may have short attention spans, and a significantly smaller world than our parents, but the thing that makes us valuable in the professional world — the thing that allows us to invest in a home, provide for a family, buy a nice car, save for retirement, or have a health care plan that is more than just the bare minimum (see above) is hard work.

I’m glad you love rock climbing, water skiing, video games, hunting, philosophy, football or whatever else you think gives you identity. But the only way to enjoy those things — to finance your pursuit of them without crippling debt that you will never escape — is to study in school, take up a trade, apprentice… start at the bottom, even if you have to flip burgers to do it… and keep working. No one’s going to give you want you want, just because you want it. If you’re lucky, they’ll give you a chance to prove you can earn it.

If the first 25 years of your life are about “finding yourself”, and you don’t want to spend the last 50 years paying for it with those entry levels jobs you thought you were too good for, then between 25 and 49, you’d better get cracking on building something. Cause no one wants to pay you for your hobby.

American Politicians

Here’s how the Republicans sound…

“We’re going to shut the government down!”
“We don’t need the government anyway, let’s do it!”
“Wait, our parks are closed? Waaaaahhh… This is all the the Democrats fault!”

Here’s how Democrats sound…

“We’re going to step down our global military engagements, but still threaten people.”
“Our threats aren’t working, I guess we’ll have to start another war!”
“Wait, the Russians solved the problem diplomatically? Waaaaahhh… This is all the Republicans fault!”

In Conclusion

Clearly I am quickly becoming a grumpy old man. So be it, you dang kids! Get off my lawn!

3 responses to “Tip of the Hat, Wag of the Finger

  1. Shannon Fink October 8, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    You’re the best Jon. This is the greatest thing I’ve read in awhile!!!

  2. david October 8, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    Jon, you made me smile. That was good, actually great. Welcome to the grumpy old man club.

  3. Adam October 9, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Personally I love big phones, I get they are not for everyone but for someone who only makes the occasional phone call but is a heavy texted and reader who wants utility out their phone they’re perfect. I would gladly buy a tablet that has basic phone functionality, but there aren’t any.

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