Source: Liberty Blitzkrieg
Poverty demoralizes. A man in debt is so far a slave; and Wall-street thinks it easy for a millionaire to be a man of his word, a man of honor, but, that, in failing circumstances, no man can be relied on to keep his integrity.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Wealth
Liberty Blitzkrieg readers know that I’ve been extremely critical of our modern U.S. economy for nearly a decade now. I’ve used harsh, but entirely appropriate language, such as rent-seeking, parasitic and criminally corrupt to describe our current financial/economic system. These are not words I use lightly.
I have absolutely no problem with wealth differences within a society, even large discrepancies are fine as long as the general population is benefits substantially from overall growth trends. This is not the case in today’s economy.
I support a real free market economy where barriers to entry are low, and in which small business and competition thrives. Unfortunately, this is not the case in today’s economy. Rather, America has largely become a neo-feudal society where a mass of debt slaves are lorded over by government protected, monopolistic, rent-seeking oligarchs and racketeers.
Societies work when people think the system is fair enough and have genuine opportunity for success and standard of living improvement. Societies work when the people who become fabulously wealthy are individuals who have created a product or service that benefits society at large. In contrast, people shouldn’t become wealthy by preying on their fellow citizens and driving them into destitution and debt bondage, but that’s precisely what is happening in many industries today. Our society rewards the worst sort of behavior, and as we observed in the aftermath of the financial crisis, protects and further empowers white collar criminals for destroying the global economy.
Going forward, I believe two issues will define the future of American politics: student loans and healthcare. Both these things (as well as the Federal Reserve intentionally reflating a housing bubble) have crushed the youth and are prevented a generation from buying homes and starting families. The youth will eventually revolt, and student loans and healthcare will have to be dealt with in a very major way, not with tinkering around the edges. Today’s article will examine a couple of disturbing trends in both areas.
Long-time readers will know how offensive and predatory I find America’s healthcare system to be. Here’s an excerpt from last year’s article titled, The Health Insurance Scam – “Coverage” Doesn’t Mean Affordability or Access, which you should read if you missed it the first time around:
While a greater number of Americans having health insurance is a good thing when it comes to protecting against unexpected catastrophic events or extended hospital stays, it doesn’t tell you anything about two very important variables: 1) How much does it cost? 2) What kind of access does it provide? As usual, the devil is in the details.
We’ve all seen headlines about higher monthly premiums, but that’s just the tip of iceberg. Once you’ve paid your premium, you’re far from off the hook. Another one-two punch of deductibles, copays and out of pocket maximums appear which can collectively run into the thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars for families.
Meanwhile, it appears insurance companies may have recognized the politically toxic nature of higher premiums, so their focus has turned to deductibles as the most efficient way to suck more money from the public for no comparable increase in service.
Healthcare costs are obscene, something I’ve become intimately aware of since getting on individual plans several years ago. Even worse, it seems the predatory behavior continues to get worse and worse with each passing year. Which brings me to a MarketWatch post I became aware of yesterday titled, This Hidden Fee is Becoming Increasingly Common — and It’s a Nasty Surprise on Medical Bills.