Sunday, February 21, 2021

"You get what you pay for," and/or the price of putting profit before people

Start here.

"You get what you pay for."  What happened in Texas, and also happens, in one form or another, in many other states, is a direct (indirect?) result of people being obsessed with keeping their taxes down without considering what taxes are used for.  Regulatory agencies are paid for with tax money.  Do you really want an unregulated utility system that allows utility companies to do the least that they can get away with, stinting on bad-weather preparation to save money, not caring whether people literally freeze to death?  Infrastructure is paid for by tax money.  What do you think is used to fill potholes and keep bridges from collapsing?  Public schools are paid for by tax money.  Shouldn't every child learn to read, or should education be reserved for the rich?  Many hospitals are supported by tax money.  Being poor is bad enough--do poor people have to die for lack of health care?

Even here in New York City, there are some neighborhoods where the wiring isn't buried.  And every bleeping time there's severe weather, here or elsewhere, the power lines come down and thousands are stranded without electricity.  Why?  It's perfectly obvious that there's a solution--just bury the bleeping wires!!!  But so many companies put profit above people, and so many customers are obsessed with keeping their bills down, that the long-term consequences are ignored, and we keep carrying on with this stupidity even though we all know that lives are at stake.  

To be blunt, I find this flat-out refusal to deal with the consequences of trying to save money above all other considerations incomprehensible and infuriating.  Just how short-sighted is it either safe or sensible to be?  Has it never occurred to some people that, in the long run, failure to plan and pay for public needs actually costs money?  Do you think that all those "line-workers" in Texas who are busting their butts to put the wires back up and restore electric service are working for free?  Do you think that leaving children under-educated and therefore, underemployed or unemployable has no effect on the economy?  Do you think that letting people die for lack of adequate health care doesn't leave entire families without breadwinners and dependent on the government and/or charity to survive?  And how many people have paid for unfilled potholes with flat tires and/or stuck cars that needed towing?  What do people do when the bridge on their only access road collapses for lack of adequate maintenance and they have no way to get food or go to the doctor?

Public services cost money.  Either we pay now, or we pay later.

See also Health insurance--re the most difficult conversation I've ever had.


What happens when money becomes our god, and we sacrifice everything to make a profit?


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