Profit Is A Four Letter Word?

Decades ago I got volunteered (“To volunteer – v. intrans. Coerced. See IRS and payment of taxes.”) to participate in a debate about the the nature of Communism vs. Capitalism. On the left was my friend Paul, who was one of the brightest kids I knew, and a committed student revolutionary during the Vietnam era. Well, he was as committed as you can be while in high school and living at home (which is, not very). John and I were on the right, half heartedly defending the evil capitalist system of exploiting the opiated masses (Well, hey! This was the ’60s we’re talking about here, and we were just dumb high schoolers, after all). So John and I approached this as if we were playing devil’s advocate.

After about 5 or 10 minutes of putzing around the issues, Paul came out with a statement. I remember it exactly – “But – but that leads to – to Profit!” And yes, you could hear in his voice that he spelled “profit” with four letters. Without thinking too hard on it, I turned to John and muttered something like “What’s wrong with “Profit?” John, being much smarter than I, then proceeded to take up that particular club and use it to rhetorically beat Paul about the head and shoulders.

I suspect that Paul remembers to this day how sputteringly speechless he became, unable to fathom the idea that anyone would consider profit to be anything other than evil.

I was reminded of that long ago incident when, just today, I read (so you don’t have to!) this on Daily Kos:

I thought Mr. Spitzer would show us some mercy. I thought that he understood that our problems were his problems. I thought he was going to be on our side.You must be wondering what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the expected conversion to “for-profit” staus of GHI and HIP, two not-for-profit health insurers operating in New York State.

Oh yes. Profit is evil. I remember the mantra. What’s new, to me at least, is the fear this poor, poor author exhibits.

How can this be happening?I live in New York, one of the bluest of blue states.

I thought I was one of the lucky ones.

I thought I lived in a merciful state.

We just elected a new young Democratic governor, Elliot Spitzer.

I thought he would protect us.

Oh my!

From All Headline News:

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants the proceeds from the merger of two health insurance companies to cover resulting increase in premiums of their policyholders.Bloomberg made the statement on Monday, ahead of the state Insurance Department’s scheduled public hearing on the planned merger of Group Health Inc. (GHI) and Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York.

However, GHI said the firm will keep rates down to be competitive and only market forces will affect its premium rates.

Now I get it. Listening to the market and keeping rates down is a bad thing.

No, I don’t get it.

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Explore posts in the same categories: domestic, Economics, politics, post-modernism

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