Tuesday, 27 October 2009

My $32 Scenario

Senator Reid tossed in the magic “universal health care” package this week….with the opt-out deal for states to just say “NO”.

Basically, if you were a state and you felt….either through the legislative process or via the governor or some statewide vote…you figured this was a crappy deal…then by 2014, you could opt out of national universal health care.

I pondered over this and then started laughing.

It’s kinda like the Ramstein O’club Thanksgiving meal. You pay $32 for a meal. If you just eat one plate of turkey and stuffing, with an ice tea….then it’s $32. If you opted for the plate and some desert, it’s $32. If you opted for desert and coffee only….it’s $32. If you piled on the stuffing and turkey…and had four plates of the stuff….with all the deserts possible…it’s $32. If you had eight plates of turkey, dressing and nine helpings of desert...it's still $32. You could even pay $32 and just sit there sipping tea and gazing at some gorgeous beauty sitting across from you with a nice open blouse.

So the government is going to take their tax part of this deal and fund what’s required. If you were the one state of the fifty that turned it down…you simply are funding the other 49 in this effort and donating your tax help free of charge. Heck, twenty-five states could say no and thus fund the other twenty-five states entirely.

Now if Harry Reid was honest and fair…he’d say that if your state did turn down the deal…then each resident would get a $700 federal check instead….then things would start to become interesting. Would it make you more likely to say “no”? For a family of four….$2800 might be enough to say no and go on a big vacation somewhere.

For the senator….this ripples across his support. The lone Republican won’t agree to this. At least four Democratic senators won’t sign up for this.

So the question is…is Harry creating an impassable piece of legislation? On purpose? I might be asking a stupid question or two now. Could it be that Harry has come to the mind that this has become a bigger mess than what was acceptable?

The Water Game

So this is your introduction to the water game.

You have a small reservoir or a series of water-pump stations. You are a city council member amongst six peers. Your water management system….run by the town…makes enough money to cover the bills and the maintenance structure of the water treatment facility. You as the city….probably make less than $300k a year off this deal. The nifty thing is that every five years…there’s some $2 million upgrade required.

Your friend Joe comes by. Joe is a middle-man on an interesting deal. Joe wants to hook four council members up on this interesting scheme. You take the reservoir or water-pump stations and lease them to some company called “Aqua-Purity” (my imaginary name). They want to lease your whole water system…your pipes….and even the reservoir. They will pay you $500k a year and cover the entire infrastructure cost (that lousy $2 million every five years).

So you gaze at this deal….the only way that the company can pay the $500k a year and cover this infrastructure cost…is by pumping the yearly water bill to city residents up another thirty percent (minimum). The AP guys smile and agree but then hint that they could toss $100k into your reelection bid for next year. So you smile and agree.

So the four of you vote up this thirty-year lease deal. Naturally, little is mentioned in the paper, because they pay off the editor. Added to this….the mayor is paid off to avoid any discussion.

So the lease occurs….and the AP guys send out a kind notice advising of a ten percent increase in water bills. The second year….a fifteen percent increase. By the third year….they’ve got the bill up to forty percent increase. You four guys stand there and start asking stupid questions because you’ve got significant heat on you by the residents of the town.

A year or two passes, no changes. Then the AP guys announce another fifteen percent increase.

By the tenth year, you are now paying almost double for water…with almost no infrastructure improvements and pipes bursting every four weeks over the community. Just the mere mention of major repairs….and there’s a three-percent increase on cost…but no repairs ever get accomplished.

Everyone complains to the water commissioner but the lease is written pretty well….and he can’t argue with the folks. The thirty-year deal? Well….it pretty much locks the company in to make huge profits and no real costs involved.

So gaze around now….towns throughout America are doing this scheme almost weekly now. Chicago….is listed as having the scheme underway currently but the mayor will deny it completely. You may live in a community where the discussion is underway and the town council is really interested in a better pay-back than the current deal they have.

The only ones that can get screwed? You….the customer.