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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Monday, July 27, 2009

Might As Well Face It We're Addicted to Manna

By Keith R. Schmitz

Bill Maher Friday night hauled out the nail gun and hit a lot of them on the head with his new rule that not everything in America has to make a profit.
Prisons used to be a non-profit business, too. And for good reason -- who the hell wants to own a prison? By definition you're going to have trouble with the tenants. But now prisons are big business. A company called the Corrections Corporation of America is on the New York Stock Exchange, which is convenient since that's where all the real crime is happening anyway. The CCA and similar corporations actually lobby Congress for stiffer sentencing laws so they can lock more people up and make more money. That's why America has the world;s largest prison population -- because actually rehabilitating people would have a negative impact on the bottom line.
Or about news (remember Network?)
(U)nlike in Cronkite's day, today's news has to make a profit like all the other divisions in a media conglomerate. That's why it wasn't surprising to see the CBS Evening News broadcast live from the Staples Center for two nights this month, just in case Michael Jackson came back to life and sold Iran nuclear weapons. In Uncle Walter's time, the news division was a loss leader. Making money was the job of The Beverly Hillbillies. And now that we have reporters moving to Alaska to hang out with the Palin family, the news is The Beverly Hillbillies.
But especially health care:
Because medicine is now for-profit we have things like "recision," where insurance companies hire people to figure out ways to deny you coverage when you get sick, even though you've been paying into your plan for years.
Yeah, profit is a good thing when it comes to running most businesses. But for thinking people it is becoming clearer and clearer that in certain sectors of our society, blind pursuit of profit makes thinks work less well, and in the process making us less well.

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