Random Thoughts

Bad Wrench, Bad Health and Bad Energy Sinks GM & America

Asinine advertising like the fatuous touting of superb automobile mechanics reveals the bankruptcy of ability of GM's ad agencies and management. GM's bonds now have junk status and its stock has sunk to a low not seen in a decade. Everyone but the most ignorant fools knows that maintenance and repair of cars can be done competently at a much cheaper price by independent mechanics at service stations, yet GM foolishly wastes money advertising its competence in repair and service. It is the complete confidence of many corporations in the incorrigible stupidity of the American consumer, that perpetuates this practice. No thinking individual expects that a shapely and sparsely clad blonde comes with a car or beer and wearing expensive designer sneakers will lead to a multi-million dollar NBA contract. The success of Walmart stems from advertised cheaper prices and that of German and Japanese cars from faultless workmanship and performance. The instant gratification psyche is what led the politicians and American car manufacturers to ignore energy dependency and refuse to raise gas prices and make energy efficient cars. The 1973-4 oil embargo, for which they had no strategy, led to the successful invasion of Japanese car makers and they have established themselves both in the mid and upscale markets now. Europe raised gasoline prices to a current level of nearly six dollars a gallon. This promoted smaller fuel efficient cars and capability to weather the exorbitant crude oil prices prevalent currently. America on the other hand, has used the crisis to pass on the goodies to corporate contributors who fund the Bushes and Cheneys and to trample environmental concerns and railroad their oil company oriented agenda of drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. The absurdity of solitary drivers riding in gas guzzler SUVs over the paved highways of California is defended on the basis of their safety and survivability in accidents. If that is the sole criterion, then why don't we all drive M1-Abrams tanks. Life is a constant compromise and tradeoff and all of us have to subject ourselves to some form of rationing in our day to day desires.

The current reason for the GM meltdown is the spiraling cost of healthcare. It is indeed a shame that a developed nation and world leader like America does not have a national healthcare. Once again it is to allow obscene profits to insurance companies and over-generously reward the executives, who fund the politicians, while only crumbs go to shareholders, that the entire population is subjected to worrisome nightmares of losing health insurance that holds American workers hostage and often unable to change jobs. Truman first attempted national health insurance and was stopped cold by vested interests. Johnson passed medicare legislation with staunch unthinking visceral opposition from the AMA. It has turned out to be the best cash cow for doctors. Hilary Clinton, an opportunistic and self-serving cattle futures baroness, attempted public good national health insurance in a secret enclave, but was bested by the Louise ads by insurance companies cleverly manipulating public opinion, just like the vote against self-interest by Alabamans on real estate taxes and red states in the national elections. Nearly two-thirds of total lifetime medicare spending for individuals occurs in the last month of life. Richard Lamm, an advocate for rationing healthcare to prevent wasteful spending leading to poor results and no improvement in the quality or quantity of life, lost his bid for re-election as governor of Colorado. Britain and European countries limit chronic dialysis and radical surgery after certain ages and Canadians have to wait long times for certain elective surgeries and yet they provide better healthcare to their citizens at a lesser price with better outcomes. In America nearly 1.5 million declare personal bankruptcy primarily due to exorbitant medical bills, job loss or divorce. This is more than the total number of college graduates that we produce each year. Under pressure from credit card and banking lobbies, the new bankruptcy laws will squeeze blood out of a turnip, while allowing the rich to isolate their assets by allowing them to keep their palatial homes in Florida and live their accustomed luxurious lifestyles from protected trust assets and poor John and Jane will seek residence in homeless shelters.

The naturally selfish policies of car manufacturers led to the highway trust funds and demise of public transportation with the sprawl of suburbs and inefficient energy use by cars and homes. These promote the vicious cycle of our energy dependency. Thus we are compelled to keep the Shahs and Sauds in their illegitimate power and ignore their thievery. They assume a devout mantle of Islamism to camouflage their profligate kleptocracy and debauchery, by promoting orthodox Islam and education without marketable skills, that leads to Jihadism and terrorism from the oppressed masses, whose only recourse for opposition are mosques and religion which cannot be suppressed by the tyrants without losing legitimacy. Then our lying, conniving and stupid leaders ask foolish questions like "Why do they hate us?" and give us bogus lies like "They hate us because of our freedoms". On top of all this they incite the ignorant American public with slogans of patriotism to become cannon fodder to maintain the wealth of the elite who transfer the headquarters of American corporations offshore to avoid paying taxes for the welfare of the nation and move manufacturing jobs abroad to the detriment of our workers and hollow out of the nation's industries. Our nation has become a casino where the house fleeces the mug with derivatives. This is a new take on the old one of mugging the innocent with a cosh. Warren Buffett, an astute value investor, has called derivatives weapons of mass destruction. Truly patriotism has become the last resort of scoundrels! 


More by :  Gaurang Bhatt, MD

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