“When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses.”
It’s shaping up to be a long, hot summer in the land of curdled milk and honey but air conditioners and ceiling fans aren’t the only thing humming along at full speed. In America, the gears of capitalism continue to keep worker’s noses to the neoliberal grind. Sam Walton and Jeff Bezos clearly have never met an inanimate object on the planet they couldn’t find a way to bar code, warehouse or commoditize. Meanwhile, the American healthcare system provides a focused snapshot of the shock and awe policies adopted by the corporate interests that have captured our public institutions. It was beyond shameful that our nation’s signature healthcare laws were underwritten by the for-profit insurance and private healthcare industries. The POTUS didn’t even make a pretense of advocating for a universal, single-payer healthcare system that ensures both affordability and access. Tiered health plans are like Kwanzaa in July for healthcare CEO’s who can now offer the illusion of affordability while continuing to deny access to the gold-plated healthcare plans enjoyed by the elite and their hired help. To add insults to injuries, many GOP-controlled states have refused to expand Medicaid programs, denying care to millions of vulnerable citizens. What we have been allotted are platinum, gold, silver and bronze health plans, an Olympian, hunger games of medicine. This is undoubtedly what Hippocrates had in mind when he said, “Primum non nocere”, which translated loosely means…“First, do no harm to the platinum plan patients, but it’s ok to do a little harm to the gold and silver plan patients and feel free to do a lot of harm to the bronze plan patients.”
In the U.S., the wholesale privatization of public education marches on with relentless efficiency. New Orleans has seen it’s entire public school district dismantled and replaced by charter schools, whose teachers have no union representation, due process or collective bargaining agreements. In California, the courts have declared tenure and seniority to be “unconstitutional” citing Elite v. Non-Elites, 1776, which ruled classism, racism and elitism as constitutional as slipknots and mom’s apple pie. Public education is one of the few remaining bastions of union influence in the U.S. so it’s unsurprising that the corporate-capitalists have pressed so hard to undermine and scapegoat the teaching profession. A career venture-opportunist like Bill Gates has been only too happy to inject his familiar brand of take-no-prisoners reform that served him so well in building Microsoft into a monopoly corporation. Public schools have always been inextricably linked to the communities they serve. A constant turnover in less experienced teachers coupled with the exodus of veteran teachers will only further weaken the tenuous bonds in communities already reeling from the financial collapse. It is important for the public to realize that the princes of privatization aren’t looking merely to reform public education, they’re looking to crush it under their wing-tipped heels. It’s frightening to consider how many promising careers have been snuffed out and how many students have had their confidence in education shattered beyond repair.
Privatizing the profits and socializing the losses has always been the mantra of the corporate class. Harvard taught them well that blondes and bankers do have more fun. So rather than view quality healthcare and accessible education as basic, minimum human rights in a modern, civilized society, we have been conditioned to believe we must earn this ever elusive American Dream™ with our blood, sweat and tears, The fact that our labors always benefit the elite the most is sheer coincidence, nothing more. If only we would pull ourselves up by our bootstraps just a little bit harder, then we, too, could have a 30-year adjustable rate mortgage, six-figure student loan debt and busted bronze healthcare plan. In capitalism, every person, place or thing under the sun has a price to be calibrated by the invisible pimp hand of the marketplace that conveniently ignores the inconvenient truth that technological innovations outpace the sustainability afforded by a planet with finite resources. The corporate and state controlled media outlets do their part to ensure that geopolitical and ideological bluster are never seen for what they are…naked grabs for the land, labor and resources required to sustain the opulent lifestyles the elite have become accustomed to. The intoxicating elixir of power is a hard habit to break so, to keep their feathers plumed, the elite must increasingly rely on repression and the projection of dominance to maintain social order. Alas, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from living in the mecca of capitalism is that all bills eventually come due. It’s only a matter of time before it is the servant’s turn to collect on the master’s outstanding debts.
Peace and solidarity to all readers.