ROMNEY: “MY OWN VIEW IS I’D RATHER HAVE A PRIVATE PLAN.”
Last night in the debate, I was struck by Romney’s assertion that he’d “rather have a private plan” than a government-run health plan like Medicare.
Well, of COURSE he would. He has never had to worry about money, and he never, ever will. It’s like saying “my own view is that I’d rather have my own private jet.”
I’m sure he’d never consider borrowing a book from a public library, either. His own view would be that he’d rather just buy any book he ever wanted to read.
Mitt Romney sees no value in public things like PBS, despite his hollow protestations of “love” for Big Bird and Jim Lehrer. His view is that Sesame Street could survive on a cable channel like Nickelodeon, so what’s the point of public broadcasting? Because for Mitt, there is no point. Everybody has cable TV, right?
There’s a genuine lack of empathy there, an inability to really think about things from another person’s point of view. This is, I think, the reason behind a lot of Mitt Romney’s “strange” behavior, whether it is insulting the cookies that a group of nice people are offering him or joking about “also” being “unemployed” to a room full of people who are struggling. When he dismisses his 6-figure income from public speaking fees as “not very much” I don’t think he’s doing it to be an asshole— it just never occurs to him that this is an abnormal view of that amount of money.
I remember back in 2008, Romney was talking about how we don’t need the United States Postal Service anymore, that we’d be just fine with companies like FedEx and UPS.
OF COURSE, Mitt Romney would be fine with just those companies. Do you imagine he has ever had to come home to a post-it tag on his door from UPS, saying “we tried to deliver your package at 1pm” on a Wednesday, with the promise that they would be back the next day at the same time, and then a third and final workday attempt on Friday afternoon at 1pm before they send it back as “undeliverable.”
I’ve dealt with UPS a number of times in recent years, and my experiences have been so uniformly awful that I basically can no longer order ANYTHING if I find out it can only be shipped UPS.
I know the United States Postal Service is far from perfect, but you know what? Most places have Post Offices that you can get to. The last time I ordered something from UPS, the only way I could retrieve it was by a cab ride out to the middle of a warehouse district which wound up costing me almost as much as the thing I had ordered. Despite all the wonders of competition in the free market and how responsive private companies have to be “or else customers will take their business elsewhere”, I’ve generally found that UPS didn’t give a shit whether I was a satisfied customer or not.
I know that there are all kinds of problems with government— it’s a big sprawl of messy organizations and there’s all kinds of bloat and waste and corruption— but I’m always stunned that the people who rail against the public sector are seemingly so enamored of the private sector, as if those giant companies aren’t afflicted by the same bad qualities of human nature that tarnish government. It seems to me that one key difference is that the public sector is supposed to do things that are good for society, whereas private companies are designed to make money. That’s their purpose. At least when the public sector does things that are wrong, we can say “hey, you’re not doing what you’re supposed to be doing.”
Private companies can always hide behind “we have a duty to our shareholders.”
This is a long, rambly post but the long and short of it is that I’m sick of people shitting all over the “public sector” as if it’s somehow second-rate to the wonders of the private one. For Mitt Romney, the private sector will always be completely and totally responsive to his needs, and it always will be.
But let’s face it: most of us aren’t Mitt Romney.