Thursday, April 26, 2012

Another metaphor: Groceries

Imagine you have a monthly plan you pay into, one that lets you go into the grocery store, chose your food, and only pay $10 at checkout.

Would you plan a food budget, make sure you are getting the best deals, only get what you need, not just what you want?

Or would you not plan at all, throwing meals together wily-nilly, going to the grocery store several times a week because you just had to have that one specific item?  Would you choose the fancier items, regardless of the fact that they are exactly the same as the more generic brands?  Would you fill your cart with junk food, and things that taste good, instead of food that is FOOD, and good for you to boot?

Now, you have no idea what anything even costs, because what is the point of the grocery store putting prices up if they don’t matter for anyone anyway? Why would the grocery store bother stocking the lower cost items, if everyone is going to get the name brand items anyway? 

And who would stop the grocery store owner from colluding with their supplier, having the supplier jack up the cost of goods so the grocery store owner can charge the plan more money?  And when that happens, guess what happens to your monthly pay in?  It goes up, because your plan’s costs have risen, and you had NO CLUE, because you have no idea what groceries cost.

And there would be much wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and there would be calls to the government: “Why aren’t you stopping our grocery plan pay-ins from increasing?  Everyone needs food, and I can’t afford this anymore!”

And the government would step in, and force the plans to lower their premiums, but uh-oh.  The plans aren’t sustainable long term with the decreased revenue, so they would slowly start to go out of business.  And the government would have to step in, because people have to eat, you know.  And they would run the grocery plans on the tax payer’s dime, the plans that weren’t sustainable as evidenced by the multitudes of shuttered plans.

And then where would we end up, all because you wanted cheaper groceries.

Wow, that one kinda got away from me, was only supposed to be about insurance, and somehow morphed into unsustainable debt.  Though I suppose the topics are forever intertwined now anyway, so it works.

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