January 14, 2008

The Ultimate Death Tax

Ezra Klein wrote recently about how the 'best' health care in the world has allowed between 75,000-100,000 preventable deaths in the last four years.

This is the inevitable result of our tax policies and across the board political wastrelsy. And so we've failed perhaps as many as 100,000 of our fellow citizens in getting care for fatal, but entirely treatable, health conditions. We were not their keepers. We let go of them when they needed to be more tightly knit into the human family.

We've been taxed 100,000 people in order to pay for insurance executive salaries.

We've been taxed 100,000 people while we were busy paying to destroy another country in a war that's killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, displaced millions of them, and ethnically cleansed many neighborhoods of formerly peaceful cities.

We've been taxed 100,000 people's creativity and experience.

We've been taxed 100,000 people who loved, and argued, and cared and worked beside us 4 years ago and could be here today.

We've been taxed 100,000 people whose families and friends are poorer today in ways that won't show up on a balance sheet.

No one can turn to their things for comfort in hard times. There will never be a possession shiny enough, salable enough, or aesthetically pleasing enough, that it can substitute for the people who matter to you. Even before we 'go', the slightest hiccup in our lives can make all our possessions seem like rust and ashes and our list of friends like gold. And 100,000 people who were gold to someone are gone unnecessarily.

Multiply that by a factor of 4 or 5, at least, for the Iraqis. We spent money to destroy their lives that we wouldn't use to save the lives of our neighbors.

Apparently, it's a terrible thing to use money from the estate of someone who did well in life and probably passed away under the care of an attentive physician to better the society that aided them in their worldly endeavors. Yet not such a terrible thing to let people whose economic station in life leaves them little more than each other with one less person to count on.

I don't understand. I just can't.

(h/t The Sideshow)

Posted by natasha at January 14, 2008 10:47 AM | Health/Medicine/Health Care | Technorati links |
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