Up next: Gus and the Ideologies!

This weekend, I worked the information tent at a music festival. The festival ran for 20 hours over three days, and I spent the whole time manning a tent, which by necessity had to be as far from the festivities as possible: the information tent was also the paramedic tent.

Which meant that my job this weekend, though nominally information-giver, was actually co-vice-chief small talker. Yesterday, for 10 straight hours, Gus and I got to know each other very well.

Gus is a retired fire-fighter, a retired mechanic, a retired metal worker, and an ex-marine. When he heard that I was hoping to work in radio, he said “oh! like Sean Hannity!” (on a side note: is it ethical to hyperlink quoted text? does that depend on where the hyperlink points?)

I should have known better, and I guess it came up because he’s a paramedic, but we started talking about health care. Gus was mad because a) the insurance companies can charge whatever they want, and so can the doctors b) the liberal communist socialists wanted him and 300 million of his buddies to pay for their heart transplants and c) what the hell’s all the fuss about, we already have universal health care, I mean, anyone can go to the emergency room!

My responses were all about the efficiency of pooling risk among the greatest number of people, that while price is the most effective tool for distributing limited resources, giving health care to people who can’t pay for it is a value of mine, and lastly, that I didn’t want it to cost nothing each time you used a medical service – some marginal cost should be incurred on the part of the consumer, so that frivolous uses of the health care system could be reduced.

Gus said yeah! When I was still with the department, we would sometimes go and try and help these poor little old ladies, who would be bawling their eyes out because we were going to take them to the hospital. She says she’s still paying off the last ambulance ride – and what could we do, we had to take her, that’s our job. I said to her, don’t worry about paying for the ambulance – they’ll try and collect for a few months. you just ignore those bills. eventually, they’ll think its uncollectable and drop it. I didn’t feel no qualms about telling her that, because we only have to charge for the ambulance to stop some of the minorities – not ’cause I’m racist, just ’cause that’s why they had to – stop some of the minorities from using the ambulance to get to the hospital for a routine checkup! That just about broke my heart.

I wanted to ask him, so, are you a socialist or a racist?


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