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Burnin' down the house... - Unbeliever's Land
...The continuing chronicles...
unbeliever64
unbeliever64
Burnin' down the house...
Normally, I agree with Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow 100%.

On one current news story, I find myself only 90% in agreement.

To start with, let me affirm -- I am just about as liberal as they come.  I'm a strongly pro-choice, pro-single-payer, pro-union, pro-government, pro-gay-marriage, anti-gun atheist.  I think government should be about helping the little guy, *NOT* the megacorporations.

If illegal immigration is ACTUALLY a problem (as opposed to a convenient political prop to be immediately ignored when it's not election season), then I say go after the EMPLOYERS who HIRE illegals -- *NOT* punish the poor shmucks who are just trying to do what they can to feed their families.

The poor are POOR.  Quit looking for ways to punish them.

However.

So there's this rural area in Tennessee that doesn't pay city taxes, and doesn't have proper fire protection -- but for a small annual fee, the (distant) city fire department has generously offered to travel outside their regular coverage area, to help folks out in case of need.

And along comes Certifiable Dumbfuck Gene Cranick, who opts out of the fire protection, and then procedes to burn his house down.  And the Fire Department shows up, and prevents the fire from spreading to houses that DID pay, but did NOT put out the fire on Cranick's property.  His house burned down; his pets died; he lost all of his possessions.  (His family was not injured.)

Keith and Rachel call this a horrific tragedy.

I completely agree.

Keith and Rachel say this shows the peril of "opt-in" government.  Everyone should pay taxes, and everyone should have coverage.  Firefighters should never be put in the position of having to refuse to help people in need.

I completely agree.  (And I'm for single-payer health care for the same reason.  NOBODY should be in the position of being denied needed, available, care.)

Keith and Rachel say that the firefighters should have put out Dumbfuck's fire anyway.

I... disagree.

I've seen two interviews with Dumbfuck.  He claims to have "forgotten" to pay his fee.  This is bullshit.

He claims he offered to pay the fee on the spot.  I'm sure he did.  Lots of us would love to only pay for car insurance during the months we actually have accidents.  That's not the way it works.

This guy thought he was being real clever by NOT paying, figuring if he ever DID need help, they'd help him anyway.  He got EXACTLY what he deserved.  (Though thanks to all the media attention, he'll come out of this mess better than ever.)

THIS is why fire (and police) should NEVER be "opt-in".  They should be lightly taxed for, and the services universally offered.  A civilized society should not offer people the option to shoot themselves in the foot in this way.  (And then have us stand there and watch when their gamble fails to pay off.)

Yes, it is horrific that firefighters stood and watched this man's house burn down.

Yes, in a civilized country, this should never happen.

The way to ensure that it DOESN'T happen, is taxes and universal coverage.

If we instead have an opt-in system, then *THAT* is the crime.  It allows people like Dumbfuck to... be Dumbfucks.

Tags:
Current Emotional State: annoyed annoyed

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amaebi From: amaebi Date: October 8th, 2010 02:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Yep. With you. That's fundamental to the nature of public goods. And of free-riding.
unbeliever64 From: unbeliever64 Date: October 8th, 2010 06:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Really?

Wow. I fully expected you to be on the "firemen shoulda helped anyway" side.

Hell, I halfway feel that way, myself. I mean, GLEN BECK thinks the firefighters did the right thing. That's virtually a guarantee that the opposite position is the proper one to take.

But I just can't do it. The system is rotten. But GIVEN the system, this is the way it has to be.

As Rick says below, they should offer a much higher fee for on-the-spot "Come-to-Jesus" conversions. I'd say, not less than $7500 -- one hundred years' worth of regular annual fees. And I'd be fine with the $20k figure.

THEN when Dumbfuck acts in-character, he only shoots himself in the foot financially.
amaebi From: amaebi Date: October 12th, 2010 02:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
One reason I enjoyed reading George Lakoff's Don't Think of an Elephant was finally getting to see someone else saying something I've said for forever: that Republicans were successfully setting up systems to screw the already-unfortunate in part to tie up the energies of liberals and keep us from working on the policy level ourselves.

It's a terrible balance when it comes to the involuntarily-screwed. We liberals don't want them screwed, but we have only so much energy, and we also don't want to stint on the political work, and, horribly, the most effective way to work politically is probably to let Republican policies work their way out, killing and crippling, and see how many people really like that.

This case isn't a terrible balance, though. This guy wasn't involuntarily screwed. He's getting precisely what he paid for-- and may well have voted for.

It's very hard on the firefighters, though.

Edited at 2010-10-12 04:07 pm (UTC)
rickvs From: rickvs Date: October 8th, 2010 11:01 am (UTC) (Link)
What surprises me is that the fire department hadn't already worked up a price for their services to cover this circumstance. Like, it costs $75.00 to buy in before your house catches fire, but $20,000.00 after your house catches fire.

(This is the same thing that surprised me about Rachal's health insurance. Before we wound up in our state's risk pool, we could not find a commercial health insurance company that was willing to cover her at *any* price. Really? If we paid ten million dollars a year she wouldn't be worth the risk? I couldn't follow their reasoning then, and still can't).
amaebi From: amaebi Date: October 8th, 2010 11:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Good point. There goes microeconomic theory, when it comes to human rule-making. Again.
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