This might be a stretch, but wine and the health care debate in the USA seem to have something in common.
The sad state of affairs for wine producers has been written about, interminably, especially the ones who’ve been used to charging high prices for their products only to find that at the slightest mini-economic meltdown that wipes out retirement accounts, home ownership, venerable corporations, and more jobs than there are cockroaches in New York City, these producers can’t move their over-priced plonk. They have been forced (some of them) to charge closer to what the wine is worth.
The situation is enough to make one wonder what it is that motivated buyers to lay down all that cash over these past few years. Maybe it has something to do with the concept, “I’ve Got Mine (IGM).” To interpret: my income from derivatives and bonuses is so great, who gives a rat’s ass if you can’t afford to pay an unreasonable price for 750 ml. of fine-tasting alcohol. I will pay it—until I can’t.
In Massachusetts recently, voters seemed to respond to the IGM message that they have their state health care system and it works for them; why should they send a senator to congress who would force them to help the rest of us gain such a system?
Yep, it's IGM: a mantra that pervades the right tilt.
Notice that wine drinkers didn’t stop drinking wine when their incomes tanked; they simply lowered their standards. That fact caused one wine blogger to claim that it proves wine drinkers are in it for the buzz—hmmm, maybe so.
Notice, too, that Americans (well, a majority of us) haven’t stopped buying health insurance as the price of premiums surpassed the value of the insurance. The credit card industry seems the only one to have kept pace with the cost of health insurance; banks get away with interest rates that used to send to prison the mobsters on the corner of a particular Brooklyn neighborhood with which this writer was intimate.
In fact, as a side parallel between health care and wine, the government has reversed the definition of the word “usury” from bad to good while the feds at TTB have changed the definition of the word “ameliorate” in reverse order. But I digress…
Why haven’t we stopped buying expensive health insurance and why have we stopped buying expensive wine?
The answer is so simple it is often missed. With wine, we have choices.
There’s a lesson in the fact that as people stopped buying expensive wine, expensive wine producers were forced to respond by reducing their prices. We can probably end the sorry state of affair in the health insurance situation by doing the same thing.
Tomorrow morning, every American with a health insurance policy should cancel it.
By taking that step, we would all lose our health care, but no doctor or hospital will be able to make a living either. How long do you think it would take the idiots in congress (and the idiots who claim IGM) to understand what we are saying through such an action?
If it weren’t for the volume of drinkable cheap wine available on the market, I’d probably have trouble sleeping at night, wondering how to raise the next million to send to the health insurance bureaucracy. Still, I have to hand it to the insurance industry (an industry that I believe was invented by Italians—mea culpa for my ethnicity). Long ago, the health insurance gangsters devised a system to sell a product based on fear and also to make sure that there is no competition, which is the exact reverse of the wine industry.
Wine is in trouble today because it sells a product based on joy and there’s too much competition.
Wow, instead of proving that wine and the health care debate have things in common, I’ve lurched uncontrollably into identifying a truly skewed American lifestyle. Better stop now, before I look for a sharp razor…
If you are reading this entry anywhere other than on the vinofictions blog, be aware that it has been lifted without my permission (and without recompense), and that’s a copyright infringement, no matter that the copyright information appears with it.
February 2010. All rights reserved.