The Military Times calls it a puzzle. A survey shows that president Obama has the approval of only 15 percent of military personnel yet a majority now accept the reality of gays in the military and women in combat roles. But there’s no contradiction. Acceptance has always been different from approval. Most of us accept we are going to die of some day, even though not many approve approve. The US military, like civilians, may have little fondness for their Pointy Haired Bosses yet still go to work each day and boast: “I never missed a day of work in my life.”
One of the most salient characteristic of American culture is “can do” — its ability to find a way around obstacles placed in its path. Reuters recently reported that ice-cream shops in Venezuela are closing due to the unavailability of milk. In America the outcome may have been the invention of a source of artificial milk. Instead of closing the shops they might have reopened as artificial ice cream parlors.
American oil and gas companies reacted precisely in this way to government discouragement. The industry simply invented new technologies which made America the biggest oil producer in the world.
In the United States failure appears to be a profit opportunity. Several American friends have unaccountably offered me exactly the same piece of sage advice. ”Richard, never trust anyone who hasn’t failed.” In their view anyone who hasn’t been flat broke at least once in his life has some kind of character defect. One acquaintance wistfully recalled the time he lost his fortune and had to live out of his car, and how that motivated him to even greater wealth. Maybe his last conscious thoughts when the time comes to cross the river will not be of the yacht anchored off the Riviera, or of starlit nights and steel guitars in Rio, but fond memories of a shower and shave at the CITGO rest room.
The downside to this laudable impulse to self-help is that very few American politicians are ever punished for their blunders. The population apparently finds it easier to adapt. It is easier to invent a new industry than start a political movement.
Take for example the case of New York City resident Nicolas Karlson. The Affordable Care Act gave him the shaft. In the pre-Obamacare days Karlson paid only $1,805 every three months to medically insure himself and his wife. Obamacare canceled his plan and the cheapest thing he can get costs “$1,221.60 per month, or more than 100 percent more than his old plan cost.” Not only that, his network of doctors excludes everyone. So what does Karlson do? He adapts by hiring an adviser named Brett Sigler of Client Focused Advisors in New York. Brett will get him a deal somehow.
He reached out to someone he knew who had dealt with insurance before, who referred him to an investment adviser name Brett Sigler, of Client Focused Advisors in New York. Sigler and his colleagues last year got certified as brokers for the New York State of Health.
Sigler told CNBC that while “we saw there was an opportunity where a lot of people were going to need help,” other than putting out the word in a networking group he was associated with, he didn’t really solicit business actively.
Despite that, Sigler’s gotten Obamacare business this year from Karlson and about 100 other people, essentially from word of mouth.
“It’s been way more than I anticipated,” Sigler said. “I’ll get calls from people that I’ve never met before.”
Obamacare will be great for guys like Sigler. The bigger the screwup, the bigger the opportunity. Megan McArdle notes the reason Vermont gave up on Single Payer was it would cost as much as everything the State was now spending. The problem isn’t how to divvy up the bill. The problem is the bill. Nobody can make the unaffordable affordable any more than guys at a clip joint can pay for the bottle service when the dollars in their pocket come up short. Asking the waiter for single or separate bills is irrelevant. The reason health care is so expensive is it already consists of a mass of workarounds.
But workarounds it is. The American ability to adapt explains why president Obama — and why incompetent politicians in general — can get away with almost anything. Michael Walsh warns Barack Obama is in the final, unfettered two years of his plan to fundamentally pervert America and nobody seems to care. They care. It’s just they many are focusing on survival strategies, preferrably ones which can earn them a profit.