A Game of What Ifs

In an ever-changing world of seemingly endless possibilities, we the people are faced with a number of inconsistencies.  It is the job of those who hold journalistic positions to ask questions and to get their readers to think about the difficult decisions in life. I’d like to take this opportunity to push my own thoughts of a more hopeful tomorrow in regards to how aspects of our country is run on the top level. As the title suggests, I would like to delve into a few scenarios regarding what currently is, as opposed to what could be.

First and foremost, I would like to see a total overhaul of how those in public office are able to trade stocks, if at all.  I realize this is a public market in which we can choose which stocks will rise and fall based on public interest — what if those in charge had to gamble on the profitability of America’s future.  You ask, ‘But Andy, aren’t they doing that now?’  Well, yes.  However, I don’t see where they are truly invested in America’s tomorrow. What I suggest is a US market exchange where only funds like education, a stronger main street America and domestic emerging markets are traded.  Why can’t we who are living in 2013 have a market the leaders of this country invest in for the future?

If we were to force those vying for public office to sell the stocks, they have invested in say, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics or Pfizer and truly invest their wholehearted efforts into, say, an educational conglomerate focused on taking us from 17th in the developed world in order to maybe break the top 10?  We are one of the wealthiest nations in the history of mankind, yet a street poll couldn’t get 10 people out of 100 to name all of our 50 states, let alone say that we have 50.  I’m not talking about the federally funded programs we currently have in place, but an innovative start up focused directly on how to channel how our youth learn, then mold those adaptations into the classroom.  Also, if we were allowed to let the parents actively pick which schools — private or public — their children could attend based on how productive they are and how effective they are at actually educating the future leaders of this great nation, we could let some schools fail, which in turn will weed out poor teachers and administrators.  I’m not saying this is by any means a great start to education reform; I’m just trying to get the masses thinking again.

piggyWhat if Washington was run more like a business and less like a piggy bank for personal interest?  True capitalism thrives on we the people.  It demands that we have final say as to what succeeds and what fails…well, unless governmental involvement steps in and says, ‘Hey, you’re too big to fail’ (see 2007/2008 bank/automotive bailout and the ensuing recession for more information).  News flash folks, the government doesn’t know best when it comes to what is best for you as an individual.  If you don’t like company A because they make a substandard product, let them fail in order to make way for company B to take their place.  That’s the real American way.  It pushes innovation forward and takes all levels of forward thinking to the next plateau.

What if the government set a precedent in the 90s that the VHS market was too big to fail and bailed them out?  Would we still have the innovation known as DVD, then the eventual rise of Blu-ray?  Of course we would.  All that would have happened in this scenario would have been a prolonged death of VHS and millions of wasted dollars.  Innovation should win every time, even when stymied with the thumb of overbearance.  I realize this is a silly analogy, but look at Detroit.  Even when the government stepped in, the Motor City still crumbled.  This was exactly what the government was trying to avoid — the loss of jobs…or at least why we were told of the automotive bailout.

This brings up another point.  If congressmen in both chambers had to relinquish stocks, or freeze them and invest in the future of America, where would the lobbyists go?  In theory, they would all but vanish from the teats of the lawmakers.  They would then serve no personal interest in the affairs of capitalism, other than making sure the bar is set for innovation to take back the reins.

Then what of healthcare?  This is an issue dating back to the first television commercial aired exciting the public into hysteria.  Do you or someone you know have legs?  Do they sometimes hurt?  What if they don’t?  Then you might have leg aids.  Please contact your doctor immediately.  Now, how many healthy people turned hypochondriacs did these commercials create?  I have actually known a number of people that would listen to the symptoms of these ridiculous commercials and schedule an appointment thusly.

whatifBut isn’t this creating capitalism in action?  No, in fact it’s quite the opposite.  You see, when you go to the doctor, his visit costs somewhere around $100.  You pay a $20 copay and the healthcare company is left with the rest. Most companies, in order to have the doctor in network, will give him a flat fee of what they are going to pay him per patient visit.  Not the point.  Here’s where things get hairy.  Now, because you think you have leg aids, the doctor is not qualified to give you treatment for it.  Sure, he’ll give you a sample of the drug he got from the attractive pharmaceutical rep that stops by his office every other Tuesday.  However, he’ll need to send you to a specialist, then they’ll have to do some blood work and prescribe this wonder drug to you.  All of this is really only costing you a few hundred dollars, until you get to the premium drug, which is probably $500, when the commercials are airing.  Gotta make that R&D money back somehow.

Now that you have your 6 month script filled and your leg aids have subsided, there’s a new panic involving tingly hands.  OH NO!  I have tingly hands when I sleep on my arm wrong sometimes. I need to go to the doctor.  He will save me from this too!  This cycle goes on a few more times and ultimately drug A didn’t have the full testing done and is now causing a real problem related to your respiratory system and you have to go back to get a fix. Then, you get to jump on a class action lawsuit because the pharmaceutical company knew about the dangers of the leg aids cure, but because it outweighed the cons, they went with it and pushed it into production because their lobbyist is really good.

So what if we could pull the plug on drug commercials?  Wouldn’t that be bad?  Maybe, but it might start to right the ship.  It could eventually lower our premiums and help with the restoration of a broken system.

These scenarios are meant to get we the people thinking about how we can fix things.  We have been stagnant the last few years waiting for Washington to fix things.  It’s our responsibility, people!  This is our country.  We are not run by tyrants yet.  We must claim the freedoms we already have lest we lose them all.


The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com

About the author

Andy Mounts

Andy Mounts is the finance manager of a small business in the Tampa Bay area. He was once a pirate sailing the Tampa Bay waters in search of booty. After years of lackluster results he settled into the world of finance. He has an interesting perspective on daily events and has finally arrived to provide Eagle Rising with his unique insights.

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