Conservative commentary: The ‘duh’ factor
July 29, 2007
Sometimes I’m reminded of Will Roger’s comment that he had no need for joke writers. He just read the newspapers and reported what he saw.
You have to wonder if the politicians who make some statements are stupid, misguided or perhaps are cynical enough to think we are the ones who don’t have a clue. Case in point: Hillary pontificating on health insurance companies that actually have the gall to prefer healthy people to insure. She can’t for the life of her figure out why they wouldn’t be rushing out to insure say a new victim of AIDS or the like. After all, the annual normal expenses for taking care of such a patient might be around $150,000 a year and more than a million for his shortened lifetime but:gosh, they should be able to charge him $200 to $250 per month without Hillary screaming price-gouging or the like. You got a problem with those figures?
Now anyone in business surely could spot this disconnect from 100 paces, but isn’t it frightening that the Hillarys of the politico world and the journalists who quote them seem oblivious to such claptrap. They truly seem to have concocted a new logical syllogism which says: A.) Insurance companies are in business to pay money for sick people. B.) People get sick and need this insurance. C.) Therefore, insurance companies should seek out everyone, but especially sick people, to make sure they are covered.
What, you say? Insurance companies really are in business to make money. And the way they can afford to cover that AIDS patient’s enormous bills is to spread the risk of having him insured along with hundreds or thousands of others who hopefully won’t get sick to offset it. So that’s it. Why didn’t someone tell Hillary?
The latest from the financial world is the emergence of private equity funds in lieu of public companies to take over and manage firms who are in play. But some bright journalist with phenomenal prescience has uncovered the scandal. Hah! These guys actually are doing a great job at buying the companies that aren’t having their best years, restructuring and restrategizing the game plans and then going on to make them much more successful by increasing the business through persuading more people to do business with them. Well, he said, I guess that is all well and good. BUT : then they sell them for a big profit! Oh, no! And the sin? Well, they didn’t tell us when they bought the companies that we might be giving up a big upside move of the value of the company. You dirty dogs!
I’m not making this up.
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The last typical piece of disinformation you are likely to see is the obfuscation of the Grand Canyon difference between gross and net in business. A few years ago, I was a nominee for U.S. Congress while my business was being the C.E.O. of the fine jewelry firm I founded. One brilliant writer reported that I “made” $10 million the previous year. If only! I almost wrote a note to him proclaiming that he was most insightful to figure out how I had made that amount: all my employees were volunteers; the bank had decided to not bother me to pay on my mortgage on my store; very nice suppliers had donated all my gold, diamonds and other goods each month, utilities companies liked me well enough dispense with those pesky monthly dues, etc. You get the idea.
Frankly, I didn’t send it because I thought he just might be stupid enough to believe it.
Gary Hofmeister is the owner and operator of Hofmeister Personal Jewelers in downtown Steamboat, a company he founded in 1973. He is a Director of the Conservative Leadership Council of Northwest Colorado and a former Republican nominee for Congress in the 10th District of Indiana. He made 18 trips to the former USSR to teach democratic-capitalism during the 1990s.