Some years back I was mortified to realize that it would be all-but-impossible to fix health care without first fixing America’s patronage system, that puts virtually all policy up for sale to the highest bidder. In 2006, American corporations spent $2.5 billion lobbying Congress, nearly $5 million per Senator and Congressional representative. More than $350 million of that figure came from the health care sector, and half of that ($180 million) came came from the drug, device and supply industries. All this information is handily cataloged at the excellent site, www.opensecrets.org.
A couple weeks ago I published a letter in the New York Times – yes, I was astounded too – arguing that we won’t have health care reform until the leaders of the non-health care business community come together and roll over the health care industry.
Now, the always astute Greg Pawelski brought my attention to a superb Bill Moyers presentation, describing a parallel problem. America’s financial sector leverages its strength to take huge amounts of capital out of the system, without providing much in the way of value. The message is delivered by John Bogle, who created The Vanguard Group. Here’s the background:John Bogle, 77, created The Vanguard Group, Inc., in 1974, which today
is one of the two largest mutual fund organizations in the world, and
was was the first index mutual fund. He retired as Chairman and Chief
Executive Officer of the fund in 1996, yet remained Senior Chairman
Bogle explains the broader implications of The Carlyle Group’s buyout of Manor Care Nursing Homes. More and more, Wall Street is taking control of corporations, making Main Street pay the price, and making health care less attainable. The financial sector – banks, money managers, insurance companies, and certainly annuity providers – takes $560 billion a year out of society. They all subtract value from the economy.
Read Mr. Bogle’s recent article in DAEDALUS, "Democracy in Corporate America."
Take the time to watch this worthwhile piece and possibly to read Mr. Bogle’s lucid article. All the stuff we talk about on this and related sites are moot unless we understand and ultimately address these deep cancers on our system.