Ok, so I've decided to take the plunge (relax-it's not a very big plunge) and buy health insurance. Since going off of my parents' health insurance I've reasoned that I've never been seriously ill, and if the majority of the insured stood to collect on their health plans, very few people could afford them. Anyways, I listen to NPR a fair amount, although not as much now that my morning commute is approximately 60 seconds from doorstep to office, and if I had to pick their cross-program theme for the year thus far, it would be this: Did you know that some people in this country can't afford health insurance? Of course, this is something they've been telling me for years, but it seems to me that the frequency of on-air reminders has skyrocketed in the past month or so, largely due to an increase in the discussion of such things on Capitol Hill. Yes, as we've all been made aware, all persons are endowed by our creator with the inalienable right to Life, Liberty, and Health Care. You get the picture. Anyways, I was thinking of all this the other day while looking at the stub of my recent paycheck and the price list for insurance which I could get through my employer. The pertinent part of the price list read something like this:
Single employee, health & dental coverage: X dollars
Next, my attention was drawn to the pay stub, the pertinent (for this post) section of which read:
F.I.C.A. : 2.64 times X dollars
Funny. So, you're saying that I, far from the top of the income distribution, could far more easily
afford health insurance (plus a nice steak dinner about once a week) IF I WASN'T ALREADY PAYING FOR SOMEONE ELSE'S HEALTH INSURANCE! Thanks for nothing, Uncle Sam. Burn in hell.
I assume that you already know, but F.I.C.A. stands for "Federal Insurance Contribution Act," which represents one of the most twistedly appropriate uses of the word "contribution" I can think of, in that the law compels you to contribute to something that you have little or no chance of benefiting from, at least if you're my age. Then again, if someone mugs you on the street in order to pay for others' health insurance and retirement plans, I'd guess that you wouldn't call this a "contribution" save perhaps in jest. Speaking of jest, I ran accross this little tidbit in the FAQ section of socialsecurity.gov, under the heading "Why can't I invest my Social Security taxes into an IRA plan?" Good question. The site's authors, probably shaking uncontrollably from laughter, explain that (and I quote) "maybe your investments wouldn't work out." Oh really? My investments might not work out. This is true, they very well might not, but ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDING ME? I have a better chance of being hit by a meteorite than on getting one red cent back from so-called Social Security when I reach my golden years, as the system now stands. I have a higher probability of a positive return on my investment if every month until I retire I buy a jar to save my own phlegm in, banking on the value of either jars or phlegm or both going up over the next fifty years.
Phew, ok. I'm done. I'm sorry.
In other news, I had a splendid weekend out in GR visiting the GF and contending with the weather, although at one point I got stranded far from base and had to cut open my tauntaun and climb inside its foul-smelling innards to warm myself. Yes, the blizzard conditions were so bad that Storm Team 13 (or whatever it's called) had to send out one of their junior meteorologists into the cold just to show us all on the teevee (as Lindsey says it) just how bad it is. "Yes Rich, as you can see I'm up to my waist in snow and my face is a ghostly shade of blue. Dear Lord, it's so cold. I sure would like to have your cushy job in the nice warm TV studio pointing at doplar weather maps, instead of standing outside in the freezing cold, waist-deep in snow, going through a very long list of school closings and other information that could easily have been communicated from the warmth of a nearby building, or at least from the back of the Storm Team van. I hate you so much. Back to you, Rich." "Thanks, Nancy. I hope you freeze and die out there. We'll keep you abreast of further developments as they occur, folks."
Anyways, the weekend was an adventure even for those of us who aren't junior meteorologists, and Lindsey was a wonderful hostess as always, as were her friends (and my brother GEC), whose couch I crashed on. The weekend also forced me to realize that I really have been putting off the purchase of new tires for too long, so I'll have to make it down to Discount Tire in the next day or so. That's all the randomness for now, more to come when the time presents itself.
Oh yes, and one more thing: I wasn't kidding in my previous post about the random internet competition. I can't encourage you enough to participate, regardless of what you think of your own artistic abilities. I'm pretty sure I never mentioned strict critera for the judging, and you get a pretty good piece of real estate when I rule the world in exchange for a few minutes of doodling. What could be better?