We Can't Do Anything About.....
The Market Ticker - Commentary on The Capital Markets
2017-08-05 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 672 references Ignore this thread
We Can't Do Anything About.....
[Comments enabled]  

.... (stupendously high medical prices | ridiculous college costs | cops shooting unarmed Australian women | etc)


We can't do anything peaceful and lawful about it? Oh, I fully understand why these outrageous practices exist.  You see, the hospital administrator, doctor and pharma companies have no fear when they refuse to quote you a price or bill you at 10x what an insured person who has consumed their deductible would pay through their insurance, the college dean and provost have no fear when they cause your 18 year old son to rack up $50,000 a year in student loans and the cop has no fear when he shoots an unarmed Australian woman through the window of his cop car -- and across the body of his partner.

Everyone seems to think that the concept of "fear" in this regard means doing something illegal and for which they'd immediately go to prison, which is why they're not (obviously) interested.  Oh really?

I would like to put a different postulate forward:  You really don't give a ****.

Seriously, you don't.

In fact you approve of what they're doing each and every day.

You don't care that your 17 year old son is about to get bent over the table by a university in regard to college cost.  You in fact endorse your kid being forced to pay half the kid's tuition sitting next to him in Calc class simply because you have more money than his parents do.  In fact you have already gone so far as to conspire with that administrator in screwing your own son by filling out a FAFSA form!

You don't care that the guy down the street -- or your own mother -- is billed $7,500, their entire deductible on their Obamacare insurance policy, for five stitches they need when someone who has consumed their deductible or is on Medicare would be billed $400 for the same thing.

You don't care that the Australian woman got shot and killed although unarmed in Minnesota.  After all, you're not dead (yet.)  Never mind the cops who got caught planting drugs on people in Baltimore -- more than once.

And the list goes on.  Wells Fargo, for instance -- a company that not only opened up millions of un-requested accounts and purloined millions in fees by doing so they also force-placed car insurance on car loan customers who didn't need it, bilking them and in some cases repossessing their cars for not paying that which they didn't owe while destroying their credit. You in fact don't care about the hundreds of thousands of Americans Wells screwed.

How do I know you don't care?

Because there are dozens of things you could do about it that are perfectly legal if you did care.

You could, for example, refuse to associate with said people, defined as anyone who is such a person or is employed by and thus gains their livelihood through the antics of such an organization or company.

You could stick up the middle finger every time you saw them or any member of their family.

You could picket their house.

You could picket their employer.

You could make their life so miserable that they literally couldn't associate with anyone in their hometown because everyone who chose to do so would also be shunned.

You could put Wells Fargo out of business by pulling all your money from said bank, refusing to do business with it, picketing it and refusing to associate with anyone who works there.   If you discovered that a business used them for their check processing (which is easy to determine from your canceled check stamps) you could tell that business you won't shop there as long as they use Wells because you don't want Wells Fargo to make money on your money.  In short you could refuse to pass money through the company to the extent possible and you could make working there a living hell for anyone who decided that their salary offer was reasonable given the firm's conduct.

The same is true for the local hospital, the college in your town and more.

It's not illegal to dislike someone.  It's not illegal to flip someone off.  It's not illegal to decide that you won't associate with somebody on a personal basis.  In fact, unless your decision on a business basis is predicated on one of a handful of protected classes -- race, sex, national origin and a few others it's not illegal to tell someone to screw off in a business or professional context either.

Doctors are not a protected class.  Nor are hospital administrators.  Nor are bankers that work for a specific bank.  Nor are cops, dispatchers and others that work for a cop department that likes to hire trigger-happy Somalis.

Don't talk to me about how "outraged" you are about these sorts of things.

You're not even mildly pissed off.

It was not that long ago that a certain person who I knew decided to run a five-alarm line of crap with regard to immigrants in my presence while I was out drinking with friends.  He was never really all that close of a friend, but he seemed like an ok guy and we'd hang out and drink a beer or two once in a while together -- right up until that point in time.

I've never spoken to him again and I now intentionally and quite-visibly avoid him. As far as I'm concerned he's a ghost!

That's not the first time I've decided that I will have nothing to do with a person, organization, business or anyone associated with same and it won't be the last.

Does this, for example, apply to all cops?  No.  We have a local PD here that, at least in my experience, is quite reasonable.  I have no quarrel with them.  But with anyone employed by the PD in Baltimore, or in that particular jurisdiction in Minnesota?  Nope; they can all bite me.

Likewise there's a local neighborhood with an association here that decided that a running group I hang out with didn't like us running on the roads in their development.  It's their right as a neighborhood association to make the collective decision for everyone who lives there.  But when they voiced this to our running group my response was that while I certainly respect their right to make such a decision and would, of course, honor same if anyone who lived in that development wanted me to work on their computer in the future, either at home or in their business, the price just went up by a factor of 10.  If they don't like runners then I don't like them -- all of them!

The other people at the run that evening looked at me like I had six heads and four arms for making such a proclamation.  What?  We weren't running on their lawns; we were on the sidewalks and paved streets and nowhere is there posted a "No Trespassing" sign nor is there a closed and latched gate making clear that they don't want anyone without a code or key to come into their little enclave.  I respect their communal right to decide that a couple dozen people, not blocking traffic or in any way impeding their lives, running on a sidewalk for fitness and fun, is something they don't want to see.  But my view is that such snobbish garbage has a price, and the price is that as a "prole" according to them they obviously don't need said prole's help.  If they solicit said help anyway they're going to pay an outrageously high price and I will tell them why.

See, people band together into neighborhood associations, corporations and similar structures for the express purpose of limiting personal liability and at the same time making their decisions more forceful than one individual can express on their own. By doing so they decide to collectively act, and as such it is both perfectly reasonable and fair that the consequences of those actions also be collectively applied against every member of the group who benefits from same when other people don't like what they're doing!

Americans used to have this sort of constructive and very effective view toward behavior that they found outrageous.  It's disappeared, except in places like Amish communities, where if you violate their view of sensibility you and your entire family will be shunned.

In America you're free to behave as you wish but you're not free of the perfectly-legal consequences -- that people can and will express their disgust by simply refusing to have anything to do with you.

We could solve a huge percentage of the problems in this country if we re-acquired our willingness to fly the bird and used it liberally when outrageous conduct such as any of the above surfaced applying our sanction equally to all members of any voluntary association of persons that was responsible for the conduct we object to.

When you decide to work for a corporation, buy a house with a mandatory homeowners association set of covenants on the deed or voluntarily become a part of any other collective group you do so with an expectation of benefit from those collective actions for yourself and your family.

That's fine and well but collective benefits must come with collective costs or said structures are nothing more than a means of screwing everyone that's not part of that particular "clan."

For how long would a doctor keep up with differential pricing and refusing to quote a price at all if the only people that would associate with him were those who worked in his office?  What if his kids had nobody else to play with except the handful that had families who also worked at the same hospital or office?  His wife had nobody to play bridge with -- except other hospital administrator's wives?  The current "Chargemaster" rapejob and differential pricing would disappear in an afternoon because the employees of said place would all quit except for said administrators and the hospital would be forced to close inside of an hour!

For how long would college cost $50,000 a year if every Dean, Provost, Professor and janitor couldn't manage to walk down the street without the bird in his face?  If his or her wife or husband faced the same, and their kids had nobody to play with either?  Let's extend that to grad students writing grant papers and "working" while enjoying sponsorship from said school.  FAFSA would be torn up, debt offerings would disappear in an afternoon and college would be able to be paid for by delivering pizzas -- exactly as it was 30 years ago.  Why?  That's obvious: Every professor and staff member would resign if that crap was not instantly brought to an end.

How many cops would shoot through a window at an unarmed woman if they knew that doing it would mean every single officer on the force and every administrator and employee would forevermore be unable to walk from their car to the supermarket without getting flipped the bird by everyone else?  If their families had nobody to hang out with?  Even the local "cop bar" would shut down because the only people who would drink in there are the cops and there aren't enough of them to keep the place open.  The problem would go away immediately because the price would be a complete shunning of everyone in the department, no matter their job, and every cop on the street would know that by their association with said department and (usually) union they would have become every other officer on the force's keeper.

How many banks would dare to bill hundreds of thousands of people for unnecessary and unwanted "insurance" on a fraudulent basis if they knew that the price of doing it would be that they'd literally be out of business and everyone who worked at said institution would be permanently unemployable?  It would never happen again -- you can bet on it.

Folks, we have perfectly-legal means to address damn near every outrageous bit of behavior like this.  I'm not talking about the little things that******us all off on a daily basis; those are typically individual acts and we deal perfectly well with them individually by deciding we don't want to hang out with said person any more.

No, I'm talking about frauds and scams that steal one dollar in five in our economy, that saddle our young adults with five or six figures of debt for degrees that are often worthless and in any event cost five to ten times on an inflation-adjusted basis what they should, companies that steal hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars and either toss people out of their homes or steal their cars through fraud, pig departments making "affirmative action" hires that kill people and more.  These are not small-ball things but rather ridiculous and outrageous examples of misconduct that should be prosecuted and there's plenty of reason to believe that they're also rank violations of 100+ year old law or worse.

Yes, it's true we have a corrupt political and "justice" system.  Yes, it's true that we don't have any prosecutors who will charge the hospital administrator under 15 USC Chapter 1 or, for that matter, under state consumer protection laws when they refuse to post a price and charge one person 10 or 100x what they charge someone else for the exact same thing.  Yes, it's true that our corrupt politicians made student loans non-dischargable in bankruptcy, and following that every single person who went to school has been bent over the table and taken advantage of in what can be quite-clearly characterized as financial rape.  And yes, it's true that if you or I took a potshot at someone through a car window without being clearly able to see them and they were unarmed we'd be facing 20-to-Life for Murder 2, at minimum -- yet there is not one federal or state prosecutor who has thus far brought said case.

But there is no law that says we, the people, can't peacefully and lawfully refuse to have anything to do with anyone who is in any way associated with, earns a living from, continues to eat via or profits from such an enterprise that they voluntarily join and remain associated with.

As an individual you have every right to refuse to associate with anyone for that sort of reason.

As a direct result of your decision to continue to associate with these people and their families who are directly reliant on said organizations and their outrageous conduct for the very food on their table each and every day you are choosing to endorse and permit said outrageous conduct on a continuing, daily basis.

You are in fact voting for it to keep happening in the most-effective way possible, by continuing to voluntarily break bread with, drink beer with and mingle with said people on a basic, human social basis while enabling those organizations to continue to not only exist but thrive.

In other words you are saying through your actions that their conduct is perfectly fine by you and in fact you actively support it.

If it's perfectly fine according to you why should they change what they're doing?

View with responses (opens new window)
Main Navigation
MUST-READ Selection:
A One-Sentence Bill To Force The Health-Care Issue

Full-Text Search & Archives
Archive Access
Legal Disclaimer

The content on this site is provided without any warranty, express or implied. All opinions expressed on this site are those of the author and may contain errors or omissions.


The author may have a position in any company or security mentioned herein. Actions you undertake as a consequence of any analysis, opinion or advertisement on this site are your sole responsibility.

Market charts, when present, used with permission of TD Ameritrade/ThinkOrSwim Inc. Neither TD Ameritrade or ThinkOrSwim have reviewed, approved or disapproved any content herein.

The Market Ticker content may be sent unmodified to lawmakers via print or electronic means or excerpted online for non-commercial purposes provided full attribution is given and the original article source is linked to. Please contact Karl Denninger for reprint permission in other media, to republish full articles, or for any commercial use (which includes any site where advertising is displayed.)

Submissions or tips on matters of economic or political interest may be sent "over the transom" to The Editor at any time. To be considered for publication your submission must include full and correct contact information and be related to an economic or political matter of the day. All submissions become the property of The Market Ticker.