Monthly Archives: March 2007

Would You Privatize Defense?

Timothy Noah of Slate wrote this article yesterday about the case for socialized healthcare. It’s an allegorical tale of an America with privatized national defense. People who place a high value on defense (and have the money for higher premiums) would be able to afford the best defense plans, and the people with little money or inclination to put toward defense would have less expensive premiums, but higher out-of-pocket costs for paying the militia to defend them against attack. Those people living in cities that have already been attacked (Baltimore, Honolulu, Washington DC and New York) would basically be uninsurable, because the defense insurance companies would place them in a very high risk category.

Sound familiar?

This is the way the political left needs to start framing these discussions if they’re going to make people understand that healthcare, like national defense, isn’t a privilege. It’s a right. It’s a moral responsibility of the government to care for its people. Everyone, regardless of income, deserves the same access to heathcare.

In our current system, costs are skyrocketing. The system is broken, and needs to be fixed. We’re the wealthiest nation on earth, yet the only nation of its kind with this kind of healthcare system. What’s wrong with us?

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On Public Relations

I visited Western Washington University‘s College of Business & Economics today, to speak to a group of students taking a class on Integrated Marketing Communications. The subject of my “lecture” (to use the academic phrase) was Public Relations. I covered a bit about the history of PR, how the media works and spent the majority of the time focusing on the Post-Media World.

Using the recent Oxfam vs. Starbucks kerfuffle on YouTube, we learned that in the age of the internet (in the Post-Media World), entertainment is far more compelling than straight facts. The consensus among the students was that the Starbucks response, while factual and straightforward (and speedy, to their credit), was less than compelling, mainly due to the monotonous spokesperson. The Oxfam video, while clearly sensationalist and one-sided, was, actually, entertaining.

Could Starbucks have improved their response by Putting Howard Schultz on YouTube instead of the forgettable executive who appeared? I would argue that they should have gone with Schultz. He’s known to be a good speaker, and would have lent an air of seriousness to the Oxfam accusations.

To any of the students who were in class today, or anyone else reading this, I’d ask: “What would you have done?”

Thanks for being such a great audience, and I appreciate your comments.