Lately there’s been a ream of “What were they thinking” articles in the L.A. Times. Now this isn’t their fault. The Times is a darn good newspaper. I suppose the news is what it is so we can practice staying centered as the world turns.
Take for instance, Anthem Blue Cross, who has decided that the way to help people get more healthy is to send out coupons so we can save money and make smart choices. So they are running a test in California to see how it works and if so, offer it nationwide.
The company says “Eating well is important for lowering your risk of blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and strokes.” So save on Weight Watchers Giant Chocolate Fudge ice cream bars, Hormel’s National Choice sandwich meat, Best Foods mayonnaise with olive oil, cans of Del Monte vegetables, and even deodorant. They contend people are going to eat those foods anyway, (forget the fresh fruit and veggies), so they might as well buy something with infinitesimally less sodium, calories, fats, etc. Of course consumers don’t pay attention to the one-inch long list of additives with each of these products.
I can’t say it better than David Lazarus, who wrote the article: “It seems like a halfhearted effort to encourage consumption of foods that are only modestly more nutritional than the junk that many people like to eat.
If you’re going to promote wellness, why not go all-in? Provide incentives to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, or fresh meat and fish.
Better still, don’t even fool around with coupons. Offer subsidies for gym memberships. And reduce premiums for people who don’t smoke or drink or who meet benchmarks for weight and fitness.”
Then there’s the presidential campaign spending. Now this is just two folks vying for one job. You can imagine how much is being spent if you add up all the expenses for every state and local race as well. And then there are the super-pacs…
So dear President Obama, who has a savvy re-election committee, spent 83.2 MILLION DOLLARS in media ads in August alone. Romney spent 66 MILLION in the same period of time. Let’s see… that’s about 150 MILLION DOLLARS spent in one month! And you know that September and October were even higher.
Couldn’t we rein this in a bit? I can only think of a hundred causes that would benefit from this kind of cash… Like the California Community College system, which is in deep trouble, the homeless, or victims of natural disasters.
If you’re interested in further details about some of the high rolling donors, I suggest you check out this article:
On the brighter side of another funky issue, as it stands right now, folks who lost money in the Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme have now had 53% of their losses returned, with more on its way. (By the way, the average payout is two million dollars.) That is a tribute to Irving Picard who is overseeing the liquidation of Bernie’s firm and recovering funds. Furthermore, he promises more money will be forthcoming. To date, $3.6 billion has been returned to the victims.
What’s the moral to these stories?