Imagine you’re the on-duty emergency room (ER) nurse in a small country hospital. Your resources are severely limited by high unemployment and a health insurance crisis.
A healthy snowboarder hobbles in with a broken leg and dislocated shoulder.
You start a prophylactic IV drip of normal saline, pain killers and antibiotics to protect the snowboarder from dehydration, pain and infection.
In a corner of the emergency room is a bloated near-corpse in systemic organ failure. His liver’s shot. His heart’s all but stopped. The smell of his rot and disease are spreading out of the ER, down the corridors and into the rooms of recuperating patients.
Emergency room protocol requires you to infuse the snowboarder’s IV solution through the bloated near-corpse middle man first, rather than into the snowboarder’s arm directly.
Proponents of this bassackward policy say that if the gas in the bloated guy explodes, it’ll jeopardize everyone in the hospital so we have to treat him with the best of the drugs and hope enough benefit reaches the snowboarder to prevent her relatively minor injuries from becoming a systemic threat. If you’re the cynical type, you might think the nearly-dead guy’s membership on the hospital’s Board of Directors is significant, too.
Whatever the reason for the policy, the outcome is assured: the bloated near-corpse will drain your few precious resources on its way to the morgue and the healthy patient will die of preventable consequences.
In the spirit of Jon Stewart, “Let’s just cut out the middle man.” Break with protocol and centuries of obsolete thinking. Infuse the snowboarder directly. She’s going into shock. Microbes are chewing on her broken, exposed bone. It’s a matter of basic triage: apply your resources where they will do the most good as you asses each situation uniquely, dispassionately and quickly.
The snowboarder (like most of our neighbors) will heal quickly and be ready to continue her education, develop new products, create new markets and in general, become the new economic engine. She’ll be rebuilding our nation while the rotting AIG-Goldman Sachs-Citi-Bank of America-corpse that’s poisoning us all is buried quietly in the background.
Stimulate acutely-ill borrowers with a direct infusion of debt-cancelling cash that can be paid by them to their ORIGINATING lenders. The funds will or won’t trickle UP to the bloated entities who bought and bundled the stinky credit card and mortgage loans. Those who are too-big-to-fail will collapse if the funds can’t find their way through the maze of intermediaries. But, by excising the corpse and caring directly for our fundamentally healthy neighbors, we can mitigate the effects of this new shift in focus and purpose.
The “mortgage-crisis” isn’t the root of our problems. And our continued reliance on a rotting corpse to rescue the future may not be the cause of our problems, but it’s certainly proximate. If President Obama is serious about “changing how we do business,” then he needs to roll out something better than his new version of Reaganomics.
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NEXT: Tell-tale quotes from this week’s House Financial Services Subcommittee Hearing.