It is entirely possible to pass long periods of time without feeling sorry for Willie Sutton. Whole lifetimes even. Many do, but I am not one of them.

Willie was a bank robber who made the FBI’s top 10 most wanted list (albeit ranked number 11), but he only stole about $2 million. For this he spent half his life in prison. That is why I feel sorry for him.

He could have done so much better.

He is most famous for a response to the question, “why do you rob banks?” Allegedly he said, “because that is where the money is.” Unfortunately, according to Snopes, he did not say anything of the kind. A reporter, Mitch Ohnstad, made it up.

Apparently this is the real reason: “Why did I rob banks? Because I enjoyed it. I loved it. I was more alive when I was inside a bank, robbing it, than at any other time in my life. I enjoyed everything about it so much that one or two weeks later I’d be out looking for the next job. But to me the money was the chips, that’s all.”

Had Willie Sutton not lived in simpler times, he might have chosen politics or lobbying to fatten his wallet. Had he done so, he would have made lots more money and spent far less time in prison.

Forget banks, government is where the money is and almost nobody gets prosecuted.

Inevitably, this leads to a discussion of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obama care) and the American Health Care Act (aka McConnell care). Okay, I concede that a shift from Willie Sutton to the health care law is not actually inevitable, but do you know how hard it is to lure people into reading about health care?

Why is health care in America so screwed up? Curiously it is not all that difficult.

Obama care is failing because it did nothing about controlling costs.

Hospitals, insurers and pharmaceutical companies assured there would be no controlling of costs related to them by lavishly showering contributions on Democratic lawmakers. Republicans were not needed, were not lavished upon and did not vote for it.

I doubt these companies have any line of business that has a higher return on investment than political contributions.

Now it is the turn of the Republicans.

McConnell care will fail because it does nothing about controlling costs.

Hospitals, insurers and pharmaceutical companies have again assured there would be no controlling of costs related to them by lavishly showering contributions on Republican lawmakers. Democrats are not needed, are not lavished upon and will not vote for it.

They had their turn at the trough.

Health care is complicated and it would be plenty difficult to fix it even without the constraints placed upon the fixing by the industry working furiously not to be fixed.

Chances are the version being considered today will not pass because the math does not work. Too many people will lack coverage. But the current law doesn’t work either because it is far too expensive.

“Math doesn’t work” or “far too expensive” are really kind of the same. Our elected officials have been bribed to make both of them true.

I am feeling sorry for Willie Sutton because I bet he would have thrived in such an environment.

 

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