The myths of the neoliberal system


Alan K. Spiller’s letter (Gazette, Dec. 16) exposes  some of the myths of the neoliberal system and the society that supports it. Conservative financial expertise is one of those myths, as Spiller reminds us. And privatization, a neoliberal hallmark, when applied to nursing homes should stand out as inhuman, unchristian and unworkable. Why is anyone allowed to charge $11,000 (I had to count the zeros, so unbelievable did it seem) per month for nursing home care? Nursing homes, as an alternate to long-term hospital care, should be entirely public-funded and government-run and inspected.
The fact is that private nursing homes, at least in North America, often use below par, under-educated personnel, sometimes  of questionable character, in order to save money, the end game. Isn’t this situation, which we seem to find tolerable, at odds with the quest to extend life-expectancy, not to mention our alleged dedication to humane policy? Are we not hypocrites in criticizing foreign regimes for backwardness and inhumanity when they operate under far less auspicious circumstances?
When Conservatives call for smaller government they don’t actually mean it: only the priorities are different. They host business forums and employ lawyers to negotiate trade agreements that are often disadvantageous to small business, ordinary consumers, and the environment.  External costs like environmental  degradation and related health problems are dumped into the lap of taxpayers. They want to help business with tax cuts and other subsidies with absolutely no reasonable guarantee of job creation, and  companies often leave for greener pastures  soon after receiving a hefty subsidy. Pharmaceuticals spend only 12 per cent of their profits on actual research and  attempt  to  justify tax breaks on false claims.
Either we are a caring society or we are not. It is time  we got over the fiction that business in general, far from being part of the system, is above it and doesn’t need to prove its viability: that its mysterious workings, like God’s  –  are really none of our business.
While the medical and care systems here are  fairer than in the  U.S., they  can be much improved, and privatization is counterproductive in that regard.
Doris Wrench Eisler, St. Albert

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