Monday, July 9, 2007

Medicare Meets Mephistopheles

O.K., how often do you suppose you're gonna get a recommendation from me for a book published by the Cato Institute (a libertarian think tank) and denouncing one of the most important legacies of LBJ's "Great Society" program?

I've known David Hyman since I was a toddler. His mom and mine were roommates on Long Island in the fifties when both were single, young school teachers and neither he nor I was yet even a gleam in anyone's eye. The women bonded, as sisters, for life. His mom calls me David Harry. My mom calls him David Andrew.

Anyway, David is a lawyer, a medical doctor, a professor and a skilled policy analyst. He's written a book describing Medicare's failings.

The gimmick, and it's an inspired one, is that he's written it, in memorandum form, in the voice of one of Satan's minions. He reports, in great detail, how Medicare has worked --- exactly as they intended --- to further the Dark Lord's plans for humanity.

After some prefatory material, he evaluates Medicare for how successfully it encourages each of the 7 deadly Sins. (You know: Gluttony, Sloth, Greed, Sleepy, Sneezy, Comet and Vixen. Or something like that.) One chapter per Sin.

Just in case he hasn't made his point yet, he adds two additional chapters that detail how the program undermines the American virtues of thrift and truthfulness.

This book has charts, graphs and endnotes. It's a scholarly work.

But it's also damnably funny.

Check it out.

5 comments:

Moonbeam said...

Sounds like an interesting read. Your description here has me visualizing Darth Vader, the 7 dwarfs and Santa's Reindeer giving me a rundown of Medicare in America.

Thanks for the book recommendation. Now if I can just pronouce Mephistopheles and get it wrapped around my tongue just right without stumbling or stammering. I will give it a whirl on my next trip to Borders.

evil-e said...

I will have to put this atop the reading list with the evil and all.

Sounds like an interesting read...I like sarcasm and irony, so it sounds as if this book might be a winner.

Bubblewench said...

Very intrerested in this book, getting on Amazon to order now. Same concept as The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis. And that is one of my favorite books of all time.

David in DC said...

Moonbeam: When you get your tounge around Mephistopheles, try this one: The sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick.

Evil-e: Had a feeling this one would catch your attention.

Bubblewench: Exactly. The author explicitly credits The Screwtape Letters as an influence on this work.

Churlita said...

Hmm. this sounds like an interesting read. I'll have to check it out.