The Protection Racket

The ongoing focus on "Health Insurance Reform" as a national need, keeps reminding me of what was known back in the days of gangs in the cities, called "the Protection Racket." It provided wealth for the mobs back then, abundant wealth. In that instance, it was not protection from huge bills for medical expenses; it was protection of shopkeepers from getting beat up and robbed by thugs on the street.

Basically it was a situation, when commerce was done from small shops along the main street - not like Walmart - essentially all were "Mom & Pop stores." The moneymaker was then to have some toughs go rough up the store owners, do some damage and vanish. Then some different thugs, more nicely clothed, would come by and offer to protect the shop from attacks by the thugs, in return for a fee. The collection of the rather high fees from the shopkeepers made the mob gangs wealthy, living quite well.

Somehow it reminds me a bit too much of the "Health Insurance" business. Uncomfortably, quite a bit too much.

Note that it is sick people that make the medical businesses money, not well people; the more sick the better the business. And similar to the Health Insurance businesses. Very powerful folks, too, like the mob gangs were back then, in the days of the Protection Racket.

It is understandable why the "mobs" did that; everybody needs money to buy things and pay bills and taxes, and people are on the lookout for new ways to earn money ... and this was one way. And who knows, some of the instigating mischief by thugs might have been done by random unconnected thugs; the shopkeepers had no way of knowing. But the "protection" fees often were financially breaking the shopkeepers.

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