Now that the astute and well intentioned politicians are putting their heads together to fix the failed Obamacare plan by instituting a different horrible plan that is destined to fail as well, I thought it might be time for a history review to remind us what happens when astute and well intentioned politicians from the past put their heads together to fix a health care problem.
But don’t worry, politicians never make the same mistakes twice on the same problem. Even though the problem may be the same one, too many rats.
By Art Cashin
On this day in 1349, in the midst of the infamous Black Plague epidemic, the forces of government, science and academia came together with a plan to save the people.
As you recall from earlier episodes, the Black Plague had spread from the eastern Mediterranean throughout most of Europe killing millions over the preceding three years. People searched everywhere for the source of the plague…..a heavenly curse; a burden of immigrants; the result of spices in the food. It was tough to figure however, since whenever they held a conference either the host area caught the plague or the visitors did…..so…..not too many conferences.
Then in the six months preceding this date the death rate leveled off…..or seemed to. So in castles and universities and town halls across Europe, great minds pondered the cause of the plague. And they came pretty close. The collective governmental/academic wisdom was that the source of the Black Plague was fleas – (absolutely correct).
So the word went out from town to town across Europe – to stop the plague – kill the fleas -by killing all the dogs. And immediately the slaughter of all dogs began. But like lots of well-intentioned governmental/academic ideas it was somewhat wide of the mark…and had unexpected consequences.
The cause was fleas alright but not dog fleas…..it was rat fleas. And in the 1300′s what was the most effective way to hold down the rat population…..you guessed it – dogs. So by suggesting that townsfolk kill their dogs, the wise authorities had unwittingly allowed the rat population to flourish and thus a new vicious rash of Black Plague began. Before it was over, three years later, nearly 1 out of 3 people in the world had died of the plague.
To mark this eventful period, take time to review your public servant’s plans for your welfare. Whether taxes or healthcare, they’ll work night and day for a solution. It may not be as efficient as the way that they handled social security but – what is? Just remember that these public servants have your best interests at heart. Don’t dwell on the DARK AGES. Back in those days the seat of government often was filled with rats, vermin and leeches. Thank goodness those days are over.
Many thanks to Mr. Cashin and UBS Financial Services who graciously allow his historical musings to be republished on this site. To enjoy more of Art’s posts simply click on “Cashin’s Comments” in the label section on the sidebar.
A Sideways Look At What Really Happened On This Day In History.