Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A thought experiment

You're more likely to be seriously injured or killed by falling in your bathroom than by terrorists. (Fact!) So, do you support the federal government setting up a system of surveillance cameras in all the bathrooms in the United States? Don't worry, the Booz Allen employees promise not to look unless a sensor goes off suggesting that somebody might have fallen. Really. They promise.

And do you support spending something like $100 billion dollars a year (you don't know the exact amount, it's a secret) to save you from this fate? Yeah, the word has gotten out about the video surveillance in your bathroom but you have no idea what else they are doing. But why should you worry? It's for your own protection.

Now, in fact, I don't know about the $100 billion or the secrets or the surveillance -- I'm thinking you're probably against that, even if you're for the anti-terrorism thing. (Or whatever the real reason is they're doing it -- that's actually a secret as well.) But it would actually make sense to spend more modestly on a voluntary program where the local Visiting Nurse Association could inspect your home for fall risks, then install grab bars and hand rails, put traction material on the bottom of the tub, remove tripping hazards, and so on. That would keep people out of nursing homes and save Medicare and Medicaid a lot of dough.

Priorities, however.


Anonymous said...

This is heading in a bad direction. Consider for a moment the how easy it will be in 25 years to develop a weapon of mass destruction... really. We need to be thinking about this issue in that perspective.

Cervantes said...

Dunno about that. Really the only legitimate meaning of the term "WMD," given current technology, is a nuclear weapon. I don't see that getting easy for any potentially interested actor below the level of a national government, and it's almost impossible to hide.