A Little Faith

Most Americans believe they’re smart enough to handle the average, everyday salesperson. Salespeople make a living proving them wrong, or so they claim. Rather than play the referee, let’s see how an average shopper—let’s call him Ernest Mann—might acquit himself in the battle of the prattle.

Ernest Mann lives in a community where public transportation is inconvenient, so he commutes to work. Sadly, his SUV is getting long in the tooth. It has 180,000 miles on the odometer, and it lacks the latest infotainment and safety features.

Ernest would like to listen to Pandora on the way to work, and he’d like to have blind-spot monitoring, too. So, on a fine weekend day, he decides to visit a local dealership. An experienced salesmen named Rob Byers meets Ernest before he’s halfway to the showroom floor and begins to ask him about the type of vehicle he’s looking for, what features he wants, and how much money he’s willing to spend. Ernest is the embodiment of his name. He answers Rob’s questions honestly but warily, because salesmen are slippery creatures with forked tongues.

The tête-à-tête continues until Rob rubs his hands together like Danny DeVito in Get Shorty and says: “Okay, Mister Mann. I’ll tell you what I can do, just for you. I’ll take your SUV in trade today, right this minute. Then, at some future point in time, I’ll bring you a safer, less-expensive SUV that checks every box on your infotainment wish list.”

Ernest is not the kind of man who can be taken for a ride. He responds, “I need my SUV to get to work. If I hand over my keys today, when will I get my new one?”

“I can’t say right now,” Rob replies. “We’ve never made an offer like this before, so we’ve got a few wrinkles to iron out. But I gotta tell ya, nobody’s ever made an offer like this, and nobody ever will, ‘cause we’re the best in the business, bar none.”

“Okay, but how much will my new SUV cost?”

“I love to give you an answer, Ernie, but I can’t. Like I said, this is a new program. We’ve never had a promotion like this before, but it’ll be great. You can take that to the bank.”

“Can you at least tell me what new features my new SUV will have?”

“Here’s the deal, pal: If you want the safest, best SUV ever made for pennies on the dollar, you gotta have faith. Your transportation dreams are about to come true.”

Ernest was taught in sophomore English class to summarize. “Just to make sure I understand: You want me to give you my SUV today, and later, at an unknowable date, you’re going to give me a new, safer, and less expensive SUV.”

“Can you believe how incredible this deal is? I get giddy just thinkin’ about it.”

We have to bring our little allegory to a halt at this point because there are three possible endings:

  • If Ernest is a Republican, he hands his keys to Rob and walks home.
  • If Ernest is a left-wing Democrat, he calls his Congressman and asks for a free SUV.
  • If Ernest is an Independent, he goes home and sulks because he didn’t get the deal he was hoping for.

As a matter of public record, the Republicans have tried to repeal Obamacare more than sixty times, but Agent Orange (aka The Donald, aka President Trump) is now promising to provide better healthcare for less cost at some unspecified time in the future.

Left-wing Democrats, on the other hand, want “Medicare for All,” like Canada, Australia, the UK, and other countries that we used to call allies. Our former friends can afford to offer nationalized health plans to their citizens in part because:

  • Their healthcare is about half as costly as ours, or less.
  • They don’t pay for half the free world’s defense. We do.
  • They have marginal income-tax rates that run as high as 70%. We don’t.

Have you been to Switzerland? Their national debt is tiny (23% of GDP!) compared to the rest of the western world, which means they’re the gold standard for minimizing the cost of government, yet they can afford to provide universal healthcare—through mandatory participation in privately managed insurance plans.

Sound familiar?

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