Jay Severin’s dumb-ass-ity, in his own words

The problem with the “public option” for health care, according to Jay Severin, is that it will kill the private insurance industry. Why? Because if businesses can move their employees to the public option, they can stop providing health insurance and save on premiums. I called him up, because I was a little unclear about his reasoning.

David From Brighton: I’m also a small business owner. I do provide health insurance for all of my employees. [This is true, by the way.] And what — I heard your criticism of the public option and what I don’t understand is, OK, yes, if the public option were available maybe I would say to my employees, “OK, I’m dropping coverage from our plan and you can go get it through the public option,” but at the same time that would free up tens of thousands of dollars for me to put in their paychecks. So wouldn’t it be better for me to give them the choice of how to spend their money? And I imagine that some supplemental insurance market will take place just like it has in Medicare. You know, Medicare is a single-payer system —

Jay Severin: David that’s a lovely concept and I haven’t heard anything quite so lovely since Peter Pan, but I would put it on the same scale. What percentage of private capitalist employers do you think would, when all of a sudden there is, you know, $800,000 freed up next year, or $80 million, depending on the size of the relatively, you know, small or medium business, how many employers are going to say “Hey, I saved $800,000 next year so let me immediately give it away again?”

DFB: Well, isn’t it your argument that they should provide healthcare as means of —

JS: Nope.

DFB: — attracting workers —

JS: [He hung up on me here.] David, my view is that private business can do whatever it wants to do, pretty much whatever it wants to do, and that’s what the founding fathers say, too, and if you don’t provide good health insurance, you won’t attract the top people. Of course, most businesses in America need to attract “people;” they don’t need to attract “top people.” I mean, let’s face it, a lot of the jobs in America require only the repetition of the phrase “Would you like to supersize that?” and so I think that — I think my radio station, I think my radio company, might have problems attracting top people if they did not offer superior healthcare but I don’t think the fast food joints or the, you know, state and county workers would turn their nose up at the job because they weren’t being offered better health insurance. The bottom line here is fairly obvious, which is if you offer the – look, what are we really talking about here is FedEx and UPS and other private companies, if you really provided free service enough so that there’s real competition then FedEx would go out of business. What we are talking about a government agency created sotto voce with the purpose of driving out of business – see, the government, if your real objective is that you have a government single-payer system, the only reason to have this government option is to try and foster those views. So all you’re doing is lubricating the means to an end here. The government agency will offer healthcare for free, quote unquote, and private companies cannot compete with free, so no matter how awful the service is – the free service – people will take the free service and tens of millions of people will be forced to take the free service and private services unable to compete will go out of business and then everyone will rely on government which is exactly what the government is after. Remember: Barack Obama’s goal is not that people be well. Barack Obama’s goal is that government provide and control all the service.

So, to sum up …

  • Employers currently provide good health insurance as a means of attracting good talent.
  • Employers are greedy bastards who keep wages as low as possible. (Apparently in Jay’s world, better health care benefits lure workers but higher salaries do not.)
  • Private companies can’t compete with government services, even when the government services are lousy, because the government’s prices are so low.
  • FedEx and UPS survive because even though the price of the USPS is low, the USPS service is so terrible that people are willing to pay more for private delivery services. (Apparently in Jay’s world, people are much more price-sensitive when their own health is concerned than they are when it comes to package delivery.)

And people listen to and respect this idiot! How can this be?

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  1. Greg
    Posted September 10, 2009 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Totally with you Dave- I cannot fathom why people actually tune in to Jay for news/information/advice. I guess I would want to know how a small business owner calculates salaries for his/her employees. I have to imagine that if an owner is saving/making more money, then his employees will benefit.

  2. Joe
    Posted September 10, 2009 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Where in heaven’s name did he get the idea that the public option would be free??? From what I’ve been reading/hearing, any government run option would offer only bare bones coverage and have to pay for itself through premiums. Oh wait, I forgot; Jay makes stuff up and states it as fact.

    Oh, and I missed the part of the U.S. Constitution that bestows upon private business the right to do “whatever it wants to do, pretty much whatever it wants to do”. Maybe it’s in the Declaration of Independence?

  3. Posted September 14, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Severin is a simple minded buffoon. One of the first misconceptions that he vomits over the airwaves is that “public option” services will be free. Such is not the case. In every current proposal, people will have to pay premiums towards the “public option” just like private plans. Hopefully, however those premiums will and should be less than in private plans.

    The FedX analogy is ridiculous because the U.S. Postal Service is a pay for service “public option” that has not driven FedX and UPS out of business. To the contrary, those private entities had to streamline their services to make them less costly and more efficient than the postal service. This is precisely the goal of a public option health plan. To encourage private insurers to streamline services and make them less costly to the consumer.

    Of course if you tried to explain this to Severin on air, he would simply cut off the call, call you a name (i.e. Peter Pan) and then mis-characterize your argument to his less than intelligent audience.

  4. Tim
    Posted September 17, 2009 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    David, thanks for keeping tabs on this intellectually and morally bankrupt tool.

    Severin a pompous dimwit when it comes to health care and many other topics. His sour combination of arrogance and incompetence makes me want to hurl.

    As an obvious ratings whore, you’d think that Jay would realize that small business owners are a key demographic for him. Or that small businesses are getting killed by health care premiums that have doubled since George W. Bush took office. But I guess that’s not in the playbook he’s reading from. For Severin, some things are even more important than ratings. Like echoing corporate lobbiests’ talking points word for word.

    But as someone who used to work in radio, the thing that bothers me most about Serverin isn’t his political views. It’s the fact that in terms of the content and production, his show sucks.

    Severin rarely informs. He’s a propagandist, not an educator. All the news that fits, he says. Anything that is outside his very concrete and formulaic agenda, he avoids. Maybe that worked in Mao’s China or the Soviet Union (after all, what other choice did they have?), but in a free society it’s a recipe for painfully boring radio.

    More often than not Jay is behind news events, not ahead of them. He rarely has an interesting guest on the show. If he does have a guest, it is someone with views identical to his own, and since he is – in truth – a wimp, he is pathetically deferential to them. (If the guest is in the studio with him, Jay grovels to the point of requiring knee pads). Most of his callers, who don’t seem to be very bright at all, monotonously agree with him. He treats the ones who don’t with often cruel disrespect and hangs up on them. His skin is as thin as a Kleenex in a downpour.

    I was excited when Severin got suspended because I enjoy and appreciate Michael Smirconich’s show. In contrast to Severin’s POS, Smirconich’s show is interesting, informative, and well- produced. Although he is allegedly conservative, Smirconich doesn’t wear his politics on his sleeve and is an independent thinker, not a propagandist shill like Severin. Smirconich is ahead of the news, not behind it, and he gets live interviews with the newsmakers themselves. Unlike Severin, he has the guts to honestly engage with people on all sides of the issue in a civil and respectful manner. He keeps the show moving and hits on multiple timely topics.

    I really wish that someone would pick up Smirconich’s show in Boston. Severin’s ratings are in the gutter these days. But Smirconich would bury him for good in the ratings department, and for a whole lot less money.

    With the speech-to-text technology now available at low cost, I wish someone would put up complete transcripts of Jay Severin’s show on the web for all to see. His words alone are indelible proof of how compromised and disturbed this buffoon really is.

  5. Herbert Glover
    Posted September 17, 2009 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Well said, Mr. Tim

  6. Herbert Glover
    Posted September 17, 2009 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    Another thing also Tim, he tells his callers that his show has more ratings than MSNBC, and the scary part, is that he is serious, and his callers beleive him….

  7. Steve
    Posted September 22, 2009 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    You are naive if you think business people are not in business to make money. Corporations are regularly sued by their shareholders if they do not make the most money they can. Businesses hire illegal immigrants so they can pay them as little as possible. If it weren’t against the law, business owners would be in favor of slavery. Most health insurance has been won by unions in contract negotiations, not offered freely by businesses.

  8. DavidFromBrighton
    Posted September 22, 2009 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Steve, I welcome your contribution but I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make. Are you defending what Jay Severin said or agreeing that his remarks were self-contradictory? Are you in favor of a public option or against it?

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