A Public Service Message from the American Income Life Insurance Co.Waco, Texas Bernard Rapoport, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer Misguided Do-Gooders1 BY BERNARD RAPOPORT This essay, published in the Waco -Tribune Herald, is reprinted with permission. I was, but I am not. What? A do-gooder! When I was, I presumed I was sitting on top of a mountain and possessed the ability and the responsibility to look down from that pinnacle on which I sat and should, would, and did tell all those who would listen what was best for them. Every thought, idea, and the so-called “eternal truths” which I espoused were all procreated in a mind that never took into account the real world in which we live. We don’t need to be told that if we all loved each other as we should that there would be no such thing as wars. The do-gooder never takes that into account. Do-gooders are not necessarily liberals or conservatives. They are the Jim Bakkers and the Jimmy Swaggarts on the right and the Marxists on the left. This editorial is motivated by a piece of legislation that I think was conceived in the mind of so-called do-gooders. Before citing the example, in terms of my own business, this legislation would have no effect. So I think I can be very objective about it. Sententiously, the legislation can be summarized thusly. It requires that employers of six or more people provide a very expensive form of health insurance for all of its employees. The reality is that all Americans are entitled to a health system which would provide minimum standards for the health of every single American. It is not my purpose in this editorial to get into the subject of whether we should have a national health insurance plan or whether it is socialistic or not. What I purport to do is to take up the cause of the smallbusiness entrepreneur. I remember many years ago in the middle ’40s when we had a little jewelry store at 721 Austin Avenue here in Waco, I worked 16 to 18 hours every day and I mean every day! At the end of the year, my partner and I each took an average of $50 a week. Taking our salaries into account, we had a small deficit. If we had been subjected to legislation such as this, we would not have been able to survive. We would have been bankrupt. As to the individual senators who are sponsoring this bill, they happen to be very good and close friends of mine. They are not ones who have really experienced what really goes into the building of a business the sacrifices, the tensions, the daily question of “Can we open the doors this very day?” What they are doing is simply sitting on top of that mountain, espousing what they perceive to be eternal verities. John Adams, our great second President of the United States said, “The question before the human race is whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws or whether the priest and king shall rule it by fictitious miracles.” I only wish the do-gooders would understand it is when the priests and the kings interfere with God’S laws that mankind suffers from the problems with which we are beset. Any intelligent person who observes the going-ons in this world has to be concerned with the supra national aspects of the world economy. The economic fate of our nation no longer depends entirely on what we do but almost equally important on what the other nations of the world are doing economically. The tendency toward mergers, the acceptance of bigness as a way of life can be most stifling in terms of mitigating the entrepreneurial spirit that has catapulted our nation to its position of preeminence. Thoughtless legislation with its iatrogenic effects such as this proposed law imposing these uneconomic burdens on small business enterprise will hasten this process. One of the problems that is so demotivating to the American spirit is this microscope that we now place on the lives of everyone in public life. All historians are unanimous in their assessment of Thomas Jefferson as one of the great, great men in the history of the world. It is an unquestioned fact. If he had lived in these times with his lifestyle, what would history’s assessment have been? In this regard, perhaps we ask too much and in so doing preclude our nation from having the services of the best leaders. It is well for the cynical and the skeptical and those who have not really played in the game of life and who have not gotten into the struggle to sit smugly on their perch and look with disdain on the straying here and there of those who have struggled and have been successful in providing ideas and ideals that benefited the welfare of our nation. Yes, the cynic always has an easy job. All he has to do is complain and tear down and never worry about what he has destroyed because he is never concerned with building anything anyway. But getting back to this piece of legislation, if you ask any American, “Do you think anyone should die because they do not have money to go to a hospital or to have a doctor?” what would their response be? Ninety-nine and nine-tenths percent of all Americans would say “No!” What these do-gooders are trying to do is to achieve that, but in so doing their iatrogenic effect is to destroy those who today have small businesses and equally important those who aspire to be in small business. If these so-called do-gooders would combine courage with their good instincts, they would propose a comprehensive health bill, one which would have as its preamble that no American should ever die because of not having money for a doctor or hospital. Then, they would be doing good! AlI., American Income Life Insurance Company EXECUTIVE OFFICES: P.O. 60X 208, WACO, TEXAS 78703, 817-772.3050 BERNARD RAPOF’ORT Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer THE TEXAS OBSERVER 15
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