The current election cycle is the first one in which I have seen a Kentucky politician suggest that his use of an outdoor privy is some kind of qualification for higher office. (It’s right here.)
If you’ve ever had to use one, the idea of romanticizing the experience in order to appeal to the Everyman voter probably isn’t the first thing to come to mind. In fact, it is probably going to be at least as far back as third after “wow, it stinks in here” and “I wish this outhouse hole was dug deeper.”
Not only is Kentucky’s public employee health insurance benefits outhouse hole not deep enough, last week’s effort to go back in and require employees and retirees to add 1% of their salaries to the same pit does too little to effect the smell or the eventual outcome.
We are up to our knees in this mess because we didn’t prepare well enough for rising healthcare costs to prevent overuse of the system. Saving us from a mess no Kentuckian can stomach now means ending the practice of using taxpayers’ pockets as a bottomless outhouse hole. Making health benefits for public employees more like those available in the private sector is far more sensible. Making that our first fix in 2009 may ease up on the smell considerably.