Babby’s First Incentive Problem: NPR Discovers That Soft Jazz and Rainbows Don’t Cure Heroin Addiction

The other day I was listening to my favorite center-leftist radio station on NPR (Conservatards don’t actually have a monopoly on asinine political commentary on the radio – the leftist version just gets gubmint money fo’ dem programs and is on FM). Having developed a rather thick skin from a misspent youth talking to horrible people of various stripes online, I usually quite enjoy all the exasperated guises of neutrality, the roundabout demographic pandering, and the generous use of the word “problematic” that NPR has to offer. Sometimes though it gets better than that, and I endanger myself and other motorists by succumbing to the urge to furiously tip my fedora out of the sheer euphoria that overcomes me when I hear some of the shit they say on there completely blind to the implications. The other day I mentioned was one such episode. The program begins with a female Hispanic journalist talking about noticing a lot of homeless people in the Back Of the Yards neighborhood where she works, a renowned shithole in my very own native Chiraq. Her journalistic curiosity taking over, she began asking them where they were coming from (maybe to plug the hole; it gets awful drafty in the Windy City). The nature of their answers though, is where this gets interesting. Almost all of the people she talked to told her stories with a few common themes:

  1. They were from Puerto Rico
    2. They were addicted to hard drugs of some kind
    3. They were promised by someone in Puerto Rico (Usually a government healthcare worker) that there were miracle rehab facilities in America that could help them
    4. Someone in Puerto Rico (Usually a government official) paid for their plane ticket to Chicago
    5. Someone in Puerto Rico (Often the cops) drove them to the airport
    6. There were not miracle rehab facilities in America that could help them

That’s right, forget the Dank Enlightenment’s insane hyperbole about ‘muh 6 million Boers’ and “importing” third-worlders. This is literally the Puerto Rican government exporting its drug addicts to Chicago to go be someone else’s problem. The story continues with our intrepid reporter accompanying the expats to the actual rehab centers they ended up in, which turn out to be some kind of terrifying Mexican version of AA. These places are completely unlicensed (hooray for agorism?), lacking anything resembling “adequate” medical care or conditions, have no clear leadership and occasionally have some shady financial practices going on. Hey, you do the best you can with what you’ve got, though, right? Broadly speaking, I have no problem with the existence of places like this. The rather disconcerting part is that, as was later discovered, these places actually advertise themselves as top notch recovery facilities in Puerto Rico, and the local government says “seems legit” and sends off hundreds of its worst off citizens, whom it cares about oh-so deeply. 01 Angel and Manuel in abandoned house by Adriana Cardona-Maguigad

Pictured: The State’s Love For Mankind

Now as much as NPR lamented about this state of affairs, they laughably missed the basic problem, which is one of incentives. Long before we burgers had even begun to bitch about OBAMAcare, Puerto Rico had exercised its autonomy in implementing its own great leap forward in the realm of healthcare “reform”. La Reforma De Salud De Puerto Rico, as it’s known down in Taco Town, came into effect in the ’90s after (big surprise) existing government interventions in the healthcare industry turned out to be shit. The idea was to privatize and expand government run clinics and hospitals while implementing a universal healthcare plan for the poorest, which turned out to be 37 FUCKING PERCENT OF THE ISLAND.

rosello nazi Thanks, Rossello

With the state of a relatively poor territory expected to take care of that many people, is it any mystery that they’re not exactly jumping into the old Mystery Machine to solve this one? The NPR hosts go on to lament that the victims of this government scheme are worse off now, in the streets of a foreign country, where they don’t speak the language, have no access to their families who before could help them, and have no way to get home. But hey, at least they’re covered! Manuel diptych


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