Seeking value in every day life

Published 9:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2017

By Will Collins

Several years ago, I was in Dublin, Ohio, on a business trip. My colleagues and I decided to skip using our daily stipend for breakfast and lunch in order to to enjoy a dinner at a nice steakhouse in the area. We knew the prices of the steaks would be rather expensive, but you only live once and a class act restaurant is nice to enjoy from time to time, especially when away from home.

Paying a higher price for a steak is not the issue. It’s making sure you get quality in the purchase. A quick look at the menu told me I was not about to get any value at all. New York strip, $36; side salad, $7; baked potato, $6; 10-ounce bottled soft drink, $3 — each. Such establishments should acknowledge that placing a high price on an item does not make it of better quality.

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I truly understand and support a free enterprise market. It is simply up to me as a private consumer to choose whom I will do business with.

In many instances, pricing may include better services along with the product, and I appreciate and support such establishments. I don’t mind paying a higher price to local businesses when they truly want to take care of the customer and deliver value.

Capitalism is a fundamental principle in our country and has been since our creation.

A conservative view is that capitalism, when combined with moral and religious culture along with democratic institutions, encourages the full spiritual development of the human person. This is what author Michael Novac stated in his landmark book, “The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism.”

The problem, however, is both sides of the aisle seem to have forgotten this principle.

We are living in a time when few moral and religious values are considered in society. I’m not referencing God at this time, but rather the context of combining religious thought and how it plays into teaching us moral judgment.

There is a lot of discussion these days on the topic of health care — how much government involvement should be present along with how much should be up to the individual.

I will be the first to agree that everyone should have the ability to seek quality health care when it is needed.

Unfortunately, health care does not come cheaply and neither does good health insurance.

This is a prime example of moral and religious principles not being used in the free enterprise capitalist society.

Big drug companies are at the top of this list with their outrageously high-priced medications and continued rise in salaries.

As I said, we can’t control this from a governmental standpoint because it infringes on these companies’ right to a free enterprise market.

Regrettably, we can’t always choose to forego medications as an option either.

Anytime we mention the incredibly high medication prices, the big drug companies always point to research and development. The rub here for me is that not only are the costs of medications high, but billions of dollars are raised annually in the private sector that also go to “research and development.”

In 2012, the American Cancer Society raised $934 million but spent $943 million. To help offset some costs, the CEO agreed to a lower salary at the end of the fiscal year, from his usual $2.5 million to $832,355. What a great guy.

Again, I’m not talking against an individual’s or a company’s right to earn a good living, nor am I downgrading the capitalist, free market system.

I’m simply promoting value.

We need to urge companies to use moral and religious principles in running their businesses so everyone is a winner.

We receive life-saving medications at better costs and they still make tons of money.

We as consumers and health care patients can help by ending frivolous lawsuits against medical professionals and quit abusing the health care system by going to the doctor every time we catch a little sniffle.

It wouldn’t hurt you or me to chose to live a healthier lifestyle either. In many ways, the cost of health care is driven up by our own doing. Let’s fix ourselves before we lean on government to do it for us.

As Dean Kamen said, “Nothing that has value, real value, has no cost. Not freedom, not food, not shelter, not healthcare.” If we use moral thinking with this thought process, we will stay ahead of the game.

Political enthusiast Will Collins is a lifelong resident of Kentucky and has called Winchester his home for the past 20 years. He can be reached at