Surgery Center of Oklahoma Blog

August 30, 2011

“Giving Back”

Filed under: Uncategorized — surgerycenterok @ 4:00 pm

This is one of my favorite socialist expressions.  Usually it takes the form of “ back to the community.”  What the collectivists really mean is “give it back.”  This would be more honest, as socialists believe “it” was never the worker’s/individual’s property/money to begin with.  Socialists believe that it is O.K. for individuals to possess property for short periods of time as long as we realize that this possession doesn’t imply ownership.  We, as individuals, are allowed to keep a portion of our earnings, only to encounter the do-gooder who demands that we should be “giving back.”  This demand is usually reserved for businesses and entrepreneurs that are creating jobs, and through their desire to earn a profit vitalize entire cities or even states.  Yet there is an attitude that they need to “give back” something to the community which, of course, wouldn’t even exist without the efforts of the entrepreneurs victimized by this socialist guilt hustle.

Adam Smith, the Scottish economist, made clear in his treatise, “An Inquiry Into the Cause and Nature of the Wealth of Nations,” that individuals acting in their self interest, engaging in unfettered and mutually beneficial exchange actually increase the wealth and standard of living for everyone in a community.  Businessmen and entrepreneurs that take risks and employ capital in search of a profit or return succeed only if they offer something that people want at an acceptable price.  This willingness to take the initial risk with their private property is the most generous gift a community can receive.  The notion that this same individual should somehow need to assuage the guilt of success by “giving back” is preposterous.

Most big hospitals overdo this “giving back.”  They drop a lot of dough advertising what big “give it backers” they are.  They bring in high-priced celebrities to give tear-jerking talks.  They sponsor all manner of civic and “wellness” efforts.  They buy sponsorships to almost everything.  They purchase loads of advertising from local media.  They build practice facilities for sports franchises.  And all of this while “not making a profit!”

People complain about the high cost of health care but can’t seem to connect the dots here.  Isn’t is obvious that while masquerading as “good corporate citizens,” even “public servants”, these giant hospitals in an attempt  to purchase this image of generosity have revealed the extent to which they have ripped off the community with their overcharging and cost-shifting schemes?  With their “not-for-profit cover,” they don’t even pay taxes!

Having said that, now to the point.  Which business provides more benefit to a community?  One like The Surgery Center of Oklahoma, established with privately risked funds that posts prices online (unlike any other health care business anywhere), or a business that brings in speakers and sponsors sports teams with the loot they’ve grabbed after charging 6-8 times what the Surgery Center of Oklahoma does, for the same service?  Maybe there is a feeling at the big hospitals that having taken so much from communities (much of it through back room deals that shut out competitors) they need to do a lot of “giving back.”

G. Keith Smith, M.D.

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