Curtis Dahlgren
County fairs: Surviving 8 years of "Hoping to Change America"
By Curtis Dahlgren
July 19, 2017

"Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical." – Yogi Berra

"A nation's future is ninety percent hard work. And the other half is spiritual." – CD

MY VISIT TO THE FAIR THIS SUMMER ended some misconceptions: one of them was that people have quit having kids; another is that people of all political stripes can no longer co-mingle. Maybe the America I used to know isn't completely doomed. It may be right "on the bubble," but I'm a bit encouraged after spending four days at the local GOP's tent at the fair. I did it for my brother – who was county chairman years ago – but is now 85 and dying of Parkinson's 700 miles away. He would have been here if he could. I was dressed as Abe Lincoln and got many positive responses. And got myself shot in a photo with Congressman Sensenbrenner (who remembers my brother and said "send him my best"). The local radio station put me on too and gave my writing some publicity, offering more time later. That's just part of "what I did this summer, teacher."

BTW, after four days at the fair I took some people to see the Brewers play. More kids! Everywhere you looked! Especially on the jumbo-tron. Out of 41,747 people, one-third may have been kids (and they weren't "bored" or on their cell phones)! It takes Faith to have kids these days, but the death of Faith has been greatly exaggerated. The "clingers" aren't quite so "bitter" these days! That's a good sign for the economy, which is also "90 percent mental," Yogi.

Our politicians in DC shouldn't even read the mainstream press, especially the New York Times and the Washington Post. Cancel your dumb subscription! The negativity is killing us. And political correctness is killing the two-party system (the D-party is becoming a dinosaur, a dodo bird). Get out of Washington and go to your local county's fair. You can see the three major races: pig races, duck races, and the 20-meter goat hurdles, not to mention the 4-H kids, tractor pull, and Charlie Daniels, etc.

As for politics, both sides of the aisle have honest concerns, at least in Middle America. The Left side has health concerns. The Right does too, but in the big-picture, long-range scheme, we see Social Security as a Ponzi scheme and unfunded liabilities as a road map to insolvency. We know that "subsidies" are no substitute for tort reform, more competition, and less power in the hospital-insurance lobby, plus we see the need for Health Savings Accounts and medical "insurance" cooperatives. Limiting punitive damages in lawsuits should be the first step, but it may never happen, sigh!

Congress will probably go long on subsidies and short on actual solutions (there really are some). I know you can't have the quality of research we've had without quantity of expense, but some hospitals have been over-doing the construction projects (which hide some of their profits). My hospital has a four-story atrium and three glass-enclosed elevators. It looks like the Hyatt Hotel, Mabel.

I was advised to get a Cat Scan at a somewhat more modestly-built hospital last year, but I asked them for the exact amount they were going to bill my Medicare provider. They said nearly $4,000 – $800 of which would be just for reading the Scan – so I said "No thanks, man!"

That's an example of the federal government sticking its big nose in under the tent; the more the subsidies, the higher the "cost," like college tuition. If patients actually shopped around for better prices, the camel's back of ridiculous hospital rates could be broken. It's not just the Defense Dept. that has $5,000 toilet seats. I think some hospitals have $5,000 bed pans. And don't get me started on care for illegal aliens or fake disability claims, boy!

In some parts of the country, it's easy to find a doctor who will prescribe medical marijuana willy-nilly, and it's just as easy to find a doc who will sign off on a marginal disability claim, even when the person would probably be healthier staying active and going to work every day. Did you hear the one about three men out in the middle of a lake fishing? An angel comes walking across the water and says, "Is there anything I can do for you guys?"

"Wow," says one guy. "I'm going blind. Can you fix my eye sight?"

The angel pitches his thick glasses into the lake and the guy has 20-20 vision. The next guy says, "I only have six months to live; can you heal me?" The angel snaps his finger and the guy is healed. The angel looks at the third guy.

"Don't touch me," he says. "I'm on disability!"

© Curtis Dahlgren


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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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