Winning and Losing

In one of Irving Chernev’s wonderful chess books, there is a story about a chess club in Germany where some great master, I think it might have been Lasker, played this guy every month for a gold coin.

Lasker’s friends told him, “You should let that guy win. He’s going to get discouraged and stop playing.” 

So the master let the guy win. The guy stood up and exclaimed, “Hooray! I have beaten the great Lasker!” and walked out and never came back.

That reminds me of right-to-work legislation. Right-to-work legislation has been pushed in state after state by a national coalition of employers.

Essentially it prevents unions from collecting dues from members through the payroll process and sounds the death knell — if it has not already been sounded — for unions in that state.

Remember pensions? Vacations? Holidays? Parental Leave? Those were the horrors of unionism in the US. Thankfully, they’re only a dimming memory.

The Right-to-Work Coalition gave lots of money to conservative state senators and state representatives all over the country, and of course they all voted for it eagerly unless… by some mischance… there was some possibility that it might actually pass and become law.

If it were to pass and become law, you see, the national coalition would move on to some other state and stop giving large amounts of money to conservative state senators and representatives.

Winning is not always winning. I think President Obama should withdraw his healthcare proposal. Then everyone who is enraged by the status quo will direct their fury toward the corporate interests that have stymied health care reform.

And, although it’s not likely, the hound dog US press corps might actually talk to some of the people who are being screwed by the existing system, which, in the end, is everyone. Maybe we could invite some reporters over from England.

One last question: As we conduct this national debate, can we discount the views of those who want to keep the government out of Medicare? Just asking.

Couldn’t we just say, “It’s grown-up time right now. Here’s a paintball gun. Go play with your friends in the forest.”