The perfect business plan

  1. Sell products that promise to solve life’s most feared problem: death.
  2. Acquire or force out all or most competitors in your market area.
  3. Make it unimaginably difficult, if not impossible, for a start-up business to compete with you.
  4. Spread regulation over 50 states so no one entity really regulates anything.
  5. Contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to campaigns of regulators at all levels of government including the courts and threaten each with loss of support in the next election.
  6. Promote privacy so no one knows what your service costs, what works, how well it works or how you do what you do.
  7. Gradually raise the price high enough that most consumers will be able to pay you for your service, but not have enough left to afford co-payments to use your service.
  8. Create a paper-based administrative system so complicated that it cannot possibly be audited.
  9. Deny payment of services for arbitrary reasons to routinely scare the hell out of your providers and their customers.
  10. Sell a product to those who don’t need it and tell them if they ever stop buying it and need it, they won’t be allowed to.
  11. Require every business to deduct the cost of your service from employee pay checks before they waste it on things like food or shelter.
  12. Require by law that all consumers buy your product or pay thousands of dollars in fines.
  13. Require government to pay for all consumers who cannot afford your product or choose not to purchase it.
  14. Play on the fears of the aged, the infirmed and the uninformed in your advertising.
  15. Play on the fears of the former middle class that government involvement will mean higher prices, higher taxes, and the services they worked so desperately to afford, will be diminished or rationed.
  16. Collude with providers to fix all prices and be the only source for payment of their services.
  17. Play Congress and the President by pretending to offer concessions on future price increases in return for a law to prevent government negotiation of prices.
  18. Stand ready with unlimited advertising budgets, corrupt industry experts and politicians, willing media partners and misinformation should any constituency turn on you.
  19. Gradually increase the pressure of your grip on society’s privates until the pain is so great we all fall on our knees and will do whatever they want.
  20. Don’t make or provide any useful function to society.

8 thoughts on “The perfect business plan

  1. Terri Evans

    My favorite BGO (blinding glimpse of the obvious) in this post is this one: Sell a product to those who don’t need it and tell them if they ever stop buying it and need it, they won’t be allowed to. Gee whiz. Now that’s a racket!

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  2. Lee Leslie Post author

    I doubt this business is model is taught at Harvard Business School, but I wish it were at Harvard’s Institute of Politics.
    “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” -- Mark Twain

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  3. Brenden

    Fed/State gov’t responsible for the following:

    1. because of state-sponsored regulatory monopolies adopted by Congress and legislatures…
    --Acquire or force out all or most competitors in your market area.
    Make it unimaginably difficult, if not impossible, for a start-up business to compete with you.
    --Spread regulation over 50 states so no one entity really regulates anything. (By the way, who promulgates regulation?)
    --Play Congress and the President by pretending to offer concessions on future price increases in return for a law to prevent government negotiation of prices. (Who’s playing a game with whom?)
    --Collude with providers to fix all prices and be the only source for payment of their services.

    2. These more accurately describe gov’t than private business…
    --Gradually increase the pressure of your grip on society’s privates until the pain is so great we all fall on our knees and will do whatever they want.
    --Don’t make or provide any useful function to society. (Well, perhaps a question of degree)
    Require by law that all consumers buy your product or pay thousands of dollars in fines.

    3. Because of unfunded, insolvent and below-cost medical welfare payments forcing healthcare providers to shift costs to private sector…
    --Gradually raise the price high enough that most consumers will be able to pay you for your service, but not have enough left to afford co-payments to use your service.
    --Deny payment of services for arbitrary reasons to routinely scare the hell out of your providers and their customers.

    4. Well, this one’s just plain true, not fear-mongering…
    --Play on the fears of the former middle class that government involvement will mean higher prices, higher taxes, and the services they worked so desperately to afford, will be diminished or rationed.

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  4. Lee Leslie Post author

    Oh, come on, Brenden. I’m not fear-mongering. Just my humble opinion on one sure way to create and market a perfect business. Kind of “how to” guide for those who might be thinking of launching a new business. Now if somehow you jumped to a conclusion that I was writing about one specific industry, the health care insurance industry, for instance, well, that surely wasn’t my intent. I admit that I am a big fan of their accomplishments and they might have inspired some or maybe all of the things I listed, but any direct similarities is probably just a coincidence. You know, now that I read it over again, I can see how you might have thought that. And whether and to what degree our government could cause it, let it happen or just sell us out over the years, it sure is a helluva strategy for corrupting capitalism, democracy, health care and human decency. No wonder they are such a Wall Street favorite.

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  5. Brenden

    I didn’t mean you were fear mongering but that you’re accusing the health insurance industry of fear-mongering about rationing when you said: “Play on the fears of the former middle class…” and so on. The insurers are the only ones playing it straight! And I love how you imply that the federal gov’t with the largest budget in the world, an arsenal of nuclear missles and an (insolvent, incompetent) healthcare service provider to rival any other on the planet is somehow being held hostage by the likes of Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Wellpoint. Bwaah-haa-haa…

    Washington made these companies anti-competitive monopolists and they could stop it tomorrow, along with lowering costs through tort reform, allow portability, making Medicare solvent and so on… But, nah, we’ll just write another blank taxpayers’ check to that splendid man from the moral paradise of Chicago (are you there, Barry? “Present!”) rubber stamp another baconator from Nancy Pelosi’s angel chior.

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  6. Lee Leslie Post author

    The insurance companies playing it straight? Sure. Look at their business model -- an awful lot like the above. Perfectly straight. If you think you can find a goodness there, than I happy for you ‘cause you’ll get your goodness in the end (metaphorically and literally) like the rest of us. Regarding the held hostage, I didn’t say that at all. However, I’d be willing to bet many of our elected officials are. And yes, they could change things, but I wouldn’t bet on tomorrow. I wouldn’t bet on the fix. And I wouldn’t bet that it will look like Pelosi’s ideal, but imagine they all (both sides) will say it does.

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  7. C Smith

    Lee I do see why these examples could be misunderstood for fear mongering. It took me reading far down your list before I could distinguish if you were talking about the insurance business or the funeral home business. The last example does exclude the funeral home business.

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  8. jingle

    one of my sons is a historian with perspective on how the federal government has and hasn’t worked over the years. he thinks we need a national debate on what services the government should and shouldn’t provide to its citizens. national defense? schools? infrastructure, such as highways, clean water, sewage disposal? health care/national insurance? public transportation? environmental protection? medicade/medicare? social security?

    included in the debate must be discussion of costs/benefits, in terms of quality of life as well as money.

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