What's Ryan Eating?
He's a mystery. A riddle. An enigma. A scruffy, hoodied man topped with a Yankees cap. I'll explain.
Ryan will buy a high quality ten dollar sandwich for dinner one day, then stock up on waterlogged, hormone injected budget boneless chicken the next.
This puzzling behavior confuses me in the same way I'm confused by what some people (like Ryan) deem to be socialist, or even communist behavior.
For example, let's take the local Ma and Pop hardware store. They're always greeting you with a smile as you come through the door. They know exactly what you need. They can offer advice on the project. Sure, you pay more than you would at the big box store, but it makes you feel good to know you've been helping to keep these fine folks in business all these many years.
But to some who see the fringe benefits provided by Ma and Pop as of little value, you are keeping them afloat with a social liferaft. Ma and Pop, like the solid wood floors of their 42 year old shop, are creaky and worn. It's time to put these too out to pasture and embrace the economies of scale.
So why is it some people people can appreciate the value of a Ma And Pop store or a $10 sandwich some of the time, while insisting at other times that four bucks a pound for chicken and Home Depot are no-brainers? Could the answer lie in our individual values?
Some taxpayers despise the very concept of a government taking their hard-earned money and spending it in an area that is of no benefit to them personally. They point to occasional revelations of inefficiencies or scandal as reasons why their taxes are too high. To them, the public service is perpetually bloated. If staffing is trimmed, they then complain that unemployment benefits are too generous. The griping is unrelenting. All the while, these taxpayers fail to notice that these legions of "overpaid" public workers are paying taxes that contribute to their healthcare costs.
Surely there's a middle ground we can call "value for money". Where there are services provided to all of us, but they're not being overseen by three mangers all doing exactly the same job.
So whether chicken or hammers, healthcare or childcare, there is an opportunity for a wise investment with a net benefit for all of us. We just need to remember that $10 sandwich isn't being made with Ryan's cheap chicken.