Easy money

12/23/2009 at 5:19 AM Leave a comment

While I was a resident there was a show called Miami Vice. Along with it came a song called Smuggler’s Blues that I found enchanting, for reasons that are not clear to me. I think it appeals to the inner überCynic inside me. One the lines in particular seemed to describe the problems I saw around me. “The lure of easy money, it has a very strong appeal”

For a cynic it is exactly that there is no such thing as easy money but that its lure still manages to motivate huge masses of people to do things that are patently ridiculous. How many people auditioned for American Idol?  How many buy lottery tickets? How many go to LA to find fame and fortune and end up pushing fast food?  How many of these are not even trying to be good at something, just hoping for lightning to strike?

But the reason for today’s post is another instance of ‘easy money’ that many not be so obvious. They are unemployment insurance, workers compensation and disability payments. It has befuddled me that some patients value money they don’t work for at a rate much higher than money they work for. My experience is that a large proportion of those on unemployment are not interested in another job until the unemployment starts running out. Even though they are getting a lot less than if they were employed. They find a lifestyle that they can support with the decreased income.

What is worse is what happens to ordinary people when they get hurt and the possibility of a worker’s compensation or disability comes up. People that have always gone to work for decades all of the sudden change. Their illness/injury does not get better until the WC or disability issues are resolved. It is as if the lure of easy money overwhelms them.

The concept of getting ahead, of creating a better life for your family , or of creating a safety net for yourself, none of those appear to be functioning. For my father and me, these were driving forces that continued for his entire life and continue for me. As well as making a difference in the world.

I have seen the entire process of WC, Disability, Unemployment and regardless of the outcome, unhappiness reigns. Marital strife, family  problems, depression, anxiety.  My efforts to elucidate these are to no avail while they still have that hope of easy money.

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Entry filed under: Doctor Musings. Tags: .

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