In the town where I grew up, there were a couple of mom and pop bookstores, one called Borders, and one called Barnes & Noble. These small businesses, the backbone of our economy, provided a wide array of reading material, music and games, along with coffee and scones. Each also provided a type of membership card. The one from Borders was free, and entitled holders to additional discounts on books and free desserts on their birthdays. The one from Barnes & Noble cost $25 and entitled holder to save at least $25 over the course of purchasing something like another $1000 worth of books. Both were a great deal, and these little mom and pop stores provided each other with a healthy competition in the spirit of the American Dream.
Then one day, a “public option” was forced upon my little town. This government-run public option – some called it a “library,” I called it a nazi-loving beauracratic nightmare – had the audacity to swoop down and start offering books to people for FREE! How in the hell could our little mom and pops ever hope to compete with that?!? This evil library also gave out membership cards, and anyone who had one could take home a whole STACK of books for up to a MONTH at a time!!! Sure, sometimes people had to wait a little bit for access to bestsellers, and since books had to be returned you couldn’t give them as gifts or keep them on your shelves to show people how well-read you were, but still. No one on the planet could possibly compete with this kind of undermining of the free market.
Soon after this public option library came to town, Borders and Barnes & Noble were forced to close up their small businesses, costing hard-working Americans their jobs, and bringing us one step closer to Stalinist Russia. That is why I will never again support a public option of any kind for anything. I love America too much. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the post-office, which means I have to drive all the way past the fire house, the public elementary school and the police station, so I’d better get going.