September 27, 2005

The Bad Teeth Economy

Here's my theory. America is setting itself up to be a nation of people with crappy smiles, as George Bush has ushered in the bad teeth economy.

Here's what I mean. Used to be people worked for companies for many years, and they valued their precious benefits, among which, especially in the established companies that everyone wanted to grow up and work for, included dental benefits.

Then came the dot-com rush, and the talent war was on, and nimble companies pulled benefits out of their tushies in order to get people to come to work for them. Dental was a given. A new car was a deal maker.

Then came the bust, and the aftermath of layoffs which have left many folks who once worked for those old established companies 20 years ago, and the newer dot-com refugees, SOL in terms of benefits. The young refugees and the old folks and the people who'd been through both economies -- lots of us who had work done back when we had all the free dental work we could swallow -- struck out on their own. Maybe not penniless, but beniless.

So, we bite bullet and get health insurance on our own, with premiums for $1,000-deductible plans now over $700 a month for a family. And that doesn't include dental.

So we let go what we have to let go. Our teeth. And we make due. And we're glad if we can just make our health insurance premiums every month. And those of us who once wouldn't be seen without perfect enamel and every six month cleanings smile a little less often these days.

And the smart ones watch out for caramel candies--because they can do a number on crownes, which can run $1,000 or more each.

Out of pocket.

In our beniless, bad teeth economy.