Kim Kardashian’s Private Firefighters Expose America’s Fault Lines
Earlier this month, according to TMZ, a private firefighting crew reportedly helped save Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s home in Calabasas. The story, Alexis C. Madrigal wrote, “feels uniquely 2018—financial capitalism, inequality, KimYe, the fires of Armageddon.”
Reading the recent article on private firefighting certainly made me think more about the issue of augmenting public services. On many levels, this happens every day and isn’t a bad thing. The government provides a base level of protection for people. Those who want more must pay for it. Social Security is a base-level protection, but most folks agree to “buy” a higher level of protection by saving (paying). Even in systems of socialized medicine, people choose to purchase additional coverage. These people shouldn’t be demonized any more than a private homeowner (or insurance company) in California. Surely these people aren’t saying that their local firefighters are beneath them. They are merely aware that in times of crisis, demand outstrips supply. While financial means undoubtedly drive one’s ability to purchase additional services, it’s not exactly a rich or poor issue. The article shows no evidence that purchasers of additional protection take away any level of basic protections for others. I have no interest in defending Kanye West (or the like), but I also don’t expect him to wait around for fire to engulf his home when he can be proactive about the topic.
I’m a nurse who happens to work in an intensive care unit as well as in private home care. Unsurprisingly, home care with wealthy private clients is where the money lies. The unfortunate truth is that the 1 percent absolutely can pay for better “public” services than anyone else. As a private nurse, I assist people in their home for a variety of reasons. Where I see the greatest divide is monitoring a client who has just had surgery. While the average American is sent home with some basic instructions and a follow-up appointment a week later, wealthier patients have 24/7 monitoring from the comfort of their bed. They are far more likely to catch a complication before it become a serious issue. Having personally dealt with this issue in my family (my own mother recently passed away from ovarian cancer and had nothing but Medicaid and me to support her), I have seen the stark differences in health that money affords. It’s not just extra attention; it’s higher quality of life, better support, alternative therapies, medication management, and ultimately years added.