Jesse Ventura Has a Message for Martin Shkreli and Donald Trump
Two places in society should not be run by corporate-minded individuals: health care and government. The for-profit model fails to provide proper services or fairness, says the former Minnesota governor.
Jesse Ventura is an American former professional wrestler, actor, political commentator, author, naval veteran, and politician who served as the 38th Governor of Minnesota from 1999 to 2003. He was the first and only member of the Reform Party to win a major government position, but later joined the Independence Party of Minnesota.
Ventura was a U.S. Navy Underwater Demolition Team member during the time of the Vietnam War. After leaving the military, he embarked on a professional wrestling career from 1975 to 1986, taking the ring name Jesse "The Body" Ventura. He had a long tenure in the World Wrestling Federation as a performer and color commentator, and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004. Near the end of his wrestling career, Ventura started acting, appearing in films such as Predator and The Running Man.
Ventura first entered politics as Mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, from 1991 to 1995. Four years after his mayoral term ended, Ventura was the Reform Party candidate in the Minnesota gubernatorial election of 1998, running a low-budget campaign centered on grassroots events and unusual ads that urged citizens not to "vote for politics as usual". Ventura's campaign was unexpectedly successful, with him narrowly defeating both the Democratic and Republican candidates. The highest elected official to ever win an election on a Reform Party ticket, Ventura left the Reform Party a year after taking office amid internal fights for control over the party.
As governor, Ventura oversaw reforms of Minnesota's property tax as well as the state's first sales tax rebate. Other initiatives taken under Ventura included construction of the METRO Blue Line light rail in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area, and cuts in income taxes. Ventura left office in 2003, deciding not to run for re-election. After leaving office, Ventura became a visiting fellow at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2004. He has since also hosted a number of television shows and has written several political books. Ventura remains politically active and currently hosts a show on Ora TV and on RT called Off the Grid.
Ventura is the author of several books including American Conspiracies, which was recently released in its second edition.
Jesse Ventura: Pharma is corporate health care and I don’t believe that health care should be a for-profit business. And unfortunately, with pharma, it totally is. Like this bozo — that pill that AIDS patients needed and this bozo raises the price from $12 a pill to what was it — $900 or something ridiculous. Well, there you’ve got an example of private sector coming in and making everything for profit. Always remember that there’s a difference — and this is for the people out there for these like CEOs like Trump that run — there’s a difference between government and a corporation. Corporations are for profit. That is all they’re for. Turning out profit for the shareholders. Government is to provide services and that’s a different ballgame. Providing services to being for profit. So you cannot run them the same way. People are saying, "Oh, run it like a private corporation." No. Private corporations are for profit and that’s what you’re seeing in the health care industry today. It’s being run for profit and I don’t think people’s health should be run for profit. Certainly people that work in the industry should earn a living. No one is denying that. But when you read about the heads of these health cares making what — $40 million a year — stock options to where they have so much money they couldn’t spend it all. All at the sake of our health. Health should not be for profit. If you’re sick in a country like ours, it’s simple. You should have the ability to go see a doctor.
Everybody in this country deserves the same health care that congressmen get. How’s that? Whatever congressmen get, you and I deserve the same thing. They should be no better or no worse than us. After all, don’t they work for us? Or aren’t the supposed to? We’re the boss. They’re the employee. All you see on daytime television and I love it: Tell your doctor about this drug. Well let me steal from Bill Maher if I will for a moment. If you’re telling your doctor what you need, your doctor’s not a doctor; he’s a dealer. He should be telling you what you need. He’s the doctor. So why do they do ads on TV telling you to take these drugs? And the point is yes, they do control our entire health care system today. The pure Libertarian is almost an anarchist. I’ve butted heads with them at times and they believe, some of them, that there’s no role of government at all. And I’ve kind of said come on, in a civilized society you’ve got to have some type of entity that performs fairness within society. You’d have anarchy if you don’t have, in a civil society, if you don’t have some form of control of the people. So I understand the Libertarian viewpoint enough, but I’m also a realist, you know. You’re not going to live in Utopia. That’s impossible. We’re human beings. We make mistakes. We’re not gods. We’re humans.
As former governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura knows first-hand what government is capable of doing and what services it needs to provide so that a base level of fairness is maintained in society. He sharply disagrees with those who say government should be run with the efficiency of a for-profit business. Likewise, people's health should not be determined by pharmaceutical industries and their grossly compensated presidents and CEOs. "Everybody in this country deserves the same health care that congressmen get," he says. The freer a company is to operate in all sectors of society, the closer that society gets to living in a state of anarchy, says Ventura.
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