A Modest Proposal 2.0: For preventing the elderly from being a burden on their children and taxpayers

Let us not worry about too much about being “politically correct.” Politicians, including that great Republican intellect, the very conscious of his party, the Honorable Paul Ryan has struggled with this issue, yet even he has endeavored to use the utmost tact when explaining to the public that Obamacare is in a “death spiral” because it burdens the healthy with paying insurance premiums that would benefit the sick.

Critics have disingenuously stated that Congressman Ryan misunderstands the entire concept of insurance, yet a driver prone to accidents would expect to pay more for insurance, and so the elderly, who are most prone to illness, should have no complaint if they too must pay more for coverage. It’s perfectly logical, is it not? Of course, one might argue, that all of us are healthy until we are sick, and illness or accident can strike at any age, but even if this happens, frankly cancer moves more quickly when it strikes the young. They are like to die sooner, and if they recover from some unfortunate event, they will have many years ahead to contribute to the economy and their society.

That family man of moral rectitude, Congressman Ryan cannot say out loud, just yet, what some of his party have hinted at. (After all old people vote.) Nor would someone of such a kindly disposition suggest taking away all the income of people as they age. Even he understands that if every penny needed to go toward insurance and healthcare, other facets of the economy might suffer. The elderly might no longer be able to afford to house themselves, and would need to move in with their adult children. Once upon this was the norm, and some of us film buffs may even recall the depression era classic, Make Way for Tomorrow, which dealt honestly with the problem this presented for families, and ends with an elderly couple parting forever to live with different households in different part of the countries. The cruelty of the separation leaves “not a dry eye in the house.” Would the sweet mercy of death not be a better alternative?

Instead, what the United States got was more New Deal socialism – a guaranteed income for those no longer able to contribute called social security, and then the slavery of medicare. While workers do pay in to the social security system, it is in effect a tax, holding our money hostage. Imagine what each of us could do with that money, now, if we weren’t burdened with forcibly saving it in a system which we are constantly reminded by the Republican party could go broke any day now. As for medicare — another burden for those of us who might never even live to see its benefits —  sure having insurance and income allows older people to shop at our stores and buy services from our businesses, but in the end we are paying for the privilege of their participation, and that can’t be right. Can it? What happened, after all, to personal responsibility?

Let us dare to ask what it would look like for a middle-class couple to truly save for retirement and the infirmities of age, without as former-Senator Alan Simpson might put it “sucking on the public tit..” If they need to be prepared to pay their own way medically, it’s unlikely they would be able to afford to send their children to college, or even high school once Betsy De Vos enforces some personal re responsibility and guts the public system. But if they do decide that the best way to insure their future is to raise their children to be fiscally responsible adults who will keep them housed and make sure they have an ample supply of adult diapers when the time comes, they are effect, mortgaging the future of their children. While their children might still became successful job creators, they would not be able to spend freely, which will all know is the best way to end poverty because trickle down raises all boats.

What parent would want to be in such a position?

There is an alternative, though we hardly dare to speak of it for fear of offending the AARP, and other “special interest” organizations that make up what we might call “Big Senior.The solution is simple as it is elegant, and truly fits in with the American ethos of self-reliance and personal responsibility.

Imagine for a moment, a society with the promise of truly lower taxes and more disposable income for all? Imagine a life free of worry about “savings” and “future.” Imagine not to be burdened by paying for “somebody else’s” healthcare? Imagine an economy with full employment where people do not continue working into their seventies and eighties because they “have to.” Imagine lower private insurance premiums for families because those “over users” of the system have been eliminated.

Such a future is possible, and has already been imagined. On the episode Half a Life, of Star Trek: The Next Generation, we are introduced to the Kaolens, of Kaelen II. At the age of 60, Kaelens experience a ritual called “resolution” – a form of ritual suicide.

Yes, suicide. Many Americans will find the concept shocking. Some will argue it’s “not Christian” but given the gospel of personal responsibility touted in so many churches, they might reconsider. Is suicide when it is for the greater good of all, really a sin? Is martyrdom a sin? Is making the ultimate sacrifice for future generations a sin? Imagine a society in which every elderly person has the right to die with dignity, before his or her powers are completely diminished, and to do so that all of us may live more comfortably, so that his or her own children will not be bankrupted paying for care, and above all, so that the economy and the American way of life will go on. Surely, with modern technology we can make the process painless, and even develop an entire industry around celebrating this momentous milestone.

Think of the freedom of not spending your thirties and forties – the true “golden years” burdened by worry about “what will happen.” With more disposable income – since social security and medicare will be eliminated, one could live in a better home, and then cash out to enjoy at least a couple of happy years of retirement, which is more than many of us get now!

Imagine life for someone in their twenties or thirties – the ability to keep more of your pay check! No more wondering where it all goes! It will go to you, and you are free to spend every penny of it!

Some may argue that the elderly have much to contribute, and that might be true. They will tell you that the elderly spend their money, and that more people are moving in with their parents for economic reasons than are moving their parents in.  There might even be ways, through strengthening programs like social security, medicare, and services aimed at keeping people healthy and independent, for even more of our senior citizens to be productive members of society for an even longer time – but that would be “socialism” and as Americans we cannot support such an immoral and unfair system. That would be wrong!

Yes, some industries that cater to the elderly would suffer if the population were reduced, but with no more over sixty-grandmothers and grandfathers, more families would need to hire people to care for their children. Caterers could clean up during the holidays. Some nursing homes and other facilities could even be converted to luxury spas so those retirees in their fifties could truly enjoy their final days. And what of the robotics industry? Soon a mechanical grandma who never complains about her aching back will be your child’s best friend and babysitter, and when she arrives you can bet she’ll be made in the USA!

Lets face it, this is the future the Republican party envisions, the logical next step. Of course, not every citizen would be obligated to ritually “resolve” his or her existence at age sixty – only those whose medical care would be a burden to their families, or society. Successful, responsible Americans with sufficient means to buy unregulated free market insurance or pay for their own medical care out of pocket might choose to extend their lives. And every American would be free to dream of joining those who through great sacrifice, plus elimination of the death-tax, and capital gains, in addition to hard work and pluck have achieved this goal – the American Way!

Our beloved President for example, probably doesn’t even bother with medicare since he could personally buy a hospital and certainly any organs he might someday need replaced. Many of our senators and congressional representatives are also multi-millionaires, who would be happy to enjoy paying lower taxes, even if they did need to make some sacrifices towards the end of life to pay their medical bills! All of them could continue to live, and you Republican voters of a certain age, have no doubt saved enough to afford to go on in the style to which you’ve become accustomed, haven’t you?

(This may be a draft that I’ll continue to work on, so your comments are most welcome. If you enjoyed it as is, I’d love to hear that too. If you want to thank me, just clicking on my books at Amazon helps. Buying one would be awesome!)