Are old people an unfair burden on society?

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alien
Are old people an unfair burden on society?
genstrike

I don't trust anyone over 30

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Hi alien, your thread title, while perhaps satirical, is offensive. Since thread titles are uneditable, what would you like me to change it to?

ETA. And I see that the Canadian Medical Association is at it again. I guess the only solution is to move to a private, for-profit model!

6079_Smith_W

genstrike wrote:

I don't trust anyone over 30

<joke>

Haha

Yeah, unless you want someone to do a thorough job, not cut corners, and be prepared for a screw-up which isn't in the book, and remember to put their harness on straight... in which case I wouldn't trust anyone under 45.

</joke>

(edit)

Seriously though, If you were to check the median ages of a lot of farmers, contractors and other people doing skilled work, I think the question of who is carrying whom might not be so clear-cut.

 

PraetorianFour

 

It would be nice to see some input from you on the subject rather than you just posting a link telling us to comment.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I hear you, alien. And I suspected you were a member of this burdensome demographic. I think it's the question mark that makes it sound like a "When did you stop beating your wife" title. It's just hard for me to locate the grounding for the satire. I might prefer "Old People: an unfair burden on society" in order to keep the satire but lose the offensiveness. This could be quibbling on my part, though. Thoughts?

alien

Catchfire, your version is OK with me.

remind remind's picture

I find the second title recommendation by catchfire more offensive than the original question one, as really catchfire yours is a statement of fact, is it not?

alien

Great!

Instead of discussing the issue, we are talking, again, about who is offended by what!

Political correctness on steroids!

milo204

are elders a "burden"?  well the short answer is yes in that someone needs to take care of them at the point they cant take care of themselves, but is it an "unfair" burden? of course not!

seeing as we will all be at that point in our lives eventually, its sort of a part of life unless you're an a hole who only cares about themselves since the older person you're caring for likely took care of you at some point.

is caring for a child an "unfair burden"??

the underlying sentiment in the "unfair burden" attitude seems to imply that any unpaid work not done for your own personal gain is an "unfair burden"

 

remind remind's picture

There is no issue as the answer is obviously NO.

alien

Why not look at it as an insurance claim? When you insure your house and it burns down, you expect to be paid by the insurance company so you can rebuild. It may be considered a 'burden' by the insurance company (and they sure try to weasel out of their obligation), but it is not a charity, not do-gooding but it is fulfilling a contractual obligation.

 

remind remind's picture

Not going to look at  it in any particular way, as giving energy to something so incredibley wrong headed, is a waste of time as well.

Next thing ya know they will be making new versions of Logan's Run or something.

alien

Since I am an  old people myself, the title is, of course, satirical.

Please change it to: "Are old people unfairly subsidized by Society?" or something to that effect.

The adjective "unfairly" is very important -- without it, there would be no issue at all.

I keep hearing more and more often from every direction that we the baby-boomers (the aging population) will break the bank and make younger people have to pay higher taxes, as if we had not raised them, put them through school, started them in life AND paid a lot of taxes ourselves into our healthcare and pension system, the money which is being gambled away in questionable mutual funds and undefined derivatives by our leaders. However, 16 billion for fighter planes and 1.2 Billion for pointless 2-day Gxx meetings are, apparently, affordable.

 

ygtbk

remind wrote:

Not going to look at  it in any particular way, as giving energy to something so incredibley wrong headed, is a waste of time as well.

Next thing ya know they will be making new versions of Logan's Run or something.

At least that way you'd never have to say "never trust anyone over 30". Redundant.

Snert Snert's picture

I think it's true that Boomers have been paying taxes all their lives, but I think it's also true that medicine, today, is a bit different than it was when they first started paying for it, and specifically, a lot more expensive.  Forty years ago you didn't get an MRI for a sore shoulder, or a huge battery of tests for fairly common complaints.  I'm not saying it's "unfair", but I think that the current generation of taxpayers will certainly be covering the difference between what the Boomers paid in taxes and what modern medical care will cost.

skdadl

I turn 65 in October. *cackle cackle* Pay up, kids.

Sean in Ottawa

Perhaps I can actually address the subject but I'll get the title out of the way.

I did not find it to be that offensive as it not only was a question but it is one being posed that needs to be answered. I think  it is offensive that it is being posed however but that is not the OP fault. Perhaps the way to address it is to change the thread to -- "Once more it seems we we asking the question if older people are a burden"

Firstly here is a link to a report that will put the entire issue in context including population aging-- bottom line no they are not a burden even if you were cold enough to want to open the door to that consideration:

http://www.nursesunions.ca/news/nurses-urge-first-ministers-negotiate-ne...

The report also puts to bed the myth that medicare is unsustainable.

But another issue nobody seems to want to discuss: Seniors do use more health care than younger people. Many people use that as an excuse to attack medicare. What those who raise the issue rarely acknowledge is that this is indeed what seniors use most of but there are many other things they use less of.

I have not got the figures to provide a bottom line but the formula of adding up the additional costs in medicare that seniors require is faulty if you do not also deduct the savings where this demographic uses less.

Education, even crime issues are part of it-- (many social scientists have acknowledged that declining crime rates is in part related to an aging population)-- there are many other areas where seniors use less.

As offensive as it is to do the math-- let's not do it wrong if we are to do it at all.

Normally, one should simply address necessities as necessities and plan for them rather than singling out certain demographics.

Nobody I ever heard of asked to get old. Why pose the question -- but the thread is posing this question because way too many in our society are and it needs to be answered at least with recognition of the problem of the question, the moral bankruptcy that inspires it and the poor logic behind it.

Sean in Ottawa

Snert wrote:

I think it's true that Boomers have been paying taxes all their lives, but I think it's also true that medicine, today, is a bit different than it was when they first started paying for it, and specifically, a lot more expensive.  Forty years ago you didn't get an MRI for a sore shoulder, or a huge battery of tests for fairly common complaints.  I'm not saying it's "unfair", but I think that the current generation of taxpayers will certainly be covering the difference between what the Boomers paid in taxes and what modern medical care will cost.

As long as the tax system is so grotesquely out of whack. As long as we preserve the milions/billions of a priviledged class who did not do more than be born in to it to deserve it, I simply am unwilling to even consider this argument.

 

Sean in Ottawa

skdadl wrote:

I turn 65 in October. *cackle cackle* Pay up, kids.

Well I am sure we are getting good value in your case-- Stay healthy though (and not for the young-uns sake but becuase it is better than teh alternatives)

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Snert wrote:

I think it's true that Boomers have been paying taxes all their lives, but I think it's also true that medicine, today, is a bit different than it was when they first started paying for it, and specifically, a lot more expensive.  Forty years ago you didn't get an MRI for a sore shoulder, or a huge battery of tests for fairly common complaints.  I'm not saying it's "unfair", but I think that the current generation of taxpayers will certainly be covering the difference between what the Boomers paid in taxes and what modern medical care will cost.

I don't know where you get your health care but MRI's for a "sore shoulder" are not on in our system or any American HMO.  However using a battery of tests for common complaints may be true.  Heart disease. cancer and diabetes for instance are way to common and do require batteries of tests.  If only the baby boomers could convince the yuppie doctors to work for less (drive a Toyota not a Porsche) there would be some real savings. After all we paid for most of the cost of the education for most doctors in this country.  It is called investing in the future. We [I'll let you figure out my age] paid taxes and trained people and build hospitals etc. and now it is time to to start taking not only the capital we invested but also the interest.  That is what investing is about it in a capitalist system isn't it?  

My problem with slippery slopes is one never knows how far they are going to slide. Should a 90 year old get a heart transplant is a different issue but in theory the same.  Should a premature baby receive hundreds of thousands of dollars of care when there is a chance they will be severely disabled at the end of it.  Those questions are not in my field of expertise so I tend to defer to medical ethicists on questions of what care is necessary for which fellow human being.

alien

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
Nobody I ever heard of asked to get old. Why pose the question -- but the thread is posing this question because way too many in our society are and it needs to be answered at least with recognition of the problem of the question, the moral bankruptcy that inspires it and the poor logic behind it.

Sean, I very much enjoyed your post, especially the bit I quoted above. I will follow the link and see what else I can learn about the issue. I only hope that others (including the misguided) will read it and think it through.

Smile

Unionist

I believe that society is an unfair burden on old people. Can you refer me to the appropriate thread, please?

absentia

If medical procedures cost more and more, that's not a just function of the age of people getting the tests and treatments, but of the people setting prices for equipment, reagents, furnishings, and everything pertaining to practice of medicine. There is big profit in all things medical. As new technology becomes available, doctors take adavantage (and possibly feel they have to cover themselves against lawsuits) and order expensive tests that may not be necessary - not just for the elderly, but all patients. Then, there is more inherent (unavoidable) extra effort and expense each time a new mutation of influenza comes along: precautions include the disposal of more instruments, bedding and garments, as well as more antibiotic hand-washing liquid everywhere and asceptic routines. That, plus farming out everything that's not strictly medical (laundry, food preparation, security) to private enterprise drives down the hospital payroll, but drives up the overall cost. While who gets how much care is often discussed, nobody (at least in mainstream media) ever seems to discuss the question of who profits.... and whether illness and its prevention should generate profit at all.

So, yes, reform is needed. I suggest re-forming the system we had in 1976.

Another thing that's rarely mentioned about people between 60 and 75 is that they make up a very large part of the volunteer corps that has taken over many social services that the government should be responsible for and isn't doing. Unpaid, untaxed work, to be sure, but what would it cost to hire people, even at minimum wage, to do those things? 

  

alien

The question this thread is not concerned about is how to lower the costs of health care, even though it is a very important question in its own right.

The question is: do we, old people, have a right to health care, when we need it, however much it costs?

It all boils down to the basic principle behind social organization, as far as generation-to-generation responsibility is concerned.

We can even leave money out of it and look at it as the basic social contract we have with ourselves.

As usual, we run into a fundamental contradiction in our social contract: our production system is based on cooperation, while our distribution system is based on competition. The two can not be reconciled, no matter how hard we are trying to square the circle.

In an ideal family we have no problem because the basic principle is: share the work, share the rewards, share the burden to the best of our abilities: help each other when it is needed.

In a jungle, there is also no problem: every animal is for itself, but even there you find exceptions of mutual dependence and sharing.

In the 'human family' (society) we try to do the right thing (at least in more evolved countries like Canada) but do it in a half-assed way, trying to set arbitrary limits to the sharing. Since the limits are arbitrary, it leads to forever fighting over where to draw the line.

The only possible solution, in my mind, is unconditional, universal health care for everyone, recognizing that survival (the ultimate benefit of health care) is a fundamental, basic need for every human being, non-negotiable, untouchable by anything else.

Of course young(er) people think that they will live forever (I used to) and will not need extensive health care for a very long time (ignoring exceptions for the moment) and they rather work less and play more but, if they want to be honest: they can't help realizing that their turn will come and will want to make their claim.

So the question is: do we recognize health care as a basic, fundamental, non-debatable universal right for every member of the society: young or old, healthy or sick - or do we opt for fighting forever over arbitrary boundaries - or do we want to revert to the jungle and grab whatever can be grabbed at whatever cost to others.

Of course, those who opt for the third, will not hesitate to demand unconditional and unlimited help whenever they find themselves in need of it.

absentia

I don't think the survey was about rights or fairness; i think it was about resources. People are worried that, as a large nubmer exit the work-force and enter a period of increasing physical frailty, a smaller number of employed will have to support the system. Thus, either the quality of health care will decline, or the individual contribution must increase, probably both. The survey didn't allow for the possiblility of a government that would distribute the tax burden more justly.

My Cat Knows Better My Cat Knows Better's picture

Unionist wrote:

I believe that society is an unfair burden on old people. Can you refer me to the appropriate thread, please?

When you find out let me know... Until then I will continue my retirement and will only emerge occasionally to disturb the status quo to the extent that I am able.

6079_Smith_W

@ alien

I spoke with a doctor about 25 years ago who suggested a triage system for deciding who gets what, and saying in effect that older and sicker people should not have as much access to "heroic measures" as younger and healthier people do. He also pointed out that these measures are costly, and do little to improve quality of life.

His thesis had already raised a bit of a stink in the media because it raised the spectre of who has more rights to medical care, and who would decide. He pointed out to me though, that those decisions were already being made. Sometimes at the request of family or patients themselves, sometimes by the decisions of doctors to not revive - and far moreso by default, because there are simply not enough resources give everyone equal treatment.

Frankly, I think his thesis is much more the norm nowadays than it was back then. As a personal example, my dad''s kidneys failed earlier this year. There is no mystery, and no outrage at the fact he will never be a candidate for a kidney because of his age.

I also think that there is far more burden put on the system by the rising costs of drugs, in particular highly specialized treatments which can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Making the decision of how and when to fund those treatments (which WOULD break the system if we took all of them on) is a far more pressing issue and a far more difficult decision than coming to terms with balancing appropriate treatment and quality of life for people who are older or who may be terminal.

absentia

6079_Smith_W wrote:

@ alien

I spoke with a doctor about 25 years ago who suggested a triage system for deciding who gets what, and saying in effect that older and sicker people should not have as much access to "heroic measures" as younger and healthier people do. He also pointed out that these measures are costly, and do little to improve quality of life.

He was right about the heroics and quality of life (waive ifs, whens and buts: in the main, he was right), but missed the point on the question of access. Tell people of any age the truth about their condition, what's possible, what will likely happen if this or that, and let them decide on a course of action. We are heading in that direction, but have not yet arived. We still force quadraplegics and and other incurables to spend 20 or 40 or 60 years in a full-care facility; force a terminal cancer patient to spend his little savings on a trip to Switzerland or to break the law. Not only doctors are capable of making sound choices; patients can, too.  

Fidel

[url=http://www.canadianactionparty.ca/streaming/325-oh-canada-our-bought-and... Canada: Our Bought and Sold Out Land![/url] The movie

Why have well funded social programs when we can shovel money to private banks to the tune of $160 million every day? $60 billion dollars every year! It's time to get the rich off welfare.

George Victor

alien wrote:

6079_Smith_W, you raise another important point: allocation of resources. No society, however rich, will have unlimited resources. Prioritizing and allocating will have to be part of our system, even in Utopian societies where money does not exist and they are sharing equally, they still have to decide: what is more important for the society: a new hydroelectric generating station or a new hospital. There will be legitimate arguments for both and a consensus will have to be reached.

My point was: a civilized society ought to put its citizens' survival above every other consideration. For living beings life is the only non-negotiable need.

What I object to is: a system where citizens will say (and will be obliged): "I rather work an hour less each day (pay lower taxes), even if it condemns maybe thousands of other citizens to preventable suffering and/or death". That attitude is barbaric and uncivilized.

You do not want to waste resources and, if no amount of heroics (in time and resources) could be expected to lead to a noticable improvement in someone's chances of survival or quality of life, then it would be unreasonable for the patient to expect it.

But the bottom line is: healthcare comes before toys and luxuries.

Unconditionally, undebatably.

Otherwise we are back to the other two choices I referred to earlier.

 

Thank you for bringing this forward.  As a pre-boomer, I find this topic more pressing than I did "once upon a time."

Should it not be discussed, however, in more historical terms...the ability of our society to create the wealth and the technology...the rise of the welfare state idea and its eqalitarian outcome in the middle of world war....the increasing pressure today on natural resources....increasing competitiveness undermining the tax base that paid for Tommy's marvelous idea...etc?

The right to health care cannot be questioned in a civilized setting, any more than access to food, clothing and shelter. But one can perhaps predict that in years ahead it will be questioned, as we see the assumptions in  the liberal concept of history as one of necessarily unchanging "progress" are perhaps time bound? 

trippie

Yes they are.

 

Since taxes are to high as it is, I think all people should die at the age of 65 and be turned into food. We could call this food "Soylent Green" but of course we can't tell anyone.

6079_Smith_W

@ absentia

Though I think it is a special case for differently-abled people. A good friend of mine said that his fear about euthanasia laws was that he was constantly treated differently than temporarily-abled people. Doctors would always do their best to help those who they saw as healthy, but his assessments were always put in the context of "you have had a pretty good life already". The veiled message was that he should be thankful for his time and consider when it is time to give up. And he is a far more healthy and independent person than many.

His concern about completely-legalized euthanasia - that differently-abled people, however strong their will to live, would just have to have one bad spell and they might possibly give into the pressure on them to give up - something the rest of us are not subjected to.

absentia

6079_Smith_W wrote:

@ absentia

Though I think it is a special case for differently-abled people. A good friend of mine said that his fear about euthanasia laws was that he was constantly treated differently than temporarily-abled people. Doctors would always do their best to help those who they saw as healthy, but his assessments were always put in the context of "you have had a pretty good life already". The veiled message was that he should be thankful for his time and consider when it is time to give up. And he is a far more healthy and independent person than many.

His concern about completely-legalized euthanasia - that differently-abled people, however strong their will to live, would just have to have one bad spell and they might possibly give into the pressure on them to give up - something the rest of us are not subjected to.

Well, it's not an easy subject; there are many points of view to consider, both in law and in medicine. I don't just mean in the case of euthanasia, but in different kinds of treatment and medication, which may have side effects, be addictive or risky, or shorten the patient's life while improving its quality. And so on. It's the patient who ought to have the majority voice in hir own treatment, not the doctors, not the lawyers, not the priests - and certainly not the accountants.

alien

George Victor wrote:
Should it not be discussed, however, in more historical terms...the ability of our society to create the wealth and the technology...the rise of the welfare state idea and its eqalitarian outcome in the middle of world war....the increasing pressure today on natural resources....increasing competitiveness undermining the tax base that paid for Tommy's marvelous idea...etc?

Yes, George, you are right, it should be discussed historically as well, but that is another subject. As they say: "Politics is the art of the possible" and a historical perspective is necessary in order to gage the "possible". In this thread I was trying to focus on the basic, underlying principles which determine what we should be aiming for.

Quote:
the assumptions in  the liberal concept of history as one of necessarily unchanging "progress" are perhaps time bound? 

You may be right about that, but it does not change the fact that, in problem-solving mode, we should focus on where we are now, where we want to be, what are all the relevant facts (including psychological, political, etc) and then chart a path that we want to follow from 'A' to 'B'.

absentia

George Victor wrote:

 The right to health care cannot be questioned in a civilized setting, any more than access to food, clothing and shelter. But one can perhaps predict that in years ahead it will be questioned, as we see the assumptions in  the liberal concept of history as one of necessarily unchanging "progress" are perhaps time bound? 

Not only can those rights be questioned, they haven't even been accepted as applying to everyone. Not even in Canada. We have never gone a whole winter without homeless people freezing to death; we've never fed or housed or clothed or protected all of the children; we have never found meaningful work for all the adults, and we have certainly never helped all the people were ill, injured, lost and miserable. We never got anywhere close to the just society. But at least we were striving toward it... Now we're going in the opposite direction. We took our eye off the ball for a minute, and damn if some bastard didn't steal it!

alien

6079_Smith_W, you raise another important point: allocation of resources. No society, however rich, will have unlimited resources. Prioritizing and allocating will have to be part of our system, even in Utopian societies where money does not exist and they are sharing equally, they still have to decide: what is more important for the society: a new hydroelectric generating station or a new hospital. There will be legitimate arguments for both and a consensus will have to be reached.

My point was: a civilized society ought to put its citizens' survival above every other consideration. For living beings life is the only non-negotiable need.

What I object to is: a system where citizens will say (and will be indulged): "I rather work an hour less each day (pay lower taxes), even if it condemns maybe thousands of other citizens to preventable suffering and/or death". That attitude is barbaric and uncivilized.

You do not want to waste resources and, if no amount of heroics (in time and resources) could be expected to lead to a noticable improvement in someone's chances of survival or quality of life, then it would be unreasonable for the patient to expect it.

But the bottom line is: healthcare comes before toys and luxuries.

Unconditionally, undebatably.

Otherwise we are back to the other two choices I referred to earlier.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

This seems like an ideal time to heartily recommend Imamura's remake of The Ballad Of Narayama (1983).

George Victor

absentia wrote:

George Victor wrote:

 The right to health care cannot be questioned in a civilized setting, any more than access to food, clothing and shelter. But one can perhaps predict that in years ahead it will be questioned, as we see the assumptions in  the liberal concept of history as one of necessarily unchanging "progress" are perhaps time bound? 

Not only can those rights be questioned, they haven't even been accepted as applying to everyone. Not even in Canada. We have never gone a whole winter without homeless people freezing to death; we've never fed or housed or clothed or protected all of the children; we have never found meaningful work for all the adults, and we have certainly never helped all the people were ill, injured, lost and miserable. We never got anywhere close to the just society. But at least we were striving toward it... Now we're going in the opposite direction. We took our eye off the ball for a minute, and damn if some bastard didn't steal it!

 

You are right.  I spend an hour or two each day in the dementia ward of a long-term-care facility and seeing the care given to residents I tend to extrapolate to the larger society...even though I continually foment for expansion of the system that exists. The bastard that you speak of is using economic factors - the downturn - to further his aim, the complete privatization of those social institutions that the singularity of post-war conditions made possible.  I believe we should be demanding the mobilization of our society to meet the approaching enemies of humanity...those four bloody horsemen and their neo-con apparatchik.

Sean in Ottawa

Unionist wrote:

I believe that society is an unfair burden on old people. Can you refer me to the appropriate thread, please?

ok that's the winner. Thanks Unionist!

oldgoat

Any progressive person interested in this subject should read Theodore Roszak's The making of an Elder Culture: Reflections on the future of America's Most Audacious Generation, reviewed here.

 

Quote:
 

Central to the theme of this book is that the idea of "elderly" is reclaimed from the neo-conservative social model which sees the aged as unproductive and a net social burden. From the latter part of the last century the political right in America has tried to paint aging boomers as a looming economic disaster as we selfishly spend the fortune of our grandchildren on our own entitlements. Roszak counters this, and posits a model of the elder more as it is found in the traditional and natural societies where the elderly were the reservoirs of a people's culture and accumulated wisdom, and a group to be listened to with respect. In fact the boomer generation is described in The Making of an Elder Culture as potentially the vanguard of a potent and permanent social force. In comparing aging boomers to social and revolutionary movements of the 20th century, the author likens the very fact of our longevity as an unplanned and unruled social revolution which is quietly defining the future.

 

 

 

George Victor

Thus endeth the lesson...and we can return to the less frightening pose of Rip Van Winkle on the question of (shudder) old age and ...

George Victor

That's going to be a must read, oldgoat, particularly if he describes how Boomers can escape the catchphrases by which the former flower people were "deflowered" by the neo-con bait of lower taxes, which allowed them to fly and sail the world. The process by which they were converted from "citizens" to "taxpayers" and "consumers" was also part of the slippery slope from flower beds to the pickle we're now in.

 

Sean in Ottawa

The question of the allocation of resources and the decisions about what treatments to pursue are not loaded with absolutes given that society is paying and society as a whole has obligations not just to itself but to each and every individual. We are to allocate resources based on need not ability to pay we say. I fully support this and that means not allocating based on desire alone.

What this means in practice is where the absolutes fall away. It can't be up to the individual to spend all the states resources on potential treatments without hope of success. Nor too can it be up to society to ration that which we have enough to go around-- health care that is needed which implies health care that can offer a benefit.

To me this means that there is no substitute for medical professionals placing each patient as the priority in all decisions and going to whatever lengths that can benefit the patient. Secondly, that patients need to be central to their care-- even if they cannot make all decisions about resources paid for by others. In other words, we cannot leave it up to the patients to be their own advocates. Their health professionals and the system itself must be built to listen to them and do what is best for them, which in rare instances may be to disagree with them.

Heroic measures are rarely possible and can be very expensive in individual cases but across the whole health system they don't add up to much because of their rarity. They are not a burden when they offer a real potential for the patient. That should eb the only dividing line. As others have said if there is a chance of an improved outlook for the patient, then it is worth it. If it is not needed or cannot improve the patient's outlook then it is waste. Only then.

As for the elderly or ill being candidates for treatment, this rationale provides its own answers there too. If a person is too ill to benefit (a person with advanced heart disease would not be a candidate for a slow moving prostate cancer for example) then there is no need and if a procedure does not have any hope of improving their condition as well there is no need.

As others have suggested there are many other economic resources we can consider rationing before we get to health care. That health care is being suggested for rationing when the country,in spite of its health-care needs remains very rich proves that this is an ideological not practical debate.

Deep inside this debate there is another reality which makes it easier to even have it. Humans in order to survive downplay their mortality-- we have invented a good many religions over the years to help us. We need to consider illness as something that won't happen to us but to someone else in order to get through the day-- at least to some degree because contemplating our inevitable ends is not conducive to happiness. A small part that most of us don't like to think about when we see something bad is to be grateful that it did not happen to us-- social scientists have even said this is behind rubberneckers at accidents. There are deep psychological defenses in us that make possible a debate about abandoning humanity and help for the ill that in fact make no logical sense as each and every one of us, if we stop the denial for a moment, will need this consideration.

Sean in Ottawa

George Victor wrote:

That's going to be a must read, oldgoat, particularly if he describes how Boomers can escape the catchphrases by which the former flower people were "deflowered" by the neo-con bait of lower taxes, which allowed them to fly and sail the world. The process by which they were converted from "citizens" to "taxpayers" and "consumers" was also part of the slippery slope from flower beds to the pickle we're now in.

This is so important because it seeks to take away the moral legitimacy of anything that is not directly paid for. Removing the legitimacy rights of those who do not pay taxes or buy things.

Now that we live in a world where resources are finite, those who have more and can consume "better" look to those who consume less rather than those who consume more to save on resources that are being squandered. When I drive by monster homes on my way to the country, I can't but help to think that if we are to start rationing anywhere, this is where we need to begin. But the folks who have 4,000 square feet of heated and cooled comfort zone can't possibly get that they are part of the problem when they are consuming our economy into what seems like endless growth when it really isn't anymore.

Caissa

Not related to age but related to the cost of medical treatment.

A Bouctouche, N.B., woman is taking her fight with the province's Department of Health over the lack of funding for her prescription drug costs to the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission.

Josee Owen, 36, has had rheumatoid arthritis since she was 10 and now takes the drug Enbrel

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/new-brunswick/story/2010/08/24/nb-enbrel-arthritis-drug-human-rights-827.html#ixzz0xXACiV7y

George Victor

oldgoat wrote:

Any progressive person interested in this subject should read Theodore Roszak's The making of an Elder Culture: Reflections on the future of America's Most Audacious Generation, reviewed here.

 

Quote:
 

Central to the theme of this book is that the idea of "elderly" is reclaimed from the neo-conservative social model which sees the aged as unproductive and a net social burden. From the latter part of the last century the political right in America has tried to paint aging boomers as a looming economic disaster as we selfishly spend the fortune of our grandchildren on our own entitlements. Roszak counters this, and posits a model of the elder more as it is found in the traditional and natural societies where the elderly were the reservoirs of a people's culture and accumulated wisdom, and a group to be listened to with respect. In fact the boomer generation is described in The Making of an Elder Culture as potentially the vanguard of a potent and permanent social force. In comparing aging boomers to social and revolutionary movements of the 20th century, the author likens the very fact of our longevity as an unplanned and unruled social revolution which is quietly defining the future.

The book is available at the library. Quick access often means that it is not a winningly popular read...not a good sign for a generation that is expected to again  bring "revolution" rather than reaction to the social scene.   I still believe that the visions of '68 were a product of good times wherein people were being prepared for a lifetime of leisure (really, seriously) and not by Veblen. :)

alien

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
We are to allocate resources based on need not ability to pay we say. I fully support this and that means not allocating based on desire alone.

Sean, I understand and agree with, what you are saying but we have to be careful here.

The bastards can pick up and redefine the word 'need' in several way. One way is to invoke Palin's infamous "death penal" to defeat a health care system based on need.

Another way is to hijack it to mean 'need for society', meaning the usefulness of the person based on their contribution, and that word is WIDE open to abuse. Do you remember the Star Trek Voyager episode when the Doctor was hijacked and put to work in a hospital, assigned to the floor of the "less useful for society" who were treated horribly. Later he was reassigned to the "blue level" where patients were needlessly pampered because they were considered highly useful for society.

We have to watch these bastards (I like absentia's language) because they are not stupid and they do not miss a trick.

absentia

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

This is so important because it seeks to take away the moral legitimacy of anything that is not directly paid for. Removing the legitimacy rights of those who do not pay taxes or buy things.

Here, again, the right has been spreading some truly poisonous lies about older people. A good many of our generation bought homes early in life and have been paying property tax steadily over decades. We paid into pension funds, college funds, WCB, UI, health insurance, RSP's, retirement schemes and life insurance. We had fewer kids than our parents and raised them in a higher standard of living and with higher expectations, and gave quite a lot of them more education and a financial leg up in life. We worked longer and paid more income tax than any previous generation. We still pay tax every time we buy something or go somewhere or have our roof repaired or our hair cut. 

A large part of our investment - including pension funds - has  been lost. Stolen, gambled away, however you want to characterize the immense crime that's been committed here in the last 20 years. They created the crisis by stealing the nation's assets, and now are using that same crisis to grab the stuff that was nailed down last time. And now they need a scapegoat. 

George Victor

I agree with Alien that "bastards" fits them like a glove, absentia, but can we give "They (who) created the crisis" a more explicit name, like "finance capitalists", from which we can develop an even more accurate critical analysis of their works?  And can we formulate from that some thoughts about how we can escape their clutches, now that EVERYONE is caught up in rooting for their favourite corporations on the big board?  That is part of the "economic imperative' developed by the Chicago School that began to bore holes in the good ship social democracy (welfare state) back in the 1970s

alien

George Victor wrote:
 And can we formulate from that some thoughts about how we can escape their clutches...

Problem is, George, that we have an evolutionary handicap of being too decent and having scruples.

That is why I suggested, in my Introductory thread, to find us some geniuses, rescue him/her from Wall Street or the Pentagon to be our Vetinari  (from Ankh Morpork in the Pratchett books). We just have to outsmart our adversaries when it comes to convincing the masses. Psychological manipulation is the key because we never get anywhere with logic and violence is the expertise of the bast... sorry: the finance capitalists.

But that topic belongs in another thread.

 

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