Monday, July 14, 2008

Two Boomer Final Solutions

Given that the programs likely to suck the fiscal air out of government, just when we need money to repair the damage done by 30 years of Republican ascendancy, are retirement and health assistance for the elderly, how about if we consider euthanasia and means-testing?

One sounds a lot worse than the other, but they really amount to the same thing. The programs should help those who actually need help, not all who would like it.

Few will disagree that an elderly widow with $1 million in the bank, a paid home, ample clothing and furnishing needs to get a check from the government to pay for the remaining necessary expenses -- excluding health care, next on the agenda. Therefore, limiting social security benefits to people without the money to support themselves eminent makes sense and would extend the retirement safety net to the Boomers' children.

Medicare is far trickier. Here the problem is escalating health costs. None of the solutions I've heard, from HillaryCare to ObamaTweaks to McCain's you're-on-your-own, really address the problem, namely that our health care system has a hugely expensive testing and heartbeat-preserving component that is unnecessary and in real, practical terms, useless.

We're spending ourselves to the poorhouse giving people six last months of bedridden misery -- that time over which 80 percent of all medical expenses occur -- and in the process abandoning poor children with decades ahead of them, whose disorder and illness health care ends up costing tenfold what prevention would have.

Unplug us, please!
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