Lenten thanks, Day 18
Thank God for Franklin D. Roosevelt.
So the Republicans are getting ready to go after Social Security and Medicare. Some of their followers don’t even seem to be rational. Here’s one who remarks that if Social Security goes, “no one is going to be hurt by it.”
Yeah. No one but the kids.
You know, if it were not for Social Security, I could not stay in my home. I wouldn’t be able to pay the property taxes, and pretty soon the County would come and evict me. I would be living on the streets right now, today. The house my son is living in would have been foreclosed by now, since without my salary and Social Security, we wouldn’t have a hope of making payments on the upside-down mortgage. And that is with a retirement nest egg that’s 3.3 times larger than the average 50- to 60-year-old’s.
In a culture where families fly apart as the kids reach adulthood, where the elderly are objects of disdain and discrimination, where you’ll have a tough time getting a job if you’re laid off at 45 and no chance at all if you’re in your 60s, where a man is considered not a man if his mother lives with him, where the elderly are expected to live on their own until they’re sent off to a nursing home, who exactly is going to take care of the old folks when they can no longer work?
Without Social Security and Medicare, my choices would be to depend on my son to house me, feed me, and cover my healthcare costs or to live on the street until I die, which would happen in short order. Ours is not a culture like Revanche’s, where young people expect to care for their parents no matter how much strain it puts on their own lives. Most Americans would expect their parents and troublesome siblings to fend for themselves.
This is true for a large portion of the elderly in our country. Get rid of the so-called “entitlement” programs—into which we have paid all our lives—and you’ll end up consigning huge numbers of older Americans to dire poverty. Responsibility for supporting them will fall to their adult children, who don’t have the resources to care for elderly, unemployable parents.
Will you be willing to take your parents in after they can no longer work? Oh, you say you don’t want Mom and Dad living in your spare bedroom? You don’t want them in your face all day, every day, telling you how to raise your kids and how to live your life. Well, then, are you prepared to pay their rent? Can you cover the property taxes on their paid-off home?
And when you discover the cat food in the pantry (they don’t have a cat, interestingly enough), will you shell out a couple hundred a month to buy groceries for them? When you find out that they’re too frail to get groceries for themselves, will you run to the grocery store once or twice a week and stock up on microwavable food for them?
Are you willing to pay for your parents’ healthcare? Sure you are. But can you? Can you afford to buy insurance for an elderly person who already has chronic health problems? And if they can’t get insurance at all (which they can’t, because of the chronic health issues), are you in a position to pay for their health care out of pocket? You do know, no doubt, how much treatment for a heart condition costs?
How many of you who are younger and midlife adults see yourselves, seriously, as willing and able to care for your parents when they get too old work? Take a look at these excellent young people who are coming up behind you…see any of them planning to support Mom and Dad in old age?
In the post linked above, Revanche asks readers if they have a plan for taking care of their parents when the old folks can no longer care for themselves. Do you? If you’re under about 35 or 40, you’d better get one.
And by the way, who’s going to support you when you get too old or sick to work, and the stock market crashes right at the moment when you can no longer hold down a job?