Monday, July 11, 2011

A Time of Compromise

The US is now facing a grave economic crisis. As a 64 year old, I speak for a part of the baby boom generation. I was born in the U.S. and am now a citizen of Australia.

We've reached the age where we cannot have everything, do everything, and afford everything. We have just launched our last shuttle mission; manned exploration of space is too expensive. We are fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and lesser actions elsewhere which we cannot afford. Our bridges are falling down. Our levies are bursting. The poor have no medical care or dental care. The US is rapidly going broke. It's time to compromise; time to barbecue some sacred cows.

Let's start with social security. Yes we made promises. It was a time of unlimited optimism in a world which appeared to hold unlimited resources and potential. Not so. Social Security entitlements should be trimmed right now and in the future so that benefits do not go to people who are well enough off.

Let's take up health care. We have increased life expectancy beyond reason. The cost of living ninety years far outweighs the benefits. Investments and benefits should be shifted from keeping people alive to keeping people healthy. We need programs to eliminate cigarette smoking, fat and other bad lifestyles so that health care investments and benefits can be shifted away from dealing with bad lifestyle choices. These changes need to be made to Medicaid and Medicare and all forms of health care investment.

Lets zero budget ALL existing federal subsidies (including tax loopholes) and only add back those that make sense to the country.

We need to take a much more realistic view of what we can afford and what we can deliver, and a much more pragmatic view of what we want to accomplish with the investments that we do make. This calls for sacrifices to be made in non-critical areas. All the sacred cows have to be on the table.


Maciek said...

Steve, why all the doom and gloom! Our bridges are falling down? Our levies are bursting? These are natural cycles.. The GFC, like the weather, climate change and world wars are just natural cycles. Sure they vary in frequency and amplitude, but no matter how bizarre and how unprecendented an event seems at the tume, sure as shit the seemingly overwhelming impact eventually passes and then.. eventually, it re-occurs.

On social security I'm with you.. Scale back on the handouts! On healthcare, also.. Let's focus on living healthy and productive lives. But I'll challenge you on the longevity one.. You're just 64 - let's see if you share that view when you're 84.. Or 94. Assuming your mind's still with you, what will you give then, for just a few more years?

stevemid said...

Maciek, I only yesterday (24 Sep 2014)saw the comment you wrote on my blog on Jul 2011.) Sorry! This is a blog I had abandoned. However, the thoughts of a friend should not be abandoned. I cant take credit for this but here are some thoughts on aging from an article in Atlantic Magazine that reflect my own.

…here is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long is also a loss. It renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived. It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.