Bankruptcy U.S.A.: Medicare, Greed and Collapse (July 5, 2006)
Knowledgeable reader W.N. sent in this account of just how disconnected from fiscal reality-- and responsibility--our Medicare system has become: (my emphasis in bold)
"I witnessed a series of events not long ago that fairly bludgeoned me over the head with all the weight of exactly why our National Debt has spiraled out of control.As the chart above reveals, here is the very definition of a system running headlong toward the cliff of national bankruptcy. People with millions in assets pay virtually nothing (if your income flows from investments, you pay zero into Medicare--that's only for wage slaves and the self-employed), while the bills are paid with borrowed money. (Much of the stupendous Federal Deficit can be attributed to skyrocketing Medicare costs and that gift to the Pharmaceutical industry, the Medicare Drug Plan.)
Meanwhile, who benefits from such an abjectly unfair system in which the rich pay nothing for their own medical care? Their heirs, of course--the Greediest Generation, the Baby Boomers.
Here is the chart of complete fiscal irresponsibility. We all want gold-plated, top-notch $250,000 per person medical care, yet we also want the lowest tax burden in the world. Uh, do you see the disconnect? We as a nation are living in a childishly short-sighted, utterly illusory world in which galloping medical care costs can be paid with borrowed money forever--the bill will never come due, at least in our lifetime.
Nice--but what about our kids and grandkids? The Greediest Generation doesn't give a fig about future generations--their sights are set on inheriting Mom and Dad's wealth in its entirety--never mind paying for Mom and Dad's medicare care. Low taxes and gold-plated medical care for all! Deficits don't matter! (Thank you, Mr. Vice President, for perfectly capturing the ethos of the Greediest Generation--deficits don't matter, because I'll be dead when the bill comes due. Hahahahahahaha!)
There is another way: require people to pay for their own medical care if they have any assets. "Pay your own way"--is that really so morally reprehensible? I can state categorically that this is possible, because my Mom just paid for her lifetime care, in cash. She sold her house, took her entire equity (about $150,000 or so) and used that money to buy into a lifecare facility. That lump sum (plus monthly fees, of course) enables the church-run facility where she now lives to fund the care of its residents for their lifetimes.
You see what's wrong with this: her heirs (me and my brother and sister) don't get a dime of her home equity. And we couldn't be happier. Why, it's an outrage! Don't we deserve to inherit every dime of her assets, without a single dime of taxes being paid? Why didn't she scam the system by giving us the house five years ago and then throwing all her care expenses on the government?
For more on this subject and a wide array of other topics, please visit my weblog.
copyright © 2006 Charles Hugh Smith. All rights reserved in all media.
I would be honored if you linked this wEssay to your site, or printed a copy for your own use.