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Refusing The Call; Will selfish Seniors hand over the USA's future to China?

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I've got news to bear. Many will regard it as bad news. But really, all it is, is news.

That hours-old newborn is going to die. It's a sure thing; I'd bet on it. Sometime within the next 150 years that kid is toast; because of ever diminishing available land for cemeteries, literally, toast.

While I was living in a 55+ mobile home community in the south Tampa Bay for three and one-half years I was acquainted with an old woman, in her late-80s. I received word a few days ago that at 94 she's now in hospice. While I knew her, her days were spent in the small, dark and gloomy old trailer she never left, sitting six-inches away from her television set, staring at repeats of golf tournaments on the golf channel.

My current next door neighbor here in Palm Springs will soon be 90. Because she is somewhat hard of hearing, her son was speaking loudly. He was trying to persuade the old woman to stop smoking . . . for her health. Stepping outside for a cigarette is one of the very few reasons she leaves her trailer.

Perhaps 20 years ago, while I was living in San Jose, the sister of an acquaintance was dying of cancer. I had decided to pay a visit to Alexian Brothers Hospital, where she had been confined for a few weeks. As I got off the elevator, the howls of her agonized screams filled the corridor. The room was cramped with the woman's husband, her grandmother, and sister, and the attending oncologist. As I was standing just outside the door I saw the husband, awash in sobs, pleading with the attending physician to do "whatever it took." Money was no object. (Of course it wasn't, insurance was covering the tab.) It may have been another two weeks before the woman died.


My own mother, following my dad's death, had moved into a very lovely independent living condo in Dearborn. The Detroit Lions' training facility was less than a half-mile across the parking lot and field. The community offered daily transportation to a nearby shopping mall. One day, with a bag containing the box of new shoes she'd just purchased, as she was stepping onto the bus, to return to her condo, my mom dropped dead. On the spot. She'd shopped "til she dropped."

Was I the least sad? Hell no! Despite the grief I'd given her, as the oldest of the three children she'd had and raised, she'd had an amazingly great life. You die! Face it: we all die. Now, had she been cooped for years in a darkened trailer, fated to spend interminable days staring at a television, or in some protracted agony . . . That would have been sad. And, from my perspective, an insidiously stupid and delusional waste of money: devoting scant social resources trying to keep anyone alive, when what he or she is doing is not living, it's in the throes of dying, frequently terribly and ignominiously.

Understand, I am not endorsing "Death panels." Well, maybe I am; sort of. Dying is what we do. All of us. And diverting the billions upon hundreds of billions to the quest of keeping us alive (Alive? That's not living!) an additional few weeks or months, when those same monies could be devoted to our youth; the future of all the promises we'd made, from the moment we, as adults, began that heterosexual horizontal boogey in the sheets, is as morally corrupt as anything my mind can conjure.

Three decades or so ago I was visiting my 65-plus year old parents in the Detroit area. My father, then retired from Ford, where he had been a designer-engineer, while destroying good steaks (My mother liked hers shoe-leather well done.) in the backyard barbecue made a comment that surprised me. "Ya know, Ed, the greediest, meanest folks are seniors. They have a sense of entitlement that's out of all proportion. And they don't want to give up a cent of it for anyone."

The entire preceding came to mind this morning as I was reading "A growth lesson from China" in the Washington Post, by conservative columnist George Will. (click here=nl_opinions )

The column had been provoked by Obama's submission a few days ago of his proposed $3.8 trillion federal budget, and the extraordinary strains that our Medicare expenditures are placing on us presently, and that, unless significantly reined in, will make of the United States a second-place economic entity, behind China. Pulled into focus by Will were data that had been elevated to the discussion by Nobel laureate, economist Robert Fogel.

"The financial per capita [health care] burden at age 85 and older is nearly six times as high as the burden at ages 50-54." And "the financial burden of health care for ages 85 and older is over 75 percent higher per capita than at ages 75-79." Fogel observed that 100 years ago, older Americans suffered more severe chronic diseases that had commenced a full 10 years earlier in the life cycle than what we see currently.

Will then noted what we all know as a fact of life: There is a direct, positive correlation between the severity of ailments and the costs of halting the downward progression. To support that obvious truth, he again drew upon Fogel. However, "five years before the year of death, annual health cost is virtually the same as all annual Medicare costs per capita, by the second year before death the cost has risen by about 60 percent, and in the year of death the annual cost exceeds the average by more than four times." And that "expenditures on persons during their last two years of life account for 40 percent of all Medicare expenditures." (Emphasis mine.)

Another factoid cited by Will, from Fogel, was that, at the turn of the 20th century, children under five accounted for one-third of all deaths, whereas now, due to dramatic medical advances, that astounding figure is lower than 2 percent! Also, at the turn of that century, the deaths of those past 65 comprised 18 percent of all mortality, currently it's 75 percent.

"There will be blood" was a movie title. The lifeblood that's seeping steadily from the American economic corpus because of our established Medicare priorities is stealing from our children and handing the future to China.

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An "Old Army Vet" and liberal, qua liberal, with a passion for open inquiry in a neverending quest for truth unpoisoned by religious superstitions. Per Voltaire: "He who can lead you to believe an absurdity can lead you to commit an atrocity."
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As someone a generation older than you, I've got a... by Margaret Bassett on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 7:02:15 AM
Indeed you make some good points about the tragedy... by Nana P. on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 12:11:02 PM
First, let's save money by getting out of these st... by Bia Winter on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 9:22:01 AM
I've seen this one before!... by Shelby on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 12:13:23 PM
It just doesn't seem right, that such a huge propo... by Rob Kall on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 12:17:10 PM
You may not be aware of that but current attitude ... by BFalcon on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 12:45:08 PM
"I went to check out a new casino a mile away from... by Skanner Constant on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 12:52:32 PM
And just what will the "productive" elite be doing... by W Lorraine Watkins on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 4:52:39 PM
Here we have reasonable people agreeing with perha... by cosmic J. on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 10:14:48 AM
You should be much more careful before making thos... by BFalcon on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 12:41:55 PM
When the likes of George Will, Richard the DICK an... by weslen1 on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 12:48:36 PM
To me this is a disgusting and ignorant commentary... by W Lorraine Watkins on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 12:55:49 PM
It is suggested by Ed Tubbs that Granny should opt... by HarveyY on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 12:56:36 PM
been as defined by Marx, more like a select ologar... by Stanimal on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 2:02:36 PM
But you are truly attacking the wrong person here ... by cosmic J. on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 10:34:44 AM
I was visiting my 65-plus year old parents in the ... by Kevin Anthony Stoda on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 1:01:23 PM
Life is precious, and not to be bartered off by sh... by Rafe Pilgrim on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 1:02:10 PM
I've been an RN since 1975. About 50% of that time... by Nancy Miller on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 1:04:36 PM
I just pointed out that a lot of people are alread... by Rob Kall on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 9:26:06 PM
some things are not debatable. and you are incorre... by peggyn on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 11:42:25 PM
Rob, perhaps you've been working too much of here ... by cosmic J. on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 10:55:33 AM
on the politics, economics, and morality of carryi... by mhenriday on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 1:38:47 PM
It's the family who must be strong. The vast major... by Adam Smith on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 1:49:19 PM
they should not continue to do so till the cost an... by Stanimal on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 1:49:39 PM
Hands down the very worst article I've seen at OpE... by Your Friend Fairpay on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 2:19:52 PM
My problem with Ed is he will live in a looney bin... by Larry Tierney on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 2:23:57 PM
While we're at it, why don't we stop saving babies... by Judi on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 2:38:02 PM
one of the worst articles I have ever read on oped... by michael payne on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 3:20:36 PM
Except, to be fair, many seniors are the biggest b... by Bia Winter on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 9:41:00 AM
There's an old saw that, "A progressive is someone... by Kyle Griffith on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 3:24:04 PM
To really live is to dance the opposite in your... by Theresa Paulfranz on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 4:11:45 PM
First of all, in China, kids don't dump their pare... by Dave Lindorff on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 5:20:30 PM
You are blaming the victims, Ed. Seniors get the s... by Eugene Elander on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 5:21:57 PM
First of all, in China, kids don't dump their pare... by Dave Lindorff on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 5:32:46 PM
I once knew a black lady who was a very poor mostl... by Theresa Paulfranz on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 5:33:45 PM
Okay, sooner than later as it's the "agenda" for t... by shirley reese on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 5:40:59 PM
I have survived the treatment but of course was fa... by Janiece Senn on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 6:05:42 PM
As Internet links cannot be included in "Comments,... by Ed Tubbs on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 6:12:51 PM
Sorry for your wounds. But I didn't ask you to go ... by W Lorraine Watkins on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 9:04:33 PM
Who are these selfish seniors who want be kept ali... by Judi on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 1:14:18 AM
That's what I heard goes to the military and these... by Bia Winter on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 10:02:47 AM
It literally . . . okay, not literally, it figurat... by Ed Tubbs on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 6:26:59 PM
You are totally wrong to assume that others who ac... by michael payne on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 10:25:15 PM
You are so far of left field you're in orbit. Keep... by cosmic J. on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 11:33:22 AM
You are so far of left field you're in orbit. Keep... by cosmic J. on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 11:56:28 AM
Basically you don't understand the real situation ... by BFalcon on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 1:32:41 PM
Healthcare costs are ballooning to the point where... by Richard Pietrasz on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 7:14:12 PM
Do you believe that unnecessary procedures and tre... by W Lorraine Watkins on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 9:22:16 PM
First - Excellent article Ed. I wrote a similar ar... by Doc "Old Codger" McCoy on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 9:18:51 PM
My real deal is opposing the notion of euthanasia ... by W Lorraine Watkins on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 10:25:03 PM
You are opening a new can of worms here. The discu... by Doc "Old Codger" McCoy on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 12:18:09 AM
There IS NO question.Thereisonlythis:You.do.not.ge... by Your Friend Fairpay on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 12:51:30 AM
Oh it's a whole new can of worms for a wealthy whi... by W Lorraine Watkins on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 8:36:30 AM
Those who are experts in the field should present ... by BFalcon on Monday, Feb 8, 2010 at 6:02:39 PM
You are a Naz*!! You are vile and just one horribl... by Betty Mowery on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 9:46:13 PM
Iran OR Cuba...take your pick!... by Bia Winter on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 10:43:03 AM
Iran OR Cuba...take your pick!... by Bia Winter on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 10:43:51 AM
The author is DEAD WRONG factually on the defense ... by Your Friend Fairpay on Saturday, Feb 6, 2010 at 11:36:58 PM
I beseech you, People. Go to Youtube. Search this:... by Your Friend Fairpay on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 12:11:46 AM
" Your Friend Fairplay"There seems to be a problem... by Theresa Paulfranz on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 6:26:02 AM
A. Your lemmings story is A MYTHB. Malthus was WRO... by Your Friend Fairpay on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 6:58:50 AM
Your discourse is indeed mythology and bears littl... by W Lorraine Watkins on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 8:46:59 AM
...as our only system of population control? Sound... by Bia Winter on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 10:51:42 AM
Up front let me say I'm a fundamentalist Christian... by Recce1 on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 6:08:47 AM
I believe this article is so bad it is now incumbe... by Your Friend Fairpay on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 7:20:28 AM
It just doesn't seem right, that such a huge propo... by Margaret Bassett on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 7:24:34 AM
Only those who see the big picture are awake. - He... by Your Friend Fairpay on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 10:14:35 AM
What a calloused moron you are, I can't imagine wh... by Judi on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 10:28:27 AM
...we have to keep our heads. Judi - the upside of... by Your Friend Fairpay on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 10:58:49 AM
it took her life three years ago. It also took any... by Michael Shaw on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 10:46:48 AM
In the above, I note the abdominal surgery that ha... by Ed Tubbs on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 11:03:25 AM
Could your reply BE more evasive or more lame?... by Your Friend Fairpay on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 11:21:50 AM
As a recent arrival to "senior status" and Medicar... by Alexia on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 4:11:21 PM
First, the title . . . not mine, as you can gather... by Ed Tubbs on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 5:45:29 PM
If 15% of a person's salary are taken out for 30 y... by BFalcon on Monday, Feb 8, 2010 at 6:19:26 PM
When do we decide when a person is too old to live... by liberalsrock on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 5:38:28 PM
First, the title . . . not mine, as you can gather... by Ed Tubbs on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 5:47:42 PM
What you say is true Friend, but I allowed myself ... by Judi on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 8:01:28 PM
The "selfish seniors" bit is a blank wall.... by Judi on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 8:05:24 PM
After giving this some thought, this piece was pro... by Judi on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 8:18:12 PM
I'm certainly through with Mr. Tubbs, Judi. He is... by Your Friend Fairpay on Sunday, Feb 7, 2010 at 10:06:44 PM
Is Ed Tubbs really Peter G. Peterson? Or maybe he'... by Your Friend Fairpay on Monday, Feb 8, 2010 at 9:54:55 AM
While I agree with the idea of Living Wills (I hav... by Larry Lawton on Wednesday, Feb 10, 2010 at 7:41:10 PM

 

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