When they became too old or too sick to work they became Jesus' problem. If they had no family to take care of them they starved or lived on charity, or they froze in their beds as Jesus would call them home in the winter by the thousands. The illness known as pneumonia was called the old people's friend because it delivered them up to Jesus so quickly.
Things were changing in the magical land; industry was replacing farming and the children were leaving their parents behind for the bright lights of the big city. Jobs were plentiful and for the first time ever working people could buy stocks and get rich just like the tycoons and captains of industry. On the farms manual labor was being replaced by tractors and machinery. The farmers were encouraged to buy more land as these conveniences made it possible for them to double or triple the amount of land one man could farm. Only that to do that the farmer had to go into debt to buy the land and the tractor.
Being in debt wasn't so bad, as it could be paid off with the increased profits from farming more land. Then one day it all fell apart and the kingdom was thrown into ruin. The King suggested giving loans to the tycoons and speculators, but when asked what he should do about the poor farmers and those out of work, the King said, "Nothing! Our people are proud and industrious; it would damage their spirit forever if I, as King, were to assist them now.
The King soon abdicated in shame and the people chose a new King. The new King faced an economy crushed flat, millions of unemployed and millions of hungry and millions of elderly.
The new King proclaimed, in a grand proclamation from the castle balcony, "Whereas all of the Kingdoms across the great ocean have developed a scheme for taking care of their elderly through a payroll deduction, so shall we in our kingdom."
The King just smiled at them and answered, "I just created millions of jobs! These elderly will now leave the working economy and their jobs will be taken by young workers."
As the years went by something magical happened. It was just as the king said. Instead of working until the day they died, the elderly could retire, opening jobs to younger workers. Because the elderly no longer had to depend on their meager savings alone, they could buy food and a decent home. The elderly were no longer the poorest citizens in the kingdom; they began to buy retirement homes in the warmer parts of the kingdom. Land values soared. Construction boomed in these parts of the kingdom. Whole cities sprang up to service the needs of the elderly.
These elderly bought recreational vehicles and traveled the kingdom. They took cruises and spent their money throughout the economy. Their prosperity created more jobs than their numbers and because of the wise King the elderly went from the poorest demographic in the kingdom to one of the wealthiest. For generations the elderly venerated the memory of the wise King who had showered them with this wonderful proclamation. Few ever realized that their retirement program wasn't about helping the elderly; it was about helping the young and about creating jobs.
So it goes in magical kingdoms; back here in reality we count shekels and praise Jesus. When our economy turns sour we consider what we can tear down to protect us from the storm. We sell our pocket watch to buy bombs and missiles or we sell our hair to buy a new watch fob.
Last month Barack Obama named a committee to study ways to get the federal budget deficit under control. Obama named a Republican and a Democrat to co-chair the committee. He tasked them to look at every option to lower the deficit except, of course, the defense budget.
Folks, this isn't some raving, wild-eyed, neo-con Republican; this is the Democrat that Obama appointed to co-chair the committee. When the Democrat in charge begins by saying, "We're going to mess with Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security." Republicans have a hard time hiding the erection in their pants and the working people in this country had better get out the KY jelly because you're going to have a painful time sitting down.
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are programs with no cap on them. If you live to be a hundred and seven you still get your retirement check and health care. So, if there is no cap on services why is there a cap on paying into the system? Do private health insurance providers say to their customers, "No, you've paid enough"