Sunday, October 17, 2010

More Oppositisms -OR- You Can't Have it Both Ways

Marty, my father-in-law died of leukemia in 1959. My wife was four years old at the time. She has two brothers and a sister. He was a young father who probably never considered dying as an immediate concern. Because he was a union member, veteran and wage earner who paid into Social Security, his widow received monthly checks, two for each minor child, that allowed the family to stay in their home and grow into taxpaying citizens. Payments continued through college. Twenty years?

Marty's oldest son is now 58 and a CPA. You'd think he could do the math? You'd think he would recognize and appreciate the safety net that enabled his present success. You'd be wrong.

I don't know how he possibly rationalizes his political point-of-view. It's more than just a blind spot, it's full-blown selfishly militant. He's a dittohead, a Randian, a former Young Republican, worshipper of RWR, and now he has become a "don't tread on me" tea-bagger. I can't begin to tell you what this adds to family gatherings.

My own father was only 57 when he died. I was his youngest, 18. An Actuarial (or CPA) might argue that he got hosed by the system. After paying into SS for decades, he got nothing. I know that I was pretty angry at the unfairness of it all. My dad had been eyeing "early" retirement at 62, taking the diminished SS benefit and making the best of it.
Five more years?... Poof!

Descriptions of SS as a Ponzi scam are unfortunately apt, but shallow. As a retirement plan SS was a solid foundation. Far from something for nothing, it allowed generations to see past their working careers to the next phase of LIFE.
But like any money-pooling "resource" it has been under constant attack and criticism. It's also been targeted by those with little to no concern about safety nets and tomorrows.

Social Security's biggest plus and minus was that it was PROTECTED. It provided SECURITY for the working class. It also created a new, dependable voting bloc. This could not stand.

People generally see Medicare as pandering to that voting bloc. In reality it was the way into the program. The conservatives' Trojan Horse. Medicare stopped Health Care reform dead in its tracks in the 60s and opened the door for insurers and FOR-PROFIT health care providers access to a previously unavailable funding source.

Few would argue that medicare hasn't been good for seniors, but at what proportional costs? Medicare's growth, driven largely by insurers and a F-P health care industry
brought instability and uncertainty into the social security debate.
Instead of seniors, thankful and loyal to the cause, fear of loss was injected into the equation and fully weaponized by its wielders. The rise of Big Pharma and the runaway HCI profits are directly tied to the money pool of SS. Through money and influence under the guise of "helping seniors", reaping the harvest of distrust sown consistently since FDR, the conservatives are nearing their wet-dream of a quasi-feudal society worthy of their rank and privilege. Delusional. Thinking that the long history of disgruntled masses can be mounted and ridden.

Health care for seniors is their means to their end. Their society will be based on a value/worth system that all but guaranties an uncivil future. As architects and archetypes of this opposite world, they cannot hide their design. They will run out of ways to blame DFHs and the victims of their scam for its shortcomings. So why are they allowed to perpetuate the myth? Why are the still the shrillest voice and not held to account? I watch with pride as my daughter dismantles her uncle's arguments point by point. Why is that task not just as simple nationally?

Why is it impossible to stay on topic and not bite at every utterance emanating from the blowholes? In the end, why are our LEADERS so easily lead astray by transparently opposite rhetoric?

1 comment:

amber ladeira said...

It's difficult to have contentious
political discussions with anybody, especially family. I've had those too, especially during the Vietnam era. Sometimes I was too insistent, challenging authority, when older,
better-established persons thought
"Wiser heads than ours are running
things", which made me crazy, because that was patently untrue, recently revealed by the Johnson and Nixon Tapes--the way they discussed matters with their advisers, the lies, lack of logic,
their common, (reread: low-class) uneducated prejudices.

The demolishing of illogical arguments is an ongoing, always-and-everywhere arduous task, but your daughter sounds bright and compelling enough to attract
her uncle's attention; as you know,
nationally, the conditions are
scarcely the same.

I'm benefiting now from Social
Security; Medicare saved my life through Cook County Hospital's
cancer care intervention. So I'm
naturally VERY grateful. It's the current demographic disparity between workers and recipients
which the conservatives are so
effectively exploiting.

The people you and I dislike, say,
Newt G., for example, had heyday
ascendancy until the average voter
realized their message was lacking
and threw them out. That will happen again, which is inspiration
enough to keep fighting.