Sunday, December 26, 2010

Less Spending on the Elderly?

Like most people, I really love my mom and dad. Every morning, as part of my daily prayers, I give thanks for the great parents that they were. Mom stayed at home to take care of us, was deeply involved in our Boy Scout and Girl Scout activities, and was PTA president, for example. Dad was a gentle giant, strong but quiet. The outdoors and baseball - those were his two great interests, and he did his best to teach me about them, and much more. From both mom and dad, we learned values: honesty, hard work, thriftiness, respect, the importance of education. We didn't have much money, but we wanted for nothing that really mattered. Mom and dad did everything a person could have expected from good parents.

Dad passed away a few years ago, after an ugly battle with lung and brain cancer that - in the end - had him in diapers and constantly saying cruel, hurtful things. He was in great pain, mentally and physically. That wasn't the real him, and not the way we wanted to remember him. Mom's 85 now, and not doing so well. Dad really spoiled her, always took care of everything, always looking out for her. With dad gone, mom's gradually gotten worse. Her physical problems have increased, and now she's having a lot of mental issues. She's become rather childlike in some ways, more selfish, but also more paranoid, stingy, and very, very forgetful. It's getting more and more difficult to care for her, even as she refuses to go into a retirement home or get full-time help in her own home.

It's not a pretty picture in other words, and my sister and I wonder how we're going to deal with it all if she lives another 2 or 3 or 5 or 10 years. Surely it won't get much easier.... The other part of this, though, is the realization that we're heading in that direction ourselves. Looking at what happened to dad and is happening to mom, we can't help but wonder: "is that us in a few more years?". Yikes! We all want to go out like my grampa did: 86 years old, sitting on a bench waiting for the bus to take him to my cousin's house for some fresh pies she just made. Apparently he had an aneurysm or something, and just plopped over dead. Until then, he'd been living on his own, healthy and with his wits about him. But based on mom and dad's experiences, we know that we can't count on such a pleasant passing.

So it's not that I'm unaware of the problems that old people have. Nor am I someone who doesn't value the elderly and their contributions to society. And finally, at age 58, I'm on the cusp of elder-hood myself, and obviously have a personal interest in what happens to senior citizens. But I think we pay way too much money on their (and soon - my) health care, and that's a huge problem for our country. It's a problem because the U.S. is in terrible financial shape and it's getting worse, a big portion of the problem is tied to spending on the elderly, and if we don't do something drastic - and soon - we may well end up with something that makes the Great Recession of 2008-2010 look like the good old days. Mostly, it'll be the young who suffer the most from all this.

Our federal government's deficit will approach $15 trillion in the next year or so, a number so huge that we can scarcely comprehend it. Interest payments on that amount, which is certain to rise even more in future years, is around $600 billion per year. That's $600 billion that can't be spent on education, defense, better roads, health coverage, etc. - each year. Yet even $15 trillion doesn't tell the whole story, as state and local governments, corporations, and individuals are in debt by another $45 trillion or so (http://grandfather-economic-report.com/debt-nat.htm). Total annual cost for all U.S. debt? Something like $3 trillion in interest, per year. Problem is: those numbers are headed higher and are reaching the point where the U.S. system as we know it may no longer be viable. You think unemployment, outsourcing, outdated infrastructure, home ownership, and the cost of a college education are bad now? Stick around.

The elderly's role in this, which by the way is NOT the same thing as saying their blame for this, is based on a number of factors that all result in them getting a larger and larger share of the national "pie". According to the Cato Institute, spending on the elderly was about 24% of all federal spending in 1980. Twenty years later, it was 35%, and is estimated to be 43% in 2010. As Cato puts it "The elderly will elbow aside all other citizens as they seize the bulk of the federal budget" (http://www.heartland.org/custom/semod_policybot/pdf/13279.pdf) Just to be clear what this means, they also said that "High consumption by the elderly (will be) funded by the young". Now the Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank with its own bias and agenda, but everybody else seems to say much the same thing on this issue.

Most of this spending on the elderly is on health care and/or is a result of improved health care over the decades. Because of better living conditions and greatly improved (and very expensive) health care, people are living much longer now. Because of that, they're surviving long enough to receive many more years of Social Security payments, and have many more years to benefit from Medicare and Medicaid than those programs were designed to support. Meanwhile, overall health costs have soared astronomically, so those additional years of health care for elders get increasingly more expensive. Cutting back on elderly health care spending won't solve the nation's debt problems, but along with limiting other old age benefits, it's a good and absolutely necessary start.

The earlier reference to bigger piece of the pie is a way to refer to the basic truism of economics: there's not enough for everybody to have everything they want, so society needs to make choices. It would be an over-simplification to say that we can spend either on the young, or on the elderly. But sadly, that's kind of what it boils down to. I say the elderly have had their turn, and we ought to focus less on extending their lives even more, and spend our money more on other things. And remember - I say this as a loving son of an elderly woman, and someone who will be elderly himself in a few years.

* * * * * * * * * *

The other part of this is there's a ton of money being spent on keeping sick old people alive longer than Nature intended or, in many cases, they themselves want. As a result, we get people who are 80 or 90 years old who've had great lives, but are just falling apart physically; it's their time to go. But we don't let go and instead insist on trying every medication, procedure, or operation to keep them going another month, another year. Billions spent every year just on that kind of medical care; billions that, if we had unlimited money and the elderly themselves wanted it, would be great to spend. But we don't, and in many cases, they don't.

My wife's mom Katy is a good example. Katy was a truly wonderful woman and an even better mother. She made it into her 90s and, naturally, started having more and more medical problems. A nurse in her younger years, she knew a lot about various conditions, treatments and so forth. In her final years, she didn't like getting hauled off to the hospital, getting poked and prodded, awakened every hour throughout the night, etc. She'd say "please don't take me to the hospital; I'm tired, just let God take me if he wants me." But nobody listened, and so Katy did live an extra few years. Years that were full of pain and hospital stays, years that cost many tens of thousands of dollars. She was so happy when the doctors said there was nothing else they could do. Katy knew she could finally be at rest; they gave her heavier and heavier doses of morphine, and she just peacefully slipped away. Finally.

I don't want to go out like that. Or in constant pain, wearing diapers, with no hope of recovering. I don't want to shuffle around in an old-folks home either, just waiting to die. But yet that's what I probably have to face, with our current attitude that it's quantity (number of years) that matters more than quality (of life). Not that I advocate the old Eskimo solution: give an old person a little food and then just leave them in the wilderness to die of cold. But at least in that model, society could use their resources where they'd do the most good (on the young and the strong), and any suffering was short-lived - in some ways a more humane and sensible solution than what we do now, IMO.

My wife and I, we're in perfect agreement. Neither one of us wants to end up in diapers, stuck in a hospital bed, or shuffling around drooling in an old folks home. We've made a pact; if one of us gets to that point (or ideally, before that point), the other has to take them out. Yup. Drive them up to the mountains and finish them off. Then finish themselves off, because society doesn't condone assisted suicide yet, and neither of us is going to spend their last years without the other, and in prison to boot. But don't get me wrong: we love life and really hope we have another 20 or 30 years of good living ahead of us. But if not...we've each had nearly 60 wonderful years of life, and if we were to die tomorrow, we're OK with it; we've had a great ride!

Of course as a society we're much too civilized to do anything like what the Eskimos did now, or what the Streblers have promised each other. Besides, lots of people want to live as long as possible, no matter what.

I'm not offering any specific solutions. It's a very, very messy business indeed, deciding how to cut back on health care for old people so that younger people have their chance at a decent life. But I'm saying we need to start thinking about this; it shouldn't be a taboo subject that nobody will consider. Because if we don't, the country's entire future is in grave danger.

38 comments:

Elizabeth Kenyon said...

I know that our country owes a lot of money right now. It's hard to find places where we can cut money because the majority of people don't want to give anything up and in our society we need to move forward. If we don't want to get beat by the Chinese, we can cut the budget for schools. Cutting money from the ederly would be a possibility, but just as you said, the majority of people don't want to even consider it. In my mind, it doesn't feel right, but we need to cut something or else we'll just get buried and buried with debt. It makes me sad to think that but it has to be done.
My grandfather has had melanoma skin cancer for over 20 years, each time they find a tumor, the doctors keep telling us that he might not have much time left. Somehow he always pull through. Maybe it's just because of his personality but someone with melanoma skin cancer for that long should not have lived that long. It makes me sad to think that he will be leaving us soon because of the cancer and his age. Just as your wife's mom, he would prefer that nature would come and take him away. For some people, keeping them alive in the hospital may not be the right thing. I know that it's hard to let the ones you love go, but returning to the budjet crises, has to be done. If they aren't going to live much longer, why bother with useless treatments when younger children might need the money for other medical treatments.

Elizabeth Sykes said...

I can feel your pain concerning relatives that are living too long for their own good. I have had experiences with grandparents dying peacefully, as well as suffering for too many years beyond what they should have.
The dilemma with the people wanting assisted suicide is similar to the deal with Terri Shiavo about ten years ago, about how ethical it is to let someone off their life support if they are living as vegetables, incomfortable and unable to enjoy life.
Long term care is a part of the solution for future generations, but for now we have the problem with the Baby Boomers (sorry Streb). Our spending can't be 24% like it was in 80's since our elderly will be a much larger percent than that era, but 43% is too much. I might be biased because I want to take care of old people, but cutting on elderly people too much isn't fair (but then again, what is?).
Either way we go, I can't pay for everyone's SS checks!

Andrew Weaver said...

I think that the elderly have the right to live full and wonderful lives. However, when they are ‘alive longer than Nature intended’, that’s definitely when the plug needs to be pulled. I’ve seen what some people who live that long are like. They’re at a complete loss for what’s going on around them and have seemingly no rhyme or reason to their actions. It’s a terrible thought. I know that I would rather be dead than be like that. I think it’s immoral to keep people alive when they are in severe pain that will obviously never go away.

Alan Tam said...

I respect old people since they did survive the Great Depression, World War I and II, the Cold War, and many more. But now, it's time for the young people to their opportunity to have wonderful lives. This horrible economic sitatuion we're currently in surely affects everryone, but it affects the young people more than the elder people because the young people will most likely have to deal with the horrible economic condition for the rest of their lives if the situation doesn't get any better. I thought cutting the budget from the elder is probably the best way to alleviate the economic deficit considering the problems that U.S. has been suffering.

Iman Khatib said...

Of course everyone wants to live a long life and not get into diapers when they get old, but hey, its the inevitable truth. There's no doubt in my mind that elders should be taken care of and if they want, be put in an elderly hime shelter where they can shuffle around with their pijamas all day, not really talking, and eating mash potatoes. But putting elders on plugs so that they live longer is just wrong. like i said, everyone is going to die eventually so why waste all of that money on these types of situations when you can spend it on something that will help much more in the long run. I think that there should definitly be some funds in for the old people, but some of those funds have GOT to be cut down.

Prince Pableo said...

The statistics of medical care for the elderly is quite on the uprise in government debt, but our parents have given everything for us and it is quite cruel to just leave them with no medical support. If they choose not to be medicated, then by all means respect their decision. Life is an ongoing cycle, people come and people go. The economy is going rough times in this day in age, but we must always remember the elders and support them. It does not even have to be related to money, just love them and cherish them because before you know it, they will be gone.

Xavier Naranjo said...

America's Huge debt that our generation's going to need to pay back is a serious problem, however the elderly shouldn't be cast off to the arctic as the Eskimo method proposes. We have the duty to take of our elderly as best we can without raising the already ridiculously high debt. A solution to this problem could be found in the problem itself; age. One way to reduce the cost of all the government programs that subsidize the medical costs of the elderly is to raise the age at which you're considered elderly. As mentioned in the blog people are living longer these days; so why not make people wait a little longer to benefit from these programs. Another solution is raising the retirement age a few years this would let those ready to retire save up a little more money and save us some money. Our society owes a lot to the elderly they're to ones who helped get us where we are today and without them we technically wouldn't exist so go old people!

Xavier Naranjo said...

America's Huge debt that our generation's going to need to pay back is a serious problem, however the elderly shouldn't be cast off to the arctic as the Eskimo method proposes. We have the duty to take of our elderly as best we can without raising the already ridiculously high debt. A solution to this problem could be found in the problem itself; age. One way to reduce the cost of all the government programs that subsidize the medical costs of the elderly is to raise the age at which you're considered elderly. As mentioned in the blog people are living longer these days; so why not make people wait a little longer to benefit from these programs. Another solution is raising the retirement age a few years this would let those ready to retire save up a little more money and save us some money. Our society owes a lot to the elderly they're to ones who helped get us where we are today and without them we technically wouldn't exist so go old people!

Gianni Naranjo said...

Our country is in a debt so large that it will not be fixed for decades to come. But cutting the pay from the elderly just does not sound right. It is a natural instinct not to want to die because we all want to enjoy lives with our loved ones. I have lost family members too and it is not a nice feeling. I never met the grandma from my moms side. People say she was the nicest person you could have met. Sickness took her from my family when i was about one year old. I would have loved to have shared times with her but i would never have wanted to see her in pain. Life in a hospital like the one your wifes mom did is not a nice life. It is selfish of us the family to dare to try to keep her alive in pain if she is ready to go. Why would we put them in pain to have the pleasure of being able to see them? Each family should care for their own parents like the parents did for them. It is not fair to have them care for you for 20 years of your life and you not be able to care for them for just a couple of years. Once the citizens start to care for their families, the people the gov will have to support will be less and so the debt will go down. Also it may be possible to make the elderly wait a little longer to receive their healthcare. At the age of 60 I've seen old men playing baseball and working. It is not impossible for them to hold a job for a few more years. The American people just don't want to give up what they already have, all of the benefits. So in short we should indeed cut back on the money being spent on the elderly.

Ann Molin said...

I definitely agree that too much money goes to the care for the elderly. This statement sounds worse than I mean it to be, but it's the truth. I understand people who are afraid to lose their loved parents or grandparents or elderly friends and I'm sure that if I were in that situation, I'd find it impossible to let go, but sometimes it needs to be done. If that person wants to be done with life because they are satisfied, let them. By keeping them you are hurting them and spending a lot of money. But if someone feels the immense desire to live, then they should be allowed to live; it isn't another human's place to deal out death.

viridiana murrieta said...

I agree with other peoples thoughts and also with the strebler pact. Its cute how you guys made a pact, but anyways I think the rich people have to just stop being so iggnorant.To look at other people around them not just themselves because rich people dont worry about this.I think its about time we cut down on how rich people are being payed.

Jordan said...

These days, people are living so much longer than they really need to. With all this debt the country is racking up, spending so much money on the elderly is starting to drive us into a dark and depressing future, the way I see it. It's understandalbe in the fact that some people aren't ready to let go of their loved ones, but they themselves are in line for possibly the same fate: ending up in a retirement home, in diapers or on a hospital bed, as you had mentioned.
On another note, the idea of a husband and wife deciding to kill each other once they enter their middle ages surprised me. I know you agree with the fact that it's uncivilized, but it still could happen with its problems. Choosing to pass away when it really is your time to die is a better option, IMHO. Living longer than your 60s is fine, but to live any longer than your 70s is really unnecessary.
If 43% of the country's federal budget is being spent on the elderly to this day, then that's way too much, especially with our enormous debt. It's not that anyone who comments here has anything againsta elders, but our country is in a crisis and we need to find better ways to take a step to solve the problem.

Dustin Pina said...

Even though many people may say that taking money from the elderly is unethical its one of the only options our nation can do. Like others I appreciate and respect our elders but I agree that we should decrease the amount of money they receive for health care. I believe that the health of our elderly is important but in order to steer the economy back to were it was we must do something.
One of the things you wrote about that I found very interesting was about how the United States dose not allow suicide. I believe that if someone is in there full state of mind and has a serious medical condition they should be able to control wether they live or die. By letting people control wether they live or die the government can potentially save millions of dollars throughout the long run.

Anonymous said...

After a long and happy life which they could be content with, why take the peaceful ending away? Along with large amounts of money that could be put to a better use.
Speaking somewhat for the generation that will pay off the elderly debts, expenses and what not, I think the Eskimo solution is too much of an extreme, but they’re on to something. At an older age most, don’t have children and some even grandchildren as dependants of their income a.k.a. the income provided by the government. In other words, I agree with having to limit their benefits. But I also agree that after years of hard work and doing their part for society or taking part in the newer generations upcoming, the elderly deserve decent living standards, like the government’s way of saying, “Thank you for all your work”. However it’s like the blog states “IF we had unlimited money and the elderly themselves wanted it, would be great to spend.” But the reality is that the nation’s economic situation is unable to provide that. Principally because of the growing deficits that annually keep adding to our national debt.

Anonymous said...

Spending less on the elderly is wrong. It made me feel sad because we should respect them and take care of them. However, we should not be letting money go to waste on something that is not worth spending. Keeping the sick elderly people alive goes against nature. They lived great years and its time to let nature do its job.
-Jazmin Juarez

Marissa Camp said...

I believe that the elderly are needing to be spent on but not that much, spending 43% of our on the income is ridiculous. With aging comes more problems but, technology is becoming too advanced for the human body with incurable conditions like cancer. The young children that have cancer has increased since the 1980's due to environment, food and unknown reasons. Those are the people that the government should be giving money to not the elderly. Yes elders have cancer and it is worth time and money to let the elderly survive. But, when the cancer is in the 3-4 stage, the body at that age is capable to live. Don't let the man or woman go through the pain, just let them die in peace by a love one or naturally. They have lived their life's with dignity lets have them die that way.

I also believe that everyone has a choice, to live through chemotherapy or not.ToI live and not to live is only by one choice and I think that some people lose that concept when thinking of loved ones. When a elder reaches an age they pick a family member to make judgements for them if they are severely hurt. Most chose their son or daughter, of course they want their mom or dad to live and become selfish. And they lose sight of their parent feelings, they think of them being incompetent. Everyone will die and at that moment to make a decision like "pull the plug" don't be selfish because you love them, only think of them.

Samantha Ayala-Lucio said...

What is sad about all of this, is that we have to look at the ugly truth. The U.S. is not capable of spending more money by the way things are shaping up. It is sad because elderly people are amazing because of the experiences they have gone through all their life. However, like it is mentioned in the essay, they had their long run already and it's the turn for our next generation. Furthermore, it is not like we are going to cut back a lot, because some elderly don't want nature to take them and they still want to live and it would be ethically wrong if we took everything away. Personally, I don't want to end up in diapers or in other words I don't want to depend on someone, when it's my time, it's my time and I can't stop life from taking it's course.
If we don't do something soon, the U.S. will be facing more problems than we are at the moment. Yes, it is the ugly truth of it but we want our country to progress as well, and cutting back to the elderly will benefit us as ugly as it sounds.

Anonymous said...

I am sure some of the comments made may be offensive to some but they are the sad truth. Spending money of the elderly is sometimes really just a waste of resources. I agree with your perspective, when the old get to that point where they are nothing more than a burden, when they are just there on diapers we need to be able to let go. Indeed sometimes they do not even want to be here so if we really love them we should be able to let them go so they can finally rest right?
-Francisco Madrigal

Anayeli said...

I don’t think I would mind spending money on the elderly. They have been god citizens who have contributed greatly to our government and society. They took care of us when small and now it is our turn. It is true that it is very expensive to take care of an elder person but they need the care and attention.

Rachel Maheras said...

I with the point about how lots of the money goes towards the elderly and their health problems. I think that it isn’t the elderly that are the ones pushing to live longer, the root cause of this is the family that loves them too much to let them go. I think that Mr. Strebler’s idea for him and his wife to exit the world is a pretty good plan.

Francesca said...

There are a lot of reasons for this huge buget crisis in America, and I dont think that the elderly are entirely to blame. Sure, we do like to keep people alive well past their expiration date, but sometimes it's dishonest to just give up on life. You may say that you just want to slip away peacefully now, but what hapens thirty years from now when you might not be ready to die? If we do what we propose and cut back on elderly spending, many people might not even have the option of extending their life for a couple of years.
I say this from an entirely unbiased standpoint. Everybody has grandparents and I know that in my family, someone calls my grandmother everyday to make sure that she's still kickin' it okay. "Not in my backyard" doesn't apply to many teenagers my age, although they are probably aware that we are going to be the ones paying off this huge defecit until were 80 ourselves. But I think we should be cutting back on things that dont put people's lives in jeopardy.

Max LaMonte said...

Elderly people make up a large part of our society, and as medical technology is advancing that part will increase. Just because someone is older and a bit senile does not mean that they do not contribute to society, however, I feel that it is most rational to start making budget cuts in funding for life continuation over the funding for our education. It makes more sense to invest money in the front end (our development)than the back end (slow deterioration of elderly). Pretty soon there is not going to be much money left for either due to the steady rising of the national debt, so the sooner politicians and citizens alike begin delegating the changes that need to be made to Medicare and social security the better. Everyone deserves to enjoy their golden years in comfort, but not to the point where they are sucking up money for procedures just to live another month, as the essay said. The youths are the ones who have to fix these current problems and try to live with them, and thats where the federal budget should be going.

Cameron Teel said...

The elderly, in my opinion, should save up their money for future expenses. The government should stop spending money on Medicare and other expenses that aren’t that necessary. To improve our countries deficit we should not take from education like what we are currently doing but keep it with education. In turn to cut from the elderly because most are fortunate to live off of what they have saved. I have a lot of respect towards old people, for lasting through rough times but I believe it is time for the young people to have wonderful lives. Another spot of potential budget cuts are the bureaucrats that want to just line their pockets with our taxes and not to the original programs that were voted on in the past. This economic state is affecting everyone, but it affects the younger people more than older people because the younger people would have to deal with this horrible situation most or all of their lives if this situation doesn’t get better. But the best way to alleviate the deficit is to cut from the elderly and over paid bureaucrats, seeing as the United States has a lot of problems. In conclusion, remember the saying that children are our future and if our future is to be bright then keep the money on them.

Rosie said...

I believe that it all starts when you're young. The elderly generation today is the first to use such great technology, that keeps you alive longer. Which is great! Yay for America we have learned how to live longer Woo! ...But how long is too long? Which seems to be the main question of your blog. How much more money do we need to spend on the dead? I believe in order to solve this expensive unhealthy long life, we should put money in to the young and invest in their health. So in fifty years and it's time for that new heart people won't need it anymore. People will be able to go camping, drive, and be normal just a little longer than drugged up angry grannies today.

I give all my respect to not just my grandmother but to yours and others as well. I love my grandmother with all my heart and I am proud to say she is healthy little old lady.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with your article that the elderly should not get as muchmoney as they do and I have a personal famiyl experience to explain why also. The elderly have had their time and its time for the new guys to step up. In order for them to step up the extra money is necessary. So i completely agree with you.
- Eddie Sanchez 3b

Mariella Monroy said...

Of course everyone wants to leave peacefully, and in the best health condidtions possible.Although this may not be the way most of us will go, but one can only hope. The elderly have all of my respect they've gone though many experiences in their life, but it dosen't seem fair for them to be having 43% of our income spent on them. like we are always told "you are the future" we at least need a good foundation to start with. it wouldn't be fair to not have one, while our elderly generation did get the chance of a good start.

Anais said...

Even though our country is having to cut spending, the fact that we have to cut spending on the elderly and all of the other public benefits, that most people have come to know, it's still pretty sad that the ones who suffer are those who have worked their entire lives to retire and live happily after working for so long. It seems like such a dissapointment as a citezen. However, if we look at the other side, cutting spending in other places has been done, so the elderly are not the only ones being affected, students are as well as the government continues to cut spending on education. Either way someone will be affected by all of the cut backs, and theres no way to ensure that no one is hurt by them.

Anonymous said...

The elderly are receiving way too much of the budget. i mean almost 50%. that too much and there are other things that our budget should go to like education, roads and etc. the elderly have already had their turn to leave so they should back off and let the young people have their turn.
-Iman Khatib

Samantha Hurtado said...

This essay is a real eye opener for someone unaware of the impending battle between the elderly and the young generation. The elderly have earned the right to a comfortable retirement after a lifetime of hard work, and they are being denied this as the economy deteriorates. Meanwhile, the young generation struggles to find jobs, much less buy a house and begin their lives as they had hoped. I feel that cutting back on elderly people's benefits is not the fairest choice, but it is a possibility as the beginning of a solution. As for forcefully extending older people's lives, I can understand both points of view. One doesn't want to let go of one's loved ones, especially knowing there is more one can do, but this can cause the elderly person to reach a point of suffering and loss of dignity, where they just want to be left in peace.
The struggle to balance the well-being of both the young and elderly generations is not an easy one.I suppose that we just have to brace ourselves for whatever comes next,because both sides can't have what they want.

Kristen P. said...

The elderly deserve a full and happy life, however, there is a point where it is their time to go. Wouldn't be better for them to end the suffering instead of living another couple years tied and chained up to various life support systems? If you think about it, nothing is the same anymore. People of my generation have a high chance of being provided with social security, something that many are lucky to have right now. The economic situation is in a terrible state, and spending on the elderly should be cut down, but not completely off.

Melinda Sevilla said...

The elderly have earned the right to have a comfortable retirement and last few years, so why were we taking so much money from the people who needed it most? I understand the argument that people want the best for the young people as well, but to be honest, I’d rather see my grandmother live in a nursing home with all of the support that she needs her last few years and me with worse health care than me with great health care that I don’t really need at the moment while she suffers. Society needs to make choices. We don’t have enough money to pay for all of the things we considered luxuries in the past. Yeah, that is a shame, but we need to figure out how to stop spending all this money we don’t have. My argument is just that I think cutting money from the health care of the elderly should be the very last thing we cut.

Lizzie Hall said...

I completely agree with this essay. I really like your perspective on life, and your comments about how the elderly are treated caused me to reflect on elderly people I have known personally. I realized that I too know people who have spend a ton of time in the hospital before they died who would have rather spent that time enjoying the end of their life in peace. It should be the choice of the individual, but I feel like these days family members make the decisions.

Maria Mendoza said...

I agree that cutting the budget on healthcare would best benefit America’s deficit. Even though this seems like the most simple option to alleviate our country’s deficit, I don't think that this option is possible. Everyone has people that are dear to us that are very old. People want to extend the average life span, but in doing so, many elderly people suffer from progressive illnesses as we continue to keep them alive at any cost. A lot of money is spent on maintaining their well-being, but I agree that there is too much money going into extending their lives.

Gabriela Peralta said...

More people should make the pact that you did Mr. Strebler because in the long run its better for families and the economy. people are so scared to live without their loved ones that they don't stop and think about the choices they are making and whether that is actually the best for the elderly. The economy has improved since this essay, but its still very unstable and the amount the government spends on the elderly is ridiculous considering that they are already old and are in a lot of pain. but i guess that the government can't deny human life and that's why they are deciding to spend so much on the elderly. hopefully, everything will get better in time and the economy as well as family problems will be less.

Elise Polk said...

We do spend quite a lot of money on elderly, when we could be spending it on other things that will help build up society like schools and highways. I really like how this essay is written in a narrative form almost, talking about your parents as an example. I agree that most people don’t want to live that long, so that they’re not a burden to their families. My dad told me once that when he gets old, he doesn’t want me to take him to the hospital all the time if it becomes a regular thing, just like your mother in law, Katy. I don’t want to live to the point where I can’t remember things anymore. Not that I want to commit suicide as you mentioned, but I don’t want to spend my elderly days hospitalized. So I agree that we should start spending less on our elderly because no one wants to live miserably.

Cameron Teel said...

I believe that it all starts when you're young. The elderly generation today is the first to use such great technology, that keeps you alive longer.To improve our countries deficit we should not take from education like what we are currently doing but keep it with education. In turn to cut from the elderly because most are fortunate to live off of what they have saved. I have a lot of respect towards old people, for lasting through rough times but I believe it is time for the young people to have wonderful lives. Another spot of potential budget cuts are the bureaucrats that want to just line their pockets with our taxes and not to the original programs that were voted on in the past. This economic state is affecting everyone, but it affects the younger people more than older people because the younger people would have to deal with this horrible situation most or all of their lives if this situation doesn’t get better. In conclusion, remember the saying that children are our future and if our future is to be bright then keep the money on them.

Chantel Heard said...

I love my mom, and I would love to spend as much time as I can with her before she dies. But I want that time to be memorable and peaceful. If she gets sick at an old age, I don't think I would want her to go through treatment to get better because a lot of times the treatment is more painful than the illness itself. We've had the talk many times of how she wants to go peacefully, she's only 42 but it's apparently something she thinks about a lot. I believe that retirement and elderly homes should still exist, however, I don't know if we should be spending so much keeping elderly people alive with money that we truly don't have. I don't mean to sound cold hearted, old people are great and all but that money could go to investing in the future of our country. I agree that cutting spending from the elderly isn't much but it is a good start.

Anonymous said...

Right now I think that the problem is that we have too little power to protest against the government's authority. Sure, we can always say that we have all these due processes that make it so that we have all this power, but in terms of de facto, this power seems to be illusionary.

But the fact that the government has all this power basically makes is so that they can do, for the most part, whatever they want.

Therefore, they can afford to spend all that they want towards the old and quite honestly, the "past-time" of America and neglect the young/new-age. I don't blame them for it - if I were in their shoes, odds are I would do the exact same thing because whatever happens to America after I die is of little to no concern to me. But just because I accept it doesn't mean I like it.

Also, I thought I should raise a point regarding the percentages - it could be that healthcare for the elderly is the one portion that hasn't shrunk (in comparison to the other portions) and so there's a sense of increased spending for old people.

For instance, if originally a person was spending $25 out of every $100 towards healthcare (and the rest goes to food), but then their food got subsidised or whatever, and so they only had to spend 30 dollars on food, then the percentage would increase from 25% to 83.3%. Obviously this is highly exaggerated, but the point's there.

Crazy Asian, BL - Period 3B