Saturday, June 18, 2011

Cost rising/life expectancy dropping in US relative to "socialist" Europe

The Washington Post reported that life expectancy is dropping in the U.S. relative to Europe. And we spend considerably more per capita in America to do considerably worse.

Of course the small percentage holding most of America's wealth are worried that their wealth may be taxed to pay for public obligations like Medicare and Social Security, as they once were in the bad old Communist days of Eisenhower and Reagan. Their private hope is that people who need help will quietly die off first, that working people will die earlier and cheaply and not become "a burden." If the middle class becomes poorer, they too will die earlier and cost less, their retirement will be shorter meaning less will be drained from corporate pension and insurance funds, leaving more money for the people who now have most of it.

This is a cynical strategy, but, let's face it, wealth is cynical. If wealthy people don't like to think this way they hire people to think this way for them. Wealth takes a cold view of things. Wealth owes its loyalty to narrow calculations of money and its preservation. We shouldn't kid ourselves that these calculations aren't being made. Recall the cynical sale of securities that were designed to fail, securities which the bankers were simultaneously shorting on the market, earning millions from their customers' losses. These calculations do take place.

Is it "Socialist" to recognize this? Is it "Socialist" to honor pledges to American citizens? Is it "Socialist" to make sure the healthcare system delivers its care, including the miraculous advances funded by tax dollars, to all of its citizens?

Make no mistake, there are still extremely wealthy people in Europe and Scandinavia, and they show no indication of wanting to move here. In most modern industrialized countries there is a social contract and a strong sense of the public good, things we seem to have abandoned in this country.

If there is a protected class that everyone seems eager to protect it isn't the middle class or the working class or even the poor; it is the very rich. (Here in Minnesota the Republican Party is hoping to eliminate 36,000 public sector jobs to preserve the special low tax rates of 48,000 very wealthy Minnesotans. And they have the support of millions of average people to do this. Republicans are also dumping thousands of poor people from their state funded health plans.)

When you see what is happening, it's no wonder life expectancy is dropping in America. The losses have only begun. And who is it benefiting? The irony is that the money saved isn't being invested here in America. The "patriotic" tax cutters and entitlement slashers are quietly taking those savings and investing them in China and other emerging markets. They certainly aren't creating jobs in America. How patriotic is that?

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home