08 August 2012

Dependency


Some hack is complaining about how people who were promised that the government would take care of them are relying on the government to take care of them:
How much do senior citizens rely on Social Security? Even more than you might think. A new study finds that more than 46 percent of Americans die with less than $10,000 in financial assets, with many spending the end of their life strongly dependent on the government.
There’s a lot of stupidity in this first paragraph.

First, since you can’t take anything with you when you die, what good is it to have any assets left at death?  Yes, you could always leave an inheritance for your children, but if leave a certain amount of wealth to your kids, the government takes half of it, unless you’re crafty enough to spend a sizeable portion of your wealth on lawyers in order to not spend a sizeable portion of your wealth on bureaucrats and their politician lackeys.  Furthermore, your kids could waste your inheritance because you were a terrible parent who didn’t raise them right, so there’s no point in leaving anything to them anyway.

Second, the whole point of having government programs was to pay for people to not have to worry about paying for things in their old age.  The government was supposed to provide for them.  How could anyone possibly expect others to refrain from receiving government benefits when the whole point of said benefits was to give them to as many people as possible?  (I, of course, refer more to social security than other programs, though I’ve yet to hear of any social spending program turn down money because it wasn’t interested in increasing its scope.)  Why begrudge people for taking advantage of a system that asked to be taken advantage of.
Why should low financial asset levels be a problem, then, if these seniors’ income seems to remain steady? After all, you can’t take it with you. With almost no financial assets, these seniors “have little capacity to pay for unanticipated needs such as health expenses or other financial shocks or to pay for entertainment, travel, or other activities.”
Again, the whole purpose of having government programs, like Meidcaid or Medicare, or, recently, ObamaCare, is so that people don’t have to worry about unexpected health expenses.  The government promised to step in.  Why should anyone be surprised when people start acting like the government is supposed to step in?

Also, a lot of the things on the list are completely unnecessary.  Travel, entertainment, and other activities?  Yes, these things cost money, but is it really so heart-rending if some old fart can’t buy tickets to Batman?  Or can’t go see the Grand Canyon in their own RV before they take the eternal dirt nap?

Really, this is a story about a non-issue that only matters now because the government is going broke and is going to have to find a way to cut the budget.  Of course, it’s hard to feel bad for those currently lamenting the problems seniors face today when a lot of these problems were easily predicted by those who opposed the government welfare programs in the first place.

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