As I help my wife transition from our “private” medical insurance (I put this in quotes because our current insurance is a plan provided by something called WSHIP—Washington State Health Insurance Pool—more on that in another posting) to Medicare, a sense of resentment rises in my mind at the fundamental corruption of this system.
Just as with Social Security, all of the government payments for Medicare, are fact, an extension of the debt obligation. Not only is there no actual money in the Social Security “lock box”, there isn’t even a lock box for Medicare, just continued debt extension.
There was a time where I kept a spreadsheet of my imaginary personal Social Security account balance, including an imputed interest rate. The premise in my mind was that, up to the point where I was done drawing on the balance in that account, I was taking back my own money that I had put into the “system”. I finally came to the conclusion that this was a fig leaf for my conscience, allowing me to ignore the fact that I was complicit, along with most of my conservative cohort, in tolerating the immediate transfer of all FICA withholding to the general fund. How ever many years I tolerated this known practice exhausted the years of “justified” withdrawals I was modeling from Social Security. The fact of the matter is that I tolerated the taking of my and my fellow citizens’ life energy (in the form of earnings) to be given, without due effort, to third parties who had not earned the money. All moral claim on the funds taken from my earnings has long since been irreversibly compromised—thus the corruption.
The sense of resentment arises due to the fact that, except for the very rich, a person reaching 65 years of age is co-opted into the de facto welfare system of Medicare. Certainly rich people like Rush Limbaugh and Edward Kennedy (just ignore the fact that he’s accepting medical welfare in the form of taxpayer funded health insurance) can afford the luxury of self-insurance, but most folks, including my wife and I, cannot realistically undertake such a financial risk.
Conservatives must take the lead in driving for a total privatization/personalization of retirement-stage matters such as medical insurance and post-employment income. The current systems being tolerated amount to voluntary enslavement by individuals in return for hollow promises of “security”. If other-enslavement is morally reprehensible, self-enslavement is morally abominable. Our lives are a gift from the Creator, improved by our parents, to be lived responsibly. They are no more ours to be sold into bondage than is the life of another. Until and unless conservatives concede their complicity in toleration of the current condition, we will have no moral authority to demand sacrifices of others, being unwilling to assume those burdens ourselves.