Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Perhaps We Ought to Kill Grandma

In a pretty harsh but perhaps entirely on target post, Ira Rosofsky insists that senior citizens are pretty darned selfish when it comes to health care:
Polling by the Annenberg Institute indicates that old people have historically been the most opposed to spending more on healthcare for children.
When I taught American/Texas Public Policy back at TTU, I learned a great deal (having never studied American politics or policy before that), including how distorted public spending is on folks over 65 when compared to those under 18. "Children are our future" is just so much hogwash. The reason, of course, is that senior citizens vote, and those under 18 cannot. I am not advocating that kids should have the right to vote, but perhaps the senior citizens ought to think about other folks than themselves. Not going to happen, but I can dream--I am still young.


Steve Greene said...

I read that, too. I'm not that sure senior citizens are so much more selfish than anybody else. They just have more political influence to go along with their selfishness. You, however, are a selfless narcissist :-). Seriously, though, what do you think is the correlation between selfishness and narcissism, as they are are obviously related, but distinct, constructs.

Ellen Saideman said...

Actually, the age group that has the most problem with getting health insurance are 18-25, who are not in college or graduate school and therefore are not covered their parents' employment-based health care. Between Medicaid and S-chip, many children are covered, or could be if their parents applied for Medicaid or s-chip.

Many in the 18-25 range see no reason to buy health insurance because they are health. Health insurers would love to pick them up as customers because they pay more for health insurance than they spend on health care. For most, the gamble works. But they are all one accident or one illness away from a serious health problem which will leave them with a pre-existing health care problem and leave them uninsurable unless they join a large group insurance plan.

Steve Saideman said...

Selfishness is worse than narcissim since the latter focuses one's attention on oneself where as the former is defined as wanting more for oneself than for others (thanks to an ultimate teammate for pointing that out).

THe old folks are not necessarily thinking that they are the center of the universe (like I do), but, instead, are unwilling to consider sharing what they have with anyone else.
This is not only true for health care. You, of all people, could run the numbers on propositions/referenda that increase spending on programs for children (health care, education, whatever), and see that senior citizens, on average, vote against such programs.