Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Social Security

So I was debating about what to write today... should I write about Social Security, or should I write about SLS? Social Security won. Watch for an SLS post coming soon.

This particular post is likely to make some people angry. Just warning you. Except... very few people read here, so perhaps I have nothing to fear.

I have some strong opinions, just ask my husband.

For one thing, I think birth control ruined marriage.

I am with the Catholic church on this one. Not that I embrace the Quiverful Movement. I don't. But I still think birth control ruined marriage. When science enabled us to separate the act of sex from the act of procreation, something sacred was lost. No longer was a vow of commitment imperative before a couple embarked on a sexual relationship. Sexuality became divorced from love, and something died that will never live again.

That's all I'm going to say about that, because this post is about Social Security, not birth control. Nevertheless, I think birth control ruined marriage.

I also think that Welfare ruined the poor. (I can just imagine the seething that will ensue if certain people run into this post...)

My parents grew up poor. Really poor. But their parents did not fall into the safety net of Welfare and thus, my parents worked hard and rose up in the world. Granted, their families were only poor because of the Great Depression; they did not come from generations of poor, uneducated, ignorant people. They had education and knowledge in their pasts, and this enabled them to dream and work, sweat and sacrifice. My dad worked for a painter when he was in college. He painted, painted and painted, all so he could pay his tuition. The painter he worked for would call out to him from down a fume-filled hall, "Hey Rainbow! Do ya think you'll ever amount to much?"

Welfare should not have been so bad. People should have used it to get a leg up and move on, amounting to something. But they didn't. Humans are intrinsically lazy and selfish, so if the government will give us enough to feed our faces, many of us are content to sit in a hovel with a TV and cigarettes for amusement and wait for a government check on the first of the month.

This is what the poor children learn... why should I try hard in school? The government check comes whether I do my homework or not. In fact, we get more money from the government when Dad moves out and Mom stops working. So why even try? Life is pretty bleak, but a good hit of drugs always makes me feel better. Whatever.

I could go on, but I will leave it at that because this post is about Social Security, not Welfare. Nevertheless, I think Welfare ruined the poor.

Social Security ruined families, and particularly middle class ones.

Do you want to know why?

Before "Social Security," one's social security was bound up in one's children. People raised their children with the thought in mind, "Some day I will be depending on these people for my own survival. Someday they will support me, and I will live in their house."

Now this was never true for the Very Wealthy, because their futures did not depend on their children, they depended on their trust funds and investments. And we saw what became of their children (read Brideshead Revisited if you want to see... or don't; it's a terribly depressing book).

When "Social Security" came along, people stopped seeing their children as their future. Heck, the government was taking care of their future. Their kids were, at best, a hobby. Kids became things to be petted, spoiled and indulged. Why should one struggle with discipline, teaching offspring to work hard and sacrifice and make good choices? It's so much easier and more peaceful just to let them have what they want. Why not? The government has our backs, financially.

I'm just saying. Necessity is the mother of invention...

When it was necessary for people to parent well because their futures depended on it, by and large they did a much better job of it. Self-interest is a powerful motivator.

When it became unnecessary to parent well, well, by and large a lot of people stopped putting in the effort. They redefined the main responsibility of parenting: instead of parenting to bring up good people, they parented to produce people who were always happy in the short term.


And since the next generation did not learn to work, only to gratify themselves and expect a reward anyway, and to fear nothing because the government will always come to the rescue with a check... oh dear.

So now the Social Security bank is broken. The country is going bankrupt. Far too few know how to work, or to budget, or actually to shoulder responsibility and pay for something.

I live in a nice neighborhood. Not a ritzy neighborhood, but a nice one. Yesterday I was in my van, turning into the development. In the nicely landscaped median at the entrance, where a brick structure proclaims the name of our location, beer bottles lay asunder amongst the dormant perennials. Signs of the next generation.

Are we having fun yet?


Hope T. said...

I am such an idealist. I agree with you about the Catholic stance on birth control. On life issues, I strongly lean toward dignity of all persons from natural conception to natural death and I think that that idea is strongly expressed in the Catholic church's theology of the body.

I am also an idealist about elder care and I had previously hoped that my parents and my mother-in-law would live with us if it came down to them not being able to care for themselves. Now that seems very impractical. With the kind of specialized medical care necessary for seniors now, as well as all the pharmaceuticals, it is hard for a couple to take care of their own parents on the medical front. It would also be very hard, if not impossible for them to support elderly parents financially. I don't know the answer and I am just as sick at heart about our society's treatment of the elderly as I am about the treatment of children but perhaps with the elderly, an overhaul of the healthcare system is the place to start.

We are not at this spot yet with our parents but my mother-in-law did have to be hospitalized twice this year and we are going to be facing some hard choices at some point.

That reminds me of another obstacle we face in our country. Families live so far apart. My mil's children are all scattered in different states and so could not all be involved in her care as would be possible if we lived nearer.

It is all very complicated and I am not sure of the steps we can take to get our individual families more in line with our visionary ideals but it is something that I think about quite often.

Ruth said...

Yes, I think about it. I try to come up with a plan where we will all end up living at least in the same metropolitan area. But my plans usually fail. I say, "We should sit down and talk about what city we'd all like to settle in, where you can all get the jobs you'd like."

Our insurance is so bad right now, I can't even imagine what healthcare will be like when I am old and even less able to navigate the paperwork and bureaucracy, as well as sicker than I am now. I try to learn as much about natural healthcare as I can, and then just avoid going to the doctor, hoping that in the end I'll die suddenly, without a long, expensive, complicated hospital/nursing home experience.

My own parents... I have missed them so much. I really do not like living so far away from them. After we bought our land, I dreamed and dreamed of building a house with a beautiful single level apartment for them with a walk-out to the back yard. I wanted to have them live with me and to be able to take care of them in their old age.

But I don't think that's going to happen. It doesn't look like we'll be building at all, due to circumstances that we've been waiting on for almost 2 years now. And even if we were blessed to be able to build the home I dream about, I doubt if my parents would move so far from their native home.

I have a fear that I will outlive my husband by a long time, based on family genetics. If that happens, I surely hope one of my children will take me in.