Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Failure of Previous Generations

As I sit here writing, watching TV and waiting for my wife to go into labor, I wonder about failure. More specifically, I wonder how my generation will fail our children. My parent's generation (Boomers) and their parents (WWII) have failed us. A couple of examples are energy and health care.

The failure in energy is that they couldn't muster the strength of character and will to do what was needed after the 1970s oil crisis. They did start the buying smaller cars, but it didn't last long enough to make the lasting changes needed. Now it's 2009 and we have a economy that's in the toilet. We're bailing out automotive companies that didn't see the writing on the wall because we weren't smart enough as consumers to see that gas might go up a lot one day. Our parents didn't remember the lesson of the 1970s to teach us. They believed cheap gas would be here forever. (When my wife and I bought a car this year, we didn't buy a gas guzzler.)

Health care is another issue where they've failed us. I don't care if you're a Republican or Democrat. You are to blame. (Party loyalty is another joke.)

The Boomers are in the process of retiring. They're going to get health care via Medicare. While they get theirs, they're leaving their children and grand-children behind. Premiums are going up. It may not be seen because the employer is covering the costs, but that's less money in our pockets.

This isn't the only problem. On average it used to take six months to find a job. Even before the recession, the time to find a new job was increasing towards one year. This has special implications for health care. An individual/family can go no more than 6 months without health care coverage before pre-existing condition causes issues with your new coverage.

I had hoped that the health care bill coming from Congress would provide a reasonable public option but it's not going to be. Once again Democrats and Republicans have screwed over their children. They didn't do what really needed to be done which was to prohibit employer provided health care plans.

The current system relies on the employer providing the health care coverage. Why does it have to be this way? My employer doesn't provide my car insurance. I buy the coverage that I need for my car. I have to buy it or I can't drive my car on the road. The money for health insurance should go into my paycheck.

This system is a throwback to the company town where the company owned the town. The employee lived in the company owned house and bought groceries at the company store with company provided scrip. This system makes the employee beholden to the company and probably reduces the number of people attempting to start small businesses due to inability to buy coverage. (Try buying coverage on the open market with pre-existing conditions and see how bad/costly the policies are.)

Oh well, you reap what you sow. Medicare payments to doctors may be slashed up to 21%. This may force many doctors to not accept new Medicare patients. (I saw this first hand a few years ago while sitting in my doctor's office in Va Beach. They told an old lady that they didn't accept new Medicare patients.) Even the doctors are scared about going on Medicare. The irony is fantastic.

But [Dr.] Hagan himself became Medicare-eligible this month -- and he's nervous. "If I accept Medicare for myself and my wife, I'm fearful I won't be able to stay with my cardiologist and my wife won't be able to stay with her physicians," he said.

I wonder how my generation will fail our children.

Update 1:
The article What a Long, Strange, Thoroughly Obnoxious Trip It's Been will probably offend you if you're a boomer. It's an even more scathing look at Boomers and Hippies.

Update 2:
Here's another example of how Boomers don't get it. I think that it shows the real disconnect between Boomers and their children/grand-children. Peggy Noonan is talking about how no one believes that politicians have answer anymore. I don't believe that anyone of my generation believes that politicians have the answer anymore, if they ever did.

Boomers are looking for salvation in their politicians. As Boomers die off, expect political party affiliation too mean less and less. Democrats or Republicans probably aren't prepared for this. Political party affiliation is becoming less about ideology and more about not putting in the same ol bunch of idiots every time.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Jeremiah 17:5

This is what the LORD says:

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who depends on flesh for his strength
and whose heart turns away from the LORD.
He will be like a bush in the wastelands;
he will not see prosperity when it comes.
He will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
in a salt land where no one lives.
“But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”