A MINORITY VIEW
BY WALTER E. WILLIAMS
RELEASE: WEDNESDAY, MAY 18, 2005, AND THEREAFTER
RIPPING OFF THE SYSTEMHow many times have we heard advertisements from law firms that specialize in elder law urging, "If you anticipate that you may have to enter a nursing home down the road, an elder care attorney may be able to help you create a plan that will both protect much of your assets and make you eligible for government benefits"? Boiled down to basics, the lawyers are suggesting that they can arrange for you to live off others should you ever require long-term care instead of having to spend the assets you've accumulated during your lifetime.
The quest to allow senior citizens to live off others doesn't stop there. If you're a senior citizen, you might be eligible for property tax reductions, subsidized prescription drugs, reduced fare on public transportation, and all manner of merchandise discounts. Don't get me wrong. I don't have anything against older people. In fact, some of my best friends are over 70, including Mrs. Williams. Let's do a bit of analysis of efforts to assist the elderly, but let's use our brains instead of our hearts.
According to a 2003 Housing Vacancy Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in conjunction with the Current Population Survey, 42 percent of Americans 35 years of age owned their homes compared to 80 percent of those 55 and older. The bureau's May 2003 report, "Net Worth and Asset Ownership of Households: 1998 and 2000," shows that excluding home equity, the median net worth of householders 35 to 44 years of age was $44,000 and that of householders 70 to 74 years of age was $120,000.
The bottom line is that seniors are far richer than their mid-life counterparts who are in the workforce paying income taxes. They're being taxed to care for those who are not only less likely to be in the labor force paying income taxes but are wealthier than they. That's a particularly perverse form of income redistribution -- until we give it a little more thought to find out who's really being subsidized.
Since older people are not in the labor force, they might be income-poor. But since they've been around a long time, many have
accumulated significant assets in the relatively illiquid forms of housing and financial equity. If an older person needs long-term care, he might be able to finance it through the sale of his accumulated assets. Thus, if we subsidize his needs, we really subsidize his heirs. In other words, government programs that pay for various needs of many elderly people simply allow elderly people to preserve their wealth so as to be able to bequeath to heirs.
Some elderly people find that their Social Security or job pension check might not provide them with enough money to meet all of their needs. However, there are deals they can make with banks called reverse mortgages. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) highlights the various kinds of reverse mortgages where the bank or some other financial institution gives you a loan based on your home equity. You continue to live in your home, and when you die, your heirs are
responsible for paying back the loan plus interest.
Of course, there's another, more traditional, alternative for older people. It's the one found in the Ten Commandments: "Honour thy father and thy mother." There was a day when children cared for their aging parents. Parents used to die in the homes of their children. Often today they die all alone in a hospice room. There's less honoring of parents. Why? Through the tax code, children can force someone else to honor their parents.
Thanks to Walter E. Williams, George Mason UniversityDepartment of Economics : http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/wew/articles.html
Dr. Williams web address is email@example.com
Dear Dr. Williams,
I agree with you. There is another rip off for elderly people that originated in Ohio called "Sex With Slaves". This is a wealth acquisition program that does not rip off just blacks or whites but is in practice in nursing homes as a Fun program where elderly people in nursing homes have sex with whores who use someone else's Social Work or nursing degree to begome employed there, then in many cases inject the victim, and inherit the victim's wealth. This is a new relative. The problem was discovered here in Ohio and the complaintants are generally female because more females than males acquire Social Work and Nursing degrees. This accounts for another large fraud string. Unfortunately, I have a Social Work degree, but never worked in a nursing home. Many people became affected by this, and this is now supposed to be an illegal program. This for some reason was hard to stop in Ohio and may be there in other states looking for victims. This is why a prostitution string got in in Ohio to be a part of the hub. If you try to get legal support after becoming a victim of this and see how ostracized you become in affected areas. I write a blogspot called Born To Be Miserable located at http://www.BornToBeMiserable.blogspot.com. Best Wishes.
P.S. - this particular program may have started out again as a black reparations for slavery program against whites. You, a "minority point of view" need to come online in the Columbus, Ohio area, if you dare - to comment about this 'development'.