The situation in the U.S. elderly

Have you ever wondered what is the floor? I found out about it on Tuesday morning, when he opened a stinking wasteland, formerly known as Washington Post. There, among the editorials was one — under the heading "The financial problems of senior citizens are exaggerated"Signed by a certain Charles Lane.

Curious coincidence happened. When I read this headline, I heard the sound of clanging and near my house came from the street. I immediately knew what it was — one of the beggars * spent his daily rounds through my garbage cans.

Several years ago in my town about every house there were two large blue tank for proper separation and storage of recyclable materials. Every Tuesday afternoon a large yellow truck rumbles releasing them. All week, I and my neighbors fill these tanks with paper, plastic, cans and bottles, and every day the beggar come to inspect the tanks and build something worthwhile five cents, for scrapping in a supermarket at the bottom of the hill. Most often, they are pushing shopping carts in front of him, which add up all they can find, but sometimes they are just a garbage bag over his shoulder.

These young people are not engaged, and even — middle-aged people. Beggar — old men and women, hunched, wearing worn-out clothes and shoes. They rattle through my trash gnarled arthritic hands. Some — white, some — Asians, some — negros. Digging in the garbage, as well as poverty knows no ethnic boundaries. I wave when I see them, but they rarely respond, either because their vision is too weak to see me standing on the porch of a gentleman, either because they are ashamed to admit that I can see how they are forced to do so for their survival.

When I heard the clink and clank of Tuesday morning, I thought about a bunch of cans of ginger beer, which forgot to put out. I hastily threw them in a bag and walked out onto the porch. She leaned in a blue tank to the waist, and when startled, drew back, he heard me, her eyes was fear. She probably thought that I was going to get rid of it. Probably, such cases often occur. I walked over to the railing, opened the package with the banks in front of her, and she took them without a word. Her face was furrowed with wrinkles, like a map of the time, and she could not bring herself to meet my eyes. She put the bag with the banks in your shopping cart, but I watched as she thundered down the sidewalk next to the tanks.

When she was out of sight, I went back inside and continued to read that Charles Lane tells the story of an easy life in the old America. He started with this:

"Now that Paul Ryan, the author of the most important proposals to transform Medicare is going to run for president from the Republican Party, the battle for the obligations of the federal government to the elderly citizens is just beginning. From the outset, I declare that I admire and love the elderly. My parents — the elderly. I hope someday I'll live to be old, and live in this state for many years. But I do not feel sorry for the elderly, as a contingent, and you also do not have to.

In particular, you should not let an exaggerated picture of their economic vulnerability — Campaign Medicare, which Democrats have launched in the past, but now resumed — overly influence your thinking about the politics of law."

"Right," Mr. Lane? Did they not teach you the value of words, while studying at Harvard and Yale? If something has been paid for years of hard labor, it is not a "right." It is a fair and well-deserved return of long-term investments. Exaggerated picture of their economic vulnerability? Is it possible to overstate the economic vulnerability of older people in America? People with at least one disease, if not many — in a country where medical care and prescription drugs — wildly expensive goods. They no longer work, and do not receive health insurance from an employer, they have only a small financial protection, for which previously paid by investing in social protection money from each of his salary. The greatest majority of older Americans are forced, with cries of Abraham, save every penny just to survive.


"75% of Americans are aging on their pension accounts of less than $ 30,000. ** Phantom of the impoverished pensioners — threatening reality, both the medium-earning workers, and for many, earning. Almost half of the medium-earning workers — 49% — at retirement will be poor or near-poor, who spend on food for about 5 dollars a day."

Lane's arguments are based on a confusion of questionable statistics boundless and assumptions that, it is not surprising, resulted in an unpleasant conclusion:

"Sooner or later, politicians will have to consider the elderly voters as potential sufferers, as well as wealthy and successful citizens who can and should contribute their share to the resolution of the state of financial distress. In other words, take them who they are."

Notice how the rhetoric Lane converts Occupy-motion, with the line when he says that older people "can and must contribute its share to the resolution of the state of financial difficulties?" That's right, ghouls … do not tax the rich. Do not tax the bankers and Wall Street. Do not touch the insanely hyped "defense" budget. Instead, it is better to push the most vulnerable among us, shove them under the pressure of his callous and boundless greed conservative. Yeah, let's "assume them who they are" — only these enticing victims.

I believe that it makes no sense to be surprised. In the end, it was Charles Lane said after a deadly head wound Rep. Gabrielle Giffords that Rep. Giffords condemn the union workers of Wisconsin, if she "could not speak properly".

But you see, what's the matter. Recently, these ruthless sycophants, like Lane, whispered jokes about to come under fire Gaby Giffords and the elderly, who need to collect like ripe plums in the sleeves. They did not even bother to mask his anger in the future, and now that Paul Ryan joined Mitt Romney's campaign, we can expect such an even greater extent. After all, it was Mr. Ryan has built his career on plan to destroy Medicare, while protecting the "defense" budget from cuts. All that Mr. Lane did his fine article harmful — it poured into the hands of Mr. Ryan. Pleasant acquaintance with Republican priorities in the style of the XXI century.

It is a national shame when the old man is forced to rummage through garbage because of a few pennies to survive. The fact that every day millions of older people teetering on the sharp blade of economic ruin, after they fought in our wars, protected our world, our country was built, decades bent back at work — nothing more than a banal and shameful fact. The fact that the system of social assistance to which they have spent their entire lives paying the full cost of it, has become the object of the Republican attack, should give pause to anyone who plans to live longer than 65 years. Mr. Lane said that older people are living too well and that this argument is undeniable, but with these statements we are required to argue in an era when such people as Paul Ryan seriously.

I wish you to live a long, long life, Mr. Lane. I wish you to be very, very old … and when in search of cans, you'll be digging through someone's trash, maybe you remember your own words and find a sense of shame.

Source: «William Rivers Pitt: Beneath the Bottom of the Barrel» ("William Rivers Pitt: On the bottom of the barrel").

William Rivers Pitt — editor and columnist Truthout, Journalist New York Times, the author of the books: "War on Iraq: What the Bush team is hiding from you", "The greatest rebellion — the silence," "House of ill repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and the destruction of American power." He lives and works in Boston.

Photography — from photo essay on American homeless.


* At the source — «Can People» — people collecting empty cans, I do not know how to translate more accurately.
** 46% — have less than $ 10,000, 19% — 0.

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