In the 1930’s, Social Security was for those over the age of 65. Very few people lived to be 65. Smoking wasn’t going to kill you, old age was. Penicillin and new medical treatments later on in the century extended our lifetimes tremendously.
Back in Abe Lincoln’s time, health care wasn’t a big expense; you either died or got better. Today you can exist in a coma for years; premature babies can cost 100k apiece. The personal concept of paying for it all doesn’t exist. Just who pays for all that is another story. Now we have government health care for those who can’t afford it. The private insurance companies can see the handwriting on the wall; you can’t compete and undercut the price of government programs, the government doesn’t have to make a profit to survive. Look for private health care to fade out of existence.
Home ownership after WWII was considered a God given right. Private financing with acronyms like GSE kept the game going for 50 years. This financing plan has pretty much collapsed. The Federal Reserve and Congress stepped in to provide the funding to keep the ball rolling. When the game started, you needed a 20 percent down payment. Just before the collapse, the banks were writing loans to anyone that could fog a mirror. Now the government has extended the “fog a mirror” program; of course you have to “buy” one of the zillion homes they now own.
40 years ago, government jobs were very low paying. Most people went to work for private industry. Of course many people started working in government to get some experience and then jumped into the private sector. In today’s world, the government does surveys to figure out what to pay employees so “they won’t lose them to the private sector.” They weren’t really losing anyone at that pay rate; they were inconvenienced with the fact that they had to train a new employee. Yesterday’s low hire government employee is today’s retiree with the Rolls Royce health and pension plan.
When I went to school, it wasn’t hard to flunk a grade and get set back a year. I remember a guy graduating in my senior class, was 21, real nice guy, he was more into cars, girls, cigarettes and beer. He had a great time in High School. There were probably 4 straight A students in my high school with 800 students. My son who graduated from high school last year was a straight A student, as were many of his class mates. There are so many straight A students in today’s world, that it is meaningless. No kid left behind has pretty much trashed the educational system. The kid selling drugs on the sidewalk is getting more of a math lesson than the stoned kid in class who bought the weed. Success today, is guaranteed to our children; then they hit the reality of the real world, after graduation.
When the Constitution was written, there was the right to bear arms. If you ever want a fun time, try to load and fire a flint lock pistol from that era. When you pull the trigger, the intended victim has about 1 ½ seconds to dodge the bullet--- the flint hits the steel which lights the gunpowder in the flash pan, which ignites the powder in the barrel, which launches the bullet. It could probably misfire one out of three times. It’s not much like the weapons they sell in the gun stores today.
The invisible issue here is that things change over time very slowly. But our perspective doesn’t. We still see the program in its original design. The change has escaped us, but the penalties haven’t. The bill is coming due and everyone has all these entitlements they have been promised. It’s kind of like enjoying a full meal in a very expensive restaurant and informing the waiter that the next person to sit in your chair will pay your bill. The waiter will have none of that no matter how indignant you get. Reality is right around the corner, let’s see if we can kick the can that far.