Considering the constant need for scapegoats required by political movements today; in this time when the traditional bigotries are less effective then they were in the days of minstrel shows and segregated lunch counters, it's not surprising to see article after article telling us just how bad for everyone (everyone of course means Randian Rangers) it is to allow older people to survive past the end of wage earning, what with how much it costs us real working-folk (and parasitic political journalists) to maintain that surplus population. After all, back in the dog eat god golden age, people knew their place and had the decency to die in their 50's and 60's after a few years of abject poverty and disease - like God and the Conservatives intended. Too old to work? Die Grandpa, die.
We are asked by Liberals ( and how we hate Liberals) to tolerate the strain of civilized values on the economy these days, and those values require constant inflow to the Medicare and Social Security systems, but of course it's rarely mentioned that today's recipients have been paying into those funds for their entire working lives and that future recipients are building credit for themselves as well as supporting current recipients. In fact that's how private insurance plans work too but at a higher cost.
But I've talked this to death and my rant today has more to do with the more important things in life -- like cars and driving. David Frum writes in Newsweek today that "old people" once again are jeopardizing the prosperity and safety of the eternally and righteously young and -- if we allow it -- they are going to bankrupt our country -- because after all, that undefined category of drivers: the elderly, has more accidents than anyone but teenagers. It's hard, of course to argue that teenagers are going to bankrupt us in that way, but really, the most common tool of douchebag Republican flim-flam artists like Frum is to create categories and attribute the proposed characteristics to all individuals in that group. Of course by bankrupting the economy, Frum really means his insurance rates might go up - you know just how his health insurance rates are so high because so many people have to resort to the most expensive health care: the emergency room.
In the interests of glasnost, I have to mention that I'm old, but with 20/20 vision, unimpaired senses and reflexes; with decades of accident free driving, on and off of race tracks and in high performance cars, I have to weigh a million miles and 50 years of experience in rain, snow, sleet and dark of night against the skills of chubby cheeked Dave, whom I'm willing to bet would soil himself in circumstances I've safely dealt with since before he was born. SUV drivers have a higher accident rate, so do those who like to talk or smoke while driving. Frum is silent about those ad hoc groups. Could it be that this really isn't about economics or about safety on the road?
But we have to get them off the road, says the Frumster. We have to cut them all off from society and relegate them to dependency and poverty because, this isn't actually about cars or safety, it's about shirking responsibility, about increasing economic disparity - the foundation of modern Conservatism. It's about promoting poverty and suffering so that the elect can live better while their parents are put out on ice-flows to die where we don't have to see or pay. Don't weed out bad drivers, let's disenfranchise millions of good ones and justify it with fallacious arguments.
Why not simply require vision and driving tests for those over a certain age? (perhaps 16 for New York drivers) That way guys like Paul Newman and me can continue to race cars into their octogenarian decade and the incurable menaces of all ages -- the cellphone addicts, the people who stop on tollway entrance ramps and slow down for green lights -- the incurably confused -- can be put into oil drums and sunk to the bottom of the Marianas trench along with David Frum. Why not argue for decent public transportation like they have in decent countries so that perhaps I could actually get somewhere without driving? What are you -- a tax and spend socialist? Let them get chauffeurs!