What does the money system have to do with elder care?
by Virginia Hammon | published
739 4 minute read
That’s a picture of my mother at 83, with all her luggage, heading off for a three month stay in Spain – by herself. Mother was in great shape, physically and cognitively, until the last year of her life, when at 86 pancreatic cancer fuzzed her thinking and her health failed. We were both fortunate that I could take care of her that last year. She was an inspiration, a wonderful mother – an extraordinarily kind, generous, and humble woman. She graciously accepted each stage of declining health, and supporting her journey that last year was a privilege. I dedicate this campaign to her.
And, today, as I drove around, I listened to my local public radio station, and they were playing a story on, “A crisis of care: as America gets older, who will pick up the slack?” I wondered what would be available for me, my friends, and my children as we age, and I thought of the critical importance of money reform to addressing this crisis in elder care.
So, what does our problem with elder care have to do with our current choice of money system?
The chief of geriatrics at Oregon Health & Science University, Elizabeth Eckstrom, was interviewed in the NPR segment. She said that the population over 85 is going to triple in the next few decades. While traditionally the aging have relied on family members, all over the world, the available family is shrinking. I am unusual for my generation; I have four children. And, still, they are all very busy with their lives and their own children, and if I need extraordinary help in my last years, it would be a heavy burden for any of them.
As a nation, we increasingly rely on paid caregivers. It is difficult work that requires substantial training, and it pays very little. No surprise, not many people want the jobs, there is a serious shortage of caregivers, and few can afford to hire them even at their low wages.
Eckstrom gave examples of models in other countries for elder care. “I think some of the countries that have put in place social services for this are places like Sweden, where if you’re older, you have disability, you need care, they have in-home workers that can go see you as often as every two hours….and that is all paid for under country health insurance, so that you do not have any out-of-pocket expenses. I think we have need for lots more research into what really works and then how to pay for it because that’s one of the biggest glitches right now.”
Why it is difficult to pay for elder care now…
Transfer of wealth from the many to the few
Our current money system shifts money from the many to the few. Nearly all our money is created by debt and carries a burden of interest that must be paid to the few after being extracted from the money available to the many in the economy.
On creation, most money created by the private banks goes into the financial sector, not into productive activity in the real economy on Main Street where it could provide jobs that pay a comfortable middle class income, and adequate time for family. Our middle class is shrinking and more people are pushed into poverty. Today the adults in most households work as full time as possible. Many work long hours to survive. Multiple jobs have become the norm at some wage levels. Few families have someone free to take care of aging relatives. And, when they must provide care in addition to a full time work load, their health and productivity suffer. This is very hard on the individuals, and the businesses they work for, and the communities in which they live.
Just Money reduces the cost of everything by eliminating the interest burden that our current debt-credit money carries. It leaves more money on Main Street for productive economic activity, including fair and family friendly wages. And, it reduces the cost of government. In 2018 we collected $2,103 billion for federal government operating income. Out of that $357 billion – or 17% – went to pay interest on this public debt. With Just Money, the government has no need for debt, and that $357 billion would be freed. We could choose to use that money to provide adequate care for our elderly.