Last night I was involved in a political dispute on Facebook. A friend from high school, who I haven’t seen in almost 45 year but with whom I’ve reconnected on FB, posted a political cartoon. In the first frame was FDR with the caption “Social Security”. In the second frame was LBJ with the caption “Medicare/Medicaid”. In the third frame was President Obama with the caption “Health Care Reform”. In the fourth frame was a battered and bruised elephant under the name “Republicans” with the caption “Opposed Each”.
I know from prior posts that this man is on the opposite end of the political spectrum from me, so I should have let this go. But instead I posted the following.
How’s that Social Security working out for us? Soon will be bankrupt. “Soon” as in measured by generations. It won’t be long till, like Greece, we will run out of O.P.M.
To which he replied:
Working out fine for me thank you! Medicare has provided me with the ongoing care I require for my cancer treatments. Please- just refuse to take the money and benefits if you feel that way….just try and cool it with the hyperbole. Better yet: just stay off my page. I don’t watch FOX so your opinions are mostly odious to me.
I didn’t read his whole reply. I stopped after the first two sentences; more on that later. Two others then came on and said more or less the same thing about being very happy they were receiving these benefits and believing all these government programs are working just fine. To which I replied:
Maybe it’s time to take a longer view than just ourselves. Yeah, when I start collectng something when I retire I’ll thank my children for paying for my retirement and healthcare. Just as I hope my dad thanked me. But some day we will either run out of other people’s money or other people’s will, and it will all collapse. Look beyind what’s best for you.
This failure of baby boomers to take the long view is one of the things I discussed in my book The Candy Store Generation: How the Baby Boomers Are Screwing Up America. Well, this post brought this response:
As long as you paid into it, you have every right to collect
To which I replied:
Not really. The government used my money to provide a subsistence level retirement to my parents and grandparents. They put nothing away for my retirement. That’s why it’s called “Social” Security (as in socialist), not capitalist security.
By “they” I meant the government and its program, not my ancestors. A couple of people replied to that, including one who said:
…make up your mind… A capitalist believes in survival of the fittest… A very selfish way of living. (In that regard) they don’t really care about “the longer view”
To which I replied:
Not true. A retirement security program that involves a combination of support for prior generations with a personal account is the right way to go. You look at corporate America which fails to look beyond the next quarter and you have a company that will fail in 10 years. The smart capitalist takes the long view first, the short view second.
It was at that point that I went back and re-read the thread, and noticed that the person on whose timeline we were writing had asked me not to post there. Shame on me for not fully reading his post. So at this point I posted:
———, I missed your earlier comment. I will henceforth stay off your timeline. Say the word and I’ll delete my posts.
That’s the last post in the thread at this point. The host hasn’t come back and responded to my offer, or to any of the posts other than the first one.
Personally I don’t think my original post was hyperbole. We will most certainly run out of other people’s money at some point, as Greece is learning, and as other European countries are learning. I don’t see any hyperbole in that. Obviously my friend posted the cartoon, not for critical discussion, but for providing evidence of his own views. That’s fine. His timeline, his purposes. Now that I know, I won’t be posting to his timeline again.
I think instead I will go herd some cats, which should be a far easier task than what I originally set out to do.