The New Age On The Generations

Blaming the Government:

On Monday, February 23, a group of social welfare activists criticized the current government plan and policy on long-term care insurance program (which is paid for and provided to, by all citizens).

Currently, the project is expected to cost us over NTD $50 billion annually, it’s initiative is to reduce the burden on families caring for their elderlies.

(Photo, courtesy of CNA)  An activist is shown here, assisting an elderly woman from her seat.

It was either through raising or adding taxes on the people, despite the poor economy so the government may care for the elderlies so other family members may continue to work, or leave it up to the people to care for their own, risking neglect and abuse.

It may not be a flawless plan, however is the best choice.

The government had a thought: instead of raising taxes or insurance premiums to finance the program, they could draw from the available tax revenue to build a care foundation and recruit staff members – according to the Senior Citizens Welfare Alliance, Wu Yu-Chin.

Wu explains that the government has not been able to obtain enough detains on the plans, largely due to the unavailable information in the size of the premiums, starting age to be accepted into the premium [payments], and target areas of the programs.

Other critics use the plan as an example of the government’s lack of fiscal responsibility in face of the recession, just affecting the island.  Future generations would have to carry the burden to fix the problems from the generation prior, as a result of the government attempts to test programs ‘to see what works.’

Yang Chih-Liang is the former Deputy Director to the Department of Health.

Monday, Yang responded to the critics for not wishing to participate in the assisting of elderly citizens (who are in need of secondary assistance).  He says, the only other available alternative would be to have the senior citizens assisted by one relative each.  With today’s housing requiring payment of two incomes, and work hours ranging from as little as eight hours a day to 12, direct, proper care my not be available. This is a dangerous issue.

(Photo, courtesy of gio.gov.tw)  Taiwan's Public Health: Thanks to the Rare Disease and Orphan Drug Act, people with rare diseases are guaranteed medication and nutritious foods under the country’s universal National Health Insurance.  The ROC is one of only five nations to pass such legislation.

(Photo, courtesy of gio.gov.tw) Taiwan's Public Health: Thanks to the Rare Disease and Orphan Drug Act, people with rare diseases are guaranteed medication and nutritious foods under the country’s universal National Health Insurance. The ROC is one of only five nations to pass such legislation.

Yang believes that no matter the family situation, finance and availability, all citizens should be included in long-term care insurance, especially with cases such as children with grave diseases who require mandatory, permanent hospitalization, or care.

The current program allows the government to use the available tax revenue for its funding, however in doing so would still eventually raise taxes – which is an alarming topic, considering the economic crisis.

There are only two options, considering the situation.

  1. Let every citizen pay premiums for the system
  2. Continue the present system in passing the responsibility to family members in caring for their elderlies.

Current government plans offer beneficiaries of long-term care insurance include the elderlies unable to perform three of the sixactivities of daily living” unassisted.

>>>Read here for, “Helath of Elderly Chinese‘ by E H Kua.  <<<

Activities include, but are not limited to: eating, dressing, bathing, self-attending to bathroom needs, getting in or out of bed or their seat, and the capability of [effortless] walking.  The system’s policy may grow lenient to include those unable to prepare food, hold poor [short or long term] memories, unable to open a bag or zipper, unable to purchase groceries or perform bank transactions.

The plan is under review and is looking to have a proposal ready by June 2010.  The Legislative Yuan is investigating the matter by the end of the year with a launch scheduled toward sometimes in 2011.

Can You Afford 1%?:

The news has fueled fire, the people are raging.

Taiwan’s Department of Health’s attempts to increase National Health Insurance (NHI) premiums.  The Department’s Minister, Yeh Ching-Chuan (葉金川), announced last week, “the 1.5 Generation NHI Act” would be on pause, until the state of the economy revives.

>>>For past article on Minister Yeh, please refer through here.  <<<

Is Taiwan a model for the US health care reform?  Many say, yes: Taiwan does seems to have the ideal health care plan with nearly universal coverage, no waiting periods except for organ transplants and cost efficiency.

Is Taiwan a model for the US health care reform? Many say, yes: Taiwan does seems to have the ideal health care plan with nearly universal coverage, no waiting periods except for organ transplants and cost efficiency.

Executive Yuan referred to several agencies, including the Health Department, the Council for Economic Planning and Development and the Ministry of the Interior, in considering a proposal on long term care for the elderly and disabled.

Yang Chih-Liang (楊志良) is the Vice President of the Tai-Chung Healthcare and Management University as well as participant in revising the proposal.

Yang presses the issue, stating that the plan is “urgently needed.”  Who knows what damage waiting for the economy to stimulate itself could do to the neglected or mistreated elderlies.

Current demographics reveal that 10% of the Taiwanese population is of senior age (65 years and older), which is about to increase to 22% by 2020.

The rate at which our population is aging is even faster than Japan – we rank No. 1 in the world [for the rate of aging] …  Even if we do it now, it may already be too late,” stresses Yang.

He said a long term care program would beneficially target those who require the care, the physically or mentally disabled, and the elderlies.

The Funds: The program would cost every working citizen to contribute a mere 1% of their monthly salary.

Why is this so hard, why can’t the masses accept this 1%?

“Like the NHI, low-income families would receive subsidies or be exempted from paying the new premium,” explains Yang, “For the general public, the rate would be about 1/6 or 1/7 of their NHI contribution,” or of which equals to 1% of their income.

He hopes that through the program, everyone could participate in preparation for their senior age and eliminate problems such as the increase in the homeless.

United States Trillion Dollar Mistake:

Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare was a mere stick-on band-aid to help the current older generations in the United States, working only as a temporary solution, however resulted in adding onto the already trillion-dollar debt in the government.

CNN speaks on the negative effects of Social Security in the United States.

CNN speaks on the negative effects of Social Security in the United States.

By the time the current mid-age population reaches retirement, the government would have no available funding to assist the future seniors, and would have the population to fend for themselves.

An example, in looking into a small percent of how the future would be, at the moment senior citizens are pulling out of retirement and into the part-time work field (as it is all that’s currently available in their position), just to be able to survive day-to-day and continue with their daily activities.

The retirement program should not push senior citizens into the work field after dedicating much of their lives working and paying taxes to the government.  Part of the reason we pay taxes in our income is to support the government to look after our retirement as well as current senior population.

The pyramid has turned into an hour glass: The middle class have shifted into the struggling class, the struggling class into poverty, the poverty into the homeless, and the demographics on the number of homeless people have become alarmingly high.   What ever happened to the American idea of subsidizing?

Blind Leading the Blind: A lot is due to the loss in the stock market and like “investments” as we can see with what we once believed was a secure way of banking: the HSBC (Hong Kong-Shanghai-Bank-Cooperation).

(Photo, courtesy of dailymail)  HSBC says it 'cannot envisage circumstances' where it would seek funds from the government:  The Asset Protection Scheme of the Government's latest rescue plan for the finance sector paves the way for taxpayers to take shares in British banks, including HSBC, to insure the banks against hundreds of billions of pounds of losses on toxic loans.

(Photo, courtesy of dailymail) HSBC says it 'cannot envisage circumstances' where it would seek funds from the government: The Asset Protection Scheme of the Government's latest rescue plan for the finance sector paves the way for taxpayers to take shares in British banks, including HSBC, to insure the banks against hundreds of billions of pounds of losses on toxic loans.

With banks and car dealerships closing by the numbers, many are unable to see their investment again, not to mention still having to pay their mortgage.  While the masses of the baby boom generation are licking their wounds and looking to the newly elected President Barack Obama and the Congress for a sound, secure retirement – the opposite, instead, seems to occur.

However, there is help: President Obama may be able to boost the economy without going through Congress through reaffirming his support for Social Security and assure those nearing retirement, that he will not allow their benefits to be deducted.

Peter Peterson is a billionaire banker who finances the program.

Peterson has spent the past two decades, attempting to deduct from the Social Security, Medicare and such benefits for the seniors and have recently contributed a billion dollars to a foundation (which bears his name), as promoting his goal.

Current baby boomers has paid into Social Security at the current stated 12.4% tax rate for their entire work-life, only to end being forced to wait until 66 or 67 to reap full benefits.  The average returns are visually less than the previous generations that follow far below than the generations that preceded them.

Much of the USD $8 trillion is lost and debted from the housing bubble, which affected the invested baby boomers, as likewise with the $7 trillion in wealth lost in the stock market crash.

Looking For the Cure From Within the Problem:

The US is looking for a solution from within the problem may not work.  Many believe that through such action would only raise the debt and doom the later generations and new retirees.  Why repair something that did not work? A band-aid is no solution. Banks are not even safe anymore and the American people no longer believe in the idea of credit.

(Photo, courtesy of Washington Independent)  Sometime during the week-end of March 14-15, 2008, the U.S. Federal Reserve decided the government of the United States could not permit the investment bank Bear Stearns to fail. Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, told the Senate Banking Committee that the bailout of Bear Stearns was necessary to protect the financial system and, ultimately, the entire economy.

(Photo, courtesy of Washington Independent) Sometime during the week-end of March 14-15, 2008, the U.S. Federal Reserve decided the government of the United States could not permit the investment bank Bear Stearns to fail. Ben Bernanke, the Fed chairman, told the Senate Banking Committee that the bailout of Bear Stearns was necessary to protect the financial system and, ultimately, the entire economy.

Following is a quote from heritage.org, titled, “A Guide to Fixing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid:”

The coming challenge of paying Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits to 77 million retiring baby boomers will be one of the greatest economic challenges of the 21st century.  What Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke called the “calm before the storm” ended on January 1, 2009, when the first baby boomers became eligible for Social Security benefits.  In three years, they will also become eligible for Medicare.

In the coming decades, the cost of these programs will leap from 8.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to 18.6 percent of GDP—an increase of 10.2 percent of GDP.  Without reform, this increased cost would require raising taxes by the current equiva­lent of $12,072 per household or eliminating every other government program.  Funding all of the prom­ised benefits with income taxes would require rais­ing the 35 percent income tax bracket to at least 77 percent and raising the 25 percent tax bracket to at least 55 percent.

Although aware of this coming crisis, Members of Congress have largely ignored it because all of the possible reforms are considered politically risky.  Yet delays only increase the pain of the ultimate reforms, which are becoming about $1 trillion more expensive annually. Furthermore, many believe that Americans ages 55 and over should be exempt from any reforms.  One-third of all baby boomers have already crossed that threshold, and at 4 million per year, all of them will have crossed it by 2019…

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that federal spending in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will leap from 8.4 percent by 2050 …  This massive cost increase will be fueled by the 77 million retiring baby boomers, combined with steep inflation in health care costs and an automatic scheduled benefit hikes.

These costs far exceed what taxpayers will be able to afford.  Increasing taxes by 10.2 percent of GDP today would come to $1.394 trillion, or $12,072 per household.  It could mean raising income tax rates by at least 120% – and probably more because tax increase slow economic growth and dampen new revenues – with additional thereafter.  Funding of all the promised benefits would require raising the 35 percent income tax bracket to at least 77 percent and the 25 percent tax bracket to at least 55 percent.

Regrettably, five common myths undermine the cause for immediate action.

If You’re Hungry, Jail Is Always Free:

One man has even gone to the extent of asking the police to send him to jail (again), in order to reap benefits of paying taxes: free bed and meal.

(Photo, courtesy of daylife)  A man looks at the posters of job information at an employment service centre in Taipei February 4, 2009. Taiwan government has been implementing measures to try to lower its jobless rate which hit a half-year high in December. The Chinese characters on the left read, Tips to find a job.

(Photo, courtesy of daylife) A man looks at the posters of job information at an employment service centre in Taipei February 4, 2009. Taiwan government has been implementing measures to try to lower its jobless rate which hit a half-year high in December. The Chinese characters on the left read, "Tips to find a job."

Surname Wang, age 45, has been jailed for over 10 years on 12 arson charges before being released three years ago.  Since the release, he has been unable to find employment even with attempts in visiting the Taipei Employment Service Centre, only to be rejected with each visit.

Sunday, February 22 early morning, patrol police reported having found Wang laying in a street corner in Xi-Men-Ting of downtown Taipei.

In a police report, Wang told the officer that he had been starved for three days, “Please jail me again on charge of any crime, so that I can have free meals.”

In response, the officer was kind enough to have bought Wang a box meal and with an introduction to a borough leader who promised Wang a job as street-cleaner.

Are You Sane Enough To Be Unemployed?: According to Civic groups and Doctors on Monday, February 23, the problem of unemployment is greater among those affected with mental health problems, with an astounding recorded 66% left unemployed in 2008.

Eva Tseng (滕西華) is Project Director.

Tseng reports that the issue of nationwide unemployment has worsened, which proves a greater challenge for the mentally ill.

“About 20% to 30% of the mentally ill are [involuntarily] unemployed,” she explains.

“If more doctors cared about their patients’ social skills instead of only prescribing medications,t hen more patients could become active members of society.”

Taxes For Food:

Taipei City Mayor, Hau Lung-Bin, is helping a total of 437 families in Taipei City, as they are eligible in receiving yet another voucher.  Each household are reported eligible to receive NTD $5,000 (equivalent of USD $144) in the first batch, issued by the Taipei City Government, this coming March 1st to families in need.

(Photo, courtesy of CNN)  People line-up to wait their turn to receive their vouchers from the city government.  (Photo dated to January 19)

(Photo, courtesy of CNN) People line-up to wait their turn to receive their vouchers from the city government. (Photo dated to January 19)

The municipal Bureau of Civil Affairs approved the interviewed 82.3%, or: 531 families, 437 households, to receive the food vouchers as the first delivery of its kind.

According to Mayor Hau, 1,134 families who have applied can claim the subsidy after the city government unveiled the plan in January 22, in attempt to help turn the economy.  The bureau plans to deliver all NTD $5,000 worth of food vouchers to every one of the 10,000 households within the initial stage of the program, which is reported to last up until the last day of this year.  In the next follow-up stages, more families will be included, says the bureau officials.

(Photo, courtesy of Family Mart)  Family Mart, a chain-convenience store that had originated from Japan, hs become popular in Taiwan as a growing competition against 7-Eleven.

(Photo, courtesy of Family Mart) Family Mart, a chain-convenience store that had originated from Japan, hs become popular in Taiwan as a growing competition against 7-Eleven.

As helpful as the vouchers may  be at this time, however they are a one-time handout and are limited to be spent on food such as lunch boxes, bread and rice balls – and only at Family Mart convenience stores.  They are excluded from purchasing cigarettes, alcoholic beverages or magazines.

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~ by Lan on 2008 TueUTC2009-02-24T16:39:00+00:00. 15.

4 Responses to “The New Age On The Generations”

  1. […] The Big Picture put an intriguing blog post on The New Age On The GenerationsHere’s a quick excerptDrug Act, people with rare diseases are guaranteed medication and nutritious foods under the country’s universal National BHealth/B BInsurance/B. […]

  2. While 1% of your income to ensure proper health care certainly sounds reasonable, I can understand people’s skepticism. In the U.S., I remember my father telling me about how they passed the Federal Income Tax law by saying “it would be ridiculous to suppose that the government would ever take more than 4% of your income”. At one point, they were allowed to take up to 97%. As my Dad, and the rest of this article reminded me, even if they had it all, they would still want more.

  3. […] Political Buzz added an interesting post today on The New Age On The GenerationsHere’s a small readingThe government had a thought: instead of raising taxes or insurance premiums to Bfinance/B the program, they could draw from the available tax… […]

  4. […] The New Age On The Generations […]

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