re: comfortable retirement hostels, services not $. (what to do when social security and health insurance are not either security or insurance, but transfer payments).
Reminds me of an old discussion and heartache about those not capable of taking care of themselves (that we put out on the street when we closed most mental institutions – even though there were a number of horror stories, I suspect this cure was worse than the disease, but it made the headlines disappear by making the tragedies individual, not institutional). So how should community balance the parental roles with freedom of these less-than-able-to-be responsible individuals (and families)?
My sense is that all these "entitlements" are/were really a societal attempt to move what was a family responsibility to the state, as well as to provide a proxy family for those without. Extending that model, perhaps those who need the help of the community should expect a family-like environment. Less freedom, more order, assigned chores, lights-out and doors locked rules, disciplining procedures, etc. i.e. the less capable an individual is of self-responsibility, the more dictates in the community provided service. Enough so that, just like a family, members are motivated to move to an adult status, and leave the nest. Though many will be there for years, the old, the very young, the sick, infirm, and dying, the incompetent, all deserving of respect and love.
Perhaps we need to go thru a bankruptcy-like proceeding and shut down these dollar denominated social programs and substitute community group homes of varying amounts of structure (constraints) for all these needs – i.e. services not dollars, where the local community (of no more than 300K citizens – size of a large state back at the country’s founding) takes care of its own as best it can, allocating scarce resources just like parents do for their children. We especially need to end insurance that is not insurance (when it covers more than catastrophe), pensions that are not pensions (i.e. are not defined contribution, individually owned accounts), etc. i.e. one day the auditor opened up the cashbox and said “oh my, there’s nothing in here but IOUs and transfer payments – either direct or intergenerational, and we agreed we are not going to do this anymore.” Which reminds me that just like there are “right to work” laws we need a “right to all my wages” law – employers may not pay for anything (including taxes) on behalf of an employee – it’s too easy for 3rd parties to both be corrupt and corrupt the market when this happens.
Should probably combine these efforts – there are many dependent people who are more than willing to work and work hard. The old could be helped by the young. The old could teach the young. Non-violent criminals might be employed both in these homes and growing and preparing food for same. Perhaps a modern “orphanage” for young and old who thru no fault of their own – or their own bad habits have fallen on hard times and cannot be responsible for self or family. Where some can grow their way out of the situation (likely means holding a job and building some savings) and others will not, cannot.
Well, I can dream.