Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Crisis We Can, and Must, Avoid

By Ken Connor Christian Post Guest Columnist

There is a crisis brewing in America. It has financial and moral implications that will impact our nation for generations to come. The problem? Too many baby boomers, too few babies.

America's frail elderly are already at risk for abuse and exploitation. Apart from the unborn, there is no group that suffers more from the "disposable man" ethic that is the legacy of Roe v. Wade. All over America, our elders in long-term care institutions suffer from abuse and neglect. But the perpetrators are not only to be found in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Sadly, the largest group of perpetrators is to be found among the families of the victims.

A recent study by the National Research Council estimated that there are between one and two million cases of elder abuse in the U.S. The Senate Special Committee on Aging estimates that there may be as many as four times as many cases of elder abuse that go unreported. How much worse is the problem likely to become as respect for human life in our society decreases and the pressure on the young to care for the old increases?

Americans in search of a just society should seek to foster an honest and immediate debate over how we will care for our elderly Millions of lives literally hang in the balance. On these matters of life and death, political posturing and campaign contributions must not determine our course.

Time is of the essence. Putting off until tomorrow the debate we need to have today will only limit our possible responses, and increase the likelihood that unplanned financial pressures will lead to unjust policies. We must be prepared to roll up our sleeves and sacrifice to ensure that young and old alike are accorded justice in our country.

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