As a lover of comedy and satire, I occasionally come across things that would be hilariously funny if they weren’t so damn close to true. In a world where healthcare costs are becoming our nation’s largest economic crisis (enabling Goldman Sachs executives to breathe easy for a moment), the Baby Boomers, who are aging into Social Security and Medicare at a rate of nearly 10,000 people a day right now, have become a rich target for comedians.
A few years back I read a hysterical (and frighteningly realistic) book called Boomsday, by Christopher Buckley (same guy who wrote Thank You for Smoking). In the book, a young female blogger suggests that Baby Boomers be given government incentives to kill themselves by age 75 for the good of the economy and the younger generation. Of course, her proposal is adopted as a leading policy platform by a Senator and would-be Presidential candidate, who jumps on this message of “transitioning” to seek his place in the White House. It is an absolutely hilarious book and includes such discussions as how many narcissistic Baby Boomers would have to adopt the “transitioning” benefit (aka, off themselves) to make Social Security and Medicare solvent (estimate: 20%). Given the way benefits are actually “scored” by the Office of Management and Budget and the healthcare economics debate currently underway in real life, the discussion in the book is more than a little surreal.
Recently I saw one of the best comedy pieces on this topic yet–a high quality video produced by satirical network The Onion. It looks like a real Fox News or MSNBC segment about a proposed Social Security reform bill that will save $billions by encouraging older people to “live faster and die younger.” This video is pretty short and totally worth watching if you need a laugh, but not if you are feeling a little sensitive about having been born in the Baby Boom era.
Among the recommendations of the so-called “Grab Life by the Balls” bill described in the video are provisions to cut cigarette prices, outlaw helmets and reduce the CDC’s recommended daily amount of sleep from 8 hours to “when you’re dead.” Best provision of the bill: replace monthly social security checks with vouchers for grain alcohol, back alley tattoos and extreme sports. Go Grandma.
When you watch the video, be on the lookout for the text below the reporter, which says, “Will the cost of treating wounds of the badass exceed the savings?” These Onion guys kill me (so I guess I won’t have to kill myself!).