2011-06-08

Southern Cross goes South

It takes special incompetence to lose money in a business with an ever-increasing requirement for its services. Looking after the elderly is almost literally money for old rope. We live longer, in increasing numbers, and - largely due to medical advances - refuse to die from the debilitating decrepitudes of cancers, strokes and organ failures which would easily have seen us off just thirty years ago. And consequently we need quite a bit of looking after. Typical charges for residential care run at around the two thousand pounds per month mark. And that's pretty much just a legal minimum. It's naturally expensive because the sort of attention we need is a tad more that can be provided by a seaside B&B. The front-line staff are, as usual, paid peanuts. Most of the investment is capital - it's in the property and in the specialised equipment. Do I hear the moo of a cash-cow?

Since the state abnegated its responsibility to its elderly taxpayers (paid for by that tax called national insurance) and delegated care-provision to its cronies in the free market, there's a bunch of old folk now who pretty much have to consume their own resources to pay for it all. If they have any, that is. Most don't, and - if they don't - then the local community will provide (for a while at least) and then it's up to the taxpayers. So the private care services hoover up the lifetime savings and investments built up in any property and burn it up like rocket fuel. Thus do the politicians who have engineered this situation get the wealth where it properly belongs - away from the community of families and ordinary working people and back into the hands of the private companies, pension funds (there's some irony in that), and of course the banks.

Perhaps the second half of the twentieth century will be fondly remembered as a brief period in history when - for a while at least - ordinary people could enjoy a bit of the wealth that technology and social justice had produced. Then it got back to normal.

via email from fantabrug