One of my friends sent me a joke about care for the elderly. Then I read the news and discovered that, thanks to demographic decline, it’s no joke in Japan.
My email and my news reading converged today. In the morning, I discovered a very funny joke in my inbox about the way government spends more on prisoners than on pensioners. Then, in the afternoon, I read a very sad news story out of Japan about pensioners doing what they need to do to get care. First, here’s the joke:
Say you are an older senior citizen and can no longer take care of yourself and the government says there is no Nursing Home Care available for you.
So, what do you do? You opt for Medicare Plan G!!!
The plan gives anyone 72 or older a Gun (Plan G) and one bullet. You are then sanctioned to shoot one worthless politician. This means you will be sent to prison for the rest of your life where you will receive: three meals a day, a roof over your head, central heating and air conditioning, cable TV, a library, and all the Health Care you will ever again need. Need new teeth? No problem. Need glasses? That’s great. Need a hearing aid, new hip, knees, kidney, lungs, or heart? They are all covered! And, as an added bonus, your kids can come and visit you at least as often as they do now!
And, who will be paying for all of this? The same government that just told you they can’t afford for you to go into a nursing home!!! Furthermore, you will have gotten rid of a useless politician while you are at it. And now, because you are a prisoner, you don’t have to pay any more income taxes!
Lest any humorless person take this joke seriously, no, I am definitely not advocating assassinating politicians. This is a joke, not an instruction book.
I wouldn’t have thought any more about the joke but for the fact that an Instapundit link led me to a Business Insider piece listing the seven signs that Japan is sliding irretrievably into a demographic and economic decline. Item No. 4 on the list, is the above joke made real, although without any laughter attached:
About one-fifth of all crime committed in Japan is done by the elderly. Most of it is petty theft and shoplifting.
As crime rates among the elderly rise, prisons have effectively turned into nursing homes. Guards are made to bathe the inmates and help them get dressed, and experts say living conditions are too good to keep recidivism rates down.
Normally, younger relatives would take care of the inmates once they’re released. But in some cases the costs (and loneliness) are simply too much to bear in a troubled economy, and seniors look to prison as the better alternative.
It’s not just that the Japanese have stopped having children. Lots of economically advanced nations cut back on making babies. The difference with Japan is that they’ve entirely stopped having sex. Japan is becoming a simulacrum of a country, rather than a real country. So far, Japan has resisting Europe’s decision to invite in Muslims from Turkey, the Middle East, and North Africa in order to make up for a serious demographic slump. At some point, though, the Japanese are going to have to do something.
Americans are holding level, but just barely. Our demographic slump can easily be cured by allowing more legal immigration from Latin America. I would do so, though, only if we have moved beyond our cultural self-loathing. Immigration works when the immigrants assimilate in their new country. It does not work when they don’t. And it’s a bloody freaking disaster, as we see in Europe, when the immigrants insist that their new country assimilate to them.