Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Another Modest Proposal

This is my first post in November because I've been very busy prepping my Money and Banking textbook for publication with Flat World Knowledge, among other things.

My brother, the state of Oregon and its Death with Dignity Act, and The Economist, however, have given me an idea for "Another Modest Proposal" that I feel compelled to share. The original modest proposal was a satire in which wit Jonathan Swift argued that the way to solve the world's problems was to eat Irish babies. This last week, The Economist had "a modest proposal" for the inhabitants of islands being swallowed by the ocean due to global warming. My brother suggested that, with the imminent demise of his 401K, his retirement plan will be a .357 magnum and a bullet.

See where I am going with this? Our personal and public finances would be greatly simplified if we knew when we were going to die, or rather had an upper bound on our death date. Instead of going out in agony, at the cost of millions, we should be able to choose our exit date well in advance and plan for it both financially and medically. (We should be able to "no code" ourselves starting x time before our respective exit dates. Why suffer heart surgery if we plan to die the next week, month, year, etc. anyway?) Social Security benefits would be based on two ages, age at retirement and age at planned death. If the exit date comes and the person wants to continue living, s/he can opt to do so, but will be "dead" to the state and will stop receiving S.S. and other entitlements and will also lose the right to vote. If s/he opts to die, there should be some better method available than a bullet or one of those suicide booths from Futurama.

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