The point of this post is to observe there may be a valuable lesson to learn from the current controversy over the conflict of religious freedom and right to same-sex marriage. The controversy may be providing bright data about the population’s natural division by age groups. We may learn from this that the problem may be easier to solve if we can resolve the arguments in two separate groups segregated by age. Coincidentally, this provides a possible additional benefit from my earlier proposals of dividing government by age groups.
The age of 55 matches the age I used in my discussions of parallel governments where a government of debt service has a minimum voting age of 55 and this government has jurisdiction over that age group. If such a parallel age-distinctive government existed already, it would be natural to have it also maintain a separate health policy for the older age group. The older population is the population most in need of government subsidies for health insurance as evidenced by the current Medicare policies. This proposal effectively replaces Medicare with a policy governing some type of health insurance policy (public or private) that mandates coverage for all adults over 55.
Because the governments are distinct and have distinct voting populations, I expect there to be conflicts between the two governments. Such conflicts will be similar to international conflicts but with major differences. The two governments have interspersed populations living in same geographic territories making physical conflict unlikely. For example, in extended families that young and old voters may live in the same house. Also, the two governments are not peers in conflict like nations would be. The operational government would have full control over all of the police and military. Although the government of debt obligations lacks an army, it controls access to new debts needed to finance the provisioning or deployment of forces. In the abstract, there is nothing stopping the armed operational government from conquering the obligation-servicing part of the government.
Within this alternative history and starting around 1960, I imagine a different progression of obligation growth in terms of number of programs, of more generous eligibility requirements, of more generous benefits, and of higher national debt. Although the constituency for this part of government are the primary beneficiaries of the obligations, there will be political differences based on different interests within this age group. The financial requirements for self-funding the government or begging for transfer from the operational government will heighten the political debate.
The agile approach would subject an eligible worker to a couple weeks of intense training and testing to meet the requirements so that the worker can be available to work in a short period of time. The resulting contract will be between the client and the corporation that will take a cut of the hourly rate and then pass the remainder to the worker. The worker would be paid uniformly for the education and the assigned task.
The nature of the employer-employee relationship will change fundamentally when a worker enters the older group. One way to describe that change is to distinguish employment from contract work where employment shares a legacy with slavery in the the sense of the employer (business owner) having an obligation to take care the welfare of the employee in terms of providing steady income despite the ups and downs of business cycles. That employment includes employer investment in employee development and advancement. This obligation to take care of employees would cease when the worker reaches the age 55.
My proposed model of a separate older workforce provides the economy with a new pool of lower cost and short term workers. These workers may be older but due to advances in healthcare and public health, these are generally very healthy and capable workers. They can provide the labor for the more risky ventures that occasionally may succeed into building new industries that can eventually employ the more strictly governed younger workers.
In this imagined economy, the notion of retirement will change fundamentally. Instead of defining retirement as an ideal of a life of leisure to strive for by working as long as possible, retirement is a transition from the young population to the old population. The older population may continue working indefinitely but no longer under long-term employment arrangement. The work will be short duration contracts that may require frequent retraining to prepare for future work.
The other government has a minimum voting age of 55. Upon reaching this age, a person can voluntarily participate in this part of government but when he does he forfeits his participation in the first government. Participation in this government should offer many advantages that will encourage this switch in participation. This government is responsible for all of the entitlement and personal benefit programs of the government. These are expenses unrelated to the operation of the government. Instead it is focused on the welfare of the people. While this will include welfare for younger adults, the bulk of the benefits will go to older people. This government will also be responsible for servicing all of the government debts, including operational debts likely incurred when the voters were younger.
I like the idea of extending the voting age to 16 at the same time as restricting the age to 55. This gives a person 4 full decades to participate as a voter. Also, this helps to increase the number of younger voters that I feel are needed for a healthy democracy.