Sunday, September 6, 2009

Surplus Population

"If they would rather die,'' said Scrooge, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."
Two articles in the NYT caught my eye this morning. The second was on the budgetary problems arising in districts with large numbers of homeless kids. An unfunded 2001 federal law requires districts to provide a number of services for such kids.
The instability can be ruinous to schooling, educators say, adding multiple moves and lost class time to the inherent distress of homelessness. And so in accord with federal law, the Buncombe County district, where Charity attends, provides special bus service to shelters, motels, doubled-up houses, trailer parks and RV campgrounds to help children stay in their familiar schools as the families move about.

Still, Charity said of her last semester, “I couldn’t go to sleep, I was worried about all the stuff,” and she often nodded off in class.
I'm sure the republicans feel that home-schooling would be the best solution for homeless kids.

And the first was on the emerging new thang on Wall Street: buying life insurance policies from the elderly and ill at a reduced rate, bundling them and selling them as securities to pay off when the original policy holders die.
The bankers plan to buy “life settlements,” life insurance policies that ill and elderly people sell for cash — $400,000 for a $1 million policy, say, depending on the life expectancy of the insured person.
The earlier the policyholder dies, the bigger the return — though if people live longer than expected, investors could get poor returns or even lose money.
This strikes me as beyond disgusting, but then everyone knows I'm a prude. Still, there are some moments of levity...
Critics of life settlements believe “this defeats the idea of what life insurance is supposed to be,” said Steven Weisbart, senior vice president and chief economist for the Insurance Information Institute, a trade group. “It’s not an investment product, a gambling product.”
Well, ummm... insurance of any kind is a gambling product. I guess what he's really saying is "Hey we're supposed to make the profit on this, not someone else."

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