The Dependents Ration

joshua william mason jwm7 at
Tue Dec 1 07:31:13 PST 1998

> > ...That the elderly need more services (especially medical services).
> Are you sure about that? I mean, isn't elementary and secondary
> education one of the biggest "industries" in the economy, all run by tax
> dollars? And add to that all the unpaid "services" parents have to
> provide for children, and it seems to me that young dependents are much
> more of a "drain on society" than old ones.

The article I cited before (which is from the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, 1990) offers the following: for education, $2533 per person under 20, $309 per person between 20 and 64, and $84 per person 65 and over; for healthcare, $1262 per person under 65, and $5360 per person 65 and over. Obviously these numbers (which seem to be based on outlays during the 80s) aren't the last word on the subject, but given the shift among the old towards te very old and the inflation in medical costs, I would guess the balance would be even more towards the old today.

Not that this in any way supports arguments for privatization or the like, which are pure fraud.


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