America’s “Adult Baby” Syndrome on Medicare

Many of us were either amused, disgusted or outraged by the story of Stanley, the “adult baby,” a 29-year old man who finds comfort in dressing and behaving like an infant. The outrage comes from the fact he receives Social Security disability payments for his condition, which has a name – “infantalism” – and for which he is compensated with our tax dollars, even though he’s well enough to construct customized “adult baby” gear to carry out his peculiar lifestyle, and manages a support group online for people just like him. When faced with the threat of having his benefits taken away and being charged with fraud, the “adult baby” responded with a temper tantrum reminiscent of – well, a baby:

You wanna test how damn serious I am about leaving this world, screw with my check that pays for this apartment and food. Try it. See how serious I am. I don’t care. I have no problem killing myself. Take away the last thing keeping me here, and see what happens. Next time you see me on the news, it will be me in a body bag.

It’s easy for us to look upon Stanley with pity, ire or derision. Judging from the reactions of several Americans, however, to the suggestion that Medicare must be reformed or it will die, he’s not the only one behaving like an infant.

Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal dared to touch the third rail of mandatory spending that represents two-thirds of federal spending – Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid – and then only Medicare at that. Frankly, it’s well past time for this discussion. If you’re not talking about how to lower the costs of the “Big Three,” then you’re not serious about deficit reduction – period.

Right on cue, however, the liberals are crying and screaming and fussing like a roomful of temperamental toddlers, and they’re setting off a chain reaction that drowns out all responsible adult conversation. They run around screaming, “Mine! Mine!” without regard for anyone else in the nursery.

I read that, which raised our expectations and then dashed them by failing to move on, held an angry protest outside a Paul Ryan luncheon in Chicago. I would have advised local law enforcement to forego crowd control and simply hand out pacifiers. It would have been hard for them to shout inane slogans after giving them their binkies.

Get a clue, people. If we do nothing, the Medicare trust fund will be out of money in 14 years. Most of us will still be alive to see it happen, and while those with the attention span of three-year olds will be wailing and wondering why no one told them this was going to happen, us grown-ups who can read and do math will have made some kind of provision for ourselves and our families.

It is amazing and sad that we’ve become so reliant on the nanny state to take care of us that we lose our composure at the slightest suggestion that maybe it isn’t wise to have government as our provider, especially when government is by design an agent of force. Such overwhelming dependence on an institution which has only force at its disposal to ensure compliance is a direct threat to our liberty, and it also renders us unprepared to care for ourselves when government is no longer able or willing to care for us.

Let me put it in terms a child can understand. For you to have whatever you want, your mommy has to steal it from someone else because she doesn’t work for a living, and she’s also broke. But she’s running out of other people’s money and, once that happens, all your crying won’t do you any good, and since you never learned how to make it on your own, you’re toast.

It’s time for us to stop being children living at the mercy of an indulgent, spendthrift parent. The bills are coming due, and somebody’s got to pay them. Otherwise, we’ll all be eating baby food, and I grew out of strained peas and carrots a long time ago.