Recently, my husband and I have embarked on a new adventure: buying a home. Part of the American Dream, I guess, but for us, mostly just practical.
You see, we’re both country folk, and being country folk . . . well, let’s just say that living in the city isn’t our cup of tea, if you know what I mean.
Unfortunately, finding a home–to rent–in the country is extremely difficult. They are few and far between, actually. If they’re habitable, which they often aren’t really, they are snatched up by the first person who shows up with some cash in their hands.
So, buying was really the best option for us, and luckily we qualified for a home loan.
One of the first places we looked at was really almost too good to be true–it was just what we wanted really. An old farm house with 28 acres, just off a blacktop road (no dust from gravel!), and out in the middle of nowhere. Sweet!
The view from the front porch (covered, and with a porch swing!) was a beautiful clearing with a lot of trees, cows grazing on the bright green grass. To the right, we could barely see another house down the road, and to the left, it was the same story. Bees buzzed in the dandelions, and an owl hooted!
There were several outbuildings, a large connected garage, lots of trees, fenced in areas (for that calf/hog/chickens!?), a pond (for fishing!), and a nice area just the other side of the clothesline (yes!) just right for a garden.
The Realtor showed us the inside, and it was solid and just fine for our needs; the only issue was the roof needed some work. She assured us that there wasn’t any real problem with the roof, but that the owner would not be willing to replace it or even work on it. Apparently, the owner’s husband had gone into a nursing home last year, and in order to qualify for Medicaid, she had been required to list the home.
I listened to the story and felt bad for the woman and her husband; I knew that, based on my own family’s experiences, it wasn’t unusual for older people to have to sell their homes to pay for end-of-life care. However, I did not really think about what the Realtor was saying to me, and continued to press the issue about fixing the roof.
I knew that no institution would loan money on a home that had a bad, or compromised, roof; an inspection would clearly not pass regarding the roof as it was. I didn’t understand why the lady would not go ahead and fix the roof, so that the home could be sold.
Then it finally dawned on me: she had no intention of selling the home at all. She only listed it so that her husband could get medical treatment without having to pay for it.
Funny, but I didn’t really feel angry, even though the realtor was not open with me about this, and even though she had even pressed us to consider the house when we had initially objected to the large acreage (we’re not young anymore, and weren’t sure about taking care of all land). She countered that some of the land had actually been farmed–for hay and beans–and that we would not have that much responsibility if we continued with that arrangement.
I guess what really bothered me was the idea that people would go to such an extreme to not pay for their own medical bills, and instead would rely on “the dole” as it were, putting an additional strain on an already strained welfare system.
As I thought about it, I also remembered how my grandparents had “cunningly” arranged for their own demise by giving to their children a portion of their land and money before they both began to have serious health problems, selling the last bit (even their house!) to a neighbor, with the stipulation that they be able to live out their lives there before he took possession.
I realized that they, too, had taken advantage of our “socialist” welfare system, relying on the “government” to care for them as they finished their lives, instead of “burdening” their children and using up their “legacy” to do so.
I guess they never really thought about where that money from the “government” or “Medicaid” comes from . . . maybe you don’t think about it, either . . . doesn’t it come from the rest of us, all of us who work and pay taxes?
Oh, yeah, I know what some of you are thinking: well, they paid taxes, too, right? so why can’t they benefit from those taxes, too?
It really wasn’t that long ago, in terms of this country’s lifespan, that people in desperate financial straights, would not take “handouts” from the government or live “on the dole”–even to save their own lives. Only in the most extreme situations would they give in to despair and take “charity.”
Nowadays, people don’t even think of it as “charity.” Nowadays, people just think of it as their “entitlement.”
Truthfully, though, is it right? Is it right for you to say, “I worked all my life and bought this land and paid my taxes, so if I get sick, everyone else should just take care of me, so I can hold onto my property and give it to my kids.”?
I don’t think so. I’m sorry; I just don’t think that’s right. I am so tired of being forced by our system of social welfare, (which is beginning to look at lot like communism, I might add) to take care of other people and their problems–especially when they actually can take care of themselves. I am tired of not even having a choice about it–aren’t you?
I was also thinking, didn’t this kind of thing come about because of some people’s greed regarding their parents’ property? And/or because they didn’t want to get stuck taking care of their parents’ medical bills? So I guess the rest of us should just have to do it?
I know, some people are thinking, “Well, I have to pay for other people’s problems, so why shouldn’t others have to pay for mine or my family’s?” But, doesn’t that just keep adding to the burden and debt that is weighing our economy down even more?
Maybe we could actually talk about those folks who have so much money they don’t know what to do with it–how about they take care of those people who need taking care of? If they’re going to run the world, then shouldn’t they be footing the bill for some of the cost of running it? (That may be another topic for another time, though!)
Or how about those people who actually want to help people? Why don’t we let them do it? I’m not even sure that the majority of people who are getting “taken cared of,” are even the ones really needing it.
I know, that’s just the way it is, some things will never change . . . awe but don’t you believe it . . . right, Bruce Hornsby?