I am in your boat, Lois. I have no children and I divorced the man I was married to just over ten years ago. The only nice thing about the twenty years and a bit of that marriage is that I have qualified for Social Security a year earlier than I would have on my own and at a higher stipend than I would have had. Who would take care of me? Relying on the kindness of strangers is a chancy thing in a world that has championed unbridled individualism and greed. The old social ties between members of extended families don't really exist outside of small ethnic communities.
Our conversation over morning coffee centered on the employment situation. It was our response to the Senate's vote to extend unemployment benefits and a mannerly (for a change) discussion of the same yesterday on CNBC. One of the participants in that segment opposed the extension because it would provide incentives for people to not look for work while the other pointed out that there are and estimated 6 applicants for every job out there. What do you do with the five who won't be hired? It occurred to me, for about the hundredth time over the last several years, that this debate is still couched in the same terms that labor debates of the early 19th century used. On the one hand you had the apologists for slavery who claimed that the n*****s were congenitally lazy and would not work hard unless someone stood over them with a whip. On the other you had apologists for the northern factory system insisting that the lower class white trash were congenitally lazy and morally deficient and the only way to make sure they worked hard was to keep them hungry. The words used today are somewhat softer but the meaning is the same.