Lloyd Omdahl: Reckoning has arrived for olden men
Aging was bad enough when we let ourselves be misled by this myth about the "golden years," which turned out to be nothing more than a scam for the travel folks. Now two new major pitfalls have appeared on the way to the crematorium.
As dangerous as it may be to bring up the subject, the lifetime of every male under 100 is being scrutinized for inappropriate sexual behavior, the definition of which has been evolving daily.
Just about all men are being caught in the sweep. Take a look at poor old George Bush, who is now being accused of inappropriate patting when Barbara was looking the other way. Or maybe she did notice but knew that patting was the limit of his imagination. She knew that he didn't have a follow up plan in his domestic policy.
I will defend George because at 94 it wasn't lust — it was curiosity. At worst, research. We have to decide whether or not lust is a critical element of sexual assault.
We have such a variety of offenses that justice will not be served by "one minimum mandatory sentence fits all" for wrongdoers. My son wants to send all of them to jail, including poor George, whose only known crime was to raise taxes when his lips said otherwise.
Unable to restrain himself, President Donald Trump criticized Al Franken who admitted his misbehavior. When asked about himself, Donald declared "King's X" because he hadn't confessed yet.
Now Judge Roy Moore, running for a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama, considers himself exempt from blame because he is the state's leading Christian. He stands by the Ten Commandments even though he has broken one or two.
It is cardinal rule of criminal justice that the punishment be commensurate to the crime. If lust is a factor, then sexual assault by anyone under 70 should be regarded as a capital offense; assault by those between 70 and 80 should be a felony; those between 80 and 90, a misdemeanor; and anyone over 90 a joke.
Not only are older men going through tortuous self-examination, Congress is planning to make it impossible to plan their last days in a nursing home. Unless, of course, they throw themselves to the mercy of the welfare program called Medicaid.
So far, the big tax plan includes a provision that will make your $90,000 in yearly nursing home costs no longer deductible. Apparently, the tax planners think that nursing homes are so much fun that they ought to treated as subsidized recreation.
All of those in the tax fight have interest groups fighting for them. However, nursing home patients do not have a lobby so they must count on the mercy of the polarized Congress. So far, mercy has not been apparent in the original drafts.
It is not all bad news. Cutting the medical deductions will enable Congress to give bigger tax breaks to other folks who are supposed to produce millions of jobs for which nursing home patients will be eligible so they can pay the higher taxes.
At our house, we are lucky because we are now paying only $72,000 a year for long-term care. For seniors who are pretty sure they will need long term care, it would be advisable to get rid of their savings, go on Medicaid and show Congress that deductibility is a lot cheaper than welfare.
As for me, I will have enough money to make it to the end - unless I buy something.
Lloyd Omdahl is a former lieutenant governor and professor at UND. His column is published each Monday in the Herald.