The Political Economy of Aging: The State, Private Power, and Social Welfare

The Political Economy of Aging: The State, Private Power, and Social Welfare

The Political Economy of Aging: The State, Private Power, and Social Welfare

The Political Economy of Aging: The State, Private Power, and Social Welfare

Excerpt

Sarah Cohen, an eighty-three-year-old widow, has lived in her now deteriorating inner-city apartment for over forty years. She has no assets left; her sole source of income, Social Security, barely covers rent, electricity, food, and some winter clothing. Despite her poverty and chronic disabilities, she has managed to survive without public aid. Although her landlord has not repaired the building in years, and often fails to supply adequate heat, Sarah is grateful that the apartment is rent controlled. She has not been told yet that the landlord intends to convert the building into luxury apartments, assisted through city and federal tax benefit programs. She will not be able to find a new dwelling at a rent she can afford. Sarah Cohen will be forced into a nursing home.

PUBLIC OFFICIALS, BANKERS, DEVELOPERS, AND LANDLORDS ARE "REVITALIZING" THE CITY.

Alice Bartell, eighty years old, stares vacantly from her wheelchair parked against the wall of Tannerville nursing home. After two years of twice daily doses of tranquilizers and other drugs, she is not a demanding patient. Although a physician regularly bills the government for his visits to the home, she has not had an examination in over a year. She does not know that the lethargy, dizziness, and tremors she experiences are side effects of large doses of medication she may not actually need, or that her poor eating habits stem from a lack of proper dental care; she needs dentures. She is also unaware that Tannerville, like many nursing homes in the country, has major violations of health and fire safety codes. Alice Bartell entered the home as a private pay resident but the . . .

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