CHAPTER 12

Why Don’t the People Who Benefit Most from Government Help Seem to Appreciate It?

BY 2008, my father-in-law was in bad shape. His dementia was so advanced that my mother-in-law sorely needed some respite. We found a day care program and suggested she inquire whether government subsidies were available to help cover the cost. A lifelong Democrat, she initially dismissed the suggestion out of hand. “It’s not worth it. The government doesn’t care about people like us, who have worked all their lives. They only care about the poor.”

She asked, though, and—quickly and efficiently—Medicare covered the costs.

Since then I’ve been on a quiet rampage. When she received a new energy-efficient refrigerator that, to her delight, cost her only ...

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