(NaturalNews) Japan's deputy prime minister has a novel, if not insensitive and grisly, suggestion for saving his bankrupt country money: Let old people die sooner so they are no longer a burden on government coffers.
Okay, first a little context, though his comments would be unforgivable in any civilized society.
Japan, whose population is now the second-oldest it has been in the country's long history, is broke; the International Monetary Fund predicted in December the country's debt would reach a mind-boggling 237 percent of its total gross domestic product, on its way to 250 percent by 2017 (the U.S. debt-to-GDP ratio is 107 percent, the highest it has been since World War II).
That unfathomable disparity is obviously weighing so heavy on the minds of some Japanese politicians it has driven them to, well, speak their true hearts about how they think they can best solve the fiscal crisis they created: Kill off the old and infirmed.
Enter Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso, who apparently is Japan's equivalent to our own gaffe-prone Vice President Joe Biden.
Aso, who at 72 years old is well past his prime himself, made his "suggestion" while addressing a meeting on social security issues and the burden they are imposing on shrinking government coffers by prolonging patient's lives with treatment (sound familiar?).
'Heaven forbid I should be kept alive'
In describing those patients with the most serious illnesses as "tube persons," Aso went on to observe they should be allowed to die quickly if they want to do so, according to Kyodo News.
"Heaven forbid I should be kept alive if I want to die," he reportedly said. "You cannot sleep well when you think it's all paid by the government. This won't be solved unless you let them hurry up and die."
Later, after being called out for his comments, he retracted some of them, saying it was inappropriate for him to have made them in public (note that he didn't say he didn't really feel that way, only that he should not have said so in public). He explained that his comments were his own personal opinions, not government policy.
This is the same guy who, during a brief stint as prime minister in 2009, told a group of university students that young people shouldn't get married because they're too poor and as such, since they don't earn much money, they were not worthy of respect from their life partner.
He followed up that gem with a declaration that followers of the world's religions should learn from the work ethic of the Japanese.
"Our values in Japan regard work as important. To work is good," he said. "That is a completely different way of thinking to the Old Testament. We should share that philosophy with other nations."
Aso sounds like a reincarnation of Japan's warrior emperors - like those who militarized the country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Coming to America: 'Why can't you just die?'
He has also offended many of the nation's doctors, saying they "lack common sense;" he said the Democratic Party of Japan resembled the Nazi Party; he has offended people with Alzheimer's disease and has even ticked off China's leaders, calling that country "a significant threat" (though he might be right about that one).
It's important to note Aso's comments about elderly patients who require a lot of care because given the state of American healthcare - the cost of which has only skyrocketed in recent years and is expected to keep rising - they are instructive. When Obamacare costs begin to eat into the federal budget, like all of the other government entitlement programs before it have done and continue to do, you will hear more proposals like Aso's, though not in such a crude fashion. Remember, our debt-to-GDP ratio is already high and is climbing, so the budget isn't going to be balanced anytime soon.
Besides, there are already those among our governing elite who feel the way Aso does - that old or sick Americans are too much of a burden on society and are not worth the expense of keeping them healthy. As healthcare costs continue to soar (and they will) and as the taxpayer is forced to shoulder more of those costs (and we will) expect to hear more "suggestions" like the one made by Aso.
Only, the "suggestions" will be coming from American political, media and academic elite. And they will apply to you and to me, not to themselves.