Home Health Hey, old men! – The healthcare blog

Hey, old men! – The healthcare blog

BY KIM BELLARD

Okay, how many of you had on your female bingo cards that, in 2022, Sheryl Sandberg would be on Facebook, but Queen Elizabeth II would still be queen? It is the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, marking seventy years on the throne. She’s getting a lot of love for that tenure, but it makes me think, gosh, some people just don’t know when to step away.

Perhaps my cynicism about the Queen prompted an op-ed by Yuval Levin, Why are we still ruled by baby boomers and the remarkably old people? dr. Levin is referring to the US, of course, and he’s perfect about our governance problem. But I think the problem goes further: we have too many old people running our companies and large institutions.

Whether it’s health care, education, or the military, for example, we’re so busy protecting the past that we don’t really prepare for the future.

According to Dr. Levine, the President, Chairman Pelosi, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, and our most recent former President are all members of the silent generation, as is the House Majority leader and Majority Whip. At least Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is a baby boomer. According to the Congressional Research Service, the median age of House members is 58.4 years, Senators 64.3 years; both numbers are rising.

Like dr. Levin notes, “For a generation, our politics has been largely in the hands of people born in the 1940s or early 1950s.”

But the private sector, you would knowingly object! Okay, about that: Statesman tracked the median hiring age of CEOs from 2005 to 2018, and the median age of CEOs increased from 45.9 to 54.1 during that period (making them solid baby boomers). Fortune confirms that the average age of Fortune 500 CEOs is 57 years; again, baby boomer territory.

Sure there’s a Jon Ossoff (35) in the Senate and a Mark Zuckerberg (38) who runs a Fortune 500 company, but let’s not pretend that power isn’t still concentrated in the hands of baby boomers and remarkably old folks, like dr. Levin costs.

Senate and corporate boardrooms are similar in another unfortunate way: They are still the home of white men. Twenty-four senators are women (compared to about 29% of the members of the House), but only 3 African Americans are in the Senate. Less than 10% of Fortune 500 companies had a female CEO, but there are only 6 African American CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Not 6%, mind you – just really only 6 people.

And, of course, Congressmen are much wealthier than most Americans; according to OpenSecrets, “The median net worth of members of Congress who filed disclosures last year is just over $1 million.” Many count their wealth in the tens, if not hundreds, millions. In the private sector, of course, CEOs get 351 times the average employee, and CEO pay has increased by 1322% since 1978, both according to the Economic Policy Institute.

If you’re not a baby boomer or some other “remarkably old” person, especially if you’re not a white male, and you think our political leaders or our business leaders understand, much less act on, your interests, well, think again. after.

dr. Levin argues, “It’s often said that Americans don’t have a connecting story right now. But maybe we really do have a story like that, only it’s organized around the life arc of the older baby boomers, and it just doesn’t serve us right anymore.”

Baby boomers and our elderly are focused on preserving their wealth (including Social Security, pensions, 401k/IRA) and health insurance (especially Medicare). Social justice, climate change, voting rights, gun control – these are the things many of us say we’re for, but they’re not necessarily the things we vote for, not if that puts a risk on what we have.

If leaders, whether political or business, have been in power for 10 or 20 years (much less 70!), if they do not have clear, already capable successors ready, then that is a leadership failure. That is a culture of ‘I’; that is a culture of ‘now’. Those leaders don’t lead into the future; they protect the past. dr. Levin tackles it again: “And our politics are implicitly focused on recapturing some of the magic of mid-20th-century America from boomer youth.”

To lead into the future, we must be willing not only to build on the past, but sometimes to tear down what the past has built. The Democrats revere the New Deal and the Great Society programs, but we must recognize that both were deeply flawed and yielded uneven results at best.

No one designing a social retirement program in 2022 would structure it like Social Security; no one designing health insurance for seniors now would come up with anything like Medicare; no one who really cares about underprivileged people would ever design something like Medicaid on purpose.

Yet here we are. We are stuck with these cultural institutions; talking about MedicareForAll or Baby Bonds or even capping prescription drug prices might as well be talking about stuff in the Metaverse.

I’m not ready for a Senate with Jon Ossoff, Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton and Krysten Sinema (the four youngest senators), no house ruled by AOC and Madison Cawthorn (the two youngest representatives). He may be remarkably old, but I would still trust Warren Buffet instead of Mark Zuckerberg. We should want to be younger and a little more reckless, but there are limits.

dr. Levine suggests more “middle-aged leadership,” but admits:

Yet they have not broken through as defining cultural figures and political forces. They have not internalized this moment, or found a way to loosen the post-war generation’s hold on the nation’s political imagination.

What people love about the British monarchy is that it represents the history and traditions of England. However, the price of that is that it is also tied to it. The test for a true leader, be it a monarch, a president, a senator, or a CEO, is that they know when it’s time for new traditions and to break new ground in history — and when it’s time to step aside for new leaders to achieve it.

But, as Dr. Levine laments, “We clearly lack grounded, grounded, forward-looking leaders.” Where are they? And who should step aside for them?

Kim is a former emarketing exec at a major Blues scheme, editor of the late and regretted Tincture.io, and now a regular THCB contributor.

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