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By Raghunatha dasa

I grew up with orphans. A bunch of kids in a boarding school some who actually didn’t have parents. Others who couldn’t conceive of parents as anything but complaint banks that produced candy and cool-aid when they whined.

I would ask you to close your eyes because I want to paint a scenario but obviously you need to read. 40 years from now in say two thousand forty, moms are extinct.

Moms are useless! A female’s sole purpose in reproduction is either donating eggs for test-tube babies or on occasion having kids “the old way” before instantly being shipped off to work. It doesn’t even cross her mind that it’s unnatural to abandon her kids. It is just the standard, the norm, and the socially expected thing to do.

Kids grow up and get to 3rd grade and whisper: “Hey dude, you like Dawn, she’s a female, grandpa says we come from those.”

This isn’t as radical as it sounds. If we continue at the rate we’re going today, it will happen. Already mom’s, married or single are forced to spend more and more time away from home. Slowly but with desperate surety are we slipping away from a concept that was natural, is essential, and will be expensively missed. And here’s the truth.

We take mom for granted. What would the world be like without her? America may offer us a vivid picture. It’s important to put mom to work. Politicians demand it on behalf of the business interest that put them in office. But we pay the price. Is it worth it? Read on.

“She survived the grief of her husband’s death, a life of hard work and little money, and a fire that destroyed her home. Her decline began with a scrape on her leg.

“It wasn’t the hard times that finally broke Marion Heide. Not the death of her beloved husband, nor the days of hard work and little money, nor the fire that took her home.

“She survived all that and lived a ripe old age.

“But her life ended at 88, with Marion bruised and bleeding, curled into a ball in a nursing home bed, so scared of the nurses who were supposed to help her that she cried when they came near.

“Her decline began with a scraped leg. Without the care she needed, the scrape turned into a sore. The skin around it turned black, and infection sank to the bone. Finally, doctors cut off her leg.

“Marion died three months later.

“Jurors understood that she was near the end of her life, sick with diabetes and a bad heart. That didn’t excuse her final 11 months.

“They slapped the nursing home’s owner and its operator-A corporation that runs more than 100 nursing homes across the Southeast-with a negligence verdict and $6.5 million in compensatory damages. When the jurors said they wanted to consider punitive damages too, the defendants’ lawyers settled for an even $10 million and ended the case there.

“Despite federal and state laws, hundreds of inspectors across the country and years o f newspaper and TV horror stories, neglect and abuse of the elderly remain cruel realities.

“One nursing home in four has severe deficiencies that endanger people's health or their lives, , according to a recent federal study. Advocates for reform say that figure is low, and they note that the aging of the baby-boom generation promises to exacerbate (make worse) the problem.

“Why is it so difficult to solve these nagging problems, to stop these tragedies? (Is it because we refuse to recognize mom and the family alternative?) The answer is complicated, (Is it?)”

Robert Tanner’s article for the Associated Press printed by the LA Times on 8/8/99: “How Marion Died Illustrates Problems of Nursing Homes

* * * *

Seventy percent of the government’s budget goes to entitlements. Entitlements are short for family-related services - Social Security (retirement), Medicaid (health-care), Education (kids), etc. Why not have the family offer these same services but for half the cost? We would cut government bureaucracy in half. Our family would still get the same service, but better. Mom has a tidy income. Welcome to the Mother’s Franchise.

How this works is discussed in Chapter 3: Mother’s Franchise. Here, we discuss how much in services added, money saved, economic efficiency improved, taxes and government reduced, and our own standard of living raised. Leave it to mom to save the day. She is our modern day super-hero: Super Mom.

* * *

The average American household now has two working parents. The American tax-payer pays between 30% to 40% in taxes. This means one of these two partners is working just to cover those taxes. We pay 20% to 30% on our gross income. We then pay another 10% to 15% in other direct taxes, like property taxes and the 8% sales tax. Then there are indirect taxes like the gasoline tax. The gas-tax multiplies a products price with each leg of its trip to the consumer. When all tallied, we pay 30% to 40% in direct and indirect taxes. If you have two working parents, one of them is working just to pay the taxes. Mean while, other family obligations (child-care to senior-care) is increasingly neglected because parents are so over-worked. Sound familiar?

Government then takes our taxes to hire commercial institutions to replace mom who is now working. This is the quandary of modern economics: government sponsored commercial institutions have replaced Mom so she can work to pay taxes.

Are these institutions really better then mom? Well, they charge twice as much and often, do a terrible job. Does this sound like a backwards system to you?

Today’s system is good for government and great for business. Both have a personal interest to keep today’s status quo. How far will they go to protect their interest? That’s another discussion. Unfortunately for us, this system is not good for families. It’s bad for mom and terrible for kids.

Government takes these taxes to care for our parents as they retire, tend to our kids as they grow and serve as a safety net in our hour of need - welfare. It would make more sense to replace government with one of these working parents. It would cost half as much and we would get twice the service. This is what the Mother*s Franchise is all about.

NURSING HOMES: Mother Saves $1 Trillion

The government puts our parents in a nursing home for $50,000 to $80,000 a year. Could mom replace them for just $30,000 to $40,000 a year? That’s half the cost for better service. Women are already offering $300 billion a year in “free” home-care service. They would happily continue for just 20% of these nursing-home budgets.

We are now charged $100,000 to $150,000 for nursing two parents. We still get terrible service. Two thirds of all nursing homes in California were in violation of minimum government (sub) standards. 30% were in “grave” violation. Our (grand) parents quiet horror at being retired to these “homes” is all the reason we need for finding an alternative - a.s.a.p. Many of us are also wrestling with the same fears of facing a retirement home in the not-so-distant-future. The media horror stories on nursing home abuses only confirm our worse fears. The industry has managed to stall Clinton’s push for reform. The industry response in short - need more money. Mom could do a better job on half their budget.

Marion Heide, mentioned above, is a case in point. Contrast her experience living at home against that of the nursing home.

“In her 70s, her eyesight failing, she ended up a widow alone with a worn, hand-painted portrait of her deceased husband George, beside her bed. Few relatives came to visit.

“On Halloween 1993, a fire burned her out. Grandson Brian Schroeder took Marion to his home…”

“Marion had been unwilling, yet suddenly she had family again-dinners, great-grandchildren, birthday parties.

“You saved my life,” she wrote to Brian and his wife that year, her script slow and careful but the words tumbling together. “I know I’m a hindrance to you. I will try to do everything you both think I should do. I thought I was going to end my life…

“I love my home,” she said.

Even in her story, the answer is so obvious. Marion speaks for most of us. We prefer family to nursing homes. Like her, our biggest concern is the time or financial hardship we may impose upon loved ones. The Mother*s Franchise will satisfy this concern. Under the Mother*s Franchise, family is compensated for time and expense. Compare her home experience with her nursing “home.”

“Problems began almost immediately: Marion was so sleepy she couldn’t keep her head up. Meley (daughter-in-law) questioned nurses about the medication, and soon Marion was again alert and able to eat with the others.

“Meley had other complaints: The food was often cold; and sometimes Marion had soiled herself and no one had cleansed her.

“Aide after aide testified about the workload, how they were told when they began working that they would care for 15 residents but that often became 20 or 30, occasionally 60. Residents would go without spoon-feeding or a bath. They would not get turned in bed, the surest way to prevent bedsores.

“The home ignored repeated complaints from workers that they were overloaded, aides testified.

“Three months after Marion entered Heather Hill, a nurse recorded a “small abrasion” on her shin. Though bedsores are a significant danger for the bedridden and elderly, nobody contacted a doctor for six weeks, according to the home’s records.

“By then, the shin was badly infected. (Treatment was sporadic) Over 5 months, the sore grew 20 times in size, eating into Marion’s body until her anklebones disintegrated.

“…Months went by with no indication that she got medicine prescribed for her depression, and that she received only half her doses of narcotic pain medicine, despite screams of pain.

“On April 3, Marion’s right leg was amputated at the hospital. She died on July 17, 1997.”

Here’s the most frightening detail of all… “Heather Hill Nursing Home won superior ratings from inspectors for several years running. The home has had 10 years of superior state ratings for being clean of violations.”

Of course, Marion’s experience or judgment is not new.

“In Texas, AN 80-year old man starved to death in a nursing home, and a jury last year awarded $250 million.”

“Lawyers say the growing number of lawsuits and the high damage awards reflect a frustration with lax government oversight. But even when government oversight is in place, it does not necessarily stop problems.”

“Even after sanctions, 40% of homes with the most severe deficiencies were in violation again three years later.”

“The most prevalent of the serious problems are bedsores, letting people go hungry and failing to care for the incontinent (uncontrolled urination and #2.) Advocates say all are the outcome of simple neglect…”

“Pressure sores are the biggest of the serious problems with 2,809 homes cited from January 97 to October 98.”

Mother could easily tend to these problems.

We now have 1.5 million people living in nursing homes at a cost of $78 billion a year - $52,000 per person. The government pays most of this cost. Can mom offer this same service for just $26,000? Has anyone bothered to ask her? Or did we assume-for her-she’s not uninterested?

Many think she’s just unfit for the job. In comparison to what? Heather Hill Nursing Home? The modern women can go to the moon and some day be president of America, but for some odd reason, we can not fully trust her to be a mom. Suddenly, after millions of years of evolution and history, a women can no longer be trusted to be a mom. Why is this? Have we really improved a women’s life or has modern civilization crushed the very soul of her women-hood? Where has her motherhood gone?

How do our parents feel? Have they been asked who they want caring for them? Our parents should have the choice. We should have the choice. Women should have the choice. Anyone can start a business and make a bid to care for our family’s preschool and nursing home needs. Anyone else can do this but mom. Why is this? She should have the same right. The free-market demands it. So does our liberty.

Under the Mother*s Franchise, money will no longer be an issue. Tending on two parents offers the family $52,000 a year. Government saves $40 billion a year - $400 billion over the next decade.

Here’s where the savings are compounded. There are now 34 million American’s 65 and older. “That figure is expected to reach 90 million” over the next several decades. Demographers predict “nearly half (45 million) will spend at least a little time in a nursing home.” Lets assume nursing homes prices remain the same. 45 million people x $52,000 is over $2 trillion. Can mom cut this price in half? Can mom save us $1 trillion dollars: $1,000,000,000,000. We know the service will be better. How much is that worth? Ask Marion Hiede and her family. The jury felt it was worth $10 million.

What’s the government’s big plan for dealing with this explosion of abuse and new retirees?

“…Mandate specific per-patient staffing ratios of nurses and aides...a criminal back-ground check for every nursing home employee. …Random inspections so nursing homes can’t hide their problems and faster punishment for repeat serious violators.”

We need more then higher staffing ratios. We need our family. We need mom. Nothing can replace them. It’s the best plan around. Nothing else comes close. Not government, not corporations, certainly not the free market, nor even church and non-profits. Family is the retirement plan of Mother Nature.

Our family not only improves service for half the price, but also offers us a host of little joys so crucial to our well being. Government programs cannot replace them. Loneliness. What’s the government answer to this? Visiting school children once a month cannot compare to seeing our own (grand) children daily.

Hear Marion’s own words. “I thought I was going to end my life…you saved my life,” she said after being brought to the new home of her grandchildren. “I love my home,”

The sense of abandonment and disorientation of being placed in these nursing homes can be nothing short of traumatic. It can be as demoralizing to us for putting our parents in there. More nurses with non-criminal backgrounds will not help.

“…This women came into the nursing home and she was walking, she was talking, she was mentally OK except for she didn’t want to go in,” said a juror (from Marion’s case). “And when she left, she was screaming and saying she wanted to die, in a state of severe depression and in severe pain.”

See our (grand) parents from the WWII generation. They built our country and defended her in wars. They played by the rules, prayed in church, honored their marriage, and gave to community and the unfortunate, toiling all the while through the decades for family. What is their reward? Nursing homes. Those with money have retirement homes. Many of these are a haunting experience more then the advertised retirement vacation. For the rest of the retirees, they are quietly ignored.

They are a proud people with many now reduced to loitering the malls, bingo halls, food-courts and parks. Sales people all know of the lonely old women who come and often spend just for the attention. They are politely ignored at stores, respectfully excused from restaurants and chased off benches by the night. We stand by quietly - awkward - as they sit forlorn, out of place, shying from their own home. Others are too embarrassed to leave the house. We’re no longer far behind them as we find our 40s and 50s upon us. Still, we ignore them or politely greet them with hurried hellos.

Where are their families now? What role do they play in today’s family, social system? If lucky, they can be the part-time baby-sitter. For the rest, they are Santa Clause sending gifts from a distant place for Christmas and birthdays. The decades of their life experience is no longer passed along. How great is this lost? Again, how great is this lost to us, our children, our community?

It’s here in these little things that family plays the greatest role. How can we calculate the price of these things? They are all lost in these commercial-government programs.

Most all forms of government and corporate family care is similarly deficient, bloated and difficult to reform be it retirement homes or day-care and after-school programs. We’ve all heard the horror stories of day-care and baby-sitter scandals. Who has not seen the horrifying videos? Baby-sitters force feeding the child until the child wants to eat, then refusing them the food. Babies unchanged as they watch TV. There’s the hollering, slapping and worse: death. Even in their best performance, they’re no matches to a mother’s love. Obviously, these programs should be as last resort-not first. The growing number of moms out in the work force is treated as a new level of social achievement? Could it in fact be a symptom of social decline?

First Lady Nancy Reagan led “Just Say No” to drugs. Hillary Clinton leads a children’s anti-violence campaign. Abstinence-based programs like Planned Parenthood - $500 million. (LATimes 8/7/99Letters) Others lead a reading initiative, a no pregnancy campaign, a stay in school campaign and grand-parenting-a-child campaign. The list of new government moral initiatives and community outreach programs is growing each year.

The politicians basking in their glory trumpet the importance of these programs. Their value is demonstrated in the graphs showing the dramatic savings otherwise spent on crime, poverty or injury. Government commitment is demonstrated by their hundred million and billion dollar budgets. The need for these programs will continue to grow to the degree mom is removed from the home. Is this a sign of things getting better or getting worse?

These programs are like nursing homes. They are a sloppy and expensive imitation of the family. The family previously passed along the values, integrity, social network and community identity. This does not include all the private and non-profit programs also tending to these social issues. Tallying the cost of these programs would show the trillions in service offered by a good family. Trillions would be saved and trillions more in added service offered. This is what mom brings to the table. This is what is lost when she is removed.

There’s more. We bring the work place to mom instead of mom going to work. Establishing the rights of women in work and society is the feminist ideal. Here, we hand over the business of caring for society over to her charge. No longer is she just an employee or part of management. She will now own the whole operation. She will have replaced government and the corporate family service industries. It’s nothing short of a coup. It’s the final victory of the feminist cause. This is the true matriarchal society. As expected, it runs better.

For one, this system creates 10 times as many jobs. Mom provides a nursing aid for every 1 or 2 patients. Compare this to the nursing home industry standard of one nurse for every 15 to 60 patients. We can employ 15 to 60 full time nurses for every one employed by a commercial nursing home. This is all done on half the budget. We will see this kind of improved employment ratio for other industries. Day-care centers, for example, have only one baby-sitter for a dozen or so children. Mom would tend to just one or two. In short, we can have a great paying, long-term job for every mom in America. No added cost-same budget, twice the service.

How is this possible? Mom comes without the bloated bureaucracy of government and corporations. Mom is just more efficient-by trillions of dollars worth.

Profits also consume a great deal of the budget in these investor-based operations. These profits can now be used for employing mom. This returns our taxes back to our own home instead of those of international investors. This creates more jobs then the investor based model. It means bigger and better homes, communities and families.

Mom also brings a great deal of assets with her such as transportation, house and phone. Commercial homes have to start from scratch. That is very expensive.

Inflation? No worry there. We’ve added no new money to the economy - the stated reason for inflation. It’s the same amount of money. We’ve only made the worker more efficient. We’ve received more service for half the price.

Best of all, this service can be instituted everywhere mom resides - from the poorest communities, to the poorest country. It does not take technology, government bureaucracy, business investment and all the myriad of complications to hobble such ambitious plans. There is an estimated 1 billion people in the world facing retirement within the coming decades. There is no plan for most of them. Mom is their only hope. They don’t need any other alternative. Mom is already the best.

Republican and Christian groups are right in their assessment about the families effectiveness over government programs. Their strategies, however, are a bit antiquated. Formulas such as tax-cuts are far from adequate. These programs invariably translate into super savings for the rich and minimal benefit for the average American. Mom - Mother*s Franchise - is a far more effective system. It’s a complete package of services and financing that tends to every area of family development for the common man. Simply tapping mom’s extra-ordinary capacity does it all. Mother Nature gifts her. It is nothing short of a super-power.

How has a civilization built upon the brutal exploitation of every natural resource have missed so obvious a treasure? How advanced is this civilization again? Mom’s super-powers remain one of the worlds single most valuable resources man can ever hope to discover. It’s easily available in most any place around the world and worth trillions. To unlock this treasure though takes a very special key. It can only be had by the love of ones family. It can not be duplicated nor had by government, nor corporation, nor the expert and technocrat. This is her magic. This is our mom, our family, our future, and our only hope.

Millions of new jobs, a billion people saved, trillions in services added-all in a days work for mom. Could any one hope to do more? Who can compare to her >from politician and industrial giant, to Super Man and Mother Teresa? Even Santa Clause is but dwarfed to mom. Santa’s gifts are only one day a year. And, they are only for Western, Christian kids. Muslims, Hindus and all the others are missed. Mom offers her gifts of love every day, no mater your religion and ethnicity. If ever there were a super-hero, it would have to be mom. If ever there were a time to act, it would have to be now. If ever there were a greater need for her, it would have to be us. “Who you gonna call?” Super Mom!!!

* * *

I’ve been off line for several months as I completed the 5 chapters of this book entitled: The Economics of Love. Here is Chapter 1. It outlines a new political platform based upon Love: Varnasrama-dharma.

Yes, we can polish up with more research, but the outline is done. The next step is for us to form an official organization. This would be called Mother*s Liberation. This would include:

Establishing a board of directors
These are only suggestions. We are looking for more. I suggest the following devotees: Pranada, Madhusudani, Jagaddatri, Nandini, Visaka, Bhutatma and any others who would like to volunteer.

A budget: 200 members: $10 = $2,000 50 members: $20 = $1,000 Monthly total: =$3,000

A membership roster: Requirements $10 to $20 monthly E-mail or hand out 10 hard copies of literature.

Establish political platform: Researchers and professors of economics and politics is direly needed. There’s the Indian community and the devotees own global network of friends in academia who maybe of help: England, South Africa, India, Canada and USA. I’m on good terms with a professor from UCLA. His institute is used by federal and state agencies to research their social, economic policies before taking them public. The media covers the results of his studies: LA and NY Times. It would cost about $20,000 to have him do a formal study. His report would generate many times this in public exposure. You may have leads such as Prof. Burke or Garuda. Please let me know.

Opening chapters (branches) of Mother*s Liberation: Open around country and world. For example: Neighborhood director: 10 members. Area Director: 10 Neighborhood Directors City director: 10 Area Directors, etc. These are only suggestions. Please share your own. We want something simple and grass roots.

Campaign Strategy: There’s churches etc. but much of our canvassing can be done over the Internet. We can reach millions in just a few months-for free. Need a web site and page designer. The web-sigh would double as a family resource center for its revenue.

Legal: Incorporation and copyrights, etc. Need a volunteer lawyer or a budget to hire one: about $3,000 initially.

Time Frame
We can start as quickly as the volunteers are ready to go and the budget is there to operate upon.

Even $1,000 a month would be enough to get started. Can you afford $10 a month for 4 to 6 months? A hundred people offering just $10 to $20 a month for 6 months would be enough to finish the book and research, set up the office, the internet sight, a newsletter and much of the legal foot-work.

How much would you like to see these kinds of reform? Is it worth $10. Let’s see our options? Do you think the family should replace government as the guardian of our parents and kids? We may be able to start this for just $10 a month. It’s a tax-deductible donation. See what you can do. Stay in touch. I’m moving to Hawaii so maybe slow in responding for a couple weeks.

Raghunatha Anudasa@aol.com
Dedicated to my spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, on the commemoration of his birthday, 9/3/99
The Vedic Cultural Association
PO Box 1467 Culver City CA 90232

© CHAKRA 7-Sep-1999

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