From my minarchist, Austrian perspective, the activities in and around Washington DC comprise a puppet show of grotesques - a distorted mockery of reality. Yet this show is taken at face value by all too many people; when that dangerous mix of dream logic, greed, ignorance and lies governs the real world, terrible damage is done. Take the recent sideshow that was the White House Conference on Aging as one small part of the whole, for example. Here we have representatives of a hundred fronts of the culture of entitlement, grubbing and manipulating for short-term gain in ignorance and greed, all the while hurting their own long term prospects by supporting socialism in medicine and other failing centralization strategies. More vitally, we are presented with a supposedly important event on a major problem - the problem of age-related frailty - that fails to meaningfully address any plausible solution.
Not that we should be surprised. Plausible solutions and their enactment are the province of the free market and people who work to create and build - something that policians cannot do. The only results you'll obtain from the insertion of big government and central control into any arena of human endeavor are shoddy goods, higher costs, and slow progress. One would hope that most people understand what happens when you attempt to centrally control complex systems - the fate of those who lived through the Soviet Union should spring to mind. As centralization grows, progress, efficiency and quality die; this is an iron law of our time, and one that - sadly - seems to have to be relearned again and again.
If you want to assist the elderly, the best way forward is to support directed medical research towards real anti-aging medicine capable of repairing and preventing age-related cellular damage, the source of all age-related disease, degeneration and death. With this technology, the presently frail elderly would be healthy, wealthier and more experienced than you or I, and in no need of assistance. In the political arena, the best support that can be given to medical research is exactly the same as the best support that can be given to any human activity: it is the support of no regulation, no taxes, no government beyond the rule of law and property rights, individual advocacy, persuasion and hard work.
What goes on in Washington DC would be darkly funny if it wasn't going to contribute to to hundreds of millions of unnecessary, avoidable, preventable deaths due to aging in the years ahead. Simply persuading people to support healthy life extension research is enough of a challenge; the destructive arrogance of politicians - and the destructive greed and ignorance of people who have never needed to learn responsibility - threaten the future of our health and longevity through their effect on the pace and capabilities of medical science.