Let us contemplate for a moment the level of effort that people put in to just one method of papering over just one of the changes caused by aging - just to keep up appearances, and making no difference at all to the underlying processes that cause degeneration. The method I had in mind is the use of dye to camouflage the progressive graying of hair. The fading of color of hair is an early sign that stem cell populations are responding to rising levels of damage, becoming less active in maintaining tissue. For whatever reason the pigment cells that give hair its color are more sensitive than others to the accumulating cellular and molecular damage of aging. Painting your hair in brightly colored chemicals does absolutely nothing other than cover up the evidence of this process, of course. You're still degenerating underneath that dye.
Individually, touching up graying hair isn't a great undertaking, and nor does it cost much. But when many, many people do it, that adds up. Ten years ago, hair dye was an industry with $7 billion in yearly sales worldwide - give or take. While that certainly includes the Manic Panic youth brigade, a large fraction of that commerce involves coloring gray hair. So it's not a stretch to suggest that the world's elder folk have a great enough interest in hair dye to fund the NIA several times over, or for something more constructive, provide the budget to implement the SENS vision of rejuvenation biotechnology a couple of times every year.
This sort of comparison serves to illustrate just how small research and development expenditures in medicine are in comparison to almost any form of day to day commerce. They tell us nothing about how to change that state of affairs, however. It's already something of a mystery as to why people are so relentlessly irrational when it comes to directing resources towards actual improvements in health and longevity versus papering over the cracks with hair dye or funding culturally accepted fraud in the form of "anti-aging" products.
Is it the case that people decide between funding research and hiding the gray, and choose to hide the gray? Or is it that funding meaningful research doesn't really even enter that choice matrix? To reframe these questions, is the solution to adequately funding the best and most promising longevity science more a matter of persuasion or more a matter of education?