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Theologians often debate the “age of accountability,” the time in a person’s life when he becomes accountable for his actions before God. Obama’s Regulatory Czar, Cass Sunstein, has a unique answer: It must be at least 49.

When Texas Republican Congressman Michael Burgess confronted Sunstein with his own writings, which suggest the government should deny older people medical care, Sunstein said he had written the paper so long ago he should not be held accountable for it.


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“I’m a lot older now than the author with my name was,” Cass cooed, “and I’m not sure what I think about what that young man wrote. Things written as an academic are not a legitimate part of what we do as a government official. So, I am not focusing on sentences that a young Cass Sunstein wrote years ago.”

Cass Sunstein, 56, wrote the paper “Lives, Life-Years, and Willingness to Pay” in the long-forgotten days of July 2003, when he was a mere 48-years-old.[1]

The paper was published while Sunstein was at the University of Chicago, before he was recruited to Harvard Law School by then-dean Elena Kagan.

Some ObamaCare Recipients Are More Equal than Others


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In his 2003 paper, Sunstein criticized the government for protecting human life as though all lives were equal. Specifically, Sunstein said the government’s method for determining who received medical treatment should be changed; he suggested replacing the “value of a statistical life” (VSL) – which viewed all lives as equal – with the “value of a statistical life year” (VSLY). That means the government should allow young people to receive medical care, if necessary while allowing older people to die, because they will live longer after the procedure is completed.

“No program simply ‘saves lives’; life-extension is always what is at issue,” Sunstein lectured. “If the goal is to promote people’s welfare by lengthening their lives, a regulation that saves 500 life-years (and, let us say, twenty five people) is, other things equal, better than a regulation that saves 50 life-years (and, let us say, twenty five people).”

He laid bare his preference: “I urge that the government should indeed focus on statistical life-years rather than statistical lives,” he wrote. “A program that saves young people produces more welfare than one that saves old people.”

“Older people are treated worse for only one reason: They are older.”

Sunstein wrote those who believe it is wrong or discriminatory to deny care to the dying precisely when they most need it worry needlessly:

Under the life-years approach, older people are treated worse for only one reason: They are older. This is not an injustice. Every old person was young once, and every young person will be old too (if given the chance).

Sunstein considered this “reciprocity”: The State graciously allows the non-aborted young to grow until the point they lose their utility to their masters, at which point they, too, shall be culled.

He insisted the euthanasia-by-neglect calculation does not “run afoul of ethical limits on cost-benefit analysis.”

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.


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