“I’ve got mine—good luck getting yours.”
I thought the ME generation was those that were born in the 1970’s but based on the 2010 Elections, it seems the ME generation is the BabyBoomers (those born between 1946 and 1964).
James Surowiecki writes about the shift in senior citizens voters. Here are his key points :
In the 2006 midterm election, seniors split their vote evenly between House Democrats and Republicans.
This time, they went for Republicans by a twenty-one-point margin.
Why were seniors so furious with the Democrats? The weak economy and the huge deficits didn’t help, but retirees have actually been hit less hard by the financial crisis than other Americans. The real sticking point was health-care reform.
Misinformation about “death panels” and so on had something to do with seniors’ hostility. But the real reason is that it feels to them as if health-care reform will come at their expense, since the new law will slow the growth in Medicare spending over the next decade. It won’t actually cut current spending, as Republicans claimed in campaign ads, but between now and 2019 total Medicare outlays will be half a trillion dollars less than previously projected. Never mind that this number includes cost savings from more efficient care, or that the bill has a host of provisions that benefit seniors—most notably the closing of the infamous drug-benefit “doughnut hole,” which had left people responsible for thousands of dollars in prescription-drug costs. The idea that the government might try to restrain Medicare spending was enough to turn seniors against the bill.
There’s a colossal irony here: the very people who currently enjoy the benefits of a subsidized, government-run insurance system are intent on keeping others from getting the same treatment. In part, this is because seniors think of Medicare as an “entitlement”—something that they have a right to because they paid for it, via Medicare taxes—and decry the new bill as a giveaway. This is a myth: seniors today get far more out of Medicare than they ever put in, which means that their medical care is paid for by current taxpayers.
The subsidies that seniors get aren’t fundamentally different from the ones that the Affordable Care Act will offer some thirty million Americans who don’t have insurance.
Opposing the new law while reaping the benefits of Medicare is essentially saying, “I’ve got mine—good luck getting yours.”
The current crisis has tended to drive people apart, with economically anxious voters trying to hold on to what they have. These days, the notion that we can’t afford to expand the safety net sounds plausible, because everyone’s feeling poor.
In this environment, it’s understandable that seniors want to pull the ladder up in order to protect their benefits, just as other voters don’t want to pay for any more stimulus spending, even if millions of Americans are unemployed.
Ah, this is a message that is based the chants we heard during the healthcare reform debate – “No Government controlled socialized medicine – but be sure to leave my Medicare alone”.
While the seniors issue was healthcare, taxes can have the same irrational and emotional response.
Funding government (be it the federal or state) requires taxes.
The focus is on the rates
… should the Bush tax cuts be continued even though it would add billions to the deficit ?
… Or, should Minnesota raise the rates for high-wage earners to balance the budget ?
WE are being misled by politicians and selected interest groups … WE are so afraid that our taxes may be raised, WE are not looking out for OUR best long-term interest … so although no one is talking about raising 98% of wage-earner’s taxes, WE accept no tax rate changes. WE need to realize that “I’ve got mine” is not good for the country or future generations.