…then maybe the middle-aged and the young in the U.S. can too? The most recent attempt to weaken the most effective U.S. anti-poverty program ever–Social Security–involves cutting benefits, but only for those who currently are younger than 55 years old. As Matthew Yglesias notes, this is…unusual:
After all, this isn’t how any other kind of benefit cuts work. When Obama proposes cutting oil and gas subsidies, they propose cutting them right away. When Obama proposes a nominal freeze in federal pay, he’s proposing a real cut right away. When LIHEAP gets the ax, it gets the ax right away. When Arizona cuts Medicaid, people can’t get organ transplants right away.
…by first separating the domestic budget into “discretionary” and “entitlement” portions and then dividing the entitlement programs up into “what today’s old people get” versus “what tomorrow’s old people will get” the political class has created a large and vociferously right-wing class of people who are completely immune from the impact of their own calls for fiscal austerity. In my view, that reality is the biggest driver of our current political dysfunction.
So I think Susie Madrak has an excellent suggestion (italics original; boldface mine):
Because the “of course we’ll exempt everyone 55 and older” from getting their promised benefits is just how the politicians on both sides of the aisle are covering their asses as they toil away for the banker class, and maybe it’s time those shiny pink butts should be exposed to the light.
Not to mention, this is classic “divide and conquer” strategy. We should stick together. We should present a united front. You want to cut Social Security? Then you need to face the universal wrath of the voters in the next election, instead of putting some of us in a protected class. (Of course, it’s a rather desirable side effect that if we do present a united front, the chances of actual Social Security cuts drop precipitously.)
This could be our Egypt moment. Just as Christians surrounded the Muslims at prayer, we should surround the younger generation with our promise that if they try to take their future Social Security, they’ll have to go through us.
You cut one, you cut us all. How about it?
Sounds good to me.