Mike the Mad Biologist

…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.

Comments

  1. #1 Kierra
    February 18, 2011

    Didn’t you know? We’re cutting spending so we don’t give this huge debt to our kids and grandkids (think of the children!!!). What spending are we cutting? Education, infastructure, SS benefits for those under 55. You know, all that stuff that our kids and grandkids will be using (serves ‘em right the little whiny entitled brats).

    What hypocrisy??

    **Yeah, I was pretty close to throwing the radio through the wall last night when I heard some Republican lawmaker say “Obama wants to invest in our future? Now is not the time for investing”**

  2. #2 Susan
    February 19, 2011

    Yeah, I saw this one coming back in the 80s when the unions started making 2 tier deals based on age. I’m not blaming the unions – I mean I saw it as a portent of things to come.

    So…those of us under 55 paid at the same rate as other people and get lower benefits? Like hell! Cut congressional salaries and make it up that way!

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