Keep your hands off my welfare state

Ezra Klein on why the Matlock demographic opposes health care reform:

What are seniors so afraid of?

From the beginning, Medicare has been named as one of the potential sources of savings that would fund subsidies for the uninsured. That sounds like service cuts, even if the specific changes don’t involve anything of the kind (most of the savings would come from reducing overpayments to the private insurers that participate in the Medicare Advantage program).

So the fear is not of a welfare state but of changes in their welfare state. The result is that the coalition against reform is an odd union between people opposing government-run health care and people defending government-run health care. It’s a potent combination.

[….]

But taken as a whole, the attitudes seniors express on health care are arguably the greatest vote of confidence anyone has offered reform. Seniors live in America’s version of Canada. They have single-payer health care. And they love it. They love it so much that they’ve got the chairman of the RNC swearing to protect it.

Read the whole piece. Even if you don’t, please click through to keep the click-counters happy. If you don’t, the terrorists win.

Update. I see that as I was writing this, John was asking the same questions about seniors. I guess great minds think alike.

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121 replies
  1. 1
    Mr Furious says:

    Shit, that means we give the WaPo clicks!

    Maybe Ezra will resign in disgust? [crosses fingers]

  2. 2
    DougJ says:

    Shit, that means we give the WaPo clicks!

    WaPo’s not going anywhere, either way, not with all of that Kaplan cha-ching around. Do it for Ezra.

  3. 3
    AhabTRuler says:

    @DougJ: Stay gold, Pony Boy. Stay gold!

  4. 4
    SGEW says:

    Everyone should read Ezra every day anyway.

    By the way, Spencer Ackerman recently revealed <a href=”http://attackerman.firedoglake.com/2009/08/27/the-awful-two-fingered-truth-about-ezra-klein/”Ezra Klein’s Horrible Secret. Now it can be told!

  5. 5
    SGEW says:

    Huh. Link no work. Try again?

    Link

  6. 6
    Leelee for Obama says:

    Yeah, it’s quite remarkable how very selfish the Reagan Seniors continue to be. They wanted tax cuts, and morning in America and my generation 6 to 12 years younger got shafted really hard. Some of them did too, but they never admitted it and NOW they’ve got theirs.

  7. 7
    gbear says:

    After reading Ezra’s piece, all I can say is “…fucking old people”.

    And I’m 55.

  8. 8
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:

    You can say “fucking old people” all you want, but it won’t change anything as long as people younger than them don’t vote. As much as I dislike Republicans these days, I think I might actually hate people that don’t vote.

  9. 9
    Sloth says:

    @Leelee for Obama:

    Yeah, it’s quite remarkable how very selfish the Reagan Seniors continue to be. They wanted tax cuts, and morning in America and my generation 6 to 12 years younger got shafted really hard. Some of them did too, but they never admitted it and NOW they’ve got theirs.

    Pretty much. You sort of wonder how they’d like it if we just told them we we’re done paying out more than they’ve paid in andwe’ll just pay out the residuals and tell them to go find private insurance.

    The very odd thing here is that their best (only?) bet of retaining medicare as it stands today is to get healthy young people into the insured pool.

    I mean, I can understand the IGM attitude, but at some point they have to realize that they will not continue to get theirs unless things get fixed.

  10. 10

    Political animal that I am, I can’t help but notice that the politics of ramming through health care reform against the Republicans’ wishes would serve to further consolidate their support among the elderly and further whittle it away among the young.

    Which is not the position a party wants to be in.

  11. 11
    eric says:

    @gbear: Here is the thing about older voters that really, really, really PISSES ME THE FUCK OFF…..how can you be such a low information voter when you are not working? Christ, just how much can you bitch that your kids won’t visit your sorry ass in central fucking florida during the summer months?

    eric

  12. 12
    JGabriel says:

    @The Main Gauche of Mild Reason:

    … I think I might actually hate people that don’t vote.

    Now, see, that’s where we differ: I love Republicans that don’t vote.

    Democrats, liberals, and progressives that don’t vote are, on the other hand, kind of annoying. But I wouldn’t go so far as to hate them. And at least they don’t talk about how great Reagan was.

    .

  13. 13
    JHF says:

    Only 49 weeks until I get my Medicare! The only other birthday I looked forward to in my life was when I was about to turn 26 and knew I wouldn’t be drafted to fight in Vietnam.

    I hear all the bitching about “old people” and I just don’t get it. I’m not fucking old, I’m just getting started. I play in a surf punk band. I’m a writer, Web designer, and an artist. My wife (a classical pianist) and I have no kids, no equity, no savings, no health insurance for the last five years (she just got on Medicare), no nothing, just a tiny pension, Social Security, and whatever we earn professionally. Uncertainty is the new American dream, but so what?

    I’m 10,000 percent in favor of universal single payer. Let everyone have Medicare. Socialism? BRING IT ON, BABY! The only thing I don’t want is for Medicare to be gutted to pay for a fucking health insurance company bailout, and that’s all I’ve heard is coming down the pike.

  14. 14
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @joe from Lowell: Normally, I would agree, but not when the Republicans are not negotiating in good faith, or at all, really. And, not to be too harsh, but their remaining demographic isn’t going to be around for much longer.

  15. 15
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:

    @JGabriel:

    My statement is somewhat colored by the fact that the people most likely not to vote are not republicans and not senior citizens.

  16. 16
    eric says:

    @asiangrrlMN: I am assuming you are referencing the Rapture, no?

    :)

  17. 17
    malraux says:

    how can you be such a low information voter when you are not working?

    To be fair, it can actually be hard to separate the signal from the noise if you watch tv or listen to the radio. If Fox or Rush are your sources of news, you can spend all day being “informed”, yet not know anything.

  18. 18
    AhabTRuler says:

    @eric: Nope, she is obviously referring to Seniors and the Death panels.

  19. 19
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @Sloth: They don’t believe that because the full faith and credit of the US is behind it. Plus-they think they’ll be dead by then.

    @joe from Lowell: I so hope you’re right, joe. My kids and grandkids are already struggling. I can’t imagine how they’ll manage if things get much worse.

    @eric: They watch Fox or CNN, when they are not playing golf, or tennis, or walking around, or driving slow in front of people with somewhere to be, like work! And their grandchildren don’t come to Central Fl to visit cause they’ve been to RonJons once already, and Miami is way cooler than Cocoa Beach. I live here, so I’ve heard this on the line at Publix! Plus, Grandma is always bitching about them anyway.

  20. 20
    Nicole says:

    My favorite quote from that piece: “Seniors are like the American West,” says Julian Zelizer, a Princeton historian. “They depend on government and then say they hate it.”

  21. 21
    John S. says:

    how can you be such a low information voter when you are not working?

    Adding to the other sentiments…

    LOU. FUCKING. DOBBS.

    Even my own mother – who is quite intelligent – falls victim for his bullshit. He is one of them. Old, white, afraid of what the future holds and mad as hell and he’s not going to take it anymore!

  22. 22
    eric says:

    @Leelee for Obama: My grandmother used to listen to Bob Grant religiously in NY for years (until she passed). So I know that the source of information matters a great deal. In fact, it seems stemmed from unhappiness: the more a senior is unhappy with his or her personal / family life, the more likely that resentment turns political.

    My grandmother despised the lazy [insert yiddish word here]. She would never get tired of pointing out the differences between her people — whole toiled laboriously as professionals — and the dreaded “other,” who only had babies and robbed licquor stores (when not makign babies with “a different” unmarried woman who could not afford her other six children from six other men. Yet, she had enough money that there was no way “welfare queens” could ever have impacted her standard of living — unless of course they took over AIG and Goldman Sachs….wait for it…..wait for it….keep waiting…here it comes…but that was HER PEOPLE!!

    eric

  23. 23
    wasabi gasp says:

    Every kid needs to go on a starvation diet in preparation for Halloween. Trick or treat, smell my untreated appendicitis.

  24. 24
    ironranger says:

    Our current privateer health care system is hell on families. We all know of couples who have divorced after they had a medical catastrophe in the family & the struggle to cope with the bills & fighting with insurance companies become overwhelming. Bankruptcy. A spouse is forced to divorce his/her mate when long term care will wipe out their entire savings they have worked all their lives for & the remaining spouse will have nothing left for his/her own possible end of life care. A young couple gives birth to a child that will require very expensive care for life & if they have insurance, they will reach the cutoff point long before the child reaches adulthood. It goes on & on. Rightwingers say people need to take personal responsibility & plan, put away money for emergencies. Ha. How many people can bank a million dollars for the possible event a family member becomes a quadriplegic when young? What if another family member unexpectedly has another million dollar medical crisis?
    Staunch conservatives terrified about the decline of the american family just completely ignore all this. So much for family “values”.
    Staunch conservatives refuse to believe that medicare for all option could save them a lot of money. (In 2008, there was $219 million in uncompensated care costs to the hospitals & health care providers in my congressional district alone.) Even if they do come to believe that, it doesn’t seem to change their minds.
    Then there is the moral factor. I saw a website (but didn’t go there) that was appalled that at TK’s funeral, Teddy’s young grandson talked about healthcare for all, in God’s name. They called that “shameful”!
    I’m at the point where I really think that nothing sways the hardcores unless their own wallets or families are hit hard. They really don’t give a rat’s ass if people die, a whole lot of people.

  25. 25
    Max says:

    I think we need a version of the Big Schlep from the Obama Campaign…

    Children and grandchildren need to tell their parents/grandparents that don’t support it… “Support it or I’m not helping out when you can’t take care of yourself, I won’t visit you in the home and you’ll die alone. Then, when you’re dead, I won’t do what you want with your body because you don’t support end of life planning. You know that sister you don’t like Grandma? You’re spending the rest of eternity in a tandem grave with her.”

    I’m sure the marketing dept. can clean that up, but you get my point.

  26. 26
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @eric: Yeah, when my Mom first came here to live after my Dad passed (2003 ), we listened to Lou Dobbs on and off, cause he used to be semi-sane. When he started going after the immigrants, Mom said,”Get that shit-head off the set! He’s hating people cause they’re not him!” I was so proud of her-of course, she was my role model for Liberal thought all my life, but she had spent at least 20 years listening to my Dad and Brother railing about the Commie Bastards in the Democratic Party. It was nice to know she had withstood the wave. The source of your news can be the problem, but sometimes old people just start hating everybody on spec.

    Man, Bob Grant made my ears bleed back in the day-I remember when he lost his gig. I hear he’s thinking of a come-back-Surprise!

  27. 27
    kay says:

    @Max:

    “I’m sure the marketing dept. can clean that up, but you get my point.”

    I do get your point and let’s hope the marketing department can clean that up.
    My father wrote an advanced directive because he thinks I’m a tight-wad and he doesn’t want me near the plug. Or so he said. I think he just likes giving orders. He made jokes about my “accidentally backing into the plug”.

  28. 28
    ironranger says:

    @eric:
    Most seniors don’t have internet. All they have is msm tv news & newspapers. Even if they are liberals like my 90 & 86 yr old in laws, they still have a tough time getting info. I am constantly looking up stuff for my father-in-law & printing off articles for him.

  29. 29
    gnomedad says:

    please click through to keep the click-counters happy

    Or Digg it here.

  30. 30
    ellaesther says:

    May I humbly suggest that we be careful when we bash “old people” as a group.

    If we are lucky, we will be old people some day (I suspect that some of us already are!), and a whole hell of a lot of old people think that the right-wing fear mongering is sheer insanity. (Leelee for Obama ‘s mom and my mom among them).

    I suspect that the reason we see so many older people at these events is because a) the organizers know that older people will deliver a stronger visual punch than younger people (a civilized nation, after all, does care for its elderly, and if some elderly are telling you that someone is about to kill them, we do get drawn in) and b) older people tend to be retired, and often have more time to act on their political impulses than those of us juggling jobs and kids at home.

    I’m going to have to go to Pew Research and see what they’ve done to break down the demographics of this thing….

  31. 31
    cbear says:

    @Leelee for Obama: @gbear: @eric:

    Yes, yes, and yes.

    Speaking of Cental Florida—over the last several years a large group of these aged assholes who live in “Adult Only” and “Seniors Only” developments have tried to mount a movement to avoid paying the impact fees and/or that portion of their property taxes that go to support the local school systems.
    Their rationale is that they don’t allow, nor have, children in their communities and/or that they already paid their fair share when they had kids and were living in fucking New York or New Jersey.

    Nice, huh?

  32. 32

    @ellaesther: Don’t be humble. I get sick of commenters here bitching about the rich and/or old. Somehow those who paint with a broad brush get a pass because they are liberals. I say to them: kiss my ass. It pisses me off when wingnuts do it. It pisses me off and disappoints me when liberals do it. Being an asshole is not an affliction soley of the wingnut world.

  33. 33

    Asian GrrlMN,

    I meant, that’s not a good position for the Republicans to be in.

  34. 34
    bellatrys says:

    @Sloth:

    I mean, I can understand the IGM attitude, but at some point they have to realize that they will not continue to get theirs unless things get fixed.

    You’d think, but you’d be being logical. All I have seen among the IGM sectors is more proof of Einstein’s dictum regarding madness, aka “doubling-down” or even tripling-down on the same-old in hopes of things getting better.

  35. 35
    jrosen says:

    Now, now…let’s not let the stereotyping get out of hand. I’ve paid into SS since I was 17, and made the maximum contribution to Medicare until I qualified for it. I’m 70 in November and hardly ever need to call on health insurance, although I smoked heavily and drank too much for some years (not for a long time though!) But last year I had a series of medical incidents that required some pretty heavy treatment (over for now, I fervently hope) and have no complaints about the coverage. But spending 10 hours in the ER waiting for a bed (pneumionia — and I’m told that I could have been days) showed me how overloaded that part of the system is. My younger brother is a physician and has his own perspective on how broken the whole thing is.

    But get this, kids (sorry, anyone under 40 is a kid to me now)….I fervently support meaningful health care reform, and think single-payer is the best way to go. I’m disgusted that it looks like the defenders of the status quo (i. e. the bottom-line bottom-feeders who rake off the obscene profits from misery, disease and death) seem to be winning the battle, and that by hoodwinking the very people who stand to benefit most from change (the older I get, the less I understand this). And I vote, and volunteer in canvassing (e.g. for Ned Lamont when I lived in Mass — I was called a communist by one grouchy old gent outside the polling place) and upcoming for Joe Sestak now that I live in NJ. So please don’t speak of the “old” as if we were all cloned from Lou Dobbs (who makes me want to throw things at the TV). I know it feels good to vent, and stereotypes make convenient targets, but there may be better ways to fight. I remember vilifying LBJ during Vietnam, and have come to see that the situation was not as clearcut as we then thought. (However, Michelle Bachmann and John Boehner, to name a few, will ever be fair game.)

    It is up to you…I’ve been fighting all my life and I’m getting tired. Frankly, if it weren’t for the sake of my grand-daughter, now 2 1/2, I wouldn’t really care much what happens down the pike, although I will always be saddened to see this place turn into a 3rd world country.

  36. 36
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @cbear: Trust me, I know them! Same people don’t want a 1% increase in sales tax to make up the budget shortfall for the ENTIRE State School Budget. Again, cause they paid taxes all those years ago…who the hell do they think is gonna be working at the Hospitals, Nursing Homes and Hospices when they need them? Or do the home care they’ll need. Me, I’m a rarity taking care of my Mom, and I do mean taking care, she’s basically bed-ridden at this point. I don’t want some uneducated, pissed-off young person taking care of me when I’m helpless. They just don’t think that anything bad can come from selfishness. Cause RayGun told them Gubmint is the Problem.

  37. 37
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @jrosen: Nice to know there’s a Senior or three who didn’t buy into the IGM. I know I’ll never be rich, but I’ll always try not to be selfish anyway. I really try not to trash all Seniors, just like I know all those Kids aren’t the same. What kills me, I guess, is how easily the Town Hallers turned into Obama haters, it reminded me of Boston during the busing protests. Ugly, mean and more than a little scary.

  38. 38
    cbear says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum: @jrosen:

    You guys do realize that it’s possible to be disgusted with old assholes and rich assholes, and even old rich assholes, without being disgusted with the old and the rich, don’t you?

  39. 39
    wasabi gasp says:

    Yes, the stories are true. There are some amazingly wonderful, compassionate and charming old folks out there. Everyone’s TV diet should include the National Geographic Channel.

  40. 40
    Comrade Luke says:

    As a Democrat, why should I vote for these fuckers if they fail to pass a decent health care bill?

    Because the alternative is to put Republicans in power? That’s the reasoning that put these asshats in power to begin with.

  41. 41
    vacuumslayer says:

    @cbear: Exactly. Thank you.

    And, btw, if I wanna bitch about old people and rich people I’m gonna keep right on doing it. Sometimes you just gotta vent.

  42. 42
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:

    @cbear:

    these aged assholes who live in “Adult Only” and “Seniors Only” developments have tried to mount a movement to avoid paying the impact fees and/or that portion of their property taxes that go to support the local school systems.

    We get this kind of crap in southern california all the time. It makes it virtually impossible to pass bonds to construct new schools. Oh, and to LOCATE the schools somewhere (these people also tend to be NIMBY activists that don’t want middle/high schools with their hooligan kids nearby). It’s sort of like a failure to understand the inter-generational contract–when they were young, there were older people paying taxes to support their childrens’ schools.

  43. 43
    vacuumslayer says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum: I wouldn’t say it’s solely their affliction, I’d just say their much, much sicker with it.

  44. 44
    vacuumslayer says:

    “They’re” My kingdom for an edit button!

  45. 45

    @cbear: Yes. But more than once in a thread on this blog I’ve read sweeping generalizations about the old and/or rich made by commenters. It gets tiresome because in general I enjoy reading comment threads here.

  46. 46
    eric says:

    YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN.

  47. 47
    Demo Woman says:

    @eric: Now that is good news for John McCain.

  48. 48
  49. 49
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum: BTW-my comment tp jrosen was also supposed to include you, but the arrow didn’t work. Not trashing all Seniors, like I said. I’m almost there at 58, it’s just gets upsetting to see people who are ill-informed doing the kinds of things I’ve seen lately. If there were any truth to any of this, I could understand it.

  50. 50
    Linkmeister says:

    My 80-something mother is getting more liberal as she gets older (which is quite a sight, since she was already a Roosevelt Democrat). She’s also getting more loudly annoyed with her fellow 80-somethings.

    Exception that proves Ezra’s assertion that seniors are getting more conservative?

  51. 51
    eric says:

    @The Main Gauche of Mild Reason: Not to mention that a lot of older folks benefited from that [insert erection pill] program known as the GI Bill funded by other people’s tax dollars.

    PS. I am not old. i am 44 and I pay a darn good amount of taxes and I will not mind an increase if it means that people get fed, clothed, and have their medical needs looked after. I was not so keen on increases to fund the B2, but alas the older voters did. ;)

  52. 52
    Comrade Luke says:

    People of all ages and incomes can be assholes. The problem is that a) conservatives yell louder (in all age groups) and b) the media chooses to portray the yellers as the majority.

    How is the portrayal of the vocal ones as the majority any different than the constant references to “real Americans”?

  53. 53
    Demo Woman says:

    Fox News has been pushing death panels for months and the elderly are a big part of their viewing audience. It’s not all the elderly but some do believe that Fox would not lie to them.

  54. 54
    cbear says:

    @The Grand Panjandrum: No problem GP….you crotchety old basterd. (Kidding!)

    BTW, didn’t you post a really great chili recipe last year? Or do I have you confused with someone else?

  55. 55
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @Linkmeister: Truthfully, I think there are still a lot of liberals in the WW2 generation-like our Moms. It’s the first generation after the war that we’re seeing now. This came up a few days ago. The first of the Boomers who got lots of benefits from the post war period, and then voted for Reagan, tax cuts and other peoples kids volunteering for the wars. Not all of them obviously; my sister is as liberal as I am, but lots of them.

  56. 56
    Karmakin says:

    The problem is confusing recognizing trends with making sweeping generalizations. I don’t think many people here are actually making generalizations, only describing the trends. And if you don’t recognize the trends, how do you deal with them?

    And the trend right now, is a lot broader than health care. The trend is that the older generation tends to look at those younger with a combination of distrust and outright disgust. That’s not to say that’s everybody, or even most. But that’s where the push is, and actually has been for 25-odd years now.

    And like I said, it’s a lot broader than health care. It has repercussions on everything from social policy, to youth obesity, to education, to debt, to technology policy…

    And I’m not trying to hate on the old…I don’t even think that most are like that. But that said, the squeaky wheel gets the grease..and boy do they squeak.

  57. 57
    jrosen says:

    A$$holes come in all sizes, shapes, and ages. I’m an equal-opportunity a$$hole-avoider. This can be a problem when I am one myself. But at least, I hope, not trying to make my own a$$holery into a political program.

  58. 58
    ellaesther says:

    @jrosen: Leelee for Obama’s mom, my mom and jrosen!!

    This is precisely what I meant. Thank you so much for writing this, and for continuing the struggle. I frequently feel tired, myself, and not infrequently feel like just tossing in the towel — and I’m only 44. So, thanks.

    @The Grand Panjandrum: Thank you for your Grand support, Panjandrum! I’ve been reading a lot about Lincoln lately, and am trying to learn from his formidable skills in calling on people’s better angels…. (Lincoln’s Virtues http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02.....ncoln.html )

    While I absolutely agree with vacuumslayer that the problem of sweeping condemnations is more a problem on the right side than on ours, I could do without the broadstroke-painting/condemning all together….

  59. 59
    Linkmeister says:

    Here’s the WaPo ombudsman on health-care reform coverage at the paper:

    Most readers who have contacted the ombudsman identify themselves as senior citizens and rely on the printed Post. The Kaiser survey found those older than 65 are the most confused by the issue.

    I think they want more glossaries explaining basic terms, easily digestible Q&As, short sidebars that summarize complex concepts and graphics that decipher complicated data. And they want stories that say what health-care reform will mean to them.

    He also notes that TR Reid’s story from last weekend (“Health Care Around the World”) was the most-emailed article they had, and it was terse and anecdotal, not filled with arcane terms and process analysis.

  60. 60
    Linkmeister says:

    Oh, bah. The second paragraph was within the blockquote, but it didn’t take. And honest, I did close that tag in the final paragraph!

  61. 61
    jurassicpork says:

    “(Sarah Palin’s supporters) were swindled into thinking they were ‘the Real America’ by an anti-American separatist just as the poor blacks of New Orleans were swindled into thinking they, too, were part of real America.” – A “Real American” Holiday.

  62. 62

    I believe the correct title of this post should be “You kids get offa my welfare state!”

  63. 63
    Cain says:

    @ironranger:
    Most seniors don’t have internet. All they have is msm tv news & newspapers. Even if they are liberals like my 90 & 86 yr old in laws, they still have a tough time getting info. I am constantly looking up stuff for my father-in-law & printing off articles for him.

    But boy, they write so beautifully. The best letters were always from the old timers. You knew they had a good education in english. My own grandfather writes so well, almost poetically.

    sri

  64. 64
    Cain says:

    @ellaesther:
    May I humbly suggest that we be careful when we bash “old people” as a group.

    Here in Oregon, Obama’s big 60K event was organized by old ladies. They were like drill sergeants. They knew how to organize and they have the time. That’s why they show up everywhere. God bless em. :)

    cain

  65. 65
    freelancer says:

    @jurassicpork:

    Yes, yesterday was Sarah Palin Day.

    Today is the 1st Annual celebration of “Who the fuck is Sarah Palin?!” Day, sponsored by Google.

  66. 66
    Max Peck says:

    If you want to defeat legislation without really addressing it you just scare the only group that reliably votes by flat making shit up. It’s the Chewbacca Offense.

  67. 67
    Nicole says:

    I think the elderly are the same as they were when they were young, just with less filter. My uncle (right-wing) and my dad (liberal) are the same as they were 30 years ago. My dad’s position on a lot of things has changed over the years, but it’s not due to him changing; it’s due to him being intellectually curious. (Mind you, a lifetime of drinking has wreaked havoc on his brain, and he’s got some odd ideas, but at least they’re always open for discussion.)

  68. 68
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Karmakin:

    The problem is confusing recognizing trends with making sweeping generalizations. I don’t think many people here are actually making generalizations, only describing the trends. And if you don’t recognize the trends, how do you deal with them?

    And the trend right now, is a lot broader than health care. The trend is that the older generation tends to look at those younger with a combination of distrust and outright disgust. That’s not to say that’s everybody, or even most. But that’s where the push is, and actually has been for 25-odd years now.

    Exactly. I get what a lot of people are saying in this thread, but I would counter that no one is really “bashing old people.” It’s not so much sweeping generalizations about old people in general, but rather, generalizations about the behavior of what seems like a great deal of them when it comes to particular issues.

    No, not all old people are cranky, selfish jackasses these days, but a lot of them are certainly turning out to be that way. And while it may offend some sensibilities to point that out, I don’t think it does anyone any good at all to just dismiss or ignore it.

    A lot of old people are misinformed, selfish assholes when it comes to health care reform. How do we fix that?

  69. 69
    Brachiator says:

    @The Main Gauche of Mild Reason:

    We get this kind of crap in southern california all the time. It makes it virtually impossible to pass bonds to construct new schools.

    No. You don’t. Californians, including seniors, have been incredibly generous to schools. Not only have bonds passed, but we also passed Proposition 98, to guarantee a portion of state revenues to schools.

    In Los Angeles, you have the opposite problem. School enrollment is declining, and yet the school board insists on continuing with school construction, even though parents in affected areas have pleaded with school officials to shift the money for other needed purposes.

    The rationale for school officials who continue to push for school construction? The original proposition did not allow for any flexibility and who knows, school enrollment may increase one day.

    Then there was Proposition BB, which promised citizen oversight of school bond expenditures. After it was passed, school officials said, “No, we just meant after-the-fact-notification.”

    And part of the present California budget crisis is the result of bonds approved without realistic funding mechanisms.

    Which brings us to seniors and Medicare. The GOP lie machine exploits a reasonable belief by seniors that an expansion of health care programs would mean wasted money and a decline in their own health benefits.

    People need to confront GOP lies instead of demonizing seniors, some of whom, by the way, are taking care of their children and grandchildren who have lost jobs or otherwise fallen on hard times.

    I am always surprised that neither the Democrats nor the media play clips of Republicans arguing for eliminating or cutting back on Social Security and Medicare.

  70. 70
    gwangung says:

    A lot of old people are misinformed, selfish assholes when it comes to health care reform. How do we fix that?

    Good chance it’ll be a different way than with misinformed, selfish middle-aged assholes (and a different way yet again for misinformed selfish young assholes).

  71. 71
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @gwangung:

    I see what you did there. And I agree.

    But dealing with the madness of the 55/65+ crowd is an integral part of whether HCR gets through, and if it does get through, what form the final product takes. Let’s not pretend otherwise.

  72. 72
  73. 73
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @Midnight Marauder: That’s the question, for sure. How do we fix that? How do we make Fox News and the BS they spew 24/7 stop being the go to for anybody? How do we cause major Main Stream dead-tree newspapers to tell only the truth, even if it’s not supportive of our desires? How do we make a large proportion of the Nation stop being so afraid of the Other, stop seeing a threat in every person that doesn’t resemble them, in every way? How, indeed. I used to know that when someone reported the news, it was the truth, even if I hated what they said. I used to know that a politician would shade the truth if possible, but they generally didn’t outright lie-and if they did, fair-minded people voted them out. I used to know that saying one thing Monday, and another on Tuesday, w/o an explanation, was a pretty sure bet the person speaking was full of crap.

    The Dumbing of the culture here is sad, bad and dangerous.

  74. 74
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @gwangung:

    Also, not to mention the numbers showing that the 60+ crowd is way more likely to buy into the “OBAMA WANTS TO KILL YOU” bullshit than “misinformed, selfish middle-aged assholes” and a “misinformed selfish young assholes.” Obama’s favorability numbers from the Daily Kos/R2k latest tracking poll:

    18-29
    ——–
    Fav: 78
    Unfav: 18
    No opinion: 4

    30-44
    ——–
    Fav: 45
    Unfav: 48
    No opinion: 7

    45-59
    ——–
    Fav: 61
    Unfav: 34
    No opinion: 5

    60+
    ——–
    Fav: 43
    Unfav: 54
    No opinion: 3

    Looks like the misinformed, selfish old assholes have a lot in common with those misinformed, selfish middle-aged assholes after all.

  75. 75
    ellaesther says:

    @Midnight Marauder: A lot of old people are misinformed, selfish assholes when it comes to health care reform just about anything, given half a chance. Or, at least, that’s been my experience! Or, as I put it to a professor in graduate school once: People are stupid.

    But to the point of this conversation: (Some of) the old have been bashing the young-er-than-them since Adam and Even started getting their pension from the apple orchard. (Some of) the not-old have been resentful of this fact since Cain and Able started running the orchard themselves (and we all know how well that partnership worked out! But I digress).

    Recognizing the trend is important, but it is then even more important to get to what the engine of the trend may be. Why is it that we are seeing so many older folks at the health care rallies, etc? What else is going on in this picture?

  76. 76
    ironranger says:

    T R Reid has a book out, “The Healing of America”.@Cain:
    Well, yes, the thoughtful, insightful seniors who have gained a lot of wisdom over the years & have a lot of wonderful stories to tell, definitely.
    However, then there are the Archie Bunker types who write these incoherent, ranting letters to the ed in local papers. Whew, they make my head throb.

  77. 77
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @Midnight Marauder: May I just say that the 45-59 demographic, which is mine makes me have a happy feeling? Fully half of us were war protesters, supporters of civil rights and women’s rights, back when I was a kid and it’s nice to know, more than half of us like Obama.

  78. 78
    Napoleon says:

    I refuse to give the WaPo hits.

  79. 79

    […] Because the kooks have riled up seniors against the socialist Medicare cuts. From the beginning, Medicare has been named as one of the potential sources of savings that would fund subsidies for the uninsured. That sounds like service cuts, even if the specific changes don’t involve anything of the kind (most of the savings would come from reducing overpayments to the private insurers that participate in the Medicare Advantage program). […]

  80. 80
    vacuumslayer says:

    GROSS. What is WRONG with people my age? Goddamn Reagan generation. I’m going to go vomit now.

  81. 81
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:

    @Brachiator:

    I don’t know about Los Angeles, but I’m referring more to San Diego county. Enrollment has been increasing dramatically; virtually every school in the northern part of the county is overenrolled (the high school I graduated from 8 years ago is still at 300% capacity the way it was when I attended there, and the other high school in the same district was at 400% capacity). I grew up going to elementary school and middle school in 35-40 student classrooms, with textbooks generally stored in the classroom because there weren’t enough books for each student; these are pretty much the same way now as they were then (I have friends who teach in the district now). All I know is that the realities of funding in the districts I’m familiar with dictate that bonds must be passed to build new schools.

    Now I don’t doubt the intention to be generous to schools on a state level, I’m just pointing out that it doesn’t seem to correlate with generosity at a local level. Maybe Los Angeles sucks up a disproportionate amount of state funding? I don’t know. But basically all the cities in San Diego county that have well-performing schools heavily supplement state funding with local bonds/taxes.

  82. 82
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:

    Oh, and just for perspective: you don’t need to be old to be a IGM greedhead. I give you my former college roommate (now 27):

    “Well speaking for all of us elitists w/ awesome employer provided health care. I just don’t want my costs to go up due to the govt. taking a piece of the pie. not to be cold hearted but part of capitalism is that if you are smart and work hard you have more than those who do not and can not. You’ll just have to work harder next time. Having said that I’m glad I don’t believe in Karma or my next life I’d likely be a bug of some kind.”

    Of course, this wanker is a deacon in his church, etc etc. He also works as a software engineer; I wonder if he’d really hold the same views if his job were outsourced…

  83. 83
    Brachiator says:

    @Linkmeister:

    I think they want more glossaries explaining basic terms, easily digestible Q&As, short sidebars that summarize complex concepts and graphics that decipher complicated data. And they want stories that say what health-care reform will mean to them.

    This would help everybody. The other day, I heard the 36 year old host of a sports talk radio show, who also demonstrates a good working knowledge of financial issues, note that he thought that the Obama Administration was having trouble selling health care reform because they didn’t break it down clearly and simply enough.

    This becomes even more important when you see that the GOP will make up the biggest lies imaginable in order to defeat health care reform. The latest: Health Care Will Be Denied to All Republicans Under ObamaCare.

    The RNC sent out a fundraising mailer recently. Couched as a survey, it contained one question that reads, “It has been suggested that the government could use voter registration to determine a person’s political affiliation, prompting fears that GOP voters might be discriminated against for medical treatment in a Democrat-imposed health care rationing system. Does this possibly concern you?”

    http://www.salon.com/politics/.....08/27/rnc/

  84. 84
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @ellaesther:

    True, but the spotlight is on the 55/65+ crowd now. Especially thanks to the doublespeak of Michael Steele, who wants the GOP to protect Medicare from the evil libruls, despite their decades-long effort to eliminate Medicare.

    I think whoever suggested a “The Great Schlep 2: Electric Boogaloo” for HCR was on to something. Clearly it’s going to be up to the 18-29 and the 45-59 sets to try and rectify this situation.

  85. 85
    Leelee for Obama says:

    {{I wonder if he’d really hold the same views if his job were outsourced}}

    One would think perhaps not. However, he may be really brain-washed and convinced that HE didn’t work hard enough. I can’t for the life of me understand the level of teh stupid, and selfish. How hard does a soft-ware engineer actually work-in terms that a waiter/bartender might comprehend? Not very, I’m pretty sure, and I bet he doesn’t tip well if he doesn’t like the food the kitchen makes him at a restaurant-because how else will things improve? Amirite?

  86. 86
    Uloborus says:

    I get uncomfortable with generalizing any group, too. I mean, I lived in a country that supported the Iraq War, and *I* sure didn’t. But the country did.

    In this case, I think it’s easy to blame seniors, or sound like you do when you talk, because the portion of seniors who are doing this objectionable thing A) seem to be the majority, and B) seem to be doing it *because they’re old*. All arguments for why they’ve adopted their position return to their age.

    That makes it easy to believe, or sound like you’re saying, that this trait (clinging to Medicare irrationally at the expense of the rest of society) is an inherent part of being old.

    And then you see it in old people who have a lot of other objectionable traits based on their age that seem to be connected…

  87. 87
    Josh Huaco says:

    @The Main Gauche of Mild Reason:

    He also works as a software engineer

    What is it with engineers and their I-am-indeed-the-center-of-the-multiverse libertarianism?

  88. 88
    Sloth says:

    What is it with engineers and their I-am-indeed-the-center-of-the-multiverse libertarianism?

    Robert A. Heinlein.

  89. 89
    bellatrys says:

    @Nicole:

    I generally agree with you, but I think there’s some truth to the claim that “people become more conservative as they get older”, because I’ve seen it – however, I’ve also seen the opposite and, crucially, am an example of it myself.

    What I think can happen is that people who “make it” to a certain plateau of economic security become defenders of their position, entrench and hold on at that point, since they have join the “haves” no longer have any vested interest in defending the rights of the “have nots” not being “have nots” themselves any longer.

    IOW, their liberalism/progressivism/anti-establishmentarianism was nothing more than a prototypical IGM – that is, they *hadn’t* got it yet, but they *wanted* to get it and were on the side that was working to make sure that such as they *did* get it…until they got it, and then those who are still fighting for *everyone* to have a share of the pie become the enemy, because it wasn’t ever a matter of *principle* for them, really.

    This is why it so often comes with age – not because “growing like a tree” has anything to do with it, but those who have survived longer are more likely to have achieved some sort of fiscal success and social rank to protect. (Fantasy author & frequent Slacktivist commenter Kit Whitfield had a great post about this in re the “Angry Young Men” of English lit in the 60s turning into Crotchety Old Bastards themselves a while back.) But it’s exactly the same as a Rich Lowry or Amber Pawlik or Megan “Jane Galt” McAddled is doing at a much younger age.

    –Or, to put it in terms that even a conservative Xtian should recognize – They were but seed that fell on shallow soil, and withered in the noonday sun. (Or hypocritical debtor servants, if you will.)

    Others, however, put out deep roots and *don’t* turn into “SCREW YOU ALL” sorts once they “get theirs”. And some of us never get ours, and yet still hope to continue the fight for all even if we do, and have that temptation to face for reals…

  90. 90
    bellatrys says:

    Hey, I managed to get through that whole rant without once using the words “selling out” –! Go me.

    But seriously, there are the Aged [ex] Hippie Boomers who *did* sell out and became Reaganites and yet *still* want the “cool” credentials of their quondam-hippieness, who raised me – and then there are the ones like Meteor Blades et al who never “grew up”, who are my role models these days.

  91. 91
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @bellatrys: This is exactly right. Some entrench to maintain their stuff, and others get stuff and keep fighting for others, and others don’t get much in the way of stuff, and still keep fighting for the ones in the rearview. It really is a matter of character, I think.

  92. 92
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:

    @Leelee for Obama:

    I can’t for the life of me understand the level of teh stupid, and selfish. How hard does a soft-ware engineer actually work-in terms that a waiter/bartender might comprehend?

    Not very. But that’s the case with ALL white-collar jobs! There’s an entire industry of white-collar Republican workers who spend half of their day surfing the internet, while denigrating the laziness of immigrants/minorities in service jobs. Now, I”m not saying anything is wrong with the fact that white-collar workers have a lot of free time; but I am saying that they should acknowledge their relative place. Even if you are a management consultant that works 15-hour days–it’s mostly talking and sitting in front of a computer, which is nothing compared to people who make vastly less for laboring on their feet all day.

    Neither of my parents graduated from university, and I’ve long said that their age group (mid 50s) is really the last that could conceivably live a secure middle-class lifestyle without attending college. But despite the fact that my Dad has a relatively successful contracting business, he still works infinitely harder than any of his peers that did graduate from college. The continual lack of perspective on these issues astounds me.

  93. 93
    bellatrys says:

    In fact, the only particularly age-related thing I can think of is that the older generations do belong to a demographic in which the society they were making as a whole turned its back on the free thought and social justice rebellion of the 30s and embraced conformity with a vengeance (q.v. McCarthyism) – but that’s happened before, as with the Victorians in the post-Revolution/post-Regency world, and since, as with the Reagan Reaction, and so is not a *necessary* function of their years at all.

    (–Okay, spamming over, back to (finally!) watching the Sharpe series via YouTube – up to Sharpe’s Honour, now)

  94. 94
    bellatrys says:

    Leelee – isn’t everything? 8D

    Ok, going back to my soaps for reals…

  95. 95
    Brachiator says:

    @The Main Gauche of Mild Reason:

    I don’t know about Los Angeles, but I’m referring more to San Diego county.

    OK. You originally wrote “southern california,” so I didn’t realize that you were talking about local San Diego issues. I don’t know as much about that area, but I agree with you that they often seem to be excessively cheap, not just with respect to schools, but other services as well. I recall reading stories that San Diego was underfunding police and fire services (and depending on county and other cities’ resources for help during some big brush fires).

    Maybe Los Angeles sucks up a disproportionate amount of state funding?

    LAUSD is pretty big (Wiki facts):

    LAUSD is the largest (in terms of number of students) public school system in California. It is the second-largest in the United States. … It is the second largest employer in Los Angeles County, after the county government. The total school district budget for 2008 was $19,986,000,000 US dollars.

    And even seniors have generally supported it, along with everyone else, with special local assessments.

  96. 96
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:

    @Brachiator: From what I understand, the situation is largely the same in Orange and the Inland Empire. So when I refer to “Southern California”, I’m considering LA as sort of an outlier. LA is LA.

  97. 97
    HRA says:

    What Grand Panjandrum, J Rosen and ellaesther have written here.

    Brachiator: “People need to confront GOP lies instead of demonizing seniors, some of whom, by the way, are taking care of their children and grandchildren who have lost jobs or otherwise fallen on hard times.”

    The sorrow of this is in my own personal life. They all have jobs and it’s now not enough when an emergency or need happens to my children or my grandchildren. I am the bank that does not take payment for it. This is why I am still working full time. The other reason is I would not be comfortable to have to depend on Medicare and buying my own added insurance to bolster it would be too expensive. I support a national healthcare plan.

    I would call myself a Kennedy Democrat.

  98. 98
    YellowJournalism says:

    For those who keep mentioning that many of the seniors are without Internet access, I have to say that a good portion of those that do have it are just as, if not more misinformed than those who don’t. I’m very thankful my grandmother does not have or understand how to use the Internet because that woman freaks out and believes every terrible things she reads or hears. I could just imagine how many panic-stricken calls my parents would get in the middle of the night if she were to start receiving those mass e-mails about “death panels” and Obama trying to turn the country Muslim. It’s bad enough she occasionally watches Fox and talks with her equally uninformed friends and family members (including many of the younger ones).

    God, I hope she hasn’t watched Glenn Beck this week.

    My other grandmother, if she were alive, would have been all for single-payer because she knew from personal experience and from seeing it in her children and grandchildren what it was like to be poor and without health insurance.

  99. 99
    Sloth says:

    “People need to confront GOP lies instead of demonizing seniors, some of whom, by the way, are taking care of their children and grandchildren who have lost jobs or otherwise fallen on hard times.”

    Amen to that.

    The reverse is likely to soon happen. A large percentage of the boomers have insufficient funds to retire. They’ve been totalled by the stock market and by the housing crisis. As they are shuffled out of jobs, social security is unlikely to cover their needs.

    So they move in with the kids?

  100. 100
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @Sloth: Not an option for some like myself, as they’re not well-off, and not likely to be. Methinks there is a reckoning coming-and it will be televised.

  101. 101
    Linkmeister says:

    @Brachiator: Absolutely. Frex, I didn’t realize the Medicare savings Obama talks about were to come from reductions in payments to insurance companies which sell Medicare supplemental insurance until I read it in Ezra’s op-ed today.

  102. 102
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:

    @Sloth:

    A large percentage of the boomers have insufficient funds to retire.

    “Fire me over my dead body”? I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of angst/lawsuits among this age group as the downturn forces companies to lay off more expensive older workers. Either that, or we’ll have people holding on to their jobs in their 80s, with the corresponding hostility among younger unemployed people that will entail…

  103. 103
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @The Main Gauche of Mild Reason: Thom Hartmann did an article about this last week. I think I saw it at commondreams.org. Solve many crises by immediately lowering the retirement age to 55, and providing all sorts of safety nets. It was interesting, to say the least.

  104. 104
    Brachiator says:

    @The Main Gauche of Mild Reason:

    From what I understand, the situation is largely the same in Orange and the Inland Empire. So when I refer to “Southern California”, I’m considering LA as sort of an outlier. LA is LA.

    As I noted, Los Angeles is huge compared to Orange, San Diego and Inland Empire combined. And keep in mind that LAUSD is not just the city of Los Angeles, but also other cities in LA County. And Orange County has a mixed record with respect to school funding.

    Los Angeles teachers’ unions also tend to set the standard followed elsewhere with respect to salaries and pensions.

    There are about 658 schools in LAUSD, compared to about 200 in San Diego. I don’t quite think that LA could be termed an outlier. However, I note that the public reaction to the state budget mess is affecting the way that voters, and not just seniors, are looking at school and public services funding. And in turn, this may be affecting the health care discussion.

  105. 105
    Sloth says:

    Oh, and just for perspective: you don’t need to be old to be a IGM greedhead. I give you my former college roommate (now 27):

    Obama has so far totally dropped the ball on the cost side of the equation.

    Point out to your buddy that he’s already been denied at least one pretty good sized raise due to healthcare costs rising, and he’ll probably miss another one in the next few years for the same reason; maybe he’ll be a little more clear on the issue.

    He’s also probably seen his health insurance get a whole lot worse. Depends on the company, but generally speaking, the quality of the healthplans on offer has gone down quite a bit. Then again, maybe not.

  106. 106
    DougJ says:

    “People need to confront GOP lies instead of demonizing seniors, some of whom, by the way, are taking care of their children and grandchildren who have lost jobs or otherwise fallen on hard times.”

    Neither I nor anyone else here meant to make it sound like all senior citizens were Glenn Beck watching knuckle draggers I’m sorry if it sounded like I was.

  107. 107
    Brachiator says:

    @HRA:

    The sorrow of this is in my own personal life. They all have jobs and it’s now not enough when an emergency or need happens to my children or my grandchildren. I am the bank that does not take payment for it. This is why I am still working full time. The other reason is I would not be comfortable to have to depend on Medicare and buying my own added insurance to bolster it would be too expensive. I support a national healthcare plan.

    I truly understand how difficult this can be. These are the stories that are not told enough.

    And I think that a national health care plan, carefully crafted, could do much to relieve the pressure on those who find that they have to help their grandchildren and grown children.

  108. 108
    Mayken says:

    @Max: I was thinking along the same lines. Seriously, some of these people have to be concerned about their children and grandchildren, right?

  109. 109
    drillfork says:

    Old people are vulnerable, so they’re easy to scare. The unknown scares them, the Right is scaring them.

  110. 110
    mike says:

    Obama talked about saving billions in Medicare, so naturally, seniors are expecting cuts, deep cuts.

    Obama can’t just make sweeping generalizations and not expect that it will alarm people. He needed to lay it out before the Republican propaganda machine began it’s usual smear&lie campaign.

  111. 111
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Fascinating discussion. I would note that Arizona is another area where the elder population has done the IGMFU move WRT property taxes for schools.

    And I’m another one of those who have become more progressive as I’ve gotten older. I don’t get how people become more conservative as they get older.

    I’m gen x, so I don’t expect anything to be there when I “retire,” including the pension fund I’m contributing to at present.

  112. 112
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @mike:

    Obama can’t just make sweeping generalizations and not expect that it will alarm people. He needed to lay it out before the Republican propaganda machine began it’s usual smear&lie campaign.

    I don’t think it’s possible to get in front of the GOP propaganda machine. They work in another dimension of bullshit.

  113. 113
    kay says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    I don’t think a constantly rising standard of living for retired people was sustainable, or even the point, really.
    People between the ages of 55 and 65 are more likely to pay 40% or more of their income to debt service than any other group.
    They’re still borrowing, to maintain a lifestyle at 55. That’s the age you (ideally) finish paying down debt, mortgage, etc. You certainly shouldn’t be racking it up, because between 45 and 55 are the “high earnings” years. They’re living beyond their means at the end of the max earning years. They aren’t going to make more than they are now, and they’re drowning in debt.
    How likely is it today’s 55 year olds will be able to continue living like that, when they no longer have income? Not likely. No wonder they’re scared.

  114. 114
    HRA says:

    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason: “Fire me over my dead body”? I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of angst/lawsuits among this age group as the downturn forces companies to lay off more expensive older workers. Either that, or we’ll have people holding on to their jobs in their 80s, with the corresponding hostility among younger unemployed people that will entail…”

    Yes, a few years ago my director made a speech about the coming of the greying in our office. He was including himself as well and he is till on the job. Over half of those who did retire did so at age 55 plus 30 years of service. The older ones stayed longer. What is even stranger is hearing a 40 year old co-worker saying she will have to stay beyond retirement age and they will carry her out.
    Our office has filled the positions with student workers and student interns. They get minimum wage and only 20 hours.

  115. 115
    HRA says:

    Its 20 hours per week.

  116. 116
    wasabi gasp says:

    @drillfork: Bah, they’re bitter old coots clinging to their TV Guides and Melba Toast.

  117. 117
    Elizabelle says:

    Neil Gabler’s LA Times Op Ed piece today.

    ‘Truth’ vs. ‘facts’ from America’s media

    http://www.latimes.com/news/op.....4705.story

    ” ….So rather than be battered, the media — and I am talking about the respectable media, not the carnival barkers on cable — increasingly strive for the simplest sort of balance rather than real objectivity. They marshal facts, but they don’t seek truth. They behave as if every argument must be heard and has equal merit, when some are simply specious. That is how global warming, WMD and “end of life” counseling have become part of silly reportorial ping-pong at best and badly misleading information at worst. …”

    =======

    [And check out the online poll. It’s not even remotely close.]

    I am hoping the public has tired of the town hall cretins and is curious about the other side. Polls turn out much differently when the pollsters carefully describe the proposed plan (vs. saying “public option” or whatever sounds like soc iali st takeover to the polled public).

    And who IS the polled public? Have any of you ever been contacted by one of the major polling organizations?

  118. 118
    HRA says:

    I have never been polled

  119. 119
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @joe from Lowell: Oh fuck. I’m sorry. I totally misinterpreted your comment. Sorry about that.

    As for generalizing old people, I will say this: Most of the racist, hateful shitheads showing up at the town hall meetings appear to be older than I am (38), so my ire is directed to the older people at the town hall meetings.

    As for making sure they are better informed, I can get that, but really, what else can be done if they don’t want to be better informed? I have watched the clips of the town halls, and I see how even when the Congressperson answers a question honestly and pretty thoroughly, the constituent asking the question simply refuses to believe the Congressperson. If a person wants to believe something to be true, there is fuckall anyone can do to change his/her mind.

  120. 120
    Anne Laurie says:

    @The Main Gauche of Mild Reason:

    just for perspective: you don’t need to be old to be a IGM greedhead. I give you my former college roommate (now 27):“Well speaking for all of us elitists w/ awesome employer provided health care. I just don’t want my costs to go up due to the govt. taking a piece of the pie. not to be cold hearted but part of capitalism is that if you are smart and work hard you have more than those who do not and can not. You’ll just have to work harder next time. Having said that I’m glad I don’t believe in Karma or my next life I’d likely be a bug of some kind.”

    In his next life? The jokes, they write themselves…

    Srlsy, tho, your ex-roomie may become more self-aware as he gets older. Back in the 1970s, Gloria Steinman wrote a article about the ‘counter-intuitive’ fact that male college students tended to start as radicals and develop into conservatives, while female college students started conservative and got more radical as they got older. She pointed out that (at that point in our economic history) male college students could “afford” to be radical, because they hadn’t started earning white-collar-professional money & accruing the power that went with such money yet. But female college “co-eds” were at their peak of earning potential in an economy where the best way for a woman to become rich & influential was to marry a rich, influential, usually older man. So women aspiring to wealth, for most of the 20th century, supported “conservative” views (those most attractive to older, rich, influential men) until they were older, and either successfully married, or no longer “marriageable”, or widowed — until they had nothing left to lose.

    But the economic world has changed enormously since then, and it’s my impression (as an old) that software engineers have the same limited shelf-life as blond co-eds. Right now, your old acquaintance may be at his peak earning potential, and so he’s convinced that the world is his oyster and of course it’s all down to his own virtue & hard work. In ten years, or twenty, when there’s a whole new generation of software engineers rolling their eyes about those fossils who never stop yammering about ‘keyboards’ and ‘memory sticks’… then he might find himself radicalized and supporting soshalistic stuff like universal health care and globally supported brain jacks!

  121. 121
    Yutsano says:

    @Elizabelle: And who IS the polled public? Have any of you ever been contacted by one of the major polling organizations?

    People with land lines usually, which skews towards an older demographic and a generally poorer one. Also people who tend to be home and answer the phone. Demographic balance is a VERY tough thing to achieve in any opinion or survey research milieu (I know, I worked it for several years, and this was even before cell phones became more ubiqutous). If they’re honest pollsters, they’ll try to get as much of a demographic spread as possible. If they’re just schocking for numbers, they’ll pull 800 numbers out of their phone banks who they know have answered before and poll them again. If you know someone who gets polled/surveyed, odds are they’ve been polled more than once and often many many times, simply because they picked up the phone.

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