More Ageist Talk

I’m sure it’s just my ageism, but I see a direct connection between Fox News’ geriatric audience the whole Paul Ryan push to “partly dismantle” Medicare and Social Security.

I grew up in a small town with an aging population, and I live in a suburb that’s a bit older than the area average. Even though the senior citizens in each town put their kids through the local schools, the school budget is always in danger of failing at election time. A few years ago, for example, the current parents and the senior citizens in my suburb engaged in a standoff. After the bond issue for the new library (the seniors’ pet project) was voted down, the budget authorization for the schools was voted down. A big PR campaign/forced love-in ensued and both issues passed the next election, but it was a pretty ugly example of how the last generation of parents is ready to hold the current generation hostage to get what they want.

Similarly, the partial dismantling of programs for the elderly that Ryan envisions won’t affect the current generation of retirees. Ryan and the Republicans are betting that their older base, which turns out reliably, will be happy to cut the retirement benefits of the next generation as long as the current generation gets theirs. I think they’ll find a pretty receptive audience for those cuts, and it might be a short-term winning strategy that leverages an ugly side of human nature.

Just to be clear: I don’t think all old people feel this way. To return to the small town example, school budget authorizations pass in part because a lot of fair-minded older people realize that their children’s schooling was paid for in part by the generation that preceded them. But there are certainly plenty of retired people on “fixed incomes” who don’t give a damn about the next generation, and they turn out regularly and reliably.

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103 replies
  1. 1
    TR says:

    Not giving a damn about the next generation would explain why seniors can vote for climate change deniers, too.

  2. 2
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    Get Off My Lawn!!

  3. 3

    The GOS linked to a poll today that said 85 percent of americans oppose cutting soc sec benefits. Wonder if the cat food commission will listen?

  4. 4
    tkogrumpy says:

    I am sorry to hear of your experience. I have not had a similar experience in the communities where I have lived. I question wether it has broad application.

  5. 5
    Earl says:

    What TR and Stuck in the Funhouse said…

  6. 6
    sal says:

    The GOS linked to a poll today that said 85 percent of americans oppose cutting soc sec benefits. Wonder if the cat food commission will listen?

    No. SATSQ.

  7. 7

    @tkogrumpy: My ex sister-in-law used to teach in Arizona, and the problem was pretty acute where she taught.

  8. 8
    Rosalita says:

    You live in my town in CT?

  9. 9
    flukebucket says:

    But there are certainly plenty of retired people on “fixed incomes” who don’t give a damn about the next generation

    A-fuckin’-men brother. And I say that as an old guy who hangs out with a lot of these folks. If you really want to have some fun at the morning get together for coffee at McDonald’s just tell them that it is the greatest generation that is breaking our fucking ass.

    It runs their blood pressure up before they go to their weekly doctors appointment.

  10. 10
    Johnny B says:

    I think Ryan and the GOP have a two-pronged strategy. The first prong is the one you mention. Cut retirement (and Medicare) benefits for people who would have entered those programs in 15 to 20 years, but not touch any aspect of those benefits for current retirees. I agree that may well generate political support. The 65 and older crowd not only encompasses much of the FOX News audience, it votes overwhelmingly for Republicans. My own parents fall into the camp that believes that Social Security and Medicare should be slashed for younger people, but that the government must keep its hands off their health care (Medicare) and government pension (Social Security)

    But there is a second prong to this strategy that Ryan and the GOP won’t discuss. Let’s assume they get their rollbacks of Social Security and Medicare for those 50 and younger. Shortly, thereafter, they will stoke generational rage from the under-65 crowd on the grounds that they continue to pay nearly 7 percent in Social Security taxes (14 percent if self-employed) and 3 percent in Medicare taxes for a program that will be dramatically reduced for them. The GOP will then argue that the Social Security and Medicare taxes must be reduced and such reductions will be paid by cutting the benefits current retirees receive. I suspect this argument will have legs as well.

    Divide and conquer has been the GOP mantra for decades. And divide and conquer could work in this case.

  11. 11
    Slowbama says:

    I’ve come to the same conclusion myself: old people suck. They bogart the retirement funds, they think it’s funny that they refuse to innovate technologically on the job, and they work less for more money.

  12. 12
    numbskull says:

    @Slowbama:

    I’ve come to the same conclusion myself: old people suck

    Yeah! Good thing _you’ll_ never grow old, huh.

  13. 13
    4tehlulz says:

    Whocouldanode that basing a society on “I got mine, fuck you” would cause problems?

  14. 14
    jwb says:

    @Johnny B: And in this case the people who fall for this strategy will fully deserve to get fucked over when the reckoning comes.

  15. 15
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    I’ve come to the same conclusion myself: old people suck. They bogart the retirement funds, they think it’s funny that they refuse to innovate technologically on the job, and they work less for more money.

    I hear ya. And they smell funny, also too.

  16. 16
    BC says:

    Isn’t that the entire purpose of this libertarian-sounding movement, to make it easier for seniors to say “fuck you, I got mine”? This is all a piece with the modern evangelical movement, which has pooh-poohed the idea that Jesus really did not like rich people and has given them permission to be wealthy and evangelical. Rosalind Carter once said that Reagan gave people permission to be racists (because, after all, they were all welfare queens who drove to the welfare office in their long black Cadillacs), but James Dobson and his fellow travelers gave people permission to be selfish wealthy people (because if poor people would just believe, they would be wealthy too, so of course it’s all their fault). That’s why you have people decrying that there is such a thing as a Social Compact – by God, they are independent of the entire world and rely only on themselves and so should everyone else. Also why “values” are only trotted out during elections because if you’re loud and vocal on values, then what you do is your business.

  17. 17
    TTT says:

    Gugh, it’s nauseating to see so many of those commenters there actually valuing the concept that FOX #1 HUR HUR. Being the most-watched cable news channel is like being the biggest flea. Nobody watches cable news. On any given night, the broadcast anchors get at least three times the audience of Fox at its highest.

  18. 18
    stuckinred says:

    So I assume by “old people” you mean people like me who are 60? What exactly does “bogart retirement funds” mean?

  19. 19

    I come out of lurk to say that I think you’re really onto something with the generational analysis.

    back when i lived in a small town (affluent suburb, kid-centered community) , i saw a different dynamic: the seniors on fixed incomes felt squeezed by prop tax increases. whether they were squeezed, or just greedy and unwilling to give back, is an open question. the answer is probably there were some squeezed people (the ones living in bungalows) and some greedy ones (in McMansions).

    this is a common situation, but it was exacerbated in my community’s case by the economic divide between the two large groups: (1) nouveau riche, entitled, 90s parents, and (2) WWII era frugal seniors. I was at a town meeting where a senior actually (and reasonably, in my view) expressed *offence* at being asked to pay for a “performing arts center” explicitly aimed at the kids.

    this is the reverse conclusion than you draw – super conservative affluent, elder seniors punishing the middle aged – but the generational conflict between the middle aged, aged and superaged is well worth exploring, especially as those cohorts grow. i suspect age will turn out to be at least partly a proxy for class, education and political awareness/critical thinking in general – Faux News viewers scoring really low on at least that last metric. But it is also true that people can, and often should, get more financially conservative and security conscious as they age.

    on a directly related note I just read Envy by Joseph Epstein, from the 7 Deadly Sins series. He makes a convincing case that envy is really powerful, and the primal sin from which all others spring, and that it is also at the root of many of the world’s ills spring. He also says it’s the only sin that is absolutely no fun at all…

  20. 20
    adolphus says:

    This, in a nutshell with the added kink that the old folks are retirees and consider themselves citizens of other parts of the country, is why schools mostly suck in Florida. Thank God for Mickey Mouse, Space Men, and Harry Potter or we would have football teams with part time students. (which is what we practically have already).

  21. 21
    Frank says:

    @BC:

    That’s why you have people decrying that there is such a thing as a Social Compact – by God, they are independent of the entire world and rely only on themselves and so should everyone else.

    Yes, that works so well in Haiti and Somalia. Heck, we have bridges that fall apart here in the US. Whether we like it or not, we are a community and we all have to chip in. Or do these so called independent people not plan on driving on public roads any more?

  22. 22
    kay says:

    I’ve worked on lots and lots of school levies, and it’s (sadly) true.
    What makes it worse is my state (Ohio) has a “homestead exemption” for those over 65, where they enjoy a 25,000 dollar reduction in assessed value for calculation of property tax.
    It used to be means-tested, but now it’s all homeowners over 65.
    They still come out in droves to vote against school levies. It didn’t make a bit of difference.

  23. 23
    PeakVT says:

    Intergenerational warfare is a distraction from class warfare.

  24. 24
    toujoursdan says:

    What? The Baby boomer generation* is still narcissistic?

    *with numerous exceptions…

  25. 25
    WereBear says:

    Old people are vulnerable. If you don’t understand that, you don’t understand them.

    Having lost the arrogance of youth (I can drive 87 miles an hour while I’m drunk without consequences) and the assertions of middle age (Criminy, where has the time gone? I want my red Corvette/poolboy NOW) they arrive at their “golden years” with a mindstate that either grimly acknowledges, or frantically dodges, the knowledge that they are now considered a menace to society; a pain in the ass who can’t drive, counts all their change, and sucks up resources without giving back.

    And yes, they get medical care; in our for profit model, they get waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much unneeded crap that makes them miserable and shortens what days they have left. It’s a recipe for cranky and crazy, and that’s why so many of them are.

    Look at the elderbashing that goes on when such discussion comes up; the hatred is telling. Some younger people act like everyone older than them did all this on purpose with their Mighty Vote.

    Don’t make fun of Republican tactics when you are using it on others.

  26. 26
  27. 27
    DougJ says:

    Very good point.

    But you have to admit, kids today with the texting and the sexting and the emo, they probably don’t deserve the same opportunities the greatest generation had.

  28. 28
    Frank says:

    @kay:

    They still come out in droves to vote against school levies. It didn’t make a bit of difference.

    If we are going to vote on school levies, why can’t we also have votes on spending for dumb wars (Iraq/Iran)?

    I realize one is a local issue and and the other one is federal, but still.

  29. 29
    DougJ says:

    @WereBear:

    The way people over 65 vote is awful. Obviously, one shouldn’t generalize to each and every one of them, but they really are giving the rest of the country the finger, as a group. There’s just no two ways about it.

  30. 30
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    @Rosalita: Could be VT. We have the same system. Each town has to vote for the school budget. Problem here is the young people are constantly leaving the state because job prospects are poor. School budgets go down to defeat quite regularly.

  31. 31
    scav says:

    @DougJ: I bet those hussies bob their hair too!

  32. 32
    R-Jud says:

    @DougJ:

    But you have to admit, kids today with the texting and the sexting and the emo, they probably don’t deserve the same opportunities the greatest generation had.

    Snark aside, kids these days are the spoiled children of spoiled children. What did you expect?

  33. 33
    John S. says:

    Conservative ideology in a nutshell:

    Fuck You I Got Mine

  34. 34
    ogliberal says:

    In the town I grew up in and the town I live in now there is a similar dynamic re: older people and school budgets. They almost never pass. A big reason for this was that turnout is always insanely low for these board elections – nobody votes. Many candidates, instead of appealing to the parents who have or will soon have children in the school system, pander to the old folks. They visit the retirement villages and nursing homes and talk about how much their taxes will go up if this school budget passes. They vow to never propose such a budget themselves. After scaring the bejesus out of these folks, they whip out the absentee ballot and help the old folks fill it out. Come election day, a large number of the votes come from these absentee ballots and/or old folks showing up at the polls. (in my town, the voting hours for board elections begin later than most people leave for work and end before some working folks are able to get home – the hours for other elections are longer, start earlier, and end later) The budget gets voted down and the candidate who promised to save the old people from the evil taxman get elected. Wash, rinse, repeat.

    The problem is that many of the old people that are targeted in the strategy I mentioned above are not originally from the town and have no family ties to it – they don’t have kids in the school system and their own kids and grandkids didn’t/don’t go there either. So why do they care whether or not the budget passes?

    In their defense, many of these old folks are living on fixed incomes and really don’t have a penny to spare. In NJ, where I’m from, Chris Christie helped these folks by cutting their property tax rebate. I question the value of this rebate in general (although it is targeted at lower/middle income folks) but these folks had come to rely on it and Christie hung them out to dry. But who will these retirees vote for in the next gubernatorial election? It ain’t going to be the candidate from the same party as that socialist colored boy.

    The other faction of old folks are the cranky, “I earned my Social Security and Medicare because my generation worked hard and fought in WWII and Korea and Vietnam. The younger generation are just a bunch of lazy hippies or hip-hoppers…they didn’t do anything to deserve these benefits so I don’t care if they don’t get them.” I have no patience for folks who think that there ain’t nobody better than their generation and that the 50s were the bestest time ever.

  35. 35
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    The way people over 65 vote is awful.

    At least as a group, they vote in large numbers. Young people, not so much.

  36. 36
    kay says:

    @Frank:

    We had this silly battle in the Letters section of the local paper, where the school levy people retaliated, and pointed to the Senior Center they had voted to fund, and the seniors were really offended.
    I like old people, and I’m sympathetic to them, but surely they saw that coming?
    This ain’t beanbag, Frank :)

  37. 37
    joe from Lowell says:

    Ever look at demographic breakdowns of Americans over 65 vs. Americans under 18?

    Those people voting against the school levy don’t look at their town’s school kids, or those in the big city nearby, and see them as their grandkids.

  38. 38
    WereBear says:

    @DougJ: Oh, I’m not arguing with you about what they do. I’m just trying to figure out why.

    For instance, a 70 year old, born in 1940; there’s just no comparison with today. Dad probably came back on the GI Bill, got a college education and a house, bang! Mom stayed home and baked cookies and never complained because her husband came back in more or less of one piece. Done.

    So our hypothetical grows up in the fifties, graduates from college (Dad has the dough to send them) in the early sixties, works like a gray flannel dawg for a company who provided full medical care and retirement. Now they’re sitting on a decent retirement that is getting chomped on by property taxes caused by Republican shenanigans, but they don’t know that, because they have, let’s face it, cruised through life.

    They haven’t tried to figure out how anything works because it has always worked for them.

    And so all these other people are just whiners.

  39. 39
    JohnR says:

    @TR:

    Yeah, exactly. Shoot, I don’t give a crap about my own kids, let alone the rest of that lazy, ungrateful, selfish generation, so as far as I’m concerned, they’re on their own. I’m going to make me a bumper sticker: “I don’t care about the the next generation, and I vote!”

  40. 40
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    @PeakVT:

    Intergenerational warfare is a distraction from class warfare.

    yup

  41. 41
    TaosJohn says:

    there are certainly plenty of retired people on “fixed incomes” who don’t give a damn about the next generation

    In all fairness, I think that’s paranoia. You can’t possibly know that. Also, I’m 65 and don’t want anything cut for anybody. There’s so much blind prejudice in some of these comments, it’s a wonder you guys can get dressed and walk down the street.

  42. 42
    Redshift says:

    There’s another piece to the puzzle, too. The conservative movement has spent decades convincing younger people that Social Security is already going bust and won’t be there when they retire. Way too many people I’ve met already believe it. As a result, they may have much less of a backlash than they should if they actually succeed in dismantling it.

  43. 43
    stuckinred says:

    @WereBear:I think that there is a big divide between people who are 65 and over and those of us who are just a couple of years younger. My cousins are in the former bracket and are much more conservative than I am. They totally missed the “counterculture” and thought I was a martian with my long hair and anti-war ways.

  44. 44
    lou says:

    It depends on where the old people are from. Back when I lived in Palm Beach County, Fla, you could depend on the oldsters from Century Village and Kings Point condos (the inspiration for Jerry Seinfeld’s Del Boca Vista) to vote for bond issues for the schools and anything education-related. They were liberals from New York City, mostly Jewish, and gung-ho on public education.

    OTOH, the tight-fisted wealthy Republican types who lived in mansions in Palm Beach and Boca Raton never voted for anything education-related. And the school districts along the west coast of Florida were screwed. The Republican retirees from the Midwest never voted to help any school in Fort Myer, Naples or St. Pete.

  45. 45
    Frank says:

    @kay:

    I also like old people. And my in-laws are not at all this selfish.

    But to your example, we saw similar things in the health care debate last year. The now classic “keep your government hands off my Medicare” is an example off this. No concern whatsoever for the 20% of us who don’t have insurance at all because we can’t afford it or pre-existing conditions. As long as they had theirs, that’s all that seemed to matter. How more selfish can they be?

    And again, this only applies to old people in general. Not all of them are this way. My in-laws are a perfect example of people who looked at the big picture and were very much in favor of HCR.

  46. 46
    Redshift says:

    @kay: Man, I’m glad we don’t vote on school budgets where I live. The amount that goes to the school budget is just part of the general budget (albeit the biggest part.) The county board takes public comment on it (which is nearly always “don’t cut anything!”), but that’s about it.

  47. 47
    Dave says:

    I don’t think it is fair to generalize about old people waving a collective middle finger to the rest of us any more than it is fair to generalize about 30-somethings all being selfish pricks because some of our cohorts on Wall Street decided to screw over America with their insane greed.

    Yeah, some older people are flipping us off and have been for a while. There were epic town budget battles where I grew up in CT with an elderly man leading a movement to try to cut school funding whenever possible. But there were other people just as old voting FOR school funding.

    I do think the valid point here is that the elderly are more vulnerable to the scare tactics practiced by the Right. Make them think that we need to cut future benefits to save THEIR benefits? The elderly will vote for that not out of greed or indifference, but out of fear for their lives.

  48. 48
    Punchy says:

    We had this silly battle in the Letters section of the local paper

    LTEs in my local rag are a cesspool of xenophobic, quasi-racist paranoid assholes all wanting gov’t out of their Medicare and likely their social security as well. I only read them with all sharp objects and chuck-able TV remotes well out of reach.

    True story: our neighbor approaches the old lady walking our dogs, starts with a simple greeting, then inexpliciably follows up with “Obama sucks, doesnt he?”, not even knowing our political viewpoints. Legally Able To Take My Shit was gobsmacked by such curtness and unable to formulate a cogent response. I SOOOO wish I was there, cuz I would have verbally excoriated the prick bastard. Now I encourage my dogs to poop on his lawn.

  49. 49
    Scott says:

    Or do these so called independent people not plan on driving on public roads any more?

    Well, the fact that the roads are so bad is just proof that the government isn’t doing a good enough job. Clearly, we need to cut taxes even more, because why should I have to pay taxes on such awful roads. Why, I remember when I was a kid, the roads were in tip-top shape — why don’t they keep the roads up like they used to? What do you mean, you wanna raise taxes to fix the roads? That’s crazy, why should I pay the government more to do something they should be doing anyway!

    If the government completely collapsed, taxes went to zero, warlords took over everything, they’d still complain that they were taxed too much, and every inconvenience would be immediately answered with blustery “I pay my taxes” rants.

  50. 50
    WereBear says:

    @stuckinred: Oh, no question but you’re right about that. To me, the key is people who spent their adolescence in the fifties; when the rules were laid down like iron bars.

    If the rules worked against you, you are a thinker and possibly, a rebel.

    If the rules seemed to work for you, you hang on to them like grim death.

  51. 51
    JD Rhoades says:

    @TR:

    I live in an area with a lot of retirees from out of state. I frequently hear or read in the local paper expressions of the opinion that “we paid to educate our children in New Jersey (or Ohio, or wherever), why should we pay to educate someone else’s?”

  52. 52
    Frank says:

    @Scott:

    What do you mean, you wanna raise taxes to fix the roads? That’s crazy, why should I pay the government more to do something they should be doing anyway!

    Thanks. You gave me a laugh. I think it should almost be a requirement for all FoxNews viewers to at least once visit a western European country and drive on their roads. Higher taxes but also a better infrastructure.

  53. 53
    Face says:

    @Punchy: Our neighbor has a “Calvin and Hobbes” sticker thing with Calvin (the boy) pissing on Obama’s name. Never seen that before. Needlesss to say, we wont be very neighborly. WTF puts such needlessly politically charged bullshit in such plain view of all the ‘hood?

  54. 54
    kay says:

    @Punchy:

    It was sad, because the school had just started a program where the younger grades were going to the senior center to read to the seniors. Not because the seniors can’t read, but because the kids need the practice.
    The adorable little deadbeats were on the way over to visit their reluctant benefactors, right as it got ugly.

  55. 55
    Rosalita says:

    @TaosJohn:

    My parents are 66 and 69 and they don’t feel that way either, however, I’ve watched the way referendums turn out in my town and unfortunately the seniors are the ones who get out to vote and they vote things down every year. And I’ve heard them at town meetings. It’s not passing judgement on a generation, it’s just reality that a large number of them feel that way.

  56. 56
    stuckinred says:

    @Face: I spose plenty of people felt the same way about my “Vietnam Vets for Obama” bumper sticker on my hot rod chevy pickup!

  57. 57
    Rosalita says:

    @stuckinred:

    I bet you have lots of fun with that in Georgia…

  58. 58

    Where are those death panels we were promised?

  59. 59
    Stuck in the Funhouse says:

    One thing you can count on that pol reps young and old care about getting enough votes to get reelected. Here to whit, when the current young and the near old get close to retirement, they will listen to you, and make whatever changes are necessary to keep you happy. Just like they do now for seniors, because seniors live of the razors edge of life and death, and they pay attention, and they vote in large numbers. It’s called democracy with heaping portions of self preservation for congress critters of all stripes.

  60. 60
    Mrs. Peel says:

    I grew up in a small town with an aging population,

    As opposed to the rest of us who grew up in towns where everyone got younger? Aging is what we all do and you’re not exempt, no matter what you think right now. Deal with it.

  61. 61
    artem1s says:

    @Stuck in the Funhouse:

    Intergenerational warfare is a distraction from class warfare.

    Yea, I agree mostly about the ‘fixed income’ crowd blowing a gasket whenever they are asked to contribute or paying for anything in the community. Even when seniors directly benefit the legislators are willing to play them by getting someone else to pay for any improvements/services just so their retribution vote doesn’t come down on their heads.

    I don’t know if its a result of the ‘bowling alone’ syndrome but the more volunteering people do generally (outside of church and senior centers) the more likely they are to be engaged in community improvements. I think a more interesting conversation here (rather than the gray bashing) would be whether that 18-24 crowd is likely to remain engaged. What are their current trends and how do they differ from the ‘I got mine crowd’ at that age? I think you have to remember that a large portion of the military service aged population voted for Obama simply to keep McCain from re-instituting the draft once he started to bomb-bomb Iran. I think that’s why Clinton’s Iraq vote hurt her so much amongst that age group as well.

    The 18-24 group has their agendas too. It doesn’t matter whether you think they are good or bad but if you are at the tail end of the baby boomers, like me, that voting block is slowly going to loose power over the next 30-50 years. Understanding how policy priorities will shift will determine how you plan for your retirement and old age. They will most likely get to be the decision makers so it might be a good idea to start understanding what their motivations are.

    The ‘greatest generation’ and Korean war generations got their voting power knocked away when the baby boomers got engaged because of Vietnam. Gen X has been living in their policy shadow their whole lives. That’s why elders are cranky and Reagan babies are so disengaged.

  62. 62
    Sheila says:

    I cannot imagine wanting to deny our children the opportunities that we had, as they are our future. Nor do I in any way excuse those seniors who want to withhold money for schools. However, there might be ways to approach this that benefits both groups. Seniors on a fixed income often have difficulty holding onto the homes which they bought a long time ago due to the huge inflation of their value, which results in a large tax increase. If we had a fair taxation system, we might be able to offer a tax break in regard to this so that seniors could keep their homes. Letting the infernal Bush tax cuts expire would be a beginning.

  63. 63
    bemused says:

    I think most people are all too familiar with this. You could throw a dart at a US map and more often than not find that community has the same problem. School districts everywhere, particularly in rural/outstate communities have been struggling with this funding stalemate for a long time and now are at a fubar level.
    Our kids are grown but I’m just ill seeing how our school district has deteriorated. This district encompasses several rural/small town schools, each with it’s own school board, distanced from each other over a very large area which has always been a big governing headache.
    Many senior citizens are primarily concerned with how much their taxes are going to go up. Our school district has failed to learn anything from past bond issues that didn’t pass due to sucky pr.They did not clearly and repeatedly and early on make their case to voters. Most seniors voted no because they believed their taxes would go up much, much higher than they actually would have.
    The quality of a school district is shaped by the school board(s) and superintendent. Many school board members may have good intentions (some, not so much) but don’t have one bit of experience or expertise in some of the issues they are ruling on. Our school district wants to close older schools/consolidate and build new schools. The superintendent and most board members went along with the building contractor’s smiley face recommendations with very little debate or questioning of the contractor’s analyses of costs, student population/transfers, new school site regulations, etc. Conflict of interest problems didn’t seem to occur to most of the school board members and not surprisingly, many of the contractor’s projections were wildly off, not only in costs but in the dubious assertion that new schools in our district would draw students from other school districts instead of the exact opposite.
    When you have lack luster superintendents who just bounce from district to district collecting paychecks and we have had our share of those over the years, you have no leadership. Our district super just announced his fall retirement. We saw that coming.
    Now we have very divided communities with a district in chaos and tons of extremely angry parents.

  64. 64
    master c says:

    Artem1s:
    Like that post.

    I feel like Im on the cusp age-wise, but really am this:

  65. 65
    master c says:

    bad link

  66. 66
    soonergrunt says:

    @Face: It’s the same attitude as I confronted at the gate to Tinker AFB a few weeks ago in a rainstorm.
    I pull up, and pass the civil servant security guy my ID, and he barely glances at it (the part of his job he’s actually SUPPOSED to do) and says “how about all that global warming?”
    Now, I didn’t have anything on my car that labels me as following or believing any political ideology, so I don’t know where he got the idea that this was a good idea. Being me, I responded “it’s happening most of the time, just not today, kind of like your professionalism. Are we done here?”

    They want to put it out there in front of everyone and they never expect to get called on it. Usually they don’t because most people are just taken aback by it. I, OTOH, don’t startle so easily anymore. The only way to get them to stop is to deliver the rhetorical bitch slap hard when they show their asses.

  67. 67
    Mike in NC says:

    @Punchy:

    LTEs in my local rag are a cesspool of xenophobic, quasi-racist paranoid assholes all wanting gov’t out of their Medicare and likely their social security as well.

    Howdy, neighbor!

    Republicans have done pretty well pitting white against black (and brown), and rich against poor, so it’s only natural they’d get around to setting old against young. Milk that demographic while you can.

  68. 68
    kay says:

    @Sheila:

    If we had a fair taxation system, we might be able to offer a tax break in regard to this so that seniors could keep their homes.

    Well, we tried that in Ohio, in 2007, when we extended the homestead exemption to even the wealthiest seniors, and I backed their tax break but they still don’t back my schools.

    We gave up on begging. Now we do an aggressive GOTV and out-vote them. It’s called a “stealth levy”. It’s an actual, recognized tactic.

  69. 69
    flukebucket says:

    @Ricardo Cabeza:

    Where are those death panels we were promised?

    They don’t kick in until 2013

  70. 70
    Jim C says:

    @Mrs. Peel:

    I grew up in a small town with an aging population,

    As opposed to the rest of us who grew up in towns where everyone got younger? Aging is what we all do and you’re not exempt, no matter what you think right now. Deal with it.

    Did you really misunderstand that first statement? I didn’t make it, but it means that the town’s median age was trending higher and higher.

    (The opposite can occur, if the empty nesters all move away (or die) and their homes are bought/rented by families with young children – in which case, yes! the town got younger.)

    But, enough clarity. Carry on yelling at the clouds, Mrs. Peel.

  71. 71
    Woodrowfan says:

    @toujoursdan:

    It’s the pre-boomers, those over 70… And yeah, I saw the same thing when I attended local Democratic club meetings. It was usually the over-70 voters that screamed loudest against any spending on schools….

  72. 72
    Wordsmith says:

    @stuckinred: Yeah, I’m not yet 60 (mid-50s actually) and I’m still working every fucking day.

  73. 73
    Mark says:

    If you want to see the elderly embrace greed, look no further than California. If you’re old, your taxes can never go up. My neighbor and I have identical (small) homes. My taxes are *ten times* higher than my neighbor’s. She’s 71 and has been living in the house for decades. My taxes also go up at an annual rate *ten times* higher than hers.

    This situation – created by Prop 13, which was voted in by not one person who’s now under age 50 – has destroyed California’s schools, in particular, and is impervious to change, even if you grandfather in the elderly. (Pun intended.)

  74. 74
    Wordsmith says:

    @Wordsmith: I have no problem paying for schools, haven’t in the past and most likely won’t in the future. My 4 year-old granddaughter will be entering the public school system soon enough.

    And Mark – that could explain why so many Californians have moved to Idaho.

    And – I’m with Mrs. Peel …… whose community doesn’t age?

  75. 75
    Wordsmith says:

    @Jim C: And are you determined to be stoopid today?

    No wait – that came out wrong.

  76. 76
    Jim C says:

    @Wordsmith:
    No, but you apparently are.

    And it came out exactly as you meant it.

    Have a nice day!

  77. 77
    tkogrumpy says:

    Thanks to everyone on this thread for a very worthwhile read! Now get the hell off my lawn.

  78. 78
    YellowJournalism says:

    @Punchy:

    LTEs in my local rag are a cesspool of xenophobic, quasi-racist paranoid assholes all wanting gov’t out of their Medicare and likely their social security as well. I only read them with all sharp objects and chuck-able TV remotes well out of reach.

    I’d say we are from the same town, but I know that this is pretty much on par for most newspapers, especially the small town ones. Currently, there’s about six people writing letters back and forth to each other, and only two of them are liberal-minded (one is a real loon, though). It’s entertaining to follow, to say the least. Once in a while, someone new chimes in, and their letters are usually the moderate, sane reply that tries to inject a little rationality and facts into the discussion, but those people are usually ignored or dispatched by the regulars with some Bible quotes and conservative hyperbole.

    If you want to know what type of person writes constantly to the LTE section, here’s an example:

    One of my grandfathers was, to put it bluntly, fucking crazy. We’re talking the type that believes that Jesus came down and chose him as a prophet, the the government was conspiring against him, and that the young and the “others” (blacks, Hispanics, etc.) were ruining the Good Ol’ US of A. (Letters were devoted to each of those subjects, specifically, at least once a month.) For years, my mother saved letters he wrote to family and letters to the editor that popped up in our local newspaper as proof of his nuttiness. The man had all the free time in the world, thanks to his SS check, my late grandmother’s SS check, and the two extra checks he received that the government never caught onto until just before he died. This was the guy who would run over people’s toes with his electric wheelchair and then tell them that it was their fault.

  79. 79
    Wordsmith says:

    @Jim C: You’re right – it came out exactly like I wanted. I knew what was meant in the post as I’m pretty damned sure so did Mrs. Peel. Call it being a smart-ass, snark, whatever. It’s like pointing out that an occasional table is what exactly the rest of the time it’s not an ‘occasional table.’ As I see it – you chose to interpret it as stupidity when it wasn’t at all.

    You just have a nice day, yourself. I’m working damnit.

  80. 80
    YellowJournalism says:

    @Mark: I read a few education blogs from teachers in California. You guys are so screwed. California is a prime example of the FY principle.

    But, for some reason with one conservative teacher, it’s all Obama’s fault.

  81. 81
    Emma says:

    WereBear: I think the hatred you’re seeing is the younger people who are watching the older try to dismantle every program they themselves used to climb up the ladder. That’s what pissing them off, and with good reason.

    A long time ago I read a science fiction story I thought wasn’t very good and rather unlikely. Most older people lived in secured enclaves while the younger ones lived in Road Warrior style in the streets… but the older people couldn’t understand why they were hated.

  82. 82
    soonergrunt says:

    @Emma:

    I think the hatred you’re seeing is the younger people who are watching the older try to dismantle every program they themselves used to climb up the ladder. That’s what pissing them off, and with good reason.

    This should be bronzed and mounted at the entry and exit points of every gentrifying neighborhood, retirement community, and every other place that they gather.

  83. 83
    Mark says:

    @YellowJournalism

    Yep, we are screwed. But because people don’t understand the concept of a “supermajority” requirement, the constant refrain is that the Democratic majority in the state assembly and senate just can’t get its shit together to pass a budget.

    It’s amazing, really – we have a worthless sack of shit for a governor. He has zero accomplishments to point to over his two terms. Seriously nothing. Unless you call floating $20B in bonds to pay for a reduction in car registration fees an accomplishment. Or maybe vetoing virtually every bill that the legislature passes is an accomplishment.

    And yet…We don’t hear anything about how our failure of a governor got us into this complete disaster, and a significant number of people think it’ll be a good idea to double down on incompetence with the Ebay fucktard.

    Normally you’d have some competent people running one of the world’s ten-largest economies.

  84. 84
    Tax Analyst says:

    @DougJ:

    But you have to admit, kids today with the texting and the sexting and the emo, they probably don’t deserve the same opportunities the greatest generation had

    Well, you know, when you fuck with the Greatest Generation there could be Hell to Pay (my favorite new cliche for today, and today only. I got a “Special” on it on the InterNet).

    You know, I never knew that by voting for School Bonds and Libraries and that type of soshulistic shit I was being a Traitor to My Generation in the InterGenerational War. Well, now that the battle lines have been more distinctly drawn maybe I’ll start casting a more narrow and beady-eyed look upon all these “shared good” propositions to make sure I get mine and everybody else gets fucked (the current suggested mindset for good, patriotic, American Citizens, it appears).

    Good grief, I know that too many folks in my age range (60+) vote like arrogant, selfish children. I don’t know how much of that is rooted in fear and ignorance and how much is just because they are overly-materialistic, obsessively acquisitive, greedy fucks, but I could do without the negative comments and stares from people want to thwack every senior – or even the majority of seniors – in the face with a paintbrush full of generalized or anectdotal bullshit.

    I think someone mentioned it above that this is more about class warfare than “old people are just stupid, greedy, bitter old fucks that hate us and especially hate our children”.

    But to be perfectly honest, I DO hate you, but I’m reserving the strongest of my hate for those dreadfully ungrately offspring that you’ve so rudely whelped and turned loose on us. “Hell to Pay” and all that, you know.

    Actually, I work with people who are mostly between 20 and 35 and while some of them may occasionally marvel that such an old fart can still stand and walk without a cane or a walker there is a nary a sign of generational disrespect or anything like it here.

  85. 85
    kay says:

    @soonergrunt:

    I don’t think it’s hatred. It’s simply acknowledging reality. It’s hard as nails getting anything passed that doesn’t directly benefit the biggest voting group. I accept that.
    I don’t know why I have to approach that fact with one hand tied behind my back. If I want to persuade younger people with skin in the game to show their numbers, I sort of have to tell them why they might need to do that, despite any hurt feelings. They’re not really outnumbered, although that’s the perception. They can even it up, but they have to be aware of it to do that.

  86. 86
    stuckinred says:

    @Wordsmith: Same here, if I can make it in this gig for 7 more I’ll have 20 years in including the 3 Army years I bought. “I’ve got mine”, sheeeeeeeet.

  87. 87
    soonergrunt says:

    @kay: I’m not arguing that point Kay. I’m agreeing with Emma that the easiest way to answer the best way to answer the question that the elderly seem to have (you hear it a lot around OK with its aging population) of “why do the younger people seem to hate and have no respect for their elders?” is to explain to them over and over again that their behavior towards the younger set has consistently been contemptible.

  88. 88
    stuckinred says:

    @Tax Analyst:

    there is a nary a sign of generational disrespect or anything like it here.

    This place is as bad as I have seen for that shit.

  89. 89
    stuckinred says:

    @soonergrunt: Hey man, are you back for good? Did it go OK?

  90. 90
    debbie says:

    No, not all old people feel that way; I know a friend’s mom who’s 90 years old, been very generous throughout her life, and gets very upset when she hears about this kind of thing. But unfortunately, most of her cohort have forgotten how they’ve been helped over the decades — or they just don’t care. I’m tired of seeing another old white man on t.v. bitching about the $50 addition to his taxes if a school levy passes. I’m guessing he’s forgotten how he was helped through the years. Or even how his schooling got paid.

    With all due respect to WWII vets, I don’t think that that age group can be called “the greatest” anymore. What’s the psychology behind such generosity of spirit in one’s youth, and then such calculated selfishness towards the end?

    Then, on the other hand, there’s this:

    http://www.dispatch.com/live/c.....ml?sid=101

  91. 91
    soonergrunt says:

    @stuckinred: well, the stuff I got going is this afternoon, so we’ll see, but yeah, I’m back for good.

  92. 92
    stuckinred says:

    @debbie: The WWII’ers rigged the system from the get-go. There’s no “toward the end” to it.

  93. 93
    stuckinred says:

    @soonergrunt: Glad to hear you are safe and sound.

  94. 94
    Wordsmith says:

    To Jim C:

    My sincerest apologies for being such a smart ass to you this morning.

  95. 95
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I just want people to stop being gullible. I know WAY too many older people who just don’t have bullshit detectors, so they fall for all kinds of nonsense. It happens among younger people too, to be sure, but it’s really prevalent among a segment of the older set: falling for scams, believing bullshit, trusting exactly the wrong people, etc. That has to stop.

  96. 96
    Tax Analyst says:

    @stuckinred:

    there is a nary a sign of generational disrespect or anything like it here.

    This place is as bad as I have seen for that shit.

    Sorry, I meant “where I work there is nary a sign of generational blah-blah-blah”. Yeah, there’s Ageism and generational disrespect aplenty to be had here in Balloon Juice-land.

    But you know me(well, actually you don’t, but I like to throw that in there now and then), I’ll still support Publik Edyukayshunation. an’ Liberries an’ Hellth Caire even for all those unworthy whippersnappers who just can’t seem to wait to shut the coffin door on everyone over 60 or whatever age it is that we all turn into vile, selfish, uncaring dickheads who have not one iota of positive use or influence and just take up valuable and limited space and oxygen, and also piss on themselves too much and don’t like good music either.

  97. 97
    cckids says:

    @Face: Mainly the same ass who had the “Where’s your Hope & Change” sticker up the week after the election.

  98. 98
    stuckinred says:

    @Tax Analyst: I’m down with that, as I listen to Van runnin through “It’s Too Late to Stop Now”. My work is populated with the same general demo as yours and they seem to like a crazy old motherfucker who drives a screamin ass 66 chevy truck and rock on!

  99. 99
    Tax Analyst says:

    stuckinred:

    @Tax Analyst: I’m down with that, as I listen to Van runnin through “It’s Too Late to Stop Now”. My work is populated with the same general demo as yours and they seem to like a crazy old motherfucker who drives a screamin ass 66 chevy truck and rock on!

    “Moondance” album, right? Great stuff.

    On the “Age” thing, I guess a good part of the lack of respect and understanding (going both ways in varying degrees)comes from the lack of meaningful contact between younger and older folks. I think it’s a lot harder to keep a hateful hard-on going against a particular group of people if you actually interact with some of them in everyday non-confrontational situations.

    Harder, but obviously not impossible, as witnessed in this thread.

  100. 100
    Grover Gardner says:

    At least your seniors wanted libraries. Here in So. Oregon they don’t want ANYTHING.

  101. 101
    stuckinred says:

    @Tax Analyst: That’s why I have lived in Champaign-Urbana and Athens for 40 years. . .keeps you young! Actually Moondance was left off

    Unlike most live rock albums, there was no studio overdubbing allowed by Morrison, which resulted in the exclusion of “Moondance” from the album due to one wrong guitar note. Morrison strictly adhered to his concept of authenticity in presenting the live performance but his musical perfectionism prevented him from including “Moondance”.

    He made Moondance as an album of the same name, this is a live gig.

  102. 102
    Tax Analyst says:

    @stuckinred:

    Aha…interesting. I didn’t know he had a “Live” version out. Have you checked out the DVD of his two Montreux appearances (1974 & 1980)?

    It’s really very good.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L....._1980/1974

  103. 103
    stuckinred says:

    @Tax Analyst: I’ll check it out, thx. I saw him on my 1st honeymoon in San Anselmo just after Hard Nose the Highway came out.

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