Politics Rewards The Old

Mar 29 2012 @ 8:23am

Stephen Marche examines the state of affairs:

There may be no white America and no black America, no blue-state America and no red-state America, but one thing is clear: There is a young America and there is an old America, and they don't form a community of interest. One takes from the other. The federal government spends $480 billion on Medicare and $68 billion on education. Prescription drugs: $62 billion. Head Start: $8 billion. Across the board, the money flows not to helping the young grow up, but helping the old die comfortably. According to a 2009 Brookings Institution study, "The United States spends 2.4 times as much on the elderly as on children, measured on a per capita basis, with the ratio rising to 7 to 1 if looking just at the federal budget."

Noah Kristula-Green wishes this weren't so:

Speaking for myself, I suspect the American political system is too slow to really change its priorities and redirect its focus on my generation, but there is always time to refocus on the next one. We now know that the first two years of life are the most consequential for child's development. I would consider reduced Medicare spending now coupled with an increase in efforts to ensure adequate early childhood nutrition to be a successful policy trade-off. Or we can just make the Ryan Budget law and protect the baby boomers with a firewall to preserves their benefits.