Saturday, October 5, 2019

Older politicians tell older voters - "You got yours, the hell with the young'uns"

As a typically jaded Gen Xer, I know it's often easy to slam Baby Boomers. But I can't help it, because their politicians make it so easy!

Look at our Boomer president and his thoughts on running up the country's debt, which was mentioned a Daily Beast article late last year.
The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers and showing a “hockey stick” spike in the national debt in the not-too-distant future. In response, Trump noted that the data suggested the debt would reach a critical mass only after his possible second term in office.

“Yeah, but I won’t be here,” the president bluntly said, according to a source who was in the room when Trump made this comment during discussions on the debt...

One current senior Trump administration official vented that Trump “doesn’t really care” about actually attacking the debt “crisis,” and prefers simply “jobs and growth, whatever that means.”

For the most part, the Republican Party has gone along. Over the first two years of the Trump administration, congressional Republicans have slashed taxes dramatically while increasing defense and discretionary spending, all without giving much indication that they’re going to take a stab at dramatically gutting certain popular entitlements.
Well, maybe the GOP won't go after entitlements for the current generation that's using them, at least not before 2020? But what about the generations after them?

It looks like they're more likely to be looking at changes, especially after an executive order Trump signed this week that had a lot of big talk from Drumpf about "saving" the Medicare, but also seems to pave the way to deform the program in future years.
Trump didn’t do much to really protect Medicare longer-term: “When asked about how the Trump administration would help assure Medicare's sustainability in the long term, something officials said was part of the president's executive order, health officials pointed to reductions in premiums for prescription drugs and reductions in ‘burdensome’ regulations,” [the Washington Examiner's Kimberly] Leonard writes. “Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said on Twitter that overhauling regulations would save almost $6 billion over the next decade.” But Medicare’s projected financing shortfall is much, much bigger than that, totaling some $40 trillion over the next 75 years.

Trump might actually be undermining traditional Medicare: “Trump’s executive order is a stealth attack on the very program he’s swearing to protect,” Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik says. “Buried within the order is a provision that would destroy Medicare by driving its costs to an unsustainable level.”

That provision orders the secretary of Health and Human Services to study ways to modify traditional Medicare payments “to more closely reflect” Medicare Advantage and private insurance prices. Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation warned on Twitter that the pricing provision “would increase the cost of Medicare enormously, since private insurers pay much higher prices than Medicare.” And Hiltzik argues that “it makes no sense to tie Medicare prices to a market model that so relentlessly inflates costs and thereby collects fatter profits for private participants.”

Similarly, Loren Adler, associate director of the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy, suggests that the language in the Trump executive order reads like its goal “is to make Medicare much, much more expensive by providing a huge windfall to hospitals.” But, he adds, there may be another way to read the order: “The alternative reading here is that the intent is just to apply private insurance prices to Medicare when they're lower, which I hope is the case. We'll see when this study comes out.”

Setting aside that provision, the Trump administration’s push for Medicare Advantage plans raises alarms among some Medicare advocates that it’s pursuing stealth privatization of the traditional health-care program for seniors.

But why would Trump (and the other seniors at the Villages of Florida that he was talking to) care? Those higher costs for government and higher premiums for individuals pushed onto the HMO-style Medicare Advantage won't hit until most of those people are in ground.

The same attitude showed up when US Sen Ron Johnson spoke to College Republicans at UW-Madison a couple of days after many parts of the state flooded due to record rains. RoJo said there wasn't anything they should worry about when it comes to major weather events happening more frequently.
The climate has always been changing and we shouldn’t be worried about fraction degree increases, Johnson said.

“If I were you, if I were young, I wouldn’t worry about climate change,” Johnson said. “The world is not going to end in 12 years.”
But after you College Republicans turn 30? Well, Boomers like Ron Johnson won't be around to deal with that fallout, and you're on your own, kids!

There are even some Dems that are victim to this mentality. Part of the reason Joe Biden and others say they oppose Medicare for All is because they care more about what happens to a small group of (older) workers and retirees that get great health care through their jobs.

But the majority of most people under 55 who don't want to be tied down to their job, and don't have those great health benefits grandfathered in? Meh, we'll let you figure it out instead of putting everyone into the same pool and being covered adequately.

Here's the thing. I don't resent old people having great health care. We all deserve great health care at low cost. I just think all generations should be able to have the security and advantages a whole lot of people age 55-80 had when they were joining the work force. And if it's through the public sector because the private sector has grown greedy and corrupt, that's the way it has to be.

And by the way, you gray-hairs that don't want to lose the great, low-cost health care from your job? That'll be the first thing to go once the inevitable economic downturn hits and companies decide to cut costs. Just ask state workers and teachers, whose health care benefits were used as the excuse to bust their unions in Act 10. And just ask the GM workers on strike today, whose health care was used as a cudgel in negotiations before they backed down last week. Better get on board with Medicare for All before you get run over.

You'd think the older people of America would remember this tune from their youth, and try not to act like the targets of the song as they reach that age. But instead, they're acting worse, in a time when things are getting worse and changes are more necessary than ever.

One generation got old
One generation got soul
This generation got no destination to hold
Pick up the cry
Hey now it's time for you and me
Got a revolution
Got to revolution

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