Almost fifty years ago, teenagers and young adults proclaimed, “Don’t trust anyone over 30!” These days, though, the same generation seems intent on impoverishing everyone under 30 now, as Nick Gillespie argues at Reason. From ObamaCare to efforts at reimposing a draft for military or national service to the refusal to address the obvious entitlement collapse rapidly approaching, the generation that sang “hope I die before I get old” seems more content to use its grandchildren as ATMs in their final years (via Instapundit):
You’re not getting screwed by billionaires and plutocrats. You’re getting screwed by Mom and Dad.
Systematically and in all sorts of ways. Old people are doing everything possible to rob you of your money, your future, your dignity, and your freedom.
Here’s the irony, too (in a sort of Alanis Morissette sense): You’re getting hosed by the very same group that 45 years ago was bitching and moaning about “the generation gap” and how their parents just didn’t understand what really mattered in life.
You mean the generation that rebelled at the imposition of a draft in order to properly resource an unpopular war? Er …
Did you read that New York Times op-ed that called for a brand-spankin’ new military draft and national service plan? “Let’s Draft Our Kids,” by veteran (read: old, born in 1955) journalist Thomas Ricks, is symptomatic of the new vibe, a kind of reverse Logan’s Run scenario. In that godawful 1976 flick, when you turned 30, you were killed for the common good. Nowadays, it’s more like life begins at 30. Which is confusing because 40 is the new 30 and 50 is the new 40 and on and on. The important thing: Youth is no longer to be wasted on the young.
Neither are the resources of youth:
But here’s the real rub, kids: You’re getting screwed by Social Security, a program that is now more sacrosanct to aging boomers than Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. You’re paying more into the system than you’re ever going to get out. No wonder it’s mandatory. C. Eugene Steuerle and Stephanie Rennane put out a study for the Urban Institute last summer that should have caused far more riots than anything that happened at Zuccotti Park. They document that folks making average wages who retired in 2010 will get a raw deal over the coming decades. The deal will only get worse if you retire in, say, 2030. Read it and weep, kids, and don’t believe it when old people who are either already on Social Security or about to join that club tell you it’s part of a generational bargain that can’t be changed even if retirees are totally wealthy compared to you.
An even better example, one which Nick doesn’t use but is much more immediate and clear, is ObamaCare. True, the law mandates that insurance companies keep “children” on their parents’ policies until the age of 26. At that point, though, the law forces adults to purchase expensive comprehensive policies that make financial sense for few adults below middle age, if then. A comprehensive policy in Minnesota cost an average of $32oo a year, with a moderate deductible but 100% coverage for “wellness” services. In a free market with price signals that actually reach consumers, those activities might cost $500 a year, but probably significantly less.
A hospitalization policy combined with HSAs would make much better financial sense for young adults, cost less, and would lower insurance companies’ overhead by reducing their role in routine health-care activities. That, however, would force insurance companies to charge much more for comprehensive insurance policies to middle-age consumers. ObamaCare forces young adults to spend much more than necessary — and far more than they receive in services — in order to subsidize the costs of comprehensive insurance to pre-Medicare older adults.
Younger voters have to bear a lot of the responsibility for their plight, since they enthusiastically supported Barack Obama in 2008, ensuring his election. Perhaps four years of economic stagnation and pocket-picking will make them wiser this time around.
Update: Got my overs and unders confused on the headline — it’s fixed now, and in the post, too.