James Fallows of the Atlantic has given seven reasons that Paul Ryan’s budget proposal is neither brave nor serious. I’ll grant that 6 out of 7 are pretty solid. The exception is:
3) A plan that exempts from future Medicare cuts anyone born before 1957 — about a quarter of the population, which includes me — is neither brave nor serious. See “canny or cynical: take your pick” above.
This may not be brave, but is definitely serious.
Old people are numerous and prone to voting. They also have a choice. If you are in your mid-fifties or older today there is a reasonable chance that you will be dead before the country’s fiscal situation implodes. It therefore makes sense to veto any proposal that reduces benefits.
There are plenty of voters under the age of 54, but they are in a very different situation. Barring untimely demise, these Americans will live to see the nation’s fiscal Waterloo. They therefore have an incentive to accept painful reforms in order to avert the otherwise inevitable disaster.
The political reality is that no reform that adversely impacts current AARP members has any chance of adoption. It is neither brave nor serious to ignore that fact.