"Obama leads his Republican rival across all ages of voters, except those who are 65 or older" thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/14/pol…
— AdamSerwer (@AdamSerwer) September 14, 2012
And it got me thinking. It reminded me of a previous academic appointment I had where the folks who were past the normal age of retirement had heaps of sway over certain decisions. When a certain 80+ year old colleague would weigh in on something, I would joke that it made sense since he was the future of the department.
Well, in American politics today and for years, the older folks have been key drivers since they turn out on election day and focus on issues that are important to just them--social security and medicare mostly. This has long produced outcomes that direct not just more but most money to the senior citizens and not so much at the young folks who are the future, as the cliche goes.
Hence my tweet that is getting picked up this morning (and excuse the omitted "have" after the who):
We keep being driven by those who the least stakes in the distant future.Good times
— Stephen Saideman (@smsaideman) September 14, 2012
Democracies are never very good at looking down the road, but this tendency is exaggerated when the older folks care only about themselves. Of course, all of us are self-centered (I am a self-admitted narcissist), but the degree to which the current generation of senior citizens cares less about the future is rather astonishing. It is not new that folks who used to vote for local school taxes when their kids were in school vote against them now that their kids have graduated. But it does seem to be worse today.
So, the next time you hear someone say, "these kids today," there are others, including myself, thinking "these senior citizens today....."