One of our long-running political stories is the economic assault on the young by the old. We have become a society that invests in its past and disfavors the future. This makes no sense for the nation, but as politics it makes complete sense. The elderly and near elderly are better organized, focus obsessively on their government benefits and seem deserving. Grandmas and Grandpas command sympathy.
Everyone knows that the resulting “entitlements” dominate government spending and squeeze education, research, defense and almost everything else. In fiscal 2008 — the last “normal” year before the economic crisis — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid (programs wholly or primarily dedicated to the elderly) totaled $1.3 trillion, 43 percent of federal spending and more than twice military spending. Because workers, not retirees, are the primary taxpayers, this spending involves huge transfers to the old.
Now comes the House-passed health-care “reform” bill that, amazingly, would extract more subsidies from the young. It mandates that health insurance premiums for older Americans be no more than twice the level of that for younger Americans. That’s much less than the actual health spending gap between young and old. Spending for those age 60 to 64 is four to five times greater than those 18 to 24. So, the young would overpay for insurance that — under the House bill — people must buy: Twenty- and thirtysomethings would subsidize premiums for fifty-and sixtysomethings. (Those 65 and over receive Medicare.)
The news that FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe was fired hours before qualifying for retirement with full benefits somehow grew over the weekend into a false impression that the career FBI agent was stripped of his pension altogether. [jwplayer GlHOavPa-wKJ9CRQU] Members of the media remarked that McCabe ... Read More
Representative Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) bucked his party on President Trump's firing of FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, remarking that his dismissal may have been "justified." “You know, his firing may be justified,” the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said on ABC’s This Week. ... Read More
Labels multiply in supermarkets faster than salmonella at a convenience-store sushi bar. It’s important to keep up; we should all be well-informed eaters. But the onslaught of clean food, natural products, sustainably produced, gluten free, butterflies everywhere, and GMO-free sea salt are just too much. The ... Read More
It can be hard to keep one’s wits about oneself during the Age of Trump. Our president is like the ringmaster of a circus, and the American people are his enthralled spectators. It seems as if we cannot get enough. Love him or hate him, he remains at the center of our public consciousness. It is hard to ... Read More
The “free college” movement, fueled to a large degree by Bernie Sanders during his 2016 presidential bid, is a response to concerns about increasing college-tuition rates, concomitant stagnation in state and federal grants, and a corresponding student-loan debt load that has ballooned to roughly $1.4 ... Read More
The use of assassination raises two difficult sets of questions. First: Is it effective? Can the elimination of an individual significantly change the course of history? Make the world a safer place? Save the lives of other human beings? Second: Is it morally and legally justified? Is it ethically and ... Read More
An unforced error from a Vatican communications office the other day drove me a little something like crazy. The nature of the unforced error is that it is wholly unnecessary and typically distracting. And so it was. Days before, as the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’s election as pope was approaching, a ... Read More
Of all the abrupt comings and goings in this administration, the dismissal of Rex Tillerson is undoubtedly the most important — maybe one of the most important firings since Harry Truman fired Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War. By dismissing MacArthur, Truman drew a firm line between military and ... Read More
‘I’ve had a lot of bad ideas in my life,” former U.N. ambassador Samantha Power tells Politico. “Though none as immortalized as that one.” Wow. It’s a major concession. And what might “that one” be? Not standing idly by in the White House while Iranians protested a fixed election in 2009, then ... Read More