Generation Obama Gets Shafted
President Barack Obama swept into office with a Steve Nash assist from my generation. The 2 to 1 advantage that the President enjoyed over Senator John McCain among 18 to 29 year-old voters sent the pundits a-chatter with memories of Ronald Reagan's similar margin in 1984. Reagan's young voters served as the backbone for a quarter-century of conservative dominance in America, and those in the White House remain convinced that the group of Americans they've labelled "Generation Obama" will do the same for liberalism.
This cumulonimbus cloud of demographics contained a silver lining for conservatives. One out of every five votes under-35s cast was for Barack Obama, but nobody else down-ticket. In order to transform youth support for the President into a rabble-rousing crowd of determined Democrats, the administration would have to work assiduously to keep young voters engaged and supportive.
That's why it is so surprising how quickly the President turned on the base of a hypothetical permanent Democratic majority. In the past year, the Administration has constantly supported efforts to redistribute money from younger Americans to older Americans; all the while exploding deficits to practically insure that "Generation Obama" will become "Generation No Benefits for Us".
Rather than slashing payroll taxes in the stimulus package (a boon to lower-income Americans, particularly the young), the administration shepherded through a bill which will ultimately end up bulking up the states' Medicaid rolls in a temporary-but-actually-permanent way, and charged it on a credit card billed to my generation. Now Medicaid is ostensibly a healthcare plan for those who are financially among the least of these, but the reality is much more... well, grayer. According to former Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich, half of all nursing home costs in America are paid for by Medicaid. Middle-class seniors sell off their assets to others and become poor on paper in order to qualify for Medicaid's generous nursing home care subsidy.
Then the President anted up on the $250 in stimulus checks already shipped out to seniors as part of the deficit-busting stimulus. Since 2009 was a deflationary year, Social Security recipients were not scheduled to get any increases in their payments. Eager to court seniors for their support in his Medicare-slashing health reform, the President asked for another $250 check to be sent out to seniors at a total expense of $13 billion.
And on his signature initiative of the year, healthcare, the President has paid little heed to the realities of younger Americans. The House version of healthcare reform would actually increase premiums for younger Americans using the health exchange system to between $600-$1,100 more. In his effort to please the elderly, the President has run up young America's credit card bill and garnished our wages. (And let's not forget that the actual cost of healthcare reform looks more like $1.8 trillion, not $800 billion.)
Meanwhile, youth unemployment is 19 percent, double the national average.
It seems like the Iranian 18 to 29 demographic isn't the only group of young folks with cause to be weary about this President.