June 27, 2005
What a fitting epitaph to the Social Security fight:
"I had hoped there would be, after four months, a firestorm of support for accounts, especially among young people," said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa). "It's not there. I'm very disappointed."
Back in March, I argued that the Republican reliance on the young was a stupid mistake. My demographic doesn't care about Social Security. If you don't give a damn, private accounts sound fine, but you're not going to lay down in traffic, or even get up from the couch, in support of them. Not to mention that young folks were the only age groups easily carried by Senator Kerry. If we'd had our way, there'd be no Bush offering Social Security change, instead, there'd be a Democrat changing our health care system. If right wing luminaries like Grassley really were counting on a firestorm of twenty-something support, privatization was dead from the start.
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When I was in my twenties I smoked because I didn't care if it was going to kill me -- 40 years later. When I was in my twenties I never invested a dime in my company's 401(k) because I wasn't worried about money problems -- 40 years later. Not wise choices, but fairly typical.
If Grassley wants the attention of young people, he needs to give them something immediate to focus on. I suggest he calls for a draft.
Posted by: JJF | Jun 27, 2005 2:14:18 PM
One delicious irony in this: younger voters tend to move from rural areas (like Grassley's Iowa) to bluer skies (like Chicago, SF, LA, Portland, Seattle, etc.) for both economic and social reasons - get a job and have a more open lifestyle.
Once enscounced in a 'blue zone' the younger folks tend to pick up on the social ambience, and become even more liberal. So counting upon the young to rise up in support of conservative values is kinda silly.
JJF may have it right: Offer the choice of (1) being drafted) or (2) supporting private social security accounts, and the young might support privatization.
JJF is also right that retirement income concerns don't seem to hit the consciousness until sometime after the midlife crisis, whenever that occurs. I wonder how many folks over 40 think they made the right choices in savings for retirement when they were between 20 and 40. I'd guess 5-10% at best.
Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Jun 27, 2005 2:41:00 PM
I agree. I'm in that young age group, and I do NOT SS privatization. And as you say, most folks our age supported Kerry, who is against the Bush's plan. Firestorm really is the perfect word. I think supporters really wanted young people staging rallies for the plan and cheering it on, all in the hopes that we would go rushing to the voting booths next year, with privatization as the main reason. And that we would of course vote Republican.
Posted by: Tim | Jun 27, 2005 7:23:59 PM
The young Republicans were all home schooled and sent off to private colleges, and Republicans believe somehow that all good young children think the way they were taught to think. They simply don't get that most young people hardly share the belief system of their precious young uns, at least, of those that haven't run screaming from their over-controlling parents already.....
Posted by: donna | Jun 27, 2005 9:12:04 PM
Young people turned out not to be as stupid as the republican robber barons thought. The 20-something crowd have parents in the under-60 age group that would have their future Social Security benefits cut to fund Bushco's plan. That means Mom & Pop will be up to their ears in bills, trying to figure out how to save 20% to make up for those lost SS checks. No extra money to help their kids with grad school, that first home, extra goodies for the grandkids.
Posted by: CParis | Jun 28, 2005 11:44:03 AM
Posted by: peter.w | Sep 16, 2007 9:07:33 PM
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