There’s a great feature by Nick Gillespie and Veronique de Rugy in this month’s edition of Reason Magazine about the entitlement state. It details how the Baby Boomer generation, which holds far more assets than previous generations of retirees, and far more than their childrens’ generation, is set to benefit from federal entitlements like Medicare and Social Security even though most of them don’t need it and it will bleeding the paychecks of their children.
Here are some highlights, but I highly recommend you go read the whole thing:
In 1984, reports the Pew Research Center, households headed by people 65 or older had 10 times the wealth of households headed by people under 35. By 2005-before the Great Recession hit-the gap had increased to 22 times, and by 2009 it was 47 times. In 2010, 11 percent of households headed by people 65 or older were officially under the poverty line. For households headed by someone under 35 years of age, the figure was 22 percent. The last time younger households were less likely to be poor than elderly ones was back in 1983.
And this one…
It is hard to know which is more depressing: the punishing and sure-to-rise price that younger Americans are forced to pay for a system that steals from the relatively poor to give to the relatively rich, or the smugness with which champions of this patently unfair system insist on its righteousness. In his March speech in Florida, Vice President Biden told stories of building a new house that included living quarters for his parents, who refused to move in. Biden explained that his parents and other seniors value their “independence” and “dignity” more than anything. His mother, he said, was representative of seniors in that she wanted to be able to pay her own way at check ups with her doctor. “She didn’t want to ask her kids.”
In Biden’s strange moral universe, his mom should be admired for wanting to get medical care on the dime of strangers rather than from her own family. The vice president was trying to defend old-age entitlements, but his example is the quintessence of what is wrong with the current system: It gives to those who already have much by taking from those who have little.