It's Every Old Man for Themselves

Robert Hahn and Peter Passell for the LA Times:

The Republicans’ obsession with Obamacare has been variously described as a tactical ploy to preserve the semblance of unity in a divided party or as a fundraising magnet to raise money from the sort of folks who think President Obama is a reincarnation of Lenin. It may be either (or both). But the idea of closing down the government, and even threatening to precipitate a global credit crisis, over the healthcare law has been widely written off as myopia on the part of the live-free-or-die crowd.

We’re not so sure. Focusing on Obamacare in general, and mandatory coverage in particular, could prove a plausible strategy for broadening the anti-Obama coalition to include voters in their 20s and 30s by bringing attention to what economists call the “cross-subsidy” inherent in any insurance system based on mandatory coverage. And, with hindsight, it may yet be seen as the opening salvo in a generational war, one fed by the reality that older Americans are a rapidly growing burden on younger workers, who can ill afford it.


In Heinlein’s Time Enough for Love, there was a brief mention that future Earth passed a law that everyone reaching the age of 75 became legally dead. Their wills went into effect, their benefits stopped, you could even kill them for fun and not be charged with a crime. This followed a period known as “the Crazy Years.”

I’m pretty sure we’re in them now.


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