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Monday, April 18, 2011

Demographic Politics and the Ryan Plan

Now that House Republicans have completely bought in to the Ryan Plan, the conservative message machine will have to go full-bore to support it. Here’s a tactic they’re going to try that’s risky, but that could peel younger voters away from the Democratic Party:

Conservatives will tell under-35 voters that Medicare will be bankrupt and gone by the time they hit retirement age. So, they’re now contributing their income, and even their future comfort, to old people, so that those retirees don’t have to spend their own savings on health care. You get the gist.

This message to the under-35 crowd will have to be balanced with assurances to older voters that health care costs will be restrained by this plan, enough that they will be able to afford the costs without penury. Tricky, but if the Republicans can get some insurance companies to claim that they’ll offer comprehensive and affordable policies to seniors, and perhaps if Republicans can even convince some older Americans that it would be patriotic and altruistic for them to spend a few dollars in order that their children may keep a bit more of their own income, there might be political up-sides to the Ryan Plan.

Of course, many grown children of senior parents would end up spending portions of their income and savings on their parents’ health care, which shouldn’t please the 30 to 50 demographic.

Strategically this is risky for Republicans, but they’ve embraced a potentially destructive policy and they now have to sell it. They’ve shown themselves tactically to be up to selling just about anything, so Democrats have to be prepared. By that I mean the polar opposite of the terribly weak and reactive Democratic retreat the last time health care reform was a national issue. Complacency in the face of what seems to be a self-destructive policy is not an option.
UPDATE: In his NYT column today, Ross Douthat suggests a target for a Republican "peel" procedure: darker-skinned people whom he writes are comprising more of the young workforce, as rich white people bask in their retirement wealth, soaking off those young workers.

1 comment:

  1. Well I felt sad for all what happened. The system should must be changed over all. We all try to change all this non serious setup. 