Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pundits say Obama should expect seniors to heed the moral arguments about "generativity"

Here we go again. In anticipation of the president’s “State of the Union” address, pundits (as on Chris Matthews Sunday morning) are saying that Obama must hit entitlements with the morality card.

It goes like this: if you are a relatively well-off senior, expect less, maybe nothing, from government entitlement programs. You’ve had your life. Now it’s the next generation’s turn.

We know where that can lead. Means testing?  Filial responsibility?

There’s another angle, to. More people today than in previous generations did not have children. They may not experience, in a personal way, a stake in future generations. All of this leads to consideration of “the social contract”.  We may come to think about personal responsibility and personal choice in a “less individualistic” way than has become accepted in the past three decades or so. Perhaps the childless would come under increased pressure to purchase long term care insurance, too. 

Of course, seniors are more likely to vote. It would be pretty hard for politicians to sell something that in today's culture sounds like self-sacrifice. 

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