Grey Power and Rational Self Interest
Lifted from Robert Waldmann‘s Stochastic Thoughts.
Dan here. NDD’s post on voter turnout for older voters being an economic question in general about interest rates and cola rates, Robert points to less “rational” economic behavior. Of course there is quixotic voting such as the lady in Kentucky who was for the KY health exchange and against the socialism of Obamacare. Perceptions matter. But then…
Grey Power and Rational Self Interest
The extraordinarily smart and well informed Richard Mayhew presents amazing data on voter turnout by age in presidential elections and mid terms. He also attempts to make sense of yesterday’s vote. I think this attempt fails.
He concludes “we have an off-cycle electorate that assumes that they’ll be dead in 15 years, so let the good times roll.”
The argument makes sense, but the votes of US adults over 60 don’t. The Republican policy stance (except during campaigns) is the opposite of “let the good times role”. They fight for reduced deficits and, in particular, demand entitlement reform.
In particular, Arkansans over 60 voted for Tom Cotton who voted to raise the Medicare eligibility age to 70. This is a “death bet” only if to death they say “you betcha”.
Cotton’s vote is on a roll call and the Republican Study Group budget is public, so I think it is OK to link to a partisan source
“Cotton Was the Only Member Of The Arkansas Delegation To Vote for Republican Study Committee Budget That Transformed Medicare Into Voucher System, Raised the Eligibility Age For Medicare To 70 And Cut Social Security Benefits.”
One can not use rational self interest to explain why people aged over 60 vote for Republicans who demand that Democrats accept entitlement reform and then denounce the Democrats for accepting some of the Republican demands.
I disagree. These people are heavily dialectic. If they believe “Umbmacare” is going to cut into Medicare to give insurance to younger people, that is far more a “threat”.
I would also argue, that a big chunk of “grey power” is over the age of 70, which negates your point. People born in the 30’s who are more numerous because of improved health care and vote religiously.
The real question is when does the vigilante attacks start against them?
What do you mean by “against them?”
John Cummings asks: “The real question is when does the vigilante attacks start against them?” Wow! What kind of mind would even in jest ask such a question? you do realize that a growing % of those over 70 are women? Talk about a war on women and the elderly. Sheesh!
The turnout was consistent for those >65 in previous elections. Baby boomers birth year run from 1946 to 1964. The cohort is big and the Millenials are a bigger cohort. From 1949 to 1955 birth years there was an equal split in politics amongst baby boomers. From 1955 to 1964, the baby boomers leaned Republican. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/07/08/upshot/how-the-year-you-were-born-influences-your-politics.html?abt=0002&abg=0 It is not till 1981 when there again is an equal split in political leanings. Leaning Democratic grows from 10981 onward.
Partially my point to this is >65 are not only baby boomers. >69, it is another generation. A larger growth in baby boomers came after 1955. http://www.census.gov/prod/2014pubs/p25-1141.pdf fig. 1. It appears that older people 45 to 64 and >65 consistently vote. Quite a few of baby boomers 1946 to 1949 and after 1955 (59 years of age) till 1964 (50 years old age) are more Republican than Democratic. The 45 to 64 group is larger than the >65 group. Maybe another question would be; why is the 50 to 59 voting against themselves?
I can only speak for this boomer, but I know what shaped my politics.
I was born in 1947, in the south. The Civil Rights movement, and later the Viet Nam war were the biggest factors.
Even though my family were registered Democrats, there wasn’t much talk about national politics. My folks voted, of course, but they were more involved in state and local issues.
Many of my school mates were oblivious to the Civil Rights battles, for all that they saw them nightly on the news early on, but as the war went from being an ‘advisory’ situation to a full-blown blood and guts issue, many quickly wrapped themselves in the flag. We were, after all, the generation who grew up on Audy Murphy and John Wayne war movies, most of us had fathers, and sometimes mothers, who had served, and we were as red, white and blue as they come.
All the ways young people began to question the status quo began to blossom about the time I graduated from high school, or right after. The student free speech movement, civil rights, the draft; later the escalation of the war, the women’s movement, etc. It wasn’t just ‘us kids against the establishment’. I began to see very firm divisions between me and some of my former friends, who couldn’t understand why I was ‘turning on my country’.
I guess what I’m getting at is that not only is the boomer generation not one generation in years, even within the cohort I am part of, the turmoil of the sixties divided us into ‘us and them’.
Some of my age group now wants to protect not only their Social Security, but the tax advantages that let them shelter wealth to pass on to their heirs, and some of us want to see our kids and grand kids not saddled with outrageous student loan debt.
Some of us still feel like Audy Murphy, and some of us still feel like Tom Hayden.
“Maybe another question would be; why is the 50 to 59 voting against themselves? ”
Because their insane prejudices have led them to information sources that have lied to them for decades about almost everything, and they are convinced they are not voting against themselves because the future is mere speculation(and they have no idea what happened in the past) and they cannot add.
Don’t know what happened to my other comment but:
“Maybe another question would be; why is the 50 to 59 voting against themselves?”
It has been a question on my mind since the mid 90’s. I did not get what was fully happening, how complete it was, as to the change of the nations personality until then.
Sandi is correct. There is a division in the “baby boom” generation and that was the thrust of my 3 theories: To young to go to Woodstock, first generation of “new math” and Alex P. Keaton.
I had moved for my senior year of high school. It was quite different the 2 school even though both were of similar type towns. The school I moved to, in an English class the teacher asked who was familiar with Ralph Nader. This is 1974. No one raised their hand. She asked again and no hands went up. So, I’m thinking this must be some local Ralph Nader and being the “transfer student” I did not know this local person. Then she asked a 3rd time and qualified the name with “the consumer advocate”. I could not believe no one knew him in this 12th grade English class.
In my old school, half the class would have known of him and it was a republican town (still is). This new school, the kids were so unaware. My old school, we were very politically active, involved in curriculum, school committee meetings etc. The new school, nothing. And it wasn’t for lack of school funding. The school was a gorgeous 3 year old modern facility with all the things on the wish list.
I did not find your comment in spam. Last month we had 600,000 spam messages, so I have become a little cavalier in pressing that delete button.
I have found a lot of variations in belief and attitudes as well.
No problem Dan. I took a look at the spam. Holly molly!
No matter what, I still think it is a reaction to a black man in the oval office and the possible loss of white privilege.
There is a lot of that dd. No matter the post racial silliness. And classicism.
Regarding the statistically identifiable political difference between Baby Boomers born in the early-1950s and other Baby Boomers, which Run notes in his excellent posting, I’ve previously bumped into one interesting observation: these happen to be the kids who spent formative high school years wondering if they’ll soon be drafted and sent to the televised carnage in Vietnam. They either went to Vietnam starting about 1967, or they breathed a sign of relief, at the latest during the lottery or when the draft was terminated. Their older siblings didn’t see the carnage on the horizon during high school, and their younger siblings never expected to be drafted. It’s conceivable that today’s 59-64 year-olds were, statistically speaking, affected by their unique experience in high school. If you’re 70 or 50, you might say minds were warped; if you’re 60, you might say minds were sharpened. 🙂
“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” Napoleon Bonaparte
May not work here.
So much propaganda, so little critcial thinking, much less fact checking.
No tea party puppeteers’ issue with running up another $10B for the nuclear forces to fix the exam cheating, and modernize nuclear immorality.
Cannot find $6B to extend UE insurance…………
HHS crowds out while it is just fine when DoD uses huge part of US R&D spending for F-35 rework!