John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Making the Baby-Boomers Pay a Little

Posted on May 9, 2011
There is a reason that the baby-boomers have baby in their nickname. Generationally, they have acted collectively as a bunch of spoiled brats. They were the “me” generation, the disco generation, the greed-is-good generation, the housing bubble generation, and now they are the keep your hands off my Medicare generation.

They have done a good job in keeping the focus on them throughout their birth and now into their retirements. And the baby-boomers aren’t going away anytime soon. They have been so focused on themselves, in all likelihood, they are going to live a long time.

Republicans have decided that if they are going to do anything on Medicare reform that nothing they do will impact the baby-boomers. They have decided that the under 55-year-old set will have to bear the burden for all of the excesses of those who are older then 55.

That sounds all well and good if you are over 55. And if you are older than 55, you probably are ok with this thing. Republicans I talk to have found that this is an effective talking point when they go into town hall meetings.

The gamble Republicans are making is that anybody under 55 won’t be motivated to vote on this one issue, while anybody over 55 will be extremely motivated to protect their own self-interests.

It is a good political gamble, but it isn’t very fair to the rest of us who are under 55. The baby-boomers have left us a huge deficit and now they are telling us that they have no role in cleaning up the mess they left us. Worse, we have to continue to pay for their health care, while we struggle to support our kids.

Ultimately, it is the kids who will suffer. The more we spend on senior’s health care (without their help), the less we can spend on our kids’ education.

I am fine with the Paul Ryan reforms. I think we have to change the health care delivery system, to make it more sensitive to the marketplace, and to give more choice to health care consumers.

But if I am going to take on more risk that comes with these reforms, I want the baby-boomers to pay more. I want their taxes to go up and I want their benefits to be reduced a tiny bit.

The price for reform just can’t hit the young people. It should hit the baby-boomers too.