Political analyst Charlie Cook, publisher of the widely read Cook Political Report, says that Republicans face a challenge with younger voters. While they don’t think government is very effective — they grew up with Hurricane Katrina — they tend to be socially tolerant, and this is a “deal-breaker” for many who might otherwise have voted Republican. [Source: HuffingtonPost.com 11/30/14, KansasCity.com 11/30/14]
Contrary to what a lot of middle-aged and older people assume, the case can be made for a limited government to younger people.
Limited government means less government intervention in the economy — and ideally none. Point to all the technology young people enjoy. Online streaming, cellular phone texting and social media, video games and all the rest. These are relatively recent innovations. Were they brought to us by the federal government, the same people who gave us the FEMA Katrina debacle and, more recently, the continuing technological calamity known as Obamacare? No way. These came about from the for-profit, private enterprise private sector. Everything worthwhile or competent comes from the private sector.
And then there are entitlements. Actually, it makes sense that older and middle-aged people are worried about Medicare and Social Security. Assuming they worked, they were forced to pay into these programs all these years and naturally want younger people to pay into them now. “I was forced to pay for the elderly when I was younger; now it’s your turn to pay for me, now that I’m older.” Given the fiscal insolvency of these programs — documented by the Congressional Budget Office for all to see — this is the dead-end to which such social “insurance” programs have been reduced. How do you feel about this, young people?
More than that, the numbers tell us that these programs are beyond fiscally unsustainable. And young people understand this more than many assume. As recently as last year, the Huffington Post reported that at least half of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 don’t believe that Social Security will exist by the time they reach retirement age. Of those young people that do say Social Security will still be around when they’re 67, only five percent say it will exist at the same level it does today.
A lot of middle-aged and older people are quick to assume that young people in their 20s were reared on entitlement and will never change their minds. This research (typical of the kind you read) suggests otherwise. More than that, these entitlement programs will not be around in another 50 years; we’ll be lucky if they’re still around in another ten. The very idea of “Social Security” as conceived by Mr. Roosevelt nearly 90 years ago still applying today, much less in 2065, is about as plausible as Obamacare has proved to be.
The Democratic Party should be the old person’s party. Its ideas are nothing new. Yet that’s not how most young people see it. Why? Because Republicans don’t make the right arguments. The wobbly old men running the party don’t care anything about freedom, change or progress. They have no passion, no conviction and no sense of innovation. How could they? If they did, they wouldn’t have chosen decades-long careers in politics, where they actually live off the very entitlement and dependency they supposedly criticize their Democratic Party counterparts for fostering.
The one way the Republican Party does distinguish itself from Democrats? By legally opposing social and personal arrangements which (by the Republicans’ own claimed philosophy) should be of no concern to the government in the first place.
When a young person hears a Republican Party candidate say, “Smaller government — and by the way, outlaw abortion and ban gay marriage,” what is a young person supposed to think? He or she grew up in a world where these things are not a great concern. To the typical younger person, it’s not merely a matter of “tolerating” gay and lesbian couples; it’s simply a fact of reality. Why are these creepy candidates running as Republicans so obsessed with sex in the first place, especially given their support of smaller, less intrusive government?
Charlie Cook is right on this point. A consistent party of limited government could be very successful with young people. There’s no reason why it should not capture the votes of at least half of the 20-somethings out there. But Republicans won’t change. They keep harping on the very things that drive young people away while doing nothing to distinguish themselves from the Democratic Party.
A lot of young people out there yearn for the same thing that many middle-aged and even elderly people yearn for from their leaders. The message might — and should — go something like this:
Government out of your pocketbook, out of your bedrooms, out of your uterus — out of your lives.
Government exists to protect you from thieves, criminals and invaders. That’s it. The rest is up to you.
Leave the private sector alone. In fact, get government the hell out of the private sector. The federal government gave us the post office, mediocre schools, bankrupt welfare programs, FEMA disasters and Obamacare. The private sector gave us all the cool, efficient technology that fulfills and even saves lives.
We’re all free to help whomever we please in a free society. Charity will never be against the law. But forcing charity down our throats does nothing to help the poor or the unfortunate. It creates soul-killing bureaucracies and inefficient, wasteful state offices. How compassionate or sensitive is this?
Limit government to what it can do, and it should do: Police, army and protection. Stop being the world’s policeman. Just be our own policeman, and blast to smithereens anyone who dares try to mess with our freedoms. “Don’t tread on me” once was, and again will be, a role model for the entire planet.
Social Security and Medicare? They’re passé. They’re dying, and it’s laughable to think they’ll be around in 2070. You young people grasp this much better than your lying, hypocritical elders. Demand the freedom — starting now — to plan and save for your retirement without government interference. Demand that government completely deregulate the medical and health insurance industries, so people can decide for themselves — in a free market, like we have with computer software — what best suits their needs. Privatize Social Security and Medicare because, in reality, they will privatize themselves out of existence anyway.
Freedom, innovation, technology, growth and development. These are the concepts and images of youth. Freedom is progressive. Economic freedom is every bit as important as personal freedom — for the exact same reasons. Our bodies and our minds: both have to be free, because one cannot function without the other.
Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe the vast majority of young people are lost causes. Maybe they all want socialism. Maybe they’re so steeped in helpless dependency thinking that they’ll never change their voting habits. But I’m not at all convinced that’s the case. It’s not what I see whenever I encounter younger people, not most of the time. The problem is: They’ve never been given a credible or coherent alternative.
Obama failed because, despite his fresh and youthful appearance, he stood for the same old regressive ideas that brought us down in the first place. In fact, he made the debt and the government even worse than the state of affairs he inherited. The stern and bitter grandmother image of Hillary Clinton will do little to alleviate the problem, either in style or substance. So long as we keep doing the same old thing over and over, we’ll keep getting the same results. It doesn’t matter what kind of face you put on those results, and Obama’s failures taught young people that.
Human potential must always be free and unleashed. This was the lesson of America’s history. It doesn’t have to stop here, or ever. Young people have more to gain from personal and economic freedom than anyone else alive — and more to lose from its passing.
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