In an excellent article, titled ‘Change’ For Our Children, Robert Samuelson makes a compelling argument that none of the leading presidential candidates have sincerely addressed the looming fiscal crisis for young Americans through proposing policies to prevent or even alleviate it-such as reforming entitlement programs and raising the retirement age. To put Samuelson’s point more bluntly, most of our nation’s politicians are in the pocket of the AARP. And why not? After all, politicians tend to behave like billiard balls, set in motion by the various special interest cue sticks. James Madison knew we can’t expect the cue sticks to be anything but self-interested, even if they do love their grandchildren.
The problem, then, is that there is no power in the ‘young’ cue sticks. According to a 2006 study by the Pew Research Center, titled ‘Who Votes, Who Doesn’t and Why’, just 22 percent of Americans age 22-29 are ‘Regular’ voters. Americans age 50-64 and 65 and older are nearly twice as likely to be ‘Regular’ voters, at 42 and 41 percent, respectively. No wonder, then, that politicians do AARP’s bidding. Given America’s aging population, unless young Americans think they can refute Madison’s Federalist no. 10 and get their parents and grandparents to vote to help them, they are headed for down a road to poverty. And along that road will walk both Republicans and Democrats. An American Association for Young Persons (AAYP), anyone?