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View Full Version : What Do the Dem Candidates Offer to the Young?


asterion
01-08-2004, 08:37 PM
Well, I'll admit that I--so far--haven't followed the Democratic candidates very closely so far, partially because I'm registered Independent and therefore can't vote in the New Mexico caucus on Feb. 3rd. I figured that, since I can't do anything about who gets the nod, I can wait until the primaries have basically shaken out a candidate. I've looked at Dean's (since he is, after all, the front-runner) webpage, and so far, other than that it doesn't work running under Mozilla, I haven't learned much.

For example, on the economy, Dean says his plans are to Repeal the Bush tax cuts, and use those funds to pay for universal health care, homeland security, and investments in job creation that benefit all Americans.
Set the nation on the path to a balanced budget, recognizing that we cannot have social or economic justice without a sound fiscal foundation.
Create a fairer and simpler system of taxation.
Assure that Social Security and Medicare are adequately funded to meet the needs of the next generation of retirees.

Besides the fact that I know that campaign promises never survive the first week in office, the thing I personally care for the economy long-term is Social Security and Medicare. Frankly, I don't believe that those programs have a snowball's chance in hell that it will be there when I retire, no matter what parties are in charge during the meantime. I'm reminded of an editorial (http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3867393/)in this week's Newsweek, arguing that the boomer generation--in other words, my parents and the parents of others near my age--is simply passing the check to my generation to pay for, perhaps (and now I'm reminded of a story in Analog a few years ago, where this happened) going as far as to pull the carpet out from under Social Security. Because I fully expect to be paying into a broken system for the rest of my life without seeing any returns, I've already made some investments and started a Roth IRA, with plans to really start funding it and invest more once I'm out of college and have a steady income.

There are other economic issues as well, of course. For example, what exactly does scaling back or eliminating the Bush tax cuts entail? For the record, I did not like and do not like the Bush cuts, but I cannot figure out what Dean proposes to do. Repeal them and let the old tax code stand? Add more taxes? Get a smaller, more middle-class set of tax cuts passed? More importantly, what effect will this have on me and other young and single/newly joint taxpayers with probably lower incomes and no longer listed as dependents? Do the Democrats realize that it's not only the upper-middle and upper-classes that have investments now? That I will be depending on thirty or fourty years of investments to retire and that when I have kids, I will be depending on even more investments to help pay for schooling? What about Dean's idea of reregulation? As attractive an idea it seems at times, that goes against everything I've generally learned about economics. Are the candidates for more, less, or no change in the free trade treaties? How about the Free Trade Association of the Americas?

It seems to me that the most important issues among voters around my age are the economy, the enviroment, and foreign policy. The environment seems harder to personalize, and from what I've seen I agree with Dean's stance on pushing for things like hybrid engines and protection for national parks and other lands. But on other things, I can't figure out what he is trying to get at. For example, on global warming, is he proposing to go as far as virtually enacting Kyoto (assuming, of course, the Senate will still refuse to ratify any actual treaty)? Will he try to protect the environment at the expense of the economy? How about (living in New Mexico) his stance on nuclear power, fusion research, other alternative power sources, and waste and contaminated material storage? Considering we can't even ship equipment contaminated with americium-241 through Albuquerque to WIPP without protest, what does he plan to have the DOE and DOD do with nuclear waste, contaminated trash, and old nuclear weapons? Does he support the building of new nuclear power plants to help get the grid off oil, gas, and coal?

How about foreign policy? I've seen statements attributed to him that say he would pull all deployment out of Iraq and hand the whole thing over the UN. In my experience, while the UN without the US can do peacekeeping, will there indeed be no American troops? Does he plan to remove all National Guard and Reserve troops from deployment, and let the rest of the military take care of things? How is that going to happen without moving and redeploying units or increasing the size of the regular, active-duty military? Does he plan to decrease the size of the American military? I know that a draft is political suicide without total war, but how about "national service"? What about the work on missile defense systems? Battlefield-usable and bunker-buster nuclear weapons? What are his plans for dealing with India/Pakistan, Israel/rest of Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan, China/Taiwan, Russia/Chechnya, Latin America? What about the terrorist threat? Will he attempt to work more with the UN and NATO, to the point of possibly paralyzing the US if we need to move and attack quickly?

Finally, how is he going to pay for all of this? He says to rescind the tax cuts, so that'd get some money back. However, that'll still leave the country running a deficit. Will he tax more to pay for these ideas without increasing the overall deficit or just go into deeper deficit spending?

So, honestly, I have yet to figure out what any of the candidates have to offer me. And, rest assured, I have every intention of voting in 2004. I'm not sure who I'll vote for. It might be Bush. It might be the "any Democrat." It might be a third-party candidate again. Honestly, so far, I have not been impressed by any of the Democratic candidates, which puts me in a bit of a bind, as I don't really love Bush either. But at least I have some idea of what Bush thinks and the effect his policies could have on me.

Fear Itself
01-08-2004, 10:14 PM
A return to a balanced budget that won't saddle young taxpayers with a ballooning federal deficit for the rest of their lives. Hell, with an 8 year Democratic administration, we might even get back the surplus Bush squandered.

minty green
01-08-2004, 10:40 PM
As a child of the 80s, I remember all those warnings that "our children" would be paying off their deficits for the rest of their lives.

These days, I just look at the inflated withholdings on my paystub and despair at what my daughter is going to have to pay.

rjung
01-09-2004, 02:04 AM
And to think, less than four years ago, we actually had a surplus...!

1ofnine
01-09-2004, 02:22 AM
And to think, much of that "good times" in the 90s was based on the IT bubble -- the one that some recognized as fake and then bailed out -- thus starting an exodus from the dot coms and the stock market that burst the fake prosperity of the late 90s.

The Democrats offer nothing but griping and an end to policies that help the middle class -- such as child tax credits. I will not be voting for any Democrats in 2004!

Zoe
01-09-2004, 03:07 AM
"Fake prosperity." What a concept!

Fear Itself
01-09-2004, 05:42 AM
Indeed! I will take Clinton's "fake" prosperity in a heartbeat; I can't afford any more Bush "prosperity".

athelas
01-09-2004, 09:41 AM
I'd much rather live in 1928 than in 1950. Isn't prosperity great?

DaveX
01-09-2004, 10:58 AM
Please explain how the IT bubble has anything at all to do with a balanced government spending policy?

elfkin477
01-09-2004, 06:16 PM
To be fair, though, what do the Republican or Libertarian parties really have to offer those of us who are young? Not much. Democrat president, Republican president, I've had both and neither have done much good to my student loan payments, my taxes or my employment opportunities. Or health care or...

When you're young you have to vote based on the type of person you are, rather than what you'll get from your party, since they really don't realize voters under 30 even exist, never mind potentially vote for them. We bitter cynics become Republicans, and idealists dreaming of a better whatever become Democrats. I don't know who be come Libertarians.

laigle
01-09-2004, 08:52 PM
Nobody in any party has much to offer the young. That's cause the young don't show up and vote. Everybody has lots to offer the elderly. Guess why?

adaher
01-10-2004, 05:07 AM
All parties have something to offer the young. If you are worried about SS and Medicare, choose the candidate that has the best ideas on that. For me, that would be someone who will allow private accounts. If I have a private account that can't be taken away, that's a lot more reassuring than the current empty promises to make sure SS is there for me when mathematically it seems impossible for that to be so.

I'd also love it if a candidate would tell the hard truth about what it will take to pay for the Baby Boomer retirement. Raise taxes? I don't think so. I personally will not tolerate another FICA tax increase. I'll take my employment underground, as will many workers the higher the tax goes. If estimates of 50% FICA tax turn out to be true, watch how much of the economy goes underground to avoid the tax. They simply will not be able to collect such an onerous tax.

So that leaves benefit cuts, cuts in other programs, or more debt. I favor a Balanced Budget Amendment, which will force cuts. The way I see it, the current generation created this problem, if they won't fix it, they'll have to live with the consequences. A Balanced Budget Amendment will force them to take their medicine.

Fear Itself
01-10-2004, 07:53 AM
Originally posted by adaher
I favor a Balanced Budget Amendment, which will force cuts. The way I see it, the current generation created this problem, if they won't fix it, they'll have to live with the consequences. A Balanced Budget Amendment will force them to take their medicine. When standing in the polling booth next November, you might want to remember which party was in the White House the last time there was a balanced federal budget.

burundi
01-10-2004, 07:58 AM
Among my group of friends (mostly college-educated, mid-20s), the big issues are the economy and foreign policy. And when I say "the economy," I mean specifically jobs. The idea of finding a job with benefits that pays enough to support a family seems like a pipe dream to a lot of us. As far as foreign policy goes, I don't feel safer since we invaded Iraq. Quite the opposite, in fact. It seems impossible to tell how "the war on terror" is going.

Like adaher, I also want some straight talk about what's going to happen once the Boomers retire. It ain't gonna be pretty.

adaher
01-11-2004, 06:41 AM
When standing in the polling booth next November, you might want to remember which party was in the White House the last time there was a balanced federal budget.

And you might want to remember who was in Congress, which controls the spending and tax policy.

You might also check the voting rolls and see who has voted for the Balanced Budget Amendment and who has opposed it.

Not that I'm definitely voting Republican. I find the Republican Party's rolling over for Bush and his political opportunism to be awful for our fiscal health. Perhaps a Democratic President will stiffen the Republicans' spine on spending issues. Divided govenrment does seem to control spending, especially with Republicans in Congress and a Democrat in the White House.

Ersatz Shmoe
01-14-2004, 06:28 PM
Nobody in any party has much to offer the young. That's cause the young don't show up and vote. Everybody has lots to offer the elderly. Guess why?

When both parties write off the youth vote as unimportant, and don't offer anything inspirational to them, why shouldn't they feel ignored and left out of the process? That's all they've ever experienced.

As for which candidate is paying attention to the youth vote, Rep. Dennis Kucinich has noted that for a third of what it cost to pay for Bush's tax cut that mainly benefitted the rich, the U.S. could send everyone who wanted to go to college there for free. If free college isn't an idea that appeals to those of us in the 20-30 yr old demographic, what is?

jshore
01-15-2004, 06:56 PM
If estimates of 50% FICA tax turn out to be true, watch how much of the economy goes underground to avoid the tax. They simply will not be able to collect such an onerous tax.

And, this estimate comes from where?!?!

If it turns out that the moon is made of moldy green cheese, I'm not going to want it orbitting around our planet either but that is hardly relevant to the real world.

The proposals to extend the solvency of SS (which, by current estimates, will be able to pay all of its obligations until like 2043 and will not be broke but will have a shortfall) are modest things such as getting rid of the salary cap after which one doesn't pay anything. This alone gets rid of a good fraction...although not all...of the projected longterm deficit, which at any rate, is only an estimate. [The estimated date of reckoning of ~2043 has generally been moving out with time...In fact, over the past years at a faster rate than time itself advances.] Here (http://www.boilermakers.org/ss/ssindex1.html) is a fact about the sort of increase in the SS tax rate that would be needed to keep it solvent for 75 years:


The projected shortfall for the next 75 years is only 1.89 percent of projected payroll. At worst, the shortfall could be alleviated by a two percent tax. We do not recommend this solution (there are much better ways to make up the deficit). We only offer it to show that saving Social Security will not bankrupt future generations as many articles have claimed.


Of course, the time when government will start to have to pay back some of the IOUs to the S.S. trust fund is sooner (2018 being the current estimate of when S.S. no longer runs a surplus), which is why it is irresponsible to be creating a fiscal train wreck as Bush is doing. Clearly, we need adults in the White House again.

jshore
01-15-2004, 07:02 PM
Here (http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/pubs.html), by the way, is where you can get the latest official info on the SS and Medicare trust funds.