Scapegoating the Elderly: New Voices, Old Theme

Minkler, Meredith
January 1997
Journal of Public Health Policy;1997, Vol. 18 Issue 1, p8
Academic Journal
This article focuses on creation of a new revolutionary class of elder people in the United States. According to famous economist Lester Thurow, this new class is bringing down the social welfare state, destroying government finances, altering the distribution of purchasing power and threatening investments that all societies need to make to have a successful future. He rails against a selfish and financially secure population block whose entitlement programs and single-issue voting are busting the budget and directly threatening the well being of younger and future generations. The Thurow tirade is important precisely because when a leading liberal economist can make these statements and get away with them, people need to be concerned. Few would deny that serious steps must be taken to reform Social Security and Medicare, insuring the solvency of these programs while making sure that they don't cause undue hardships for the young. The gross inequities in financing for Medicare and Social Security also need to be addressed. But reforming Medicare and Social Security does not need to entail heaping blame on the elderly beneficiaries of these programs.


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