All other things being equal, raising the Medicare eligibility age is nuts. There might be some overall deal that is just so great that could allow me to swallow that particular pill, but it's hard to imagine anything like that passing the GOP House. I wouldn't say there's nothing that would make up for it (one of my first posts here was supporting Obama's lame duck tax cut deal with Boehner and McConnell two years ago, a somewhat unpopular position at the time). Wouldn't say that. Don't believe we'll get anything like that, though.

Still, the notion that this would be the End of the Obama Coalition strikes me as nuts. First off, going by every poll ever, young people are the most likely to support restructuring of old-age social programs, so there's not much of a risk there. If anything, the move could help with that group, though probably not. Does anyone think that minorities, secular voters, etc. are really going to switch parties over this? Indeed, the most likely result of such a deal would be almost certainly hurtful to Republicans. You know, the party that won over 60% of the elderly vote in the last two presidential elections, mostly by demagoging those looming Medicare cuts brought about because the president was taking your (theoretical) tax dollars and giving them to those people! Well, my guess is that seniors would not be too happy about this deal, and it's going to be awfully hard to pin it on Obama if he argues that Boehner pushed it so hard. If you assume a Hillary 2016 presidential run, it's easy to imagine seniors flocking to the Democrats' side again, over this. Of course, I expect Hillary would be able to get the older folks and some percentage of the Appalachians who used to be Democrats back no matter what, so going this way as some kind of twelve-dimensional chess move is excessive. There's no real reason to have a deal just to have one, and if Obama feels the need to sacrifice something used by the olds, phasing out survivor benefits for Social Security would be far more logical and acceptable.

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  1. Metavirus says:

    raising the medicare eligibility age is completely nuts -- and its suuuuuuuch a Villager darling idea.  

    (1) life expectancy has only been going up for higher-income folks, and not the poor/working poor/etc.  

    (2) overall health conditions for lower income folks as folks age are on average much worse than higher income folks.

    (3)  as a result, most of the people using medicare would have to suffer because higher-income people would have a sad if they have to continue to pay to support the current retirement age at the same levels for both lower income folks, who are going to be using it more often, as well as for themselves.

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