Elders and the Financial Crisis
Racism in the Presidential Race

The Elder Vote and Senator McCain

According to a recent Associated Press-GfK Poll conducted between September 5 and September 10, Senator Obama leads 61 percent to 35 percent among voters under age 30. In the same poll, Senator McCain leads Obama by 13 percentage points among elder voters. A new CNN poll says that seniors are now leaning more for Obama, but does not give numbers.

Crabby Old Lady is stumped wondering why old people are not choosing Obama in droves.

Over at DailyKos, there is a post from Downtowner, a grandmother herself, recounting a recent experience with her 82-year-old mother (I know some of you don’t read the boxed quotes; please do so today):

“She's worried, and tells me my aunt is worried as well. Wanted to say there is always room there if things get really bad for me or mine. I could sense she was really troubled, so I tried to reassure her, pointing out her Social Security is safe, no thanks to McCain.

“Now, my Mom is a Dem and has been a fan of Obama's for quite some time, so that was not intended as a persuasive dig, just a casual conversational one. But she seemed startled and asked what I meant.

“I said only that McCain was all for privatizing Social Security and was part of Bush's effort to do so and look where people's Social Security might be now if it was privately invested in the market. She freaked.

Downtowner’s mother called all her friends, many who were McCain supporters and explained McCain’s stand on Social Security. Downtowner continues:

“While she said some of her friends are still too stubborn to vote for Obama (which I am much afraid means some of them are too bigoted to) she claims not one of them will be voting for McCain now.

“Third rail indeed. And for this generation, who grew of age in the Great Depression, it seems it's more electric than anything. And while part of me hesitates to encourage the politics of fear - and make no mistake a threat to Social Security is a baseline fear for this generation - this is real fear of real consequences that this generation has experienced and wishes never to see visited on their children and their children's children.

“So call your Old People. Talk to them about Social Security - theirs, yours, your children's. They get it. Better than those of us who haven't lived in an America devoid of Social Security.”

(Hat tip to Jan Adams of Happening Here for the DailyKos story.)

Crabby Old Lady has never been an advocate of single-issue voting whether the issue is Social Security or abortion or anything else. But if that is what it takes to convince elders to give up their love affair with Senator McCain, call all the old people you know. If you are among us who are working to get out the vote for Obama, concentrate on elders – the young are already on board (and Crabby thanks them from the bottom of her heart).

Explain that Social Security is the single most successful social program in the history of the world. Without it, half the elders (and not a few disabled younger people) in the United States would be living in poverty.

Also, Social Security is not bankrupt or broken, as President Bush, McCain and others claim. It needs some minor tweaks (that will be discussed here before the election) which can be done without over-burdening anyone and there is time to get that done if the next president and Congress take it on during their first administration. Given his record, that would not be Senator McCain.

What he is saying this week, which is likely to change next week and maybe again the following week, McCain has a record of supporting the campaign to privatize Social Security. If such a program had been in effect last week when the market tanked, beneficiaries would have lost up to half their Social Security account. The current market will – eventually – stabilize and improve. Sometime after that, it will just as certainly go down again. That’s the way markets work.

Social Security, as was confirmed to Crabby and many TGB readers last week and again yesterday, does not belong in the casino on Wall Street.

[At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Clair Jean has something important to tell us about how Hope works.]


Comments

You might also read them some of the details in this NY Times article which explains the results of the deregulation Sen. McCain has been so in favor of for the past twenty years.

I continue to find hysterical fear mongering on the Internet regarding what each candidate really stands for and what the actual wording of considered legislation was....I love your site Ronnie, but McCain's past vote would have kept anyone's SS benefits out of the stock market if they were born before 1950. Grandmother's today would not have been affected by the stock market's recent performance. Here are the facts: http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/obamas_social_security_whopper.html

Stacie...

I am not an idiot. I know that the Bush privatization plan would not have affected current retirees. But I am concerned for today's young people who, if privatization were enacted, would lose a good part of their Social Security when, sometime in the future, the market crashes again.

And it will. It always goes down to one degree or another after it goes up, and when that happens right before someone retires, their Social Security goes with it.

Meanwhile, huge amounts of wealth in the form of fees to Wall Street investor firms, would eat up a lot of young people's privatized Social Security.

Roni,
Like you I am concerned about attempts by Bush, the neocons and Mccain to privatize Social Security and I am also worried about the current rape of American financial security, AKA " The New Wall St. Bailout/Payoff" could entail. Once they use up the 70 billion (only Einstein could really understand that number) they'll go for the next big hunk of dough available. That's our Social Security fund and don't think that under "emergency conditions", "they" would have any trouble getting their hands on it.

DON'T JUST LIE THERE AND ENJOY IT. AMERICA, YOU"RE BEING RAPED!

Ronni,

I am damned happy that my Social Security funds were not invested in Enron stock or any of the other stocks that have tanked in the past few years.

Bush and Co. were desperate to repay their Wall St. pals for reelecting him, but they wanted to use MY Social Security money to do it. Can you imagine the commissions that would have been made by those stock brokers if Bush's plan had gone through? Staggering amounts of money....

Thanks to the Democrats,who gave us Social Security in the first place,
that plot was stopped and our funds are still safe and being disbursed every month to the people on "Main Street" as we are now being called.

The government lies to us. I hope if people have learned nothing else in a long lifetime it will be don't trust them and verify anything they say (something Reagan said but didn't do).

In the case of SS, if the tax increase, on which they sold us, had been put in a trust fund as they claimed, SS would be solvent for many years in the future. It would be there to draw on. At some point, the government treated that excess as a pot of money for the federal budget which was supposed to be funded other ways. They basically stole it through fraud which would be criminal in the private sector when you take money from one person and give it to another without permission. Did any of us agree to it? They just did it and claim they cannot pay it back.

The right does want to get rid of SS. They do not see it as a good program and they resent paying for the old who are living now. Listen to what McCain said before, not what he's saying now to get elected. He supported those plans to let the young take some of their money and invest it instead of paying for the current retirees.

The way SS has worked is workers pay for the retired. Then when those young ones reach retirement age, the young of that time will pay for them. The concern with taking part of that money (and some would have had it be all) is it doesn't leave enough to pay current costs and would eventually end the program which has been successful and is all many people have to put food on the table. It's not much money for those of you who resent anything going to the elderly.

I don't actually know how the government would get by if wall street got that money as it's already in hock up to its eyebrows even with taking the SS tax for its expenses; but wall street loved the plan for obvious reasons.

“McCain wants to privatize Social Security.” I’m sorry, but this really sounds like sound-byte, bumper-sticker scare tactics; and people are scared enough already. It’s better that we stick to the full facts.

What McCain has said in the past is that he wanted to OFFER people the OPTION to invest 20% of their FICA taxes into personal private investments. He’s not for investing the Soc Sec funds themselves into the stock market. (Given the current performance of the market, it should be evident even to young people that it’s not a good idea to play the market as if it’s a Vegas slot machine. But by balancing stocks with bonds and diversification within stocks, it can indeed work – even in these scary times.) McCain is also dead set against the government using Soc Sec money for other purposes even during emergencies. And he’s stated he’s also willing to discuss increasing Soc Sec funds by increasing the Maximum Tax base (which I see as an idea whose time came years ago).

But because of the proposed multi-billion bailout, now neither candidate will be able to deliver on their original intentions – McCain and his tax cuts or Obama and his list of new social programs, because the government won’t have the money.

Hasn't the over-60 age group tended to vote more Republican than the general population in most recent presidential elections?

There may be some prejudices at work. But this is the cohort that voted for Nixon and Reagan and I think they continue to hold the same opinions they had then.

Someone in my family agrees with most of what Obama says, but there is one reason only why he will not vote for him. It is the Pro-choice issue. This person (like most Catholics we know) will not vote for anyone who supports women's freedom to choose. They are willing to vote for McCain, even though they don't agree with his issues, except for one. It makes NO sense to me.

There is no question the whole issue among older white voters trying to decide whether they will vote for Obama is a matter of racism. I'm seventy and white and my 68 year old wife and I have overcome the racism we saw as children here in the Southwest.
My wife says it would be better if the election was next year because more of the old racists would be dead. I agree.

This senator was only another person with a wrong point of view.

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