Your Personal Economy vs. the National Economy

I am in a state of transition in my political views about economic issues. For many years, most of what I wrote and said about national economic matters would have put me squarely in the “fiscal conservative” category. But some of that is changing. I wonder if it is changing for other baby boomers?

This transition in economic mindset is clearly related to aging. While I remain a “small government” advocate, I find myself becoming attached to age-related economic programs that are designed to benefit me and my wife, starting with Medicare and Social Security.  I will delay claiming Social Security retirement benefits yet I am keenly aware that I am only four months from being eligible. Medicare is only four years away for me. I want both to be there – substantially as is – when the time comes for me.

And I am willing to pay for it.

This is the biggest change for me. If the government decides that fixing Social Security means eliminating the income limit on Social Security payroll taxes, I can accept that, even though it will cost me more. If Medicare taxes need to increase, I can accept that as well.

Five years ago I would not have said that.

I am also supportive of those aspects of Obamacare that will provide more affordable options for older Americans who have chronic illnesses but may be too young for Medicare.

Today – and at our ages – there seems to be greater interplay between our personal economy and the national economy.  I am more focused on the personal economy side of the equation.

Some might label my evolving attitude “selfishness.” I can accept that label. I admit to being increasingly concerned about healthcare for my “self” and my wife’s “self.”  I don’t apologize for it. It’s not as though we haven’t spent many years supporting others through the substantial payroll taxes that we have paid.

When it comes time to vote, I will vote for people who also care about my personal economy. This could mean changes and burdens for younger generations. They will adjust. Unlike many of us, they will have time to adjust. My hope is that our government might shrink in other areas so that economic burdens on future generations will be minimized.

Actually, I believe that when it comes to the voting booth, most people pull the “personal economy” levers more often than they do “national economy.” The younger voters want lower taxes above all. Older voters want their support systems preserved. It’s all understandably selfish, at least a little.

Has your attitude about your personal economy vs. national economy also evolved?


Comments

  1. says

    Thanks Mark, I think you’ve hit on something important with this post. My views about some of the government social programs have transitioned in similar ways. Part of it is that when we age, we begin to understand the necessity of these safety nets in a more personal way. Part of it is purely practical, economic consideration: For example, the majority of Americans are failing to save adequately for their retirements. Without at least Social Security, they will be destitute. Another example: we have laws that require hospitals to provide at least emergency care to all comers. So shouldn’t we require everybody to contribute to the cost of their own health care (via private health insurance or government programs)? I think we’d all benefit if these discussions could be based less on political ideology and more on financial reality, as we’ve both experienced, growing older. Thanks again for the thought-provoking post.

    -Darrow

  2. says

    Hey Mark, Its true, that as we age, we tend to see things differently, but, it is also important to educate your self to realities of life, one of them being what will happen to you, when you get older, and retire! The true time to do that, even though its more common to procrastinate, is when you are young, with more time to influence, a desirable outcome ! That is one of the biggest political problems, now that the “baby boom” generation is applying for the benefits, they have been paying for, and counting on, for many years! As part of the “body politic”, you, and others, should have been more aware, of the impending drain, that was going to be the result, of the, now present, situation, by insisting, to our “representative’s that the system, was prepared, for the future! We now have the results, of the pandering, to the “don’t tax me” generation, or political base, and the results, are self evident! My message to the younger generation, is to look to the future, by observing, the past, and demand that the promised benefits, of S/S, Medicare, etc., be strengthened,now, instead of passed on, to the political establishment, in the future, to the obvious detriment,of the future retired citizen’s! (or more accurately, them self’s)!The “selfishness” you speak of, should start, at a much earlier,stage, not for just yourself, but for every citizen’s,future, well being!

  3. Tom says

    Okay kiddies, today’s question: Where does the Fed get its money to buy bad debt? That’s right, Ben sends a txt to Little Timmy at Treasury and the federal government simply prints off an extra $40 billion or so. What does that do to the value of the money already printed, you ask? Well, it (a) increases the total amount of promise-backed dollars in the currency exchanges, driving down interest while it (b) devalues the value of the current currency making prices go higher. When you get (a), you get lower cost loans and if you depend on interest returns on investments to live (that would be seniors) you’ll now earn less. So, if you are a senior, you are earning less and your earnings or worth less. But hey, Ben thinks that’s okay. Five years from now, Ben will step from behind his desk and announce that the Fed “made a profit” on its “investment” without defining how the move cost Americans. When that profit is announced, how many of you actually think that the value of American dollars will go up and consumer prices will go down?

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