Over the past several years there appears to have been much consternation in the white community about President Obama becoming an angry black man, a person who will take revenge on the white community that through a process of white homogeny has worked to continue the oppression of the racial and ethnic minorities. Before Obama was elected the in 2008, my older white friends told me that the talk was of Obama firing all the white people from government and replacing them with black people. The only defense was to try defeat him.
Then in 2010, the Tea Party, starting in Seattle, Washington, where 66% of the population is white non-hispanic and the largest employer is that largely tax payer funded Boeing(It is the the top or second to the top receiver of government money), began to tell white people that the Affordable Care act, AKA Obamacare, was designed to cut care for older people and redistribute that care to younger, browner, people.
The Tea Party message, that funds were going to be used to help younger, browner, people, combined with idea that browner people might have to be hired at places such as Boeing, which might involve such people actually moving to such places, clearly hit a nerve in the white population. We saw this not only in the 2010 election, but in the demographics of who voted for Romney. Clearly, the white majority, emboldened by Bush and his policies, for example provided money to make older people dependent on drugs, were not going to share power or entitlements easily.
Which brings us to Paul Krugman and his disbelief of what may be the deal to end the Fiscal Curb.
Second, why on earth would Obama be selling Medicare away to raise top tax rates when he gets a big rate rise on January 1 just by doing nothing? And no, vague promises about closing loopholes won’t do it: a rate rise is the real deal, no questions, and should not be traded away for who knows what.To this I would answer what many have said in jest. To coin a phrase, Pray that Obama does not become the Angry Black Man you fear him to be.
Over the past four years, President Obama has been relatively balanced in his policies, so much so that people have been complaining he does not talk about race and gives too much to Wall Street and the corporate interest. He has allowed the Bush era tax cuts, cuts that have in large part created the current deficit, continue as well as created a stimulus package that helped all people. He has tried to create a system in which everyone can expect to receive minimal health care, without cutting back on the health care that older people need.
The one thing he has tried to do that is not balanced is raise taxes on the wealthy. This perceived imbalance, has caused a great backlash including personal attacks.
Which has lead to the current situation. Taxes on the wealthy are not going back to pre-Bush levels. And there are going to be cut backs in medicare and possible other retirement options. These later changes are going to be used as foder for attacks agains Obama, but like so many changes to care for the elderly, they are the conservative agenda. Going back to Reagan and the increasing of the age for Social Security, changes to the medicare qualification age are what conservatives want, not what Obama wants to do.
So why might Obama be ok with this. In my opinion is had to do with demographics and the Affordable Care Act.
First demographics. According to census data collated by in 2009, about 75% of those who are going to retire in the next few years are going to be white non-hispanic. By forcing Obama to increase the Medicare age conservative are playing the same game they have with jobs and other benefits, making it appear he does not care about middle class white people. This does not work, however, as these people do not seem to vote for Obama or any liberal candidates. These middle class whites, who are working for health care benefits, and now have to work for two more years, are going to be severely distressed, but that is the conservative agenda. Yes, a few million Black and Hispanic pesons are going to effected, but is nothing in comparison to the 10 million or more whites that are now not going to be able to retire.
Which leads us to the Affordable Care Act. Ultimately this is going to cover every US citizen. Potentially, if one has a small business, a spouse is not longer going to work a corporate job so the family can have health insurance. An older person who wants to go to a less stressful job can without fear that pre existing condition will disqualify them from health insurance when the 90 day waiting period expires. And, in the next 10 years of so, there will be markets, as there in many states for mandator auto insurance, in which persons who choose to can just buy private insurance for a couple years until medicare kicks in.
I think this is what Obama is banking on. Persons who are about to retire will, if conservatives have their way, be in distress, but in 10 or 20 years the Affordable Care Act will be in full force and Medicare will be much less critical, and much less costly. Coincidently, if projections are correct, the elderly White retiring population will fall below 66%. We wil have a diverse retired population who will not be necessarily served by a conservative movement that seems to be primarily interested in keeping wealth and benefits for the white population.
Maybe in a generation conservatives will not be so obsessed with creating fear about the great minority threats. Of course, this has been their MO for a couple generations, back to when we were told that freeing the slaves would result in a general revolt, or school integration would mean that all the white girls would be raped, so I have little hope. I do hope that Obamacare will mean that we have equal access to health care for everyone, be they old or young, and it will allow us to rethink how we fund persons who have given their life to building the United States.