Friday, November 19, 2010

Are Older Voters Blocking Social Policy Changes?

WASHINGTON (Nov. 18) -- As the baby boomers who gave us the term "generation gap" turn 65, a new divide is opening between young and old over everything from health care to gay rights to the right to get high. Republicans and Democrats alike insist it's time to stop piling debt onto future generations, yet political observers say the electoral clout of seniors may prove the biggest obstacle to reining in government spending. And just as in the 1960s, when many older Americans stood on the sidelines of the civil rights and women's movements, polls show seniors are the least enthused about allowing gays to serve openly in the military or get married."On social policy, we have a generation that consumes a huge portion of the federal budget yet doesn't approve of other Americans receiving benefits," said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University. "On cultural issues, there is a huge disconnect between retirees and much of the rest of the country."


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