Wherever the line that defines whether you are ‘old’ or ‘young’ is, the individuals on either side end up looking very differently, in political and economical terms. According to a recent New York Times article, in 2004, older voters began moving right (politically), while younger voters shifted left. This year, polls suggest that Mitt Romney will win a landslide among the over-65 crowd and that President Obama will do likewise among those under 40. The split between the ages goes farther than politics; the two have different views on many of the biggest questions before the country. For example, the young favor gay marriage and school funding more strongly and are also notably less religious, more positive toward immigrants, and less hostile to Social Security. On the other hand, the older crowd are less tolerant to immigrants and expect more out of Social Security.
Over all, more than 50 percent of federal benefits flow to the 13 percent of the population over 65; a portion of these benefits come from Social Security while a much larger from Medicare. However, contrary to common perception, most Americans do not come close to paying for their own Medicare benefits through payroll taxes. Instead, medicare, in addition to being the largest source of the country’s projected budget deficits, is a transfer program from young to old.
One aspect that both the ‘old’ and ‘young’ can agree upon is that they are more open to change and confident that life in the United States will remain good.
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