The Politics of Austerity

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It's no surprise that older Americans have accumulated more wealth and earn more income than their children and grandchildren. But a recent study shows the gap is growing much faster than previously reported, leading to age-based competition for federal benefits. Older conservatives who see the pie shrinking view programs to help younger people, and even the poor, as threats to Medicare and Social Security. That fear has energized the Tea Partiers, and Occupy Wall Street is the first sign of youthful resistance as the struggle for scarce resources turns nasty.  Meantime, well-off elites face a middle class plagued with unemployment and a sense of deprivation. What are the implications for this year's campaigns?

Credits

Guests:
Richard Fry - Pew Research Center, Thomas Edsall - Columbia School of Journalism - @Edsall, Theda Skocpol - Victor S. Thomas professor of government and sociology at Harvard and director of the Scholars Strategy Network, Fred Lynch - Claremont McKenna College - @CMCtoday

Host:
Warren Olney

Producers:
Sonya Geis, Katie Cooper, Anna Scott