Michele Bachmann’s Generational Politics

There’s lots of interest in Michele Bachmann’s interview with the WSJ editorial page’s Stephen Moore, but what I think’s particularly interesting about it is that part of Bachmann positioning herself as the rightmost candidate in the field is that she wants to practice incredibly savage generational warfare:

Her big challenge is whether the country is ready to support deep spending cuts. On this issue, she carries a sharper blade than everyone except Ron Paul. She voted for the Paul Ryan budget—but “with an asterisk.” Why? “The asterisk is that we’ve got a huge messaging problem [on Medicare]. It needs to be called the 55-and-Under Plan. I can’t tell you the number of 78-year-old women who think we’re going to pull the rug out from under them.”

Ms. Bachmann also voted for the Republican Study Committee budget that cuts deeper and faster than even Mr. Ryan would. “We do have an obligation with Social Security and Medicare, and we have to recognize that” for those who are already retired, she says. But after that, it’s Katy bar the door: “Everything else is expendable to bring spending down,” and she’d ax “whole departments” including the Department of Education.

If you’re old, then Bachmann thinks there’s an “obligation” for you to keep your health care and pension benefits. But not only do those of us born later than 1956 have no right to decent health care and pension when we are old, but if we’re right now relying on student loans to make college affordable, that’s going to be cut. If you’re a parent relying on Medicaid to cover your autistic child’s treatment, you’re out of luck. If commute to work and are hoping America continues to have a viable transportation infrastructure, you’re out of luck. Absolutely everyone born after 1956 is going to be subject to immediate draconian cuts in the programs we benefit from, while we’re supposed to believe that nobody born earlier than that will suffer even the slightest bit.

Earlier in the interview she’s going on about Ludwig Von Mises and Milton Friedman, but the actual economic agenda here is rather different from small government as such. It’s all about who’s the right kind of people and who’s not.