...for the first time that I can remember, this means that I have a personal stake in the election. It's not just that I find one side's policies more congenial in the abstract, but that one policy in particular could have a substantial impact on my life.
You see, I've never really intended to keep blogging until I'm 65. I might, of course. Blogging is a pretty nice job. But I'd really like to have a choice, and without Obamacare I probably won't. That's because I'm normal: I'm in my mid-50s, I have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, a family history of heart trouble, and a variety of other smallish ailments. Nothing serious, but serious enough that it's unlikely any insurance company would ever take me on. So if I decided to quit blogging when I turned 60, I'd be out of luck. I couldn't afford to be entirely without health insurance (the 4x multiplier that hospitals charge the uninsured would doom me all by itself), and no one would sell me an individual policy. I could try navigating the high-risk pool labyrinth, but that's a crapshoot. Maybe it would work, maybe it wouldn't.
But if Obamacare stays on the books, I have all the flexibility in the world. If I want to keep working, I keep working. If I don't, I head off to the exchange and buy a policy that suits me. No muss, no fuss.
So yes, this election matters, and it matters in a very personal way. It does to me, anyway. It's not just about gridlock as far as the eye can see.
I usually have a pretty thick skin for this type of stuff, but this got to me. I wrote:
Great. Those of us who are comfortable actually, you know, working to support ourselves look forward to subsidizing your future indolence.
Sorry, I am not usually that much of a snarky jerk, but really, that is what you are celebrating. You are not celebrating some medical or scientific breakthrough that allows you to stay healthy at a lower cost. You are celebrating a system to force other people to pay for your body's maintenance. All so you don't have to support yourself for over a quarter of your life.
If you were to say that, "wow the health dice really rolled against me and I need help," few would begrudge you the help. But this notion of an indolent retirement is radically new. It is a product of our century's and our country's great wealth. Retirement is a luxury good. I have no problem with anyone consuming this luxury good out of their savings, but consuming it out of mine, and then crowing about it to my face, is highly irritating.
If I were a Republican, or if I had one iota of trust in them, I might write that this is what the election is about. Since I don't have such trust, I will instead merely highlight Drum's thoughts as a good representation of modern entitled thinking. For God sakes this guy is not even trying to use my money to escape, say, a coal mine early. He wants my cash to escape blogging early, perhaps the cushiest job there is (as indicated by the fact that many of us do it for no compensation what-so-ever).