The uproariously named “Reason.tv” has a video out entitled “Why Geezers Are the True Enemy of the Occupy Movement” featuring Veronique de Rugy. In the video, Ms. de Rugy explains to young occupiers that the elderly have done deplorably well in the preceding few decades. This makes Nonna and Nonno the natural enemies of the young and should therefore be stripped of Social Security and Medicare. In her defense, she does stop short of suggesting they be taken to the nearest frozen mountaintop and set adrift.
Lest she be mistaken for some class warrior, Ms. de Rugy hastens to point out that even though many of the aged are rolling in enough gelt to keep them in poligrip and corrective shoes for the rest of their lives, they differ from the one-percent. The heroic one-percenters, you see, amassed their riches by making contributions to the economy, unlike grandma who fritters away her days watching Matlock reruns and has yet to outsource a single job.
Veronique de Rugy is a senior research analyst with the Mercatus Center of George Mason University. If I were her, given her own analysis, I’d worry about that senior part.
The Mercatus Center was founded as the Center for Market Processes by former economist Rich Fink, executive vice president of Koch Industries and former president of the Koch Foundations.
However Ms. de Rugy’s right-wing bona fides and one-percent connections run much deeper, despite the obvious wingnut disadvantage of being suspiciously French.
According to her Mercatus biography, Ms. de Rugy “was previously a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute, and a research fellow at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation…She writes a column for Reason magazine and is a regular contributor to The American, AEI’s online magazine. She also blogs at The Corner at National Review Online and at Big Government…She is currently on the board of directors of the Center for Freedom and Prosperity.”
The American Enterprise Institute, besides receiving massive funding from Clenis enthusiast Richard Mellon Scaife, has ties to ALEC, the right wing legislative lobby juggernaut. The AEI harbors a who’s who of right-wing players.
The libertarian Cato Institute was founded by Charles Koch and includes a Koch Executive Vice President on its staff.
The Atlas Economic Research Foundation receives funding from both Scaife’s foundations and the Charles Koch Foundation, as well as money from Exxon for it’s global warming denial work.
It’s safe to say that Veronique loves her some Koch money, and isn’t particularly fond of la grand-mère.
The Kochs are doubtless pleased, however. Granny’s sure to have some gold fillings that could be melted down.
"When you look at government policies, there's a massive transfer of wealth from the young and relatively poor members of society toward the old and relatively members of society," says Veronique de Rugy, a Reason magazine columnist and economist at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
In 1970, de Rugy notes, transfers from the young to the old took up about 20 percent of the federal budget. In a few years, that figure will break the 50 percent barrier as the population ages and Social Security and Medicare ramp up. Those programs are paid for by payroll taxes that suck up around 15 percent of every dollar most workers will ever make.
Yet the #Occupy movement spends most of its energy railing against "the 1 Percent" richest Americans, whose wealth is not gained at the expense of the "99 Percent." Rather, it comes from providing goods and services that people want to consume.
As transfer payments to elderly Americans - irrespective of wealth or need - increase in absolute and relative terms, de Rugy argues that we should scrap entitlements and replace them instead with a "social safety net" that helps poor Americans of whatever age. "There's absolutely no reason to continue paying for lots of people who have accumulated wealth their entire lives," de Rugy tells Reason's Nick Gillespie.
About 3.40 minutes. Shot by Meredith Bragg and Joshua Swain and edited by Swain.
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