Trump Launches “Real News” Program, Hosted By His Daughter-in-Law, On Facebook

For those who been awaiting an alternative to all this “fake news mainstream media” out there, the Trump abides. Papa Donald has been using his official Facebook page to release new episodes of his “real news” show hosted by his daughter-in-law, Lara Trump. Although this has apparently been going on for a few weeks, most of us that don’t religiously follow Trump’s Facebook weren’t aware until Buzzfeed broke the news late last night.

And lest we think this is an incredibly niche program that nobody watches or takes seriously, Trump’s most recent video from four days ago already has over 2 million views, 46,000 likes and over 14,000 shares.

As one might expect for a state-run propaganda machine, the nearly 7,000 comments under these videos flip back and forth between those furious at Trump, and those espousing conspiracy theories and some downright nonsense.

Once again, Trump finds himself using every disposal at his means to undermine the role of media in our society, although a propaganda news program is surprisingly on the nose even for him.

How could this possibly go wrong?

Study: Happy People Buy Time Instead Of Stuff

They say money can’t buy you love — but can it buy happiness? That’s up for debate, but a new study says that using your funds to purchase time — something we all wish we had more of — can lead to increased happiness.

Despite the fact that incomes are rising these days, people can get stressed out when they feel like they don’t have enough time, notes a team of researcher from the University of British Columbia and Harvard Business School in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, but they found that people who spend their money on time-saving services report “greater life satisfaction.”

For example, paying someone else to do household chores like cleaning and cooking, or pick up your dry-cleaning.

While one may think that having a lot of money could offer a way out of the “time famine” of modern life, as researchers put it, some evidence suggests that the wealthy folk often spend time engaging in stressful activities, like shopping or commuting.

“Feelings of time stress are in turn linked to lower well-being, including reduced happiness, increased anxiety, and insomnia,” researchers note, adding that time stress is also a factor in underlying rising rates of obesity: People who don’t have time say that’s the reason they don’t eat healthy foods or exercise regularly.

Survey Says

Researchers surveyed more than 6,000 people from the United States, Denmark, Canada, and the Netherlands. In all samples, respondents completed two questions about whether — and how much — money they spent each month to increase their free time by paying someone else to complete unenjoyable daily tasks.

Respondents also rated their satisfaction with life, and reported their annual household income, the number of hours they work each week, age, marital status, and the number of children living at home.

Across several samples — including adults from the U.S., Canada, Denmark, and a bunch of Dutch millionaires — buying time was linked to greater life satisfaction.

The results held for a wide range of demographics, as well as for the amount that respondents spent on groceries and material and experiential purchases each month.

“These results were not moderated by income, suggesting that people from various socioeconomic backgrounds benefit from making time-saving purchases,” researchers find.

Researchers also conducted a field study in which 60 adults were randomly assigned to spend $40 on a time saving purchase on one weekend, and $40 on a material purchase on another weekend. Results showed that people felt happier when they spent money on a time saving purchase than on a material purchase.

“People who hire a housecleaner or pay the kid next door to mow the lawn might feel like they’re being lazy,” said study lead author Ashley Whillans, assistant professor at Harvard Business School. “But our results suggest that buying time has similar benefits for happiness as having more money.”

Why People Are Moving to Apps to Get Therapy

While the nature of mental health issues has not changed, the way people are getting help is. United States startups are disrupting the talk therapy tradition with apps that give you unlimited access to therapists. Angela Waters explores the virtual deconstruction of the therapist’s couch.

Traditional therapy happens on a couch, once a week, for 60 minutes, at roughly $100 per session — while it works for some, a lot of people fall through the cracks of the mental health system. To fill these gaps, tech companies have sprouted up offering a different take.

“I realized that the mental health system in the United States is completely broken,” Roni Frank, co-founder of online therapy app Talkspace told Highsnobiety. “Recent studies show that one in five Americans — 50 million people — suffers from mental health issues each year. However, 70 percent of those have no access to mental health services.”

Cost is one of the main barriers to therapy as many insurance policies only cover physical health. Even among those who can afford a therapist, there is often an old-fashioned conviction that you should just be able to pick yourself up by your bootstraps instead of asking for help. But even if money and stigma are not a problem, there is the complicated process of picking the right therapist and finding a time to put sessions into your schedule.

The main difference between traditional therapy and mental health apps is that they make the process casual with less commitment. An algorithm helps you find a therapist and switching to find the right fit is a quick chat to customer service.

You are accessing therapists the way you would speak to your friends, via text, video messaging/calling and voice notes. This also means you have way more access to your therapist.

Talkspace offers an unlimited text, video and audio messaging plan starting at $32/week, where therapists respond one or two times a day five days a week.

“You are talking to a therapist the way you would friends and colleagues so it makes the whole process feel more normal, compared to going to a private practice which feels like a doctor’s room. It is very intimidating to go to the waiting room and sit on the couch,” Frank said.

Maybe this is what has attracted 500,000 people to the platform, sixty percent of which have never tried traditional therapy

Couple’s Therapy

The idea for Talkspace actually came to Frank when she and her husband were going through couple’s therapy. Although she credits the sessions with saving her marriage, she believes that putting feuding partners in a room with a therapist may not be the best way to deal with relationship problems.

“In traditional couple’s therapy the couple has to be together on the couch for 90 minutes, which is more expensive than regular therapy because it is longer than a single-person session,” Frank said. “It can actually be more stressful for the couple to sit in the same room together. There is too much tension and too much anxiety.”

She argues that in a messaging-based model some of the heat is being removed from the fights and it gives the two people more distance to really listen to each other and understand what the other person is saying. Another upside to the alternative model is a more immediate response to active issues.

“Let’s say they have a huge fight, right there and then they can reach out to a therapist and get help. Relationships are not easy; there is a lot of drama,” Frank said. “Couples deal with heavy things like anxiety and cheating. Sometimes it is unbearable to wait to talk to a therapist so we are providing immediate help.”

But Not Everyone Is a Fan

While many are warming to the casual vibe of therapy app platforms, some insist there are reasons traditional therapists do things a certain way and that cutting corners to reduce the costs can be dangerous when dealing with mental health.

Marlene Maheu, executive director of the Telebehavioral Health Institute, has been working with virtual therapy for more than twenty years and sees major red flags with popular mental health apps.

“Many groups use licensed professionals, but in many cases those professionals have absolutely no training and for the most part are unsophisticated about what their obligations are,” Maheu told Highsnobiety. “There are licensed people doing illegal and unethical things at a cut rate. This means that the consumer is not getting the services that they expect when they approach these professionals.”

One of her main concerns about online platforms is anonymity. While many apps let you volunteer what information you give to a therapist, including your name and locations, this prohibits therapists from contacting the proper authorities if a patient plans to harm themselves or others.

“The problem is everybody looks alike when they are showing up the first time,” Maheu said. “Most of these websites will say if you are suicidal or homicidal, don’t come here because we can’t help you, but the truth is that every clinician worth their salt knows that people overcompensate in the first few sessions, then they may fall apart and become violent.”

Another concern with anonymity is that a therapist may not have all the information necessary to help someone.

“You have to find out what the situation is – you have to do an intake. With some of these companies you just type in a question and you are supposed to be getting a legitimate answer; that is not psychotherapy. If the person is going to talk to you about a problem and not ask about if you are taking medication, if you have physical disorders then it is kind of strange. How can they council if they haven’t ruled out a physical problem,” Maheu said.

She added that a virtual therapist has to actually do more work than an in-person therapist to deliver the same quality of care, because they cannot use sensory cues to pick up on things that a person may not be telling them.

“There is definitely a benefit to virtual therapy, but the rubber meets the road with the training of the therapist,” Maheu said. “Look at the therapists and their bios, if they aren’t certified in online therapy, you need to ask yourself if you want to be their experiment.”

New Research Considers Skateboarding an Important Mode of Transportation

As I began skateboarding to work, I found that I wasn’t allowed to skateboard on the sidewalks, the streets or the newly constructed Riverwalk in the City of Tampa. Skateboarding was pretty much banned in the city except for the designated Skate Park that Tampa built solely as consolation. The first offense? A warning. But the second offense? A fine designed to teach you the error of your ways.

That didn’t stop me, nor many of the skaters whom have hopped on a board to skate the city.

However that may be changing….

Now, Fang, a transportation researcher, has made skateboarding a focus of his studies. In his latest paper, published Monday in the journal Transportation, Fang shows how non-motorized transit like skateboards, rollerblades, and ol’ fashioned scooters are already moving large numbers of people — and have the power to do a whole lot more.

When interviewing members of the skater community at UC Davis, he found that skateboards filled a big gap in transportation, smack dab between walking and biking. Basically, skateboards can go almost as fast as a bike on certain terrains. But they’re easier than a bike to store on a jam-packed commuter bus or while at work or school during the day.

That portability makes them an ideal remedy for what urban planners call the the ‘last mile problem’. Since people are unwilling to use public transportation if it means they have to walk a mile to and from the main hubs, other forms of transportation need to be there to cover that final mile more quickly. That could mean biking, hopping on a streetcar, or skateboarding.

But that doesn’t mean skateboarding is popular with police or urban planners.

Most cities in the United States ban skateboards because they don’t like recreational skaters and aren’t even aware skateboarding commuters exist, Fang says. As a result, American skateboarders carry a lot of cultural baggage.

For starters, skateboarding is typically seen as a kid’s activity. While adults see the built environment as something to preserve, teens see sidewalks, park benches, and front stoops as the raw materials for epic stunts. “In most cases, [cities] don’t come out and say why there’s skateboarding regulations,” Fang says. “[But] they talk about property damage or safety… [And] then you get some that are generalizations of skateboarders themselves.” In some cities, Fang says, policy makers have even advocated for skateboard regulations because boarders were reportedly rude to senior citizens — an unusual motivation for urban planning.

Though skateboarding certainly has its roots in recreation, statistics suggest it’s grown beyond its original purpose. Of the 300 combined billion miles people travel in California each year, Fang’s study reports, 48 million of them involved non-motorized vehicles like skateboards. That’s an extremely small piece of an overwhelming pie, but it’s still a ton of miles traveled.

And it’s not just limited to the Golden State: Portland, Oregon, is the biggest city in the United States to embrace skating as part of daily life. The city is rife with bona fide skateboarding commuters and dedicated “skate routes” weaving through downtown.

While it may sound like another Portlandia joke — the perfect anecdote from a city where “young people go to retire” — Fang says more communities should get on board with this eco-friendly mode of transit.

“Skateboarding provides a unique level of convenience that you don’t get with walking or bicycling,” he says. It allows people to go faster than walking, with none of the inconvenience of storing a bike while on the train or at work for the day.

For all its charms, convincing commuters to rely on skateboards won’t be easy. Many people continue to look down on skateboarders and cities policy banning boards get in the way. Plus, in many cities where skateboard travel isn’t well-integrated into urban design, gliding down a street dominated by cars can be dangerous.

But Fang isn’t discouraged. “It probably won’t become as popular as conventional modes of travel,” he says, “but I could see it growing a bit from where it is now.” He sees particular opportunities in places with lots of flat terrain, plenty of bike lanes, and areas with good transit service where people can use skateboards to go that last little bit of the way home. As cities continue to transform in the 21st century, they should open up lots more places like that, setting the stage for a skateboarding renaissance.

And besides, Fang says, skateboarding is just really fun — even if one’s skateboarding chops aren’t exactly up to snuff, a category Fang says he falls into. “[I skate] a little bit and poorly,” he says. “When I was still at my old school, skateboarding was prohibited, so I did it under the cover of darkness.”

If Fang is right, skateboarding might soon be ready to step out of that darkness and into the limelight.

9 People Per Day Are Killed In Crashes Involving Distracted Drivers Using Social Media

Distracted driving comes in many forms, from talking on the phone, to messing with a navigation system, or posing for selfies on the latest social media app. Over the weekend, the latter distraction, combined with another dangerous driving hazard — drunk driving — to claim the life of a teen in California. 

NBC News reports that a 14-year-old California girl was killed Friday evening when her sister, who was allegedly impaired and using social media, crashed a vehicle the teens were passengers in. Another teen was injured in the crash.

The 18-year-old, who was arrested on suspicion of DUI and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, allegedly live-streamed the crash’s aftermath on Instagram.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the 2003 Buick veered onto the right should of a road, when the driver overcorrected, causing the car to swerve across lanes before crashing into a fence and overturning into a field.

Authorities tell NBC News that they are aware of a video posted to social media that was allegedly recorded during and after the crash.

CHP says it is investigating the video and working to determine if recording the footage contributed to the crash.

The video, which BuzzFeed News reports was on Instagram for nearly 19 hours before being deleted, purportedly shows the 18-year-old driver singing to music and flipping off the camera before the footage goes blurry and screams can be heard. The video then shows the driver talking to the camera near what is allegedly her sister’s lifeless body.

“My sister is f—— dying. Look, I f—— love my sister to death. I don’t give a f—. Man, we about to die. This is the last thing I wanted to happen to us, but it just did. Jacqueline, please wake up,” the driver can be heard saying on the video. “I don’t f‑‑‑‑‑‑ care though,” Sanchez continued. “I’m a hold it down. I love you, rest in peace, sweetie. If you don’t survive, baby, I am so f‑‑‑‑‑‑ sorry. I did not mean to kill you, sweetie. Sweetie, I am f‑‑‑‑‑‑ sorry. Sweetie, please, wake up!”

More Distractions

Each day, nine people are killed in vehicles crashes that involve a distracted driver, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

With consumers’ reliance on smartphones and chaining technology, the types of distractions are increasing. For instance, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration now records the number of instances in which drivers are distracted by manipulating handheld devices.

Drivers are counted as visibly manipulating handheld devices if they appear to be using some kind of device to text message, surf the web, check emails, manually dial a number, play games, or use the phone in front of their faces.

“Texting is the most alarming distraction. Sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds,” according to NHTSA. “At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.”

While NHTSA’s most recent statistics don’t show a significant increase in the number of drivers partaking in this kind of distraction, the decrease from 2.2% to 2.1% between 2015 and 2016 was not considered statistically significant.

Still, young drivers have been observed manipulating electronic devices at higher rates than older drivers since 2007.

At the same time, NHTSA found that the percentage of passenger vehicle drivers talking on handheld cell phones decreased from 3.8% to 3.3%.

“You cannot drive safely unless the task of driving has your full attention,” the agency says on its distracted driving resource page. “Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing.”

Reducing Distractions

While NHTSA and the CDC do not break out the number of drivers using social media while behind the wheel, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety contended in 2015 that such distractions are on the rise.

For instance, in Sept. 2015, there were 22,067 Instagram posts under #drivingselfie. A look at the hashtag today shows more than 30,000 posts.

survey from AT&T also points to an increase in distractive driving related to social media and selfies. According to a 2015 AT&T report, one in five respondents — or 17% — admitted to taking selfies or other photos while driving.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety note that 39 states have taken steps to decrease distracted driving, by enacting laws that ban text messaging for all drivers.

“In order to get people to pay attention while operating a vehicle and to adopt safer behaviors, education must be combined with strong laws and appropriate enforcement,” the group says. “This is the tried and true method to change behavior in order to improve safety.”

A New Study is Combating the Idea That Poverty and Fast Food Intake Are Connected

Despite the popular myth, being poor does not increase your likelihood of eating fast food.

Fast food may be relatively cheap and unhealthy, but the link between poverty and fast food intake is no stronger than between any other economic class. In fact, a recent study confirmed that middle class Americans actually consume the most fast food.

An existing correlation between obesity and poverty supports the misconception that poverty and fast food are connected. Beyond that, fast food is a relatively cheap food source, when compared to other dining out sit down restaurants.

Still, don’t expect this trend to change anytime soon. The cost of fast food increased by six percent in 2016, while at-home eating dropped by one percent. Meanwhile weekly income, after accounting for inflation, has not shifted for the lowest socioeconomic class since the 1980’s.

So if income isn’t the biggest factor, then what is? The study actually found the strongest link was between fast food intake and higher work hours. Compared to other industrialized nations, the U.S works the longest hours, at just a little more than 40 hours per week. These busy days leave little time for people to cook home made meals. Instead, they opt for quick and fattening fast food meals.

The answer to America’s ongoing fast food problems is more based on finding the time and patience to make healthier meals than its availability to the poor.

The Navy Gets Its First Female SEAL Candidate

The Navy says it has its first female candidates for two elite special operations jobs previously closed to women — including a prospective SEAL.

One woman is in the pipeline to be a SEAL officer, and another is on the path to becoming a special warfare combatant crewman. The news was first reported by Military.com, an independent website. The Navy declined to identify the candidates, citing security considerations.

The announcement comes more than 18 months after the Pentagon declared that women can now serve in front-line combat positions.

“They are the first candidates that have made it this far in the process,” Lt. Cmdr. Mark Walton, spokesman for the Naval Special Warfare Command, told the Two-Way.

Whoever these unnamed trailblazers are, the path ahead for them won’t be easy. To become a SEAL or SWCC, they’ll need to make it through Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training, or BUD/S, which is designed to be extremely physically and mentally demanding.

Few candidates who undertake the training emerge as SEALs or special boat operators. The enlisted SEAL attrition rate is 73 to 75 percent, according to the Navy, while the SWCC attrition rate is 63 percent.

The SEAL officer program has a higher rate of success: 65 percent of candidates make it through. The officer program isn’t easier, though — the Navy attributes the differing success rates to a larger number of candidates in the enlisted program.

Female candidates for these jobs will have to complete the same training that men do, without any allowances for differing average physical capabilities.

What makes the training so difficult?

“It’s different for everyone,” Walton said. “It could be the physical stuff, it could be mental, it could be medical. There could be a lot of different reasons.”

While the two candidates are now closer to these elite Navy positions than a woman has ever been, it may be a while before one of them finally gets the job.

“It would be premature to speculate as to when we will see the first woman SEAL or SWCC graduate,” Walton told NPR. “It may take months and potentially years.”

Female candidates aren’t the only change to come to the Navy’s elite operations. Walton confirmed that SWCC now includes one transgender person.

And if the two women in the Navy’s special operations pipeline are successful, we may not get much detail.

“If you announce who they are, that removes the point of them becoming a special operator,” said Walton. “I guess we’ll see what we do … when we get there.”

There’s Literally a Ton of Plastic Garbage For Every Person on Earth

More than 9 billion tons of plastic has been produced since 1950, and the vast majority of it is still around.

A new study that tracked the global manufacture and distribution of plastics since they became widespread after World War II found that only 2 billion tons of that plastic is still in use.

Seven billion tons is stuck on Earth as garbage in landfills, recycled trash or pollution in the environment, including deep oceans, where it’s been discovered in the mouths of whales and the bellies of dead seabirds that mistook it for food. A small amount is eliminated in incinerators.

As plastic becomes near-indestructible mountains of garbage on land and swirling vortexes of trash on the high seas, humans keep making more. Half of the plastic that people mostly use once and toss away was created in the past 30 years, the study says.

Plastic’s most lucrative market is packaging commonly seen in grocery stores. It could be in front of you right now, in the form of a water bottle, a carryout lunch container, or an iced-coffee or tea cup with its disposable straw.

It’s a miracle product that’s also in your office chair, phone and computer keyboard. The pipes that move water in your building are often plastic. You probably touch plastic to switch on the car radio on the foam plastic dashboard. Plastic is pretty much everywhere humans are at any part of the day, anywhere in the world.

In 1960, plastic accounted for just 1 percent of junk in municipal landfills across the world. As single-package containers led to an explosion in convenience and use, that number grew to 10 percent in 2005.

A recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences estimated the amount of plastic debris floating in the open ocean at 7,000 to 35,000 tons.

“If current trends continue, the researchers predict over 13 billion tons of plastic will be discarded in landfills or in the environment by 2050,” the American Association for the Advancement of Science said in a statement announcing the new study’s release Wednesday. It was published in the journal Science Advances.

“I think for me that’s the single most surprising thing, the implication of the large growth rate,” said Roland Geyer, one of the authors.

Another surprise, he said, is how far the United States lags behind China and Europe in recycling plastic material.

In the study, Geyer wrote, “On the basis of limited available data, the highest recycling rates in 2014 were in Europe (30 percent) and China (25 percent), whereas in the United States, plastic recycling has remained steady at 9 percent.”

Recycling only delays plastic’s inevitable trip to a trash bin. Incineration is the only way to assure that plastic is eliminated, and Europe and China by far lead the United States in that category as well, up to 40 percent compared with 16 percent.

But burning plastic is risky because if the emissions aren’t carefully filtered, harmful chemicals become air pollution. Like other countries, the United States has been slow to enforce regulations on industry emissions.

China is easily the world’s largest producer of plastics, with Europe and North America also looming large as major players, Geyer said. Other Asian nations round out a long list of manufacturers. But consumers are the polluters, and people on every continent participate, from the Arctic to Africa.

Plastic’s vampire-like life cycle is nothing new.

What’s new with this research is its use of plastic-production data with “product lifetime distributions from eight different industrial sectors” to build a scientific model that showed “how long plastics are in use before they reach the end of their useful lifetimes and are discarded,” the study said.

Geyer, an associate professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, wrote the study with two colleagues, Jenna Jambeck, an associate professor at the University of Georgia, and Kara Lavender Law, a researcher at the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

Each of them studied ocean garbage in the past, but Geyer, whose field is industrial ecology, the study of material and energy, suggested the plastics study. “I’m fascinated by materials and the way we use them .. in particular waste management.”

The scale of the world’s plastic consumption and waste shocked them. “Even we were kind of surprised at the sheer magnitude of plastics being made and used,” Geyer said. He said he hopes politicians, conservationists and consumers will pay attention to what they found.

“My hope is readers will get a sense of the sheer magnitude of the tide of plastics and the plastic-waste challenge we’re facing,” he said. “It’s enormous, and it’s accelerating.”

Unless it’s burned, plastic has nowhere to go but in the ground or the water. “I think most experts agree these polymers .. are going to be with us for decades if not centuries,” Geyer said.

“I think the danger is permanent global contamination with plastics,” he said.

“It’s just going to be everywhere, in the soil, in the ocean, in the sediment of the ocean floor, and it’s just going to accumulate.”

2017 © The Washington Post

This article was originally published by The Washington Post.

Hip-Hop / R&B Is Officially More Popular Than Rock Music in the U.S.

While it may not come as a surprise to some, it’s official – hip-hop and R&B is more popular than rock music in the U.S. for the first time in history.

According to a semi-annual report published by Nielsen Music, R&B and hip-hop make up 25.1% of all music consumption in the U.S., while rock claims 23%. For the first time since Nielsen started keeping tabs on American music consumption, hip-hop and R&B have overtaken rock.

Rock still leads when it comes to album sales, claiming 40% of all album sales in the country, but as we all know, physical record sales are decreasing as more and more people consume their music via streaming.

Hip-hop and R&B account for just over 29% of all on-demand streams across the U.S., which is the only field that’s growing noticeably. The genres are almost as popular on streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music than rock and pop combined.

One of Nielsen Music’s other findings was that Americans are obsessed with Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. album that was released earlier this year – it was named the most popular album in the U.S. for the first part of 2017.

Should People Over The Age Of 70 Lose The Right To Vote?

In 1970, Douglas Stewart, a university professor in California, was upset by the rise of Ronald Reagan and suggested that perhaps there were too many old people moving to California and voting, writing a controversial article in the New Republic titled “Disenfranchise the old”:

The vote should not be a privilege in perpetuity, guaranteed by minimal physical survival, but a share in the continuing fate of the political community, both in its benefits and its risks. The old, having no future, are dangerously free from the consequences of their own political acts, and it makes no sense to allow the vote to someone who is actuarially unlikely to survive, and pay the bills for, the politician or party he may help elect…. I would advocate that all persons lose the vote at retirement or age 70, whichever is earlier.

Now as a baby boomer within two elections of that “best before” age, of course I’m shocked and appalled at such a suggestion; it’s ageist and discriminatory, and boomers and seniors have so much to offer.

But Stewart has a point. What he saw in California in the ’70s is playing out in America today. The boomers and the older voters won the presidential election (although Donald Trump did win among young white people without a college education).

And as I predicted, the millennials did not show up in anything like the numbers the boomers and seniors did, and the current government is doing everything in its power to turn back the clock, to reduce taxes on the rich baby boomers, to remove regulations that protect the environment for generations young and yet to come, so that extractors and developers can make money now.

In effect, the older voters get to keep what’s theirs and leave the mess for the kids to clean up.

You can see this happening plain as day with the new Trumpcare act working its way through the Senate, one that dramatically cuts funding for Medicaid. Note the shape of the spending curve for the aged — it goes up and then down, so that the impact on older voters isn’t felt for a decade, when many might well be dead. Because as Reagan noted, “You dance with the one that brung ya.”

‘Kicking the can down the road’

You can see it happening with debt and the way governments are run. Sayyajit Das writes in Bloomberg about how we’re living today at the expense of tomorrow:

The prevailing approach to dealing with these problems exacerbates generational tensions. The central strategy is “kicking the can down the road” or “extend and pretend,” avoiding crucial decisions that would reduce current living standards, eschewing necessary sacrifices, and deferring problems with associated costs into the future.

You see it happening in cities and suburbs around North America, where older voters reject initiatives to build transit, increase density or install bike lanes in favor of NIMBYism, resistance to change, and maintaining the right to drive a big car anywhere and to have free or cheap parking when they get there.

I’ve argued in the past that millennials have nobody to blame but themselves if they don’t show up and vote, but that’s not entirely true; the older people in charge have made it very difficult for them to vote and have gamed the system. And once they have that power, they use it. Daniel Munroe discusses the issue in Macleans:

Decisions made by older generations will affect the interests of younger and unborn generations, but those younger generations will themselves have less or no say. Moreover, as some argue, older citizens have greater incentives to deplete natural resources, underinvest in infrastructure, accumulate public debt and ignore the environment. Polls of top political issues show that concern for the environment and education declines with age. Grandma votes against carbon taxes and recycling programs, and Grandpa votes against education spending? So take away their right to vote and let younger people make decisions about the future.

Given that the older Republican base controls Congress and most state governments, they have the levers now to gerrymander districts and suppress voter registration, disenfranchising younger voters. It’s unlikely that they’re going to take away the votes of older boomers and seniors who put them in power.

And in the end, it’s probably a moot point anyway. According to Ronald Brownstein in the Atlantic, the next presidential election in 2020 is going to be the first since 1974 in which the baby boomers are not the largest cohort, where millennials will be 34 percent of voters while boomers will shrink to 28 percent. Only half of eligible millennials voted in 2016; one suspects that in 2020, they may be older, wiser and more engaged.

They had better be paying attention, because as Sayyajit Das so elegantly put it:

Future generations will bear the ultimate cost of present decisions or inaction. As in Francisco Goya’s famous painting, “Saturn Devouring His Son,” today, the old are eating their children.