The Big Think

October 11, 2012

Boomer Benefits

Filed under: Politics — jasony @ 1:03 pm

Something I’ve wondered for several years now:

America’s federal debt-to-GDP ratio has more than doubled from 28 percent to 62 percent since 1970, and the borrowing has benefited boomers far more than folks my age. A majority of boomers want no part of paying that debt off through higher taxes or reduced benefits: A recent Pew poll found “little appetite [among boomers] for debt-reduction proposals that will take a bite out of their pocketbooks.”

And boomers seem to know that the future won’t be brighter for Max and his friends. Nationwide, optimism that today’s youth will fare better than their parents is down from a peak of 71 percent a decade ago to 44 percent today, the lowest level since 1983, according to Gallup. Pessimism is highest among–you guessed it–baby boomers.

My emotional argument seals the case. Where I finally best my dad is on the question of why his cohort hasn’t stopped the freight trains of generational woe that have been barreling down America’s tracks for a few decades now. The question he can’t answer is this: How could the members of a generation so willing to lecture everyone else on personal responsibility not recognize, even at this stage in their lives, their collective responsibility for ending this mess?

Good article worth reading. It’s not all damning for the boomers, but it certainly get the issues out in the open. Too bad we had to wait until we were up against the wall before we started talking about it.

I think it’s a rare thing throughout cultural history to have preserved such a clear documentation of one generation’s feckless attitude toward the next. That’s as much a creation of modern technology (internet, TV archives, newspapers) as it is with the fact that the boomers were able to illustrate what happens when there are historical economic excesses for fifty years. Not even good intentions survive in the face of such plenty. But hey man, the future is so far off… except when it isn’t.

You used to be such an idealistic generation, I say. You were going to change the world. Yet you’ve known all this was coming and haven’t tried seriously to stop it. You’ve reaped all the benefits and left the rest of us the bill. And you knew what you were doing. Why?

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