Heckuva job, Boomers!

Kevin Drum:

My generation got a cheap college education when we were young, and we’re getting good retirement benefits now that we’re old. Pretty nice. But now we’re turning around and telling today’s 20-somethings that they should pay through the nose for college, keep paying taxes for our retirements, and oh by the way, when it comes time for you to retire your benefits are going to have to be cut. So sorry. And all this despite the fact that the country is richer than it was 50 years ago.

But at least today’s kids don’t have to worry about being drafted. That’s something, I suppose.

Look, just what kind of country do we want to be, anyway? This stuff didn’t happen out of the blue, and it’s not an unforeseen consequence that nobody could have known might happen. This is the fruit of our choices.

So again: what kind of country do we want to be?

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10 Responses to Heckuva job, Boomers!

  1. Lynn says:

    Being on the tail-end of the Boomer generation I hate when we're all lumped together as a group as if we all thought and acted alike. But I guess that could be said of any group. I suppose it's just too much work to think of people as individuals.

  2. Earl of Obvious says:

    Boomers and even those born ten years before reaped the WWII dividend: we made everything and we bought everything thanks to our great bombs.. Well paying jobs were so plentiful that employers shad to sweeten wages with outrageous benefits. Profit margins were so high that even lousy business people looked like geniuses ( insert bankrupt company here).

    Boomers never realized they were living in an artificial economy so when they grew up and took over the reigns of govt they decided to keep propping up the old war spoils programs with influxes of govt money

    Expecting things to be anything but messed up as they are now is like expecting a grocery store to keep thriving after the founder dies and the playboy drug using party machine son takes over..

  3. New York Erratic says:

    Earl has a point, but I sometimes wonder if we had completely unrealistic expectations for maintaining the post-WW2 boom.

    What might be happening is that the fact that America isn't special is being thrown in our faces. It's just like any other country.

    That being said, we have to sit down like adults and choose if we want to be like a European nation (high unemployment but strong social welfare; high taxes; strong national cohesion) or like Brazil (low taxes; low social welfare; more individual independence but high crime and lousy wealth distribution.) Or we can try and be like Rome, ancient Greece or Germany (try to use war to stimulate our economy until we totally blow a fuse.)

  4. Ben Varkentine says:

    We want to be exactly the country that we are. What we don't want is to look in the mirror.

  5. Roger Owen Green says:

    Oh, I was SO depressed this week. SCOTUS ruling on DNA testing. The govt spying on our phones and e-mails. A quarter of drone deaths in FY 2011 'other militants', which means they have no idea.

    REALLY don't think I (smack dab in boomerdom) asked for this in MY name.

  6. Demos says:

    From my perspective, the Boomers were the silent and willing partners in a scheme advanced by the 50s generation during the Reagan years: turn back the clock to the days of yesteryear when Abundance could be assumed all the while keeping the sacrifices of women, enslaved workers, and immigrants out of sight. The Boomer generation was (and for all I know they still are) a high-minded generation, but so many of them didn't understand the costs that their generosity and idealism would entail. In the 80s, they raised children, bought homes, and mowed the grass while the Be-Bop generation, the Rebels Without Cause, tried to stop time and put the country into a Lucite cube that everyone could admire on the shelf. Fortunately, that scheme did not (and could not) work — and now we, the Boomers, need to pay up to keep our children from sinking from a millstone of debt tied to their necks.

  7. Lynn says:

    There are other ways besides war to pump up the economy. Remember the Apollo program.

  8. Roger Owen Green says:

    Lynn is correct. (Fixing the collapsing roads and bridges, for one.) But just recall how many people glommed onto the Iraq war – and criticized those – like me – who questioned it. A post 9/11 collective insanity, I suppose.

  9. Earl of Obvious says:

    Wars like Iraq benefit the economy somewhat but not in a significant way. They offed JFK to keep Vietnam going, but to what benefit?

    War is only profitable if there are clear winners and clear losers. It is only real profitable when the result is world domination.

    I just don't think that brand of war is possible any more as the cost is far too great.

  10. New York Erratic says:


    It's not profitable to you or me, at least directly.

    It IS directly profitable to the people in charge: the banks, the Masters of War… Pounding ploughshares into swords has been profitable for thousands of years.

    It is indirectly profitable to the people via several mechanisms. One is the availability of resources (lead and water if you're a Roman; oil, diamonds and coltan if you're an American.) Another is reversing ploughshares to swords and turning swords into ploughshares (e.g. the internet, artificial nitrogen fertilizer.)

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