"You Baby Boomers are the most selfish generation to ever exist. You destroyed your own children's and grandchildren's future with your short-sighted selfishness and immaturity. And then you expect them to pay for your retirement???? Can you baby boomers just hurry up and drop dead, please!"
So what's your reaction to this comment? My first reaction was to discount it, pass it off as the rant of some loser Gen Xer. It might even be a spam-type message, for I know at least one other Baby Boomer blogger who got the exact same note.
But then, I thought, let me try to put myself into the position of someone who's in their 30s. Someone, like this person, who probably has a couple of kids, and maybe a job and a house and a mortgage. So if I were in my 30s, what would I think of Baby Boomers?
|Then . . .
First of all, ever since I can remember, all my friends and I have ever heard about in the media is Baby Boomer this, Baby Boomer that. As if they are the only people who exist. The only people who are interesting. The people who "changed the world."
And then there are the '60s. Vietnam, protest marches, the Beatles, the moon landing, Woodstock. Jeez! I mean, how long do we have to listen to this stuff before everyone gets totally bored with it all!
By the way, there's something you should know. We outnumber you guys. Generation X has 82 million people. The Baby Boom, at its peak, only counted 76 million self-involved, narcissistic individuals -- before, you know, you started dying off. (Believe it or not, approximately 11 million of the original Baby Boomers have died; replaced by about the same number of similar-age immigrants over the years.)
You have JFK, RFK, LBJ and MLK. Who do we have? George H.W. Bush. Now, maybe GHWB was an okay president. He presided over the end of the Cold War. But inspiring? Now there's a laugh! He was the guy who didn't know about the vision thing, right?
And what was the seminal event in our young lives? 9/11. Was there a great national patriotic cry for anything after 9/11? No, there was a great national cry to . . . go shopping. Just as the economy was going into the toilet. Hey, Baby Boomer, how would you like to have been trying to get your first job during the post-9/11, post-Internet bubble recession of 2000 - 2002?
Which brings me to the economy, and opportunity, and employment and the great income divide. I was born in 1978. I got out of college into the teeth of the early 2000s recession, and I ended up with a college degree, and a job that, just maybe, required a 10th grade education.
But you know what? I got married. My spouse also had a job. And with two decent incomes we were able to get a mortgage and buy a house, and take that first step toward the American Dream. In 2006. Thank you very much. My $300,000 house is now worth, maybe, on a good day, about $260,000.
Meanwhile, my paycheck has barely kept up with inflation -- so I'm not really making any more money than I was my first year out of college. Meanwhile, I'm paying taxes for Social Security and Medicare -- which by the way includes an automatic inflation increase for you guys -- even though the prospects that I will be collecting Social Security when I retire in 30 years are slim to none. What do they say? Social Security will have the funds to pay out 75 percent of its obligations after it "goes bust" in 2033. So, Baby Boomers, thanks for the 25 percent pay cut.
Oh, and by the way, you guys are retiring at age 66. But because of the accident of my birth I have to work an extra year, to age 67, before I'm eligible for my full retirement benefit . . . which as I just pointed out will not be a full benefit, but something more like three-quarters of a benefit.
|. . . and now.
Meanwhile, you Baby Boomers moan and groan about the Great Recession and how it cut your career short, and decimated your retirement savings, and made your lives oh-so-terrible. I've read a few blogs where Baby Boomers complain about how they got "downsized" when they were 50 or 55, because of "age discrimination," and then they were never able to find another job that would be interesting, challenging and "appropriate for their skill level." Again, because of "age discrimination." Did you ever think your new-found unemployment could be due to your outmoded skills and your we're-better-than-everybody-else attitude?
Well, I've spent the last five years networking and researching and exploring and training and trying to find a better job. But the better opportunities just are not there. That's partly because of the lousy economy. According to The Atlantic, it's not the Baby Boomers (especially when you consider that the worst blow to Baby Boomers was the stock market, which has now recovered to its former highs and thereby has replenished Baby Boomers' retirement nest eggs), but their children and grandchildren who suffered most during the Great Recession of 2007-9.
We have a higher rate of unemployment than Baby Boomers and we have had been unable to move up the career ladder at anywhere near the rate of our forebears. Why? In part because of the lingering effects of the Great Recession. But let's look at another factor. Despite the fact that many Baby Boomers have retired early, plenty of other Baby Boomers are holding onto their overpaid positions for dear life. No way are they ready or willing -- to paraphrase one of those Baby Boomer heroes -- to pass the torch on to a new generation of Americans.
So, Baby Boomers, like a said, stop being so damn selfish. Stop ruining your children's future. Can you Baby Boomers just hurry up and . . . well, I don't wish for anyone to drop dead. But, please, please stop complaining. You don't appreciate just how lucky you are. Stop thinking you're God's gift to history, and stop taking credit for saving the world -- because you didn't, you've left a lot of work yet to be done.