04 Mar 2011

Choices by Last Two Generations Root of Next Generation’s Economic Struggle

We’re seeing a lot of talk about people saying the next generation may be the first in a long time that has it worse off than the one before it. I’m not sure if that is going to be the case or not, but the last two generations have certainly made political decisions that are setting up the next generation for a much tougher time than they had to deal with economically.

I wrote about this at length in one of my recent posts at WNYC’s Its a Free Country:

Their parents and grandparents love them, and want them to succeed, but have supported politicians who have ensured that they will see a job market that is more difficult, while at the same time having to pay taxes that are higher than they’ve ever been in this country.

How is the next generation going to be able to adapt to a world that will be changing even faster than it is now, when merely paying the interest on the debt will take up a quarter of the federal budget? How are they to save and join the ranks of homeowners and investors, with far fewer of them having to pay for Social Security and Medicare benefits to people who live much longer?

Actions speak louder than words. We know politicians are a generally selfish bunch, but they’ve known all of these things were coming for decades, and yet even now only focus on the next election. This same short-sighted mindset led to the financial collapse. Bankers only concerned themselves with quarterly returns, rather than how their actions might affect the greater good.

The “Greatest Generation” came back from war and built a foundation for the greatest economic expansion in the history of mankind, then they raised a generation, who still hold the reigns of power more than any other generation, who have not only built upon that, but have also stolen TRILLIONS from future generations, so they could have things they wanted, that they weren’t willing to pay for themselves. This goes beyond generational theft… more like a generational ponzi scheme.

Our “leaders” have known this for decades. The media has been warning us for almost as long. There are no excuses. I don’t even care if you’re a liberal or conservative. Regardless of where you think money should be spent, or how much, there is no excuse to pass the costs of that spending onto the next generation.

As I say later in the post, its no wonder one of the nicknames of the Baby Boomers is “The Me Generation”. They’ve supported two parties who are so amazingly selfish that they rarely have flinched when faced with a question of telling the public that they need to pay for things if they want more from government, or just sticking our kids with the tab. And through all of this, they scream and wail when there is any mention of trimming the growth of social security or medicare spending, even though there are far less workers to pay for each retiree than ever before, while medical costs are higher than they’ve ever been AND people are living longer than they ever have.

The “Me Generation” still has a decade or so where it’s members will still have most control… how they use that will be telling as to where their priorities really are.

Author Details
After a few years of blogging on other sites, Solomon launched ‘Rise of the Center’ – the precursor to Uniters.org, leading to a number of interviews and freelance opportunities, most notably covering the 2012 election cycle on WNYC.org – the website for the largest NPR station in the country, in New York City – and reported from the floor of the 2012 Democratic & Republican National Conventions. After a hiatus from politics, the horrific circus of the 2016 election, and more generally increasing extremism and corruption, brought him back to this project.
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After a few years of blogging on other sites, Solomon launched ‘Rise of the Center’ – the precursor to Uniters.org, leading to a number of interviews and freelance opportunities, most notably covering the 2012 election cycle on WNYC.org – the website for the largest NPR station in the country, in New York City – and reported from the floor of the 2012 Democratic & Republican National Conventions. After a hiatus from politics, the horrific circus of the 2016 election, and more generally increasing extremism and corruption, brought him back to this project.
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0 thoughts on “Choices by Last Two Generations Root of Next Generation’s Economic Struggle”

  1. So which other generation are you also blaming beside the boomers, the one before that? Huh.

    I think I’d go with just the boomer generation, FWIW, I’n in the region of folks some of whom identify boomer and others gen x.

    One salient point about all that debt run up, both public and personal… . Sure, blame the borrowers first: it was their choices. But also look askance at lenders and liberalized debt. Choosing to become fiscally sober again, for it to work, involves the restoration of homely, humble virtues that most view not only as outdated, but as sad, pathetic, shameful.

    Never mind the fact that most folks don’t even want to talk about or think about virtue. Or the fact that a big part of the me-generation’s cultural revolution involved focusing on a positive shading of commonly held vices, in the name of personal satisfaction.

    The top 7 (deadly) sins, with a thought for today’s world:

    Lust: sexual empowerment
    Gluttony: the obesity “epidemic”; debt
    Greed: can’t list just one- ambition, mtv’s cribs, debt
    Sloth: welfare queens, 30 yr old grad students, indulgent parents, dbet
    Wrath: road rage
    Envy: debt, unhappiness with comparative plenty
    Pride: self-esteem, ambition, debt

    Notice how easy it is to connect most of the deadly sins to the notion of debt. We fell victim to our prosperity. We’ve seen the results of the choices made by the first generation that experienced some freedom from focusing on what it truly needed. They quickly became obsessed with what they wanted. That’s human nature for you, in a nutshell.

    1. I don’t really do morality blogging, but I agree with you to a certain extent. I think our culture was too puritanistic, and still is in come strange ways, but has gone overboard the other way in other ways. Glottony is obviously an issue, yeah… greed has always been an issue, as has sloth… wrath – need I say more than UFC and professional wrestling?

      I think a lot of it has to do with short term thinking… even the gluttony. Feels great to eat that junk that so many people eat, but leads to fat, disease and death later on. Pretty good metaphor for a lot of our problems actually.

  2. Yeah, I don’t advocate a return to puritan values or an overbearing oppressive singular cultural view. I’m simply pointing out that the places we find ourselves in these days are predictable destinations when a people become unmoored from long-known virtues.

    We are now immersed in a culture where virtues appear homely, tedious, and inconvenient. We don’t need some neo-Cotton Mather restoration. We just need to wake up and notice, hmm, these sins really are killing us. We don’t even have to call them sins.

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