08 September 2008

Baby Boomer Bummer

See Sally pay for Dick and Jane’s mistakes!

The recent, controversial takeover by the U.S. government of the lending institutions Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae is difficult for many people to grasp, and I am one of that number. The introductory course in economics at Brown was taught by graduate students with limited English, or any other known language; I dropped out after a few classes. Nevertheless, the core of the crisis is clear to me, and I am prepared to share it with you now. This is another case of the Baby Boomers screwing the rest of us.

For people my age, this isn’t the first time. Statistically, we’re part of the Baby Boom, but in reality, we’re neglected younger siblings. Of the fabulous Boomer trends, we got only hand-me-downs. Baby Boomers got the great political movements for blacks, women and gays, and we got Watergate and Ronald Reagan. They got Woodstock and disco, we got “We Are the World.” They got the Sexual Revolution, we got lectures on Condom Safety (or worse). They got great jobs and security, we got pink slips. Again and again, the post-war generation reaps the advantages and leaves us not only with chaff but the necessity to pay for it.

George W. Bush is a prime example. Our second Baby-Boomer President never once in his life got a job without relying on his daddy’s friends, and he’s failed at every job he’s had — thereby forcing others to clean up the mess. If Barack Obama wins in November, he’ll merely follow the pattern: the late-Baby Boomer must pay for the excesses of the early-Baby Boomer. (It doesn’t stop there. In the case of the colossal debts with which Bush has burdened the United States, future generations will continue to pay.)

The Baby Boomers have spent all their lives screwing the rest of us. The only question is whether they remembered to wear a condom while they did it. Time will tell.

A few of us have begun already to take action. Some, like Obama, demand political change. Others, like Sarah Palin, insist that government isn’t the answer, and to some degree they argue that things really aren’t so bad, and we can afford to continue on the course the Baby Boomers set for us.

Unfortunately, most of my contemporaries have been so jaded, and perhaps so beaten down, that we have yet to rise up and tell these people to go to Hell. We don’t take action, we submit. And so we will pay for the rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, we’ll forfeit our dreams of home ownership, and we’ll watch them gobble up the Social Security payments that we’ll be needing more than they, because there will be nothing left of the economy. As a semi-generation, we will learn to smile without complaining and to say, “Would you like fries with that?” We’re doing it already; we are used to it. We have spent all our lives in training.

Benjamin Spock, who spoiled them all:
Personally, I blame this guy.