The older are getting richer on the backs of the poor. How? Rich people who don’t need government services get them whether they need them or not. Medicare and Social Security isn’t a safety net for the poor, it’s a cash cow for many people who already have money.
Where does this money come from? Younger workers who don’t have the money to pay off student loans, buy a house, or save for their retirement.
In documenting a rising age gap with regard to economic well-being, the authors compare households headed by adults over age 65 to households headed by adults younger than 35. They examine data over time–particularly from 1967, 1984, 2005, and 2009-2010. (The comparison between 2005 and 2009-2010 illustrates the impact of the Great Recession.)
Here are some of their conclusions:
• From 1984 to 2009, the median net worth of older households rose 42%. For younger households, it declined by 68%.
The author of the post ends on a high note, saying that more young people have college education and says that the education translates into higher income potential.
My thought is that college education is worth less now, too. Basically, college education is what a high school education used to be. I see the very intelligent and innovative foregoing college and working right out of high school–often in the tech industry. Some professions will still benefit from education, but I see an impending burst bubble there, too.
Bottom line, the way things currently are, the Baby Boomers will hoover up all the revenue and incur tremendous debt that will cause the younger generation to transfer their wealth to pay the tab.
Who ever thought that the Boomers would kill the youth culture? They’ve managed to.
It’s all old-aged melodrama now. Reality doesn’t apply to Boomers. They will not get old.
Shhh…don’t tell them, but they’re old.
I don’t necessarily mind that people are reassessing their activity level and what it means to be old.
Still, the self-indulgence of these folks is grating. Perpetual adolescence by an entire generation is lame.
P.S. Where was Jack Nicholson?
Also, why the Grammy’s were better than the Oscars.
Very interesting (but rather wrong) piece about the younger generations blaming the Boomers by Walter Russell Read by way of Monty at Ace. The comments are far more insightful.
Says Alex Scipio:
Sorry, Prof. Mead, but you have widely missed the mark.
When the 18-yr olds, the lead Boomers, were given the vote in 1972 and shortly began their careers in office, the Debt was $400B. For this America had purchased and/or conquered a continent, invented air and space travel, modern manufacturing, fertilizers and pharmaceuticals, invented and commercialized computers and telecommunications, and won every war we had tried to win.
The Boomers? Have invented nothing. Have discovered nothing.Have generated wealth only in bubbles based on intenet (also invented by their parents as ARPANet) fantasy.
Sure – Boomers are in everywhere pretending that they have anything good to say or any worthwhile thoughts. But take a look around. The world of the past 50 years is a steady decline of cultural and societal courtesy, manner, education, volunteering, education, exploration, education (did I say education?).
Even better, John Lynch concludes:
I’m Gen X, and I’ve been stuck listening to Boomer [folderol] my whole life.
Now the Boomers are all doom and gloom. That’s not because the world is really all that much worse off than it’s ever been. It’s just the impending death of the Boomer generation. They’ve mistaken their own decline for that of the nation and the world.
The Boomer generation has always thought that nothing happened until they arrived (see that beautiful piece of propaganda, Mad Men) and are equally convinced that nothing will happen once they are gone. All the environmental millennialism has its origin in the Boomers. From The Population Bomb to Global Warming they’ve persistently believed that not only are they a social force but a cosmic one as well.
The world will survive their passing. I’m already enjoying the lack of 60s music on the radio and the blessed silence about Woodstock and the Vietnam War. My generation has accomplished far more, with less noise, and we won our war.
History will not be kind.
A couple thoughts:
1. I blame the parents of these indulged brats. The WWII/Great Depression parents, in an attempt to shelter their children from all difficulty, brought up a bratty, superficial, spoiled generation.
2. Learn the lesson. Children today have even more wealth and good fortune (for a while) than the Boomers started out with. The OWS-ers are astonished and dismayed because their Boomer parents sold them the same tripe they believe about themselves. So these little snowflakes are upset that the world is not interested in their brand of special.
Discipline, hard work, responsibility, right and wrong, common sense, diligence, fidelity, and humility don’t go over big but they’re characteristics that win over the long-term.
Overindulgence makes for rotten grown-ups.
The biggest generation is about to be the biggest retired generation. Do you think a generation nicknamed the “Me Generation” will suddenly become the generous generation? No.
The market lost value so the Boomers lost their retirements. They were overmortgaged just as their health declined (it was a shock that they were getting older). Let’s just assume perfect retirement conditions. This is how the Boomers planned:
How bad are baby boomers at financial planning? Extremely bad, according to Annamaria Lusardi and Olivia Mitchell of the National Bureau of Economic Research. They found that more than one-quarter of boomer households thought “hardly at all” about retirement, and that financial literacy among boomers was “alarmingly low.” Half could not do a simple math calculation (divide $2 million by 5) and fewer than 20 percent could calculate compound interest. The NBER researchers also found that, as of 2004, the typical boomer household was holding nearly half its wealth in the form of housing equity. Uh-oh.
For a closer look at the retirement squeeze, consider a study released last month by the Congressional Research Service. Patrick Purcell analyzed the most recent data on consumer finances gathered by the Federal Reserve. He found that for the 53 percent of households that hold at least one retirement account, the median combined balance was a mere $45,000.
For households headed by persons between the ages of 55 and 64, the median value of all retirement accounts was just $100,000. Purcell noted that for a 65-year-old man retiring in April 2009, that $100,000 would buy an annuity that would pay a paltry $700 a month for life, based on current interest rates.
The Fed data used in Purcell’s study were gathered in 2007. With stock market declines since then, the median account balances are probably even lower now.
A scared Boomer is a scary Boomer. That is why I’m concerned about nationalized health care and every other big government program being the wave of the future.
I’m not sure any small government type leader can be elected just because of the demographics of the United States. And unfortunately for future generations, the Boomers have had access to the best medical advances and health care–so they’re probably going to live a long time which means expanding the government to meet their needs until they die which will be in forever.
President Obama is a tail-ender Boomer and look at the spending. He’s not going to have to pay that money back. His kids will. Wheee! No big deal.
The Baby Boomers believe the world will end when they end. Maybe they’re making the world end and fulfilling some subconscious wish–the world can’t possibly exist without them so the solution is killing the world before they go.
On the plus side, the Boomers embraced eugenics–they are after all the biggest proponents of abortion. And the same reasoning can be used, and is being used, when it comes to health care choices. Look at what’s being talked about on the floor of the Senate from Ed Morrissey:
What happens when the state controls all the resources? New resources do not develop, and the government winds up rationing care based on its own priorities, and not the priorities of the patients or caregivers. Professor Altman’s suggestion that the elderly get hospice treatment to save scarce care resources is exactly the kind of decisions the state will make for its citizens, and it won’t be limited to the elderly, either. Anyone whose value does not show a positive “cost-benefit” ratio to the state will also likely wind up without the kind of care necessary to stay alive and healthy.
Rationed, hospice care for the elderly…read, Baby Boomers. Poetic justice, if you ask me. The same people who used utilitarian arguments to kill babies will have an interesting time defending spending money on their “worthless” lives–I mean, it’s not like old, decrepit people produce anything.
Oh, they’ll suddenly get religion and defending the defenseless will become very important and the vast numbers of hanging on Boomers will ensure they have a very loud voice as usual. They’ll bankrupt America, live off their children and demand health care that will extend their lives. It will be their children and their children’s children who will pay for their selfishness–the ones who were lucky enough to be born, anyway.
Even the Boomers will die, but probably not soon enough to save America.