Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Pig in the Python

Last Sunday, our minister (who's in his early 50's) stated that we Baby Boomers are the most selfish generation to ever grace this planet.

As a card-carrying Boomer myself, I wondered: is this a general perception? So, I Googled "boomer selfish"...

...and found a post by a Samuel J. Scott, a Gen-Y member. His gripe: we're working too long, hogging all the good jobs, so that his generation has to stay in school running up student loans or live in their parents' basements.

Then I found a post by Debbie Schlussel that says we're as selfish in near-death as we were in life. Her beef? That many of us plan to spend all of our wealth before we die, rather than passing it on to our kids.

And then, on a site called Die, Boomer, Die (I've realized at this point that we're about as popular as Stephen Colbert at an RNC meeting) I read complaints that we're retiring too early, eating up all the Social Security and Medicare money.

By now I'm starting to feel like the grandparents in Willie Wonka, the ones who'd been bedridden for twenty years while Charlie and his mom slaved to feed them (not to mention changing out four bedpans, which must have been truly disgusting.) And on top of that, it turned out Grandpa Joe was sandbagging the whole time, because as soon as the golden ticket showed up he started leaping around like a grasshopper on a griddle.

I'm not denying that we're selfish. The ability of my generation to ignore facts, reinterpret history and even reconfigure reality to justify doing whatever we want is more mind-blowing than the drugs we experimented with in the 60's.

But, folks, we only have three options:
1) Work longer (retaining all the good jobs)
2) Retire early (sopping up all the Social Security and Medicare money) or
3) Use our savings to fund our retirements (leaving nothing for our kids).

Okay, I guess there is a fourth one, scheduled suicide, but I'm not willing to entertain that, even if it would make me popular among the younger set.

If you wanna be pissed, though, be pissed at medical research, which has extended the average length of retirement from 18 months (back when Social Security was first put in place) to 20 years (as of 2007). It's only when you take the massive size of my generation and multiply it by how long we live in retirement that the problem reaches truly epic proportions.

Next week: some options for addressing this issue.


  1. PEOPLE! Soylent Green is PEOPLE!

  2. Steve, too funny, but funnier- 'leaping around like a grasshopper on a griddle' and you say I have this ability to use imagery, lol

    I did not even know I was a baby boomer till this girl went off on a tangent about how we, boomers were old and this and that, then I asked Robert if I was, for some reason I thought only people born in the late forties to fifties. Hmmm, then now this piece.

    It is not our fault the government has screwed things up. I learned in high school math we were not going to have enough SS money for my generation. So that I believe is why many are working, to save more money to survive, my opinion.

    Why is it half the people I know my age or older are out of work, so how can we be hogging all the jobs? No one will hire many of us because of our age and if your in poor health its worse, we are lucky we have insurance through out spouse. Otherwise its only part-time, conveniently due to companies who do not want to pay the rising cost of health care.

    Okay I am done. I normally stay away from this kind of stuff. Not sure I even qualify to rebut anything...

  3. When resources are limited, people start scrambling and blaming. The 4 percent of people who control 90 percent of the wealth are not all baby boomers. They're not all selfish, either, but the system works better for them than for the rest of us. Do we go after their wealth? No, we fight among ourselves for the crumbs. Ooh, that doesn't sound very blissed-out, does it? You got me started!!!

  4. Well, I know my parents are not in any hurry. And my mother is quite a shopper these days.

  5. I thought my generation was the most hated with our extended adolescence and propensity of rebounding back to our parents’ houses.

    I think this post definitely proves we’re the whiniest if people are devoting entire websites to complaining about baby boomers.

  6. Well I'm 22, and I promise I don't hate you! I will say that my work at a crappy nursing home has made me realize that scheduled suicide is probably the best option for everyone. My grandmother pays $6000for my grandfather to stay in a nice home, what my friend Eric calls "vegetable farms," pills and oxygen tanks are the only things keeping him alive, seems sort of silly. However, to place any sort of blame on one generation or another seems a bit unfair and unjustified. We all contribute to and suffer from this awful state of things.

    My generation is frightening in general with the exception of the rare individuals I meet that aren't superficial and actually have some critical thinking skills. If I have kids they'll definitely be adopted because I'm beginning to think it's immoral to bring new life onto this planet.

    p.s. I loved your comment about my redneck febreeze post! haha


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