Pop Culture
Jul 18, 2012, 03:14AM

Tax, Tax and Tax the Baby Boomers

The most self-absorbed and greedy generation has left their kids in financial and moral hock.

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Nick Gillespie’s “The Real Class Warfare is Baby Boomers vs. Younger Americans” is the clearest cut on our generation gap I’ve yet seen. What exactly have the Baby Boomers done for us? To recap: they gave up in the 1960s, became selfish, materialist yuppies, coasted comfortably through the 80s and 90s, hoarded all the wealth and stuff they could, sought happiness in materialism to mixed results, drained our government of resources with too many tax cuts, too few regulations, and refused to give up one iota of their Social Security or Medicaid. Baby Boomer Bankers crashed our economy with spectacular success not through any ingeniously evil master plan—but with vastly inflated egos and an unquenchable thirst for money, more and more money. Then again, these are the people who thought Gordon Gekko was the hero of Wall Street. It’s really not a surprise that an army of Patrick Batemans did this to us.

The Baby Boomers grew up around serious strife—Vietnam, the Cold War, Cuban Missile Crisis, Chicago ’68, the lingering effects of WWII—and they’re over it! They’ve been spoiling themselves ever since Carter left the White House. Everything comes back to money. They’ve had their spiritual experience: Boomers believe they already changed the world, and expect my generation to do the same with vastly diminished resources, and a pop culture so congested with indigestible regurgitation it’s amazing we haven’t all gone blue in the face yet. There won’t be a second Beatles because the Boomers won’t let it happen. Generation X and especially the Millennials have been brought up in a Boomer value system that we can’t escape: craven commercialism, business acumen at the expense of meaningful progress, personally and culturally. We’re a culture retarded by perpetual adolescents, adult children, and a growing legion of poor and very poor Americans not only disregarded by Boomers in power but also mocked by scumbags like Mitt Romney (b. 1947).

Electing Romney would crystallize all that is awful about the most selfish, egotistical generation in history: the man is so focused on accumulating wealth and rising the ladder for its own sake, that he comes off as bizarrely inhuman, more often than not comically robotic, like an ill-programmed android missing his empathy chip. Making money is not a goal in and of itself. Investment bankers and spec traders have such massive egos and such volatile self-esteem issues because they are dead inside. There is nothing that stirs them, and they have no defense against the waves of doubt and worthlessness besides more stuff and more money. That may work for some lesser-brained folks, but it’s a mentality that will destroy the United States before 2050 if left unchecked.

Baby Boomers are not thinking of their kids, they’re thinking of themselves. They whine about tax increases and entitlement cuts without ever thinking of what they’re leaving behind for the kids they raised as totally unique and special and radically awesome and gifted in their own special way. The coddling we got was not about us, it was about them—our kids are special and deserve the best because they came from us, and remember, they’ll never be as cool or smart as us, and we’ll make sure of it by destroying public education, art and music programs, physical fitness, even pop culture. When probed on climate change and what it means even 50 years down the line, they pass the buck: “I won’t be around.” The fuckers!

We are the children of violent, narrow-sighted and minded narcissists dead set on heading into as plush a retirement as possible. They can afford $200 Bruce Springsteen tickets, luxury condos, and endless media collections in multiple formats. None of these things are inherently bad—we can harness all the comforts and medical/technological advances we have into something of a human paradise as Terrence McKenna says. We sorely need an attitude adjustment, though, and don’t count on it coming from organizations and bodies like Viacom, G.E., Disney, News Corp., CBS, and Time Warner, who exist to grow, make money, gain, and maintain power. It’s a sick machine feeding itself, exhausting ambition, creativity, and will in a blind pursuit of higher returns.

Younger Millennials feel emasculated by a behemoth culture of wealth and the empty pleasures of digital popularity. We seem unable to do anything but pass the time. Occupy Wall Street was a flailing, pseudo-intellectual mish-mash of overripe idealism, the PC-compulsion to recognize everyone’s point of view no matter how chronically ill-informed and stupid, and a shocking lack of pragmatism. A not-so-silent majority of craven racists rose as the Tea Party and continue to pockmark our discourse with blatantly bigoted attacks against President Obama for being “un-American” despite absolutely zero evidence attesting to this. These idiots were co-opted from the beginning by greedy neocons who don’t want to pay taxes or build a future for our kids. There is no in between.

Instead of questioning the systems and ideas that keep companies like Microsoft running, we make jokes about how no one uses Bing. Instead of crying foul at Apple’s absurdly inhumane manufacturing process in China, where workers either kill themselves or drop dead of exhaustion, we ask Siri for sex advice and call her a bitch. The Po-Mo 90s effectively destroyed any sentimentality or real feeling left in our pop culture. Irony is the death of humanity. Now we talk in double reverse sarcasms, constantly unsure of what we mean and if we believe in anything at all other than our own material satisfaction. It’s why you have half a nation doped on anti-depressants, stimulants, and benzos.

We didn’t make the choice to behave selfishly or be so self-absorbed—it’s in our DNA. It’s the only way we know how to live: free from sacrifice, in a world where someone else will surely do it, able to enjoy all the amenities, comforts, and distractions possible in the first world, multi-decade coke binge we’re coming down from right now. The Baby Boomers are so selfish and delusional they can’t see what they’re doing to their kids’ quality of life, how we’ll have to pay into entitlement systems that will never give us what it gave them, how oil and natural gas will be exhausted before our own retirement, and how wickedly poisonous a value system they’ve passed down.

So tax them. Take away their Social Security, their benefits, their inflated salaries. Redistribute that wealth and bring some of that nice down here. Allow us to pay into a socialized medical system that’s better than the one we’ve already got (the E.R.). In essence, it’s the cognitive dissonance that’s killing us. The United States is far from the best country in the world, yet it’s all we’re ever taught. There is nothing that we are the best at and no one wants to admit it. We should be spitting on people like Mitt Romney because he is what is wrong with this world: he feels nothing, and people outside his tax bracket may as well not exist.

Bill Gates would be a far more inspiring leader because of how many lives he’s saved, how he’s single-handedly increasing the quality of life for thousands of people abroad. He’s still mega-rich, but being wealthy comes with a responsibility to make the world a better, more livable place. I don’t really care what Obama believes deep in his heart, because his stump speech is exactly what we need to hear: sacrifice, ambition, recognition of the oppressed, and a healthy scorn for the poor suits who get their feelings hurt every time the President bad mouths Wall Street.

The Boomers are looting the ship as it sinks, hogging the lifeboats and plugging their ears as their kids drown in a debt-saddled first world lifestyle they’ll never be able to afford.

  • Nicky, you sound like a boomer talking about their parents generation. They too accused their elders of not thinking of the kids and greed. Greed of the white man keeping blacks down. Greed of men wanting their women barefoot and pregnant. As I grow older only one thing seems certain. Everything would be perfect if only our parents didn't fuck it up.

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  • Sir, please don't take away my social security. I believe I earned it., and I don't mean I earned it by being a good guy, I mean I paid into the system for 40+ years and am now withdrawing from what is a useful forced savings program. HOWEVER, if one does not have a job, one cannot save for retirement. So, radical idea, how about companies creating jobs instead of funneling money into top management?

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  • Telling companies that they should create jobs instead of profiting IS a radical idea. Didn't know it was corporations jobs to benefit non-share holders

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  • Nicky, I ask this out of genuine curiousity, what resources did our parents have that we don't? Your statement "... and expect my generation to do the same with vastly diminished resources..." has me a bit perplexed. Our folks like to talk about how they walked two miles in the snow uphill each way to get to school. With internet, t.v./cable, and infinite information access, it seems to me that we have more, not fewer, resources.

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  • Texan, real standard of living has fallen, mostly as a function of rising education and health care costs.

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  • Can you back that up, Noah? Keep in mind that yes, health care and education have gone up but they provide far more and greater products than in the past due primarily to an increase of knowledge. Life span is longer; infant mortality rates are down, education is far more specialized etc. In the past people didnt have computers and access to unlimited information. It is all free to boot. People died from heart attacks and cancer (not to mention AIDS)at a much higher rate, of course keeping someone alive for longer is more expensive. Sure the resources are different but hardly inferior. Please define standard of living and show how it has actually decreased.

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  • Well, these things are difficult to do, and if you're committed to not believing it, I doubt I can convince you. But, you know, google for 30 seconds http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2011/1019/A-long-steep-drop-for-Americans-standard-of-living http://www.wannanetwork.com/2010/11/15/americas-falling-standard-of-living-a-look-at-the-last-generation/ Here's a guy who says that living standards haven't actually fallen that much, but even he admits that there's been a serious drop since 1999: http://pragcap.com/the-mythical-collapse-in-american-living-standards I guess you could say that the recession is the cause of a lot of it if you wanted...but the recession was the result of unsustainable growth; an economic bubble which replaced actual production with fantasy assets as millions of Americans tried desperately to pretend they could still afford a middle class lifestyle. Social mobility is eroding in the US; our economic growth of the last twenty years has been built mostly on not one but two bubbles, people can't afford to send their kids to college, dooming them either to no careers or a lifetime of debt, and a serious illness often means financial disaster. Kids going into the job market now are quite possibly fucked for life. I mean, yes, we have the interent now, which is cool, since we can now all search for jobs that aren't there, but in terms of security, happiness, and the reasonable expectation that one's kids will have a better life, it's not clear we're doing so well.

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  • shoddy work Noah. The first article is dated and only pertains to the recession. The second article is dated, many points like stock market are no longer true/relevent and straddles the fence. The third article calls your argument a farce. Nice attempt at verbal judo by stating that your detractors are not willing to accept reasonable arguments. Next time, try reading what you link to and then perhaps, you can make a cogent point.

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  • C'mon Texan. It may be out of sight out of mind for you, but the Internet has gutted countless jobs and industries, leaving the Millenials with far fewer options and less sustainable lifestyles. This is the Boomers' fault: what security net we had in SS will be gone by the time we retire, industries like print, music, law, retail, film etc. etc. etc. have been gutted by automation and outsourcing. Greed and material wealth are one thing; callous selfishness and chronic shortsightedness are the only explanation for the vastly diminished opportunities the idealistic moralists that the Boomers are have left us.

  • Excuse me, but most Millennials haven't paid into the SS system yet, or are just starting to. What about people around 40? They've been paying into system for years and will get screwed without reform. You make the Millennial gen. sound as selfish as the Boomers.

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  • Nicky, so if I understand you correctly, boomers are to blame for the internet and it's taking our jerbs. What about Ford and the assembly line? That too took jobs away so is it evil? Progress means change and it is your generation that has to navigate that change much like boomers had to do in the 60's and 70's. As for being out of sight out of mind, please! I'm 42 and also had to deal with the changes brought on by the internet. After all, is this not the mode of communication we are currently using? As for SS, you may not realize it Nicky but people have been bitching about it since I was youn ger than you and people will bitch about it when you are my age. Better to look for solutions than just bitching about the fear du jour. Why in the world are you even concerned about SS at your age? Go out there and educate yourself and get a good job (good candidates have no trouble finding work these days, for the most part it is the bottom 50% that are having trouble) and you sir are not even close to the bottom 50%

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  • Texan, I explained why dating it to the recession is problematic, since the recession is the result of decades of unsustainable policies designed to hide the fact that living standards are eroding. But whatever. Like I said, you believe what you want to.

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  • Noah,all I asked for was evidence to back up your assertion. Instead you supply nothing relevent and make dubious claims as to why you can't provide any backup (the recession numbers don't match my hypothesis so I'll blame that inconvienence on the Repubs). I'm not believing what I want, I'm asking for facts that you seem unable or unwilling to provide. Therefore, I ask once again, can you back up your assertion or are you just making shit up? Furhtermore, you once again employ the straw man which seems to be your M.O. The issue was about resources, you are arguing standard of living which really is not an applicable metric since it is 100% subjective when constants (like the internet) change.

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  • I don't think I ever blamed the Republicans. The bubbles were bipartisan messes...and in fact the person most responsible for the financial collapse is probably Bill Clinton, who repealed Glass/Stiegel I've always been talking about standard of living? I mean, if you look at my first post up there, it mentions standard of living. I think standard of living is very difficult to measure, actually. I think soaring health care and education costs are very relevant, as is evidence of widening income inequality and stagnating wages. You apparently think that the internet trumps all that. Which is fine. Honestly, I don't even know what you think you're talking about when you cite "resources", or why you think that would be more stable or relevant over time. But as you wish.

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