If you were born in the U.S. on the right side of World War II, when the killing was over and the procreating began, you can count yourself very lucky indeed – especially those who debuted before 1955.
Dr. Spock pampered you as babies. Your parents moved you to the leafy suburbs, with a lawn out in front, two cars in the garage (one of them a station wagon), a barbecue on the patio and a mother at home to make you peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when you got home from a newly built school.
All 77 million of you have been wagging the economic-political scene since the 1970s while your kids rocked the social landscape well into the ’80s.
You control more than half this country’s discretionary income and almost 80 percent of its assets. With leverage like that who needs hair! And, of course, you are mostly conservative, the better to conserve your gains.
Politicos’ solicitous sorties into your gated communities have created a federal trough overflowing with juicy entitlements. Airlines, hotels, restaurants, theme parks, fast food franchises, et. al., woo you with senior subsidies and discounts. Every toilet has handrails and pity the poor transit system without wheelchair access (the cost of which is making public transit beyond the means of full-fare passengers).
Many would say the elderly are getting more than their fair share of the common good. But these are voices in the wilderness, no match for the AARP and your political clout: 86 percent of you are registered to vote and 74 percent do!
And now you’re entering your “Third Age” just in time to avoid the upcoming Social Security crisis. And you’ll probably escape the coming health care Armageddon, the loss of the mortgage interest deduction, and the price our planet must pay for your carbon footprint.
But Hark! Do we hear keening coming from your ranks? Okay, the Great Recession has plundered your retirement savings. And those of you who must still work to make ends meet, are standing in unemployment lines or reduced to flipping burgers. But who caused the financial meltdown? How old were the Wall Street titans who led us down this dead end street? The majority were born twixt ’45 and ’65 and the same for the politicians who greased the skids (for whom you voted!).
What goes around comes around.
In the balance, however, no right-minded Boomer would trade positions with those who follow in your footsteps.
As a personal postscript, the author of these vagrant paragraphs admits to being a tiny bit ruffled at all attention and largess showered on your generation, while those who came before, along with the Johnny Come Latelies have had and will have a relative tough row to hoe. But time happens, and your time happened at just the right time.
So as an old Sunday school hymn goes, “Count Your Many Blessings.”
Samm Coombs of Palm Desert is a retired adman, publisher and author. Email him at [email protected]
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