Baby Boomer in a Hurry

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Baby Boomers Support Medical Marijuana but Skeptically

Eight out of 10 boomers favor legalizing medical pot but few use it. Most think opioids would be more effective for chronic pain.

3 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Older Americans overwhelmingly support the use of medical marijuana, but also feel the federal government needs to conduct more research on the potential of cannabis, a new study has found.

Four out of five Americans between the ages of 50 and 80 support the legalization and use of medical marijuana, according to the annual National Poll on Healthy Aging conducted by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy.

Perhaps surprisingly given that Baby Boomers sparked the counterculture revolution, respondents supported medical marijuana with a degree of wariness, the director of the survey said. They don’t use it a lot, either. Only 6 percent said they use medical marijuana, according to survey director Preeti Malani, a doctor at the university’s medical center, Michigan Medicine.

Another 18 percent, however, said they know someone who does.

Related: Study Warns Sky-High Marijuana Taxes Drive Consumers Back to the Black Market

Pain Relief

The survey questioned 2,007 Americans between the ages of 50 and 80. The goal was to gauge their acceptance and use of medical marijuana. Many voiced disbelief that cannabis is effective for pain relief, one of the chief reasons that many have advocated for medical marijuana.

About one-third of respondents “definitely” believe marijuana provides pain relief, while an additional 38 percent said it “probably” does. However, just 14 percent believe cannabis is more effective than opioids in treating pain. Another 48 percent said they believe opioids are better at pain relief, while 38 percent said they are about equal.

If that all sounds a bit more Mrs. Robinson than Benjamin Braddock for a group of Baby Boomers, keep in mind that 70 percent are willing to ask their doctor about using medical marijuana should the need for it arise.

Related: Investing In Marijuana Businesses: Are Hedge Funds Coming To The Cannabis Industry?

More Federal Research

The older Americans also asked for more research by the federal government into the potential for medical marijuana. That’s an issue, though, because marijuana remains illegal at the federal level.

The only place where marijuana is grown for research purposes in the United States is the University of Mississippi. The Drug Enforcement Agency announced a policy change last year that could lead to more facilities growing cannabis for research, but it remains unknown how many that will include. Meanwhile, other countries — especially Israel — have taken the lead on marijuana research.

More research might lead to more use. In the survey, just one in five respondents said their doctor had even asked if they used marijuana. Even less said they think their doctor is knowledgeable about marijuana use.

Follow on Instagram to stay up to date on the latest cannabis news.

Smarter at 65: baby boomers are retiring into hi-tech bliss

Home alone at last. The children have left, you’ve got the gold watch: in retirement, there’s so much more time to do just what you want.

Baby boomers are exiting the workforce in droves, but not for them the pipe and slippers of generations past. Those in their 60s are healthier and wealthier than ever before, and when they’re not travelling, can look forward to many years of independent living in their own home – assisted increasingly by the internet of things (IoT).

For US tech entrepreneur F. Scott Moody, a pioneer of biometrics technologies including the fingerprint security login used on iPhones, retirement cleared the mental space to realise IoT’s potential for optimising the health and well-being of older people. Having sold his company AuthentTec to Apple in 2012 (for a reported US$356 million), Moody came out of a brief hiatus to establish a new start-up, K4Connect, designed “to create solutions that serve and empower older adults and individuals living with disabilities, enhancing their lives by integrating the latest in smart technologies into a single responsive system”.

The company’s platform, K4Community, acts as a personal smart assistant making it easier to access the online services, and a digital concierge directly connecting older adults with the services they need, such as transport and health care. This platform is currently being rolled out at retirement communities in the US, but its message is universal: baby boomers are the first wave of retirees comfortable using – and willing to invest in – digital technology in their daily lives.

The home is an obvious hub for smarter living as people age. For according to a new report published by international property company Grosvenor Group, evidence shows that most people don’t move house in their later years, preferring to stay within their communities where they have their roots and networks.

“Yet, if the right products and incentives were available, more ‘last-time buyers’ would downsize from typically larger family homes to more suitable accommodation, in the process also making more family homes available for younger generations,” says Graham Parry, research director, Grosvenor Group.

With the over-65s expected to account for 33 per cent Hong Kong’s population by 2045, Grosvenor’s report recommends an age-friendly approach to city development – by retrofitting existing buildings, and/or private developers considering the residents’ future years as they plan new projects. Meanwhile, devices on the market now can already make a difference.

Indeed, according to one study, jointly conducted by university researchers in Melbourne, Australia, and Vancouver, Canada, smart home technologies could be the key to healthy, happy ageing. Different types of active and passive sensors, monitoring devices, robotics and environmental control systems were considered for the study, which concluded that older adults appear to readily accept smart home technologies, especially if they benefited physical activity, independence and function, and if privacy concerns were addressed.

When retirement means you’ll be spending more time in the home, quality indoor air becomes more important than ever. Hong Kong company Evergreen Land addresses that concern with its new product OLFINITY, an IoT-based platform connecting three smart devices – air monitor, air purifier and aromatherapy diffuser – in one device, managed by a Wi-fi or Bluetooth connected gateway.

So while assessing the VOCs (volatile organic compounds), temperature and humidity in the home and filtering out pollutants, OLFINITY dispenses a selection of aromatherapy blends formulated in France with organic essential oils.

“We know that this system will disrupt the health and wellness industry and most importantly, empower people to take control of their life indoors,” says Olivier Partrat, co-founder, OLFINITY.

Fitness trackers aren’t just for runners – they’re also useful for prompting movement in retirees who may not be as active as they once were. But some wrist-worn screens can be hard for ageing eyes to read. The font size on Garmin’s Forerunner 230 is 44 per cent larger than the average smartphone’s and in addition to helping maintain a consistent exercise routine, this wearable saves time as an organising tool that connects to the user’s smartphone, keeping track of calls, text messages, calendar reminders and more, even if the phone is not around.

As cleaning robots become ever more sophisticated, these handy devices can free up well-earned leisure time by taking care of household chores.

Robotic vacuum cleaners have been around for years, but instead of mindlessly criss-crossing the room, some are now smart enough to look where they are going. Shenzhen company iLife’s latest AI (artificially intelligent) model, released in March, 2018, has a 360-degree live-vision camera that constantly scans room, sending visual information through a graphics algorithm to processors that compute accurate orientation and render a plan of the entire home.

As it sweeps and sucks up dirt to deposit in the dustbin, the iLife A8 uses its i-Voice technology to communicate with home occupants by reporting work progress, and when the job’s done, will automatically return to its base station for recharging. According to Chen Guanliang, VP of R&D of iLife, the intelligence and effectiveness of this new model represents house cleaning of the future.

Window cleaning is made easy with the latest innovation from Ecovacs Robotics.

According to David Qian, president of the company’s International Business Unit, the Winbot X, launching in Q2 2018, represents the next evolution in window cleaning technology. “By removing the power cord, the robot is able to move freely across the surface it is cleaning, regardless of whether the window has a frame,” he says.

There’s even a machine that can do the dirty work in the bathroom. Billed as the world’s first portable toilet cleaning robot, the newly unveiled Altan Robotech Giddel utilises advanced sensors and mechanical arms to scrub even those hard-to-reach areas of the bowl, while its obstacle detection ability may also alert householders to potential maintenance issues.

And, there’s more to come in the realm of robotic home help that is connected to IoT networks such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa. Among the most advanced, Aeolus Robotics recently showed the prototype for a robot that can mop floors, move furniture, and even fetch a cold drink from the fridge on command.

Apart from its ability to put things away where they belong, the Aeolus Robot can help people as they age by remembering where it saw an item last (to relocate lost glasses, for instance). It can also recognise a medical emergency, such as a fall, and knows when and how to call for help.

“At Aeolus Robotics, it’s our mission to bring together the latest in robotics, AI and machine learning in an affordable in-home robot,” says Alexander Huang, global CEO of Aeolus Robotics. “Costing less than a family holiday overseas, the Aeolus Robot makes the dream of having a home robot a reality and frees up valuable time for you to do the things you want to do.”

Breaking Down Aspiring Homebuyers by Generation

By Archana Pradhan

The CoreLogic Loan Application Database shows there has recently been a net outward migration of homebuyers from the center of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area to more affordable adjacent counties. Using the same set of data, this post focuses on homebuyers’ composition by generational cohort in the Washington, D.C., area in 2017. (The Washington, D.C., metropolitan area includes the District of Columbia, five counties in Maryland, 17 counties/cities in Virginia, and Jefferson County in West Virginia.)

Among the Washington, D.C., area residents who applied for home-purchase mortgage loans during 2017, Generation X represented the largest share at 41 percent, followed by millennials, baby boomers, and the ‘silent’ generation at 38 percent, 19 percent, and 2 percent, respectively. (Pew Research Center defines generations born 1981 to 1997 as millennials, 1965 to 1980 as Generation X, 1946 to 1964 as baby boomers, and 1928 to 1945 as the silent generation.)

Figure 1 shows the generational cohort breakdown by jurisdiction for major counties/cities in the metropolitan area. Young homebuyers (millennials) were more likely to buy homes in the core of the metro area–D.C., Arlington, and Alexandria–representing about 50 percent of the potential homebuyers (with 54 percent, 48 percent, and 45 percent of the homebuyers, respectively). Most of these millennials were still unmarried or have no kids, prefer a shorter commute, and do not necessarily need a big home. (About 38 percent of the millennial applicants who applied for home-purchase mortgage loan were unmarried.) About 55 percent of the loan applications by millennial homebuyers in the core area was for condominiums/coops.

In contrast, older homebuyers were more likely to buy in suburbs. Generation X homebuyers were the largest cohort, with more than 40 percent of the potential homebuyers in suburban jurisdictions of Maryland and Virginia such as Loudoun, Montgomery, Fairfax, Prince George’s, and Prince William. This age group often has kids and prefers more space. More than half of the loan applications by Generation X were for single-family homes or townhouses.

Though millennials were more likely to buy homes in core areas, they were buying more affordable homes compared with Generation X. The average home sale price for millennial homebuyers was $428,000, compared to $525,000 for Generation X and $496,000 for baby boomers in the area. Millennials bought more condos compared with the share of Generation X. About 59 percent of the loan applications for condominiums/coop in the core area were by millennial homebuyers alone. Generally, with little savings and lower income, millennials can only afford the lower-priced homes, whereas Generation Xers are trading up and baby boomers and the silent generation are downsizing. About 55 percent of the loan applications for million-dollar houses were by Generation X, compared to just 17 percent by millennials. Figure 2 shows the millennial share of home-purchase mortgage loan applications diminishing as home prices go up.

As baby boomers and the silent generation downsize, more than half of the loan applications by these cohorts in the core area were for condominiums/coops. However, the price of a condominium that a member of the baby boom or silent generation wanted to buy was more expensive compared to the price of a condominium that millennials wanted to buy. The average condominium sale price for a baby boomer or silent generation loan applicant was $587,000 compared to just $437,000 for a millennial homebuyer in the core area. A baby boom or silent generation homebuyer was willing to pay more for amenities in contrast to the millennials.

Archana Pradhan holds the title of Senior Professional Economist for CoreLogic in the Office of the Chief Economist and is responsible for analyzing housing and mortgage markets trends.

Prior to joining CoreLogic, she was a Senior Research Analyst at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. Her responsibilities included home mortgage, small business, and bank branches lending research and analysis.

62% of Baby Boomers Are Expecting Too Much of Social Security — The Motley Fool

If you’re like most Americans, Social Security is going to make up a big part of your income in retirement. But, just how much of your income can realistically come from your Social Security benefits? Unfortunately, it’s less than you think. 

Social Security is not designed to be your sole source of support during retirement — it’s designed to be just one of several sources of income, along with savings and pension benefits. Unfortunately, studies show most baby boomers think Social Security will do more for them than it’s designed to do. 

Binder labeled retirement savings plan with a calculator on top of it

Image source: Getty Images.

Most baby boomers expect too much of Social Security 

According to the NHP Foundation, 62% of baby boomers think Social Security will provide more than half of their income during retirement. Here’s the problem with that: Social Security benefits replace only around 40% of income — and this percentage is lower for higher earners.  

Living off of 40% of income is just not possible for most seniors, and relying on Social Security benefits to provide more than half your household earnings is likely to leave you struggling. Just consider average benefits for retirees in 2018, which are just $1,404 per month, or $16,848 annually.

If Social Security made up more than half your income and you received average benefits, $33,697 would be the absolute most your annual income could be in 2018. With mean healthcare costs for seniors coming in at close to $6,000 annually , you’d likely have well under $30,000 to cover all other costs, including housing, transportation, and food. And that would be a best-case scenario. 

What can you do if Social Security isn’t worth as much as you thought?

Ideally, you’ll save for retirement throughout your career and have plenty of investments by retirement age to produce the income you need to supplement your Social Security benefits. 

Of course, baby boomers who are already nearing retirement may not have the time to build up a big nest egg. If you’re close to retirement or are retired already and are planning on Social Security covering more than half of your living expenses, you’ll likely want to take steps to increase Social Security benefits or cut costs of living. These steps could include:

  • Waiting as long as possible to claim Social Security benefits: By waiting to claim benefits, you earn delayed retirement credits and increase your Social Security income. Your standard benefit amount is based on retiring at full retirement age. Retiring earlier could reduce benefits by around 6.7% per year, while retiring after FRA increases benefits by around 8% annually up until age 70.   
  • Working a few extra years at the highest paying job you can find: Social Security bases benefits on your highest 35 years of earnings, adjusted for wage growth. If you haven’t worked at least 35 years, some $0s will be averaged in, and benefits will be lower. If you’re earning far more now than at the start of your career, an extra year of work means a year of higher salary replaces one of your lower-salaried years. 
  • Working while on Social Security: If you work while receiving Social Security before your full retirement age, you’ll see your Social Security benefits reduced based on your earnings. But, after you’ve reached FRA, you can work as much as you want, and benefits won’t be affected. The extra money you earn from working can supplement Social Security.
  • Move to a place that doesn’t tax Social Security. There are 13 states that tax Social Security benefits, which means there are 37 states that don’t. By moving to a locale that’s more tax friendly to retirees, you could make your Social Security benefits stretch further. 

Living on a budget also helps you make the most of Social Security income. In fact, making a detailed retirement budget and comparing it to your projected Social Security benefits will help you determine if you’re ready to retire, or it can help you see if you need to make big changes during retirement because Social Security clearly isn’t enough. 

Relying on Social Security puts you in a tight spot

Social Security will undoubtedly be an important source of your retirement income. But, it can’t be your only source of retirement income, or even necessarily your primary source.

If you have time to save as much as possible to supplement Social Security, that’s the best course of action. But, if you’re a baby boomer in retirement, or close to it, with unrealistic expectations about what Social Security will do for you, it’s time to start considering ways to cut costs or bring in some extra money so you don’t face constant financial struggle during what’s supposed to be your golden years. 

North American baby boomers teach Israeli kids English — via video chat

JTA — There’s no reason Hodaya Koskas and Barrett Brickell would know each other.

Koskas, 14, is a high school student from a small city in central Israel who takes ballet classes and hopes to be a dancer. Brickell, 71, is a retired schoolteacher from Ottawa, Canada.

But they’ve been video chatting every week since September. The unlikely pairing begins by having Koskas read a one-page English description of a place in Israel — perhaps the Western Wall or a mall. Then they shift into talking about their lives.

Koskas talks about an upcoming ballet competition that, if she wins, could lead to a trip to New York City. Barrett talks about life in Canada — the snow outside his window, the particulars of the local malls. Koskas says she now understands that in Canada, people hit the malls with a bigger bag than in Israel, so they can buy more stuff.

“I feel a connection to another world,” Koskas told JTA of the conversations. “I talk about what’s done there and what’s polite there. We talked about how they shop and how we shop.”

Most of the conversations taking place via the Israel Connect program occur at school. (Courtesy Israel Connect)

The Israeli teen and the Canadian retiree are participants in Israel Connect, a program where older North American adults tutor Israeli kids in English once a week via video chat. For seniors like Brickell, the program is a relatively easy way to connect with Israel and help kids. For kids like Koskas, the sessions expand their vocabulary, improve their pronunciation and introduce them to North American culture (she now knows how to pronounce “read” in the past tense, for example).

“I want to find out about their personal lives,” said Brickell, who taught fifth and sixth grade for nearly 20 years, and now tutors three kids as part of Israel Connect. “I end up liking them a lot. The time I get to spend with young people is very meaningful to me, and I have a feeling that they enjoy it.”

An Israeli army regular learns English via a videoconference with a North American volunteer. (Courtesy of Israel Connect/via JTA)

The program began in 2011 as a side project of Sarah Gordon, a Canadian with Israeli parents who taught Hebrew in Ottawa. A former classmate of Gordon who taught English in Israel told her about some of her Arab-Israeli students who were struggling to pick up what would be their third language. So Gordon matched them with Canadian seniors she knew who could tutor them from afar.

Since then, Israel Connect has mushroomed. It spread to Toronto and a few areas in the United States, from New Jersey to Baltimore to Florida. It now has 400 volunteer tutors, mostly baby boomers and older, and 500 Israeli high school students from 35 schools. Gordon said baby boomers are a good fit because they wake up early and tend to have free time.

Sarah Gordon, founder of Israel Connect. (Courtesy)

The schools are mostly on Israel’s periphery — smaller and often poorer towns that are distant from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The students themselves come from a range of religious, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. Gordon said she has a waiting list of 100 schools that want to join, and is hoping to expand her volunteer base.

“Most of our volunteers are connecting with students in towns they’ve never heard of before,” said Gordon, who now co-directs the organization full-time with her husband. “We take the ones that have the strongest need. Some of the schools we work in don’t have English teachers. We have schools where we are the English program — we do not recommend that.”

English is usually a key part of the school curriculum in Israel, and is viewed as a gateway to cultural exposure, academic excellence and professional success. Students in Israeli high schools receive four to five hours of English education per week, and an entire section of Israel’s version of the SAT is devoted to English proficiency. But Gordon said most of the students’ practical knowledge of English comes from pop culture.

“They watch a lot of TV and listen to a lot of music,” she said. “It’s not uncommon for them to show up the first week and [as] they’re talking with a retired dentist or brain surgeon, they’ll say, ‘Hey, what’s up, dude.’ And the teacher will say, ‘We start with ‘Hi, how are you?’”

A North American baby boomer chats with an Israeli student during a weekly English lesson via Israel Connect. (Courtesy Israel Connect)

The core of Israel Connect’s curriculum is the one-page handouts on Israeli locales, which come with pictures. Volunteers will help the students read through the paragraphs, and then will discuss them before pivoting to casual conversation.

The only restriction Gordon gives is to avoid politics. Some of the participating schools are in West Bank settlements, and Gordon stresses that the program does not take political positions and aims to serve Israeli kids regardless of where they are. Retired doctors are also told not to provide medical advice.

“They didn’t choose to be born into this conflict,” Gordon said of the students. “They didn’t choose to go to the army in two years. We should just be empathetic to their reality.”

Beverly Grostern, a volunteer from Ottawa, meets a student from Israel Connect on her first visit to the Holy Land in decades. (Courtesy Israel Connect)

But Gordon emphasizes that the point of the program is to rigorously teach English, not just to create informal video pen pals. Most of the students’ chats happen while they’re at school, under a teacher’s supervision. Gordon said that out of 300 alumni of the program, all but four scored over 90 percent on the English comprehension section of the standardized test.

“They’re more confident in reading, in their interactions talking with the volunteers,” said Ofira Mor, a teacher at Koskas’ high school. “They have a wider vocabulary.”

But volunteers say that aside from the tutoring, they enjoy having direct exposure to life in Israel through young people’s eyes. Beverly Grostern, a volunteer from Ottawa, took her first trip to Israel in decades after a year of tutoring an Israeli girl.

“It’s reintroduced me to Israeli life, to their food, to their attitude,” she said. “They’re like your typical teenager anywhere. I ask them something, what’s your favorite activity, what do you like to do, and nine out of 10 it’s like, ‘I like to go shopping, I like to visit my grandmother, I like my computer.’”

‘Roseanne’ and the enduring influence of baby boomers

Boomer culture is our only common culture at this point, so we just keep revisiting its glorious victories or simply replaying its greatest hits. The same week that “Roseanne” hit it big on TV, the No. 1 movie in America was Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One.”

Like all things in this Trump-deranged era, the remarkable ratings success of the rebooted “Roseanne,” a show that last aired when I was 17 years old but commanded a larger audience in its return than any sitcom now on network television, has unleashed a thousand takes about the show’s political significance.

Who’s going to win “Roseanne” voters in 2018? Can Hollywood entertain Trump country without betraying its principles? Is the pro-Trump Roseanne Barr an oracle or a conspiracy theorist? Can a member of the #Resistance watch “Roseanne” in good conscience?

All of these takes are, I’m sorry, tiresome. So let’s try to analyze the return of the Conner family in strictly cultural terms, without directly referencing the present occupant of the White House. The show’s sky-high ratings probably owe something to Roseanne’s political views and blue-collar goddess reputation, but above all they are a case study in the power the baby boom generation still wields, even as it begins to enter old age, over our collective cultural imagination. And not only that: They testify to the extent to which the boomers, for all the destruction trailing in their wake, might be the only thing holding American culture together at this point.

That’s because if the boomers were destructive, they were also creative. Indeed, you can make a reasonable case that theirs was the last great burst of creativity in Western history, the last great surge of mass cultural invention. The boomers were the last generation to come of age with some traditional edifices still standing, the old bourgeois norms and Christian(ish) religion and patriotic history, which gave them something powerful to wrestle with, to rework and react against and attempt to overthrow. And because they came of age within a stable-seeming (though not for long) common culture, their revolution was experienced as a communal experience itself, something that united millions of people simply by virtue of their being young and Western in 1965 or 1969 or 1975.

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In an essay on “Golden Ages” in his “Prejudices: Philosophical Dictionary,” Robert Nisbet argued that a great period of ferment and achievement often features a “dialectical antinomy.” This is a fancy way of saying that you need ideas and trends and forces in tension with each other (community and individualism, the secular and the sacred, new ideas and settled consensus, younger and older generations) to ignite what he calls “the blaze of creativity.” We can debate just how golden their achievements really were, but in hindsight his description applies to the period of the boomer takeover — it was the tension between a multitudinous younger generation’s utopianism and libertinism and mysticism and an older generation’s attachment to patriotism and family and religion that shaped and stamped the rise of rock ‘n’ roll, the rebel cinema of the 1970s, the New Age reinvention of religion, the New Journalism and the postmodern wave in the academy and the libertarian ascendancy in the GOP and more.

In the movies and television, this tension led to an extended reworking, deconstruction and reinvention of classic American genres (the Western, the war movie, the gangster flick, the sitcom), something that happened first in cinema and then extended more gradually into TV. What we often think of as two golden ages — the auteur years in 1970s Hollywood, and then the more recent golden age of television — are really part of the same generational takeover; it just took longer for boomer influence to work itself out on the small screen. But it did eventually: what David Chase did with “The Sopranos” and David Simon with “The Wire,” and before them figures like the late Steven Bochco and Matt Groening and yes, Roseanne Barr, was all an extension and an echo of the era-defining pop cultural ferment that began in the 1960s and took off in the 1970s.

But now we are in the twilight of that era — and it is not at all clear that the boomers’ successors are prepared to react against boomer hegemony with anything like the same creativity and vigor. In part that’s because technological and social change has left the rising cohorts of Americans fragmented, polarized, alienated from one another, too divided by belief and taste and language to build something new together. And in part it’s because the boomers themselves contributed mightily to fragmentation, leaving too little standing when they tore things down and rebuilding haphazardly and self-interestedly, bequeathing a spirit of transgression and permanent revolution that’s run out of things to deconstruct and is either feeding on itself, lapsing into torpor, or generating niche forms of radicalism on the further left and right that are too weak as yet to produce revolution or renewal. (Indeed it is not a coincidence that conservatism, itself decadent in this late-boomer dispensation, is desperate to claim boomer culture for its own — think of Ted Cruz’s love of “The Simpsons” or the new pro-”Roseanne” ardor on the right.)

As Nisbet writes in the same essay, golden ages give way to ages of iron very easily. “If there is no community,” then “there is nothing to challenge, nothing to fuel the dynamism” required for a golden age, and if there is nothing buttransgression and dissent, there is nothing to give acts of transgression the “purpose, substance and meaning” that make them something more than just puerile self-indulgence. Both problems define our age; everyone fancies themselves a rebel, even Sean Hannity and Donald Trump, but the traditional forms and structures that would give rebellion purpose and clarity exist only as effigies to be torn down in ritual re-enactments of the original revolution, now decades in the past.

And so we just keep returning to boomer culture — revisiting its glorious victories or simply replaying its greatest hits. The same week that “Roseanne” hit it big, the No. 1 movie in America was Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One” — an aging boomer director telling a story saturated in nostalgia for the pop culture that defined his peak artistic years. And the big Easter television event was the live performance of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” a musical that the baby boomer Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote at the tender age of 22, in a world where a rock-opera retelling of the passion still had a Christian culture to draw from, react against, enlighten and offend.

No longer: Now it’s just boomer culture all the way down. And since that culture is, for all its creaking repetitiousness, our only common culture at this point, it would not be surprising if we find ourselves still clinging to it even once its progenitors are gone.

Teens and baby boomers: Powerful voting blocs

The young people of this country are developing into a powerful voting bloc in their efforts to promote gun control, and as such are a group that may influence the upcoming midterm elections.

Another voting bloc which must be considered are the retiring baby boomers. Starting in the 1980s, we boomers lost much of the pension protections which were once the mainstream of corporate America. These pensions were replaced by 401(k) accounts, which are what most of us now rely upon for secure retirement.

Due to the current economic chaos created by President Donald Trump’s tariff activity, plus his verbal assaults on the tech industry, our financial security is fluctuating wildly on a daily basis. If this volatility continues, the boomers will have a lot to say in the elections, just as the young people will.

Rick Krause, Shoreline

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