Don't Blame it On the Baby Boomers

The first baby boomer turned 65 on January 1. Millions more will follow. ABC News has a video report, dissing the boomers in every way: from calling them "demanding" to implying they are only concerned about themselves and their needs.

The worst is when the reporter says boomers will soon be demanding social security and medicare, "payable by the generations that came after them."

As if baby boomers are asking for a free ride. [More...]

Most of us have worked for the past 45 years, paying hundreds of thousands of dollars into medicare and social security. We don't get interest on that money, we had no choice but to pay it. I've paid in more than I'll ever get back in benefits. So no one from a younger generation is paying for my medicare and social security. All I'll be getting back in return is a small part of what I paid in.

Maybe ABC is trying to start a generational war. I don't get the insults to the baby boomers. It's not like we sat on our duffs for 45 years.

If social security and medicare aren't around for the next generation, isn't it more likely to be because our government spent billions of dollars on wars we didn't need to fight? Also consider the extra money in the fund from the baby boomers who died before age 65. They paid in, and unless they had minor age children when they died, never got benefits back. And many baby boomers will die before age 70 and 75, receiving only a fraction of what they paid in.

I'm no economist, but when I look at the annual statement I get from Social Security, I can't believe how small my benefits will be compared to how much I paid in.

Memo to ABC News and the younger generation: If there's an enemy out there when it comes to social security and medicare, look elsewhere, because it's not our doing.

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    class (5.00 / 6) (#33)
    by dandelion on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 02:03:30 PM EST
    The issue is, at is has always been, class -- not generations.  Some baby boomers have done very well; some are on the streets.  Some younger people have done very well; some are baristas.  We'll talk about every split in America except the real one -- the split between classes.  It is not a generational hunk of people sucking up the assets of this country -- it is a class of people, specifically the wealthy and the super rich.  

    Every single time someone tries to talk about the problem between generations we should shift the angle of vision to talk about the problem between economic classes.  

    The class argument (5.00 / 1) (#44)
    by Politalkix on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 04:22:11 PM EST
    does not explain how the boomer generation contributed to the declining standard of politics and policies.After all many of the Reagan Democrats and Independents whose voting patterns contributed towards a march to the right in terms of policies in the last 30 years are from the lower middle class! Boomers had a special obligation. They benefitted from the policies of the New Deal and the Great Society when they were young, yet when it came to replenishing the promise during their peak earning years, they(as a group) sided with Reagan and Clinton economic policies that moved the country economically to the right.

    dandelion's comment regarding class (none / 0) (#45)
    by The Addams Family on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 04:33:58 PM EST
    does far more to further the discussion than does your (and others') baiting of a whole group of people born over a range of 15+ years

    so dandelion "does not explain how the boomer generation contributed to the declining standard of politics and policies"?

    this is an instance of question-begging on your part, also known as circular argument


    I agree with Politkalkix (none / 0) (#52)
    by BobTinKY on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 06:39:17 PM EST
    Boomers ended the draft, important for Boomers.  the result has been a military with ranks dominated by those form lower socio-economic circumstances with little or no political power.  Politicians and the ruling class feel free to send these folks into harm's way & nobody of political importance feels any pressure about it.

    Boomers lowered voting and drinking when it mattered to Boomers.

    Upon entering their wealth accumulating years Boomers  supported Reagan, Clinton, Bushes etc  and tax cuts.  You cannot dismiss the role of the largest population bloc in supporting these policies.

    Boomers have little to fear from SS or Medicare cuts.  Politicians, responsive as ever to the will of the Boomers, will insure any cuts are imposed on those of us under 50.  Count on it.

    If SS and Medicare are cut as a result of the policies of the past 30 years Boomers cannot be said to be blameless.  They represent the largest voting bloc over the last 30 years.


    show your work (5.00 / 3) (#57)
    by The Addams Family on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 07:06:54 PM EST
    Boomers ended the draft

    really? the draft ended in 1973, when Nixon was president & the oldest boomers (counting from 1946, the first wholly postwar year) were 27 - please name the Boomer president or Boomer Congressman or Boomer senator responsible for ending the draft

    Boomers lowered voting and drinking

    really? the voting age was lowered to 18 in 1971, when Nixon was president & the oldest boomers (counting from 1946, the first wholly postwar year) were 25 - the oldest Boomers could not legally vote in a presidential election until they were 26 - please name the Boomer Congressman or Boomer Senator responsible for introducing the bill to amend the Constitution & lower the voting age

    & isn't the drinking age a matter of state rather than federal law? please name the Boomers elected to state (or, if i'm mistaken, to federal office) who were personally responsible for lowering the drinking age to 18

    please also show your work for the rest of your very broad comment


    Bush's efforts to dismantle Social Security (5.00 / 2) (#63)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 07:45:09 PM EST
    were defeated in 2005. Republicans took a beating on the subject and they were not eager for another round. Voters were not clamoring for Social Security to be put on the table again in 2007 and 2008. In fact, even now the majority of the country support the program and do not want the benefits to be changed.

    Obama campaigned on putting Social Security on the table during the primary and the general. IIRC Obama was not a favorite of the boomer generation. Younger people chose to vote for Obama regardless on his stand on SS. Obama's recent tax cuts have a ten year cost of $4 trillion. The recommendations of the cuts to domestic programs as well as cuts to Social Security and Medicare are projected to save $4 trillion. The Cat Food Commission was Obama's commission. He not only created it after the idea was defeated in the Senate but he stacked it with numerous people who favored cuts to benefits.  

    If you voted for Obama, you gave him the ability to do what Republicans have been trying to do for generations. He told everyone that he was going to tackle the "entitlement programs" and the younger generation, not the boomers, rushed to vote for him.

    If you lose SS and Medicare, and you voted for Obama, you do bear some responsibility for this occurring.      


    Sigh...generational nonsense is tiresome (5.00 / 6) (#35)
    by ks on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 02:33:58 PM EST
    This is one of those "internet arguments" that's as irritating as it is empty.  For the most part, "Generation This or Generation That" is just a marketing scheme designed to put people into categories so they can easily sell crap to them based on some supposed, and largely imagined, commonality.

    Also, as some gave pointed out, it's a cheap divide and conquer tactic that seems to work a lot better than it should.

    Boomers are split politically (5.00 / 1) (#111)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 12:07:21 PM EST
    just like any other age group. You can't blame (or praise) all boomers for the political decisions that have made, any more than you can blame the whole so-called greatest generation for things that did not get accomplished on their watch.

    I think progress has been made in many areas, certainly for women and  minorities. even if it was not boomers that enacted the civil rights legislation, if boomers had not taken the ball and run with it we would be in a lot worse condition.nodes Of course we have a long way to go to form a more perfect union. It is not a clear demarcation between one generations world and the next. It is a progression.

    Regarding SS, it simply is not a crisis, and won't be unless the pols try to manufacture a crisis in order to dismantle it. I bet a lot of boomers would support a simple tweak of raising the income cut-off for FICA withholding from the current 106k to 250k. That alone would put it in good shape for another generation. It is a program that was always meant to be tweaked from time to time.


    Oops- meant to make that a standalone comment (none / 0) (#112)
    by ruffian on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 12:08:57 PM EST
    and not a reply. I agree with ks!

    & consider this headline (5.00 / 3) (#39)
    by The Addams Family on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 02:49:10 PM EST
    from Friday's NY Times:

    Boomers Hit New Self-Absorption Milestone: Age 65

    i guess what we are seeing is the beginning of a generational "war" ginned up to create animosity toward "entitlements" - what a coincidence that this is happening just before Obama's SOTU address

    don't forget Teh Gays (5.00 / 3) (#40)
    by The Addams Family on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 02:53:54 PM EST
    Also consider the extra money in the fund from the baby boomers who died before age 65. They paid in, and unless they had minor age children when they died, never got benefits back. And many baby boomers will die before age 70 and 75, receiving only a fraction of what they paid in.

    also consider gay people who have paid into Social Security but whose benefits will not go to a surviving spouse when they die

    only one of many reasons why marriage equality must be achieved at the federal level & cannot be left as a matter of <retch> "states' rights"

    It seems unnecessary and unproductive (5.00 / 6) (#50)
    by KeysDan on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 05:07:31 PM EST
    to discuss the social security program in terms of generational derelict or class status. Social security is a governmental retirement benefits and disability program financed with FICA (Federal Insurance Contribution Act) taxes.

    Since the Reagan Administration, in1984, social security in accord with the Greenspan recommendations,  has collected more than it pays in benefits and other expenses. The surplus has been invested in interest-bearing Treasury bonds and other Treasury securities.

    This Trust Fund (actually two: Old Age and Disability) is backed by the full faith and credit of the US not unlike any Treasury security sold around the globe.  The Trust Fund surplus is not an IOU or Funny Money!  Indeed, there are even special features that make the Treasury securities better such as they do not fluctuate in value and can be redeemed at par and they pay long term interest rates for short term notes.

    In 2009 the Trust Fund held $2.5 trillion in Treasury securities and received an average interest rate of 4.9 %.  Not too shabby.  In 2010, about $118 billion was expected in interest (which will offset the drop in FICA taxes expected in 20l0 due to high unemployment rates).

    Full benefits are expected to be paid until 2037 (covering those now about forty, initially, and at least 75% for about 75 years thereafter--without doing anything.  A modest change will enable full benefits for probably 100 years.

    As for class status, from a withholding viewpoint, the "richest" social security taxpayer makes no more than $106,400 (the income cap). Moreover, the retirement benefit increases in accord with that income.

    Social security was never set up as a welfare program--with all the political vulnerabilities a welfare program is known to bring. It is true that guys like Pete Peterson receive a social security check. He should, he paid into the program. That he does not need it, is no different than any of his income earned that he does not need.  He can give it to his favorite charity, or Foundation which is his own--devoted to killing social security--parlayed into larger amounts by the charitable federal tax advantages he receives to do so.

    When Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks, he replied, that is where the money is.  Social security is that bank that is being eyed by  the Wall Street and War--Suttons, and that is it real problem.  But not one that can't be overcome by dividing and conquering and just good old-fashioned lies.

    is this true? (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by The Addams Family on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 06:48:38 PM EST
    So no one from a younger generation is paying for my medicare and social security. All I'll be getting back in return is a small part of what I paid in.

    isn't it the case that current workers' SS contributions have always gone to current recipients? if so, then then this would mean that a younger generation will be paying for your Medicare & Social Security, just as you have paid for benefits that have gone to the WWII & "silent" generations (& part of the WWI generation before them)

    all the same, none of that is any reason for anyone to bash the Baby Boomers instead of calling out and PROSECUTING the plutocrats who are looting & immiserating this country & its people - this "intergenerational warfare" BS is a transparent piece of propaganda timed for the run-up to Obama's SOTU speech - it's the "culture wars" & "entitlement [sic] reform [sic]" all rolled into one big wet kiss planted on Wall Street's fat @ss

    & not to single Militarytracy out, but seeing someone as smart & astute as MT join the pile-on has depressed & scared me more than anything in a long time

    it doesn't matter where the money (5.00 / 3) (#60)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 07:29:42 PM EST
    goes once I pay it in, or what fund they pay benefits out of when it's time for me to collect.

    The point is, I paid far more in Medicare and social security taxes than I will ever get back and so will millions of other baby boomers. The money was specifically paid for these programs, not as a general tax.

    If they are going to cut social security benefits after we paid in, they ought to at least give us the option of a full refund of all we paid into social security --  in one lump sum  -- and let us fund our own retirements. For those that paid less than they will get back in benefits, or for whatever reason still want social security, they can choose to keep it and allow the Government to retain their payments.

    If they are going to reduce Medicare benefits to the point a supplemental insurance program is essential to receive decent health care, they should refund some of those payments too.

    This has nothing to do with who voted for what politician or policy. It's simple mathematics. The boomers paid as demanded, they are due their full benefits.


    i agree with you (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by The Addams Family on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 07:34:53 PM EST
    just wanted to clarify that point of your argument since it seemed factually inaccurate

    i am glad you wrote this post & appalled by the hysteria some are posting here in response to it


    No, wait. (5.00 / 4) (#93)
    by Avedon on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 09:19:29 AM EST
    The deal that was made to "save" Social Security previously jacked up SS payments from Boomers so that, unlike their predecessors, they paid for both their parents' retirement and their own during their working lives.

    That's where the surplus came from that was a big topic in the 2000 election debates discussed between Al Gore - who wanted a "lockbox" to ensure that the people who paid in that money got it - and George Bush, who wanted to turn it into a refund on income taxes that would go largely to the people who had paid the least into it - the rich.


    yes (none / 0) (#99)
    by The Addams Family on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 10:36:40 AM EST
    & what the Baby Boomers have in common w/everyone who comes after is this: that "retirement" is a novel & unique concept for the working class, which i define as all those who rely in any way on selling their time for money

    "retirement" has never been an issue for the rich - they can be "retired" on any day they choose

    for the rest of us, i think that "retirement" will turn out to have been a possibility for only 2 generations of working people: the WWI & WWII generations

    the rest of us will need to come up w/some combination of individual & communal solutions

    at least many Boomers do have a personal history of communes & other types of voluntary group living - that history can serve us well & maybe we can create some models for those coming after us

    or, more likely, the women (forget the men) of the so-called Silent Generation will lead the way as they have on so many other things


    Even though there is an element of (5.00 / 3) (#65)
    by Anne on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 07:56:29 PM EST
    sense to what you're saying - that if you're not going to get even a minimal benefit of what you've paid in, the government should refund it to you so you can invest it - that is exactly the argument that leads to privatization of Social Security and Medicare.

    And that's fine - if that's what you're in favor of, but remembering the hit that people's 401(k)s took when the market tanked, does that really make the most sense?

    It pretty much ends up coming down to "every person for him- or herself" and consigns a lot of people to lives of near or actual poverty.

    I don't think that's the kind of country we want to be, is it?  The kind that just says, "too bad, so sad" to people who don't have the ability to save or invest?

    Rather than resign one's self to cuts in Social Security and Medicare, it would seem to make more sense to push back against such a plan - if not for you, then for all the people for whom it really will make a huge difference.


    I am pushing back (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 12:07:25 AM EST
    I've been writing against the cuts for years. Social security and medicare are about the only two non-crime topics I write about.

    I am not a economist, and since I'm not an investor in anything, I don't understand the financial system except professionally as it pertains to my clients' alleged crimes.

    And I oppose privatization. I'm arguing that the Government has misspent our money on wars (including the billions for the war on drugs here and abroad) and it should not be allowed to claim it's broke now and keep the money that we, in good faith,  paid in that was earmarked for social security and medicare. And people should blame the government if there's not enough to pay benefits, not the boomers who paid in as required. And if the Government can't pay benefits we counted on and paid for year after year from age 20 to age 65, maybe it should offer us a refund.


    Age 20 to 65? (none / 0) (#89)
    by nycstray on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 12:20:34 AM EST
    Um, I started paying in before 20 (all through college and possibly before, need to look at my statement) and will be paying in until I retire when I'm 66.10, afaik. At this point I'm counting every year paid since the other gens have such a low opinion of mine  ;)

    i started paying in at 15 (5.00 / 2) (#90)
    by The Addams Family on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 01:13:21 AM EST
    i'll be 62 this month & am not planning to take Social Security even though i could after 47 years of forced contributions

    i was thrown on the trash heap of the field in which i have 30+ years' experience & my compulsory 401(k) was destroyed by the Wall Street casino

    so i am trying to start a private consulting practice just to keep going - which i must do since i can never retire, ever

    i will be paying ever-rising health insurance premiums all by myself at least for the next 3 years & maybe afterward too if Obama guts Medicare

    & to those who doubt my political commitment & cred, i have been tear gassed at the Pentagon & had my head cracked in antiwar & other demonstrations - Vietnam, Persian Gulf I, WTO & others - where the f^ck were YOU

    anyone who wants to generalize about "the Baby Boomers" can take their resentment & stuff it

    intergenerational war can be a 2-way street but i refuse to go there because it is stupid & divisive at a time when we need to pull together as best we can in this new feudal order of ours


    I started paying at 16 (none / 0) (#91)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 01:50:44 AM EST
    I've had jobs since I was in high school. I worked two to three jobs at a time all through college and law school. I used age 20 as an example, thinking that wasn't the norm, but maybe it was.

    Am I to infer from your comment (none / 0) (#92)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 08:01:25 AM EST
    that you have no other retirement planned other than living off Social Security?  

    That's the way that insurance works (5.00 / 2) (#62)
    by Towanda on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 07:36:33 PM EST
    and the concept of Social Security was called "old age insurance" until the bill drafters figured out to spin the name more palatably for the, um, old.

    Really, does MT think that if she pays a premium for health insurance or car insurance or life insurance tomorrow, the insurance company just takes that money and puts it in a lockbox for the day years or even decades from now when time to pay a medical bill or auto bill or death benefit?!

    That's not how insurance companies became among the wealthiest around.  They take our money, they use some of it to pay bills due, they invest the rest.  Same with Social Security (at least until the Obama tax bill for the wealthy):  We sent our money to cover the oldsters then, with the promise that the next generations would do the same for us.  Now, well, I'm looking at Canada.


    is this true? (5.00 / 3) (#75)
    by splashy on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 08:34:07 PM EST
    To reply to this "isn't it the case that current workers' SS contributions have always gone to current recipients?"

    Actually, the Boomers have been paying for the current recipients and their own ahead of time.

    That's why there has been a surplus ever since Reagan days.

    Boomers have been paying extra, to cover themselves so that those that come after them aren't doing it all.

    That surplus is supposed to go down and be gone by the time the Boomers all die off, when it goes back to the original set up which is what you say: the current workers paying for the current recipients.

    The issue is that the wealthy pushed for tax cuts, then the SS surplus was used to cover the budget so it didn't look so bad since the wealthy weren't paying their fair share of the costs of government.

    Now that the Boomers are retiring, the wealthy don't want to give that money back, even though they have made a bunch of money using it gambling in the stock market and investing.

    They really are like crabs - they don't want to let go of anything once they get their grubby hands on it.


    Maybe because MT is right (none / 0) (#55)
    by BobTinKY on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 07:04:24 PM EST
    no (5.00 / 3) (#59)
    by The Addams Family on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 07:08:54 PM EST
    precisely because MT is wrong

    Watch out for conservative language (5.00 / 4) (#77)
    by ricosuave on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 09:14:16 PM EST
    No argument from me on anything you say, but every time I hear people comparing how much they paid in to how much they got out I cringe.  There are several ways to look at things like social security and medicare.  You can call them insurance, which any sane person hopes to pay into and never need.  Or you can call them investments (like the conservatives want you to) and compare your payments with your payout.  The second one is a loser.  I prefer to call them the "Old People Don't Die" tax, which I am more than happy to pay because I think having old people not die is a worthwhile goal for a society.  We need to get more people on board with paying for oldsters (respecting their elders is a moral thing, right?) and off the talking points of individual accounts and payout values.

    most of the generational (5.00 / 1) (#94)
    by CST on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 09:29:03 AM EST
    "fighting" I've seen is not between boomers and the younger gen Y.  That's parents vs. kids - and it just doesn't happen with this group of kids.  We are not rebels.

    What I've seen, and I think to a certain degree we are seeing on this thread is the airing of the "gen x" grievences.  Stuck in the middle between the two more powerfull and numerous groups, they always seem to get left-behind.

    At the end of the day, there is no age group that's done it 100% right.  If there was, we wouldn't be in this mess.  And the 30-50 crowd is no exception.  It seems to me that every generation, from boomers to gen x to gen y has been called the "me"/"selfish" generation.  And there's a case for all of that to be proven true.  Everyone is just trying to get by.

    It's not 20 year olds who are bitter about mom and dad getting social security/medicare.  Gen Y and the boomer generation are fairly co-reliant.  Whether you have kids living at home or parents living with kids - or worried about the future.  Family is family, what helps one group ultimately helps the other.  Gen X is the group that stands alone though, so they are less likely to see it that way.

    yes (none / 0) (#97)
    by The Addams Family on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 10:25:36 AM EST
    if we're going to generalize about generations, then your comment pretty much nails it, imo

    Gen X has been stuck behind the Boomers for all its adult life & has very legitimate grievances

    the same media that never tires of trashing the Boomers has labeled Gen X "slackers" - a hurtful slander in the economic climate in which Gen X came of age

    to generalize again, i have always loved certain Gen Xers' irony & critical intelligence & identified w/their "outsider" or "internal emigre" stance/position

    that said, it can only  help us all to resist cheap media-pushed stereotypes & keep our eyes open to where the real fight is - & that is not with each other


    I agree with Tracy.... (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 10:52:56 AM EST
    that ultimately we are responsible for our government, and our society...and the boomers, for no other reason than they have been alive longer and had voting rights longer than those behind them, bear more responsiblity than the generations that followed.  But the apple don't fall far from the tree, my generation and the one after me are sh*tting the bed too when it comes to taking responsibility for our government and shaping the society we want to live in.

    Basically we have all failed, and we will all likely suffer for it...there are no innocent victims.

    The younger folks have more voting/protest years left to try and right this sinking ship.  Though I fear it's all too big, too entrenched, and too far gone...hopelessness fills the air.

    Things aren't right today (none / 0) (#101)
    by CST on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 11:02:23 AM EST
    but I'm not convinced they've gotten worse over time.

    Things ebb and flow and right now it's pretty bad.  But there has been important progress made as well.  60 years ago, things weren't exactly peachy for minorities/women/gays, etc...

    Obviously things aren't perfect today either, but they're definitely better for a lot of people.  We shouldn't discount that progress just because $hit $ucks right now.


    And this too (none / 0) (#103)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 11:14:22 AM EST
    is true

    Small victorys... (none / 0) (#104)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 11:15:56 AM EST
    are won here and there, I hear ya, its not all doom and gloom...but those victories taste an awful like scraps from the master's table.  On the whole I think we've been losing ground over the last 40 years.

    Things were definitely worse in 1910...then the labor movement got their heads bashed in fighting for positive change...minorities, women, and homosexuals got their heads bashed in for positive change....and we witnessed positive change.  

    The last 40 years, too few are willing to face the batons in the hands of the oligarch's hired goons...and we've lost ground.  


    harder to see as scraps (none / 0) (#105)
    by CST on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 11:40:30 AM EST
    when they're your scraps I think.

    As for the last 30 years or so - it's been up and down.  The 80s were mostly down.  The 90s were mostly up.  And the 2000s were mostly down.  Maybe the next decade will be up again?

    I can think of a number of things that are better since 1980, and not too many that are much worse...  Just too many things that haven't changed.

    Actually, I don't really know since I wasn't very sentient then - do people think things are really worse today (politically/socially/economically <- I could see that) than the 80s?


    The 90's were up? (none / 0) (#106)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 11:50:52 AM EST
    Not by my view, especially in regards to criminal justice & individual liberty issues, as well as long-term economic...another dark decade.  The war on marijuana reached new heights in the 90's.  The prison population continued to grow.  Executive worker pay gap continued to widen, Reagan-esque Wall St. handjobbing continued.  The only reason the 90's looked/felt better than the 80's or the 00's was the internet boom and cheap gas...all this new business outta nowhere, a new toy as opiate for the masses, and filling your tank for 10-15 bucks can obscure a lot of ills.

    I guess it boils down to what issues/problems one sees as most important...I think the good-time 1990's were an illusion of sorts.


    you could come up with a laundry list (none / 0) (#110)
    by CST on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 12:03:30 PM EST
    of problems for every decade.  From what my parents tell me, the 70s wasn't so hot either, what with vietnam, the hippy-burnout, the oil shortages, etc... etc... Then in the mid/late 80s early 90s you had all the shenanigans in south america, the aids epidemic, huge spikes in crime, poor economy, wall street shenanigans, etc... etc...

    So yea, in comparison to all that, the 90s were up.  That's not the same thing as problem-free.


    two things in particular (none / 0) (#113)
    by CST on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 12:10:57 PM EST
    stick out as to why the 90s were a lot better than the 80s.

    AIDS, crack.  Not just because of what they did, but also because of what they meant.

    I will grant you that I have a very urban-centric view of these things.


    Points taken... (none / 0) (#128)
    by kdog on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 06:00:02 PM EST
    "small victory" or "scraps" was a poor choice of words...I should have said core problems, or my view of them...wealth and income disparity, criminal justice, war and foreign policy, economic policy.

    Progress battling HIV/AIDS, DADT repeal, a balanced if bloated budget for a few years...all very cool. But core problems have been ignored.  And I can't give ya crack...that was a public health problem worsened by being treated as a criminal justice problem.  I'm convinced people smoked less crack in the 90's for no other reason than having seen crackheads growing up.


    After you finish "Shantaram," read (none / 0) (#109)
    by oculus on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 12:00:29 PM EST
    the 2010 bio of Justice Brennan.  A lot of the positive progress is due to SCOTUS.  So it does really, really matter who is making the nominations.  

    you are onto something here kdog (none / 0) (#124)
    by The Addams Family on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 04:35:42 PM EST
    The last 40 years, too few are willing to face the batons in the hands of the oligarch's hired goons

    speaking as one whose head came under the batons more than once - yes that smarts

    & once people begin having children & taking on other such responsibilities it can feel impossible to justify the jeopardy that in-the-streets activism, with its risks of injury & death, places dependents in too


    Busy Sunday! (5.00 / 2) (#102)
    by chrisvee on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 11:04:47 AM EST
    Wow, miss a day and you miss a lot around here!  

    On the sinister/stupid scale, I'm calling 'sinister' on ABC News since I believe it's all too convenient for our corporate overloads if we're too busy fighting amongst ourselves to fight with them.

    While I absolutely agree that those who paid the premiums should get the insurance when they need it (and that it's patently ridiculous to call that 'needy' or 'demanding'), I'm pretty wary of adopting the 'we're paying in more than we're taking out' and 'refund' framing since that's ultimately paving the road to privatization.  

    And I'm going to need it in about 20 years given that I'm dependent on the kindness of Wall Street.

    I posted this (5.00 / 2) (#123)
    by CST on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 04:33:16 PM EST
    link in the other thread but I think it bears repeating here.  I think there's a lot of finger pointing going on, without recognizing that there's a more nuanced argument to this.

    People can have any number of opinions on boomers (good/bad/whatever) without that meaning we're trying to starve you or take away your retirement.

    Some much needed perspective on what young people really think about social security here.

    "90 percent of those ages 18 to 29 deemed Social Security important. In fact, almost half of them agreed with the statement that it is "one of the very most important government programs,"

    More than 80 percent said that even if they believed they could do better investing on their own, they saw their Social Security payments as contributing to "the common good.""

    thanks for this (5.00 / 2) (#125)
    by The Addams Family on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 04:40:55 PM EST
    i think people are objecting mainly to the hostile & inaccurate mass characterization of people born between roughly 1946 to 1956 - the leading edge of the so-called baby boom, born to the so-called Greatest Generation (children of the Great Depression) after the end of WWII

    As someone (5.00 / 1) (#129)
    by lilburro on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 07:45:28 PM EST
    in Generation Y, I guess I would be part of the group that helped push Obama into office.  For myself, I can say I certainly think SS should not be cut, and not be put on the table.

    BUT...one thing I would say and perhaps this is kind of what MT is trying to say is that SS as an issue has been relentlessly attacked the entire time I've been alive.  We didn't vote for Reagan (because we weren't alive!), and Reagan ushered in a series of attitudes that the Beltway embraces to this day.  I see SS as part of a larger social contract that needs to be maintained.  But that type of Democrat and that type of liberalism has more or less died.  What this means in part is that members of Generation Y didn't grow up with the understanding that SS, Medicare, etc. are fundamentally important.  Barack Obama was 20 when Reagan was voted into office.  His entire political life has been spent post-liberalism.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that the sense of the social contract disintegrated, and the people who voted for Reagan and that entire mindset were Boomers or older.  People of Obama's age and younger are now in a mindset where something as simple as the public option can't be added to a healthcare bill, regardless of its superiority as a policy.  The question for me is who killed liberalism?  I agree with others that it's much more class than generationally based.  But I get the generational anger, even if it's irrational.  The disaster happened before we were born.  I mean, what generation did Reagan Democrats belong to?  We need liberalism now, but it's dead.  Obama's biggest cheerleaders on the Left right now are simply happy to blame it on Bill Clinton...but that's not the answer either.  The public option, they told us, was "symbolic" - but if that "symbol" were in place, would we still be having this conversation in the same way?  I sort of doubt it.

    Ugh.  I guess what I'm trying to say is Reagan is the devil.

    Related (5.00 / 1) (#130)
    by lilburro on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 08:02:32 PM EST
    this guy reminds me of 2004 Obama (and the interview is from 2004).  Imagine Obama as molded by 2004 and not 2008 (which is hardly a stretch of the imagination).

    As in we imagine them as these poor struggling souls who are basically trying to make ends meet and put food on the dinner table ...

    Right before they go clean chimneys. It's patronizing. First of all, very few people define themselves as poor. Most people define themselves as middle-class. And people who define themselves as poor, for example, suffer more from obesity than starvation.

    The way you hear this the most is that people voted against their self-interests. You hear that all the time. It exposes a defect in our thinking, which sees your self-interest as based on your economic status. It gives no credence to your fulfillment interest - this desire to believe in something.

    One of the standard progressive narratives is to speak for the little guy who is getting screwed. You're saying that kind of economic populism doesn't work any more?

    I don't think big corporations are holding me down. I may believe that in terms of our dependence on oil and things like that, but generally I don't think that my daughter going to a good school has anything to do with big corporations, big outside forces. It's basically how smart I am, how effective I am in my work. I think a lot of people share that.

    That sounds more or less exactly like Obama.  I think this type of thinking is where Obama's team is to this day.


    yep (5.00 / 1) (#133)
    by The Addams Family on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 08:51:16 PM EST
    That sounds more or less exactly like Obama.  I think this type of thinking is where Obama's team is to this day.

    the meritocracy in action, & in power

    this part is irresponsibly, indefensibly ignorant:

    very few people define themselves as poor. Most people define themselves as middle-class. And people who define themselves as poor, for example, suffer more from obesity than starvation.

    as if how people "define themselves" actually determines their class/economic status

    as if obesity were not itself a form of starvation


    If you have a need to assign blame (5.00 / 1) (#138)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 09:15:57 AM EST
    so that you do not have to take any responsibility for what has occurred since your have become of age, you could just as easily blame all white men for Reagan and every bad thing that has happened. I bet the stats would bear out.

    There have been numerous elections since Reagan. Elections where the younger generations if they had chosen to vote in large numbers could possibly make other choices. They as a whole chose not to vote in large numbers. But I guess we should not generalize about why they chose not to do so.

    Then we get to current times. The younger generations wanted a young, hip president. Many did not take the time to invest his positions on issues.

    So at a time when all the fates were aligned to really change the direction of the country and revive liberalism, your generation chose to elect a president who will put the final stake in the heart of liberalism. Obama told you the direction he planned to take this country and you and the people of your generation chose not to listen. So when tax cuts for the wealthy are not only maintained but expanded and all safety net and domestic programs are gutted, by your logic we and future generations can blame you and your generation.

    What I am saying is that Obama will complete Reagan's work and liberalism will be blamed for the results.  


    Well (none / 0) (#139)
    by lilburro on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 09:55:10 AM EST
    My point was that liberalism has deteriorated to the point of death, and the post-Boomer generations, including Obama, came of age during its decline.  As I said

    What this means in part is that members of Generation Y didn't grow up with the understanding that SS, Medicare, etc. are fundamentally important.  Barack Obama was 20 when Reagan was voted into office.  His entire political life has been spent post-liberalism.

    I mean look at the young nutjobs who think Ron Paul is the best thing since sliced bread.  

    The economy did not go to complete and utter hell until after the primaries were settled.  As pointed out over the last two years by many, neither Obama nor Clinton explicitly ran on the public option, or single-payer, or anything that would actually revive liberalism.  And that is indicative of how dead liberalism is - beaten down to the point where it's not even an explicit part of the conversation.  Neither made that the core of their strategy.  I voted for Clinton in the primaries and Obama in the general...what was I supposed to do, vote for McCain?

    You can blame the younger generation but the liberalism required died with Reagan.  For whatever reason, class, etc.  The task of restoring liberalism is much harder than killing it.  


    Restoring liberalism (5.00 / 2) (#140)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 10:18:30 AM EST
    is made impossible when Democratic presidents and Congress pass proven failed conservative policy as Democratic legislation which is then labeled as liberal policy.

    If the attitude of the younger generation is that electing Reagan killed any hopes of reviving a liberal policy in the U.S., then I can definitely see why you supported Obama. He was definitely the candidate to prove that there is nothing the younger generations can do and it is all the "boomers fault" since he planned to be the same transformational president as Reagan and continue Reagan's death to liberal policies. Really a convenient way relieve you and your generation of any responsibility for your choices or what goes on in this country. The younger Democratic generation's version of the Republican's version of blaming the blacks, the Hispanics, Muslims and the poor.

    To paraphrase Martin Luther King, scapegoating the blacks is the distraction that allows the rich and the powerful to screw us all. Same goes with scapegoating the boomers. Rather than acknowledging that your decision in 2008 may have been in error and learn from it, it is easier for you to go all the way back to Reagan. Sad.


    Exactly what choice (none / 0) (#141)
    by lilburro on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 11:36:46 AM EST
    would've restored liberalism?  You don't say.  Hillary Clinton was going to single-handedly restore liberalism?  I doubt it.  

    The point I am trying to make is as follows

    2007-2008:  Clinton and Obama and Edwards are running for President.  Edwards is taking the most liberal positions.  Boomers do support him more than any other candidate in Iowa, marginally (like 2-3%; example Iowa CNN exit poll).  But Edwards doesn't really have a chance at the nomination.  In part because the discourse in the US has deteriorated to the point that anything liberal is anathema, and both Obama AND Clinton benefit from that in the primaries.  Restoring liberalism is NOT the narrative of the election during early primaries, Obama racks up victories, etc.  That's the environment in which Obama becomes the nominee.  The most FDR like idea from Hillary comes in the fall of 2008, with HOLC.

    My general point is that neither Obama nor Clinton stood up to explicitly defend liberalism at any given point (that mattered).  Neither Obama nor Clinton during the primaries seemed to think that the fates had aligned to restore liberalism.  You broadly mistate Obama's comments on Reagan by saying "he planned to be the same transformational president as Reagan."  Both Clinton and Obama were trying to appear bipartisan when it was convenient to be, and partisan when it was convenient to be that.  At times Obama was more liberal than Clinton and at other times Clinton was more liberal than Obama.  The primaries were more about "who has the character we want in a President" than about "Clinton wants to restore liberalism, Obama does not."  I trusted Clinton more than Obama (mostly because of her emphasis on a healthcare mandate), but the choice could reasonably go either way.

    "If you look at all the complexities of this, I think it's much smarter to say: Look, we're going to deal with the challenges by fiscal responsibility and we're going to use a bipartisan commission. And we're not going to do it by further burdening middle-class families."


    That's not an Obama quote.

    I mean, I dunno, I'm not trying to point a finger at the Baby Boomers per se.  But I can't trace, back to the primaries, the reason why Obama has failed at being another FDR.  I don't think it was obvious during the primaries that he would fail this way.


    I guess we disagree that it (5.00 / 1) (#142)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 01:33:25 PM EST
    was not obvious during the primaries that he would fail this way. He basically told you that he would. Reagan was a transformational presidential, the Republican party was the party of ideas, SS was in crisis and he was going to fix it, he agreed with the Republicans on regulation and on schools and he definitely was not going to fight the same fights that the liberals fought during the 60s through the 90s. He was against gay marriage and said so, he thought that a woman should have a committee of men including her husband and religious leader decide what she should be allowed to do with her body, and Harry and Louise ads against Universal health care were pure unadulterated Republican replays. If you didn't get any indication on where an Obama administration was going, you weren't IMO paying attention.

    I don't know how old you are but MT is in her forties. She and her generation have been old enough to vote for at least 22 years. Did her generation or yours vote in large percentages? No. Did her generation or yours go out on the streets and march in large numbers to change the way things were in this country? No. Did her generation and yours fail to influence the direction of this country and make bad political choices the same as the boomers? IMO, yes.  


    Before my time here, but rumor has (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by oculus on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 01:38:46 PM EST
    it MT was protesting on the road to Crawford. See Cindy Sheehan.  Pretty impressive, IMO.

    Not discussing individual contributions (5.00 / 1) (#144)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 02:11:52 PM EST
    The discussion is on blaming a generation for the problems of this country. If the boomers are as a group are to blame for all bad things that occurred regardless of the contributions of individual members or legislation that did add to the common good, then whether of not MT as an individual protested is not relevant. Using the same logic of MT and others who want to blame a whole generation, her generation did not vote or protest in sufficient numbers so blame must be assigned to the entire generation.

    BTW, Cindy Sheehan (5.00 / 1) (#153)
    by MO Blue on Thu Jan 06, 2011 at 09:10:36 AM EST
    was born July 10, 1957. IOW she was one of those baby boomers that caused all the problems in the U.S.

    Or to paraphrase MT (none / 0) (#145)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 02:16:05 PM EST
    I can't say all members of her generation were this irresponsible, but the majority was and those among them who noticed the group disdain or addressed the group disdain for dealing with "HARD THINGS" were shunned and ridiculed.  They've all been too busy having a great life to hold any of their leaders or the systems they oversaw or voted into power accountable.

    I can't see where the younger generation is holding our leaders or the systems they oversaw or voted into power accountable. In fact, some of the younger generation like Booman, Drum and Klein are more than willing to cheer them on.


    oculus (none / 0) (#146)
    by lilburro on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 02:31:05 PM EST
    you are correct about MT - a quick googling will show you the story on dkos and elsewhere.

    MO Blue - I don't really care about generational wars.  None of my comments have been an attempt to blame Baby Boomers.  My concern and interest (beyond this conversation) is how the US shifted so drastically from the 60s to the 80s.  I respect the many accomplishments of Boomers that really embodied liberalism.  But if you're a younger generation you look back and say what the hell happened?  How do you go from people agitating for civil rights to people voting for a man that coined the phrase "welfare queen"?


    I think the generalational wars (5.00 / 1) (#147)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 02:45:33 PM EST
    are designed for much the same reason as racial wars, and wars between the middle class and the poor etc. They pit one group against another so that both groups are diverted from the fact that the politicians are devoting all the country's resources for the benefit of corporations and the extremely wealthy.

    IMO we had the best chance since the 60s to move the pendulum back and away from destructive Reagan policies and I find it hard to believe that those who 1) blame the boomers or 2) pride themselves on how much more liberal they are then the previous generations chose to ignore all the signs that Obama and the new Democratic party that didn't need the white working class and all the other items mentioned would be a good choice. Bottom line we are all responsible to the state of the union and if we do not all work together and find an alternative to our corporate owned two party system, we and the future generations will suffer for our mistakes.    


    I more or less agree (none / 0) (#148)
    by lilburro on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 03:10:19 PM EST
    with you.  I think Hillary would've been more protective of SS as President.  I don't know whether or not she would've been a liberal savior, and I guess we'll never know.

    I don't think we were given an option (5.00 / 2) (#150)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 03:46:20 PM EST
    for a liberal savior. I spent most of the time prior to voting in my primary saying none of the above. She may have been better on domestic policy, women's rights etc.  but I agree, we will never know. What I do believe is that Democratic voters and blogs would have been much more aggressive in holding Hillary's feet to the fire if she had taken the same actions that Obama has taken to date.  

    heh (none / 0) (#131)
    by The Addams Family on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 08:26:42 PM EST
    I guess what I'm trying to say is Reagan is the devil

    can't disagree w/that

    overall, i think Anglachel, a trained political scientist, offers the most astute analytical take on the question of who killed liberalism, which she examines through the historical lens of what she labels the Stevensonian and Jacksonian factions of the Democratic Party

    my own take, & i am not a political scientist, is that this country never really got over the Civil War, & that the unhealed wound left most of the citizenry vulnerable to the class war that plutocrats have been openly waging on the United States since 1980

    there are places, & the contemporary USA is not one of them, where it's not considered loony to describe our current governmental arrangements as classically fascistic


    yeah (5.00 / 1) (#132)
    by lilburro on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 08:48:28 PM EST
    I'm not a political scientist either and I don't read Anglachel much.  But taking the long view is a good thing and political science esp. in these debates holds up better than most blogging, although blogging is indicative of current trends.  I won't pretend to have a serious grasp on how we got here but it's interesting to read this post by Anglachel and remember what the Dem primary debates were like before the economy tanked.  I don't know if Hillary would've done a better job or not, but part of the appeal of Obama was certainly a Fresh New Democratic Party and had a lot to do with the interview above (IMO anyway).  I thought the Fresh New Democratic Party stuff was crap at the time and still do.  You would think in this economy anybody would.  The creative class stuff is laughable now.  But Obama is surrounded by people from 2008 who probably bought into this.  If that's where you are coming from dealing with this economy is going to be tough, tougher than someone who built a coalition around old school liberal principles.

    The economic disaster only happened because banks ruled our world beforehand.  It's not like that suddenly happened in 2008.  


    From my viewpoint, giving corporations (none / 0) (#151)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 04:32:48 PM EST
    personhood status and a corporate owned media has brought us to the place where we are now. There is no way individual people can compete with multi-million dollar corporate funded campaigns or the propaganda spewed by the corporate owned media.

    The corporate personhood aspect of the campaign finance debate turns on Buckley v. Valeo (1976) and Citizens United (2010): Buckley ruled that political spending is protected by the First Amendment right to free speech, while Citizens United ruled that corporate political spending is protected, holding that corporations have a First Amendment right to free speech. link

    But the boomers were also responsible (2.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 09:56:58 AM EST
    for who has been running the show and running this nation into the ground.  I don't think the boomers should be ripped off, but it was their job on their shift to make their government accountable and responsible and all they did was often kick the can of future problems further down the road.  They didn't march in the streets and demand that Social Security stop being "borrowed" from, they were fine with spending their grandchildren into hell when it wasn't necessary...they were just lazy and everything was good for them so what did they care?

    I can't say all boomers were this irresponsible, but the majority was and those among them who noticed the group disdain or addressed the group disdain for dealing with "HARD THINGS" were shunned and ridiculed.  They've all been too busy having a great life to hold any of their leaders or the systems they oversaw or voted into power accountable.

    MT, you are so much smarter than that (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by The Addams Family on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 02:40:55 PM EST
    & so FOS on this - which i say more in sorrow than in anger

    if you want to pin stuff on a single generation - & i am not recommending that - take a look at what the "silent generation," the generation of John McCain (born 1936) & Phil Gramm (born 1942, & cosponsor of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act), has done to destroy this country - when Bush I & Bill Clinton were in office, it was that generation that held the bulk of the power in Congress

    further, note that the "baby boomers" include people born from 1946 to 1961 - the tail end of that cohort, which includes Barack Obama, went heavily for Ronald Reagan, not once but twice (if memory serves, & someone will correct me if i am wrong), but the front end on the whole certainly did not

    & from where i sit, the diehards working hardest to promote GOP policies by excusing & enabling Obama's 3rd term of Bush II are fauxgressives like Kos (born 1971)

    the whole "baby boomer" BS is a media creation anyway - i am surprised by your animus, which seems to have blinded you to what Anne correctly points out as this piece of a larger campaign to "privatize" (i.e., end) Social Security, Medicare, & other "entitlements"


    correction (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by The Addams Family on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 03:52:18 PM EST
    Politalkix says upthread:

    the 18-29 vote was split between Reagan and Carter but the 30-35 (the age of the oldest boomers in 1980) vote went to Reagan

    Wikipedia on 1980 results:

    18-21 (6 % of electorate): 44% Carter, 43% Reagan
    22-29 (17% of electorate): 43% Carter, 43% Reagan
    30-44 (31% of electorate): 37% Carter, 54% Reagan

    note however that Wikipedia lumps the oldest Baby Boomers in with the Silent Generation, so there is no way to tell from this source how many actual Boomers voted for Reagan

    none of which changes dandelion's excellent point that we s/b looking at CLASS & not at bogus generalizations about "generations"


    What about all the folks over 44? (5.00 / 2) (#86)
    by nycstray on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 11:30:22 PM EST
    seems to me, if you add them in, it might outweigh the boomers? Were they less than 9%?

    where are all these boomers then (2.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 07:51:34 PM EST
    fighting for real solutions for the whole country.  This is the time in the sun.....no actually....it has always to some degree been their time in the sun.  They are the most powerful cultural force in my lifetime, but they don't show up to do the really hard stuff.  They benefitted enormously from everything that the country did right and when the time came to drain all of the wealth off into their pockets...suddenly greed was good, and as the movie trailer points out now its legal too.  The boomers are running this country now, and look where they have decided to run it.

    the issue is class & economic power (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by The Addams Family on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 08:25:28 PM EST
    but it's a question of class AND age discrimination if you are a nonrich Boomer (as most Boomers are) who has spent a lifetime paying into Social Security & another part of a lifetime being forced to plow money into the Wall Street casino through mandatory 401(k) contributions & has not only seen the casino robbed but is also about to get crushed between the GObamaP on one side & resentful 40-and-younger-somethings on the other (including more than a few myopic "progressives" if this comment thread is any indication)

    seriously, who is served by your pointing your finger at the Boomers, as if the Boomers were one monolithic group and not a marketing concept?

    for argument's sake, though, let's just say you're right & that it's the Boomers who wrecked the country (not Teh Gays or the unions or the hippies or immigrants or whoever the GOP trots out next)

    let's say you're right & you win

    what did you win?


    You really disapprove (5.00 / 2) (#76)
    by Towanda on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 09:05:57 PM EST
    so much of anyone over 45 years old?  

    Where are the (4.60 / 5) (#82)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 10:54:26 PM EST
    people of your generation on this? Why aren't they out marching and taking care of themselves. The boomers have carried the load for enough generations. They had their day on the streets, and now the things they fought so hard for are being rejected by the generations who did not have to fight for them - just take them for granted and blame someone else when things go sour. That's a bit like accepting a car from dad, then expecting him supply the gas and insurance and blaming him for your inability to get to work if he says "no". Seems really ungrateful, Tracy. What have you ever marched for?

    GenX... (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by Dadler on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 09:50:43 AM EST
    ...was raised in a society of profound nothingness, we were the guinea pigs of the mini-mall existence, the guinea pigs of mass divorce and family breakdown.  And we are simply the products of that. The Baby Boomers raised us. We are made in their image largely. And who raised the Boomers? That "greatest generation" that came home from WWII scarred and traumatized and largely incapable of dealing with their children's emotional lives. The boomers were raised in postWWII narcotized splendor.

    But the truth is, every generation is full of sh*t, every person is full of sh*t, we all want to propagandize ourselves, when most of us haven't done nearly enough, myself included.


    Priceless - and rings many bells of truth, (3.00 / 2) (#134)
    by Inspector Gadget on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 09:27:48 PM EST
    I'm sure :)

    The boomers were entertained in black & white. When technicolor came into the world for their children, it was virtually impossible to not want to dive into all that fun. It was affordable and creative and made us forget the dank world we grew up in.

    We all make mistakes, but we all try our best. (The definition of ALL is the majority)\


    Then again, some of us... (none / 0) (#98)
    by Dadler on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 10:35:36 AM EST
    ...are mutants, the product of a Greatest Generation father and Boomer mother.  No wonder we're so screwy.

    And now I've upset someone (none / 0) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 10:12:35 AM EST
    All I can reply to that was all the ridicule that Al Gore took when he attempted to deal with the government "leveraging" of Social Security.  Looks like Al Gore was right but who came to his defense among the boomers?  Who shunned him and made fun of him?  It wasn't GenX, we were too busy not washing our bleached hair to even vote and our grandparents were already living on Social Security and frightened by the government leveraging it....I think they took Gore seriously.

    Treatment of Gore (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by jmacWA on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 10:36:54 AM EST
    Do you equate the treatment of Gore by the "village" with treatment of Gore by all the baby boomers?  If so you are making a mistake.  I rarely disagree with anything you say, but you are really making a mistake here.  The last time I looked Gore won the 2000 election, and had it stolen from him.

    The baby boomers (4.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 10:59:33 AM EST
    are the largest section of our population and Al Gore attempted to address the problem that has now developed back then.....whey they were the majority of the voting block AND our whole economy and most of our culture was focused on addressing their needs and wants....so yes, the majority of the village was the boomers and the boomers get what the boomers want and they wanted Gore face planted and they did it.

    Don't blame it on the moonlight (none / 0) (#13)
    by JohnnyCM on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 12:40:09 PM EST
    #1: The (tail-end) boomers were the only generation that broke for Bush in 2000. It doesn't do anybody any good to ignore the fact that your generation comprises today's conservative movement.

    #2: WTF on "Note to the younger generation"? Of course we get it. Youngsters are doing a pretty good job on this issue, when you take into account the fact that you're asking them about a benefit they won't receive for another 30-40 years.


    The rest of you (4.00 / 2) (#25)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 01:32:20 PM EST
    many of you are at the apex of your careers and lifetime achievements.  Never have you had more credibility or juice and you are quiet as church mice arguing for real economic solutions.  Many of you are deeply imbedded in the Wall Street markets and only worried about if and they fail, and they will fail.  There is no way they won't.  In the mean time though, you will sit quietly on the sidelines...the majority of the U.S. voting block....only worried about you, even if it killing the next generation that must somehow survive all this devastation.

    I think you are making a big mistake (4.75 / 12) (#32)
    by Anne on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 01:55:52 PM EST
    and engendering a lot of anger, by your continued use of the word "you," which feeds into the message that those of the boomer generation are to be vilified and demonized.

    "Us v. Them" is exactly the kind of argument the entitlement-haters want to have - and you can pick it up and run with it if you want, but keep one thing in mind: one day, you will be one of the "them."

    And then what?  Do you think that just because you've made smart investment decisions, and think you have positioned yourself well against the tough times, that the people who brought us mortgage-backed securities and credit default swaps and hedge funds and other esoteric investment vehicles aren't - even as we speak - trying to figure out some way to take, take, take as much as possible from others so they can make, make, make, more and more and more?  And do you think they will blink twice if what they take comes out of your hide?

    We are - or should be - in this together, and as much as you seem to think the boomers were selfishly just keeping quiet, well, maybe some of us were quietly trying to patch lives out of very little, or quietly trying to raise good kids, take care of other family members, manage health care in a system that didn't want us to have it unless we first paid some insurance company a truckload of money.  Maybe we were trying to figure out how to pay for our kids' college, or trying to pay off our own college loans.  Maybe we were working in our communities and in our schools to make sure our families and our kids could grow up in a good environment.

    Maybe we are welcoming back into their homes, the children who've tried to make it and can't get ahead in this economy.  Maybe we're taking in our own parents, or sacrificing to keep them comfortable.

    I will grant you there are a lot of self-involved, obscenely wealthy members of the baby boom generation, but, Tracy, when you boil it down to accusations about why "we" didn't shout louder, or longer, and make us all out to be craven and crass and uncaring, I think you do a huge disservice not just to the many in the greater community who aren't like that at all, but to the many in this particular blog community whom you should know well by now aren't anything like that.

    I am hugely disappointed in the attitude you've expressed here, and really quite shocked that this is how you feel.


    Boomers voted for Reagan (none / 0) (#36)
    by Politalkix on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 02:36:20 PM EST
    the 18-29 vote was split between Reagan and Carter but the 30-35 (the age of the oldest boomers in 1980) vote went to Reagan.
    Boomers who were in the peak of their earning powers in the 1990s also cheered when Pres. Clinton cut welfare and crafted policies regarding financial deregulation and offshoring of jobs.



    People can be angry Anne (none / 0) (#66)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 08:00:33 PM EST
    but as far as I'm concerned it is the damned truth.  The boomers are spoiled and self centered and the majority of them do not care what sort of scorched earth they leave behind.  It is all about them and to have enough isn't enough, they want more.  I already said that I don't think they should be ripped off, but whenever anyone pointed out to them that all this was going to happen they refused to listen and they ridiculed every single person who dared to talk about the obvious.

    There has not been a bigger voice and advocate out there beginning months and months ago for what was going to happen to Social Security than me.  But for the most part crickets mostly chirped or those giving the warnings were called an assortment of names all focusing mostly on being drama queens or conspiracy theorists.  What did not happen is that boomers came forward and demanded real economic solutions.  Truly, the friggin boomers want to live in unicorn land and often insist on it and get away with it because they are the majority.  And if me saying so pisses them off....too bad I guess.  There are more of them than me too. Perhaps they will all sit on me like the oldest and biggest sibling of the pack and play typewriter on my chest until I cry.


    I never thought I would be (5.00 / 6) (#70)
    by Anne on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 08:13:36 PM EST
    saying this to you, Tracy, but this is utter BS.

    For one, what is "happening" to Social Security is being created out of mostly whole cloth by those who are fairly drooling at having at all that money for Wall Street.

    When the simplest, easiest and least painful way to deal with this largely fabricated "crisis" is to raise the cap on income subject to the payroll tax, and there is a refusal to do that not from the boomers, but from the BSD's that populate the big banks and Wall Street, your campaign to blame the boomers for "where we are" devolves into the utter nonsense it is.

    This "us v. them" construct you seem fond of is playing right into the hands of those who would pull the rug right out from under the old, the poor and the sick, and sleep with consciences clear.

    It's very disappointing.


    wow, just wow. (5.00 / 4) (#71)
    by nycstray on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 08:18:45 PM EST
    That's a mighty big brush you're swinging around (5.00 / 2) (#108)
    by sj on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 11:55:11 AM EST
    And I have to say, I'm shocked to see it.  "Ignorant" is not a description I'm accustomed to applying to you.

    Obama told you and everyone else (5.00 / 6) (#114)
    by MO Blue on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 02:41:36 PM EST
    that if elected he was going to put SS on the table. If you chose to vote for him when he campaigned on SS being in crisis and you voted for him any way, you by your vote gave him the green light. Nice that you can rationalize your actions by blaming the problems on the boomers.

    There are just as many boomers on this site and elsewhere who have spoken out about what was going to happen to Social Security.  Many of us did not start speaking out just months and months age but spoke outduring the primaries. We also did not vote for Obama because of his position on this issue.



    Sing it, sister! (5.00 / 7) (#116)
    by Anne on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 03:38:07 PM EST
    Just like I could not believe that the man who resurrected Harry and Louise during the primaries would one day want to "reform" the health system to make health care more available and more affordable, I didn't believe the man who wanted to put Social Security on the table wanted to do so in order to "strengthen" it.  Yessiree, the Obama of the religious tract and Reverend Wright and the Committee of Men Who Help Women Make Decisions was surely going to be a stalwart defender of women.  Wasn't he?  

    Oh, my.

    But plenty of people did believe - even if they had to do it by constructing some of the most convoluted arguments I've ever heard.  Who were these believers?  Why didn't the hair stand up on the backs of their necks like it did on mine?  And plenty allowed themselves to be guilted into voting for Obama, setting aside their concerns because if they didn't, "the old guy and that crazy woman would usher in the Apocalypse - BOO!"

    Every time I go back and read that "[T}he boomers are spoiled and self centered and the majority of them do not care what sort of scorched earth they leave behind.  It is all about them and to have enough isn't enough, they want more[.]" I wonder how Alan Simpson was able to hack Tracy's computer so he could continue to rant and rail against us boomers.  I'd feel better, actually, if that's what happened - and since we haven't seen her here since the invective unleashed in her name, maybe someone needs to find out where Simpson is...

    I'm only one person, but I am firmly ensconced as a member of the Sandwich Generation: I have an aging mother who - thankfully - is still relatively healthy, and living independently, but for whom I do a lot of things - I pay her bills and make sure her accounts are all up-to-date, that she has money when she needs it, and since she doesn't drive anymore, make myself available for whatever she needs me to be available for.  I have an aunt with Alzheimer's in a nursing home in Virginia; my brother and I are the last members of her family, and I act as her conservator and guardian.  I make 3 hour round trips to have a 10 minute visit with someone who doesn't know me anymore.  I do care conferences with the staff, I pay her bills, manage her investments and make sure she has what she needs.  Last year I spent months of weekends cleaning out her house, I spent hours and hours fighting for the statutory share of her husband's estate because the SOB didn't provide anything for her in his Will.  

    I have a daughter who moved back home with her boyfriend, so they can save money for a house and get married.  I have a husband who has been out of work for a year, who just turned 62 and - his selfishness knows no bounds! - started to collect Social Security.  I'm still working, of course, making my payroll contributions to all those who are collecting and those who have yet to.  Setting aside money for the 401(k) and - selfish as it seems - hoping it grows in value, so that my husband and I don't have to live in one of our kids' basements when we're really old.  Assuming the stress of life as we know it doesn't get to us first.

    I don't know, is there a new meaning for "selfish?"  Does it now mean the opposite of what it used to?  

    Maybe Tracy ought to have considered that there is no problem with Social Security, that since 1983, we've been paying in more to adjust for the numbers of boomers who would be retiring, and that whatever "problems" there are with the program, they are largely being manufactured by those who want to get their hands on all that money.  Wall Street wants it, and bad.

    We all saw this coming from a long way off; is it my fault that my government apparently doesn't give a crap what I want, no matter how often I tell them?

    Apparently, for some, it is easier to blame me; I'm glad to know where I stand.


    WKMT? (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by The Addams Family on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 04:04:16 PM EST
    I'm wondering now if you have a clear (4.50 / 4) (#81)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 10:36:53 PM EST
    understanding of exactly who the Boomers are. The Marketing world expanded the boomer generation to include a good 10 years worth of people who were not post-war, but someone figured out the parents of the true boomers were still having kids in 1962, so they snatched them up for their target market.

    Where you live, and under the military tent, you may know a few people who fit your description. But, those of us who live in Microsoft country see a distribution of wealth that is heavy in the Gen X group. I'm sure the pattern changes depending upon where in the country one lives.

    The Boomers were abundantly generous with their children, and are now doing the same for their parents. We're now the Sandwich generation, and the hardest hit in unemployment and loss of retirement. Imagine the 64 year olds who watched their 401K accounts disappear in front of their eyes just as they committed to move our of the workforce.

    I know the true boomers are not the ones who reject the notion of caring for the elderly with SS. We've had quite a ride in your eyes, but that's not reality.


    MT (none / 0) (#28)
    by CoralGables on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 01:43:38 PM EST
    people vote for what they think will benefit themselves. It's why arguing for tax increases, no matter how much they are needed, will never be a rallying cry to win at the ballot box. It's not just those at the apex of their career, or the rich, or the poor, or the young, or the old. We are a country of "what's in it for me".

    Somewhat misleading headline, but (none / 0) (#30)
    by oculus on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 01:53:34 PM EST
    interesting article on successful marriages and "me":  NYT

    Interesting article (none / 0) (#74)
    by CoralGables on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 08:27:24 PM EST
    and yes, a misleading headline

    This is true at this time (none / 0) (#67)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 08:02:04 PM EST
    but throughout history has not always been the case.  We are now going to learn very hard lessons and the narrative will become different the social goals will become different I suppose until we forget the hard lessons again.

    Cesca yesterday (none / 0) (#15)
    by JohnnyCM on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 12:42:23 PM EST
    ageist, classist cr@p (5.00 / 4) (#49)
    by The Addams Family on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 04:57:57 PM EST
    are you allying yourself w/this ignorance directed by Cesca at "old people" (sic)?

    Cesca is bashing the so-called Greatest Generation, i.e., the generation that fought WWII

    Jeralyn's post is about the media's bashing of the so-called Baby Boomers

    you seem to be confusing the two, but what the hell - "old people" are "old people"

    to the ice floes!


    please put your urls in (none / 0) (#69)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 08:12:47 PM EST
    html format or they skew the site and I have to delete the comment. Use the link button at the top of the comment box. Thanks.

    millions of Boomers elected Gore president (5.00 / 5) (#9)
    by ruffian on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 11:01:02 AM EST
    5 of them gave it to the other guy.

    I think any sweeping gererational generalizations are silly. Not all of the Greatest Generation were heroes either.


    Thomas (1948) was the only (5.00 / 4) (#17)
    by oculus on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 12:43:51 PM EST
    boomer to vote W. into office.  Kennedy (1936), O'Connor (1930), Rehnquist (1924), Scalia (1936).  

    I thought of that later (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by ruffian on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 04:49:23 PM EST
    Too quick on the post button this morning. Anyway my point was that plenty if boomers agreed with al gore.

    As for comedians making fun of him, well that's what they do. And the press would rather be comedians than reporters. That had nothing to do with their age.

    I just reject most of this generational speculation. Very few people in the same age cohort have the same lives or views, even in the supposedly unified  ww2 cohort.


    Where have you guys been on (4.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 12:53:25 PM EST
    issues of social and economic equality?  You let other individuals of your group silence you all the time when you want to fight for them or it is time to fight for them.

    This comment puzzles me. Please (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by oculus on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 12:56:31 PM EST

    We have horrible economic (4.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 01:43:07 PM EST
    disparity for anyone who is younger than you guys, and addressing that would have meant that Wall Street would have corrected.  The people with all the power did not Wall Street to make the correction it must, they would rather create enormous moral hazard that the children will pay for.  If we focus on Main Street instead of Wall Street, Wall Street will correct.  The kids have no money in Wall Street, and no real juice poltically either, but they will pay the price for what has been done and continues to be done.

    Recent history . . . . (5.00 / 5) (#29)
    by nycstray on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 01:52:07 PM EST
    didn't "the kids" go all out for Obama? Ya know, the guy that thinks Main Street has cooties?

    The kids did not get Obama the Presidency (3.00 / 1) (#68)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 08:07:54 PM EST
    Buy everyone did like to talk about how we had a wave of very young first time voters in the Presidential election.  One of those was my baby cousin.  His facebook now says all politicians are crooks, and my daughter's boyfriend was one too and his facebook now says politics sucks. For the most part, not being a Republican after what the Republicans did to us is what got Obama the Presidency.  I don't think he feels very accountable to any of them.  They have no money to give to him, and now they really don't.

    You talking to me (not a baby boomer) (none / 0) (#31)
    by oculus on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 01:54:50 PM EST
    and/or SCOTUS?  

    You are right about that (none / 0) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 11:04:54 AM EST
    The Supreme Court elected the other guy.  But it is the ridiculing of what he said about Social Security that I speak of....and I have even witnessed Lefties ridiculing what he said.  Perhaps he needed different messaging, is that what the problem was and why they ridicule him?  Because he was dead on right about what was going to happen.

    Blame the media (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by observed on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 11:47:31 AM EST
    Bush was as dumb as Palin,and the media covered for him.

    They did (none / 0) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 12:50:53 PM EST
    But the lefty wing of the internet did not.  They beat him to a pulp too when Iraq was proven to be nothing more than a web of lies.  Will he ever recover as history marches on?  I predict no.  And by the time the economic disaster shakes out and we come to fully grasp what we must do and how we must all live in order to recover, my grandchildren will know him and his policies to be the stuff that global destruction is made of.  The early understanding of all that too though we owe to the leftwing internet.  But many Lefties of the existing living generations are not as reality based as they want to believe themselves to be and they have few meaningful priciples.

    please stay on topic (none / 0) (#56)
    by Jeralyn on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 07:05:58 PM EST
    baby boomers and social security/medicare

    I agree with MT wholeheartedly (2.00 / 1) (#53)
    by BobTinKY on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 06:42:04 PM EST
    and my anger at the upcoming SS and Medicare cuts stems in no not small part from the virtually gaurantied fact that these cuts will not impact Boomers.  Those of us under 50 will bear the brunt.

    MT (none / 0) (#72)
    by CoralGables on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 08:20:46 PM EST
    Wear your 2's with pride. If you're always rolling in 5's you're just sucking up to the audience that prefers to beat on pots and pans rather than have a constructive conversation.

    The most humorous part of those that are yet to acknowledge the problem, is that sociologists were writing about this baby boomer Social Security issue back in the mid 70's and everyone (even now) prefers to close their eyes to it rather than fix the problem.

    The fix doesn't have to come in benefit cuts. It could come in the form of higher taxes or cuts in spending and preferably both. But it won't be fixed until people quit whining and start accepting reality.


    Ridiculous... (5.00 / 2) (#78)
    by ks on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 09:18:48 PM EST
    Have you been reading these posts?  Much of what you say are "fixes" to the "problem", have been mentioned already.  Seems to me you might be the one beating pots and pans rather than having a constructive conversation but I guess it's easier to pose as a contrarian and wear your 2s proudly than make sense or pay attention.

    This is what "the news" has come to (none / 0) (#1)
    by NYShooter on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 04:35:19 AM EST
    They're not trying to start a "generational war;"  they simply don't know any better. They're highly paid entertainers and teleprompter readers.  I'm not making this up, they don't study and research the issues they parrot on the air, or in print. The first time they're introduced to an issue is when the `prompter starts to roll.

    I can't count how many times I've watched a bunch of "news" people, and so-called pundits (who's job is to be up-to-date on the latest issues) discussing something I've known about for weeks and one will say to the other, "did you hear so-and-so say this-or-that to him-or-her?" And the other responds, "no, I hadn't heard that." I mean, if you were awake even four hours a day you couldn't have missed hearing about the issue the first one asked about.

    Let's face it; they stare into a mirror fixing their hair & faces until the director says, "you're on."  Then they slap on their blinding smiles, and tell us, with a sparkle in their eye, that 200,000 people died in an earthquake somewhere.

    "we'll be back after a word from our sponsors with the answer to our on-air survey, "how many new words did Sarah Palin make up last week?"

    As generally dumb as I think most (5.00 / 2) (#22)
    by Anne on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 01:08:32 PM EST
    of those reading the news are (how many times have you watched one of these clowns "report" on some sort of bad news, and smile throughout?), I saw the report in question when it aired, and my first thought was that this was the beginning of the campaign to fix/change/cut/privatize - pick any or all - the programs that keep millions of people from falling into the abyss.

    Plan to be inundated with reports like this - about how selfish and greedy we boomers are, how the younger generation shouldn't be expected to carry us in any kind of decent standard of living until we do the right thing and die  - and expect more misinformation to be delivered to the American people (ask some random person where the money to pay benefits comes from, and I'm pretty sure that person thinks it's coming out of general revenue) in furtherance of the agenda.

    By the time it's all over, boomers will be regarded as little more than economic terrorists who must be stopped.  And just like the al Qaeda-type terrorists, the best way to stop the boomers will be to choke off their money supply.


    Some things that the younger generation (5.00 / 4) (#34)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 02:27:29 PM EST
    may want to consider before they decide that taking away the benefits that the "boomers" paid decades to receive:

    1. There are not enough jobs to support those becoming of age now. Do you really want the boomers to continue to work until they die? The job they keep may be one you want or need?

    2. How willing are you to allow your boomer family members to do without the basis of like or continue to support them financially?

    The younger generation (none / 0) (#38)
    by CoralGables on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 02:41:55 PM EST
    might be thinking, why should we give a damn about a generation that systematically put the country deep in debt and leaving the problem for us to fix.

    Guess the younger generation are (5.00 / 9) (#43)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 03:57:37 PM EST
    on this planet all by themselves. They do not have aging parents, grandparents or aunts or uncles. They won't need jobs. Seems to me if you are reflecting the younger generation viewpoint, that your thinking is everyone for themselves and "frack everyone else."

    Not everyone in the boomer generation got the benefits of putting the country deep in debt. The majority of the debt is the result of unfunded wars and tax cuts to the top 2%. The younger generations have been more than willing to run up substantial personal debt, allow the older generations to vote in large numbers rather than coming out in force themselves. Obama, the choice of the younger generation, just made sure that the deficit would increase by $4 trillion by pushing through his overly generous tax cuts to the obscenely wealthy. In case you missed it, Obama's tax cuts gave the top 2% even greater tax cuts and he increased the amount of tax free benefits for the estate tax.

    So the amount that the Cat Food Commission wants to cut from benefits for SS and Medicare plus all the additional reductions from all domestic programs will not fix anything for future generations it will merely offset Obama's current tax cuts to the wealthy and the additional tax cuts to corporations and the top 2%.

    So basically, you and your political choice are not fixing anything. You are cheering on politicians and choices that are taking the bare necessities away from the majority of the people in this country to pay for wars, Wall St. and the bank bail outs and more tax cuts to wealthy corporations and individuals to that they can make sure that they continue to get more.


    I must be one of the very few lucky boomers (4.33 / 6) (#83)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 11:07:45 PM EST
    I have two wonderful gen Y children who understand that they benefit greatly by SS being available to their parents and grandparents. They really don't want to have to find a place in their home for us.

    And, Tracy couldn't be more wrong. The boomers are struggling in the same numbers as every other generation, if not more.


    and many folks over 50 (5.00 / 3) (#84)
    by nycstray on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 11:17:39 PM EST
    may have lost their last ever job in the past couple of years . . . . they just need to hope they can make it while trying to reinvent themselves or reach age to collect SS that they paid into for 30plus years.

    I should rephrase that (5.00 / 4) (#85)
    by nycstray on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 11:22:10 PM EST
    "their last ever job in their chosen career or field in which all their experience is." or even if it wasn't a 'chosen' career or field, they still spent the last 30 plus years doing it and are no longer wanted (by the youngsters?).

    Bravo! (none / 0) (#107)
    by sj on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 11:54:40 AM EST
    or Brava!  Whichever the case may be.  Well said.

    Disagree (5.00 / 8) (#23)
    by MO Blue on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 01:21:02 PM EST
    The corporate owned media is pursuing a long term corporate objective. The media has been pursuing dismantling SS and Medicare  with false statements about why it must happen pretty much non stop for quite a while. The corporate owned politicians of both parties will use the same arguments when they vote to cut the programs. It is a possibility that they will do it in incremental steps over the course of several years to prevent an outright revolt but once the general public accepts the initial cuts they will go after more until the government has taken away every benefit that people paid for.

    BTW, it is my opinion that when people chose to vote in large numbers for someone who campaigned on putting SS on the table this was a strong indicator that both parties could get away with doing this.


    What are the facts? (none / 0) (#2)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 08:07:51 AM EST
    Will the boomers receive higher benefits in retirement than the benefits they paid for in their working lives?  Yes.

    Will taxes be higher on those working to pay boomer benefits than the boomers paid?  Yes.

    Will a larger fraction of GDP be devoted to the boomer retired than when boomers were working?  Yes.

    An interesting (none / 0) (#3)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 08:50:44 AM EST
    point, but have the early years contributions been adjusted for inflation?? IOW, a dollar contributed in 1966 was worth a lot more than a dollar received now??

    Re: Inflation and SS (2.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Harry Saxon on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 10:27:02 AM EST
    From www.fairmark(dot)com

    In a nutshell: The calculation looks at your entire earnings history with inflation adjustments, chooses the 35 best years and finds your average indexed monthly earnings for those years. Then it applies a formula that typically comes to somewhere between 25% and 45% of this inflation-adjusted average.



    Why do you have a problem (2.00 / 1) (#136)
    by Harry Saxon on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 10:39:00 PM EST
    with a factual quotation, Inspector Gadget?

    Your silence doesn't make a good (none / 0) (#137)
    by Harry Saxon on Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 08:11:46 PM EST
    case for your actions, or are you just mad at me?

    I don't think those (none / 0) (#11)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 11:37:30 AM EST
    dollars are still around since congress has been using those dollars in the Trust Fund, leaving IOUs in the ss fund.  

    there ain't nothin' left for nobody (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by Dadler on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 01:39:12 PM EST
    three decades plus of increasingly regressive tax policy and financial deregulation have gotten the right what it has wanted -- a government incapable of doing anything long-term for its citizens, and a blackmail-level percentage of the nation's wealth in private pockets, where it sits and sits and sits -- when it's not buying of pols in both useless parties.

    thankfully, americans are smart enough to hate the the government more than they love the country, so we're gonna be fine.

    money is worthless, what used to hold up its value (the belief of the people in a better future) is moribund. and that reality is going to explode very soon. and you'll see what social insecurity looks like up close. hope i'm wrong, but logic tells me we're dancing off the cliff.


    Don't tell Harry (none / 0) (#14)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 12:41:47 PM EST
    Thought you were calling me (2.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Harry Saxon on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 01:30:50 PM EST
    DA these days.

    Oh, and you're quite welcome for the answer to the question you posed, no charge, and no, I don't do windows.


    Do you bring coffee and get cleaning? (none / 0) (#46)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 04:47:51 PM EST
    A three-tiered benefit formula determines a monthly benefit based on your AIME. It is designed to replace a higher percentage of earnings for people at lower levels

    Your welcome.


    No, but thanks for (2.00 / 1) (#58)
    by Harry Saxon on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 07:08:26 PM EST
    demonstrating what Southern hospitality and graciousness look likes in action.

    Most of the posters here (none / 0) (#41)
    by Towanda on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 03:22:25 PM EST
    are sure a lot smarter than this reporter and the many others who must have gotten this story angle off some press release from the Census Bureau.

    Oh, and btw, the reporter is going with the Census definition of the boom as beginning in 1945.  Other definitions exist, as the increase in the birth rate actually started in 1941 or 1942.  

    So some of the boomers by some definitions turned 65 some years ago.  And yet, the republic still stands.

    anecdotal post (none / 0) (#47)
    by diogenes on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 04:48:03 PM EST
    Highly paid lawyers might not get all the money back that they put into social security.  I think, however, that people who made 15000 per year do a bit better.  In any case, both the rich and poor get the same medicare benefit although the rich pay much more medicare tax.
    If you aren't getting back everything that you put into social security taxes, isn't this the best argument for privatizing social security or at least putting people's tax payments into annuities or a carefully vetted choice of mutual funds?

    but what does "carefully vetted" mean (5.00 / 4) (#51)
    by The Addams Family on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 05:14:00 PM EST
    when the ratings agencies are paid by the investment banks?

    If you aren't getting back everything that you put into social security taxes, isn't this the best argument for privatizing social security or at least putting people's tax payments into annuities or a carefully vetted choice of mutual funds?

    that point aside, the complaint about not getting all one's contributions back from SS betrays a misunderstanding of the program, which began as an attempt to address massive inequality of wealth (as distinct from earnings) & to protect elderly & other vulnerable people from indigence

    people who describe themselves as progressives or FDR Dems but also complain about not getting all their contributions back are suffering from an internal contradiction

    Grover Norquist & the GOP suffer from no such thing - they correctly identify SS as a progressive program aimed at greater equality of wealth - that is why they hate it, fight it, constantly lie about it & want to kill it


    source of the "complaining" (none / 0) (#79)
    by diogenes on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 10:02:38 PM EST
    "that point aside, the complaint about not getting all one's contributions back from SS betrays a misunderstanding of the program, which began as an attempt to address massive inequality of wealth (as distinct from earnings) & to protect elderly & other vulnerable people from indigence
    people who describe themselves as progressives or FDR Dems but also complain about not getting all their contributions back are suffering from an internal contradiction"

    Jeralyn was the one complaining in her original posted blog statement.  I was simply addressing her point and taking it to it's logical extreme.

    that's not what I said (5.00 / 2) (#88)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 12:15:44 AM EST
    n my post. I didn't say we should get back what we paid in. No one expected we would. I said it's fallacious to say (as did ABC News which is the subject of the post) that baby boomers are not paying for their own benefits (and that generations who follow will be paying for us.) I wrote:

       I've paid in more than I'll ever get back in benefits. So no one from a younger generation is paying for my medicare and social security. All I'll be getting back in return is a small part of what I paid in.

    The potential cuts are a separate  but related issue, and in comments we got somewhat off track, but the point of the post is that baby boomers have paid for what they'll be getting in benefits and people should stop complaining about them.


    Let's go to the source, shall we? (5.00 / 1) (#149)
    by jbindc on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 03:28:38 PM EST
    There's been a lot of conjecture here, and well, actual wrong facts, so let's look at the people who actually know something about Social Security and Medicare for the facts. (my emphasis in bold)

    Social Security helps not only older Americans, but also workers who become disabled and families in which a spouse or parent dies. Today, about 160 million people work and pay Social Security taxes and about 52 million people receive monthly Social Security benefits.

    Most of our beneficiaries are retirees and their families--about 36 million people.

    But Social Security was never meant to be the only source of income for people when they retire. Social Security replaces about 40 percent of an average wage earner's income after retiring, and most financial
    advisors say retirees will need 70 percent or more of pre-retirement earnings to live comfortably. To have a comfortable retirement, Americans need much more than just Social Security. They also need private pensions, savings and investments.


    The money you pay in taxes is not held in a personal account for you to use when you get benefits. Your taxes are being used right now to pay people who now are getting benefits. Any unused money goes to the Social Security trust funds, not a personal account with your name on it.

    (So no, you are NOT paying for your own benefits at this time).


    When you work, 85 cents of every Social Security tax dollar you pay goes to a trust fund that pays monthly benefits to current retirees and their families and to surviving spouses and children of workers who have died. The other 15 cents goes to a trust fund that pays benefits to people with disabilities and their families.

    From these trust funds, Social Security also pays the costs of managing the Social Security programs. The Social Security Administration is one of the most efficient agencies in the federal government, and we are working to make it better every day. Of each Social Security tax dollar you pay, we spend less than one penny to manage the program.

    The entire amount of taxes you pay for Medicare goes to a trust fund that pays for some of the costs of hospital and related care of all Medicare beneficiaries. Medicare is managed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, not Social Security.

    Yes, I found it surprising (none / 0) (#152)
    by Towanda on Wed Jan 05, 2011 at 07:39:53 PM EST
    that a commenter with a disabled child would want to cut benefits to people with disabilities.

    The boomers (none / 0) (#95)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 09:35:49 AM EST
    aren't the problem per se, just the fact that the system is built for the younger generation to fund Social Security for those currently collecting. It's a policy based on a pyramid age system with the base being large and the size of the age groups being progressively smaller the higher the age.

    The boomer section of the pyramid is larger than the sections below it making the lower section of the pyramid unable to supply the needed funds due to the size of the retiring population if we continue following the current funding and payment plan.

    We prefer to blame people like the media, the politicians, the rich, and lately by using childish terms like "Cat Food Commission". If fault is to be placed, it's on everyone that's voted since the 70's when this issue was first discussed who continued to vote for politicians that kicked the can down the road.

    My suggestion to you, if you qualify as self employed or as a small business owner, have someone do research for you into Self-Employed 401K Retirement plans. It's never too late to get started with your own plan, and even if SS stays fully funded you'll be happy with your supplemental income that grows tax free and could also have tax free withdrawals if you use the ROTH version. And with the Roth version you don't have to worry about what happens to the tax rate in the future.


    1983 (5.00 / 6) (#115)
    by dandelion on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 02:44:29 PM EST
    Except the can wasn't kicked down the road.  Tip O'Neill and Reagan hammered out the compromise that doubled SS contributions when the baby boomers were fully into the work force -- 1983.  The point was to create the Trust Fund, which didn't exist prior to that.  Prior to that, SS was on a zero-balance basis, money in, money out, the working funding the retired.  The Trust Fund was set up for the baby boomers to pre-fund their retirement.  

    Now we're told it's gone.  Gone where?  In fact, it's not gone, it's been invested in treasuries. Is the US going to default on its treasury note obligation to the baby boomers?  If so, why to them and why not to the billions of other entities who've invested in treasury bills?

    The idea that Gen X or Gen Y will be breaking their backs funding the boomers' retirement is just a flat-out lie.  

    But the Trust Fund has been used to paper over the general accounts deficit, which was enlarged via two off-the-books wars and tax cuts for the rich.  Not using the fund for that purpose reveals the deficit to be much worse and makes the case for tax increases on the wealthy very very clear.  

    That's why this is a class war and not a generational war.  The wealthy, basically, want to rob the baby boomers and are ginning up the younger generations to help them do it.

    I sure hope the younger generations love their parents, because if the wealthy are successful, those parents will be moving into the spare bedrooms.

    Also, just on another note:  this is disaster for women.  Women are far far less likely to have other sources of retirement income.  The term "Cat Food" is a reference to the days in the 1970s when the largest demographic in poverty were women over 50 and the media were rife with articles about elderly women surviving on very very littles -- yes, cat food.    


    I clearly remember (5.00 / 4) (#117)
    by Zorba on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 03:40:19 PM EST
    the articles about and pictures of elderly women purchasing cat food because it was what they could afford (if I recall correctly, it was mainly the canned cat food red tuna, which was considerably cheaper than human food tuna, even the "chunk light" variety).  And I agree with your post, dandelion.  Planned misinformation in order to facilitate the assault on Social Security to benefit the wealthy.  If the Catfood Commission types are successful, the younger generation will wind up paying for their parents in actuality- either by subsidizing them monetarily, or moving them into their homes.

    That alone... (none / 0) (#118)
    by DancingOpossum on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 03:50:05 PM EST
    ...should scare the youngsters into telling the pols to reverse this march to folly. Yikes--Mom's moving in!!

    I joke, but of course the whole thing is horrifically serious.


    Yes, the Tracies will return (none / 0) (#119)
    by Towanda on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 03:52:22 PM EST
    to those wonderful days of yesteryear when children had to move home and delay marriages and children, etc., to support parents.  A lovely elderly lady whom we lost this year, when she was almost 100 years old, told stories of those days.  She spent most of her life alone, because she had lost her husband decades ago after only a few years of marriage, delayed owing to his need to support his parents.  And he died only a few months after their only child was born, a joy also delayed for years due to those wonderful times before old-age insurance.  

    Next, will we see death panels, after all, to just make it simpler and get rid of us rather than have us retrieve even some of what we have been paying for many decades?  I could have saved more for my old age, if I had not had to support the Tracies' parents for them.


    Don't be too (5.00 / 3) (#122)
    by Zorba on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 04:22:53 PM EST
    hard on Tracy, Towanda.  She has a lot on her plate and a lot to worry about, including a child with severe health problems.  Because both Democrats and Republicans have been harping about the "Social Security crisis," it's not surprising that many people have concluded that there really is one.  And it's also true that many Baby Boomers have acted selfishly and unthinkingly.  Of course, many of us also spent a lot of our time and effort when we were younger to protest against the Vietnam War and to work for civil rights and women's rights (and I'm one of them).  And we continue to spend our time, money and effort working to make this a better world.  There are good people and bad people in each generation.  The main thing that I object to in the tarring of the Baby Boomers is the broad brush condemning us all.  To my mind, this is much like any other false and scurrilous generalizations that have been leveled in the past (and now) against those in certain races, ethnic groups, religions, sexual orientations, etc.  People are just people, not stereotypes.  May you have peace, my sister.    

    I am not being too hard (none / 0) (#126)
    by Towanda on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 05:03:48 PM EST
    when I am agreeing with exactly what you wrote and adding an anecdote in support of it.  Perhaps you regret what you wrote?  But I do not -- and I read a lot of commenters here who also state that they have hard lives.  Yet they do not take it out on the same taxpayers who are supporting them and theirs.

    I do not regret (5.00 / 1) (#127)
    by Zorba on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 05:25:41 PM EST
    what I wrote in any way.  But I have lived a long time, seen much, and am willing to give everyone the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.  I find that it is always more helpful to try to find common ground with people and give them the benefit of the doubt (at least to a certain extent, especially when they mostly seem to be rowing in the same direction), as opposed to slapping them down at the first sign of disagreement.  And I respect where you are coming from, too, Towanda.  Peace out.

    +1000 (5.00 / 2) (#121)
    by The Addams Family on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 04:05:43 PM EST
    this is a class war and not a generational war.  The wealthy, basically, want to rob the baby boomers and are ginning up the younger generations to help them do it.

    & the younger generations ought to be old enough & smart enough not to fall for it


    i know (none / 0) (#80)
    by The Addams Family on Sun Jan 02, 2011 at 10:34:41 PM EST
    Thanks for for that link (none / 0) (#135)
    by sj on Mon Jan 03, 2011 at 10:27:09 PM EST
    Anglachel at her best.  One can spend hours at her site, following her links to her previous writings.  Thought provoking comments as well.