Monday, February 6, 2017

Baby Boomers Strike Again

There’s an article in the Daily Beast today by Joel Kotkin entitled, “The High Cost of a Home is Turning America’s Millennials into the New Serfs.”

For “click-bait,” it is provided with a subtitle describing “. . . a system in which the boomers are protecting their wealth and views at the expense of the rest of us.”

So, those miserable pricks, the Baby Boomers, are at it again! Ruining the world! Go ahead, say it! Donald John Trump is a boomer, too! I’m surprised that they left that part out.

In the manner of click-bait in general, boomers get one fleeting mention in the rather long article. There’s a long recitation of the financial tribulations of millennials. The usual stuff: the part time employment with gaps; the vast student loan debt; the high cost of retail housing. Millennials are priced out of buying homes and having children; they are forced to live with their parents. It’s all about millennials, really, but the editors thought that it would generate more clicks if blame could be cast on those Satanic Baby Boomers.

And so we get, “. . . by 2030, according to a recent Deloitte study, millennials will account for barely 16% of the nation’s wealth while home-owning boomers, then entering their eighties and nineties, will control a remarkable 45%.”

That's the one fleeting mention of boomers. 

First of all, this ignores the fact that we boomers will only be entering our eighties or nineties IF WE ARE LUCKY. Quite a few of us are dead already; many more of us will be dead by 2030. What happens to our squandered, ill-gotten gains when we die? If we are not prudent, it will go to our ungrateful children. The ones to whom articles like this are directed, our children, many of whom can barely keep quiet about their real attitude towards us, which is why don’t we die already so they can get the house and the money? After all, they need it for gadgets and Starbucks. So a good deal of that “remarkable” 45% will already have gone to our millennial (or Gen X) children.

Second, and most importantly, how is any of this the fault of Baby Boomers? What did we do to place the millennials in this awful position? (And I believe that millennials are in an awful position, and that it was imposed on them intentionally, by another group altogether.) What exactly are we doing to protect our wealth and views at everyone else’s expense? Many of us bought houses when they were a very good investment; many of us still own those houses; what exactly should we have done differently? And how could any of that have been directed against any class of people, the millennials or anyone else?

(As far as “protecting our views” goes, I’m not addressing that subject because I don’t know what that means.)

Also bear in mind that the market forces and the political forces that have ruined the financial prospects of many millennials have simultaneously, over the years, ruined the finances of many boomers as well. Many of us have lost houses and jobs in our fifties and come face-to-face with destitution. Several of my own friends live in reduced circumstances, which can mean living with grown children or in shitty rentals in low-cost states.

So attention, twenty-something hipsters! We’re all in this together. Don’t blame your very real problems on Baby Boomers. And if you’re so unhappy with your lives, do something about it. Look around; ask your friends. I’m sure that some of them have figured it out.

And Daily Beast, shame on you! And you, Mr. Kotkin, the writer! You don’t look like a spring-chicken yourself! I know that the life of a content-provider is very hard these days, but please, keep some of your dignity. (And good luck with your novel/screen-play.) 

1 comment:

jomode said...

The blame game has gotten old for sure. I'm with you on that. To say that Boomers are pulling the strings is giving them way to much credit (no offense).

Boomers are are biting on the same shit sandwich. When i finished my internship at Warner Bros. i was put on a waiting-to-work list. I was the youngest by about 15 years. There were Boomers on the list that were working for FREE, working for years, for free, while they "waited". They wanted that job & make no mistake.

We have Boomer customers at the shop that are barely making it. Rent control is saving their asses in Santa Monica. They can't compete with the younger crowd that's willing to work longer hours, 6 days a week & for less pay.

The media likes to play the blame game and post irresponsible articles because its the only way they make money now. Their corporate overlords have outlawed the truth. Don't take it personally Fred. They're just trolling you.