The Boomers Ruined Everything
In a variety of areas, Lyman Stone argued last week, the Baby Boomer generation created, advanced, or preserved policies that made American institutions less dynamic. “For virtually the entire period of Boomer political dominance,” Stone wrote, “it has been obvious that long-term obligations needed to be fixed. And yet, the problem has not been fixed. Younger Americans will suffer the consequences.”
It doesn’t require sophisticated research to assume that the negative impacts of cultural and political change on younger generations are largely the responsibility of older generations. That is simply commonsense reasoning if power structures are typically inhabited by the people who have been around the longest. This same assertion could be made of any generation and will, someday, be made of the Millennial generation by its descendants.
Lyman Stone misses entirely that plenty of Boomers are also have-nots in the woeful picture he paints, and many have battled and continue to battle the policies he laments. He also fails to note that many Boomers, like me, continue to help our Gen X, Y, and Z and Millennial kids in many ways. We pay off their college loans, keep their cellphones on our family plans, pay their car insurance, pick up unexpected car-repair and other bills, and provide money for vacations. Many of us do this while we’re also providing support for our Greatest Generation parents. I assure Mr. Stone that we are painfully aware that something has gone awry in our nation’s economy.
We know, however, that our age isn’t the problem: American economic attitudes and policies are. Since our country’s inception, policies have been designed to establish, widen, and protect race, class, and gender divides. Plenty of Boomers are on the self-protective economic bandwagon, along with people in Gen X, Y, and Z and plenty of Millennials. However, they’re not there because of their age—they’re there because they believe they have a right to more than the next person, especially if that next person is a person of color, a woman, or an immigrant. Greed and self-interest know no generational boundaries.