A Personal Letter to Boomers

 

shutterstock_119598559Over in the post about Presidential politics and boomer animosity, things began to focus more on the animosity and less on the politics. The more I thought about it, the more I realized I hadn’t ever put into words what I think as a borderline Gen X/Millennial.

I think I should first say that — at least for me — there isn’t an active animosity towards Boomers. That is to say, when I read news about Social Security or welfare programs, I don’t immediately think to myself, “Those [expletive] Boomers!” The greatest man I’ve known personally was a Boomer and — like others here of that generation — he hated the welfare state and everything that came with it. In defense of such folks, there really wasn’t much they personally could have done about it any more than there’s anything personally we can do about ObamaCare or Executive amnesty (the former of which our generation will likely be blamed for).

That being said, the deeper I get into a conversation about what’s going to happen, why it’s going to happen, and how it began to be, the more I begin to resent the Boomer generation in that moment. Not the individuals, but the generation as a group. It’s disheartening to look at my tax returns each year at how much we pay in that could be used for student loans, to invest in retirement, adopt kids, or whatever else, knowing full-well that both my taxes and the national debt are only going to continue to rise forever.

Now we’re being told by some of the realists on our side of the spectrum that the gig is up — that the only way out is for programs to be scaled back and taxes go up — which means my generation may get the worst of both worlds. We will work to pay off promises made by people 30+ years before we were born while being prevented from keeping enough of our own money to save for our future.

I don’t want Boomers to suffer. The idea of their being refused medical care or nudged tower a premature death as they age is horrifying. I already have a Boomer to support, my widowed mother, and I’ll gladly do everything I can to make her life comfortable and unburden some to me, my brother, and my sister. I can understand Boomers wanting some recognition for trying to ease that burden, but I think people of my age would like some thanks for what we’re going to have to do: shoulder the responsibility of all these bad promises by our elders who can’t work any more, and doing so among those in our generation who won’t work at all.

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  1. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @PleatedPantsForever

    Agreed, we need to separate the macro policy from the personal. Too often this falls into what people did on a personal level. Heck, my generation (I’m in my mid-thirties) has been part of the problem as well, but I don’t necessarily (others may disagree) see myself as part of the problem.

    During the Soviet days we did not have any animosity or wish any ill will towards Vlad Smith at 123 Moscow Lane, but we recognized the negative consequences of the Soviet Union.

    The facts remain that the birthrate of the last forty years can not sustain the government wealth transfer programs we have created, political correctness is strangling free thought and damaging our education system, and the tort/regulation system we have created over the last few decades is stifling innovation.

    If we do not recognize and discuss these problems largely born of the last few decades, nothing will get better.

    • #1
  2. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Don’t blame Boomers, blame FDR and all the leftists that built SS in such a way that it can’t be dismantled.

    • #2
  3. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @PleatedPantsForever

    Commissar Meyer – I’m assuming you are the one on duty. How about some fresh clip art? Like a hippie beating a guy in grunge over the head with a Beatles record and the guy in grunge returning the blow with his mp3 playet

    • #3
  4. Matty Van Inactive
    Matty Van
    @MattyVan

    Pleated, Lesserson, MFR, Amy, et al, I have a question for you. The question takes a bit of explaining. It’s at the end of comment 39 on the Prez Politics and Boomer Animosity thread.

    • #4
  5. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Maybe Mr. C. is exceptional, but as a late Boomer, he recognized at the very beginning of his career that SS was unsustainable and has always handled our finances as if we’d never see a dime of it. In our family finances, those taxes were understood to have been tribute paid to the previous generation — and that’s it. Gone. No expectation of a return.

    We also are aware of how incredibly blessed Mr. C. is to have a pension (from a private company — not a public employee union). He’s almost certainly among the last who will have 401(k) savings and a pension pay-out.

    However, Mr. C. and I also see all our investment and savings in perpetual risk due to exploding national debt. There are trillions in 401(k)s. Anyone who thinks the government isn’t salivating over those monies is a fool. We may all be ruined by the profligacy built-in to the false promises of these entitlement programs.

    This intergenerational blame game is a loser. It’s unhelpful, at best. Mr. C’s engineering philosophy is — don’t come to me with problems; come with solutions.

    The welfare/nanny state — the role of government in our lives — is and always will be a left/right dispute. It’s a difference in worldviews best described as one side which deals realistically with human nature and the world as it is — and the other, which dreams of a world which has never been, and asks, “why not?”

    First, know your enemy (and they aren’t the Boomers — at least, not all of them). Then get out there and persuade them why they’re wrong.

    And one more critically important action — teach your children. We don’t need any more magical thinkers.

    • #5
  6. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @SoDakBoy

    Great point about separation the “macro” from the “personal”.  My wife’s parents are very dedicated grandparents, spend their retirement building Habitat for Humanity and working in a monastery, take their grandkids to graveyards on Memorial Day, etc.  My parents spend their retirement as one long vacation, want affection from their grandkids without having to spend time with them, etc.  So, we have the spectrum of the Baby Boomers (and every generation really) within our family.

    Daughter #1 recently started her first job, working 3 hours after school once per week.  She got her first check for $30 and noticed that $5 went to payroll taxes.  I merely said, “just try to think about that money being used by your grandparents.  Maybe they had a meal at Perkins thanks to you or bought a couple gallons of gas”.  I wonder how she interpreted it.  She has two pretty distinct images of the Baby Boomer generation.  She can choose to imagine someone spending money they didn’t earn and don’t need.  Or, she can imagine herself treating her other grandparents to a well deserved treat as a very small sign of appreciation for all they have done for her.

    Personally, I tend to view the BB generation much more harshly than my wife and our differing personal histories probably have a lot to do with that.

    • #6
  7. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @WardRobles

    The whole idea of generational responsibility/resentment does not work for me. We are responsible for the choices we make. So, unless you were a Democrat (or RINO) Congressman in the Sixties and Seventies, you are really not to blame. Most of those guys’ politics were formed when Roosevelt was president.

    Even though I am technically a Boomer (’62), I don’t identify as one. My politics were formed by witnessing extraordinary government incompetence and overreach. Anyone remember bussing under Johnson being sold as a cure for bad schools, and gas lines caused by Nixon’s oil price controls? The Carter years sealed it. Remember President Carter sucking up to the Ayatollah and selling out the Shah, only to have our whole embassy held hostage? Remember Carter scolding us for our “inordinate fear of communism,” and then watching the Soviets invade Afghanistan and communists take over Nicaragua? Remember that the government capped interest on savings accounts at 5.25% when inflation was running at 10? As an aside, the fact that Barack Obama grew up during all this and wound up a man of the left does not speak well of him.

    • #7
  8. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @SoDakBoy

    This is a great topic BTW.  If the GOP were as willing to use envy, resentment and division as much as the Dems, this conversation would be very politically prominent.  Personally, I think there is a lot of animosity bubbling under the surface.  Hopefully, it is tapped into in a constructive way and not merely to elect a few politicians from “our team”.

    • #8
  9. user_1938 Inactive
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    There’s another expense y’all have only really skirted around. Every generation has a higher standard for medical treatment and less acceptance of pain as an inevitable part of life.

    It’s not simply a matter of people living longer than they used or having more treatments available. People are becoming accustomed to ever more frequent and automatic medical care. The pains and disabilities that used to be tolerated without treatment, because of fatalistic acceptance of life’s imperfections, are now expected to be fixed.

    The WWII generation (which indeed doomed our government with FDR’s domestic policies) grimaced and bore with the pain. They kept bad joints because they figured that’s just part of getting old. They endured fevers and coughs, rather than raced to doctors for checkups and antibiotics. They endured arthritis and inflammations. They certainly didn’t think taxpayers owed them chemically sustained sex lives.

    Each successive generation in America is more neurotic about health and medical treatments. My generation has become so obsessive about healthy food that I expect plenty of legislation concerning food and crop legislation in future years.

    The sheer number of typical medical expenses is increasing all the time. Even without entitlement programs, younger generations will end up paying the medical bills of their parents and grandparents… and those bills will pile up.

    • #9
  10. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @GoldwatersRevenge

    My only criticism of the “Greatest Generation” is that they fathered the “Boomers”, possibly the “Worst Generation”. They wanted to shelter their children from the hardships they has endured and in doing so raised a generation of selfish, unprincipled, and undisciplined adults. The Boomers lived the good life on borrowed money never concerned that someday someone will have to pay it back. Each generation gets the government they deserve as evidenced by what we have in Washington today.

    • #10
  11. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    Aaron Miller:There’s another expense y’all have only really skirted around. Every generation has a higher standard for medical treatment and less acceptance of pain as an inevitable part of life.

    It’s not simply a matter of people living longer than they used or having more treatments available. People are becoming accustomed to ever more frequent and automatic medical care. The pains and disabilities that used to be tolerated without treatment, because of fatalistic acceptance of life’s imperfections, are now expected to be fixed.

    The WWII generation (which indeed doomed our government with FDR’s domestic policies) grimaced and bore with the pain. They kept bad joints because they figured that’s just part of getting old. They endured fevers and coughs, rather than raced to doctors for checkups and antibiotics. They endured arthritis and inflammations. They certainly didn’t think taxpayers owed them chemically sustained sex lives

    This is not universally true, and is missing a component in this debate:

    A huge number of boomers are, or have been, supporting their WWII parents’ medical care.  The extended life expectancy of the WWII generation has meant huge nursing home bills, home care bills, extended medical care, cancer treatments, etc., even when those elderly parents are living at their own homes or in the homes of their boomer children.  Medicare only covers so much, and Medicaid requires estates to be liquidated.  Even then Medicaid can come after your own earnings if they suspect the patients of merely shifting assets to become eligible for Medicaid.

    My own grandparents, for instance, lived well into their 90s, but due to dementia they had to go into a nursing home.  Their house had to be sold and its proceeds used to pay for their care, and even that sale was audited by Medicaid to ensure it handn’t been transferred at below-market value.  I know of a great number of others of my parents’ generation in the same situation, whose own assets were crippled by caring for their elders.

    Though the WWII generation’s numbers diminish each year, their medical expenses are an enormous factor in the finances of the Boomers.

    • #11
  12. Owen Findy Member
    Owen Findy
    @OwenFindy

    Aaron Miller: There’s another expense y’all have only really skirted around. Every generation has a higher standard for medical treatment and less acceptance of pain as an inevitable part of life. It’s not simply a matter of people living longer than they used or having more treatments available. People are becoming accustomed to ever more frequent and automatic medical care. The pains and disabilities that used to be tolerated without treatment, because of fatalistic acceptance of life’s imperfections, are now expected to be fixed.

    Agree 100%.

    • #12
  13. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Aaron Miller:There’s another expense y’all have only really skirted around. Every generation has a higher standard for medical treatment and less acceptance of pain as an inevitable part of life…

    It’s not simply a matter of people living longer than they used or having more treatments available. People are becoming accustomed to ever more frequent and automatic medical care. The pains and disabilities that used to be tolerated without treatment, because of fatalistic acceptance of life’s imperfections, are now expected to be fixed…

    And there is good reason for this: pain and disability are huge impediments to productivity.

    The WWII generation (which indeed doomed our government with FDR’s domestic policies) grimaced and bore with the pain. They kept bad joints because they figured that’s just part of getting old. They endured fevers and coughs, rather than raced to doctors for checkups and antibiotics. They endured arthritis and inflammations. They certainly didn’t think taxpayers owed them chemically sustained sex lives.

    Each successive generation in America is more neurotic about health and medical treatments…

    With all due respect, Aaron, there is nothing neurotic about fixing a problem that impairs your productivity if you can afford it.

    Nor is there anything romantic and heroic about gritting your teeth and enduring productivity-impairing pain and disability when you don’t have to. Indeed, sacrificing one’s productivity on the altar of avoidable self-martyrdom is merely selfish and stupid.

    I speak, incidentally, from painful firsthand experience here. I’ve paid the price for trying to stupidly “heroically endure” physical suffering because I thought it was romantically virtuous and noble to do so. All I did was cost myself – and my family. Nothing noble or heroic in that. (More about it in my Jan 31 failure post, if you’re interested.)

    • #13
  14. The Party of Hell No! Inactive
    The Party of Hell No!
    @ThePartyofHellNo

    Wait, wait, wait! A little perspective needs to be applied to this whole boomers vs Millennials and Gen X’rs. The first perspective is yes, they were protected by parents who lived through the “Great Depression” – called this for a reason and World War II – again called this for a reason, so what is not admirable about that? Thank God they did these things for the nation to prosper and their children to be sheltered. As for Boomers selfishness – yes they are, but remember this about Social Security and Medicare. These were not schemes created by them but, schemes created before they were born. So Boomers are the first generation, which from the first day of work to the last day of work, had money confiscated by the government, which was promised back to them after 60, then 62, then 65 and now there is talk about making it what 67? On top of these initial programs there were many additions over the years to the program with a lot of dead white guys promising lots of things and claiming it was all fiscally feasible. Then the government established the policy of abortion and since 1973 57+ million future U.S. Social Security paying, Medicare paying U.S. citizens were eliminated. A very necessary group – future U.S. taxpayers – to support these two Ponzi schemes. Never did any politician verbalize, or castigate the consequences of the abortion policy, or suggest Social Security or Medicare were unsustainable because of this folly – they just kept confiscating more money and moving the goal posts. So imagine if you will, a whole generation of U.S. citizens who have had more and more and more money confiscated and this after being assured it would only be a small percentage, but in the end became a large percentage; and being told, “No you can’t retire at 60 but at 62, 65, or 67” after being told they could retire at 60. Who in their right mind would not expect them to demand, after such lies and mismanagement by the politicians and bureaucracies, every penny owed and promised them? You Millennials and Gen X’rs will do the same – is is just human nature. Solving this problem takes some understanding of human nature. Confiscating more money, or moving the age of retirement does not solve the desire to get what is deserved. Human nature would suggest something offered better than these programs would incentivize Boomers to forgo these payments – the answer is for Boomers to voluntarily drop out of Social Security or Medicare. But how?

    How about working past the age of 65, but working Payroll tax free – no income tax filling as long as no Social Security payments of Medicare payments are issued. How about no tax filling for those who retire, but live off their own retirements/investments – again without any payments by Social Security, or Medicare being issued. I mean no tax return other than a form with two attached documents – a statement from Social Security and Medicare showing no payments to the individual filling. Imagine 10% of Boomers dropping out and for ten years taking no payments. What would be enough?

    • #14
  15. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    Aaron Miller:There’s another expense y’all have only really skirted around. Every generation has a higher standard for medical treatment and less acceptance of pain as an inevitable part of life…

    It’s not simply a matter of people living longer than they used or having more treatments available. People are becoming accustomed to ever more frequent and automatic medical care. The pains and disabilities that used to be tolerated without treatment, because of fatalistic acceptance of life’s imperfections, are now expected to be fixed…

    And there is good reason for this: pain and disability are huge impediments to productivity.

    The WWII generation (which indeed doomed our government with FDR’s domestic policies) grimaced and bore with the pain. They kept bad joints because they figured that’s just part of getting old. They endured fevers and coughs, rather than raced to doctors for checkups and antibiotics. They endured arthritis and inflammations. They certainly didn’t think taxpayers owed them chemically sustained sex lives.

    Each successive generation in America is more neurotic about health and medical treatments…

    I speak, incidentally, from painful firsthand experience here. I’ve paid the price for trying to stupidly “heroically endure” physical suffering because I thought it was romantically virtuous and noble to do so. All I did was cost myself – and my family. Nothing noble or heroic in that. (More about it in my Jan 31 failure post, if you’re interested.)

    There was also the background of you dealing with your father’s illness too.

    • #15
  16. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    and now there is talk about making it what 67″

    This is not talk, this is fact.  Younger boomers have had their retirement pushed out.  My mother’s youngest sister, being born in ’57, is in that group.

    • #16
  17. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @SoDakBoy

    The Party of Hell No!:How about working past the age of 65, but working Payroll tax free – no income tax filling as long as no Social Security payments of Medicare payments are issued. How about no tax filling for those who retire, but live off their own retirements/investments – again without any payments by Social Security, or Medicare being issued. I mean no tax return other than a form with two attached documents – a statement from Social Security and Medicare showing no payments to the individual filling. Imagine 10% of Boomers dropping out and for ten years taking no payments. What would be enough?

    Great ideas in that last paragraph.  Align the incentives with the desired goals.

    Another quote: “So Boomers are the first generation, which from the first day of work to the last day of work, had money confiscated by the government, which was promised back to them after 60, then 62, then 65 and now there is talk about making it what 67?”

    Actually, it wasn’t promised back to them.  It was promised to the people who were 60, 62, or 65 AT THE TIME the promises were made.  Pay as you go.  True, politicians like to make it seem like they are promising things to current voters, but so do used car salesmen.  Read the fine print and kick the tires.  And never mix metaphors!

    • #17
  18. The Party of Hell No! Inactive
    The Party of Hell No!
    @ThePartyofHellNo

    SoDakBoy:

    The Party of Hell No!:How about working past the age of 65, but working Payroll tax free – no income tax filling as long as no Social Security payments of Medicare payments are issued. How about no tax filling for those who retire, but live off their own retirements/investments – again without any payments by Social Security, or Medicare being issued. I mean no tax return other than a form with two attached documents – a statement from Social Security and Medicare showing no payments to the individual filling. Imagine 10% of Boomers dropping out and for ten years taking no payments. What would be enough?

    Great ideas in that last paragraph. Align the incentives with the desired goals.

    Another quote: “So Boomers are the first generation, which from the first day of work to the last day of work, had money confiscated by the government, which was promised back to them after 60, then 62, then 65 and now there is talk about making it what 67?”

    Actually, it wasn’t promised back to them. It was promised to the people who were 60, 62, or 65 AT THE TIME the promises were made. Pay as you go. True, politicians like to make it seem like they are promising things to current voters, but so do used car salesmen. Read the fine print and kick the tires. And never mix metaphors!

    I believe I am right in saying, it was confiscated as a payroll deduction and promised to be returned as payments to be issued after a mandatory age was reached, either 60, 62, or 65 which most people instinctively see as a pension or a retirement fund. Even today Social Security and Medicare are marketed as future programs for those currently paying for them. No one is marketing it – well besides me, I tell my kids all the time have more grandchildren to pay for me in my old age – as a tax to pay for all the greedy Boomers lifestyle. It does not matter how it was sold, or what it truly is, what is true is if you confiscate peoples money and say they can have it back as payments after a certain age – expect them to demand every last penny once they are eligible.

    • #18
  19. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    The Party of Hell No!:what is true is if you confiscate peoples money and say they can have it back as payments after a certain age – expect them to demand every last penny once they are eligible.

    Of course! That’s part of the brilliance of the scheme! (I mean politically, not economically.)

    • #19
  20. user_216080 Thatcher
    user_216080
    @DougKimball

    I have paid millions in income taxes in my lifetime.  I have paid the maximum contribution to Social Security for several decades.   I’ve drifted in and out of the top 1% over the years and now sit just below it.  But now, at 60, I find my savings diminished  by a failed start-up and three girls who can’t seem to get enough college degrees.  And I’m a boomer.

    If you consider all the taxes I pay to the government, income, withholding, sales, property, utility, gas – my effective tax rate exceeds 52%.

    Boomers by and large are ill prepared for retirement, myself included.  Defined benefit pensions outside the public sector are rare indeed.  The GAP generation (Post War-Pre-Boomer – born 1928-1946) were the last generation to benefit from private sector pensions.  Real estate run-up gains are about all that Boomer’s have in the way of substantial savings.  Actual cash savings are insignificant.  With little in the way of savings, Boomers have benefitted little from the equity run-up.

    Why are Boomers so stretched?  They delayed marriage and family perhaps a decade or more beyond earlier generations.  The cost of educating their children and the cost of healthcare have balloned in the last two decades.  These increases came during the Boomer Generation’s prime earning years, supplanting savings.  The past decade or so of economic malaise has also coincided with prime Boomer saving years -a huge blow to overall savings and earnings trajectory.

    Boomers will simply stay in the workforce as retirement benefits will be insufficient.

    • #20
  21. The Party of Hell No! Inactive
    The Party of Hell No!
    @ThePartyofHellNo

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    The Party of Hell No!:what is true is if you confiscate peoples money and say they can have it back as payments after a certain age – expect them to demand every last penny once they are eligible.

    Of course! That’s part of the brilliance of the scheme! (I mean politically, not economically.)

    Exactly! It is not about age, or amount it is about confiscation. Stop the confiscation and the problem will solve itself; or like most markets – get the government out of the market of retirement and old age medicine and the market will adjust.

    • #21
  22. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @SoDakBoy

    The Party of Hell No!:

    It does not matter how it was sold, or what it truly is, what is true is if you confiscate peoples money and say they can have it back as payments after a certain age – expect them to demand every last penny once they are eligible.

    You’re absolutely right.  I didn’t mean to say you were incorrect about the way it was sold or the logical consequences of that deception.  I’m just making a pedantic point that people are fools to give the gov’t so much trust.

    • #22
  23. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @SoDakBoy

    Does anybody think that the current generation isn’t buying into the same mentality that the government will take care of them, vote for whomever promises you the most stuff and never vote for someone who says uncomfortable truths?

    I see little evidence that the youth are any less likely to fall for the ponzu scheme than the Greatest’s, Boomers, X-ers, or millenials.  The only thing that has changed is that we now have WAY more evidence that we were lied to.

    • #23
  24. user_1008534 Member
    user_1008534
    @Ekosj

    I posted this elsewhere, but it is appropriate here as well.

    “Its a trap!!!” – Admiral Ackbar, Star Wars

    (And because Claire Berlinski would be horrified by the Star Wars quote, how about this from the Bard – “…And thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges.”)

    But really … Stop! This entire discussion is a trap! It is a perfect example of the kind of inter-group warfare the Left loves to instigate. Their constant effort to Balkanize America results in just such an us v them mindset. Young v old. White v black v hispanic. Rich v poor. Worker v management. Each arguing that ‘they’ ( whomever that ‘they’ is in the particular discussion) got more than ‘us’. All the while the real authors of the problem – the Progressives – keep on doing their thing with hardly a mention. I’m sure some staffer in Pelosi’s office is laughing themselves silly reading this thread.

    There is a book titled ‘Whither Bound’. It is a slender volume which I confess I do not own. But I have heard it quoted from. It is a lecture given at the Milton Academy by a young FDR. In it FDR details his plan to put us in exactly the position we now find ourselves. FDR laments that owing to the vagaries of electoral politics, Progressives can never stay in power long enough to carry out the radical, thoroughgoing changes they envision. So they must construct programs that outlive an electoral cycle and entrench themselves in the bureaucracy so that they cannot be easily undone. In that way, their vision lives on despite the will of any election or electorate. And he and his followers carried this through.

    Consider the last 35 years. Obama excepted, in Presidential elections America (Boomers included) routinely elected Republicans. Even Clinton was a centrist Democrat. Yet the Federal leviathan grew ever larger. Not one agency was eradicated. Spending never declined. The regulatory state continued on without interruption. Much of our current problem stems directly from the New Deal.

    And it is never mentioned.

    Instead, apparently, we have fallen to finger pointing over who got a bigger scrap from the Governmental table.

    Which is not to say that the issues being addressed here aren’t real. But let’s remember who really brought us here and how and why. Until we do that, things will continue as before.

    • #24
  25. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Where I see the biggest problem arising is the pensions for government employees.

    My son’s third grade teacher retired ten years ago with a retirement pension of $75,000 a year for the rest of her life (she’s in good health) and full state-of-the-art Blue Cross/Blue Shield Master Medical top-of-the-line health insurance for her and her husband. Her husband also worked for the town, as a school janitor. He too is getting $75,000 a year from the town. And he was in the military, so he also has a military pension. Needless to say, she drives a Cadillac and travels the world.

    This is going to get much worse.

    As I am writing this, the cities and towns across the country are getting buried in these ballooning pension agreements.

    I don’t begrudge people their pensions. Good for them. Labor is about supply and demand. They had a right to barter their skills and experience for as much as they could. If we want to hire that teacher, we have to offer more than the next town over. It’s just that I don’t see the tax revenues in my town to sustain these contracts. And what it means in terms of the school budget for the town is that the town has to pay for the services of two teachers to get one teacher in a classroom.

    I know how some of this came about. I worked on a book about unions and negotiating which pointed out that it is the law that in order to be considered as negotiating in good faith, the town manager or the city’s negotiator has to put something on the table each negotiation session. So the perqs (or perks, depending on your spelling preference) mounted up over time.

    Under President Bush, pensions were guaranteed by Congress in cases of default.

    People retiring now (and I won’t be retiring for five more years) and in the future will not get these full pensions. No entity, government or private, can afford these.

    I predict a lot of poverty among aging people unable to find work.

    • #25
  26. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Public sector pensions. Social Security. The National Debt.

    It’s a great big $h!t sandwich, and we’re all gonna have to take a bite.

    • #26
  27. user_1938 Inactive
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake: With all due respect, Aaron, there is nothing neurotic about fixing a problem that impairs your productivity if you can afford it.

    Nor is there anything romantic and heroic about gritting your teeth and enduring productivity-impairing pain and disability when you don’t have to. Indeed, sacrificing one’s productivity on the altar of avoidable self-martyrdom is merely selfish and stupid.

    Agreed.

    But the point is that medical care has a price. If you can’t afford the costs of addressing every physical ailment you have with the best treatments available, then you have to prioritize. You might have to endure some problems to address others due to limited resources.

    Comprehensive and excellent medical care is not a natural right. Medical care is a legal right with limited application. If we try to apply it too broadly and too regularly, we will quite simply run out of money.

    When one cannot afford medical treatments, one can appeal to the charitable spirit of neighbors. If those neighbors can’t afford to help or refuse for other reasons, well, tough.

    We as a nation might choose to offer a wide variety of selected treatments as legal rights. But we cannot afford to guarantee every cutting-edge treatment and address every little sore. Health care must be selective, both at the national level and at the personal level.

    • #27
  28. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Aaron Miller: If you can’t afford the costs of addressing every physical ailment you have with the best treatments available, then you have to prioritize. You might have to endure some problems to address others due to limited resources.

    Of course. This happens all the time.

    • #28
  29. Pony Convertible Inactive
    Pony Convertible
    @PonyConvertible

    PHCheese:Don’t blame Boomers, blame FDR and all the leftists that built SS in such a way that it can’t be dismantled.

    True, and then the “Greatest Generation” implemented the War on Poverty, and it got worse.  However, don’t blame Obamacare on the Boomers.  The Gen Xers voted overwhelming for it.  Now they will have to pay for it along with all the other “Social Good”.

    • #29
  30. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    I have long said if the Republic can survive the boomers, we will be OK.

    The jury is still out on that.

    Personally, as and X’er, I want the Boomers to retire to give me space to advance.

    But I don’t blame the boomers for the mess per say. Really, I am just tired of hearing about how great the boomers are, how cool they are, how they changed the world, blah blah blah.

    Should have been called the most self-adsorbed generation. Course, their millinial kids might give them a run for their money. ;)

    • #30
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