Skip to comments.The New War Between Young and Old
Posted on 01/26/2009 9:51:57 AM PST by pabianice
There is a natural flow regarding the work force. New workers enter the workforce as old workers retire or simply die. This is most keenly seen in such industries as aviation. The FAA, in its never-ending work to ensure the industry stays in its glory days of the 1940s, refuses to acknowledge any advances in medicine since 1945 and forces airline pilots to retire at age 65 (until recently it was 60). This forcible removal from the aviation industry of its best and most accomplished pilots has, on the other hand, the salutatory effect of allowing a steady stream of new pilots and flight crew to fill-up the bottom ranks as the top ranks retire. Or used to, anyway, before airlines arrived at the same level of market security as boy bands.
To a lesser extent, the same process of replacement occurs in most other industries. It has long been the case among most businesses that they try to replace older, high-paid workers, with new, low-paid workers. But we are now facing a new, mach 1 work environment because of economic troubles. And the picture is pretty ugly.
Retirement is a goal of almost all Americans and was something that could be planned for with reasonable certainty. But in the past 18 months, most retirement assets have dropped drastically in value. This is a catastrophe, especially to most Baby Boomers who grew-up spoiled rotten and were promised a comfortable retirement if they played by a minimal set of rules. Because most Baby Boomers my contemporaries --have usually had things their own way, they do not play well with others. Bad timing.
With the Social Security full retirement age for the early boomers at age 66, this has long been the standard retirement schedule for Boomers. That was before we lost approximately 42% of our lifes savings and retirement investments in just over a year. What had looked like a comfy retirement involving a nice home paid-off plus a vacation condo on the ocean complete with boat dock has suddenly morphed into the horrifying vision of, instead, becoming one of those stooped, pitiful, arthritic, white-haired 80-year-olds you see slowly loading grocery bags at the checkout counter while wearing the distant, sorrowful expression of How could this have happened to me? There are a lot more soon-to-be retirees at the grocery store who are asking, angrily, How can I retire when nearly half my assets have been wiped-out? And what is the government going to do about it?
At the other end of the spectrum are todays young workers. Generations X and Y are said to have a different set of priorities and expectations than we Boomers, but all three groups have a certain set of life expectations. Young workers are now looking at a hugely increased tax burden, vastly decreased job benefits, and no certainty that any job will last beyond three months. They are asking their own questions: Why should I pay for the governments fiscal mistakes, Why should I support 'geezers' retirement, why should I feel any loyalty to the country, and how will I ever be able to retire?
These are all good questions. The bad news is that the new Obama Administration clearly hasnt a clue what to do except Go Zimbabwe and devastate the economy further by installing turbochargers in the mints printing presses and assigning $ 300 million to the condom industry in emergency money, apparently believing that a cure to our economic woes is more sex by the unemployed. Hey; theyre home already, right?
And what is already happening is a ramping-up of friction between older and younger workers as the shrinking supply of jobs combines with a sudden drop in the value of the populations money assets. This perfect storm is quickly building force. We are looking at the likelihood of millions of people unable to retire fighting to keep jobs wanted by younger workers. The stack of age-discrimination laws will become fully engaged as young battle old. As is often the case, the only ones likely to benefit are attorneys.
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Well, they can have it..., I’m retiring... LOL..
or..., maybe I’ll be a door-greeter at Walmart... :-)
Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social (and sometimes nostalgic) aspects that directly effects Generation Reagan / Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.
Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details and previous articles.
"Welcome to Wal-Mart. Get your sh*t and get out."
I love Jeff Dun-Ham... “With a Steeck” LOL
Funny, I was thinking about this recently, though not as articulately as this writer.
Things are going to get very bloody. Unfortunately, it’s not only the Baby Boomers (particularly those born before 1955) but their offspring who are growing up with a sense of entitlement.
IMHO, the Gen Xers seem more sane & humble, probably because they saw (or suffered) all the collateral damage around them.
We are bankrupt. The question is how we restructure.
From where I sit, the grey ceiling is very much in place. While I do see a few older Boomers getting pushed out, the best jobs are still held by Boomers. At least this is the case in white collar, old school high tech companies (not the new dot com types, I am referring to ones started prior to 1990).
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