Skip to comments.Move Over Boomers -- Gen-X And Gen-Y in the Coming Decades <p>
Posted on 01/25/2004 3:22:20 AM PST by meadsjn
It should now be obvious to all but the most stubborn of partisans that the elitist baby-boomers of both parties are leading the nation toward a state of crisis similar to the years of the Great Depression and World War II.
Only a handful of our elected politicians even pretend to represent the best interests of "ourselves and our posterity". Most of them advocate and implement policies that are clearly detrimental to the survival of the nation and its people. Why? Why are they amassing public debt that can only leave future generations fiscally crippled? Why are they opening up the borders, driving down incomes and causing record numbers of home foreclosures and personal bankruptcies? Why do they look the other way as the wealth and productive capacity of the nation is outsourced to foreign countries that are not even our allies? Why do they steadfastly refuse to reform the regulations and taxation that have driven our industries off shore and caused the unemployment of millions of Americans? Why do our policies regularly discriminate against the productive people of this nation and reward the miscreants? And the big question is: why do the people keep electing these same people over and over? And when will they ever just go away?
The simple answer would be that our politicians are crooks and liars, and in most cases today that would be the truth. Our country has had such people aspire to and win public office throughout its history, but crookedness and deceit have become epidemic in the last couple of decades. Corporate America has likewise suffered the same symptoms of unraveling exhibited by government. Business leaders of the last two decades have set records in their quest to lead once prosperous and stable companies to ruin, likewise leaving formerly prosperous and stable communities in ruins.
If these symptoms had been consistent throughout our history, the nation could not have survived over 200 years, yet they have been observed and documented at specific intervals during the life of the nation and before. The theory that nations pass through life cycles is not new and is not unique to any one culture or people. What is not widely understood is that there is regularity to the cycles and generational rhythms that can be measured and described with sufficient accuracy to predict the collective behavioral trends of generations at various stages of their lives.
In The Fourth Turning, authors Neil Howe and William Strauss provide an excellent perspective on the cycles of America's history, the generations that shaped those cycles of history, and the generations that are currently in play as we enter another Fourth Turning (crisis era). This book was published in 1997, prior to Clinton's impeachment, yet has some accurate predictions of trends that have developed in the five years since, and some predictions of trends to expect in the next few years.
The cycles start with a High (i.e. 1946-64), an era of high productivity and spirit, followed by an Awakening (i.e. 1965-1984), an era of rebellious and self-centered enlightenment, drift into an Unraveling (i.e. 1985-2005?), during which the fabric of society seems to waste away, leading into a Crisis (2005?-?), a time of economic distress or a major war, or both, when the life of the nation hangs by a thread. Wars occur for almost every generation, but the wars of crisis eras tend to be total wars, wherein the shape of society and the direction of the nation are indisputably altered. The underlying thesis proposed by Howe and Strauss is that "history shapes generations, and generations shape history".
There is little doubt where we are in the current cycle if the patterns of history hold true, and there is absolutely no reason to believe we are exempt from the powerful forces of generational shifts that have occurred with stunning regularity for centuries.
My purpose is not to sell anyone's book, although it is a great work. My concern is for our own time and place in history, our families, and our nation. Plenty of people may disagree with my observations or take umbrage with my expressions of such, but it is time to call a spade a spade.
The society of this late Unraveling era is a like a runaway train, rushing downhill toward a deep chasm, and the Boomers and post-GI Silents have been dismantling the bridge to the 21st century for the last couple of decades. Avoiding a crash will be a most unlikely outcome. Whether the younger generations can clear away the wreckage and rebuild the nation remains to be seen.
There is hope, and it is not to be found in the leadership and policies of the destructive Boomers and Silents that have already brought us to the point of disaster. In a few short years, the Boomers and their elders will be irrelevant to the course of the nation, other than forever bearing the blame for its near destruction.
According to the 2000 census, the Boomers and older Silents had a combined total of 122,627,672 eligible voters, with registered voters roughly split at 40/40 between Democrat and Republican and roughly 20% undecided or otherwise confused. Their collective numbers will only get less as they die off. The record shows that death hasn't deterred many Democrat voters, so they may hold steady at about 50 million or so for national elections, but that still will not be enough to keep their party relevant.
In 2000, the Gen-X and Gen-Y population had a combined total of 71,551,276 eligible voters.
In 2004, the Gen-X and Gen-Y population will have a combined total of 87,643,964 eligible voters.
In 2008, the Gen-X and Gen-Y population will have a combined total of 104,119,805 eligible voters. This will probably be the pivot point where the Boomer elite will start losing control over public policy, forevermore.
In 2012, the Gen-X and Gen-Y population will have a combined total of 120,704,207 eligible voters, and will be unlikely to share power with the older generations that shredded the economy and the culture, and sacrificed the sovereignty of the US for political points and campaign cash.
Younger voters today are more conservative and nationalistic than any generation we have known since WW-II, and they will become more so as the Fourth Turning crisis develops. The crude examples of Gen-Xers as displayed in the media (tree huggers, anarchists, eco-terrorists) are a small minority and are not representative of the generation as a whole.
The oldest Gen-Xers have been in the workforce since 1982. The oldest Gen-Y citizens started entering the workforce in 2002. What these younger people have seen is that the policies of business and government have been anti-merit, anti-American, counter-productive, overly complex and under-effective, and they have watched as the fabric of our culture and economy has been unraveled. They have watched as the boomers wasted millions upon millions on projects that failed because complexity and process were favored over success. They have seen their prospects for a piece of the American dream flushed down the toilet of socialist taxation and statist regulation.
When the crisis settles in solidly, with little room left to debate that it really is a crisis, we can expect these two younger generations to strongly exert their growing influence to pull the nation out of the hole. It will be a repeat of the two Generations that pulled the nation through the Great Depression and World War II. Once the Gen-Xers and Gen-Yers get motivated, their unity and determination to survive and succeed will surpass any generational effort the world has seen since World War II.
It will be interesting times.
Relatively few members of the populace were here to see the last Crisis era of the Great Depression and World War II, and their numbers are rapidly diminishing. Of the 14,344,217 remaining WW-II Hero generation (as of the 2000 census), those that can still make it to the polls will overwhelmingly vote with the younger generations that are replaying the Hero roles from the pinnacle of their lives.
Younger voters do tend to ignore elections until events and their peers energize them. A few renegade younger voters will adhere to their socialist indoctrination or will continue to take their Ritalin, and thus will be unreliable or dysfunctional. Their more active peers will persuade some of them to vote and act along the lines of national survival. The nature of a crisis era tends to unify and energize the younger adults in just such a manner.
When significant numbers of the younger voters become energized, their participation will increase at a phenomenal rate. They will more effectively use available technology to activate and persuade their age groups than any other existing voting bloc.
As the crisis era develops, and the younger voters get more active in politics and society, their message and determination will convince many of the older voters to relinquish their grip. The liberal Boomers will hang on the tightest because (1) they are inherently the most selfish, and (2) fewer of them have offspring (surviving) whose future they might consider.
What the Gen-Xers, and subsequently the Gen-Yers, will discover is that about half of the eligible voters of the Boomer generation regularly stay away from the polls, mostly because they don't have and haven't had representation from either party. That will change as the crisis deepens and the existing parties continue to offer the same failed policies, while the younger generations start demanding effectiveness and suggesting solutions that will work.
The solutions that will be proposed by the Gen-Xers will be straightforward and effective; the cost may be high when necessary (picture Eisenhower on D-Day, MacArthur in the Pacific). If there is a big war of this crisis era, it may very well be fought on US soil, and the sacrifices could be greater than World War II. The economic prelude to such a war started several years ago, and the Silent and Boomer elites refuse to recognize it as such. Either that, or they are party to its prosecution.
It simply is not true that Boomers will run the show indefinitely. In spite of their zealous attempts to live forever, they are faithfully passing from the scene at about the same rates as previous generations. The Gen-X and Gen-Y voters will dominate the body politic by 2012, and possibly as soon as 2008. All that is needed to correct the course of the nation is for them to get energized and united on the critical issues.
The liberals will only be able to hold a small minority of the Gen-X voters. The Republicans will be able to garner more of their votes, as the Gen-X voters are increasingly rejecting socialism and the Republican Party currently appears to be the only viable alternative. If the Republicans continue their skid to the left and continue to build up debt against the future of the Gen-X and Gen-Y voters, a new political party will become a highly saleable idea, possibly in time for the 2008 elections. Abe Lincoln, the first Republican president, came into office with the primary goal of preserving the union. It would be fitting that the next new major party to take power start with a similar objective, when both the Republicans and the Democrats are advocating policies that are sure to plunge the nation into the dark ages.
Although the Gen-Xers, as a whole, have a reputation for being free agents, latchkey kids, loners, bad kids, scapegoats, and risk takers, they will outgrow these labels. One label they will not outgrow is that of "survivor". As they move into midlife, the Gen-Xers are becoming more conservative and family centered, even as events pull them away or keep them away from their families. The Gen-Yers started life with closer family ties than either the Gen-Xers or Boomers, and they will cherish those memories and follow the Gen-Y leaders who try to rebuild from the Boomer wreckage.
Boomers created this. They must fix it.
Absolute hogwash. Boomer liberals grew up thinking they "knew it all" and as a consequence they rendered themselves incapable of learning anything. They protested their way through college, majoring in fluff and diversity, and entered the working world qualified to do absolutely nothing constructive. These same morons, later concerned about the marketability of their foolish educational pursuits, returned to school to capture the more lucrative law and MBA degrees. Then these cretins created markets for the legions of other similarly mis-educated fools. In a nutshell, that is why our government and businesses are failing.
The idea that these same squish-brained idealists can now "see the light" and become reformers of their own destruction would be laughable if it wasn't so dangerous.
Look at the situation from their selfish point of view.
True to form, the Boomers in old age are as much beset with conflicting fantasies as during the haze of the 1960s and 1970s.
Given a choice, the Boomer liberals would send the younger generations off to die in some nameless cause supporting our enemies. The Boomer Republicans are at least fighting our enemies, but they too are importing so many immigrants that future generations of citizens will be financially crippled and their standard of living will equal that of current third world countries.
The following message came from one disgruntled, but astute, Gen-Xer:
Even though many of the people of my generation in general are angry, anger can be a good thing because anger can lead to action, Like I said The biggest problem in my generation and the Ys is too many don't bother to vote or get involved but I am hoping as time goes by and their anger grows they will.
This anger towards the baby boomers is different from the past. In the past previous hostility between generations usually faded away as the younger generation matured. In today's case, I see the opposite happening with hostility toward the older baby boomers growing as the X & Ys age. The reason is because we have been propagandized during school and in the media on how great the 60s were and how enlightened the baby boomers are and it's not until we age that we start to see the damage to this country they and their "good intentions" have done. They are in power now and I feel in order to go forward we have to break the "Myth" of the baby boomers which would help in starting to get them out of power and undoing the damage they done.
Actually a big pitfall I see ahead is I think initially when the baby boomers start to retire we are going to have an upturn in the economy as many jobs will all of a sudden be available to Gen-X & Y who have to replace them. It will last a little bit giving everybody a sense of ease, Then soon after there will be a big and sudden crash which will take a long time (if ever) to recover from. And if Republicans are in power at the time of the crash they will take the blame and could lose big in the election giving total control back to the Rats that will only make things much worse.
In T3, remember how Arnold's character convinced John Conner that "anger is better than despair". Ironically, the major war of the near future is also a battle against the machines -- the bureaucratic, over-complicated, and malfunctioning machinery of business and government.
Throughout the last two decades, businesses tried on every management and technical fad that came down the pike, with little regard to whether the experiments added real benefit to their processes or bottom line.
Since the middle 1980s the success rate for large (over $10 million) software projects has remained steady at a big fat zero percent (Software Magazine 12/99). Technology projects produce tons of paper through increasingly complicated processes, and project failure is the rule rather than the exception. This is because form is valued over function, symbolism over substance, intentions over results, and process over success. Teamwork and buzzwords are the order of the day. Teams work hard at teamwork, and the team is a celebrated success, but the products and services are such failures that we now must send all the work halfway around the world.
New methodologies spring up, which are simply the old methodologies with new labels and additional layers of obfuscation. Frustrated with repeated project failures, they attempt to streamline the process by eliminating the less relevant steps, perhaps the detailed design. This might make perfect sense in a world where blind highway engineers never see a bridge or drive a vehicle.
This is a standard scenario for an Unraveling era in the cycle of history. The Gen-Xers grow increasingly frustrated as they try to make things work and Boomers gum up the works with ever more complicated processes, meaningless measurements and tons of redundant paperwork. The MBAs leading the charge are often of the Gen-X age group, but they are still trying to employ the methodologies of the 1980s and 1990s. When the failures pile up, the technical work gets outsourced, but the management and the methods stay in place, and the results are generally the same or worse.
The start of retirements for Boomers should have started a recovery, had they simply retired and allowed the younger workers to fill the jobs. Higher productivity with new technology and more streamlined processes would propel the US back to its rightful place among nations. However, the Boomers keep dropping turds in the punchbowl on their way out the door. In their panic to ensure that their selfish needs are met in the years to come, they have decided to flood the nation with immigrants, lowering the wages for all categories of employment. Terrified about their IRA and 401k returns, they set in motion the off shoring of manufacturing and high tech jobs to get the stock market numbers back up to par. Their great off shoring fiasco has already destroyed many of the potential high income jobs for the Gen-X workers, now they want to keep the younger workers out of Burger King with their immigration amnesty programs. Many of the Boomers themselves are remaining in the workforce extra years because their destructive policies have adversely affected their retirement funds.
To the Boomer mind, increasing immigration and off shoring jobs are the right things to do. They want cheap products, and they want more people paying into Social Security. Unfortunately, the jobs that have gone off shore produce no funds for income tax or social security, and the loss of those jobs creates a reverse multiplier effect in our economy.
Increasing immigration results in lower wages for immigrants and American workers. Two workers making $8 per hour as opposed to one worker at $20 per hour will pay much less into income tax and social security. The major disconnect among the Boomers, especially the liberals, is that they are incapable of acknowledging the results of their actions. Their intentions are all that matter to them. Whenever one of their hair-brained ideas produces undesirable results, their solution is another even more hair-brained idea.
Our economy has already sustained the first major devaluation of this Crisis era, and it most likely will sustain more. The Boomers are trying all their complicated money supply manipulations and whatnot to squeeze more blood out of the turnip. There will be some ups, but mostly downs in the economy until the Boomers are replaced in the decision-making positions.
Formerly sane economists are riding the globalist bandwagon, ignoring the fact that nations have always made foreign trade decisions in their own best national interests. The only thing different now is that the damages from foolish economic decisions stack up at the speed of broadband rather than that of the old clipper ships. The economists of the Boomer and Silent generations are oblivious to the fact that their historical Unraveling counterparts also went over the edge to the detriment of their own people. It's time for economists to come down from the money supply clouds and look at the basics again: production, consumption, and distribution.
The only sure way to get the economic engine roaring will be production, American production -- manufacturing, mining, timber, farming, transportation, and all the technology and lateral support needed for those processes. A consumer based economy cannot sustain itself unless the consumers have jobs and income. Even more importantly, a nation at war cannot survive or win without manufacturing. The environmental whackos have to be pushed aside, along with many useless agencies, and the regulations and taxes hindering domestic production must be eliminated.
Gen-Xers must energize and they must vote. They must take their place in the body politic and in business. The decisions made by Gen-X people in government and business will be pragmatic and simple, but effective.
The greatest danger is that during the coming crisis the Democrats might get back into power. FDR used the Great Depression as a vehicle to expand government to a monstrous size. The existing crop of liberal Democrats would turn this nation into a facsimile of NAZI Germany, with or without the fashionable attire. Once back in power, the liberals would use any means to stay there, in spite of what the voters may want.
If the Democrats lose in 2004, as any reasonable person should hope, they might as well hang it up. With relatively fraud-free elections, the voters for the next two decades will continuously move to the right. The Republicans will continue to draw criticism for their capitulation to leftist policies, but will continue to get the votes until a more conservative party presents a viable option to ensure the national survival and recovery.
It is my belief and hope that liberals will enjoy a crushing defeat in 2004, such that they never raise their voices again. In such a case, the Republicans in 2008 could be facing off against a new party of young conservatives backed by all the Boomer conservatives that the Republicans have abandoned.
The Gen-X hostility and frustration is righteous. Many younger Boomers are in the same boat and have been fighting the same battles for twenty or more years.
Things have to change, and they will. The deepening crisis will force the changes. In order for the changes to be in a positive direction (for the United States), the Gen-Xers will have to become leaders. They must be able to push aside what doesn't work, and do what has to be done.
When the fate of the nation is hanging in the balance, the Gen-X leaders and Gen-Y soldiers will hit the beach, and just as for Eisenhower, MacArthur and their troops, a grateful nation will surrender the reins, and render its blessings.
Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social aspects that directly effects Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1982) including all the spending previous generations (i.e. The Baby Boomers) 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.
I like this line.
The major disagreement I have with this article is the time line. I believe that half-measures will be used to patch things up and allow the socialist experiment to continue for longer than suggested here. I think that we may see thirty years before the chickens come home to roost.
Let's see what happens in Kalifornia in the near term. That will give us an inkling of how the system responds to failing socialism. So far, I am not encouraged.
You may be right. Then I can repost it in Spanish or Chinese.
I agree with the article foreseeing the demise of the Democrat Party. It is out of breath. It has no ideas. The Republicans will continue to shift left, however.
It does appear that the Republicans will take over as the party for retirees. They and the AARP will be able to share letterhead.
They certainly don't act interested in the future of the younger generations.
We boomers aren't/weren't selfish, you have to look at the whole period leading up to the baby boom through today. We tried to make things better in a world where we had no roadmap as a guide.
The nihilistic Boomers tried their best to destroy all the best "roadmaps" we had, such as the U.S. Constitution. "Trying to make things better" with repeated "disasterous results" is one of the main points of my article.
The social programs groomed by the Boomer radicals over the past decades have resulted in the destruction of urban American families and communities and cost the nation trillions dollars. When the Boomer Democrats made their record debut in Congress in 1974, they immediately started attacking the domestic oil industry and American manufacturing industries to the detriment of millions of families. The environmental movement has resulted in the destruction by fire of many millions of acres of western forest, some of which will never recover.
we also pushed the envelope with successes in science, exploration, the environment, education, engineering, health, etc., etc.
The technology for the computer revolution and all the "modern" household technology sprang from the space race of the 1960s and the Cold War of the 1970s and 1980s, both of which were led by the aging WW-II GI generation, and both of which were protested by the Boomer hippies and yuppies.
Thanks for the bump, anyway.
Hopefully, your children and your grandchildren won't be like you. Hopefully, they won't blame you for all the ills of the world, but will accept the world into which they were born as a reality and deal with it."
Well said. Unfortunately each new generation does this and thinks they are on to something new. The inherent imperfection of mankind assures this. I guess its just a stage...a learning process each generation goes thru.
Yeah, education is sterling & wonderful. At all levels public education in America is boldly blazing a trail to 3rd world literacy right here in the US.
It wouldn't matter much anyway. SS benefits would hardly cover the electric bill these days.
Too many Republicans have become cheerleaders just like their Democrat counterparts. It matters little if government works, so long as their team is winning.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.