Skip to comments.Generational war is brewing
Posted on 11/10/2005 1:22:46 PM PST by qam1
America should prepare for a big fat war between the generations. Its going to be ugly.
On one side is the baby boom generation, which retires and claims a ton of government benefits. On the other are younger workers, forced to fund those benefits plus pay the bills their elders left them.
When the war comes, the Federal Reserve chairman will have to be a general. That person will likely be Bush nominee Ben Bernanke. The question is, for which side will he fight?
Outgoing Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan tried to represent both sides. He supported the Bush tax cuts.
This gave comfort to todays taxpayers, who chose not to charge themselves for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the new Medicare drug benefit and the quarter-billion-dollar bridge to nowhere.
Last spring, Greenspan did service for the other side. I fear that we may have already committed more physical resources to the baby boom generation in its retirement years than our economy has the capacity to deliver, he said.
One solution would be to ramp-up means-testing for Medicare, the health insurance plan for the elderly. Greenspan would reconfigure the program to be relatively generous to the poor and stingy to the rich.
The political reality is that the baby boom generation expects to see the nice government handouts its retired parents enjoyed, and then some. Younger workers expect to be taxed at todays lower rates. One group will be very disappointed or perhaps both groups because there is no way the Candyland economics of today can go on.
The whole alarming future is nicely mapped out in a book, The Coming Generational Storm, by Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff and Scott Burns, a personal-finance columnist at The Dallas Morning News.
Kotlikoff and Burns clearly sympathize with younger Americans and Americans not yet born, who will be paying both our bills and their own. Does it feel better, the authors write, if those unknown victims of our rapacity are someone elses children and the children of those children and the children of those children of those children?
Sounds like war to me. Kotlikoff and Burns try to be meticulously nonpartisan, but I wont. Though the irresponsible policymaking spanned decades, todays mad deficits rush us closer to disaster. Democrats are not shy about pushing for retiree benefits, but at least they consider raising taxes to pay for them. Not the current crowd, whose spend-and-borrow strategy is the 1919 Versailles Treaty of this-century America: an unstable setup that guarantees future conflict.
The scam is that the tax cuts are not really wiping the nations slate clean of tax obligations. When spending exceeds tax revenues, the difference must be borrowed. That debt does not disappear. It gets paid for, with interest, by someones taxes. So the Bush cuts simply move the taxes from one generation of shoulders to another.
Bernanke would certainly come to the Fed job with good credentials. Head of the presidents Council of Economic Advisers, he formerly chaired the Princeton economics department. Bernanke seems OK, but other candidates were more upfront about deficits.
One was Martin Feldstein, President Ronald Reagans top economic adviser. Feldstein drew flak for criticizing the Reagan deficits. The Bush White House wouldnt want to hear that kind of thing. Anyway, theres no need to worry about making ends meet when you can use the next generations credit card.
Another Republican contender for the Fed job was Larry Lindsey. He was fired as a Bush adviser in 2002, after predicting that the war in Iraq would cost up to $200 billion, a figure already passed. Lindsey did not understand: One simply does not talk price in the Bush administration.
Given the presidents tendency to give top jobs to those closest, we can give thanks that he did not nominate his banker brother. Neil Bush played a major role in the Silverado Savings & Loan fiasco of the 1980s, which cost taxpayers $1 billion.
Or perhaps the president was doing the big-brotherly thing in protecting Neil from a job sure to be filled with strife.
The person who heads the Fed in the next decade will be trying to steer the nation through the perfect economic storm. Good luck to the new chairman, and to all the generations.
No, we have to. to pay for our kids.
Ah, those of us born in 1962 must think alike. I hope it catches on. I just sent the following to my mother this morning who was whining about Social Security cuts, Medicaid cuts, hoping there would be no drilling in ANWR, etc.
Dont know what you are talking about re Social Security and the Democrats. You can forward it to me if you want. Medicaid and social security will be protected for your generation. For mine, Norms and Nicoles, however, were on our own. Thats fine with me. I dont want the Government in my knickers. Hopefully more of our generation will feel the same way as there wont be anything for us to get. As for Social Security, Im mad that the Republicans wont support the President and go to the mat for personal retirement savings accounts. Dont really care about the Democratic view on this issue since the Party doesnt support personal accounts. I am deeply disappointed that ANWR was removed from the bill and will be talking with my elected representatives if any were of the 50 Republicans that wanted it removed. I have already told my Senator I am for drilling of the coast of Florida outside 100 miles. But really all these issues are irrelevant if radical Islam continues to fester worldwide. Just my opinion of course.
Sad thing is, with the now almost mandatory employer health insurance, there is a big incentive to cull off as many older employees as possible.
And the flip side...
I brought you into this world and I can take you out.
Cheers to all! ;^)
Curious - can you take your arsenal w/ you to PI ?
We baby boomers reared too many kids without fathers out of our selfishness. It will come back to bite us.
The point WOMEN were choosing to abort babies long before it was legal...*Rosie* a woman my mother knew in the late 40's gave abortions with Lysol, Castille Soap and performed thousands before she was arressted, my aunt (Mom's sister) went to her 27 times and died at 37 she also had 6 children, her husband finally allowed her to get on the Pill but it was to late she died.
There is no doubt the baby boom generation will screw us when they get the chance. They screwed most of us by not giving us two-parent, loving, stable homes...aborting our brothers and sisters.....I could go on and on and on....
It is nice to see a baby boomer admit it.....
why 100 miles?
I see you are here now...You need to know this is a falsehood, WOMEN have been aborting babies long before it was legal....just cause you did not hear of it on MSM did not mean it wasn't happening.
Seniors traditionally are the voters, NOT the younger generations. I'm an Older X'er (born 1965) and fully expect to be screwed over by the feds in the next few years.
This has been going on since the '30's, when our grandparents and great-grandparents voted to take money from our parents.
I think the writer isn't as familiar with the numbers as he pretends. If Bill Gates organized each of the 9 million millionaires in the US to give $1 million to the US treasury, this would more than pay off our $7 trillion growing national debt. Bill Gates said he doesn't think the rich pay enough taxes.
Plus the US just lost $7-8 trillion on 9/11. I don't remember seeing people lining up at the soup kitchens. The economy barely blinked.
That is kinda hard to do when many of these children come from drug-addicted, broken, abusive families (ya know that sexual revolution thing you guys so greatly gave us)....alot of these kids don't know how to be an adult....never had anyone to teach them..
It would also have helped if half of our generation had not been aborted.
True and also NOT True..Women just decided they were not going to be forced to stay in abusive marraiges with men like there mothers HAD TOO! If your husband beat you in the 40's and you went home to your Mother's house, they sent you back to your husband and said:
*Look you have children, stay with your husband he supports you*
I know that....that is NOT my point. My point is that your generation made it fashionable. (NOT you in particular)
First, it's YOUR debt to.
As a conservative, if you make a bill, you pay it. You don't get to run out on a bill.
I do agree with your lack of faith in government and I would say there needs to be a law directing estate taxes (which already exist) toward payment of the national debt, because if we don't do that, the government will have a spending fest. We agree on that point.
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