A key question came up in our email the other day; it came from BoomerCafé’s Ranter-In-Residence, Maryland resident and author Carrier Slocomb. But he’s not asking the question; he’s hearing it, and not liking it. The question is, Are baby boomers taking too much from everyone else?
You’re a boomer so you’ve heard the question being asked yourself. But while it seems extreme, we should take the question seriously, because it suggests that boomers consume more resources than any other age group on our planet.
Dateline Maryland: Our son’s friend reports that he lives in his parents’ basement, has a mammoth college debt, can’t find work to justify his degree, and is so under-employed that he and his girlfriend can’t begin to dream about settling down. He adds, “Know what bugs us? That you old farts have such a death-grip on everything.”
Younger people aren’t the only ones saying this; so are many of our peers. What’s your opinion? Are we taking more than our fair share from those generations coming up behind us?
Worldwide, there are about 450-million boomers, making us a hefty generational group. Politically and commercially we’re a powerhouse, and we will be until the day we fade away. Criticism against us remains unapologetic though; in fact we’re often compared to enormous deer herds stripping bare everyone else’ range. I guess when your worldwide birth-group matches the current populations of the United States and Russia combined, you’re bound to do damage.
Yet there’s this nagging feeling that everything was fine and everyone was fine with us while we were part of the workforce. We earned paychecks, bought stuff, and paid our taxes. Now, we’re retiring; leaving towns, cities, states, and the nation to roll elsewhere. Is it possible that with so many boomers leaving the workforce, tremendous shortfalls are felt in tax bases everywhere -– federal, state, local, property, wages, and sales? This means that essential services, stable home prices, roads, new factories and schools can’t seriously be allocated for, right?
And because every one of us sees life most clearly at the local level, people everywhere are making large, pardonable mistakes about who boomers are. Not to mention, what we’ve contributed. So the question is: Are we parasitic deer, doing in everyone’s precious rose bushes? Or worse, are we noxious grubs tunneling into what’s left of the world’s social net?
The world economy is stressed out with or without our efforts, but are stressors, like massive tax shortfalls, happening because we’re retiring and shedding our assets? Aren’t many of us doing the only thing we can, relying on Social Security and Medicare to get us through? This might be the heart of the debate -– that we boomers are eating into social funds during less affluent times, and because we’re such a massive group, everyone’s certain we’ll destroy their future funding.
Admittedly fortunes have changed — America’s, ours’, and the world’s. It’s no secret that we boomers came up during cheaper decades. This gave us years to buy what we have and to build equity, something young people can’t do easily in this costly era. Does this make us a huge, ravenous herd possessing an economic death-grip?
America is an amazingly dynamic place -– you can still bank on US. Of all the countries in the world, the U.S. still remains the best place to build a business. It’s also important to remember that down economies always reverse themselves. So please don’t go culling us old farts out of the woods, not just yet.