Baby Boomers

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vivacious
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Baby Boomers

Post by vivacious » Fri Nov 29, 2013 12:18 pm

Are baby boomers the worst generation? This is a broad generalization but they seem to have sold out the most of any generation before or after and have caused many of the problems we have in the world today in a single generation. It seems like they've more or less defined the world and not necessarily in a good way. Thoughts? Agree? Disagree?

vivacious
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Re: Baby Boomers

Post by vivacious » Fri Nov 29, 2013 1:16 pm

I'm not saying all baby boomers are bad or anything like that. But that one generation seemed to change a lot. Things were much less corporate/consumerist before the 80s when everyone sold out.

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theanimal
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Re: Baby Boomers

Post by theanimal » Fri Nov 29, 2013 1:38 pm

I think baby boomers just continued/fully developed the whole advertising/commercial campaign that was started by the generation before them( Is there a name?). After WWII, television advertising really took off for the first time as more and more televisions found themselves in American homes. Buying stuff was thought to be "patriotic" and in order to support your country you would buy buy buy.

I don't think problems can be attributed to one generation or another. It seems like most are a result from contribution of multiple generations.

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chenda
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Re: Baby Boomers

Post by chenda » Fri Nov 29, 2013 2:10 pm

There was also a huge amount of very positive change which happened in the post war decades which we tend to take for granted today. But blaming or crediting an entire generation for particular changes is too simplistic. Changes is the result of complex processes and rarely, if ever, simply the result of some collective decision making process. Frequently the reverse in fact.

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YoungAndWise
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Re: Baby Boomers

Post by YoungAndWise » Fri Nov 29, 2013 2:17 pm

@theanimal: I think you are referring to the Silent Generation.

And I agree with him on the fact that the baby boomers were the ones to take previous scenario to it conclusion. And they are on the receiving end of criticism for it, holding the bags on the train.

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Ego
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Re: Baby Boomers

Post by Ego » Fri Nov 29, 2013 2:28 pm

I believe the Boomers and to some extent those of us who followed closely behind, created wealth and maintained it in pre-tax dollars* while at the same time the government (fed, state & local) borrowed heavily to finance daily expenses. Consequently, the Boomers are the wealthiest generation in human history, bar none, living in an extremely indebted nation. The parents of the Boomers did not have these pre-tax wealth-accumulation loopholes and they earned with much higher tax rates.


*401K, IRA, Medical Savings Plan, Mortgage Interest Deduction, Principal Residence Capital Gains Tax Exemption, Low Tax Rates.

7Wannabe5
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Re: Baby Boomers

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Sun Dec 01, 2013 9:19 am

Well, my Silent Generation parents used to warn Gen X me and my baby sisters not to play in the woods by our spanking new model suburban community because that was where the "bad" teenagers (Baby Boomers) hung out so I can verify that it is true that they are pretty darn "bad" but I don't think they are the absolute "worst." (For instance, they can not be held responsible for the creation of Emo and there is less litter scattered about than 40 years ago.) Of course, I'm in a bit of a demographic sweet spot in terms of economic trickle down effect (given my natural tendency to regard Sean Connery style-bald and Alec Baldwin-style paunch as attractive) so..grain of salt.

George the original one
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Re: Baby Boomers

Post by George the original one » Sun Dec 01, 2013 6:11 pm

> the Boomers are the wealthiest generation in human history

I think you give Boomers too much credit. _Some_ Boomers are the wealthiest, but _most_ Boomers have not saved enough for retirement, so how can they be wealthy?

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Ego
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Re: Baby Boomers

Post by Ego » Sun Dec 01, 2013 8:15 pm

George the original one wrote: _Some_ Boomers are the wealthiest, but _most_ Boomers have not saved enough for retirement, so how can they be wealthy?
True. A portion of the money saved by those who did so should have been paid toward government expenses because over the entire adult lives of the Baby Boomers the government was borrowing to pay bills while at the same time giving tax breaks to the savers.

Look at the chart from a historical perspective. Look at the (voting) lifespan of the average Baby Boomer. Who will go down in history as the spendthrifts? The oldest boomers cast their first vote in 1968. Look what happens as they become more politically active and begin to earn the big bucks. That's when they vote themselves the big breaks....


1981. IRA's Introduced
1986: Mortgage Interest Deduction
1997: Principal Residence Capital Gains Tax Exclusion

Image

And the here are the top marginal tax rates over those Boomer voting years....

Image

Now let's look to the future. About 8000 Boomers per day are becoming wards of the state (Medicare, Social Security, Unsustainable Pension Levels). They cling firmly to that ill gotten gain AND cling to their unsustainable entitlement levels. Something's got to give. Sadly, my generation will likely follow in their footsteps and push it off to the Boomer's grandchildren.... to infinity and beyond. Sucks for them.

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chenda
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Re: Baby Boomers

Post by chenda » Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:07 am

Although national debt has fallen in real terms since 1945:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fed ... to2012.svg

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Riggerjack
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Re: Baby Boomers

Post by Riggerjack » Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:26 am

Chenda, that link goes to a chart of debt to GDP, not debt corrected for inflation.

By starting at WWII, it only shows a time period of abnormally high debt, and GDP growth.

As for generational generalizations, there are some great boomers out there, I just didn't meet them until recently. So I may not be objective. My experiences seem to be much different from those that come up on this board. In my opinion, boomers tend to have all the failings I associate with progressives, but then, I live in the blue part of a blue sate, so there's sure to be overlap.

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Chad
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Re: Baby Boomers

Post by Chad » Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:29 am

chenda wrote:Although national debt has fallen in real terms since 1945:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fed ... to2012.svg
True. Our economy did quite well during the 50's and 60's. This growth made the total debt number look small as a percent. But, starting in the mid-70's (Boomers come of age) it starts to creep back up until our current poor position.

In my eyes, this is even worse. They were given a ridiculous head start and then squandered it. Though, as others have said, it's not completely the Boomers fault. They did build on the:
theanimal wrote:I think baby boomers just continued/fully developed the whole advertising/commercial campaign that was started by the generation before them( Is there a name?).
The names would be the Silent, Greatest/GI, and Lost. They started it and the Boomers perfected it. Interesting that the "free love" generation perfected greed. I would lay 60-70% of the blame on the Boomers for the debt.

In the end, Gen X will have done it's share of adding debt. However, it's angst ridden attack on institutions sets the stage for the Millennials to rebuild. (wikipedia does a good job of summarizing Strauss & Howe http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strauss%E2 ... nal_theory)

"Recessive Generations
Nomad: Unraveling as young adults. Unraveling, defined: Institutions are weak and distrusted, individualism is strong and flourishing"
chenda wrote:There was also a huge amount of very positive change which happened in the post war decades which we tend to take for granted today. But blaming or crediting an entire generation for particular changes is too simplistic. Changes is the result of complex processes and rarely, if ever, simply the result of some collective decision making process. Frequently the reverse in fact.
Societal change was mostly done by the Silent and Greatest generation, as they were the holders of the seats of power when all the societal changes happened in the 60's. Hell, most Boomers weren't even out of grade school yet, and some weren't even born (The Boomers are roughly 1946 up to 1964). The Boomers get far too much credit for major positive societal changes during the the 60's other than the ones dealing with sex.
George the original one wrote:> the Boomers are the wealthiest generation in human history

I think you give Boomers too much credit. _Some_ Boomers are the wealthiest, but _most_ Boomers have not saved enough for retirement, so how can they be wealthy?
Not saving doesn't mean they weren't the wealthiest, it just means they didn't save.

RealPerson
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Re: Baby Boomers

Post by RealPerson » Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:31 am

chenda wrote:Although national debt has fallen in real terms since 1945:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fed ... to2012.svg
I read this chart differently. WW2 was a huge aberration for obvious reasons. If you remove the exceptional and unique war effort, the national debt in real terms is at an enormous level, and climbing at an alarming rate. The chart looks a little less alarming because of the projected flattening of the chart, but I don't pay much attention to "projections". They usually turn out to be wrong. The chart shows that a decreasing debt is always the result of a large economic expansion, not frugality on the part of politicians. That is why our debt is exploding: 5 years of recession/anemic growth, combined with rapidly rising government largesse.

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Chad
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Re: Baby Boomers

Post by Chad » Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:34 am

Riggerjack wrote:Chenda, that link goes to a chart of debt to GDP, not debt corrected for inflation.

By starting at WWII, it only shows a time period of abnormally high debt, and GDP growth.

As for generational generalizations, there are some great boomers out there, I just didn't meet them until recently. So I may not be objective. My experiences seem to be much different from those that come up on this board. In my opinion, boomers tend to have all the failings I associate with progressives, but then, I live in the blue part of a blue sate, so there's sure to be overlap.
The Boomers are hardly only progressives.

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Felix
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Re: Baby Boomers

Post by Felix » Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:43 am

I find the Century of the self documentary to be very enlightening here.
https://archive.org/details/AdamCurtis- ... yOfTheSelf

I've always wondered what turned hippies into their opposite. This series gives a good explanation for that.

George the original one
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Re: Baby Boomers

Post by George the original one » Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:18 am

Chad wrote: Not saving doesn't mean they weren't the wealthiest, it just means they didn't save.
C'mon, you know income isn't wealth. If you want to say the Boomers have had the highest incomes, then I'm okay, but saying that they're wealthy is wrong.

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Chad
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Re: Baby Boomers

Post by Chad » Mon Dec 02, 2013 11:54 am

George the original one wrote:
Chad wrote: Not saving doesn't mean they weren't the wealthiest, it just means they didn't save.
C'mon, you know income isn't wealth. If you want to say the Boomers have had the highest incomes, then I'm okay, but saying that they're wealthy is wrong.
Our ERE definition of wealth is not appropriate for this discussion. During that time period the Boomers controlled the largest piece of wealth in the history of the world. By either saving or spending that wealth they influence the country and the world.

For instance, you get $1,000 and I get $1M over one year. During that year I spend all $1M and you save $900. Anyone who looks at that time frame will conclude that I was wealthier during that time.

It's not about how much they have now, but how much they had then.

Seneca
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Re: Baby Boomers

Post by Seneca » Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:48 pm

Ego wrote:
George the original one wrote: _Some_ Boomers are the wealthiest, but _most_ Boomers have not saved enough for retirement, so how can they be wealthy?
True. A portion of the money saved by those who did so should have been paid toward government expenses because over the entire adult lives of the Baby Boomers the government was borrowing to pay bills while at the same time giving tax breaks to the savers.

Look at the chart from a historical perspective. Look at the (voting) lifespan of the average Baby Boomer. Who will go down in history as the spendthrifts? The oldest boomers cast their first vote in 1968. Look what happens as they become more politically active and begin to earn the big bucks. That's when they vote themselves the big breaks....


1981. IRA's Introduced
1986: Mortgage Interest Deduction
1997: Principal Residence Capital Gains Tax Exclusion


And the here are the top marginal tax rates over those Boomer voting years....


Now let's look to the future. About 8000 Boomers per day are becoming wards of the state (Medicare, Social Security, Unsustainable Pension Levels). They cling firmly to that ill gotten gain AND cling to their unsustainable entitlement levels. Something's got to give. Sadly, my generation will likely follow in their footsteps and push it off to the Boomer's grandchildren.... to infinity and beyond. Sucks for them.
Tax rates are only low if you compare to the 50's and 60's, they have been high over the lives of the Boomers compared to the tax rates of most of this country's history.

That aside, IMO tax rates really aren't the best part to look at, total tax take is. Total income tax take as a percentage of GDP is similarly high today to the 50's and 60's (and hit the all time peak in 2000).

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts ... ?Docid=205

http://www.usgovernmentrevenue.com/revenue_history

Government spending as a function of GDP has been on a steady march up for the last 8 decades with a tax policy that while markedly higher, did not keep pace with the spending.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshbarro/2 ... -spending/

Don't worry though, it's just numbers on spreadsheets, easy to fix...

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chenda
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Re: Baby Boomers

Post by chenda » Mon Dec 02, 2013 1:54 pm

I agree WW2 was an aberration, and debt levels are currently very high in a historical context. However just showing nominal amounts, or even inflation adjusted (without considering population and economic growth), give a very misleading picture of debt.

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Ego
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Re: Baby Boomers

Post by Ego » Mon Dec 02, 2013 6:22 pm

Historical context. That's what I was after with those graphs. Per capita graphs look just as bad.

Three hundred years from now how will people look back on the boomer generation? When we think of it in those terms we start to realize that it is not unreasonable to demand that boomers pay a large chunk of the costs for any "solution" to whatever "problems" are manufactured over the next twenty years or so. Some will see this demand as bullying helpless old folks or will avoid it out of a sense of filial duty. The more we talk about it now the easier it will be when the time comes.

The Boomers will go down in history as the generation that had their cake, ate it too and tried to sneak another cake into the grave with them. We've got to give kids permission to take away their cake and not feel bad about doing it.

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jennypenny
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Re: Baby Boomers

Post by jennypenny » Mon Dec 02, 2013 6:45 pm

I think I'd describe Boomers as having *consumed* the most.

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Re: Baby Boomers

Post by Seneca » Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:06 pm

Ego wrote:Historical context. That's what I was after with those graphs. Per capita graphs look just as bad.

Three hundred years from now how will people look back on the boomer generation? When we think of it in those terms we start to realize that it is not unreasonable to demand that boomers pay a large chunk of the costs for any "solution" to whatever "problems" are manufactured over the next twenty years or so. Some will see this demand as bullying helpless old folks or will avoid it out of a sense of filial duty. The more we talk about it now the easier it will be when the time comes.

The Boomers will go down in history as the generation that had their cake, ate it too and tried to sneak another cake into the grave with them. We've got to give kids permission to take away their cake and not feel bad about doing it.
In 300 years, I suspect nobody will care enough about the Boomers to write on them, unless they financially break the country somehow, and even then I suspect they'd elude blame.

I don't notice the generational fascination in historical literature I see in current pop culture.

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Ego
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Re: Baby Boomers

Post by Ego » Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:38 pm

Seneca wrote: In 300 years, I suspect nobody will care enough about the Boomers to write on them, unless they financially break the country somehow, and even then I suspect they'd elude blame.

I don't notice the generational fascination in historical literature I see in current pop culture.
I wonder.... I think we know so much more about Boomers because they are the first generation captured start-to-finish on home movies. We can watch them grow up in ways we couldn't watch the average Victorian. Three hundred years from now people will still be watching, comparing, contrasting. They will feel connected to the Boomers in ways they will never feel connected to the Victorian.

And I believe this is what they will think of.....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wyx053CNMag

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Re: Baby Boomers

Post by Seneca » Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:19 pm

Ego wrote:
And I believe this is what they will think of.....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wyx053CNMag
I was kinda thinking this one- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBvIweCIgwk

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Re: Baby Boomers

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Tue Dec 03, 2013 9:32 am

The Boomers aren't counting on their own children to pay the bills for their old age. They are importing the best and brightest children from other lands to do that. Maybe I'm wrong but it's the only logical explanation I can come up with for the schizophrenic divide between our current legal immigration policies vs. our diplomatic policies. Pick any halfway decent American university at random and then any scientific/technical graduate department at random and then do a quick rough calculation of what percentage of the teaching and/or student body is from a part of the world we currently deem as uncivilized or backwards or threatening for other purposes.

Anyways, I was born in 1965 and I figure I can count on collecting at least 10 years of Social Security due to flight from regions there will never be enough copper to electrify...unless somebody does something truly stupid.

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