The stock market crash provides more fodder for the generation wars. Becky C., a libertarian Arizona GenXer who blogs on "Just a Girl in Short Shorts," uses the occasion to engaged in some spirited Boomer bashing, putting a generational spin on the $700 billion government bail-out of the financial sector.
"In the last few months as their 401(k)s started slipping in value--- who would a guessed it—here come the Boomers. It instantly became imperative that the federal government bail them out. Who ever promised them that the stock market would go up in value for ever and ever? ...As far as Becky C. is concerned, Boomers are pretty much the source of all problems. We Boomers are "worthless and hollow." We drive giant SUVs and suck up oil. We eat at McDonalds and get fat. Politically, we've totally sold out. Instead of saving the world, we're padding our wallets.
"If you are a Boomer the operative word is entitlement-- and you will get all those things which you so richly deserve--even if it is necessary to mortgage the country and your children's future. Who cares about that—the kids and grandkids will pay the bill—and they will be happy to do it—because you are all so special."
We've heard a lot of this before, and much of it is wildly off base -- even if it comes from a hot blogger in short shorts. Boomers, for all their flaws, are not the ones who set up the Social Security and Medicare systems to bankrupt the country. Those were creations of the New Deal and Great Society, with modifications by various presidents since then, and Boomers played little role in creating them. If Becky C. is looking for the guilty parties who have fought off every effort to put those programs on an actuarially sounder basis, she should take a drive through one of the massive retirement communities in her own state of Arizona, which she'll find comprised mainly of members of the Silent and G.I. generations.
Far from feeling entitled to an early, financially secure retirement, Boomers are the first American generation since... well, since forever... that has abandoned the dream of retiring at an earlier age than the preceding generation. The latest evidence, which reinforces numerous earlier reports, comes from a Sun Life Financial study. Nearly half the respondents said that they expected to work past 67 -- a sentiment that was strongest in the 50-59 Boomer age bracket. Only six years ago, the average retirement age was 62.
So, take that, hot pants!