Monday, August 25, 2014

Baby Boomer Bashers

For the past several years (especially since the Great Recession) I've been seeing an uprising by some people who believe that older Americans (specifically, the "Baby Boomers") are to blame for most of the problems that younger Americans (such as the "Millennials") are having today.

Not so.

The way I see it, it's not the boomer generation that's to blame, but a political party who enabled so much corruption and greed beginning over 40 years ago (by conservative Republicans of the previous generation) — and because of another political party (Third Way and New Democrats) who were either too weak and wimpy (or too greedy themselves) to counter the GOP's agenda and political propaganda.

Instead, these "new" Democrats compromised on too many issues while trying to "play nice" with the Republicans, rather than listening to the Progressive Democrats, who took a much stronger stand on issues that mostly benefited ordinary Americans, and not just catered to the super rich and big business. Progressives* (who caucus with the Democrats) have constantly advocated for such things as raising the minimum wage, eliminating tax loopholes and raising the cap for Social Security.

Progressives* today are more like the Democrats of FDR's day (and are not Socialists or Communists) — and so they are not necessarily "far left" as the media labels them. See my post: Democrats Moving Left, not Center. In 1952 Harry Truman said, "The people don't want a phony Democrat". Throughout 4 election cycles over 16 years, Republicans and Democrats alike had voted overwhelming for a Progressive (Democratic) presidential candidate. His name was Franklin Delaware Roosevelt. Since then, politics (which was always corrupt) became that much more (especially when we can't rely on candidates to abide by publicly-funded elections.)

And most of the Democrats today are phony Democrats.

Now, because of corruption and greed in politics (and not because of a certain generation of people), we have an unfair and corrupt tax code, horrible and unfair trade deals, skyrocketing college tuitions, corruption and bias in the courts, prisons for profits, low and stagnant wages (and not "living" wages) and a massive lack of jobs — helped in part by an exodus of domestic jobs going to foreign countries with cheaper labor (countries who also have more lenient or non-existent labor, safety, regulatory and environmental laws).

Because of corruption and greed (at all age levels, in both major political parties), we now have greater cost-of-living expenses, multinational monopolies and monopsonies squeezing us dry, huge budget and trade deficits, gerrymandered congressional districts, voter suppression laws and corrupt and greedy politicians with no moral compass that are driving this country further and further into decline.

And because income and wealth inequality is historically high today, the majority of Americans, including the majority of the Baby Boomers, are also suffering for this.

Here is a recent comment I received for my blog post: White House: Boomers Reason for Declining Work Force:

"You baby boomers are the most selfish generation to ever exist. You destroyed your own children's and grandchildren's future with your short-sighted selfishness and immaturity. And then you expect them to pay for your retirement???? Can you baby boomers just hurry up and drop dead, please?"

And here is a recent comment I read at this post for the Harvard Business Review: The Conversation We Should Be Having About Corporate Taxes:

"With the next generation in the US further burdened by the baby boomer's tendency to rape and pillage the economy and environment for our current consumption, I wouldn't blame the millenials if they refuse to pay the social security tax for us."

I've heard similar sentiments being expressed by younger people for quite a while; and in some aspects, these "Baby Boomer Bashers" were correct in that those Boomers who are also policymakers, economists, think tank wonks and politicians in both major political parties have used generational warfare* to divide and conquer us (Americans of all age groups, generations, political affiliation and religion) to perpetuate the ideology, policies, ideals and strategies of those who were from an earlier generation (the Greatest Generation), going all the way back to the Powell Memo in 1971.

The GOP has been using the strategy of class warfare for decades, dividing all types of people (black and white, middle-class and poor, North and South, makers and takers, women and men, Christians and Atheists, gays and straights, pro-choicers and pro-lifers, etc.) in their attempts to win arguments and sway the public's opinion. The Republicans have used this strategy to divide all classes of people using "wedge issues" (all EXCEPT the super-rich in the top 0.01% and everybody else). And now they and the "Third Way" Democrats (phony Democrats) also use generational warfare* to divide us on issues such as Social Security.

Whereas, the "Baby Boomers" in the Progressive Party (and those like myself) want what greatly benefits most of the people ...and most of the time (average American workers) — and not just those in the top 0.01% and their large multinational corporations. So if you are NOT a Baby Boomer, but constantly vote and advocate for positions that are against your own best economic interests, and by NOT voting for Progressive candidates whenever you can, then don't blame the Baby Boomers like me for all your problems, blame yourself.

This "Boomer" wants to preserve and strengthen programs like Social Security so that YOU TOO will have it when you get older. This "Boomer" wants YOU TOO to earn the "living wages" that I once earned in the 1970s when many more better paying jobs were much more prevalent. This "Boomer" also wants YOU TOO to have the same affordable higher education that was once available to us "Boomers" when we were your age. Most of us "Boomers" didn't rape and pillage this country — and a lot of "Boomers" like myself have advocated for many (if not all) of the same things you want and/or are also against. So don't blame me either.

I am always telling my fellow "Boomers" that I feel so blessed that I was born, and spent most of my working years, during the best days of America's middle-class economy — and that I feel very sorry for those who turned 18 years old in 2008 during the Great Recession. While it might be too late for the "Millenials" today (especially with the escalation of more offshoring, robotics and automation), you can help your children and grand-children to fix income and wealth inequality by voting for Progressive candidates going forward.

If not, when all us Boomers are dead and gone (the last one being born on December 31, 1964), then all those 18-years-olds in 2008 (and those born later) will only have the Millennials (and Gen X) to blame 20 to 30 years from now. Sure, they could still blame us, but by then we won't be around to defend ourselves any longer — and will no longer care.


  1. N. Gregory Mankiw at the New York Times: "Let’s repeal the corporate income tax entirely, and scale back the personal income tax as well. We can replace them with a broad-based tax on consumption. The consumption tax could take the form of a value-added tax, which in other countries has proved to be a remarkably efficient way to raise government revenue.

    A rebuttal piece from EconoSpeak: "I see – ignore transfer pricing abuse entirely as you are writing another op-ed for Team Republican where the real agenda is to shift the tax burden away from capital income entirely."

    Where I also left this comment: At a post for the Harvard Business Review, Bill George says:

    "You’re now getting into a much broader and more complex issue. With global corporations, they have to insure that they can be competitive around the world, and still be responsible to the national governments they serve. And there’s no such thing as global laws in many, many cases, including tax law. So you get a great deal of dysfunctionality, and I think this is why we need international bodies to help us work our way through these issues and sort them out."

    Where I comment:

    Yes, and these “international bodies” could also mandate an International Maximum Wage for their multinational corporate board-of-directors — as well as an International Minimum Wage for all their employees who work for those same multinational corporations. This would help level the playing field among competitors -- generating business competition based on real merit, corporate governance and new innovation, rather than on who can screw their workers the most, dodge the most taxes, and avoid the most worker-safety and environmental laws."

  2. And meanwhile, after offshoring the jobs, our corporations will move themselves offshore to save on taxes. The latest example is Burger King.

    1. The executives of a corporation say it is their "fiduciary duty" to avoid taxes whenever possible, because they have a responsibility to their shareholders (which are mostly large institutional investors such as the banks, private equity firms, hedge funds, and the corporate executives themselves -- who hold stock-option grants). It is the members of congress who write the tax code (most likely with help from lobbyists) and the tax laws make over 73,000 pages which has to be constantly amended with due diligence, because corporations have an army of tax attorneys sifting throw the tax code to find loopholes. The argument is always made by the RIGHT that the U.S. has the highest statutory corporate tax rate in the world (at 35%); but what the corporate shills like Stephen Moore never publicly say is that the actual "effective" corporate tax rate that many large U.S.-based multinational corporations pay is closer to 20% (and in some cases, much less...sometimes 0%). As a percent of GDP, it has fallen well below what it used to be back in the 1950s, and no major corporation went bankrupt back then because they paid too much in tax. If they want the "rate" to be lower (say 20%), then make that an "absolute" tax rate (with no deductions, exemptions or write-offs), and apply that to repatriated overseas earnings as well (for their profits earned in "emerging markets" -- like Africa will be one day).

    2. American citizens who sit on the boards of U.S.-based multinational corporations, should also forgo (renounce) their U.S. citizenships when moving their headquarters to another country.

    3. Let's face it. Most of the people who make these corporate decisions are baby-boomers, whereas 30, 40 or 50 years ago, it was considered 'treason'. Look at Walmart. Back in the days when Sam Walton was running the show, practically everything was make in America. He actually paid a decent wage compared to todays workers. Now his offspring (all boomers) have been making record profits while off-shoring everything. I wonder what Sam Walton would think of his company today? There is no allegiance to any country anymore. The US is no longer a country, it is just one giant corporation... and we are no longer citizens, but merely residents.

    4. So when all the current Baby Boomer CEOs die, corporate America will start doing the right thing?

    5. There is hope, perhaps future generations will acknowledge boomers selfishness and do the right thing. I seriously doubt it because these kids will deem boomers behavior acceptable. All I'm saying is it was the boomers 'me first' attitude that started this irreversible decay. Hopefully I'm wrong, but I believe there is no turning back.

      BTW, I am a 'boomer' born in the 50's, so I am not without blame. We are ALL to blame.

    6. I still think most of this started 40 years ago when the CEO Boomers today were still in high school or college. It started with Lewis Thornton Powell (April 22, 1844 – July 7, 1865) and the Powell Memo on August 23, 1971.

    7. Perhaps the idea started 40 years ago, but it didn't come into full swing until 1990's after the end of the cold war. With the bugaboo of communism gone, corporations wanted their 'peace dividend', and Pres. Clinton gave it to them. The bottom line is this: Every generation has done better overall than their parents. However, this Gen X 'new generation' (whatever you want to call them) may very well be the first generation in history that will have to settle for less than their parents. They have every right to be pissed off.

    8. That's why I now tell everybody I know, that I am so very grateful that I'm not just now turning 18 years old. The corporations don't want us to have paid sick days at work, and wants to raise the retirement age for Social Security too. They wants us to work until the day we drop dead, without giving us a paid day off to get buried.

  3. They ain't paying no taxes neither.

  4. Generation X Remains “Generation Debt” ------------>

    Members of Generation X were the most aggressive borrowers during the years leading up to the financial crisis of 2007-09.

    1. Of course they're borrowing!!! What choice do they have when their wages aren't crap? They certainly aren't able to save anything.