Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Intergenerational Equity

Presidential Candidates need to make "inter-generational equity" a top priority, says US Comptroller General David Walker, comparing the current government situation, bankrupting the future, to the Fall of Rome in the Financial Times.

“One of the concerns is obviously we are a great country but we face major sustainability challenges that we are not taking seriously enough,” said Mr Walker, who was appointed during the Clinton administration to the post, which carries a 15-year term.

The fiscal imbalance meant the US was “on a path toward an explosion of debt”.

“With the looming retirement of baby boomers, spiralling healthcare costs, plummeting savings rates and increasing reliance on foreign lenders, we face unprecedented fiscal risks,” said Mr Walker, a former senior executive at PwC auditing firm.

Current US policy on education, energy, the environment, immigration and Iraq also was on an “unsustainable path."...

“They need to make fiscal responsibility and inter-generational equity one of their top priorities. If they do, I think we have a chance to turn this around but if they don’t, I think the risk of a serious crisis rises considerably”.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Learning from Mistakes

is not a Boomer trait apparently... So maybe they will bring back the draft that they all had such a good time agreeing about back in the glory days of the late 60s and early 70s.

They haven't raised a healthy group of civic-minded Millenials, all full of self-esteem, duty, and groupthink for nothing.

A group of political leaders with visions of utopian transformation worldwide, a generation of children who have been educated into historic and philosophical illiteracy, and diversity-trained into a saccarine group ideology of never ever committing the evil crime of exercising their judgement. Mix, stir, add a little FEAR for flavor. Viola! Fascism!

Monday, August 6, 2007


STEALING FROM THE FUTURE is a sub-title from the article "Another Reason For Those Empty Houses" in Businessweek about the current "Real Estate Crisis".
Stealing from the future? But I always heard that the future is now. And since the future is now and we are apparently stealing the future, does that mean that we are stealing the present? Who controls the present controls the future, so the thieves have the present and the future... No wonder I live in the past...

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Sacred Cow Slayer

It was thought that one of the advantages that Boomers brought to society was the slaying of sacred cows, "questioning authority" (until they become the authority). It was hoped that by discarding the artificial constructs of their elders they could get to some sort of essential ordering of society.

But the Boomers, as Visionaries, as Idealists, impose their own contrived visions upon us. For example, Republicans want to legislate everyone into heaven, and Democrats want to legislate heaven on earth.

Growing up in the ideological, moral and emotional chaos in the wake of the Boomers, Generation X has developed a very practical way of life, not seeking to cure the world of its ills but seeking to take care of the immediate problems around them. Boomers have concerts to raise awareness to stop world hunger, Xers go to the neighborhood soup kitchen.

But in their very practicality Xers are the more serious and dangerous (for Boomer idealogues) Sacred Cow Slayers. Thomas Woods is one of the most prolific and articulate of these. As the reviwer in The American Thinker describes him and his work:
[W]hen you stumble upon an objective historian, with pronounced analytical skills, who can write with clarity, panache, and precision then the "good American" must read his work. One such historian is Tom Woods.
Woods' books include The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History and now 33 Questions About American History You're Not Supposed To Ask. Here's a good Cow Slaying Quote from the Introduction:
This book...poses 33 questions about American historyfor which the typical answers are either misleading, grossly unsatisfactory, or clearly and demonstrably wrong. Worse than the standard answers to these questions is that many of them are simply never raised in the first place, since they may give rise to forbidden thoughts that run counter to established opinion.
As the review in The American Thinker continues:
Tom Woods's book will disabuse those Americans who are naïve enough to think that they live under the protections guaranteed in the old Constitution. Those protections are long gone, replaced by a pernicious democratic socialism that more closely reflects the dystopian horror of George Orwell rather then the federated republic of George Washington.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Pragmatic Revolution, Gen X Style

From the Right Angle at Human Events: a great piece on generational differences between Boomers and Gen Xers. Two great quotes from the article:
My parent’s generation had grand visions of communal living and transcendental experiences. My generation embraces mass produced consumer goods and free trade economics. Remaking the world is not on our agenda. No, our anger is rooted in pragmatism. Our money is being taken from us to fuel entitlement programs that many of us expect to be bankrupted by the time we need them.

We want the ‘baby boom’ generation to stop sleeping at the wheel because it is our generation that is the roadside crew cleaning up the mess their idiocy is leaving behind.

If the Boomers are like the previous Idealist Generation, Xers are like the previous Reactive Generation, those youth of the Roaring 20s cynical of Wilsonian Idealism called the Lost Generation, the F. Scott Fitzgerald generation, who became the practical leaders through WWII -Patton, Ike, Bradley etc.

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Last Idealist Generation

Strauss and Howe show that generations conform to four basic archetypes cycling through history. They are smart enough to note that cycles do not straight-forwardly repeat themselves, that we are not caught in an endless loop, nor is history a mere linear progression.
But today's Boomers are the same archetype as those who ran the show in the 1930s, creating the forms of governement and business that dominated the 20th Century, "My Century!" according to Al Pacino as Satan in The Devil's Advocate.

"It's the 1930s All Over Again" says Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr.
Jittery stock markets, an economy drunk on credit, and politicians calling for varieties of dictatorship: what a sense of déjà vu! Let us recall that the world went bonkers for about ten years way back when. The stock market crashed in 1929, thanks to the Federal Reserve, and with it fell the last remnants of the old liberal ideology that government should leave society and economy alone to flourish. After the federal Great Depression hit, there was a general air in the United States and Europe that freedom hadn't worked. What we needed were strong leaders to manage and plan economies and societies.

And how they were worshipped. On the other side of the world, there were Stalin and Hitler and Mussolini, but in the United States we weren't in very good shape either. Here we had FDR, who imagined himself capable of astonishing feats of price setting and economy boosting. Of course he used old-fashioned tricks: printing money and threatening people with guns. It was nothing but the ancient despotism brought back in pseudo-scientific garb.

Again, will the current Idealists, the Boomers, look to the outdated modes of production and organization of the past or look forward and let people be?

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Astronaut Farmer

The tag line of this movie is "If we don't have our dreams, we have nothing." In many ways this movie points hopefully to a revitalization of baby-boomers to rediscover the animating spirit of their generation. It is also hopeful in that the protagonist, played by Billy Bob Thornton, does it one his own, contrary to Boomers' youthful dreams of forcing everyone into their Age of Aquarius (on the Left) or into Moral Rectitude (on the Right).

One aspect of his relentless pursuit is the potential bankruptcy of his family. He had had to leave NASA in his youth to go back and save the family farm. But will his pursuit of his dream threaten the farm again? Will he suffer every Boomer male's nightmare and Become his Father? Will he enslave his children in the debt accrued for his dream?

It is touching to see his wife back his dreams and push him to pursue them, especially since "Husband and Wife" relationships are so often portrayed by Boomers as whimsy vs. narrow scold, as practicality vs. dreams, as rivalry not teamwork. G.K. Chesterton said:
"Women are the only realists; their whole object in life is to pit their realism against the extravagant, excessive, and occasionally drunken idealism of men."
And this movie does a great job of capturing the great tension between these male and female aspects while at the same time showing the love and respect for each other within the whole family. The movie indicates that family life can pull Boomers out of their adolescent narcissism while at the same time anchoring their dreams.

The movie also articulates well two aspects of Baby-boomer masculinity. Most Boomer men are shown to be compromised bureaucratic hacks, their souls sold. Farmer is still following his dream, his vision, despite setbacks and costs. On reviewer of the movie on IMDB said
My brother in fact didn't like this movie because he said it wasn't possible. I don't remember him having this much trouble with "E.T." or "Forest Gump". My brother gave up his dream of being a writer, he now teaches high school drama.
In Casablanca we are told that if you scratch a cynic you will find a romantic underneath. The Boomers men here represent the excesses of relentless dreamers and the deficiencies of dreamers burnt out.

Of course there are no Gen Xers in this movie, except for some of the FBI and police roles, who interestingly scorn their spiritually bankrupt superiors and hope for Farmer's success. The children in this movie are Millennials, as if the Boomers psychologically can't acknowledge the generation raised in the moral, political and emotional chaos of the 70s and 80s that they spawned. Again it is interesting that the Gen X characters are law enforcement, as if a generation raised in chaos wants desperately to create order somehow, at least in their own lives, reluctantly taking part in imposing it on others.

The Space Age of the Boomers' youth that is representative here of their dreams, and of man's ability to accomplish the most daunting tasks, is also deeply symbolic of the mechanistic, impersonal and unemotional, industrial and technological world that the GI generation built after WWII. It is both the "emotionless" world of their parents that the Boomers reacted against, diving headlong into an excess of emotionalism at the other extreme -"Follow your Bliss" and all that good stuff- and the root of their aspirations to perfect the world through the application of science and technology.

According to some psychologists, when we are "wounded" at one stage of our development this affects all later development. In order to be whole and fully-developed we have to go back to that stage of our development and work on those character issues. Unless we do this we will continue building on an unsure foundation, like a "Leaning Tower of Pisa" of personal character. The Astronaut Farmer is clearly about Baby-Boomers going back to work on the issues of when they lost their souls, when they were first broken.

Farmer gave up the dream of his youth, the technological wizardry to transcend Earth's boundaries to tend to the practical matters of hearth and home. But he continues to try both to take care of his family and to follow his dream.

In the end his wife pushes him to continue, despite a major setback and massive strain on the family finances, because she does not want him to wound his son as he had been wounded himself. We can see the family, through generational levels, working out the pursuit of their dreams and their practical responsibilities.
In order to do this, however, they spend the inheritance from her father. What the maternal grandfather (Silent Generation or GI) had left for the family, especially the children, is used to go to space.

This is the most troubling aspect of the movie. If Boomers need to go back to the time of their "loss of soul" in order to be more fully integrated and alive, in order to be good parents and adults for the Millennials, does in necessitate spending the Millennials' inheritance?

Will the Boomers look to the outdated forms of work and life of their youth, a "soulless, mechanical, and institutional" world created by the GIs, against which they reacted so wildly in the 60s, to reinvigorate themselves? Or will they look forward as adults who can create their own visions of work, society and life for their families?

Recently Andrew Sullivan commented on the Presidential campaign in similar terms. He asked if Boomer Hillary Clinton was trapped in the paradigm of 20th century foreign policy, a foreign policy put in place by the GIs and if maybe Gen X Barack Obama or Silent Generation Ron Paul are looking to a new paradigm for the 21st Century, a paradigm that may reinvigorate adults but will not bankrupt their children.
And it is a predictable Beltway meme that Clinton did better than Obama this week because she showed "experience" and he showed "naivete". But I wonder if that's the case. I wonder if the country hasn't shifted sufficiently to make total disengagement from Iraq thinkable and Clinton seem a captive of past presumptions about American power and how it should be wielded. Iraq has made the case for a "humble nation" more eloquently than Bush in 2000 ever could.

Boomer Burt Rutan went to space, the Big Dream of boomers in their youth, but he did it on his own in Spaceship One.
Boomers can create the future without looking to the outdated modes of production of the GI hegemony, without bankrupting the rest of us for their dreams.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

What Boomers Offer?

An author offers the possibility that the Boomers might be of some use before they die. And this is indicative of a fundamental change that is happening among Boomers. They will feel at a loss and unfulfilled if they die without ever having acted the adult, without ever having passed on to the youth any skills or wisdom.
Some of the greatest skills—and life lessons—this industry has acquired have been the product of great mentoring, rather than expensive training. In fact, the current baby boomer generation has taught younger generations volumes about preparing for the future and striving for improvement.

Hopefully Boomers can finally be at peace with themselves and where they are. If they continue to see "Youth" as an abstract consumer object to be fought over in some zero-sum game with the younger generations, they will never be whole and they will "die before they get old"

Read it all

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Boomer Mission

While Boomers spent so much energy breaking down the social and cultural institutions that nurtured them in their youth, they now find themselves having to raise their own kids and are revitalizing the civic groups that they once scorned.
This is how Civic generations like the Millenials get formed, by Boomers energizing civic groups such as Kathy Cloninger and the Girls Scouts.
These civic groups can then go either terribly wrong into a herd mentality, or can grow well, building community and the strong civil institutions that Tocqueville knew made Democracy work.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Great Blog

Check out The Brazen Careerist Blog. Brilliant insight into the changing dynamics of the work world with Generation X and the Millennials.
Especially these two entries:

Yahoo column: Why we should be grateful for Generation Y


Twentysomething: Start a company in 3 days with 70 friends

which is a fascinating look at the new "decentralized" workspace. Now if we could just decentralize ourselves out of Social Security...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Boomers find obstacles to volunteer success

Many baby boomers, the 77 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 who are part of a large demographic shift, are defying the stereotype of being the "me" generation, said Greg Baldwin, president of VolunteerMatch.

"Boomers are far more interested in volunteering than they're given credit for," Baldwin said. "They're far more interested in using their career and non-career-related skills. They have higher expectations for their volunteer experiences than some of the younger users we're sampling."
Read entire article:

Sunday, July 15, 2007

All the Great Themes Turned into Theme Parks

Just for ha-has, a clip from a great movie about Gen X and being fed up with Boomers and their "causes".

See the whole movie (Pump Up the Volume), it's great.

Nightmare of Their Own Creation

"We're getting old!" and The Who told us to hope to die before we got old! Boo Hoo... Age gracefully ladies:
But we know that women tend to handle things better than men in these regards. You might see 50 guys with gray ponytails before you see one Boomer matron in a Mini. Boomer men need to mentor or something, and take responsibility...

Boomer Fight!

Jim Webb vs. Lindsey Graham: One is on the career entitlement fasttrack, the other has worked in the private sector, as a soldier, as a writer, as an historian, and has poured his heart out in books about culture and history.
The only Idealist boomers worth their salt are the ones trying to pass on the best of their culture to the youth like Webb.
This is one thing I really take objection to — may I speak? — is politicians who try to put their political views into the mouths of soldiers," Webb said over his opponent's interruptions. He placed his hand briefly on Graham's back, then jerked his thumb in the Republican's direction.

"Have you been to Iraq?" Graham demanded.

"I've covered two wars as a correspondent," Webb said. "I have been to Afghanistan as a journalist."

Graham: "Have you been to Iraq and talked to the soldiers?"

Webb: "You know, you've never been to Iraq, Lindsey."

The Republican pointed out he's been there seven times.

"You know," Webb said dismissively, "you can see the dog and pony shows. That's what congressman do.

Read it all: Tempers flare on Iraq

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


There is a new movie coming out called Hairspray. A remake of an older version about young Baby-boomers and the transformative powers of partying to Rock and Roll to "change the world." It is advertised with a review which states, "Hairspray is this generation's Grease!"
Let me get this straight: a remake of Boomer movie about Boomer youth is called the Grease -another Boomer movie about Boomer youth- for this generation?
What a great example of stagnation and stasis in culture, stuck forever like a CD skipping, on the Boomers and their developmental fixations.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

From "Me" to "We"?

Can the Baby Boomers exit their self-absorption and offer generative advice and mentoring to the youth? Phyllis Goldberg seems to think so:
The Baby Boomers or so called 'Me Generation,' on some level, weren't all that different. They were often seen as egocentric and self absorbed, as having a sense of entitlement. But, along the way, they developed the capacity for self reflection. Now, entering the retirement years, they are serving the greater good and are often referred to as the 'We Generation.' Paris Hilton can learn a lesson or two from the changes in their attitudes and behavior.
Read What the Baby Boomers Can Teach Paris Hilton.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Gen Y Voter

Writes a 22 year old Millenial (aka Gen Y) on the Boomer-dominated media and politics:
I would have assumed censorship of this kind is acceptable only in communist countries, but in the United States of America? So I ask the older generation: How are young people supposed to get excited about politics, when the moment we actually do, our hopes are crushed by media censorship and unfair bias? My hopes right now are limited that my generation will grow up to experience a true democracy.
Is the Silent Generation candidate, Rep. Paul (R-TX), making waves with the young and Boomer-nauseated?

The Adolescent Squeeze

From Psychology Today:

Before 1850, laws restricting the behavior of teens were few and far between. Compulsory education laws evolved in tandem with laws restricting labor by young people. Beginning in 1960, the number of laws infantilizing adolescents accelerated dramatically. You may have had a paper route when you were 12, but your children can't.
Gen X started in 1961, so restrictions on the youth are implemented just after the Baby boomers have their freedom, fun and growth... Reminds us of Jon Stewart interviewing David Steinberg on The Daily Show: Steinberg gets famous just in time to exploit that fame in the Sexual Revolution, Stewart gets famous just as AIDS breaks...

As Tom Wolfe said, we are in for The Great Relearning, or the 20th Century's Hangover...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Narcissists Running

Is the third Narcissist of the most narcissistic generation from the most narcissistic city in the world going to run for President too? Since the Boomers are Visionaries of a highly ideological nature let's see what Ideological Visionary Utopias they have to offer: Hillary is a Communist, Rudy is a Socialist, and Bloomberg is a Fascist of the Mussolini variety? What about a Roosevelt?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Keep in Line Slaves!

Yikes! Kids can't high five, shake hands, or hug in Fairfax County (VA) Public Schools. Reports The Washington Post:
All touching -- not only fighting or inappropriate touching -- is against the rules at Kilmer Middle School in Vienna. Hand-holding, handshakes and high-fives? Banned. The rule has been conveyed to students this way: "NO PHYSICAL CONTACT!!!!!"School officials say the rule helps keep crowded hallways and lunchrooms safe and orderly, and ensures that all students are comfortable.
One size fits all to keep the future wage slaves in line, taking orders to pay for the retirement of their elders. Government Education: Creating compliance and timidity for the future!

Selling Our Children into Slavery...

Sacred cow smashing Baby Boomer Justin Raimondo writes (emphasis ours):
As Ron Paul tirelessly points out, the American welfare-warfare state is built on the shifting sands of an economic pump-priming perpetual motion machine, i.e., government debt. We are selling our children into slavery and bankrupting the nation: this is the price of empire, at least in purely economic terms.
Raimondo continues:
We defend Japan and South Korea, allowing them to shelter under our military umbrella while they export finished goods to the American market – and lend us the money to build an empire of bases around the world.
Both parties in power, Democratic and Republican, will crusading visionary Baby Boomers in the lead, be it Bush or either Clinton, are selling out our future for their grandiose visions of utopia. If it is welfare or warfare both Right and Left are selling out the youth and the future.

Remember the old joke about why kids and grandparents get along so well? Because they have the same enemies. Maybe Gen X and the Millenials should ally with the avuncular Congressman Ron Paul, who is from the Silent Generation and who is ringing the alarm bell that the Baby Boomers in charge are going to bankrupt the future for the young...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Creating a Trembling Generation of Weaklings

According to Strauss and Howe, the current gurus of looking at history in terms of Generational Cycles, there are four types of generations that have cycled through U.S. history. They are the Idealist type (e.g. Baby-Boomers), Reactionary (e.g Gen-X), Civic (e.g. G.I.s and Millenials) and Adaptives. The Silent Generation is the adaptive generation born between the G.I.s and the Baby-Boomers. Similarly those born after the Millenials are the new Adaptives, starting roughly in 2001.
Now the poor Silent Generation was born too late to "save the world from evil" and too early to live a "politics of meaning". They may even be the first generation in American history to not have a member become president. By being overprotected in their youth during fearful times of Depression and War, and being overshadowed by their elders who "saved the world from evil" and went on to build the American economic dynamo after the war, the Silent generation could only tweak the structures built by the G.I.s and egg on the younger Boomers with folk music and beat poetry. They were miserably overshadowed and simperingly rebelled by being the first generation to start divorcing at a high rate in order to experience the liberation of the sexual revolution that the younger Boomers were enjoying. And they spawned the first wave of bitter Gen-Xers who grew up in the chaos of their sexual escapades.
The new Adaptives look to be shaping up as a similar bunch of wimps as their Boomer parents overprotect them. If only kids could breathe through bubble wrap I'm sure neurotic parents would use it. Not only are there evil terrorists around every corner and contagious diseases on every flight, but every box of kids' cereal contains "obesity fascism" seeking to destroy a kid's chance of becoming thin and famous! Kellogg:
The company said it won't promote foods in TV, radio, print or Web site ads that
reach audiences at least half of whom are under age 12 unless a single serving
of the product meets these standards:

—No more than 200 calories.
—No trans fat
and no more than 2 grams of
saturated fat.
—No more than 230 milligrams of
sodium, except for Eggo
frozen waffles.
—No more than 12 grams of sugar, not counting sugar from
fruit, dairy and vegetables.Kellogg said it would reformulate products to meet
these criteria or stop marketing them to children under 12 by the end of

Do kids start smoking just because they don't buy into the idea that this flesh is all there is? It is one thing to say that the body is a temple, it is quite another to treat it like a museum and not disturb, touch, enjoy, any of the exhibits. Stasis is not living, but maybe Boomers think that by trying to induce stasis in the body and the culture Woodstock will always live and the Beatles will always be germaine...

Friday, June 8, 2007

The Opposite of Sanity

Yesterday, I heard Baby Boomer tool Trent Lott on the radio suggesting that the Senate should just pack up and go home if they couldn't vote on certain legislation.
We should be so lucky! This from a guy who titled his book on a life in politics Herding Cats. It's so cute and funny trying to get everyone on the same page to spend their descendants into poverty. What anecdotes he must have about the pork barrel. How's your pension Trent?
But good news! They are going about "the people's business" and gave themselves a higher debt ceiling. I'd love to legislate my own credit increases and then pass off the payment obligation to others after living a life high on the fat. From NPR:
Like many cash-strapped Americans who have maxed-out credit cards, the federal government has hit its limit for borrowing funds to keep operating. If the limit isn't raised, the government likely will run out of borrowing authority within days, risking a shutdown.
Can I have my tax refund in Euros please?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Cheating the Prophet

G.K. Chesterton, in the early 20th Century, described the humorous tendency of men to predict the future based upon current trends. (Most people believing in linear "Progress" or "Cycles") In the first chapter of his great novel, The Napoleon of Notting Hill, he wrote:
The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children's games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up. And one of the games to which it is most attached is called, "Keep to-morrow dark," and which is also named (by the rustics in Shropshire, I have no doubt) "Cheat the Prophet." The players listen very carefully and respectfully to all that the clever men have to say about what is to happen in the next generation. The players then wait until all the clever men are dead, and bury them nicely. They then go and do something else. That is all. For a race of simple tastes, however, it is great fun...

... But the way the prophets of the twentieth century went to work was this. They took something or other that was certainly going on in their time, and then said that it would go on more and more until something extraordinary happened. And very often they added that in some odd place that extraordinary thing had happened, and that it showed the signs of the times.
Paul Craig Roberts pokes a similar hole in some of our economic prophets:
Economists are governed by the illusion that America's post-World War II prosperity is based on free trade. It is not. America's postwar prosperity was based on the destruction of the economic capability of the rest of the world by World War II and communism-socialism. America was prosperous in its trade because no one else could produce anything.
Now the spoiled scions of that unique monopolistic moment in history for the United States to get rich, the Baby Boomers, are steering the ship of state assuming, with all the sagacity of adolescents who know everything, that trends will continue and they can mortgage our inheritance on their foolish visions of a temporal utopia.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Generations at Work

Major corporations are taking seriously the different attitudes that generations have towards work and the place of work has in life. From Deloitte:
Baby Boomers in general really wanted to climb up the “corporate ladder” as high as they could; such ambition was seen as a key measure of business/career as well as personal success. Later generations are redefining what ambition and success mean to them. Increasingly these definitions don’t include trying to climb very far up this ladder much less all the way to the top...

... Gen X and Gen Y favor family and personal time over the rewards that usually accompany increased job responsibility. Today’s men and women are working hard but are often not willing to work harder. They are wary of the perceived costliness of trade-offs they would have to make by advancing into jobs with more responsibility.
Boomers won't get out of the way for Gen Xers to rise up anyway so we might as well focus on our families, creating communities. But Boomers were similarly thwarted by the "institutionalized" generations -Silent and G.I.- those drones of the big corporations of the past like GM and IBM.
Boomers began operating outside of those constrained corporate cultures -inventing "junk bonds" (a derisive term coined by stodgy elders) and personal computers...
Generation X is likewise stepping out of the Boomers corporate model and charting it's own path...

Monday, June 4, 2007

Bicentennial Baby

We came across a great blog tracking the Generations X and Y, or the 13th Generation and the Millenial, if you want to follow Strauss and Howe's formulations. It's called Bicentennial Baby and the latest post discusses a study showing that Gen X men will make less money than Boomer men did, that for the first time a generation will not do better than it's parents -financially that is.

But the author also points out that Gen Xers are far more interested in establishing a stable family environment at the expense of promotion and more money. This makes sense if you understand that one's "mission grows from one's wound", that the first generation of latch-key kids does not want to subject their children to the same suburban vacuum of parental presence, nurturing and authority that we grew up in...

It is the Gen X parents and adults doing the little things at the local level that will nurture the new Millenial generation, hopefully in a positive, civic way.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Helots, Slaves, Serfs... that's all the young are, it seems, to Boomers in power. Once again the Onion nails it:

"Bush's New 'War Czar'

President Bush has appointed Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute as
"war czar." What will Lute's duties entail?

+Living high off the sweat and labor of the war serfs

Read the Onion.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

From the Latin Word for Slave...

Instead of the subtle oligarchy of dark business suits, Democratic Candidate for President John Edwards has come right out and said it, overtly revealing Boomers' oligarchical tendencies. As if the enslavement of the youth to pay for their narcissistic and self-serving programs, wars, and entitlements weren't enough, Boomers are now advocating mandatory enslavement for their Government programs. Said Edwards in N.H.
One of the things we ought to be thinking about is some level of mandatory service to our country, so that everybody in America -- not just the poor kids who get sent to war -- are serving this country.
We've heard about National Service before during Boomer-par-excellence Clinton's term. It's always couched in the kindest do-gooder terms of "service". But the word serve comes from the Latin word servus. And servus means slave.

Millenials and Gen-Xers do plenty of service, on their own, in small ways, in their communities. Voluntarily.

If they want slaves they may get Spartacus...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

What We Will Owe!

Congressman Ron Paul: "We are leaving a $60,000,000,000,000 obligation to the next generation."

So True

Came across this quote from P.J O'Rourke:
Social Security is a government program with a constituency made up of the old, the near old and those who hope or fear to grow old. After 215 years of trying, we have finally discovered a special interest that includes 100 percent of the population. Now we can vote ourselves rich.
which reminded us of Frederic Bastiat's great line:
Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.
It took the efficiencies and foresight of the politicians of the 20th Century to live at the expense of the future and one's descendents...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Slaying Sacred Cows

One of the distinctive marks of the Baby Boomers in their youth was their disdain for tradition. They readily broke with old taboos to forge ahead into a new Age of Aquarius. Although, as Tom Wolfe notes in The Great Relearning, the Boomers found out that some of those old taboos had been there for a reason and the hippies in Haight Ashbury soon found themselves suffering from many hygiene-related diseases.
In 1968, in San Francisco, I came across a curious footnote to the psychedelic movement. At the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic there were doctors who were treating diseases no living doctor had ever encountered before, diseases that had disappeared so long ago they had never even picked up Latin names, diseases such as the mange, the grunge, the itch, the twitch, the thrush, the scroff, the rot. And how was it that they had now returned? ... The hippies, as they became known, sought nothing less than to sweep aside all codes and restraints of the past and start out from zero... And now , in 1968, they were relearning... the laws of hygiene... by getting the mange, the grunge, the itch, the twitch, the thrush, the scroff, the rot.
Nonetheless, this aspect of the Baby Boomer psyche, may have its upside for those of us who follow. They may slay many sacred cows, clear the decks of false pieties and decaying intellectual assumptions.
Think of Jon Stewart on the Daily Show or Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report who are merciless in skewering the quasi-religious platitudes of modern politics.
The Onion is clearly a Gen-X phenomenon in its deep cynicism. May both work together in generational cooperation to unburden us from the civic institution worship of the 20th century.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Nick Carraway Heads Back to the Midwest?

At the end of The Great Gatsby and the materialistic and careless orgy of life out East, Nick Carraway comments about Tom and Daisy:
It was all very careless and confused. They were careless people, Tom and Daisy -they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made...
I shook hands with him; it seemed silly not to, for I felt suddenly as though I were talking to a child.
According to Strauss and Howe we are coming upon a "Generational Constellation", an alignment of Idealist, Reactive, and Civic generations similar to those aligned during the secular crisis of the Great Depression. And one cannot but think of some of the worst aspects of the Baby Boomers when confronted with Fitzgerald's words, realizing that Fitzgerald was of the Lost Generation, a generation reactive to the visionary spasms of their immediate elders, like Gen X to the Boomers.

Following the "Realignment of America" posted below, maybe many folks know what Carraway knew, like lost pets fleeing an earthquake: to head back to the heartland before the coming crash and smash-up that the Boomers will leave us to clean up...

After all, we noticed on the Drudgereport that we are in a new Gilded Age ...

UPDATE: Check out Lisa Bornstein in the Rocky Mountain News who writes: "Move along, you boomers, what have you truly done?"

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Racial Generation Gap

Reports Sam Roberts in the NY Times... New Demographic Racial Gap Emerges. Quoting Mark Mather of the Population Reference Bureau,
There’s a fairly large homogenous population 60 and older that may not be sympathetic to the needs of a diverse youthful population,” Dr. Mather said.
But older generations might not ignore the younger generations altogether since:
...older voters may be persuaded that their pensions and other benefits depend on the income and taxes generated by a better-educated work force.
They' will pay for, or agree to tax others to pay for, just the sort of education they deem fit, as long as it generates revenue for their retirement...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Reinventing Middle Age

Daphne Merkin in the New York Times asks fellow Boomers, "How old are you anyway?"
Behind all this busy reinvention of the wheel of life, of course, sheer dread lies in wait: the fear that we’re fast gaining upon that demarcation line where you stop being young...
Are you kidding? Approaching the end of youth? No wonder Miata's still sell... Yes, you're getting old. Actually, you got old. Grow up and stop worrying about being "hip".
Merkin continues with the typically self-absorbed and entitled Boomer trope that they "do everything their own way".
Fueled by an increasing fear and demonization of Old Age, ours is a generation bred on the notion of doing it our way, right up to our method of retirement. Given this curious and entitled perspective, middle age becomes a life raft that we can’t afford to fall off.
You can't afford your retirement? Neither can we! Is the unique Boomer way to retire the establishment of entitlement programs for themselves funded by deficits to be paid off by future generations? Curious and entitled indeed.

And of course we couldn't finish the article without some Sour Grapes!
Being young was never as great as it’s made out to be and being middle-aged is not as bad as all that.
Too bad for us who are now young when being young isn't as great as it once was... like in the 60s.
Boomers would be well served to take up mentoring, it's the only thing that will get them out of themselves and in service to others. They have been so good at slaying sacred cows, of calling into question assumptions and traditions, maybe they can provide leadership and direction, a paradigm shift, instead of dwelling on their crows feet...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Debt and Default are Inescapable Concepts

Gary North notes that we always owe debts -to our parents, to our children. He says:

Debt is inescapable. The question is this: Who owes you what, under which conditions? Find out now, before the debt comes due. Default is your enemy.
North then quotes David Walker, Comptroller General of the United States, in his appearance on 60 Minutes:

Walker says we have promised almost unlimited health care to senior citizens who never see the bills, and the government already is borrowing money to pay them. He says the system is unsustainable.
"It’s the number one fiscal challenge for the federal government, it’s the number one fiscal challenge for state governments and it’s the number one competitive challenge for American business. We’re gonna have to dramatically and fundamentally reform our health care system in installments over the next 20 years," Walker tells Kroft.
And if we don’t?
"And if we don’t, it could bankrupt America. . . ."
North continues:
We have therefore witnessed a massive creation of unfunded debt in the West. The magnitude of this unfunded liability is so large that the end is sure: default. The only question is the form this default will take.

I began with a statement: "Debt is an inescapable concept." To this, I now add a corollary: "Default is an inescapable concept."
We are a generation of slaves to the entitlement programs of our ancestors. Millenials and Generation X will be paying the bills when those who incurred the debt are pushing up daisies... or retired in Sedona.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Realignment of America

Michael Barone has a great article in the Wall Street Journal about new demographic trends:
They're fleeing hip Boston and San Francisco, and after eight decades of moving to Washington they're moving out. The domestic outflow from these metro areas is 3.9 million people, 650,000 a year. High housing costs, high taxes, a distaste in some cases for the burgeoning immigrant populations--these are driving many Americans elsewhere.
Young Boomers and Gen-Xers trying to stake out more livable and local communities?

Shushing the Baby Boomers?

A New York times article states that Barack Obama, self-identifying as a "post-boomer", says that it it time for the Baby-boomers to get over themselves.

Although it does have a nice quote from Joe Klein, author of Primary Colors that, "We baby boomers have been dreadful in the public arena." (hear! hear!), nonetheless the article is merely condescending to the youth who have to follow in their dreadful wake.

It provides no insight into a positive agenda that the younger generations might have different from the wild visions and grand strategies of the boomer prophets of utopia. The article even quotes former Clinton staffer Chris Lehane about the "BigIssues" facing us now:
But 2008 will represent a hinge moment in generational politics, not just because of the prominence of a post-boomer candidate but because this will be the first cycle when a whole new range of issues as big, if not bigger, than the big issues that defined the boomers will be front and center: Iraq, the war on terror, global warming, energy, technology and globalization.
Thanks Chris, but we're sick of the "big issues". We're content to run Google, volunteer locally and raise families, all the while paying for the visionary utopian catastrophes of the left and right, voted for and funded before we could even dissent while those who dreamed up those Big Issues indulge in a decadent retirement on our backs as well.

Monday, May 7, 2007

The Coming Entitlement Meltdown

There seems to be only one presidential candidate who is concerned about the enslavement of the youth to the fickle policies and spending of today's politicians. Says Congressman Ron Paul:
The politicians who get reelected by passing such incredibly shortsighted legislation will never have to answer to future generations saddled with huge federal deficits. Those generations are the real victims, as they cannot object to the debts being incurred today in their names.
Read the entire article: The Coming Entitlement Meltdown.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Sewing the Seeds of... An Interesting Civic Trend?

People coming together to learn, or relearn, traditional arts in a community setting. Such a venture as the Stitch Lounge brings together the generations Millenials through Boomers...

From the Christian Science Monitor: The iPod Generation in Stitches.

More broadly, sewing lounges and clubs offer people a social network and personal contact that many don't get in the high-tech age of IMing, online chat rooms, and blogging.

"I think young people are looking for new social outlets, and sewing certainly does that," says Sharon Wirth, who teaches an introductory sewing course at Iowa State University in Ames.

"We want people to find their own place in the sewing community," says [Hope] Meng [co-owner of the Stitch Lounge].
As we go global, we will also go local? High tech while looking back towards traditional roots...? Hopefully such ventures will lead to a rebirth of Civil Society that Alexis de Tocqueville noted was America's great strength.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Too hard on Boomers?

Some have commented that we might be too hard on the Boomers. While we have been focusing on some of their vices -the narcissism that comes with grandiose visions- we also want to acknowledge the vices of Generation X -cynicism- and the Millenials -contented group-think.

So let's look at a Boomer (a young Boomer to be sure) with a vision -maybe not the most personable guy in the world but someone looking to change the world for the better with a broad vision. Of course he'll need Xers to implement it... and Millenials to buy it.

The following quotes are from an interesting article in Washintonian magazine about Steve Case, founder of AOL. And may indicate a direction that Boomers can move as leaders in the society...

“You know, the healthcare system in this country is broken,” he said. “I’ve got a decade or two left to try to fix it.”

He [Case] began to think about creating a new America Online, but this time an online community devoted to healthcare, insurance issues, and “interactivity” that would disseminate information from top centers such as the Cleveland and Mayo clinics.

Case vows to change the experience his brother Dan [who died of cancer] had to endure: duplicative forms, lost medical records, long waits for tests, and confusion over the availability of new therapies. “I don’t want to just complain about the healthcare system,” says Case. “I want to do something to fix it.”

Starting Revolution might be challenging and fun, but will it restore his lost luster, to say nothing of that lost billion? No one who watched his success with AOL in the early days would bet against him. But few who saw his performance after the Time Warner merger would bet on him.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Are the Practical Gen Xers Taking Over?

After four presidential terms of incessant puerility, from Clinton's sex-obsessed band geek perpetual adolescence to W's school-yard strutting and taunting (do you ever get the feeling that every time W steps up to the mic he's winking at some prep school buddies saying 'can you believe I'm pullin' this s@#t off?'), maybe the Boomers are exhausting themselves with the winner-takes-all national culture war that they have been waging since the 60s.

The Atlantic Monthly suggests in A Separate Peace, that "The way to end culture wars is to slug them out state by state."

No doubt a practical and real attempt at a solution by Gen X who have been pawns in the ideological battles of the Boomers for too long...

GENERATION KILL: Devil Dogs, Iceman, Captain America, and the New Face of American War

Although the Millenials are often compared to the G.I.s as a Civic type of generation, there are some differences that a century of entitlements have wrought at their expense. Here are some quotes from the book, Generation Kill by Evan Wright :

Culturally, these Marines would be virtually unrecognizable to their forebears in the "Greatest Generation." They are kids raised on hip-hop, Marilyn Manson and Jerry Springer. For them, "motherfucker" is a term of endearment. For some, slain rapper Tupac is an American patriot whose writings are better known than the speeches of Abraham Lincoln...

These young men represent what is more or less America's first generation of disposable children. More than half of the guys in the platoon come from broken homes and were raised by absentee, single, working parents. Many are on more intimate terms with video games, reality TV shows and Internet porn than they are with their own parents.

Before the "War on Terrorism" began, not a whole lot was expected of this generation other than the hope that those in it would squeak through high school without pulling too many more mass shootings in the manner of Columbine.

But since the 9/11 attacks, the weight of America's "War on Terrorism" has fallen on their shoulders...

Even though their Commander in Chief tells them they are fighting today in Iraq to protect American freedom, few would be shaken to discover that they might actually be leading a grab for oil. In a way, they almost expect to be lied to...

Be Free? No, Behave!

Of course the cradle-to-grave entitlements of Europe are under pressure due to Europe's declining birth-rate. So it is no surprise to read that the Spanish Government is seeking to indoctrinate the youth with their "Education for Citizenship" program since the retirees will need willing wage-slaves to support them.

Like Generation X and the Millenials, the youth of Europe have had their inheritance voted away before they were even born...

But, objects a Spanish Cardinal: "[The Archbishop of Toledo, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares] stressed that the purpose of the course material “is not that we be good, but that we behave well..."

It makes one think of the children obediently being ground down at school in Pink Floyd's "The Wall"...
The children march in unison to the same beat, rolling through a machine only to emerge as putty-faced clones void of individual distinction who ultimately falling blindly into an oversized meat grinder, metaphorically pulverized and minced into the same ground beef-like form as the preceding victim.

Read the entire article: Education for Citizenship leads to totalitarianism, says Spanish Cardinal

Monday, April 23, 2007

Boomers Die and Take Jobs with Them?

The American Association of Community Colleges reports that:

Allied health programs also were the most frequently
added programs in recent years at 26.2%, and industrial skilled trades were the most frequently discontinued programs, also at 26.3%.
Community College programs are more reactive to the job market than four year colleges and everyone knows the growing need to care for the aging Boomers is now upon us. But when the factories are closed down and the industrial jobs are gone, they won't come back easily.

It is our concern that this trend at community colleges represents a short term boom in changing the bed pans of aged hippies, while sacrificing long term vocational excellence. Eventually the Boomers will pass away and this boom will be bust. What then?

Read the entire report:

UPDATE (04/24): We came across this quote from Camille Paglia today regarding some generational aspects of the Virginia Tech shootings that seemed germain to this particular post:
“There is nothing happening educationally in these boring prisons that are fondly called suburban high schools. They are saturated with a false humanitarianism, which is especially damaging for boys.

“Young men have enormous energy. There was a time when they could run away, hop on a freighter, go to a factory and earn money, do something with their hands. Now there is this snobbery of the upper-middle-class professional. Everyone has to be a lawyer or paper pusher.”

Cho is a classic example of “someone who felt he was a loser in the cruel social rat race”, Paglia says. The pervasive hook-up culture at college, where girls are prepared to sleep with boys they barely know or fancy, can be a source of seething resentment and alienation for those who are left out.

Read the entire article.

Baby Boomers in Charge

Because the baby-boomers never grew up they insist on treating everyone else like children, writes A.D. Lelong from New York. A more apt description of the vices of the boomers as self-centered authorities, both juvenile and patronising at the same time, I have not heard.
Imagine a world where all adults are put into a giant playpen, and guarded by adolescent babysitters. Welcome to the world of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. It is a world where all adults are treated like children. Where dangerous things are labeled, 'keep out of reach of children.' It is a world where they are not permitted to exercise responsibility. It is a world where only "experts" can be trusted.

Read the entire article.

Generational Warfare

The Washington Post's Book World has a review by Judy Budnitz of Christopher Buckley's satire Boomsday.

Here's the set-up: One Generation is pitted against another in the shadow of a Social Security crisis.... Incensed by the financial burden soon to be placed on her age bracket by baby-boomers approaching retirement, she [protagonist Cassandra Devine] proposes on her blog that boomers be encouraged to commit suicide.
Read the entire review.

This reminds us of the great, dark and cynical Gen-X satire from 1999 in the Onion that the Long-Awaited Baby Boomer Die-off To Begin Soon.

The selfishness that has been a hallmark of the Boomers will continue right up to the very end, as they force millions of younger Americans to devote an inordinate mount of time and resources to their care, bankrupting the Social Security system in the process," Clausewitz said. "In their old age, the Boomers will actually manage to take as much from the next generation as they did the previous one, which fought WWII so that their Boomer children could have Philco TVs and Davy Crockett air rifles.

Of course this is the vicious side of Gen-X cynically excoriating the vices of the boomers.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Making Kids Worthless...

...is an interesting study by Oskari Juurikkala of some of the economics underlying why the Baby-Boomers are going to bust Social Security, and why those of us left will pay the burden...

Here is one of the assumptions:
People will always have children,' assured Konrad Adenauer, the German Chancellor, in 1957. He was convinced that the future of the brave new pay-as-you-go social security system would not be undermined by demographic changes.
And here is an unintended consequence:
Instead of caring for their own parents and close relatives, those of working age are compelled by force of law and gun to pay for the retirement of everyone else. To put it plainly, social security replaces children and the family as the main support in old age by literally socializing the traditional duties of the family. Why have children when the state will take care of you in your old age?
Entire Article: Making Kids Worthless: Social Security's Contribution to the Fertility Crisis

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Silent Operators Plundering the Future

The Washington Post has been running a series on Gerald Cassidy and the development of D.C. lobbying.
Cassidy is on the tail end of the Silent Generation.
According to Strauss and Howe there are four types of generations throughout American history. The Idealist (Baby Boomers), the Reactive (Gen-X), the Civic (GIs and Millennials), and Adaptive (Silent).
While the Civic types build institutions, the Adaptives operate within those institutions and systems, often making them more human and livable. Cassidy is a fascinating example of a Silent operating within the framework of the corporate/political process system developed by the GIs in response to the secular crises that defined their formative years -the Depression and WWII.
Cassidy's company invented the earmark appropriations which have often come under fire in the media. Whether a good thing or bad Cassidy's story is nonetheless a good example of an Adaptive type operating within a Civic system.
But what will be the next Civic system of the Millennials? Current paradigms may not apply...

Monday, April 16, 2007


In 1999 the Onion, in characteristic Gen-X fashion, asserted that the Columbine jocks had safely resumed their bullying. It seemed harsh and cynical, even for the Onion. But it was profoundly prophetic.
Gone is the grungy, slacker outsider, in are Two-A-Days, which follows the lives and exploits of the state champion Hoover High football team and their cheerleader girlfriends. And don't forget MTV's other reality shows such as The Hills and Laguna Beach.
MTV, the oracle of youth culture has suddenly made heroes of the very ones who were always teen movie villains only a decade ago.
After years of subverting the high school hierarchy with awkward outsiders overthrowing the entrenched jockocracy (See: any 80s/90s movie where outsider gets girl and everyone learns important lessons), the rightful order of American culture returns. On top are the strong, the rich and the beautiful. Why the change?
Strauss and Howe have written extensively about the Generational Cycles in American History. According to them the new Millennials (1981/2-2001) are a civic generation like the GIs who came of age during the Depression and fought in World War II. The Millennials are like the "Greatest Generation".
But did the GIs enter the world with $150,000 in debt already on their heads? The GIs may have grown up poor, but were they born with Less than Zero? The GIs were able to vote themselves a New Deal, a Social Security paid for by the youth.
But now the youth are fewer, and those perpetual adolescents, the Baby-Boomers are set to retire.
So of course we need Two-a-Days. In Two-a-Days everyone and everything is in order. They follow the rules and are rewarded. They follow the rules and they are winners. They are a team. And the next Civic generation will be all about teamwork.
The desiccated, old American order that the Boomers destroyed must be reestablished by the Boomers themselves. (See: The Organization Kid.). The youth can no longer "Question Authority" when there are payroll taxes to pay.