Though it may be difficult for us Baby Boomers to imagine, we’re getting old. Whoever thought such a thing would happen? This is the generation of hell-raisers who didn’t trust anyone over 30 – and suddenly we’re turning 65. In droves. Like, 10,000 of us cross that threshold every day.
We’re the largest generation in American history and represent a profound population shift. As we continue to retire, the political and economic consequences are going to be severe. If no adjustments are made in the financial structure of Social Security and Medicare, these two programs will, in the near future, consume about half the federal budget.
And who’s paying for this? Our kids, the so-called Millennial Generation. Needless to say, this is a huge bill to lay on them, given how financially strapped they already are in this screwed up, rapidly shifting, world economy. (The current crop of American youth has more poverty and debt than any generation in the last 75 years.) It’s only a slight exaggeration to suggest that any money they have left over, after paying for our retirement, will go to cover their unemployment benefits.
Baby Boomers best face reality, make a few sacrifices and figure out how to grow old without bankrupting an entire generation. For instance, since many of us are still very healthy at age 70 – like they say, 70 is the new 50– we can often work well past 66, when we first become eligible for full Social Security benefits, so why not raise the age to 67 or 68? Or, if you’re one of those individuals who has an income in excess of $100,000 a week, do you really need Social Security? Finally, we have to stop spending $10,000 a day to keep someone alive for an extra week or two. I know it’s difficult to let Mama die, but really now, let’s not be ridiculous about the whole thing.
The longer we delay making whatever changes are necessary, the greater will be the debt we pass on to our kids. If any generation has the right to be angry at another, it’s the Millennials toward the Boomers. Yet, they aren’t. Instead, they rather begrudgingly accept these “social obligations” with few complaints. After all, someone has to take care of Mama and Daddy. Lucky for us, our kids aren’t in any hurry to start their own families and generally tend to be political liberals.
Furthermore, the Millennials don’t seem especially concerned about the future of Social Security and Medicare because they don’t expect such entitlements will be available when they retire anyway. Yet, they aren’t particularly disturbed by such a bleak future because their lives are more centered on the immediate present; that is, they’re more involved with today’s problems and a desire to squeeze as much happiness out of the present situation as they can – which is precisely where the Baby Boomers were during their finest hour.
What’s that old saying? Something about the apple not falling that far from the tree.