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Welcome to the Brokest Generation

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tradergirl

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Yes We Can!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mark Steyn: Welcome, kids, to the Brokest Generation
The young aren''t to blame for this mess, but they''ll be paying for it.
Mark Steyn
Syndicated columnist
Comments | Recommend

Just between you, me, and the old, the late middle-aged and the early middle-aged: Isn''t it terrific to be able to stick it to the young? I mean, imagine how bad all this economic-type stuff would be if our kids and grandkids hadn''t offered to pick up the tab.


Well, OK, they didn''t exactly "offer" but they did stand around behind Barack Obama at all those campaign rallies helping him look dynamic and telegenic and earnestly chanting hopey-hopey-changey-changey. And "Yes, we can!"


Which is a pretty open-ended commitment.


Are you sure you young folks will be able to pay off this massive Mount Spendmore of multitrillion-dollar debts we''ve piled up on you?


"Yes, we can!"


We thought you''d say that! God bless the youth of America! We of the Greatest Generation, the Boomers and Generation X salute you, the plucky members of the Brokest Generation, the Gloomers and Generation Y, as in "Why the hell did you old coots do this to us?"


Because, as politicians like to say, it''s about "the future of all our children." And the future of all our children is that they''ll be paying off the past of all their grandparents. At 12 percent of GDP, this year''s deficit is the highest since the Second World War, and prioritizes not economic vitality but massive expansion of government. But hey, it''s not our problem. As Lord Keynes observed, "In the long run we''re all dead." Well, most of us will be. But not you youngsters, not for a while. So we''ve figured it out: You''re the ultimate credit market, and the rest of us are all preapproved!


The Bailout and the TARP and the Stimulus and the Multi-Trillion Budget and TARP 2 and Stimulus 2 and TARP And Stimulus Meet Frankenstein And The Wolf Man are like the old Saturday-morning cliffhanger serials your grandpa used to enjoy. But now he doesn''t have to grab his walker and totter down to the Rialto, because he can just switch on the news and every week there''s his plucky little hero Big Government facing the same old crisis: Why, there''s yet another exciting spending bill with 12 zeros on the end, but unfortunately there seems to be some question about whether they have the votes to pass it. Oh, no! And then, just as the fate of another gazillion dollars of pork and waste hangs in the balance, Arlen Specter or one of those lady senators from Maine dashes to the cliff edge and gives a helping hand, and phew, this week''s spendapalooza sails through. But don''t worry, there''ll be another exciting episode of "Trillion-Buck Rogers Of The 21st Century" next week!


This is the biggest generational transfer of wealth in the history of the world. If you''re an 18-year-old middle-class hopeychanger, look at the way your parents and grandparents live: It''s not going to be like that for you. You''re going to have a smaller house, and a smaller car – if not a basement flat and a bus ticket. You didn''t get us into this catastrophe. But you''re going to be stuck with the tab, just like the Germans got stuck with paying reparations for the catastrophe of the First World War. True, the Germans were actually in the war, whereas in the current crisis you guys were just goofing around at school, dozing through Diversity Studies and hoping to ace Anger Management class. But tough. That''s the way it goes.


I had the pleasure of talking to the students of Hillsdale College last week, and I endeavored to explain what it is they''re being lined up for in a 21st century America of more government, more regulation, less opportunity and less prosperity: When you come to take your seat at the American table (to use another phrase politicians are fond of), you''ll find the geezers, boomers and X-ers have all gone to the men''s room, and you''re the only one sitting there when the waiter presents the check. That''s you: Generation Checks.


The Teleprompter Kid says not to worry: His budget numbers are based on projections that the economy will decline 1.2 percent this year and then grow 4 percent every year thereafter. Do you believe that? In fact, does he believe that? This is the guy who keeps telling us this is the worst economic crisis in 70 years, and it turns out it''s just a 1-percent decline for a couple more months, and then party time resumes? And, come to that, wasn''t there a (notably unprojected) 6.2 percent drop in GDP just in the last quarter of 2008?


Whatever. Growth may be lower than projected, but who''s to say all those new programs, agencies, entitlements and other boondoggles won''t also turn out to cost less than anticipated? Might as well be optimistic, right?


Youth is wasted on the young, said Bernard Shaw. So the geezers appropriated it. We love the youthful sense of living in the moment, without a care, without the burdens of responsibility – free to go wild and crazy and splash out for Tony Danza in dinner theatre in Florida where we bought the condo we couldn''t afford. But we also love the idealism of youth: We want to help the sick and heal the planet by voting for massive unsustainable government programs. Like the young, we''re still finding ourselves, but when we find ourselves stuck with a medical bill or a foreclosure notice it''s great to be able to call home and say, "Whoops, I got into a bit of a hole this month. Do you think you could advance me a couple of trillion just to tide me over?" And if there''s no one at home but a couple of second-graders, who cares? In supporting the political class in its present behavior, America has gone to the bank and given its kids a massive breach-of-trust fund.


I mentioned a few weeks ago the calamitous reality of the U.S. auto industry. General Motors has 96,000 employees but provides health benefits to over a million people. They can never sell enough cars to make that math add up. In fact, selling cars doesn''t help, as they lose money on each model. GM is a welfare project masquerading as economic activity. And, after the Obama transformation, America will be, too. The young need to recognize that this is their fight. They need to stop chanting along with the hopeychangey dirges and do something more effective, like form the anti-AARP: The association of Americans who''ll never be able to retire.


©MARK STEYN


 

beebrisk

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Sadly, I'm afraid the next generation will not be chanting, but rather crying, "Yes they did!"
 

fleur-de-lis

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Drop in the bucket, compared to the Social Security Ponzi scheme. But then again, I suppose *that* can''t be blamed on the current non-Republican president, so it doesn''t fit the bill for those with a political axe to grind.
 

beebrisk

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Date: 3/15/2009 1:34:34 PM
Author: fleur-de-lis
Drop in the bucket, compared to the Social Security Ponzi scheme. But then again, I suppose *that* can''t be blamed on the current non-Republican president, so it doesn''t fit the bill for those with a political axe to grind.
Oh, it sure does. Social Security was simply one spoke in the wheel of FDR''s socialist-inspired New Deal. And we can see how well that worked 60+ years down the road. While I don''t blame our new "non-Republican" president for that mess, based on their actions I have no reason to believe that he or his non-Republican cronies have learned anything from it either.
 

fleur-de-lis

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Date: 3/15/2009 2:33:53 PM
Author: beebrisk
Date: 3/15/2009 1:34:34 PM

Author: fleur-de-lis

Drop in the bucket, compared to the Social Security Ponzi scheme. But then again, I suppose *that* can't be blamed on the current non-Republican president, so it doesn't fit the bill for those with a political axe to grind.

Oh, it sure does. Social Security was simply one spoke in the wheel of FDR's socialist-inspired New Deal. And we can see how well that worked 60+ years down the road. While I don't blame our new 'non-Republican' president for that mess, based on their actions I have no reason to believe that he or his non-Republican cronies have learned anything from it either.
So when the Republican party had control over both the executive and legislative branches between 2002-2007, how 'come it didn't do away with Social Security?
 

fleur-de-lis

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(My apologies, BeeBrisk, for some reason the post cut off mid-post and made my post seem far more partisan. What I had wanted to post was:)


So when the Republican party had control over both the executive and legislative branches between 2002-2007, how ''come it didn''t do away with Social Security? Based on the budgets from that era, do you believe that "(())Republican cronies" have learned anything either?




An article titled "Welcome to the Brokest Generation" about TARP et al is more than a bit disingenuous. I''ve been a member LOOOOONG since before Barack Obama took office. Do you not feel that way?
 

tlh

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Date: 3/15/2009 9:51:07 PM
Author: fleur-de-lis
(My apologies, BeeBrisk, for some reason the post cut off mid-post and made my post seem far more partisan. What I had wanted to post was:)


So when the Republican party had control over both the executive and legislative branches between 2002-2007, how ''come it didn''t do away with Social Security? Based on the budgets from that era, do you believe that ''(())Republican cronies'' have learned anything either?

An article titled ''Welcome to the Brokest Generation'' about TARP et al is more than a bit disingenuous. I''ve been a member LOOOOONG since before Barack Obama took office. Do you not feel that way?
I don''t think anyone is going to approve taking away benefits that have been paid to others... waiting to hit the magic age to collect the "pre-paid" lunch.
 

Mara

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Greg read some NYT article a week or two ago about how this generation of kids being raised right now will be affected long-term as an imprint, by what is going on now. aka how some of our Grandparents have never forgotten the Depression and sacrifices made and it still affects their actions even decades later.

In general it seems like the last few generations have not had to deal with any real hardship the way previous generations have had to, so it will be interesting to see some of these kids being raised now in potentially more frugal times and what (if any) impact it will make on them. It could really benefit them in the future if they see some of this now when they are younger. It might help cut some of that spending and entitlement mentality that we are seeing in some younger generations currently.
 

beebrisk

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Date: 3/15/2009 9:51:07 PM
Author: fleur-de-lis
(My apologies, BeeBrisk, for some reason the post cut off mid-post and made my post seem far more partisan. What I had wanted to post was:)



So when the Republican party had control over both the executive and legislative branches between 2002-2007, how ''come it didn''t do away with Social Security? Based on the budgets from that era, do you believe that ''(())Republican cronies'' have learned anything either?





An article titled ''Welcome to the Brokest Generation'' about TARP et al is more than a bit disingenuous. I''ve been a member LOOOOONG since before Barack Obama took office. Do you not feel that way?
Well, Republicans have been in control for many years since the inception of Social Security, not just 2002-7.

During those times the notion of privatizing the program (or doing away with it all together) has been addressed and subsequently beaten down. Taking away entitlements (even when they are broken) is really risky business--for both parties. There''s no political axe to grind here because I''ve never expected any administration to tackle it--on either side.

And yes. After looking at my investments and savings over the last few months, I would have to say I am very close to being a card carrying member myself!
 

Allisonfaye

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Date: 3/16/2009 2:04:46 PM
Author: Mara
Greg read some NYT article a week or two ago about how this generation of kids being raised right now will be affected long-term as an imprint, by what is going on now. aka how some of our Grandparents have never forgotten the Depression and sacrifices made and it still affects their actions even decades later.

In general it seems like the last few generations have not had to deal with any real hardship the way previous generations have had to, so it will be interesting to see some of these kids being raised now in potentially more frugal times and what (if any) impact it will make on them. It could really benefit them in the future if they see some of this now when they are younger. It might help cut some of that spending and entitlement mentality that we are seeing in some younger generations currently.
In some respects, I was kind of glad this happened when my kids were little (although who knows how long it will last). We live in an area where some of the kids are pretty spoiled (where the movie Mean Girls was based). I hated thinking of my kids growing up around those peer influences. We don''t buy our kids a ton of stuff and they don''t have every Disney movie ever made. My girls are pretty young (5 and 3) but they never ask me for anything.
 
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