Let me preface what I am about to write by acknowledging that my politics are left of center. But I have a beef with the ‘rents and their baby-boomer peers.
You are breaking our country.
I know you don’t feel responsible for the last two wars that cost $2 trillion, the unfunded increase to Medicare enacted in 2006 (donut-hole… stop eating those things, too), the regulatory changes that encouraged irresponsible lending practices to unqualified mortgage holders, or the complete and total lack of oversight for banks, insurers and credit ratings agencies. I won’t even bother to argue against most of these decisions since liberals and conservatives supported these policies before most of them, after winning the most important war of all: “the messaging war,” revised their positions to be against these policy decisions after they were for them. But my generation (Generation Y) and Generation X, because I’m feeling benevolent, need you to help foot the bill.
So when certain politicians or business leaders of your generation say, “we’re all in this together,” we kind of need both you and them to mean it. This implies you have to pay for the things you broke. I won’t blame any one person for the wars or for our country’s current economic stagnation, but your generation, collectively, is in large part responsible for these decisions and now it’s time to share in all the consequences.
I know you thought you were going to collect all the sweet benefits that grandma and grandpa receive, but for my future – my generation’s future – I really need you to delay all those benefits for about five years (ok, compromise age 69 and not 70). And I sort of need you to put that age limit into law now and not in 10 or 15 years when you pass that demographic hurdle.
Cutting budgets on a lot of other programs is so tempting. I know. There is stuff I don’t want to pay for, too! I know that deficits and debt are all the rage right now in politics; we need to “tighten our belts.” Well, this includes you – literally and figuratively.
C’mon someone took on the debt? It wasn’t your children that took the government credit card and started charging things we can’t pay for – it was YOU. Oh yeah, and your desire to live to 90 and eat supersized McDonald’s triple baconators with cheese every day is definitely affecting my insurance premiums. Sorry, I digress but that was the literal part of the, “tighten your belts,” remark.
It’s tempting to reign in funding for all the government programs that you don’t benefit from or as least seem that way. I’m sure the roads will pave themselves. Generations X and Y can always get a home equity line of credit on the negative equity they have in their homes to put their kids through college since you think government shouldn’t be in the student loan business. And because only the poor kids seem to have patriotism these days, maybe our injured veterans from the wars you started can cover a greater portion of their veteran health benefits. Besides, there is nothing more patriotic than Congressmen slapping high fives after voting down an increase to soldier benefits I can almost imagine Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be an American” playing in the background. Ok, admittedly, some of my statements are total hyperbole, but, I write these remarks to illustrate the point that I really need you to lay off our country’s seed corn.
Remember how government used to do things well? No, really, I promise it used to work and it probably still does. The rural electrification administration brought cheap electricity to poor agricultural communities all over the South during the Great Depression, so that two generations later, Tea Partiers could get access to FOX News in the middle of nowhere. The land grant colleges of the 19th century are the reason why the U.S. has the best university system in the world today. The G.I. Bill educated grandpa so he could find a job after WWII and so that you could grow up during the longest period of American prosperity. The Eisenhower Superhighway System created a national road network that you now want to maintain with free, imaginary construction fairies. Some of these aren’t the best examples of what government has done well, but it’s what came to my mind while writing this post.
To wrap things up, the sacrifice is not going to be that bad. I promise that all of the generations succeeding you will pay much more for the decisions your generation made in the last ten years than you ever will. While your economic plans are wholly inadequate to rescue us from our current economic malaise, I implore you to share in the suckfest.
If you pitch in, I know it’s gonna be alright.