When it all first started, I had a theory, one I didn't point out on Burnside because 1) I don't really know what I'm talking about most of the time, and 2) I'm usually hesitant to point a finger of blame at entire people groups.
But then Marian Salzman, a trendspotter and marketing guru, came out on CNN.com and more or less told me my theory was exactly right: we're in this mess because of Baby Boomers.
And while I'll never forgive Salzman for popularizing the phrase "metrosexual", let's think about her claim for a moment: what do Barney Frank, the majority of Republican and Democratic leadership, President Bush, most banking/automobile CEOs, Rush Limbaugh, Barbara Streisand, O.J. Simpson and Donald Trump have in common?
They're all born between 1940 and 1955.
The Baby Boomers were the first to reap the rewards of America's superpower status. The Greatest Generation, wounds fresh from the Great Depression and World War II, fought for and attained prosperity, a bright future for their children. The Golden Age of America was about to begin.
And then their petulant, spoiled children rode all that hard work right off a cliff. Baby Boomers are defined by their immense self-centeredness and belief in the individual. They never shut up about all the great works they accomplished, like the end of the Vietnam War (which, by the way, lasted 16 years) and ingesting copious amounts of narcotics, and all the super-awesome music. Through Bill Clinton and George Bush, they've accomplished 16 straight years of awful presidency.
And pretty soon, this massive clump of self-obsessed Boomers will reach social security age, bringing on another economic crisis...one that could've been averted by now, except Baby Boomers aren't overly concerned with anyone but themselves.
It's not just politics, either...almost every aspect of how the Evangelical Church in America operates, good and bad (though, I'd lean toward the latter), is because of Baby Boomer influence.
Now, I realize Baby Boomers are a diverse group, and not all of them are to blame for America's current freefall. But that doesn't make my blood boil any less when remembering these stupid Ameriprise commercials:
Yeah, man...no bingo for you! You burned your draft card and let a black kid from inner-city Detroit go to Vietnam in your place! You survived the '60s! So go buy that boat, man...you deserve it.
I have some chapter ideas for "the book on how to turn retirement upside down":
- Freedom Means Buying Giant Cars
- The Greatest Generation: They Laid the Groundwork for You! (And No One Else!)
- From The Doors to Draft-Dodging: How to Tell Your Grandchildren How Much You Mattered
- Let's Get Rand-y: Unleashing Your Inner Howard Roark