Charity Begins At Home
In an alarmingly short time, we are embarking on an overseas trip. Our destination is a country often referred to as “developing.”
My main reason for telling you this is to let you know that postings for the next few weeks might be sporadic. Additionally, in anticipation of the trip, I had to go to the doctor to get a shot (or jab as they call them down here). I thought it would be one shot but it turned into two shots plus two prescriptions. Can’t be too careful.
These days when you get a jab you have to hang around the waiting room for 20 minutes to make sure you don’t have an adverse reaction. That meant that I had the opportunity to pick up a magazine and catch up on some reading.
And what I read was scarier than the needles the nurse was wielding and the advice the doctor was giving me. I read an article about something called “intergenerational theft.” If you were born between 1946 and 1964 you are guilty of this crime, even though you may not have known about it. It’s not what John McCain was referring to. This is different. So pay attention, because, as the saying goes, ignorance of the law is no excuse.
According to the article I read, many of the Generation X & Y people have looked around at the situation of people under 40 and decided that it’s not as good as they would like it. The short explanation is that there is lots of stuff they want to do and buy but can’t for the following reasons:
- They can’t get good jobs because the Baby Boomers won’t retire.
- They have huge student loans because college is so much more expensive than when Baby Boomers went to college and their Baby Boomer parents won’t pay for their university degree.
- They can’t afford houses because they are more expensive than when Baby Boomers got into the market and their Baby Boomer parents are going on cruises and buying Winnebagos instead of giving them money for a down payment.
- Even if they have jobs, they can’t save money because their salaries are being “taxed to extinction” in order to fund Baby Boomer pensions. And worse still, they will have to fund the health care costs of the aging population.
- Basically, the world would be a better place if the Baby Boomers weren’t so selfish and threatening to live for so long.
I had to double check to make sure the article wasn’t some kind of joke.
But it wasn’t. They had “case studies.”
One was a thirty-something who vilified her retired parents. It seems that they are too selfish to provide free babysitting which means she has to pay for day care. This is preventing her from buying the luxury condominium she wants.
Another was a twenty-five year old single engineer. His life is miserable because he has a student loan he has to pay back. His quality of life is seriously degraded because he is therefore not able to take six months off and go to Europe. Plus, and I couldn’t tell if this is worse, he desperately needs a new kitchen table because he is mortified to be using his parents’ old table. Apparently that doesn’t impress the ladies. His suggested solution? Eliminate income tax for young people so they can live the lives they want instead of having to “pay for old peoples’ pensions.”
I don’t know anyone under 40 who thinks this way. Or at least who articulates these sentiments. But then again, I don’t know anyone who has ever been abducted by aliens, even though I know those people are out there. I’m no expert on sociology, but if there are people like that, we have a rather serious rip in the social fabric.
After the allotted time the nurse told me I was free to go and while driving home I tuned in the oldies station. Obligingly, they played Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are A Changin’. While waiting for a red light I amused myself by thinking of how he might have written it today:
Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
Don’t be so greedy,
We can’t afford name brand.
Your sons and your daughters
Don’t ask, they command
Your 401ks are maturing,
Please write them a check
And give them a hand,
For the times they are a changing.
Fortunately the times weren’t the only thing a-changin’. The traffic light turned green and my poetic efforts ended along with the song. Maybe you can do better!
It will be interesting to see if the Gen X&Y people in the developing world have the same attitudes. I’ll report back!