Monday, April 13, 2009

Obligations Courtesy of the Baby Boom Generation

When considering the current Economic Predicament from a macro sociological/historical perspective, one can not ignore the integral role played by the Baby Boom generation. Specifically, we refer to this Generation's propensity for agglomerating vast amounts of debt, both in their personal lives, and through the Institutions that they have controlled for so many years. Essentially, a single generation of profligate spenders has saddled several future generations with an abundance of immoral obligations, accumulated during times of debt fueled prosperity. We now turn to Figure 1.

The early cusp of the Baby Boom generation is typically defined as a person born in the year 1946. This earliest Boomer Vintage began turning thirty in 1976, the age at which we can presumably say, an individual reaches a new plateau in terms of stake and influence within business and the community. In addition, by 1985, every member of the Baby Boom Generation was of legal voting age. As this all relates to the chart above, we can discern a sharp, noticeable Increase and Acceleration of the total national debt(right axis), beginning in the early 1980's. This trend continued to present, interrupted only by a brief period of windfall budget surpluses during the Clinton Administration. Now, the skeptics of national debt danger usually point to the chart's left axis and argue that, as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product, the national debt has been relatively higher at other times in history. This argument ignores the dual aspects of leverage, specifically the downside effect that we are currently experiencing, and fails to recognize that the debt agglomeration process created largely illusory growth that fostered a false sense of manageable debt levels.

As the Baby Boomers continue to age and withdraw from the workforce in increasing numbers, a particularly unsettling reality is beginning to take shape: Entire generations of Americans will be forced to assume the ill-accumulated obligations of the Baby Boomers for years to come. Boomers have virulently opposed higher taxes for almost three decades, while contemporaneously fostering entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare that will ensure them a well funded retirement. We are faced with perhaps one of the most immoral acts that one generation can impose upon another.

Fortunately for the Boomers, they have managed to gain control of the few media oligopolies that exist in present day. This will serve to distract and preoccupy the Debtor Generations for a given amount of time. How long this injustice can continue is yet to be seen.

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