Monday, June 3, 2013

Screw the Young. They Don't Appreciate the System.

Okay, with such a provocative title, a caveat or two might be in order. It's likely that all the twenty-something and thirty-something commenters I see on Yahoo! and the Washington Post who keep repeating the talking point that "the elderly are just stealing money from the young just when they need that money to get on with their lives" are either mouthing notions they hear on Fox News, Fox Business, or CNBC, or repeating ad nauseum the campaign slogans from 2012. They got this nonsense from somewhere.

Or, in the alternative, they're dyed-in-the-wool libertarians/conservatives who really, really want to dismantle the social safety net that is there for the most vulnerable -- the elderly, the children, the poor, and the disabled -- based on the notion that somehow everything would work out if people "took responsibility for their own lives" and stopped "stealing" from the hard-working among us. That's the "47 percent solution."

Finally, there are young people that have drunk the it-won't-be-there-for-us-when-we-get-there Kool-Aid, in spite of all the studies that show that it not only will it be there when they get old -- or vulnerable while younger -- but it can also be expanded and improved if our citizenry wished it.

So, having said that, I propose a point of view, or a policy recommendation, if you will: screw the coming generations if they don't or won't appreciate the nature of the system that was built before them. My parents paid for their parents' retirement, and I paid for my parents' retirement. My children will pay for my retirement, and so forth. This system is a fully functional one that can continue, with a few tweaks and improvements, for as long as our country wants it to. Full stop.

Now, if the young are selfish, myopic, or just plain duped by the powers that be in the financial and political sphere into believing it's in their best interest to destroy the system so it won't be there for them -- a self-fulfilling prophecy -- then fine. If the coming generations can be suckered into surrendering their futures to some politically savvy con artists, grifters, and thieves so that the rich can have their taxes reduced by crushing the safety net, then so be it.

Of course, we who wish to preserve or even improve our social safety net or to enhance social justice or improve income equality should do our best to educate our young and fight for them to the last ditch against the political forces of pure greed, dressed in the sheep's clothing of "individualism." But in the extreme, if we can't convince them, they I suggest AARP, and every geezer-based organization and institution in the country adopt a screw-the-young platform.

The trouble is, though, a screw-the-young platform has already been adopted -- by the Republican Party in cahoots with the moneyed classes that control the Beltway Narrative. No, anyone who fights for the most needy among us will by the very nature of the fight be fighting for the coming generations. It's just the way it works.

So, gen-Xers, gen-Yers, and millennials, we the baby boomers have no choice but to watch your backs. Then do yourself a favor: watch ours, too. That's the way the system was designed to work. And it does work. Don't let the Ayn Rands, Rand Pauls, and Paul Ryans of the world strip you of your future.

Update. There's hope for us yet. The millennials really don't like the Republican Party. So maybe they're not drinking the Kool-Aid so much. Good for them. Hope we see you at the ballot box in 2014.

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