Dec 26 2008

Blame America’s Economic Woes On Retiring Boomers

Published by at 11:37 am under All General Discussions

A lot of people are scratching their heads over the current economic downturn, but it really should not be a mystery. I myself have been waiting for it to begin for decades. The inevitable contraction has been exacerbated by really bad, leftist economic policy decisions instantiated over many years. These decisions are the hallmark of those who count their parents among “The Greatest Generation” ever. The contraction and the bad policies that made it worse are the work of the The Boomers – one of the most confused and radical generations ever. And like most confused radicals, they have left us a mess.

I have the fortune (or misfortune) of being one of those who is either at the end of the Boomers or the beginning of the post boomers – depending what year you cut the transition at. Most people use 1960 (my birth year) as the mark that ends the post World War II Baby Boomers. I prefer not to be part of the boomers, who seem to me to be on average (with many wonderful exceptions) to be self absorbed and a bit arrogant.

The boomers are now nearly all heading into retirement. They are selling the larger houses they raised their families in and heading to smaller dwellings in remote (and therefore cheaper) locations. Being a highly successful generation on a personal level, their departure from the market is leaving a mark in many dimensions. And as they begin to feed at the trough of federal and private retirement pools, the impacts are going to be worse yet.

One has to understand how large a group of consumers the Boomers are to appreciate their impact on the economy:

Seventy-six million American children were born between 1946 and 1959, representing cohorts that would be significant on account of its size alone. These several cohorts share characteristics like higher education than previous generations and assumptions of lifelong prosperity and entitlement developed during their childhood in the 1950s.

Because the Baby Boomer generation has found that their parents are living longer, their children are seeking a better and longer college education, and they themselves are having children later in life, the boomers have become “sandwiched” between generations. The “sandwich generation”, coined in the 1980s, refers to baby boomers who must care for both elderly parents and young children at the same time.

The age wave theory suggests an impending economic slowdown when the boomers start retiring during 2007-2009.[7]

Emphasis mine. The age wave theory is clearly more accurate than the Global Warming theory (another pet concept of those radical Boomers). I have know my entire life I would not really see much personal success until the Boomers were well into retiring. There are just not that many positions in society on the upper rungs for everyone, and with the largest group in American history waiting to retire there was a barrier for the rest of us to get our turn at the top.

With the current US population at 300 million, understand that 76 million Boomers is 25% of the entire US population. Think about it.  When Boomers depart a region or sector then you find the smaller post Boomer generations and immigrants are what is left to fill the void. 

I knew my age group would actually find a lot of opportunity later in life as the Boomers moved off to pasture. I knew that we would see cheaper housing, luxury goods, retirement options, etc because the Boomers will, from now on, leave a void instead of being a barrier.

And understand the mentality of the Boomers – they rejected their World War II parents. They were radicals obsessed with peace. They despised the military, the hallmark of their parents. Yes, there were a smaller group who respected and followed guidance of the World War II generation (George W Bush followed George Bush Senior, WW II Vet, John McCain, etc). But the Boomers had a very tough act to follow, and they went to extremes to distance themselves from their parent.

The Boomers, in trying to achieve distinction from their parents, tended to be more like Jimmy Carter and Bill Ayers. The interesting thing as been is while they were very liberal, they did not achieve acceptance by the other generations to lead. Nearly all US Presidents have to have a bit of the World War II security mentality in their character, and they have to minimize any liberal tendencies. 

One only needs to look at the liberal home mortgage loan debacle to see the negative impact of the Boomers. Instead of demanding minimal capability and proven responsibility to handle a home mortgage, the radical bleeding heart nature of the Boomers caused them to try and hand out homes to those not ready for the responsibility. And a normal downturn turned extremely ugly as the result.

Boomers have a Santa Claus complex. They don’t want to demand responsibility, they want to give handouts. They supported the life-long economic trap of the welfare state. It was their idea to give loans to those not ready for them. It is they who seek to ‘level the playing field’ by taking from the wealthy. Except their money of course. They believe they are saving the planet by being green and following the Church of Al Gore. They have spent their entire existence trying to be more than their parents generation.

Even the one gift to mankind they did produce has become tainted with revisionist history and commercialization. Rock and Roll is the product of the Boomers. It was the power that swept a shattered post World War II Earth in the grip of a Cold War. While most Rockers were still raging against the machine of their parents, the message resounded behind the iron curtains of communism and began to open minds and eyes to a new world. The raging against the machine was very real to those under oppression.

And the fact that America’s newer generations agreed with the message created a world-wide bond that set the stage for a trust that would see the end of communism as iron curtains fell all over. Communism has always been threatened by capitalism, and all threats are met with force. Until the threat was reduced, there was no way to walk down the forces who were on a hair trigger, waiting for the inevitable next World War.

Rock & Roll was the avenue for building bridges and trust. It was the music more than the lyrics, in my humble opinion. It was the one thing the Boomers did that really did do something historic. But to this day they still see this phenomena as an act of revolution against the evil US Machine – their parent’s America. The Boomers are a very faulted generation. They rebelled against a great generation, they consumed madly and brought in the age of the ‘me generation’. In their mind they measure things by what value it brings them. They have tried to escape the shadow of the Greatest Generation – and failed.

And now, as they depart, they will leave economic upheaval and pain. Obama and Palin are my generation. It is now time for a much more moderate, less extreme group of leaders to take over. We enjoy the hell out of Rock & Roll and we are moved by the acts of patriotism shown by our armed forces. We savour all sides and are slaves to none. We have no beef with the Greatest Generation, and we have been patiently waiting for the Boomers like Carter and Clinton to make their mess and move on. We are use to cleaning up after the Boomers. We have been doing it all our lives.

44 responses so far

44 Responses to “Blame America’s Economic Woes On Retiring Boomers”

  1. Rick C says:

    Crosspatch, I really. really have to disagree. To argue 90% bonds is to argue limited and controllable inflation. With the amount of money being created as we speak, that is extremely doubtful. No, I expect either serious inflation coming up or another fed induced recession ala Volcker. If we get Carter style inflation, your fixed income will be cut in half (in real terms) before you know what hit you. And then, the value of the bond will be important.

    I did state that as long as the companies stayed healthy, you would get the stated interest, but we are heading into a period where that is not guaranteed. That is why bonds got crushed over the past few months. Credit worries, and credit is all that a bond is. I sure wouldn’t want to be holding a GM bond or even a GMAC bond.

    Now given that your safe bond is yielding 5%, then it doesn’t take much inflation, and your 4% living amount, to go negative. Somehow, I think you believe that negative returns on your bond portfolio is impossible. I don’t. We still need growth in retirement.


  2. MerlinOS2 says:

    When I retired (at 35) I rolled my IRA accounts into a self managed trading account at my online broker about 12 years later.

    That account is used for swing trading only and not short term day trades.

    Any cash balance at the end of the day is swept automatically into overnight funds.

    Trade positions usually average less than a week for hold times and the return is much better than nominal market index funds.

  3. Neo says:

    If boomers are responsibly for the down turn, we’re all doomed to decades of poor economic times.

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