to Snoopy Poopy Poop Dogg and the Enema Man and all that!Hey kids, wake up! Stop playing your X-Box while listening to your Facebooks on the iPod and wearing your iPad with the cap turned backwards with the droopy pants and the bikini underwear listening
Take a break from getting yet another tattoo on your ass bone or your nipples pierced already! And STFU about the 1 Percent vs. the 99 Percent!
You're not getting screwed by billionaires and plutocrats. You're getting screwed by Mom and Dad.
Systematically and in all sorts of ways. Old people are doing everything possible to rob you of your money, your future, your dignity, and your freedom.
Here's the irony, too (in a sort of Alanis Morissette sense): You're getting hosed by the very same group that 45 years ago was bitching and moaning about "the generation gap" and how their parents just didn't understand what really mattered in life.
Hence, many of the early pop anthems of the baby boomers - technically, those born between 1946 and 1964 but or all intents and purposes folks 55 years and older - focused on how stupid old people were ("don't criticize what you can't understand") and how young people would rather croak themselves then end up like their parents ("I hope I die before I get old"). "We are stardust, we are golden," sang Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young at Woodstock. "We got to get ourselves back to the garden." Flash forward four or five decades, a couple of hundred pounds, the odd organ transplant, random arrests and jail stints, and the only garden David Crosby is getting back to is the Olive Garden with its unlimited pasta bowls and breadsticks. What small parts of American life and power the boomers don't yet run they will soon enough.
Did you read that New York Times op-ed that called for a brand-spankin' new military draft and national service plan? "Let's Draft Our Kids," by veteran (read: old, born in 1955) journalist Thomas Ricks, is symptomatic of the new vibe, a kind of reverse Logan's Run scenario. In that godawful 1976 flick, when you turned 30, you were killed for the common good. Nowadays, it's more like life begins at 30. Which is confusing because 40 is the new 30 and 50 is the new 40 and on and on. The important thing: Youth is no longer to be wasted on the young.
Ricks suggests letting high-school grads pick from either 18 months of military service or two years of civilian service, in return for free college tuition and subsidized health care and mortgages (libertarians, he notes, could opt out of service by forfeiting benefits though apparently not avoiding taxes). Beyond all the obviously great and good and wonderful things that come of forced labor, Ricks suggests that "having a draft might...make Americans think more carefully before going to war." Sure it would. Just like it did in the past when we actually had a draft.
Expect this sort of plan to get more and more respectful hearings if unemployment stays high for another few weeks. Or as former hippies and punks get up there in years. Last year, during an appearance I had on Real Time with Bill Maher, the host and other guests (all of us well north of 30) thought mandatory service was a fine notion. Back in the 1980s and '90s, national service was a pet project of folks such as Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.) and right-wing icon Bill Buckley (who wrote a book, Gratitude, on the topic).
Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan could all agree on was that conscription was a really bad thing. For god's sake, Richard Nixon created a commission to end the draft. But that was then, and this is now.Oddly, back in the actual 1960s, one of the few things that hippies and
And right now, old people are not going gentle into that good night. They know they're going to need younger people to change their diapers and pay their bills for them, literally and figuratively. As Hillary Clinton put it in 1999, nobody's going to do that if they have any option not to. Speaking to a National Education Association meeting, she explained one of the great benefits of old-age entitlements was that they meant you didn't have to live with your goddamn parents.
"In a very real sense," she said, "Medicare and Social Security say to our older people: We're going to help you remain independent ... We're going to free up the resources that might otherwise have to come directly to you from your family, so that they can do what you did--raise the next generation, send their children to college, hold down the jobs that enable them to move forward."
You got that? The author of It Takes a Village, a paean to the intricate bonds across and among generations, thinks one of the great selling points of Social Security is that it means you don't have to make room for granddaddy. Goddammit, we need that room for a home office! "There would be many families who would have to choose between supporting a parent--an elderly parent--and sending a child to college." She mused, "That would cause a lot of difficult decisions in our lives, wouldn't it?" Yes, it would, so it makes sense to give old people enough of other people's money so you don't have to see them except on holidays.
As a point of fact, retirees aren't particularly "independent" if they rely on tax dollars for income, are they? But here's the real rub, kids: You're getting screwed by Social Security, a program that is now more sacrosanct to aging boomers than Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. You're paying more into the system than you're ever going to get out. No wonder it's mandatory. C. Eugene Steuerle and Stephanie Rennane put out a study for the Urban Institute last summer that should have caused far more riots than anything that happened at Zuccotti Park. They document that folks making average wages who retired in 2010 will get a raw deal over the coming decades. The deal will only get worse if you retire in, say, 2030. Read it and weep, kids, and don't believe it when old people who are either already on Social Security or about to join that club tell you it's part of a generational bargain that can't be changed even if retirees are totally wealthy compared to you.
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