Hit & Run

Nick Gillespie and Veronique de Rugy on Old-Age Entitlements vs. the Safety Net

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In 1964 a young Bob Dylan released "The Times They Are a-Changin'," an anthem that defined what would shortly become known as "the generation gap." With a mix of sympathy and sneer—"Come mothers and fathers / Throughout the land / And don't criticize / What you can't understand / Your sons and your daughters / Are beyond your command / Your old road is / Rapidly agin'?"—Dylan described an unbridgeable gulf in values, styles, and aspirations between the rising baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, and their elders, who had managed to survive the depredations of the Great Depression, World War II, and the swiveling hips of Elvis Presley.

Flash forward half a century, and the boomers who once sang along with Dylan have become the reactionary elders, clinging to their power and perks at the literal expense of everyone younger. There's a new generation gap opening up, write Nick Gillespie and Veronique de Rugy, one that threatens to tear apart the country every bit as much as past confrontations over war, free love, drugs, and sitar music. This fight is about old-age entitlements and whether the Me Generation will do what's right for the country and stop sucking up more and more money from their children and grandchildren.