Posted by: dolan | February 18, 2009

The End of Boomer Dominance?

Are we seeing the end of boomer dominance of politics and culture? It certainly seems that way. My generation (33-45?) has begun to breed in earnest, and I think that is producing somewhat of a shift. We have entered the workforce, bought houses, settled down, and are looking to ensure a good world for our children. We who were raised on “Free to Be” and Sesame Street are taking to heart the idea that we’re all the same color when you turn off the light. We’ve voted out the very epitome of “i’ll get mine first” and voted in someone who we hope embodies very opposite ideals of sharing the wealth. Our current situation has many causes, but surely it is more due to the belief that the only true market is an unregulated market, a belief embodied by SUV-driving boomers, than it is by their children. I’m sure when we get our chance to screw our offspring we’ll do a solid job of it as well, but I don’t think this one of is of our making.


Responses

  1. I guess when you use “we”, you are using the collective as in the slight majority who voted for our current president. The whole “share the wealth” topic, had it been out for another month or two would have gotten enough traction that even the sleepyheads of your generation would have woken up and realized that they needed to vote against it.

    I think you’ve also left out some causes: Ignorant buyers who thought that they could buy way more house than their budget could afford, or that variable interest rates would also stay low. Also, the politicians who actually put mandates on racial quotas as opposed to financial ability to pay. 20 years ago you needed solid financials, and usually 20% down to even walk into a bank… but the politicians added that little curveball. Looking at the demographics of default, it was mostly people who wouldn’t have normally qualified for loans that got foreclosed upon.

    I firmly believe this election and “stimulus” bill are the next steps towars when we “screw our offspring”

    Side note: Great pics. Looks like a lot of fun in that house!

  2. Did I touch a nerve?

    I was using “we” to refer to my generation. As for “sharing the wealth”, given our current levels of economic stratification, any move in the opposite direction would be welcome. Call me crazy, but I don’t vote my pocketbook, I vote what I think is right.

    re: Other causes: “Ignorant buyers who thought that they could buy way more house than their budget could afford, or that variable interest rates would also stay low.” Yup, that is cause, as much as are the institutions who marketed and sold them those mortgages when they clearly weren’t qualified.

    “Also, the politicians who actually put mandates on racial quotas as opposed to financial ability to pay. 20 years ago you needed solid financials, and usually 20% down to even walk into a bank… but the politicians added that little curveball. Looking at the demographics of default, it was mostly people who wouldn’t have normally qualified for loans that got foreclosed upon.”

    Hmm, I think you might want to say economic vs racial. And silly me, when I thought that incorrect valuation of the risk when those mortgages were bundled into mortgage backed securites was the problem. But of course, it was those evil poor people all along! Because the unregulated market never gets anything wrong and works in everyone’s best interest. Especially credit rating agencies with conflicts of interest.

    “I firmly believe this election and “stimulus” bill are the next steps towars when we “screw our offspring.”

    Funny, because in your blog you said something about wanting Obama to succeed, or maybe that was just lip service. I firmly believe the previous administration is where much of the offspring-screwing has been taking place recently, unless you want to argue that the country is better off that it was eight years ago (hint: you’ll probably lose that one).

    Both parties have been pretty amazingly irresponsible for a while now, so my hope is not as deep as I’d like it to be.

    Also, don’t make the mistake of assuming I think that Obama is the messiah. My point is that he (and many of my generation) have a fundamentally different set of assumptions about the world than the previous one, ones that I believe is better reflective of the state of the world as it is and should be, not as it was. I’m sure my children will say the same about my generation with respect to theirs.

    “Side note: Great pics. Looks like a lot of fun in that house!”

    Thanks! It is.

  3. It is absurd to generalize about entire generations:
    There are people of keen social conscience in all generations, and all generations have depraved slobs.

    I would appreciate the dropping of generational labels, in discussion of serious social, political, psychological, and economic issues!

  4. Wow, usually my posts are simply ignored :)

    “It is absurd to generalize about entire generations:
    There are people of keen social conscience in all generations, and all generations have depraved slobs.”

    This is very very true. For example, my dad is a boomer but in some ways probably has a keener social conscience than I.

    My point is more about the worldview that is inherited by the events and influences that shape a given generation vs another.

    In all fairness, this post was merely riffing on an NPR piece about Obama’s non-Boomer love, and why that exists. I agree that on its face blaming an entire generation is absurd, but sometimes it’s fun to speculate.

    Thanks for visiting :)

  5. No, nerves touched. As you can see I made sure to post a compliment at the end.

    You might want to research the political push to initiate loans based on the color of one’s skin (minorities preferred) as a qualifying factor in the Fannie/Freddie problem. When financial risk was no longer the only measure of worthiness, the principles that kept banks as solid institutions were suddenly undermined.

    I agree, the repackaging of MBSs multiplied the problem. But the baseline problem was three things: Politicians who felt they had to right the world’s wrongs by pushing banks to allow riskier borrowers in, people who actually thought they could suddenly afford homes without being able to pay for them, and the banks who either knowingly or unwittingly allowed predatory brokers to victimize. It was a triple-whammy compunded by reselling the problem.

    I agree the previous administration did some offspring-screwing (great line), but that same course has been continued by this administration’s first major act: The stimulus bill.

    But I get a kick out of people like yourself who seem to see the world of today as the way it should be, not as it was, despite our slumping education, society, infrastructure, etc over the last 10-20 years. Typically, you emulate success, and try not to repeat failure. However, big government spending, “spreading the wealth”, and so on, only degrages our country as history has shown. On paper it seems wonderful, but unfortunately we’re humans, and it doesn’t always go according to plan — like watching sports. The reality is that humans want to work hard for themselves, and sometimes are willing to share. Forcing them to share takes away the will to work, thus lowering productivity, and the group as a whole suffers.


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