27 Feb 2009

Gen Y Schadenfreude

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As we Baby Boomers start canceling our vacations at Gstaad and lining up to apply for jobs at supermarket checkout counters, Colby Cosh (the insolent little twit) consoles himself for the damage to his own portfolio with a little gloating at our expense.

For the children of the Baby Boomers, there is a special delight in watching the world economy shake itself to pieces like a two-dollar pram at this particular moment. Our elders, who bought prosperity and nice pensions at our expense and pulled the ripcords on their “Freedom 55” parachutes without leaving any behind in the passenger cabin, are getting it in the neck just when they thought a secure old age, with money for travel and expensive pastimes, was a safe bet. I’m willing to watch my meagre savings suffer from market turmoil in exchange for contemplating the dilemma of those who are now between 55 and 65.

These are people who started their working lives at a time when labour unions were strong, taxpayers outnumbered retirees nearly 10 to one, housing was as cheap as borscht and the basic personal exemption covered most of a living wage. They congratulated themselves on building an elaborate “social safety net” at the expense of their children. Their great numbers have allowed their preferences and superstitions to dominate culture and media. They’re the ones who burned through tonnes of pot and then launched a War on Drugs when they grew bored with it; they drove mighty-bowelled Mustangs and Thunderbirds in their youth, and only started worrying about the environment when they no longer needed a capacious backseat to fornicate in; they espoused and took full advantage of sexual liberation, but were safely hors de combat by the time AIDS reared its head. The first time I see one shopping for dog food, I doubt I’ll be able to suppress a laugh.

As for the younger crowd, it is a quite distinct pleasure to watch their panic and uncertainty. The actually existing danger is not too great, but no one born after about 1980 has much practical experience of severe recession. …

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

3 Feedbacks on "Gen Y Schadenfreude"


I started my working life in 1973, just as Richard Nixon’s final price controls came off, inflation roared and then the first oil embargo hit us broadside. I lived in Houston, which had jobs but housing costs were astronomical for young marrieds. Taxes were horrible. I watched the prime rate climb during the Carter Disaster to almost 21 percent. My wife and I assumed that what we paid in Social Security was going to be a kiss-off, so we saved and saved. We bought normal cars, didn’t smoke pot, didn’t have to worry about AIDS because we were boringly monogamous and in love with each other, and raised two kids who both turned out pretty well. The insolent little twit would have to have been there to see what it was like — now he’ll get the chance with Carter Part Two.


I’m afraid the boomer generation will inflict more calamity on our country than any other before it.(Right up until mine takes over where the boomers left off.)

9Right up until mine gets their shot.)


They are the “ME” generation after all.


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