The gratingest generation

Robert J. Samuelson, in Sunday’s WaPo:

There has been much brave talk recently, from Republicans and Democrats alike, about reducing budget deficits and controlling government spending. The trouble is that hardly anyone admits that accomplishing these goals must include making significant cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits for baby boomers.

Samuelson, at 65 a boomer himself, presumably could afford such cuts. I suspect that rather a lot of them couldn’t. Not that the rest of the country owes them a great deal:

The self-absorbed boomers have been catered to their entire existence. Think just about music. Without the boomers, we’d never have to hear Grace Slick screeching “Somebody to Love” again. Without the boomers, would Hewlett-Packard really use Melanie’s “Brand New Key” to sell web-accessible printers? Without boomers, who cares that the Beatles are on iTunes?

Then again:

Time for my confession: I was born in 1958 and am technically the trailing edge of the baby boom and I owned all the Melanie albums. So I am committing heresy by admitting the logic of Samuelson’s position. But seriously, if we choose to grandfather the baby-boomers, then we have grandfathered the problem.

Well, we are grandfathers and/or grandmothers.

It would be easier to deal with this, I suspect, were it possible to envision something resembling a shared sacrifice: everybody gives up something. Not that this can possibly happen in this political environment: both rich folks, who reportedly don’t pay enough taxes, and poor folks, who reportedly don’t pay any taxes, have Congressional types at their beck and call, sworn to making sure that those particular boats are never, ever rocked.

So if this doesn’t come out of entitlement spending, it’s got to come out of the bureaucrats’ budgets, and they won’t stand for that.

Disclosure: I own Melanie’s Candles in the Rain LP and a greatest-hits CD.







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