Beware Of Boomers! – September 2009

Beware Of Boomers!

By An Anonymous Contributor


boomers-thinking-about-retiringDespite the widespread availability of Twinkies, life expectancy in the United States has been climbing and shows no sign of a decline. The 20th century saw the greatest gain in life expectancy in all of human history, an increase of 30 years. Americans today can expect to live to be 77.7 years old, the government says. We may reach 79 by the year 2015.

By refusing to expire after a reasonable number of years, the boomers are threatening the social order. Unconcerned about the consequences, they are poised to make us a Nation of Geezers. Their brain gyms (Sudoku, anyone?) will keep them driving long after the age at which their grandparents quit. They’ll be starting new businesses, “reinventing” themselves, jumping out of airplanes on their birthdays.

But this is not good news for anyone other than the boomers themselves, because our social institutions have not adjusted as life expectancy has increased. Lifelong marriage, for example, is one thing when you expect to live to be 40, quite another when there’s a chance you may one day turn 110.

Familial wealth is another. A couple of generations ago, patriarchs died at 50 or 60, leaving resources to their still-young kids. Now, we’re faced with a future in which crusty boomers are cruising around in their red ’Vettes plastered with “I’m Spending My Grandkids’ Inheritance” bumper stickers.

The boomers will hold onto not only their money, but their jobs. They will be reaching the traditional retirement age of 65 over the next 20 years, but a mass exodus from the workplace is looking less likely every day, particularly in hard times. Boomer professionals aren’t vacating the corner offices anytime soon; 70 percent say they’re going to keep working. Deal with it, Generation X. You are doomed to be the Prince Charles’ of the American workforce, waiting patiently for an opening that may not come.

Nor will aging boomers move from their homes to make room for you. There was a time when a young family could expect an assortment of spacious 4 BR/2 BA fireplaced ranchers coming on the market regularly, as Grandma and Grandpa downsized. That’s over. The boomers, having spent the past decade putting down Brazilian cherry floors in their mudrooms and hand-painted Mexican tiles in the bath, are not going anywhere. Their nests may be empty, but they are well feathered.

And, catastrophically, the Boomers Without End are going to snuff out what little life is left in the Social Security system. One survey found that nearly half of 61-year-olds plan to start drawing Social Security checks at 62, whether or not they are working. This will drive our government accountants nuts and the conspiracy theorists nuttier. Says author Mike Adams: “Ever wonder why they give out free vaccine shots to all the senior citizens every winter? Because vaccines increase the death rate!”

What good are old boomers, anyway? What can we, as a nation, do with 77 million ageless Botoxed Parrotheads whose continued existence ensures that the oldies stations play Zeppelin for decades to come? In generations past, the elderly remained useful even in their final, feeble years, baby-sitting their grandchildren, dispensing sundry wisdom, and keeping their extended family supplied with pound cake.

Ebenezer Scrooge, the geezer-in-chief, would say they should just die and reduce the surplus population. Not likely. The boomers will be with us for a long time to come, and we’ll have to find a purpose for them. Meanwhile, maybe they could lighten up on the All-Bran and hit the trans-fat. For posterity’s sake.

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