Niagara Gazette


December 29, 2013

SINGER: The baby boomers: An endangered species?


Niagara Gazette — Now boomers themselves are more of an appetizing target, even if this is often unspoken. Coming up from below are so-called millenials or Generation Y, and you think they’re automatically going to care for us over the next several decades? They have enough troubles of their own, not least, those associated with indebtedness, and having intermittently to come back home to roost!

Then there’s what might be called the Third World crunch, a massive incursion during the past several decades into the Western world, which somehow boomers during the heady days of campus revolt and the rest didn’t anticipate. Yes, we were used to having and getting a good deal, almost as an inalienable right; but will that good deal automatically continue, once too many covet it? Very doubtful.

The 19th century English reformer Jeremy Bentham famously desired the greatest good for the greatest number; but the greatest number can ultimately grab only pie slivers that get cut ever smaller to go around.

And of course boomers are now retiring in droves, hoping to retain their entitlements, bank accounts, lifestyles, and again, to be taken care of by millenials, Third Worlders and the rest. Yes, we’re used to the goodies and want them to continue — no New Deal for this contingent, but instead, they might indeed be dubbed the “Good Deal” generation!

But will that “good deal” be operant 10 years hence, or even five? Again, will boomers make it into the harbor as blithely and painlessly as they first embraced life during the ‘50s, growing up with TV and stereos, Dairy Queens and McDonalds, this innovation and that, and America on top of the world economically?

They had so much that by the late ‘60s they could idealistically critique the materialism of parents and other elders; but by God, they themselves now want to live roughly the same way, holding onto things to which they’ve grown accustomed, even when they donned, and still do, jeans, sneaks (expensive ones), and the rest.

Again, I don’t have a good feeling in my bones about this, as traiterous to one’s fellow boomers as that might sound; but we shall see ...

B.B. Singer has taught at several colleges in the area, including Niagara University.

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