The Saeculum Decoded
A Blog by Neil Howe
May 032010

IMO, this is a generational shot across the bow. Expect a lot more of this in the years to come.  Bill and I used to talk about up-card and down-cards in our theory. Up-cards are things we expected and have already come to pass. Down-cards are things we expect but have not yet happened to any significant extent. Young-adult dissatisfaction with unfair income transfers to Boomer (born 1943-1960) is a down card. It hasn’t happened yet but surely will happen. We didn’t see it with Generation X (born 1961-1981), because, well, they’re Xers. They all try to find their own individual solutions and survival strategies. But Millennial (born 1982-200?) are different. They will organize and be heard. And Boomers will not dare stand in their way.
Nice X/Y Quote: “Recall that there was once a reason for the unionization movement. History repeats itself….The pendulum swings the other way.”

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  • lloydconway

    Michigan's proposed early-retirement bill, backed by the Governor and with bipartisan support, will virtually end defined-benefit pensions in our civil service system. It will also clean out most of the Boomers. (Good riddance to most of them.) I look forward to working in a system that is less rule-bound as a result.

  • Cohort74

    It is time to readjust the pension and entitlement formulas for everyone. Todays' Social Security collectors paid 3% of their salary into the system. They paid no Medicare Tax for the first several decades of their careers.

    We should cut the payroll tax to 6% shared by employer and employee and whatever revenue this generates can be shared among the retirees. If they can't live on it, get a simpler lifestyle. Share an apartment with a friend (like the 20 and 30 somethings paying 15.4%), sell assets, go back to work, or beg family.

    Moreover, if we have to increase the retirement age, it should apply to everyone, not just later cohorts.

    State pensions should be declared insolvent and taken over by the PBGC, which will reduce them handily and get rid of these insane pay packages for people who don't work.

    Likewise, Medicare copayments should be based on years of contribution. Simple, fair formula, to calculate the percentage paid by the government, take one's age in 1965, subtract this from 100, multiply the result by .01 and then by 100% and pay that percentage of the bills.

    This would fix the long-term liabilities of the government equitably – by asking those who have ripped the system off to contribute something to its solvency.

  • Ccressley

    As an Xer, I agree there will be a movement against the old people (mostly Boomers by then). I can’t wait for it to happen.

  • Michael Shores

    Must this kind of dissatisfaction with income distribution be generational? I was born in ’47 in a small city in the Midwest. I wonder if being an early boomer who did not spend my childhood in an urban coastal environment makes me more like a Silent than a Boomer. I would not argue that the remaining GI, Silents and Boomers are more affluent than the 13ers and Millenials, might that be as much a function of age as of generationnnFrom my perspective, the skewed nature of our present distribution of income and wealth cuts across all the generations and is born more of class, opportunity and a tilted playing field than of other causes. Should the lack of an attitude of class warfare be attributed to the media being controlled by the economic elite who wish to discourage such thinking?nn