Dear people between the ages of 25 and 40,

As we near retirement, Mom and I wanted to write you kids to share a few thoughts about the lives we've lived and the world we've left behind for you. We feel this is necessary because at first glance it might seem like we are a generation of narcissistic, spoiled assholes who freeloaded off of the magnificent world our parents built for us and then cashed out before handing it over to you. This is an unfair characterization. It disregards the fact that we earned the right to do those things. We earned them by being awesome. Haven't you seen the films of us marching around protesting The Man in the sixties? Or the Woodstock footage that documents the way we changed the world with drugs, bad music, and indiscriminate fucking? We didn't cash out. We merely took what was due.

We grew up in a much different world (hence our endless lectures about the way things were in the fifties and sixties) that you kids wouldn't recognize. Ridiculously cheap energy – at least until 1973 – and the fact that WWII left the rest of the industrialized world in ruins allowed us to grow up with unprecedented prosperity. Even though our parents were minimally educated, blue collar work still paid back then. Of course, none of this is anything that we did. Our parents fought the war and did the hard work. But it sure did give us one hell of a sense of entitlement!

By the time we got to college we were convinced that the world revolved around us – and we were right! This was back when education was still affordable and the degrees actually made it more likely that one would find a job. The costs didn't matter much, though, since Mom and Dad footed the bill thanks to that nice, stable employment they enjoyed. When we graduated and started to overtake the rest of the workforce with our sheer numbers we were shocked to learn how many opportunities to enrich themselves our parents' generation was leaving on the table. Let me tell you, we weren't about to make that same mistake!

We really appreciated the blue collar work that made our lives possible, but how could we ignore how inefficient it is to pay Americans to do work that can be done in Indonesia? The genius of outsourcing was self-evident. Still is. Brilliant, isn't it? We've been at it for decades and I still can't see the downside. Some people complained, but the important thing is that WE got our bonuses and our stock prices went up. Our stock and other investments are really superfluous, though, since we're all going to retire on lavish pension plans, not to mention Social Security. More on those in a minute, son.

The structural changes we made to the economy, changes that were solely to our benefit and essentially told future generations to eat a dick, are nothing compared to the political changes we've made. This is the generation that gave American Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, and Newt Gingrich. Two words: you're welcome.

We realized like no other generation that the purpose of politics is to line our own pockets. Yes, most of that has been at your expense, kids. Sorry about that. Here's some token financial assistance with your college education. That should set things right.

Inflation may have made our mortgages incredibly cheap and essentially wiped out whatever student loans we had, but once we took over the political process you'd better believe we pursued the hell out of anti-inflationary monetary policies. Sorry about that! We needed the low interest rates for our vacation home mortgages and our 17 credit cards. We have taken advantage of dozens of New Deal era social programs, but boy are they pricey! So we did the logical thing and kept the benefits for ourselves and piled the costs onto you. Then we voted for people who would ensure that your generation would never enjoy the same horrible, inefficient Big Government. Sure, we waited until we got to the top of the income pyramid before demanding round after round of tax cuts with fanatical zeal. But I don't see how that makes us bad people. You enjoy low taxes too on whatever it is you earn when you're working.

Are you ready for the best part? We're all retiring on those fat-ass pensions I mentioned a few moments ago – and now we're dismantling pension plans too. Not for us, of course. For you. Here's how it works. We retire with full salary and zero uncertainty; then we lecture you about how expensive and inefficient pensions are compared to "building your own retirement" in the stock market. Hell, we even tried to replace Social Security with the Nasdaq Roulette wheel. No, WE would still have Social Security. You, not so much. Think of it like the way we enjoyed cradle-to-grave employer provided health coverage and then nearly died shitting ourselves opposing health care reform. Doesn't your boss give you insurance? Oh, come on. They must. You are probably reading the forms wrong. Let me take a look at them next time you visit.

In closing, kids, our entire adult lives have been guided by a simple philosophy: we got ours, so fuck you. It's hard to watch you struggle while we live off of all of the things we took away from you in the name of "fiscal responsibility." Some people might call that greed, but we are the greatest, most special generation of people who ever lived. I think we earned it. Maybe rather that whining and blogging and drinking Pabst you should earn some of these things too. I mean, you have a Master's Degree and you're working as a temp! With that kind of lack of ambition, how do you expect to accomplish as much as we have?

Everyone born between 1945 and 1960

PS: Sorry about those budget deficits. We don't really have much to say in defense of those except that Communism was really, really scary, especially in the 1980s when the USSR was on its last legs. How were we supposed to pay for all that stuff the country needed? Taxes? Come on. That sounds like something our parents would have said, what with their lack of vision and foresight.

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  2. Jack Lebowitz Says:

    I can understand where you're coming from and the generational rage you feel.

    But, for all the self-righteousness you feel, you should realize that the 99% (let's say just to pick a random number) got similarly screwed by the elites for drinking the Kool Aid of Reagan Movement Conservatism and rejecting their youthful values. But not everyone did…lots of people like my wife and many of my friends did not sell out.

    You might want to read an interesting book on the cultural aspects of how this ideology was sneakily sold to boomers and others during the 1980s, a book by David Sirota that focuses on popular culture, not politics, and the anti-liberal, conservative views embedded in the popular movies of the late 1970s and 1980s: The Big Chill, Ghostbusters, Die Hard, Rambo, Wall Street and others.

    The book is "Back to Our Future: How the 1980s Explain the World We Live in Now–Our Culture, Our Politics, Our Everything", available at

    Keep in mind many of us, perhaps 51% of people in the blue states, never went along with any of this conservative reagan-bush-limbaugh-fox news worldview, but enough did to serve the needs of the 1% plutocrats. That is your real complaint, and to conflate it with "boomers" is, while understandable, simplistic, wrong and unfortunate.

    Peace out!

  3. Ugh Says:

    A couple people have mentioned that the internet was invented by Boomer hippies. I call bullshit. ARPANET (the first internet) was a US Dep't of Defense project, and its creation occurred when most Boomers were still in primary and secondary school. ARPANET was created by the Greatest Generation. TCP/IP came a few years later, but was basically a joint effort between the US DoD and the French (CYCLADES project). The World Wide Web is not the internet, but is the main thing we use the internet for (so many people understandably confuse them) was invented by a Brit, Tim Berners-Lee, while he was working in France. I have no idea where people got the idea that the internet was made by Boomer hippies. Do they just assume that anything that happened from 1945 to present is thanks to them? Wasn't a large part of this thread about the undeserved sense of achievement the Boomers have?

    Even if it had been invented by Boomers, I'm not sure how the achievements of a handful would somehow excuse the rest for their collective failure. You had nothing to do with the internet's invention, but as long as you are a citizen you are partly responsible for the development of government policies & societal values.

  4. Timothy Ryan Domitrowski Says:

    All I have to do to keep surviving and having hope in my life is thinking about how amazing they made Christmas. I mean Jesus Christ. Those memories of waking up and fucking opening presents from 'santa', I need to thank the government for that. The government found a way to make parents work even harder for their kids by inventing this so-called santy claus. It worked out for everyone except my dad who died of a heart attack. My dad knew his role and he worked his ass off for me and my younger brother. All men can do in this current country called America is work for their family and die for their family. No other option.

    I want to go into space.

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  8. BBS Boy Says:

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  11. KC Says:

    I am unhappy. I am a 30 year old gen-Y member. I do not own a house or have a family. I am an insurance adjuster.

    I am going to avoid the vitriol and just tell you my experience. I would be interested to hear from Boomers to tell me if you think my current unhappiness results from poor decisions and inflated expectations or simply terrible circumstances.

    I graduated in 2005 with a B.A. in Spanish. I tried to do pre-Engineering and Physics, but I simply was not going to be able to graduate because it was too hard for me. That is just something I have to accept. I was very good at Spanish however and it helped me start working right away. In 2006, being bilingual in this country was actually pretty helpful.

    Most of the jobs I got were very poorly paid. I just accepted that this was the nature of entry level positions. The jobs I did find, however, seemed pretty important to my various employers so much that my low pay seemed pretty unjustified because of my age.

    My first job was hiring and training all of the Spanish speaking workforce of the largest furniture manufacturer in the US. I made 13 dollars an hour. I had to live in rural Wisconsin which was very far from anyone I truly cared about and I only lasted about a year.

    Then I worked a customer service agent servicing insurance policies for Spanish speaking customers. I was the only one that could speak Spanish at my place of business, so that seemed pretty important to me and did therefore justify better than the 10/hr pay I received.

    By 2007, I had decided I really wanted to pursue government work. My dream job was the US Foreign Service, but I was willing to take basically anything that was operated by the federal government that had some international component. There are actually a staggering number of departments operating internationally – DoD, CIA, FBI, NSA, USAID, Civil Service, Foreign Commercial Service, etc. Then there are the subcontractors – Booz Allen, SAIC, etc. I would have accepted any position with any one of these organizations. I have failed to gain one of these positions.

    I went to grad school in International Commerce and graduated. I also did two Congressional internships in Washington DC and a staggering amount of training in Arabic language. I graduated from the American University in Cairo's Arabic language program and was awarded a very coveted US State Department Critical Language Scholarship in Arabic in 2009 at the advanced level. I did so well that I was recruited to run that very same program in 2010 in Alexandria, Egypt.

    At that time, I was in charge of about 80 people for this program in Egypt and I ran all the finances and contracting, logistics, budgeting, etc. In 2011, there was a revolution in Egypt and the federal government cancelled all funding and relocated us to Morocco. I got promoted to run all the North African sites in Morocco and Tunisia and had about 200 people working underneath me. My Arabic, consequently, became very good and I learned some tremendous management skills along the way.

    In 2011, I lost that job at 28 years old. This was very close to my dream jobs and aligned closely with my education and goals. I was paid well. The pay was probably not what I would make in medicine or engineering, but it didn't matter so much to me because I accepted that education is not a well paid career field.

    I have not recovered from that job loss. I now work as an insurance claims adjuster and have been for two and half years.

    However, I am tri-lingual in Arabic and Spanish at a very high level of proficiency for both languages and hold an M.A. in International Commerce. I have 6 years of full time work experience in Insurance, Human Resources, Education and Grant Management. I lived in Egypt for over a year and worked extensively in Morocco.

    Now – Here is my question prefaced by a summary. I am really struggling to get ahead these days and I do not own a house or a nice car. I realize I did not studying engineering or medicine and I probably should have, but I was very bad at science fields. I tried to take the most practical and difficult path I thought possible for me by gaining serious proficiency in languages and learning as much about international trade and economics as I could.

    As a Baby Boomer would you characterize my decisions as failures and as a hopeless and deluded dreamer and romantic? Does being tri-lingual in difficult and important languages have no value? Would my parents have needed to have these kind of skills and education in order to be successful in 1975? Today, I find many of my colleagues and friends have similar skills and education and still struggle.

    Please lambaste me if you think I deserve it because I would rather know for sure this is my fault, or not, than be in constant doubt about the source of my unhappiness.