Baby Boomers: Five Reasons They Are Our Worst Generation

Ten thousand are retiring every day. Good riddance.

Photo | Shutterstock.com

Photo | Shutterstock.com

Wow, so it looks like we have a budget deal in Washington. A debt ceiling and spending crisis has been averted. It’s good news. But let’s all calm down. It’s only temporary. The agreement does not address the long-term fiscal problems we have. Problems that were mostly created by none other than the “baby boomer” generation. Yeah, you know who you are.

You’re tanned and healthy and living way past average life expectancy. You’ve got a defined benefit pension plan from a large company or government that was created years ago when people didn’t understand how horribly these plans can go wrong and now can’t afford to meet its liabilities, but you don’t care as long as you get your check which you don’t really need anyway. And your social security check. And your Medicare reimbursement check. You once hated the government. You smoked pot and protested against Vietnam and President Nixon. That was a long, long time ago.


Life has been good for you. You’re a baby boomer. You were born between 1946 and the early 1960’s. You had Woodstock and the Stones in the ’60s, discos and coke in the ’70s, Wall Street in the ’80s, Bill Clinton in the ’90s and now you’re retiring to Arizona and Florida on the backs of your stressed-out kids whose own children stay at home with them into their 20s because they have no jobs. Tom Brokaw once wrote a book about the greatest generation, those brave people who survived the depression and fought in World War II. Unfortunately that great generation spawned a generation of narcissists: the baby boomers.

The boomers have created liabilities that will take generations to pay off. Our national debt is now at around $17 trillion, larger for the first time in recent history than the size of our entire economy. And it’s projected to continue to significantly grow over the next few decades unless something dramatic is done to reduce it. Boomers don’t like to talk about fiscal responsibility or living within their means. They like their credit cards and government secured mortgages on overvalued properties. They enjoy their malls and their cars and their houses and as long as someone’s willing to lend them the money to buy this stuff they don’t seem to care much about how it will be one day paid. They still represent an enormous voting block and have no intention to have this lifestyle threatened. This is the real reason Washington can’t create a long-term deficit reduction plan. The boomers love their safety nets.

These safety nets were created over the past few decades by boomers and for boomers, with little regard to the future. One of the major reasons our national debt is so high is because 40 percent of our government’s spending goes to some type of insurance: social insurance, retirement, health benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. These systems are bankrupt. But they’re needed to pay for the boomers’ healthcare and pension plans. People that were born after 1965 are working hard to make sure that the boomer generation gets their retirement and disability paid for by the government. But it’s still not enough. So our government has to borrow and print money. And our debts balloon. Who will pay these debts? Ah, who cares says the boomers. Not my problem.

They are the source of one of the biggest problems with Obamacare. Whether you support the Affordable Care Act or not (and I think there are lots of great things about it), one undeniable fact is that the cost of this new system is being put squarely on the shoulders of the young. People in their 20s need less health care than the boomers in their 60s and 70s. This is not only because younger people today have healthier lifestyles but because many boomers spent most of their young lives smoking, drinking sugary sodas and engaging in risky, unprotected sex. There are 34 million mostly young and uninsured people who will be required on January 1, 2014, to pay for health insurance just so the boomers can take advantage of the added benefits that health insurance companies have to now legally provide.

They are, thank God, the last reminders of our racist, homophobic, sexist past. When you look at those “white only” diners and drinking fountains in those photos from the 1960s you just can’t believe it. Or how women were treated. And gays. But many of our beloved boomers were teenagers back then, living with parents who watched Ozzie and Harriet and were raised to believe that people who weren’t white weren’t to be trusted, women were meant to stay at home, and gays were sinners. Over time, these attitudes have changed, mainly because people in their 20s and 30s are smarter, better educated and more open-minded. Unfortunately, and although we now have a black President, the last remnants of the boomer generation who still wield power in their churches and companies are doing their best to keep women out of the corporate suite, protest against gay marriage and fight immigration reform.

We’re scrambling to fix the environment because of their excesses. For years, and despite warnings, the boomers refused to recycle and ran companies that spewed ozone-destroying chemicals into the air. There are countless plots of land that are unusable because of chemicals and pesticides dumped by this generation. I’m no environmentalist, but even I have to shake my head at the destruction laid upon the planet over the past 40 years alone: decimated forests, extinct species, smog filled skies, islands of plastic floating in the ocean. Only recently are steps being taken by younger generations to attempt to reverse this trend.

The good news is that the baby boomer generation is quickly getting older. Ten thousand boomers are retiring each day. We can’t ship them all off to an island, unfortunately. But I’m optimistic that the next generation of leaders will not make the same mistakes. Governments will take care of people who are truly needy — not just because they turned 65 and have a car payment — and this will help fix our deficit problems. Racism will continue to decline as the world becomes smaller and more social. Our environment will improve because kids in elementary school are being taught to care about the planet. Ultimately, these generations will fix the problems that the boomers created. And we can soon bid farewell to that horrible generation.

Follow @GeneMarks on Twitter.

  • djc

    This is a gross generalization of a generation. This is the generaltion that fought for civil rights and equal treatment for women. It is the preceding generation that is reaping the pension benefits and social security, Medicare…because they did not pay into the system.

  • Friend of Marco

    Holy Carp! what a giant pile of stupid.

  • Bill

    I’m embarrassed that someone from my generation can write something like this. So much for thee future.

    • PAPlan

      He is in his late forties at least.

  • Jan

    Will you feel this way when some jackass writes an article in 40 years about the Millenials? It was a different time when knowledge was way more limited and inaccessible than it is today with the internet. In 40 years, there may be someone talking about how idiotic we were that we protested GMO’s for years when they are harmless and solved the world food crisis. Just saying think about YOUR future before you badmouth our elder’s pasts.

    • PAPlan

      He might be dead in 40 years. He is at least in his late forties.

    • Paull

      Christ. Just to let you know its those Christian Baby Boomers out there that are actually protesting GMO’s. All my friends are in favour of them.

  • Les

    Sorry, guy, you’re wrong. All generations have problems. The WWII generation saw Commies under their beds and lynched black people and called gay folks ‘fags’ when they were being extra polite. Young people today are less concerned about the future of the environment than the ‘boomers’.

    Do you honestly believe that the young and healthy should not pay into the healthcare system? Who will pay for THEM when THEY get old and sick?

  • http://www.boomerradioshow.com Terri Benincasa

    Well young (you sound young) Gene Marks, you are wrong on many assertions, from “social security being bankrupt” (it isn’t), to Boomers receiving pensions (we are the first generation to watch pensions disappear and 401K’s take their place, which is why so many of us lost our nest egg in the Great Recession) and being the bastion of racism/homophobia/sexism – in fact it is our generation that led or supported the civil rights movement, led the women’s movement of the ’70′s that gave women the equality they experience today, and led/supported the gay rights movement (starting with Stonewall riots, now known as Gay Liberation Day, in 1970. You can fault us for many things, from making debt and divorce chic, to being very wasteful after being so eco-conscious as youth, but your specifics are not among them.

    • PAPlan

      He’s not really that young. He’s at least 48, maybe older.

    • PeterAndrewNolan

      Terri,

      just remember. 99.9% of western women like yourself openly support and condone women committing the crimes of perjury, kidnapping, extortion theft and child abuse in the family courts.

      Indeed there is not ONE woman of note in the western english speaking world that is willing to say women must be held equal before the law to men and will sit on a jury to make it so. None of those “boomer women” hold women accountable for their crimes. And that is what we are telling the young men. The backlash against you women boomers by young men is going to be very severe.

    • Hammerstrike

      And soon enough, retribution comes in coming full force.

      No bearded dude sending fire and brimstone, just the prices of food and medecine mounting while taxes rise.

      When SHTF, the governement snake is going to swallow all the eggs for sure, thanks to the NSA you won´t be able to hidde them from it.

  • Philly Gal in Virginia

    Just remember as we were paying into Social Security, Medicare and all our taxes that were due, the Government spent every dime to do whatever pork stuff needed to be done to keep the masses in step.

  • kate

    woah! You need to do your homework, Mr. Marks. As many of the comments here indicate, you are way off base. As a baby boomer, I have my own 401K–never, ever had a pension, and I am not even sure I can ever retire. And I work very hard at staying healthy because I pay $14k/yr for health insurance. Before you continue your rant, remember that boomers laid the groundwork for diversity. Assuming you are not a boomer, your likely of the “trophy” generation (yeah, you CAN blame the boomers for that one) where you have been rewarded simply for drawing breath. Remember that, and then we can talk.

    • PAPlan

      He is not a millennial.

      • Jan

        You obviously are missing the point of everyone’s comments, regardless of his age this article is incredibly negative and inaccurate.

        • PAPlan

          No I’m not. I agree that he’s off base. But we should attack his arguments not him. Several commenters have made arguments that seem to imply that he is a millennial and, therefore, not qualified to comment on the subject. Not only is that a bad argument, it’s not true.

  • just maybe

    Well regarding healthcare we need to raise the penalty (on uninsured/young people) – $95/year doesn’t do it. Need something more like $600-$750, now!

  • afisher

    Please look at all the hate being spewed by the GOP currently in Congress…that is the next generation to which the author refers as enlightened….it seems that is not the case. One could also consider that pensions that are short is because the entity who said give me your money, we will match and invest…kinda sorta failed to perform their own due diligence and used those dollars for gambling.

  • Mike Wronski

    1. The first boomer president (Clinton) had a budget surplus.
    2. Safety nets of Social Security was created by Roosevelt, Medicare and Medicaid by Johnson – they were not boomers. You should learn some American history.
    3. Obamacare (aka Romneycare) was a Republican idea.
    4. The boomers were the ones ending segregation in the 60s.
    5. EPA was created in the 70s and environmental movement was created.

    Are your parents boomers? To wish then death is a bit harsh, eh?

    • John Doe

      You baby boomers are too retarded to understand that all these social justice movements in the 60s were engineered by Jewish communists.

      You boomers are just as worthless as your parents, who went and fought against Hitler, who was trying to stop communism. You are all worthless garbage.

  • Harry

    Blaming Boomers is a cop-out by those not willing to look in the mirror and assess their own issues/failures. Instead of focusing on their lives, future and eventual retirement writers like this one have generated copycat anti-boomer articles everywhere.

    “People that were born after 1965 are working hard to make sure that the boomer generation gets their retirement…” If you are really concerned about your retirement do something about it. Plan and start to save/invest early in life, take advantage of any employer matching plans, max out contributions and work to develop multiple sources of income for retirement (social security, dividends, pensions, annuities, etc.) so you don’t have to rely solely on SS. There is a great deal of information on this on the web and most is free. Use it. I use several sites and recently found the site Retirement And Good Living that provides information on finances, health, retirement locations, part time work and also has a great blog of guest posts from around the globe about a variety of retirement topics.

    • John Doe

      Harry, you’re an old dinosaur that is out of touch with reality.

    • scottstephens840

      Yeah too bad that the gen x retirement won’t be nearly as easy as the boomers. You all had the ground work laid out for you. Then you got greedy and took ours too. You had it easy and still f$%ked everyone else. This is why we hate you.

      • SkySailor

        Yep hate will take you a long way. Always easier to blame someone else.

  • ErShava

    The hippies of the 60s, and the leeches of the 2000s.

  • Robert_Lee_Hotchkiss

    Believe it or not someday the rest of you will also be looking at 65 and wondering how to afford a small room that allows you some small sense of dignity.

    The reality is that Social Security would not be in trouble if wages weren’t stagnating. Young people be earning enough and paying enough into Social Security. The reality is that the rich are capturing a larger and larger percentage of the GNP.

    Eventually you too will get old, and you will need medical care whether you have smoked, drank, or slept around or not. You just get old and the sins and assaults of life catch up with you.

    But because we have allowed the balance of power to shift from the workers to the employers you won’t necessarily be able to bargain for the health insurance you need. The fact of the matter is there is plenty of money for a modest retirement and medical care for everyone.

    It just is that this money is now kept by employers instead of given to the employees. You could band together an unionize and get the money you deserve from your employer or you can band together in government and bargain collectively that way with your employer.

    But there is no nobility at all in working for less than you deserve. Believe me I have seen the way that old people who don’t have social security live. There is no dignity in slowly dying in a hospital bed in what should be your children’s living room. When I worked in a residential hotel for seniors I saw people go who lost their jobs or got divorce go from their house is a suburb to a rat a bedbug infested residential hotel room. There is no dignity or nobility in that.

    Don’t sell yourself short you have a right to dignity in your life. Your work should provide you with healthcare and a modest retirement. If not you should bound together and withhold your labor. It is much better to face hunger on the picket line now in your youth than hunger and lack of medical care in your old age.

    • John Doe

      Wages are stagnating. Oh, and I wonder who did that, considering that the vast majority of corporations are run by baby boomers.

  • happyindc

    Talk about brainless click bait. You don’t even have your generations right or your facts. The civil rights injustices you ID in the 1950s pre-date the boomers. They were kids then. It was the boomer generation that helped to set in motion some of equality issues you site. Obamacare is really designed to provide healthcare for people of all ages, especially low income. But I suppose 20-30-somethings can go without health insurance and save, since they are immortal. To blame the boomers on the debt and environmental issues, is just wrong. Congress, which is made up of people of all ages, had ample opportunity to address the debt issues but can’t seem to. The modern environmental movement began in the 1970s and has had success, but addressing climate change is going to take action by Congress, and, again, nothing there.

  • Foxlor

    Pretty broad brush to categorize 76 million people. My FIL was a WW2 vet and didn’t do much until after the war in his late 20′s because of the depression. The economy works in cycles with every 60 years or so we have another depression. Now and then a generation is born in poverty and retires affluent and vice versa. You don’t say how old you are but the consensus is over 40 and employed in an industry where you work in an air conditioned office and probably seldom break a sweat. It doesn’t sound as though you have suffered much. I served my country and put myself through college on the GI bill and working weekends. I am in my first home and drive 4 cylinder cars for 10 years. I have no credit card debt and am proud to be a baby boomer. Put that in your pipe and smoke it punk.

  • John Doe

    GREAT article. You nailed it. The baby boomers ruined America and until they are all dead and gone, nothing will change. Until the boomers hurry up and DIE OFF, we can’t even begin to fix the problems they created, since they still have so much power in society.

    If you’re a boomer reading this? Hurry up and drop dead, okay?

    • Steve Dwyer

      Hey Johnny Boy why don’t you grow a set and try and act like a man instead of a little PUNK. Us boomers are laughing at you girlie men with your skinny jeans and how women push you around like shopping carts. Get out of the way and go make some money I need a raise. And oh yeah your mom thinks you suck

      • Chasr R Tuna

        typical.

    • Steve Dwyer

      Hey wow he can write? i thought all your geeks just played video games and with yourself.

  • KevinGF

    I would have just one thing to add to the following –

    The boomers have created liabilities that will take generations to pay off. Our national debt is now at around $17 trillion, larger for the first time in recent history than the size of our entire economy. And it’s projected to continue to significantly grow over the next few decades unless something dramatic is done to reduce it. Instead of looking at a solution to the problem, Boomers have done the same thing they got away with at work – Clutch to their expensive benefits while passing the cost to the new guy. I am getting sick and tired of boomers with health premiums for the same coverage 1/3 of mine, three times as much vacation time as me and a fat pension with no requirement that they contribute at all while I fork over 15% of my paycheck to a 401K. They are out as much as they are in the office and barely productive when they bother to show up, yet my compensation package is a fraction of theirs. The kicker is that I would move on to a company that doesn’t subscribe to this stick it to the new guy mentality, but they are few and far between due to the outrageous costs of boomer retirements. Additionally, the fact that this policy of making the new guy pay is escalating, it is likely that should I would be in an even worse position if I changed employers – to become the new guy somewhere else.

  • PeterAndrewNolan

    Gene,
    let is also not forget that the boomers, 99.9% of the women and 99% of the men, openly support women committing the crimes of perjury, kidnapping, extortion, theft and child abuse in the family law courts.

    Countless tens of millions of men have had their lives destroyed by the boomers and the criminal family law courts. Hundreds of thousands of men committed suicide because of these boomers supporting the idea men are mere sperm donors and ATMs.

    This is what we are telling the young men the boomers did. We are telling the young men the boomers betrayed them and sold their future down the toilet. And the young men are not happy about this.

  • PeterAndrewNolan

    PS. This is what one 26 year old client of mine said to a man about 40….and he is more critical of older men too.

    “You are one such man Bill. You disgust me with your cowardice. You are no friend of mine. You are no friend of ANY young men. And we know you are no friend of us young men. We know your older male readers are no friends of us young men. We know you are cowards. We know you pretend to not believe what Peter has published to hide your cowardice. We know that it is not that you do not understand what he is telling you when he says “legislation is not law and you can rescind your consent to be governed.” We know that you are only pretending to be stupid and ignorant because appearing to be stupid and ignorant is better then being known to be a coward.

    But the cowardice of you older men is very clear to us young men who are well informed. You disgust us. The sooner you older men die off or are killed in wars the sooner us young men will fix the mess you older men are were so happy to PAY TAXES TO CREATE. If you older men think we will be paying for your pensions in your old age? You can think again. We will give you your demise pill and tell you to go kill yourself for your betrayal of our futures.

    So Bill, and all your older male readers, we have a saying in Australia. “Consider yourself told”. Consider yourself told you are no friends of us young men. Consider yourself told that we will not be paying for you in your older age. Consider yourself told that we think you are “gutless mongrels” as we say in Australia. Consider yourself told that we know you older men are nothing like Peter. You older men are not worthy of licking his boots. “

  • Steve

    Spot on article and I’m a boomer. A greedy generation on whole who are stealing from future generations. Did some terrific things socially which the author acknowledges, but sound financial management was not one of them. The only question to answer in the final chapters that are approaching is whether boomers will truly bankrupt the county and how bad the financial legacy they leave behind will be……….

  • Brent Green

    Great Example! Ignorance fully realized.

    • Jack Knife

      No, cold, hard realism. It’s always good to put down the crack pipe very once in a while.

  • Trend Cartoons

    My comment is my novel “The Boomers Must Die” that I’m currently blogging starting at http://boomersmustdie.blogspot.ca/2014/01/1-thrown-out.html

  • Tim Johnson

    A left wing pile of poop..

  • john

    I am a 50yrs old Generation jones Baby Boomer born in 1963. The Baby boom Generation are people born between 1946-1964. The Baby Boom Generation has two parts Baby Boomers born between 1946-1953, & the “Generation Jones Baby Boomers born between 1953-1964 (both groups are baby boomers) The Baby Boomers were spoiled, & are Selfish, arrogant, immoral, & bad parents; as evident buy the younger generations
    Modern America was not created by my generation the baby boomers, it was created by the generations born between 1900 & 1926 the WWII generation/The greatest generation & their parent generations. we Baby boomers grew up believing that we were entitled to the American dream & that all we had to do was go out and work for it after high school & or college, why because our parents & grand parents had sacrifice, suffered & created modern America for the future generations & our fathers, uncles & great uncles had fought for our moral & just way of life in WWII, we also thought that with hard work we would not have to suffer the difficulties, hardships, or make the sacrifices that our parents & grandparents had. Here is the real problem the Baby Boomers as a generation are immoral & godless, doing whatever they want, ignoring right & wrong. After WWII the returning G.I’s having been expose to lots of different people, different cultures & having grown up during the Great Depression started questing their general value systems & way of life, in doing so they unknowingly accepted the heresy of “”MODERNISM/LIBERALISM”" which basically says that all morals, dogma, ethics, right & wrong, & etc, if it can’t be proven, explained, & justified by modern science & thought then weather it is right or not must be updated to the modern/liberal scientific version, back in the 1950′s people would listen to what the pope had had to say even if they weren’t Catholic because the pope was usually right. The Catholic church had it’s Vatican ll ecumenical council between 1960-1965. The council was not about doing away
    with the Latin language or streamlining the church & the Catholic mass.The council was purely about the heresy of “”MODERNISM/LIBERALISM”, the council gave it the good housekeeping seal of approval. our parents & grandparents weather Catholic or not accepted the “”Modernism/Liberalism mindset & passed it on to our generation the Baby Boomers who passed it on to the younger generations. The baby boomers having had a very lax religious upbringing or little to none at all naturally fell into the “Modernism/Liberalism” mindset & started doing & thinking whatever they wanted to weather it was right or wrong. Not all of the baby boomers have the “”Modernism/liberalism”" mindset, there are still millions of Boomers who know right from wrong but they are considered weirdo right wingers, racists, chauvinist, or just plain old fashioned, old fashioned we are not. before all the generations can move on into a moral & just modern America & world, we must first do away with all the errors of the past centuries especially the 20th centuries errors.

  • john

    P.S. I am a 50yrs old Generation jones Baby Boomer who war born in 1963. our countries problems are not totally the fault of the Baby Boomer, our countries problems didn’t just start, they haven been going for decades , when I was a kid in the 1970′s in grade school we had stagflation and the oil crisis, when I was in high school my parents used to say that in the future it would take a basket of money to buy a loaf of bread because inflation was so bad. My father in 1982 (the year I graduated from high school) was offered a years salary to retire early from American Airlines because like other companied at the time they had cut their costs every where else they could & they still couldn’t afford the high wages they were paying their older employees. Competition from unrestricted imports in the
    late 1960′s,1970′s, & 1980′s cause the death of our countries manufacturing industries, all of our jobs being outsourced to foreign countries, the lousy wages paid today, and everything you buy being made in a foreign country, putting Americans workers out of work. our politicians say that to be middle class in our country you must make between $30,000 to $50,000 a year, that is wrong!! I was raised middle middleclass, at the height of his earning potential my father in the mid to late 1970′s as a avionics mechanic at American Airlines was making $32,000 – $35,000 a year, if you use a online inflation calculator middle class wages including medical, dentay & eye insurance, sending your kids to college, retirement, & end of life issues today should actually be $120,000- $170,000 a yea,r forget 401k plans, ObamaCare, & student loans they are a joke and suck.

  • Good

    Well I’m not too thrilled with my generation (Generation X); as far as I can see, they have more or less copied everything the boomers have done with regards to culture and attitudes, and added very little of their own worth mentioning, hence the endless rehashing of 50s and 60s so called “culture”.
    I think the most interesting and valuable thing to come out of our generation is probably Google, because they weren’t interested in anything interesting at school, and they aren’t now; they are the most unadventurous, dour-looking, backward-looking, unimaginative bunch. I used to dread the thought of them being what we now call “thought leaders” when I was at school, because I thought, how on earth are they going to thought-lead? They had absolutely no va va voom, you wanted to put a firework behind them!
    Now they are in their 40s and the men mostly look like older, or unprettier, versions of Chris Martin or Michael Stipe; unfortunately the unisex, uniform, universal trend of monochrome, urban “plain” clothes, tattoos and shaven heads does not age well, but only serves to make them look even more grey and boring than they are already, and this is why no-one notices them, or cares about them. At least the younger generation have Lady Gaga and Prince William!

  • Sun

    An idiot that doesn’t get that the Baby boomers are the beginning of hyperliberalism. They started the cultural revolution against racism, sexism, and homophobia.

    Their parents of the a older generation (still liberal [just less degenerate]) were better than them. They were the slightly more racist, sexist, and homophobic ones (and better for it).

  • OldRangeRat

    Gee, I didn’t know that JFK, LBJ, and especially Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Ronald Bonzo Mc-Reagan were all BabyBoomers. Clinton and Obama were ineffective to undo their predecessors’ damage. Either your stupid or you found some suckers to pay you for rather poor fiction.

    • OldRangeRat

      Damn – can’t correct errors on your site? That figures.

  • Ernie Sal

    I can’t believe this got printed in a major magazine!

  • Steve Dwyer

    What a whiner this writer is. People cannot help what generation they were born into. And just like any race of people not all baby boomers are the same. There were pluses and lots of minuses being born in the middle of the 20th century. For one you younger than baby boomer people did not have to grow up with the very real threat of nuclear war. When I was 8 years old I thought the world was coming to an end, and it could have in 1962. So stop your whining Mr.Marks and go out and get a second job so you pay more taxes because I need more social security increases and a new boat, Punk

  • ChasRTuna

    Im one of the few that’s been sweeping up their party (roaches, empties, sticky condoms etc.. exit stage left, please); only to turn around & see their kids ready to do the same thing in lite version (sigh- enter stage right) wtf. :( Im screwed. Whens MY time??????

  • Chasr R Tuna

    boomers are like a huge carcass digesting in the belly of a snake. By my estimation, the next big step for you all is the colon. BTW, your kids dont party HALF as hard as yous once did. they are lightweights indeed.