One generation got old; one generation got sold

I got a kick out of the following letter to the editor of Barron’s that seems to be making the rounds:

A Warm Thank You

To the Editor:

This 50-something, white, conservative Republican wishes to thank America’s youth for sacrificing their financial futures and standard of living so that boomers, such as my wife and I, can look forward to a long and comfy retirement, which we could easily have afforded on our own. Now we have the youth as our guarantors and providers of a little something extra.

As reported by the national exit poll conducted by Edison Research, Americans aged 18 to 29 voted 60% to 36% for Barack Obama. Prior to Obama’s re-election, I believed that it was morally wrong for my generation to pass a crushing national debt on to the next one.

The debt will top $20 trillion before Obama moves out of the White House, and it will include spiraling retirement-related costs that the administration has shown zero interest in bringing under control, largely driven by baby boomers piling into the Social Security and Medicare systems.

With the president’s electoral crushing of Mitt Romney, my overriding sense of morality and guilt have vanished. Thank you, kids!

Edwin D. Schindler

Woodbury, N.Y.

We baby boomers made more mistakes than any one generation has a right to indulge in. But at least we managed to avoid electing a radical president. I can’t speak for a whole generation, but to the extent we didn’t make too bad a mess of our personal lives, the boomers I grew up with made out well enough under the center-right and centrist governments in power during the years we raised our families.

The 18-29 year olds who helped lift Obama to victory apparently lack an aversion to radicalism and, as Mr. Schindler says, seem largely unconcerned about the nation’s debt crisis. Every generation must find its own way and, in doing so, ordinarily is entitled to its share of mistakes. But if the 18-29 year olds don’t grow up fast, they very likely will raise their families under far less advantageous conditions than we boomers did.

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