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Talking ’bout my generation

Which I really don’t like to do because I am, after all, a member of Generation X whose demeanor is generally, “blah, blah, blah whatever.”  We’re the generation that came after the Baby Boomers, who are so into talking about themselves and their generational cohorts that our reaction is a big eyeroll. And sometimes a surly look.

But here we are: Generation X.  We’re sandwiched between the overwhelming crush of aging Boomers and the Millennials.  Or whatever they’re called. (Wait, wasn’t there a Generation Y in there? What happened to those guys?)  Poor Millennials. They use to  be so perky, and that was annoying. But now they have no jobs and are facing an education bubble that is really going to suck for them. Sorry I mocked your earnestness!

But I come not to pout, but to tell my generation: It’s time to take one for the team. And by one, I mean a big, fat, ugly financial hit.  And by team, I mean the next generation, or possibly the one after that, but certainly not ours. And for the Boomers, but we don’t have much choice in that because they’ll surrender their entitlements when we pry it from their cold, dead hands.

Let’s take a good look at those so-called entitlements, starting with Social Security.  Last year, it began paying out more than it collects in taxes.  Social Security disability is near insolvency. And all that money it did take in was never “set aside” and has been spent on general government tom foolery. The coffers are filled with government IOUs. (Uncle Sam is that drunken cousin who swears that this time–this time–he’ll pay us back on payday. Oh, and do you know anyone who’s hiring?) Experts now predict the entire social security system will be bankrupt in 2036. (These dates may shift as the economy–please God–improves, but they never actually disappear. The current set-up is fundamentally flawed.)

In 2036, I’ll be 62 and MTG will be 59. Social security doesn’t begin to figure into our retirement plans, it only takes away money that we could be investing for ourselves or our children.

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That’s the ugly scenario, kids.  Gen Xers, you know you won’t be “getting back what you paid into the system.” Heck, we don’t even know if the system will exist.   I think the only hope of anything from Social Security or Medicare surviving in any form is to change them to programs solely for those in financial need and to do it quickly. (Not your stuff, Boomers! Seriously, not even looking at your stuff. Pinky swear!)

So ends the fleeting dream of 30 years of “youthful frivolity”, 30 years of worklife and 30 years of retirement.  Frankly, it was a dumb idea to begin with. Childhood and adolescence is a  brief period that ought to be done with by the time you emerge from your teens.  Put on your big boy pants and or womanly undergarments and accept it: we are responsible for paying for our own needs, including the entire amount of our own retirement and health care.

So Generation X, arise! Or ya know, send an email or something. We care. Sure we care.  And more than that, we’re going to finally stop rolling our eyes at the Boomers and all their Boomery nonsense and say “Fine! You get your stuff. Nobody will take your toys. Will you just let us fix this before it destroys all of us?”

Sounds like a generational anthem to me. Or whatever.

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