One of my fellow bloggers here on Patch is wondering why there isn't any outrage from the younger generations about the national debt. The three short paragraphs raise good points; however, they barely scratch the surface of the larger issues of our national debt and so-called "entitlements." The large amounts of public debt added to the Federal credit card over the past decade wasn't caused by the social service benefits for those on the lowest rungs of the socio-economic ladder; however, that wasn't my problem with his opinion. My issue is that this isn't the time for Boomers to co-opt the younger genreations into the same old arguments and false choices.
Here is what I'm looking at as a Gen-Xer:
1.) I may only get 75% of my Social Security benefits. This isn't an entitlement because I've been paying into it for you, and I'm expecting those behind me to pay into it for me. How about instead of sticking us with the bill, the 55+ crowd takes half of the cut while the rest of us take the other half of the cut? The better questions are: why do we need to take the cut, and who is forcing us to make this choice in the first place?
2.) Maybe unemployment for the younger generations would go down if those who are past retirement age retire to free up jobs? But that isn't the problem, is it. The questions should be, why aren't people retiring, and why aren't companies hiring?
3.) A great deal of the older generation loves to go on about how entitled the younger generation is. Wasn't it the Boomers that parented those kids that are entitled, had their problems solved by helicopter parenting, and spared the emotions of failure because everyone gets a trophy? Where were the values of the "Greatest Generation" that raised the Boomers? Where are the values of sacrifice, winning and losing, hard work, earning a place in society and being content with what one has? What ever happened to "use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without"?
The root of our problems can't be boiled down to simple this or that, young or old, red or blue arguments. There is outrage in my generation, but we aren't complaining because we are too busy raising our kids and entering the prime of our careers. We are also too busy trying to figure out what to do with our school systems, underwater mortgages, our parents who are getting older, costs rising faster than our paychecks, rising health care costs, sending our kids to college with tuition prices that are skyrocketing, basic infrastructure that isn't being maintained, our jobs that are disappearing to lower cost countries, and government at all levels that is caught in paralysis by analysis at best or deadlocked in a partisan divide at worst. I don't have time to be outraged. Not only am I dealing with the debt that is being passed down, but all the other bucks that are being passed.
The older generation can't simply say, "We are worried about you in the younger generations." From my point of view it feels like I am being told, "Well, we are getting ours. We are worried about you, but here's the bill and good luck finding a job." The Boomers need to remember what it was like on this side of the equation. The big problems here cannot be foisted on to any one demographic in this country - the problems belong to all of us.
I'm not complaining or getting outraged because it serves no greater purpose. I, and many like me, are full of quiet determination. We are tired of listening to the same arguments, and we are simply starting new conversations and moving on from the same old arguments. We are finding solutions that are simpler and cheaper than ever. We trying our best finding solutions to big problems, and we are doing it in ways that weren't even conceivable in the "Age of Aquarius." We are also solving our own problems locally by looking back to the basic values and methods of our grandparents and great grandparents in the Greatest Generation and the generation that survived the Great Depression. I believe that Generation X, despite our apathetic start in the 90's, has and will continue to rise to the occasion, and we will bring everyone along with us.
My Generation made the Internet what it is today, we are more focused on family, we are doing the best we can despite the hand we have been dealt, and we are having fun along the way. Stay tuned. We aren't even close to being done yet.