Blame the greedy oldies

The “Occupy” hippies have the wrong target. They should instead of chasing amorphous and anonymous bankers they should instead be chasing the greedy oldies of the baby boomer generation who mortgaged our future and now visit electoral death upon anyone who challenges their “entitlements”.

I’ve often described them as greedy oldies. That is because they are.

Never in the history of intergenerational transfers has one generation left such a mountain of IOUs to another as the baby boomers are leaving to their grandchildren.

When you do the math, there is only one logical political home for today’s teens and 20-somethings … and that is the Tea Party. For who else is promising to slash Medicare and Social Security and keep the tax burden at its historical average?

Let’s just remind ourselves of the report of the Trustees of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds back in 2007, which projected a rise in the cost of these two programs from 7.3 percent of gross domestic product to 17.5 percent by 2030. The trustees warned that to achieve actuarial balance—in other words, solvency—for these two programs would require (for Social Security) an increase of 16 percent in payroll tax revenues or an immediate reduction in benefits of 13 percent. For Medicare we are talking a 122 percent increase in payroll taxes or a 51 percent cut in spending.

As Laurence Kotlikoff and Scott Burns pointed out in The Coming Generational Storm, by 2030 there will be twice as many retirees as there are today but only 18 percent more workers. Unless there is really radical reform of entitlement programs—especially Medicare—the next generation of American workers will be paying roughly double the taxes their parents and grandparents paid. This is what Kotlikoff and Burns mean by “fiscal child abuse.”

Of these harsh realities the occupiers of Wall Street seem blissfully unaware. Fixated on the idea that they somehow represent the 99 percent of people who scrape by on 80 percent of total income, they fail to see that the real distributional conflict of our time is not between percentiles, much less classes, but between generations. And no generation has a keener interest in slashing future spending on entitlements than today’s teens and 20-somethings.

So occupying Wall Street is not the answer to this generation’s problems. The answer is to occupy the Tea Party—and wrest it from the grumpy old men who currently run it.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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