Nov 122014
 
 November 12, 2014  Posted by at 8:51 pm Finance Tagged with: , , ,
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Dorothea Lange Hoe culture in the South. Poor white, North Carolina July 1936

I’m afraid I got to delve into a particularly unpopular topics once again today. Blame it on Bloomberg. They ran a piece on the Silent Generation (people born between 1928-’45), which finds it self in a ‘sweet spot’ but refuses to spend enough. A funny problem: the by far richest group in the US doesn’t spend, while those who would like to spend, for instance to build a home and a family, are too poor to do it.

I know I’m not going to make myself popular with what I have to say about this, but then I’m not running for US President, or Miss Universe for that matter. Besides, people should be careful about taking things personal that are not.

My point is that the Silent Generation is by far the most destructive generation in human history, so it should be no surprise they’re also the richest ever. What’s more, the chance that there will ever be a more destructive generation is eerily close to zero, and that uniqueness warrants scrutiny.

My point is even more that the Silent Generation may and will claim innocence wherever they can, but there is no innocence left today. Today, they can all watch their TVs and look out the window and understand that this is not going to end well. Unless the Silent Generation make very substantial changes to their lifestyles and attitudes, they’re inviting a war with their own (grand)children.

It starts here: World population went from 2 billion in 1928 to 7+ billion today in 2014, as US population went from 120 million in 1928 to 320 million in 2014. In graphs, first the world:

And then the US:

That is huge. But there’s another factor at play that, interestingly, is both a cause and a consequence of the population numbers: energy use. Again, first the world:

And the US:

As should be clear, we’re looking at an exponential function multiplied by an exponential function. World population more than tripled, and all those extra people used 6-7-8 times more energy per capita then did prior generations. That’s 20-25 times more energy use in total. As I said, it should be no surprise that it should be no surprise that the Silent Generation is the richest ever.

But. But there’s one more graph that we should be careful not to leave out. if only because it’s interesting to see that the richest generation in human history, as they were coming of age, and while they were busy increasing their per capita energy use manifold, also started incurring more debt. Much more debt.

That last graph should make us wonder how rich they are exactly. Or, rather, how much of their alleged wealth will need to be serviced by their progeny. And then you have to ask what kind of wealth that is, exactly. Let’s turn to the Bloomberg article:

The Richest Elderly Generation Ever Doesn’t Like to Spend

Jon Burkhart was born during the Great Depression. [..] When he and his wife married in 1959, they lived in Texas and saved 10% of every paycheck. Thanks to well-timed equity and property investments, the 81-year-old now lives a much different life than the elderly he knew as a child. [..] The median net worth for the oldest Americans has climbed to near the top compared with other age groups from near the bottom just two decades ago .. This shift in buying power may not be a positive development for the economy as prime-age workers typically spend more than their elders.

The Silent Generation, born between 1928 and 1945, has benefited from improved health, a more generous social safety net, an exit from the job market ahead of the past recession and rebounding stock and home values. “They are in the sweet spot.” The median family net worth of Americans 75 and older was $194,800 last year adjusted for inflation, compared with $130,900 in 1989 ..Members of the Silent Generation are currently about ages 69 to 86. The title of richest ever will probably go unchallenged for now ..

Increased net worth of today’s elderly may not translate into a boon for consumer spending [..] household spending peaks at age 45 and then falls in every category except health care, dropping about 43% by the age of 75. The term Silent Generation was coined by Time Magazine in a 1951 article as the group was coming of age. It described the generation as “working fairly hard and saying almost nothing,” one that “does not issue manifestos, make speeches or carry posters.”

Not in 1951. They did not ‘not issue manifestos, make speeches or carry posters’ then. But they did in the 1960s, when they were in their late teens and up. It’s curious to see that those who did protest and wave banners and all, from Washington to Paris and beyond, concerned as they were with human rights, corruption and the environment, later became the wealthiest and most destructive people the world has ever witnessed, as a group, as a generation.

From 1962 through 1991, when mid-wave Silent Generation members were in their prime working years, gross domestic product grew an average of 3.5% a year. Since then, GDP has expanded 2.6% a year. The homes and financial assets they acquired as they aged saw outsized price gains over the decades. [..] Meanwhile the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s home price gauge has risen 472% since 1975.

For a large part of the ‘Silents’, rising home prices have been a substantial part of their wealth accumulation. Even when prices were falling in 2008, it didn’t matter much, because mortgages were long paid off.

Federal outlays on programs benefiting those 65 and older also became more generous over the decades. They rose to $27,975 in 2011 per capita adjusted for inflation from about $4,000 in 1960 [..] Consequently, 9.5% of Americans 65 and older were in poverty in 2013, lower than any other age group, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That compares with 35% in 1959, when they had the highest poverty rate. Back then, “the poor people were old,” said Neil Howe, a demographer in Great Falls, Virginia. “That’s a really fascinating contrast with today.”

Ha! Yeah, fascinating, isn’t it?! Today, the poor people are young. But that’s a big problem, also for the older people. It’s sort of OK for now, just look at the average age of Senators and Congressmen and corporate shareholders. The old folk run the show, and they’re planning to hold on as long as they can,

“The Silents have done very well, and a lot of it has just been their location in history [..] They planned ahead, they were risk averse, they played by the rules and the system worked for them.”

That last bit sounds very cute, but a little too much so. The system didn’t just work for them, they were the system. They still are. They knew this in 1968, and so they can’t simply claim innocence after that. What happened is that they came from innocence, protested the system and then forgot all about it and themselves became the system.

Is it the population numbers, the energy use, or the debt increase that makes the Silent Generation so insidious? That is not even the most interesting issue, other than perhaps for historians. What’s far more intriguing is what the ‘Silents’ are going to do today and tomorrow, as they see their children and grandchildren sink.

Every parent used to want a better life for their sons and daughters than they had themselves. And there can be no doubt that most like nothing more then being fooled until they die by politicians’ promises of growth and recovery.

But one single honest look at younger generations should teach them that those promises are hollow and empty. Some can try and plead dementia, but even then.

I have no high hopes to see this resolved with grace and dignity and respect across generations, I think people across the board will be too reluctant to give up what they claim is theirs. If they are, though, that will mean the dissolution of entire societies, something that never happens in peaceful ways.

Home Forums The Most Destructive Generation Ever

This topic contains 19 replies, has 20 voices, and was last updated by  jcarter04 2 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #16539

    Dorothea Lange Hoe culture in the South. Poor white, North Carolina July 1936 I’m afraid I got to delve into a particularly unpopular topics once agai
    [See the full post at: The Most Destructive Generation Ever]

    #16540

    Variable81
    Participant

    @ Ilargi,

    Thanks for this article. I’ve seen a few articles (rightfully?) pointing out the Boomers for being the generation that pushed debt and set the system up for failure/collapse, but it’s always worth remembering that the Silents were still at the helm while a great deal of this debt was issued.

    The older Boomers seem to be carrying onward with this expansionary debt-based plan. Perhaps a few Boomers see what’s going on and disengage from the rest of their cohort, but I would assume those Boomers are few and far between.

    Cheers,
    -GBV

    #16541

    Valley Don
    Participant

    We always said, “Don’t trust anyone over 30” when referring to this generation, which sent its children into the killing fields of Vietnam and basically laid waste to the whole countryside. I was a kid Colorado was a quiet, beautiful state with about a million people. By the time they’d finished, it was sprawled with five million people in tract developments, the mountains scarred with unregulated mining and beautiful stretches of farm and ranchland turned into desert as the water was diverted to industrial growth.

    I have a hard time not blaming that generation for what happened to us.

    #16543

    Euan Mearns
    Participant

    Roel, this is a great posting! A theme I must return to. But I just want to follow up on my comments yesterday and the Bloomberg link in debt rattle;

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-12/fossil-fuels-with-550-billion-in-subsidy-hurt-renewables.html

    FF subsidies $550 billion
    Renewable subsidies $120 billion

    Now I refute that legitimate expenditure deducted from profits is a subsidy, but just accepting the numbers…From BP 2014 energy consumption in million tonnes oil equivalent:

    Oil 4139
    Gas 2986
    Coal 3724
    FF total 10849

    New renewables 241

    Doing the sums, “subsidy per toe”

    FF 51 $
    New renewables 498 $

    @ $80 / barrel 1 toe is priced at $586 – can you see problem?

    But your posting today is a timely reminder of the real issues. I’d note that population is following a logistic and will begin to fall this century. This creates a whole new set of socio-economic issues that we are in fact beginning to feel today – pensions and immigration to name but 2.

    #16544

    Gerold
    Participant

    Canada’s Macleans magazine recently carried a similar article called “Old and Loaded” that described the wealth disparity between seniors (the Silent Generation) and younger generations. The Macleans article, just like this one jumped to conclusions and was full of non sequiturs and sweeping generalizations.

    Rather than repeat everything, I refer you to the rebuttal I posted called “Socialist Envy, Canadian Style”.
    http://geroldblog.com/2014/09/14/socialist-envy-canadian-style/

    You’ll see that it addresses most of the issues raised in this article as well.

    – Gerold

    #16546

    Tulsatime
    Participant

    I don’t think it would make enough difference if the ‘silents’ spent every dime they had locally. As you pointed out a few days back, we have been chasing broken models for how to govern and spend. Instead of creating a self renewing economy, wealth has concentrated in a very small segment of society. Those people have been able to protect their wealth by manipulating the tax code and the government in the last 75 years. If it was an endless loop, the top layers would be wiped out in crashes. It is not an endless loop, but we seem to be close to the end of this chapter of life on earth. I wonder if we are setting up the next stage, with overgrowth and climate modification?

    #16547

    bluebird
    Participant

    @gerold – interesting blogpost, thanks for sharing.

    #16548

    rapier
    Participant

    The generation came of age during the post WWII expansion of what can be called an empire. An empire based upon military, monetary, financial, technical and organizational power. No generation or generations in history have thought to suppress a rising empire. Who doesn’t want to win?

    As for most destructive; I’ll grant it may be true on an environmental basis but not on intent by a long shot.

    Bloodlands
    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/nov/11/worst-madness/

    #16549

    Michael
    Participant

    This clip by Mike and the Mechanics pretty well sums it up.
    Video for living years► 5:34► 5:34
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APXwdkdhC2c
    Jun 12, 2011 – Uploaded by etnopollino
    Written by Mike Rutherford & B A Robertson Published by c 1988 Michael Rutherford Ltd/ R …

    #16550

    Boogaloo
    Participant

    Gerold, on repeated occasions you assert that nobody forces anyone else to become a debt slave. I disagree. When the market is saturated with cheap credit it drives up prices. Take housing, for example. I don’t want to become a debt slave, so I decide not to buy a house. But plenty of other people have no reservation about borrowing 105% so it pushes up prices much higher than they would otherwise be. That also ends up pushing up rents. So even though I am very conservative with my finances, I end up paying more and more of my income to my landlord as rent because I decided not to participate in the madness. There is no way to opt out of the system. It affects me no matter what I do.

    Take higher education in the U.S. where costs are out of control. Why are they out of control? Cheap credit. Even if I do not want to borrow $50,000 per year, there are plenty of people who are, and their willingness to assume that debt determines the price. What are my options? Sure, I can forego higher education, but that increases the odds that I will live in poverty. What type of choice is that?

    I got out with a lot less debt than many of my peers, and I paid off my debt a lot faster. But I still resent the system and the ocean of cheap credit that made it more difficult for me than it should have been.

    #16552

    Yosef52
    Participant

    I dislike sweeping generalizations, and I find those that center around some purported “generation” to be particularly annoying. There is no such thing as a “generation” in the social sense. All attempts to define these so-called “generations” collapse upon close examination. Time Magazine, unsurprisingly, has been responsible for much of the spread of this egregious nonsense, but it is hardly alone. There are no “Silents”, “Greatest Generation members”, “Boomers”, “Gen X”, “Gen Y”, or “Millennials”. There are only people–diverse, unique, complicated people– born into particular historical contexts and social circumstances. These people exist in complex webs of interaction and reciprocity, ones that require careful examination and study, not lazy, misleading assertions.

    To everyone, I say: Please, PLEASE start seeing people more as individuals and less as members of artificial categories. There were extraordinarily good people born between 1928 and 1945, there were vicious, brutal people born in that period, and there was every kind of person in between. In this group there were people from every kind of family, every kind of environment, every kind of social status, every kind of faith (or none at all) and every level of wealth. These attempts to corral people into “generations” are the crudest form of “analysis”. Such vulgar pop-sociology nonsense glosses over all individual biographies, ignores the subtle nuances of human behavior, ignores the ambiguity that is inherent in human life, and tells us nothing about the relationships people have with those older or younger than they. I am an admirer of The Automatic Earth, but this post misses the mark, in my opinion.

    #16553

    Formerly T-Bear
    Participant

    @Post Ilargi
    Someone needs call bollix on your source of information.

    You have been presented with an anecdotal straw-man, given a generational label (gerontologically convenient), measured with both elastic standards as well as fungible language, conveniently arranged for you to make your arguments with. At one time those born after the start of WWII were included in the baby-boomer generation (as point of variance in terminology) such was the motivation to produce offspring under duress of war; but have it your way – no matter.

    Those who you have identified as the ‘silent generation’ is another straw-man insofar as actually having responsibility for the conduct of affairs of state. The entirety of their experience lay between being overshadowed by their parent’s generation (FDR’s cohort) and the insidious loss of the Republic (and the congruent events in other political domains) that was ushered in at the rejection of the New and Fair Deal under the Nixon administration and the repudiation of those policies under the Reagan (Thatcher) insidious corruption of the Republic. Those which are referred to as baby-boomers have never really had access to power, they have hardly even had access to education (with the exception of those being educated during the period of Sputnik when it was in the national interest to have an educated population).

    Insofar as the question of economic circumstance of generations matters, what is being promulgated is pure carnival fun-house of mirrors illusions starting with the fungible use of words applied to the shape-shifting economic models of orthodox construct. Terms such as rich and wealth have become synonymous and pass without clarity or analysis of their intended economic meaning or even the term is utilized correctly. Propaganda and manufactured emotions have replaced knowledge and factuality. History itself has been totally enveloped by the miasma of induced social dementia, observe how rapidly current events are vortexed down the memory hole – does anyone even remember the details of MH-17’s downing at this point? Do keep in mind this ‘other’ generation saved at some tens units a month and are now paying some multiple of 1000 a month to continue living. Some economic chasm there – no?

    I am not sure anymore which generation you’ve described is my cohort, nonetheless the shoulders are broad and still capable of carrying a rightful load. I suspect your derived assumptions from your source may have put your opinion into erroneous territory.

    #16554

    NooBoob
    Participant

    Generation WTF? This is complete nonsense. The people before boomers and after boomers are just a fucked up as everyone else. When I was a young survivalist in the 1970s, I thought my generation was going to change the world for the better. LOL!!!
    Here’s why I don’t think that kind of stuff anymore.

    Do you know how much a cow weighs?
    Did you want to know why the weight of a cow will kill all life on earth?
    Diamonds are for heifers, mass extinction is forever.
    Read this post and you will know more than you ever bargained for.

    MASS DELUSION & GREEN ENERGY
    ► See the explosive copper production chart:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copper#mediaviewer/File:Copper_-_world_production_trend.svg

    ► See the explosive copper price chart:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copper#mediaviewer/File:Copper_Price_History_USD.png

    ► See expert opinion on peak copper:
    http://www.mining.com/web/peak-copper/

    ► 40% total Green Energy use requires 200% more copper:
    http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/10/making-lots-of-renewable-energy-equipment-doesnt-boost-pollution/

    9 POINTS:
    ► Energy demands to increase 50% by 2060.
    ► Emissions have to decrease 80% by 2060.
    ► 40% Green Energy requires 200% more copper according to John Timmer.
    ► Peak copper hits 2030 – 2040. Read Ugo Bardi’s work
    ► There is no “real” substitute for copper.
    http://motherboard.vice.com/en_ca/blog/there-are-no-substitutes-for-the-metals-in-your-smartphone
    ► Post peak copper production cannot accelerate at any price says Dave Lowell.
    ► We mined 50% of all the copper in human history in just the last 30 years.
    ► 100% green energy requires 500% more copper.
    ► Aluminum is a very poor substitute for copper.
    ► Peak minerals includes more than just copper.
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/jun/04/mineral-resource-fossil-fuel-depletion-terraform-earth-collapse-civilisation

    SUMMATION:
    ► We now move 3 billion tons of earth per year to get 15 millions tons of copper.
    ► We can’t afford the energy to mine 500% more copper at lower concentrations
    ► We cannot recycle it into existence.
    ► We cannot conserve it into existence.
    ► We cannot efficacize it into existence.
    ► We cannot fantasize it into existence.
    ► We are fucked. Now, here’s how we are double fucked.

    COW MASS & EXTINCTION
    ► Humans and our livestock are 97% of land vertebrate biomass.
    ► Humans and our livestock eat 40% of land chlorophyll biomass.
    ► When we eat over 50%, catastrophic cascading mass extinction collapse starts.
    ► 50% of vertebrate species died off in the last 50 years.
    ► 50% of vertebrate species will die off in next 40 years.
    ► 75% species loss = Mass Extinction

    FINAL CONCLUSION
    ► There are 6 reasons for Mass Extinction.
    ► Climate Change is only 1 of 6 reasons for mass extinction.
    ► Green Energy will not stop the end of life on earth.

    #16555

    Golden Oxen
    Participant

    Let’s just lower the voting age to 16, and have the Fed mail everyone under 25 a hundred grand.

    That will create an instant paradise for the left and shut them up for a little while anyway.

    Of course they will want 200 grand next year to even up with those rich old people who worked and saved all their life, and are petrified of getting ill and being wiped out in a month by the medical profession.

    #16561

    Jef Jelten
    Participant

    This generation and somewhat beyond existed during a very special period in history where virtually everything was coming online at once. All resources were simply there for the taking all backed up by cheap almost FREE FF energy. We had “won the war” and therefore got to dictate how the world was going to function with us at the center.

    Many studies have shown that success over this period of time was dominated by luck.

    To get an entire generation to accept, yet alone do anything about any of what you write Raul, is for them to admit to their great luck and good fortune which in my experience they, for the most part will NEVER do.

    Quite the opposite. They deride the younger generation for being lazy teat suckers who don’t have what it takes to accomplish what they have.

    I agree with what you have posted here and I also believe that this is the crux of the issue wrt any positive societal action going forward.

    P.S. AGW denial go hand in hand with denial of how lucky they were to have been where they were when they were.

    #16562

    soft landing
    Participant

    I hate to be so reactionary but:
    The silent generation was small (low population), people didn’t breed during the depression and war. Their kids are Gen X (another small generation). As we all know it is better to spread wealth among less people, they are richer than the crowds that came after them and the depression era adults who spawned them.
    I also disagree with the assertion that the silent generation ran up huge debts while grossly increasing consumption. I posit that a generation is “in control” from roughly age 50 to 70 and the silent generation (small population remember) was turning 70 by year 2000. By 2000 the baby boom pig in the python was coming to power and putting neo-cons in charge. The greatest generation is to blame for Reagan/Thatcher and the mess that oozed from that era. To be sure the silents did nothing to clean that up.
    The U.S. leadership that the silent generation selected were Bush and Clinton along with the republican congress (quite the do-nothing government really).
    They did not send their children to Vietnam, the greatest generation sent their boomer kids to that meat grinder.
    The silent generation are beneficiaries of good timing to be sure. But that is about it. I’d rather be on the front side of that per capita consumption curve than the back side like I am now, but I don’t control that.

    #16563

    pweaseldickson
    Participant

    I have to call you out on resorting to needless hyperbole. The “the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s home price gauge has risen 472% since 1975” stat, if correct, means that house prices have barely beat CPI during the period (a rounding error) and if adjusted by size and other improvements means that housing is cheaper on a relative basis.

    #16565

    Dr. Diablo
    Participant

    The Silents? They were a minority generation, same as the “X-ers”. That is to say, being a decided minority, they had no political effect. Now it was their good fortune to be born at just the right time, but the real influence was felt from the War Generation and the Boomers. But let’s go on with the premise here. All these generations: War Generation, Silents, and Boomers made a single, unanimous policy choice: to screw the h*** out their kids with debt and social programs. The War Generation signed up to the Ponzi, but at that time it was little more than welfare money enough to keep you off the streets with so few recipients it was easily paid. As time went on though, all three generations kept adding self-benefits and raising drawbridges and moats to those after them, accruing all national GDP to themselves. Measurably so, as statistics easily show. Even now, the only age group to gain jobs or raise income is the 55+ group. Taken from where? Every group below 55, right down to newborns saddled with $1m apiece in new debt—owed to their parents. Good work if you can get it.

    Boomers, being late in the chain letter are the first to fall, as the Dow-n-House Ponzi collapsed for them, and being accustomed to endless growth and paper riches spent above their means from the day of their first allowance (also provable in statistics).

    But I look at it this way: who left the earth a scorched ruin for their children, so entirely, completely, and unimaginably destroyed that places like Detroit, Flint, or Utica http://gizmodo.com/tracking-detroits-decay-through-google-street-view-1586631393 can only be compared with a nuclear holocaust or post-war Desden? The War Generation? To some extent, yes, but they also created a lot of the former America, as well as pulling back from the brink of madness with various START treaties, negotiations over Iraq I, failed report cards on Iraq II, and so on. The Silents? Yes, they climbed on, but as before, they had so little representation and so little weight that I think you’ll find the majority of Congress and Presidents composed of WarG + Boomers. So who does that leave? Boomers, whose idyllic childhoods are the stuff of “Christmas Story” legends, “Leave it to Beaver”, “Andy and Opie” and other unimaginable realities of a thing called “pleasant”, “order,” and “prosperity” to those of us following after. So if that’s what they inherited, sexism, racism, cold war and all, what did they leave?

    A nation with ever-increasing poverty, divorce, rape, child molesting and disappearances, sex slavery, violent crime, environmental and economic devastation, near-total removal of jobs and manufacturing, quasi-fascism of a measurably violent, arbitrary police state, between $15 and $200 Trillion in debt, millions killed in undeclared, unsupported wars, near-total dependence on debt and fraud to have GDP even APPEAR plausible. (perhaps as much as 40% of GDP is mis-measured or simply financial paper-ginning)

    And left to their children? Besides growing up in a deadly, impoverished, molesting-ready world of drugs, porn, theft, violence and neglect? No jobs—the young are the least employed of any age group, far beyond the long-term norms. No money: not just for unemployment, but the long-term all-in tax rate, (faux-healthcare, income tax, nuisance fees, business fees in raising prices, fees hidden in rents) student loans, and various grifts and grafts like 0% interest for banks and 19% for credit cards, and houses many times too expensive for incomes. And lies, lies, lies: obeying the social rules, getting a degree in debt-slavery, to rules about how to get a job, all the variations of the “social contract” about what their parents and grandparents said they needed to succeed has been denied them. In surveys, there is a clear response that the young feel they will a) never have a paying job, b) never own a house, and therefore c) never get married or start a family. Ever. The lack of household formation is astounding, and met with indignance: “How dare the young not buy out my house at a 500% gain? Suck it up, Buttercup! I don’t care if you don’t have a job, you whiny slackers.”

    Please explain to me how this holocaust will turn out okay for them? Their lives are ALREADY being destroyed, one day, one year, and one city at a time. Even a nuclear exchange with the USSR complete with neutron bombs could not have created the devastation we see today because in a nuclear war, at least we would attempt to restore and rebuild. We have none of this. It’s like the Star Trek episode where the planet walks their own (young) people into the disintegration machines and blows up their own cities because some computer simulation said they should. To save “culture” and all.

    Okay, now let’s look at the flip side: if you’re a Boomer or Silent and made your money by being lucky or rather, by tipping the playing field sharply toward yourself and away from everyone else (i.e. your children) what should you do about it? Write an open check against a retirement already fading? Give it back? Join them in poverty? I don’t think so, and not just because they most clearly haven’t cared about anybody but themselves until now. Fact is, redistributing your wealth, whether ill or fair-got, isn’t going to help.

    The real solution is to re-level the playing field from here and allow prosperity and balance to restore itself. That is: be moral. Shut down the grift and graft, the theft, near-total absense of law, stop the violence, extortion, and murder of anyone not-me.

    But that isn’t really going to happen, because if they wanted it to happen—even a little–it would have already. If they had a lick of morality in the last 30 years, we wouldn’t have got here in the first place. So here’s what’s really going to happen: the frauds will end because that’s what frauds do. When that happens, their illusionary paper wealth they raped their children for will vanish. With two workers per retiree, there will be no Social Security, no redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich—or at least in that category, not because they won’t do it but because it’s mathematically impossible. Because each child, living in the basement and working at Taco Bell, cannot support their parents in playing golf at their 2nd home for 20 years. But surprisingly and generously, the Millennials will not let them starve either. They will simply have the share in the poverty we all have now that the rest of the nation already experiences with the near-nuclear exchange of economic warfare.

    That’s what happens when you throw a 40-year house party until the furniture is burnt and the roof falls in. You end up incapacitated on the floor and eventually your children inherit the dilapidated heap that was once a grand mansion. They build a fire in the corner like wild Indians, and replace the tiny bit of roof they can afford, and catch rabbits on the side–a scene straight out of “Atlas Shrugged”. But no amount of additional fantasy can change that. Once the house, the infrastructure, the nation, with all its wealth and laws, is destroyed, it is. And we all start from here. All that remains is for the paper fantasy to fall so we can share the experience, instead of sentencing one group of people to slavery, and another to indulgence.

    #16579

    John Day
    Participant

    @Dr. Diablo:
    You wrote “like wild Indians”.
    You’re an oppressor, no matter what you say, and you’d have done the same as the very few elite members of any generation, who get to call the shots, while everybody else punches the clock and pays the bills.
    You’re just all whiny ’cause you missed out on the looting.My dad, born in ’28, got to fight in Korea and Vietnam. How bad was that?
    I’m a (1958) boomer, who was just young enough to miss the draft, and have dedicated my good fortune to public health.
    I have 4 healthy adult offspring that are my investment, only the senior medical student has any debt, and not so much.
    I have no other wealth, having sold the house in 2005 to bike-tour and backpack with the family through the youth hostels of the world for 9 months.
    That’s an extremely fortunate life, and I never did believe in the retirement fairy.
    I hope the kids do well, and after they are all done with school, maybe I can get a little farmland for those golden years, and for them, and any kids they may have.
    By the way, I was just picking on you about the “wild Indians” comment, but we can all be insensitive, so my comment remains fair, as I see it.
    I did serve on the Navajo Reservation for 2 years as a physician, so I showed my respect.
    Merely benefiting from the oppression going on during one’s life doesn’t make one an oppressor, but focusing on how things came to be as they are can help one benefit his and other generations.
    There’s still time to do that, for all of us.

    Ilargu, You got a slew of comments, so that makes this a “provocative” essay.
    Good Work!

    #16616

    jcarter04
    Participant

    High density liquid energy + expansion of debt-based monetary fiat = 100+ year pyramid scheme with silents on top. As paper claims on real wealth get converted to hard assets, the value of those paper claims should fall quite far, perhaps by 2020. Who’s going to buy all those paper claims owned by silents and boomers? The silents did not put themselves on top of the pyramid, it’s just fortunate timing. An involuntary jubilee needs to occur and all social welfare promises for all generations needs to be burned. Otherwise, there will be at least one lost generation sacrificed. Guess what happens to all these magnificent wealth transfer programs when the DOW drops below 7k? In the long run, they’re going away anyway because, mathematically, they have to.

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