baby boomer greed

Baby Boomers are Diverse

(revised and updated April, 2021)

I have heard about enough of the criticism of the Boomer generation.  The characteristics of Baby Boomers are many and not at all uniform across the entire generation.  We are quite diverse from our upbringing to our worldview and from our wealth to our academic achievements.

We have our faults, sure enough.  For many of us, our teen years were driven by the counter-culture movement.  Some of us were hippies, others soldiers.

Characteristics of Baby Boomers – Greed

It surprises and frankly angers me that a well respected journal like Forbes would endorse a column in their pages entitled Are Baby Boomers The Greediest Generation. The author Laurence J. Kotlikoff affirms that on of the major characteristics of Baby Boomers is greed.

His argument consists of pointing out how much of a tax burden we are placing upon the generations that follow.  That burden comes in the form of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits that will be paid out to we baby boomers.

I do not see this situation in any way being a component of the characteristics of baby boomers.  We are a larger generation, in terms of population, than the generations before or after us.

Of course our Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security payments will add up to a very large sum.  Likewise, the amount of money we paid in taxes is far greater than any other generation, so far.  Those are facts.

Government programs that have been backed by Congress and the majority of Americans are not a sign of greed.

Characteristics of Baby Boomers – Service

Service that benefits others IS among the defining characteristics of Baby Boomers.  Many of us have put our lives on the line to better human existence at home and around the globe.

The Peace Corps and Vista were started while we were in our early adulthood.  We were the first to fill the ranks of those international and domestic, volunteer service organizations.  In the 1970s through the 1990s the number of nonprofit organizations administering to the needs of the disadvantaged increased and were staffed by Baby Boomers.  

Characteristics of Baby Boomers - Peace Corps
Baby Boomers Continue to Serve in the Peace Corps

The Forbes article author, Kotlikoff, is himself a Baby Boomer.  I take issue with following statement of his.

“Every year on Veterans Day, we baby boomers look around and see fewer and fewer members of the Greatest Generation–our parents and grandparents who rose en mass to fight a terrible war and keep us safe. The memory of their service provokes guilt as well as pride. As a group, we baby boomers have made no comparable sacrifice. Most of us spent our youth and middle age looking out for No. 1. And we are about to enter old age with a singular goal in mind, namely, extracting as much as possible from our kids and grandkids.”

Those are almost fighting words for me. We boomers have been involved in so many volunteer services that their parents left behind, and started many more.  There was no World  War during our era, but the Viet Nam War was a major military event that took the lives of many Baby Boomers.

Large numbers of Baby Boomers participated in the Rights Movement of the 1960s and 1970s.

Some may say that another one of the characteristics of Baby Boomers is their consumption of goods.  That cannot be denied.  We have had more money than our parents and grandparents.  So we spent more.

Aging boomers are and will continue to be a great source for income for the younger generations. There is much money to made from them in health care, leisure living, and retirement communities…not to mention travel. Boomers will support the younger generations through purchasing their goods and services.

So, it can be said that among the characteristics of Baby Boomers is that they spend a lot of money.  In fact, Kotlikoff says we saved less than previous generations.  It must be recognized due to their spending they enrich other generations.

Standup for Baby Boomers

Well, just read the Forbes article and make a comment. It may well be a shot across the bow of our legacy. Stand up for the ship!

What do you see as characteristics of Baby Boomers?  Write them in the comments below.

By Chowning

Richard Chowning was a teenager during the 60s. Being a Southern California resident during those years, he experienced many of the events and trends that distinguished those times.

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