A low volume, high quality source from the demand side perspective.The podcast is produced weekly. A transcript is posted on the day of.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Ick and I

Hey! Fellow Demand-Sider here... I really love your podcast and have learned quite a lot. I also appreciate your casting of various guests (not the least of which was Galbraith)

Anyway, I was listening to “Rolling out the New Forecast Blog” episode wherein you talk about the “Boomers”.

You say things such as:
“Older people will have the time, if not energy, to get involved. And they have at least the opportunity of perspective to the degree they support a broader interest with their time and talent and do not become strictly an interest group for social insurance and healthcare, the Power Base for reform is set.”

There are a LOT of Assumptions there! And, frankly, I think they are fanciful.

Once upon a time my former boss (who was a jazz player of note) apologized to me for the things Ronald Raygun was doing... He said, “It’s MY generation that has screwed everything up for your generation and it’s not fair to you.”

Well, that was then... this is now. Today, the Boomers are the Movers and Shakers of Government and Business... George Carlin opined about the Boomers once upon a time... He noted that NEVER was there a more spoiled group of kids... NEVER has a generation been GIVEN so much... and it’s easy to sum up their entire philosophy in one simple phrase: “Give me it! It’s Mine!!!!!”

Buncha spoiled brats!

And this from a child of a Hippie Boomer. The biggest difference: My Hippie Boomer dad never lost the faith. However, the same can NOT be said for damn near any of his friends... (save one).

I am in my 40’s and haven’t thought about losing the faith... so, I think I’m safe.

But I digress...

The “Boomers” are the ones who created the Derivatives... The Credit Default Swaps... The GREED!!!!

They are the ones who REALLY capitalized on Raygun’s laxing of Anti-trust laws...

They are the ones who ran AMUCK over everything that came before them. Think about it! It’s the MO!!!!

So, for you to say that ‘The Power Base for Reform Is Set” is WAY beyond na├»ve, IMHO.

These greedy bastards will ONLY seek to get what they want (i.e. Social Insurance and Health Care). Believe me, they don’t care about anybody else but themselves.

There is NO “Power Base for Reform”. Don’t count on it.

Quite Sincerely,

Eric Brewer


Very sorry to have missed this e-mail. My account was apparently hijacked, perhaps inadvertently, for a period of time, and I just got to see this today. I'm going to put it up in the comments section of that podcast, as time allows.

As to the comments.

My assumptions:

Old people will have the time to get involved. Should be able to take advantage of retirement and should be limited only by energy. That does not seem too far out.

They have the opportunity of perspective. Well, the opportunity IS there, with a lifetime of experience. Too often, as you say, the old ways are just inculcated no matter how off-base and useless they may be.

To the degree they... The point being, the innate selfishness you ascribe to Boomers will naturally lead them to be vigorous defenders of the social insurance programs. This may lead them to the Left. To the degree they also see the need to rescue the whole mess in order to rescue themselves, they will be motivated to social change. Right now, as I've said, the corporate oligarchy is ensconced on the top deck; we are keeping afloat by kicking people off the lower decks. Mentally ill, low skilled, college students and recent graduates. Pretty soon it will be the old people. Insofar as the Boomers are a big group and everybody gets old, this seems like it might lead to social activism. But I did begin with "To the degree... "

Your main point is that the Boomers caused the mess. I think it is the 1% who caused the mess, and it is their disinformation and subsidized BS that keeps people confused. These could be Boomers or not. I don't think it's an age thing. We had Tom Brokaw, for example, telling us that the Boomers parents were "the greatest generation," but it was really the leadership of the New Dealers that made World War II and the postwar prosperity happen successfully; that is, their parents.

But you are basically right, it is the MY and MINE that prevent real change. This also is taught. There is the famous "prisoners' dilemma" game in game theory that demonstrates people acting strictly for their own account create an outcome that is far below optimal. Yet it is this self-interest that is the backbone of market fundamentalism and the Neoliberal construct.

But to the degree that this fails, as it must, there will have to either be scapegoating or re-thinking. How long is FoxNews going to have critical thinking locked down?

I still think there is a power base there. I may be wrong. We'll see. You may be wrong.

Thanks again,


The Brewers

Feb 11 (3 days ago)

to me

To the degree that the 1% caused the crisis, and it is their disinformation and subsidized BS that keeps people confused, I must say that they could NEVER have succeeded without the complicity of the Boomer’s “Give me it! It’s mine!” very solid philosophical foundation.

The fact that SO MANY of the Boomers (a very bright, creative, well educated, group) bought the 1% line of BS in the first place is proof positive of their underlying selfish disposition. It is dreadfully simple to take a large group of people who feel entitled to all the very best (because their parents GAVE them the best and spoiled them rotten... Those parents were by far NOT the Greatest Generation... But they aren’t the worst either, IMHO) and, by seemingly agreeing with them and encouraging them, get them to do your bidding.

Some of the most creative, intelligent, and best educated people every were spoiled rotten at their core... and their talents and energies were easily exploited by the 1%.

I have seen NOTHING to make me think the Boomer’s are in any way capable of cleansing their collective soul.

I am from Generation X. The first generation who is not expected to do better than their parents... ...many of my contemporaries are mindless, intellectually incurious children who were GIVEN everything by their yuppie/boomer greedy parents. They are good little entitled greed-bots toeing the line for the parents they so aim to please. It’s endemic.

But, there are also a LOT of Gen X'rs who reject the BS of their parents and have lived their lives responsibly... both to their own bank accounts and to the community around them.

It is my opinion that these are the unsung heroes that are going to be the ones who are going to be diligent and level headed and boring... these are going to be the Responsible Adults in the room that keep things from going straight to hell as fast as possible.

BUT, there’s a big black cloud on the horizon. The Generation Why group. Talk about self absorbed and entitled little brats. Do a little quick research on this group and you’ll find they are not interested in having long term relationships of any kind... Spouse, Significant Other, Jobs, etc... a large percent don’t even want kids because they want to have it all for themselves.

These are the 21st Century Club Kid version of the same selfish boomer philosophy. When these people are responsible for taking care of things, you can BET they will be just as exploited by the 1%’s as any Boomer ever was... And their puppet masters will EASILY pull their strings and create a whole world of crisis several magnitudes greater than the one we see right now.
Like I said, I think it’s endemic.

I really hate to sound like an angry old curmudgeon (I’m only 42), but my family and I just took a tour of 35 states in 7 months and I must say in all honesty that this country is full of the most intellectually uncurious group of people I could have ever imagined. It’s worse than I could have imagined. I could count on 1 hand the number of “interesting” conversations I had during this whole trip... and gawd knows I tried! I went out with a lot of optimism, thinking my own little bubble of a city was the exception to this rule, but I found that my own little bubble of a city is well above average in this category. Anecdotal, I know, but personally depressing. In many ways I feel worse about the future than I did before I left... and I was really hoping to feel the opposite.

On another comment to be made on another day I would like to discuss the effect personal DEBT has on perpetuating the Incuriosity and Complacency... and the dream of being rich!... all to our collective detriment.

Thanks again,


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