Michael Kinsley: Cut the Boomers a Break

Roundup: Talking About History

[Michael Kinsley is an editor at the Atlantic.]

The basic story line is this: The "greatest generation" answered the call and proved their patriotism by winning World War II and thereby saving the world from the Nazis. Then came the boomers, who evaded the draft and spat at soldiers and generally have been a huge disappointment. Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut attorney general and senate candidate who "misspoke" about having served in Vietnam has given us a new reason to chew all this over.

There are problems with this narrative. For example, the World War II generation are also the people who paid almost nothing into Social Security and Medicare, but enjoy generous benefits that are politically impossible to cut. The boomers, who are just starting to retire (someone born in 1945 turns 65 this year), have been paying in much more for their entire working lives, and will never see anything like the deals their parents have enjoyed. Meanwhile, the debt run up, mostly by writing checks to the Greatest Generation, may wreck the country they saved in their youth. Nothing so great about that....

comments powered by Disqus