The Greatest Wealth Transfer in History Is Robbing Young People of Their Future Forever
Here are four ways that older Americans are making the next generation bankroll their ride into the sunset
This opening statement will immediately lose me about a quarter of the reading public, but someone has to say it:
Boomers are to blame for at least half the world’s current troubles.
They plunged us into generational wars in the Middle East.
They ditched the gold standard and skyrocketed inflation.
They caused the Great Recession.
They caused the current housing crisis and asset bubble.
They approved and racked up $29 trillion in federal debt.
They set the time bomb that is Social Security.
They killed two-thirds of all wildlife on earth.
They caused the climate change that’s ravaging our planet.
And they’ve been turning a profit from it the whole time.
Don’t believe me?
Just Google any Fortune 500 and take a look at its board of directors, C-suite officers, and major shareholders.
While I won’t go quite so far as one author who argues compellingly that they are a generation of sociopaths who betrayed America, did you know that Boomers are statistically low on empathy? (Just wait ‘til the comments on this article roll in.) Blame the lead, asbestos, and hairspray if you must — but at least acknowledge the reality that:
a.) life is hard for everyone, and
b.) on average, no one has had it easier.
Never has a generation extracted so much from a planet and the next generation. Their behaviors and policies are unlike any generation before or after them. They live by the code of “me first and damn the consequences.” Since they took control of Congress in the eighties, they’ve refused to invest in research and development, education, healthcare, crime prevention, or even basic maintenance to the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.
A writer for CNBC says Millennials will inherit $68 trillion from Boomers in the next eight years, but evidently, the not-so-sharp reporter forgot that there’s a whole other generation between Boomers and Millennials.
Also, quick newsflash: Boomers aren’t leaving a cent to their Gen X kids. They’re in amazing shape thanks to medical advances, so they’re golfing and cruising far longer, and when they do eventually slow down, they’ll burn whatever’s left of their runway on wildly-overpriced old folks' homes and end-of-life care, eventually relying on their kids to cover the shortfall.
The Me Generation took a free trip at the planet’s expense and is hellbent on taking the rest of it with them.
And you’re paying for it.
Here are the four big mechanisms by which they’re forcing future generations to bankroll their ride into the sunset:
Not that you even needed a post-secondary education (only 12% went), but when Boomers went off to university, it literally cost pennies.
Now, thanks to education inflation, students “need” a six-figure master’s degree just to serve coffee for minimum wage.
And those degrees will literally cost them a decade or more of debt servitude to pay off. The total US student debt is now at a staggering $1.75 trillion, and it’s still climbing like an American Gladiator being shot with tennis balls.
Did I mention that the federal student debt program somehow loses the government over $100 billion per year? Take a guess which taxpayers will be footing the bill…
When Boomers left college (or high school, or even grade school), they went straight to work at union jobs that enjoyed steady wage increases for the entire duration of their careers.
Now, armed with several degrees and desperate to pay off their student loans, young people are reluctantly going to work for corporate socialists, money-losing zombie disruptors, multinational tax evaders, or predatory gig companies that spend hundreds of millions of dollars to ensure they never have employee rights, all to enrich the shareholders of multinational predator corporations who continue to undermine worker rights and political democracy.
In the Carey Grant comedy Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, the protagonist goes exorbitantly over-budget and ends up building a house that cost a then-unheard-of 2.5 times his annual salary.
That’s Boomerdom in a nutshell.
When Boomers bought their first houses, they only cost about two or three times their annual single-earner average income. Now that Boomers can’t find ways to contribute to the productive economy, they’ve turned to real estate as a sure-fire way to extract wealth from productive young people, hoovering up Airbnbs, rental properties, and condos, enjoying skyrocketing property “values” thanks to purposefully-restricted supply.
Now, as they get ready to make their exit, they expect “the kids” to pay absurd prices for crumbling housing stock, leaving the oldies cash-rich and the rest noosed for life.
Meanwhile, young people are battling bloated consumer prices and crushing rent in all fifty states, forcing them to save more and for far longer, before eventually purchasing an outrageously overpriced house — fourteen times higher than what Boomers paid — by taking on a lifetime of bank debt.
Social Security is the biggest pyramid scheme (and ticking time bomb) in human history.
Before Boomers, 32% of federal tax dollars were spent on investments. Today, forty percent of government spending gets incinerated by social insurance, retirement, health benefits, Medicare, and Medicaid. By 2030, entitlements will devour 61% of public funding, crippling the nation for generations to come.
Boomer-controlled Congress forces contributing workers to pay for it mostly through payroll taxes, yet the fund is conveniently expected to run dry in 2034 when the median Boomer is dead.
Guess who’s going to enjoy massive, lifelong increases in taxation to fund the shortfall for Gen X, yet almost certainly end up with nothing left when it’s time for them to retire at age 88?
And even if you know how to evade taxes like a billionaire, they’re already taxing you an extra 10+% another way: Through that wealth-robbing silent tax called inflation.
You are their exit plan
If you are under the age of forty, you are being systematically compelled to bankroll people over the age of sixty in more ways than you can imagine:
You are expected to work for low wages at their companies.
You are expected to hand over a huge portion of those over-taxed wages to rent their income properties.
You are expected to turn a profit for the companies in their stock portfolio.
You are expected to buy their overpriced houses when they decide to sell.
You are expected to finance that massive purchase by paying them interest for much of your adult life.
You are expected to shoulder the national debt they’re so happily expanding by billions every day.
You are expected to fork over a huge portion of your income as taxation to support their favored programs (including neverending wars and subsidizing their largest corporations.)
You are expected to use a currency that they’re constantly devaluing.
You are expected to pay into the pyramid schemes to fund their retirements.
No wonder Millennials are four times poorer than Boomers at their age.
In all fairness…
Some of the nicest people I know are Boomers. And some of Surviving Tomorrow’s most committed readers are folks aged 60+ who are working hard to right the wrongs of their peers.
And, sadly, there are millions of Boomers who’ve had genuinely horrible lives and have struggled to survive every single day of their existence. They know what it’s like to be a Millennial, Gen Zer, or Gen Alpha(-er?)
Life under Boomer corporatism is a hard struggle. I’ve witnessed it with my own grandparents and wife’s grandparents. Old age care and the government literally bankrupted the four most beloved elders in my life.
So I know it’s not all Boomers that are to blame for exploiting the next generation. Society should have changed its systems to treat them far better, and it definitely needs to learn from the past and not repeat those same mistakes again on a 100+ million-person scale.
Instead, what are Boomers leaving behind?
The biggest national debt in human history, an unaddressed climate disaster, a Social Security insolvency crisis, and a nation enslaved in generational debt to multinational predator corporations. Well done, folks.
Again, not everything can be blamed on Boomers — their parents invented the atomic bomb, after all. And my generation, Millennials, will have to answer for addicting a generation to hardcore pornography, time-devouring social media, and the addictive loneliness machine called the metaverse.
We can fix this
And it’s really not even that complicated:
To fix education: Declare a student debt jubilee so they can spend that wasted money into the productive economy, then invest in education by extending publically-funded education through university… and reap a 13X return on investment for doing so.
To fix work: Create a legit-living-wage-plus-benefits job guarantee so “the market” (aka democracy) forces predatory corporations to treat workers like human employees instead of dogs.
To fix housing: Make homeownership permanently affordable by banning Airbnb, for-profit residential land-lording, and investment in residential real estate, plus smash the zoning boards and allow the private sector to construct tens of millions of affordable owner-occupied-only eco-homes.
To fix taxation: Freeze tax increases and this insane money printing, get rid of almost all government services, and replace them with unconditional, asset-funded, universal basic income.
But of course, none of this will happen because a literal dementia patient sits in the Oval Office, and Boomer-controlled corporations run Boomer-controlled Congress.
Instead, Gen Z and Gen Alpha get to look forward to a lifetime of extreme student debt, demoralizing underpaid lifelong wage-slavery to enrich democracy-destroying corporate elites, completely out-of-reach homeownership, outrageous taxes, and wealth-destroying inflation.
No wonder a growing number of young people hope older folks die miserable and impoverished— it’s how they’re being forced to live their entire lives.