Posted 05/30/2007 - 09:10:22am by David Bank
Cassandra Devine has a solution to the fiscal crisis caused by aging of of the baby boom: pay retirees to commit suicide.
In return for the budget savings, she proposes the government would pay for a lavish farewell honeymoon vacation and exempt heirs from estate taxes.
Christopher Buckley, who made Cassandra, a 20-year-old blogger, the main character in his new novel, Boomsday, is just kidding – sort of.
The master political satirist has put his finger on an emerging political movement – the anti-boomer backlash. Yes, young boomers in the ‘60s and ‘70s broke down barriers of race and gender and opened new frontiers of culture and consciousness, the argument goes. But since then, the self-absorbed and self-important generation has been unable to let the nation move on from its own preoccupations.
Boomers "quest for satisfaction has at times led to nadirs of narcissism and greed,” wrote American Heritage magazine in an excellent tour through boomer history. "As a generation the boomers have always seemed to want it all: cheap energy, consumer plenty, low taxes, loads of government entitlements, ageless beauty, and an ever-rising standard of living. They inherited a nation flush with resources and will bequeath their children a country mired in debt."
As a partial antidote, the Encore campaign seeks to nurture the already strong impulse toward community service among many boomers and spur the creation of opportunities for such effective and fulfilling service. The alternative, Marc Freedman warns in Encore, is generational warfare.
But maybe a little generational warfare is not a bad thing. Perhaps there’s a need for a push as well as a pull. Imagine an ad campaign sponsored by an organization of Millennials, Gen-Xers and perhaps younger boomers, aimed at front-edge boomers and ending with the tag line, "Clean Up Your Own Damn Mess."
If that doesn’t work, as Christopher Buckley points out, there are other policy alternatives available.