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Through no fault of his own, Bruce is a baby boomer. He has navigated a career that includes journalism, military service, an advanced business degree, market research and geriatric care management.

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  1. woodyville
    woodyville at | | Reply

    Wish I hadn’t hit the “post” so quickly…my apologies. Bruce, your comments on Social Security and especially on Medicare are much appreciated and may I add? Gov’t should NOT have and still must stop “borrowing” from Social Security funds. That, and returning “borrowed” monies to that treasury would extend its life. No need to dismantle either SS or Medicare, just keep both funds “clean”. ACA should transition into Medicare for all because it works. That would benefit current and future boomers. Thanks, Jim Rogers…good comment.
    ~DOB ’42…and hoping my peers get on the ball and share our lessons we’re proud of!

  2. woodyville
    woodyville at | | Reply

    No….it’s not. It’s just more of the whine from a generation that “had it good” after the “war babies” paved the way to what was thought would be a more “enlightened” USA. DOB “42.

  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous at | | Reply
  4. Cathy Severson
    Cathy Severson at | | Reply

    I chuckled through most of it and laughed out loud at a couple of spots. I was born in 1952 and not then or ever since then has anything appealed to me about Woodstock. Sorry.

    I’m a bit tired about Baby Boomers only being indulged and their parents being these selfless patriots who saved the world. They were just as much a product of their environment as we are ours. They created the 50’s. Remember. Suburbs, Big cars with big engines and bigger air polution, the Interstate system-both a blessing and a curse, Playboy and MacDonalds. They are not any more blameless than we are the damned. We grew up in an unique period of time. Times are changing. The world is changing and we’ll all adapt, and adjust. Some will thrive and others will struggle.

    1. Jim Rogers
      Jim Rogers at | | Reply

      Right on, Carhy!

    2. bruce brittain
      bruce brittain at | | Reply

      Cathy and Jim–

      Thank you both for your responses. For a writer, reader response is a primary source of validation.

      My Changing Aging article was written with tongue pretty much in cheek. I have to take exception, however, to being accused of not being a “rocker” due to my Woodstock comments. My first R&R paid gig was as a seventh grader in 1958 and I have being playing music for pay ever since (including this past weekend). My “rocker” credentials are firmly established. However, while crawling in the mud and being trained to shoot anything that looked like a Viet Cong in 1969, the hype about Woodstock (that same summer) was dismissed by those of us not able to attend for reasons of military obligations. Jim, if you were actually there, I’ll take your word that it was as fun as claimed.

      As for the parts about the Baby Boom’s role in contributing to and taking entitlements from the government, I’m deadly serious. We are a mathematical problem. And, many in our cohort seem to have lost the notion of sacrificing for the common good. Our parent’s generation (and those before them to be sure) were clearly more willing, however grudgingly, to do with less or without, if it meant supporting the common good.

      Our current Social Security system was devised in 1935 when growing old as a working man often meant penury and a very stark existence. FDR could only get the legislation through by including everyone in the system, even the wealthy. It stands that way today against all logic. In addition, the epidemiological revolution of mid-twentieth century means that what most of us contribute will be less than what we take out simply because of longevity. The solution to the long-term solvency of Social Security is actually not much of a sacrifice for those who actually don’t need 100 cents on every dollar that the system now promises (luckily, I am included in that group so I have financial skin in this potential solution). What I’ve found, however, is that the mere mention of modifying the system to insure it’s solvency evokes outrage, even among those whose retired years are or will be very secure via other financial sources. The selfishness of that response is telling.

      Fiscally, however, Medicare is the real elephant in the entitlement room. From my research it is clear that the system actually works very much as designed and as a single payer system is far more efficient in suppressing healthcare cost inflation than is the polyglot stew of the for-profit private health insurers. The primary internal fault of Medicare is fraud and the fact that more of its resources are not used to suppress it. Medicare, however, is basically trapped inside a dysfunctional and non-market based American health care industry. Anyone who claims (as many politicians do) that we have “the best healthcare system in the world” is a jingoistic buffoon. One cannot take a hard look at our brethren in the world’s developed countries and not find our system of delivery and fee-for-service payment wanting.

      We have highly advanced technology to be sure, but our system puts families’ financial future at risk. In no other developed country do people face bankruptcy due to medical bills. It is the leading cause in the U.S. I find this morally offensive. The much maligned Affordable Care Act, a.k.a., Obamacare, is a minor step in the right single-payer direction. For those who take the time to look beyond the politically driven, bumper-sticker digs at the ACA, there is clearly a need to change the country’s approach. If the Baby Boom were to collectively understand this, and connect the dots as to its 77,000,000 head count impact on Medicare, then we would get bi-partisan (remember that?) support for a single-payer system and drive the insurance companies back to life, casualty and property insurance where they belong; the built-in conflicts of interest are fewer in those lines of risk.

      Thanks again for taking the time to respond. If you are interested in my many other tongue-in-cheek columns, please go to http://www.13thclown.com. If you are interested in hearing (or better still, buying) some of my music, visit http://www.brucebrittain.com

  5. Jim Rogers
    Jim Rogers at | | Reply

    I make no apologies whatsoever for anything my generation participated in. Not Vietnam. Not McGovern. Certainly not Clinton. As for Bush 1 and 2 … Well, they’re the proverbial exceptions to the rule. And, oh yes, that Nixon fellow. We put him in office, and then we took him out of office. Not all that bad, really. We made history doing it. We showed the world how American democracy works. Too bad those folks in Iraq couldn’t figure it out, but don’t blame Boomers for that. Our generation saw the first man land on the moon. We saw the Berlin Wall go up. And then we saw it come down. We made friends with China — sort of. We made friends with Russia — sort of. At least we ended the lousy Cold War — sort of. Now, if we can only find a way to make up with Cuba … I’d sure appreciate having access to those wonderful cigars again. As for rock n’ roll … what’s not to like? Oh, that’s right; there was that little flirtation with disco during the 70s. While I liked the ladies in their sexy disco dresses, the music left me a bit cold. But, again, we survived it. By the way, Woodstock wasn’t all rain and mud, you know. That was a very small — but fun — part of it. With Woodstock, what we’re really talking about is the most iconic rock concert in U.S. history. You’re no rocker at all if you besmirch Woodstock. In fact, talking badly about Woodstock ought to be a tar-and-feathering offense — especially if you consider yourself to be a rocker! And while I don’t know much about economic theory or how we’re “piling on debt” for future generations, I’ve got a hunch everything is going to work out for the best. We’ve been hearing that same ol’ scary tale about pending economic Armageddon for decades. I’ll believe it when I see it. In terms of the stock market, I think Warren Buffett probably has it right: Buy when everyone else is selling. Sell when everyone else is buying. It ain’t exactly rocket science, but it works. So, let me reiterate: No apologies. None. Nada. Zero. Ziltch. You Gen-Xers and Gen-Yers should have it so good!

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