Originally published November 13, 2019
Recently, a new trend has been occurring on social media, pushed forward by the Millennial left for the purpose of shutting up their grandparents’ generation. The response of “OK Boomer” as a dismissive reaction to the thoughts and comments of anyone who espouses conservative ideology has become so pervasive that it was even used by a young member of the New Zealand Parliament during a floor speech. The irony, however, is that the Millennials who think so poorly of those who came before them are poised to repeat, nay, expand on Baby Boomers’ greatest mistakes.
Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) blame Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) for the problems in today’s world: the debt crisis, Climate Change, high costs of housing, healthcare, and college. For the most part, Millennials have a good point. The Baby Boomer generation, particularly through the 60s and 70s, actually did a lot of damage that we are feeling today.
The primary complaints of Millennials are that Baby Boomers have things they will not when they are older, namely pensions, social security, and Medicare. Baby Boomers were able to buy houses more easily, and were not saddled with crippling student debt for decades after graduation. They have, in short, reaped the benefits of explosive economic growth that occurred between the end of World War II and the Economic Recession of 1973. Then, with this newfound wealth and prosperity, they decided to fundamentally and radically shift the American pioneer mentality that occurred since its founding.
America was able to have so many successes throughout her relatively short history (compared to historical world superpowers) because of the adventurous spirit that was only available through the freedoms afforded to individuals upon the founding of the country. This is the spirit that conquered the Western frontier, took on the Nazis, and landed a man on the moon. This spirit, which existed because free people did not want government interference, was replaced because people wanted to be dependent on a strong federal government to fix societal problems. They wanted the federal government to undo state government’s Jim Crow laws. They wanted the federal government to combat poverty. They wanted the federal government to fix healthcare. There were jobs that could only be done, they assumed, by a huge and powerful government.
Much of this sentiment culminated in The Great Society, which started pumping money into more and more social programs. The timing seemed right. Our national debt, in relation to GDP, was half of what it was a few decades before; America was wealthy, but many groups were poor and marginalized throughout the country. The War on Poverty seemed like a good idea. However, in the 55 years since that started, $22 trillion have been spent and poverty hasn’t changed. This is because, combined with the sexual revolution and the breakdown of the American family, single motherhood has skyrocketed, which yields more poverty. Due to the massive expansion of government welfare, the incentive to be a single parent is greater than the benefit of being married.
With healthcare, The Heritage Society wrote all the way back in 1977 that this was going to be an issue. “In 1975, the United States spent $118.5 billion, or 8.2% of its GNP, on healthcare; this was an increase from $38.9 billion, or 5.9% of the GNP, in 1965. From 1965 to 1974, the per capita expenditure for medical care increased from $197.75 to $485.36, or by an annual average increase of 9.4. These cost increases are growing more and more burdensome both to the consumer and to the taxpayer, as the government assumes an increasing share of the burden.” Today, that percent of GDP has more than doubled, to 17.8%.
With jobs, the global economy of the late 1970s, especially with the combination of Nixon opening up China and oil embargos from Arab states, were incompatible with the union contracts negotiated in the 1950s and 1960s. Private sector unions contributed to the collapse of American manufacturing, as costs were too high to stay competitive with the global market. Public sector unions sent healthcare and education costs skyrocketing, and those unions used their dues to get union-friendly candidates elected.
The Millennials and Generation Z’ers who are feeling the brunt of these decisions have a legitimate reason to be upset at the Baby Boomers. They look at what the Baby Boomers were able to achieve, and they want that, too. However, their blame of the Baby Boomers and disrespectful dismissal of the collective wisdom of that generation is leading the Millennials to embrace the one thing that the Baby Boomers know, above all else, will lead them to failure: socialism.
The embrace of and expansion of social programs by administration after administration since the 1960s contributed to many of the issues that Millennials face today. Given the high popularity of socialism amongst Millennials, the same ones who say “OK Boomer,” they are being convinced that there wasn’t enough government intervention in that last 50 years. Only through total government takeover, like Medicare for all, free college, and a totalitarian control of every aspect of their lives, can they truly have “freedom.”
Baby Boomers, who have lived through decades of seeing the results of these terrible policies, both at home and abroad, are trying to warn the younger generations of the consequences of their decisions. In return, they are being dismissed, told that they don’t understand the needs of the current generation, and should go away. Little do these Millennials know, soon they will be warning their grandchildren of the consequences of their decisions. Like the Baby Boomers who once said, “Don’t trust anyone over 30,” they are in for a rude awakening.
Moshe Hill is a political analyst who has written for The Daily Wire, The Queens Jewish Link, The Jewish Link of New Jersey and JNS.org. He is regularly featured on “The Josh M Show” podcast. Subscribe to www.aHillwithaview.com for more content from Moshe Hill. Like him on Facebook at facebook.com/ahillwithaview and follow on Twitter @TheMoHill.