On entitlements, younger generation has its say
By Susan Reimer
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Bill has been my favorite nephew since he entered this world 32 years ago as the first of my parents' grandchildren, and I am certain that he would not hesitate to care for me in my declining years.
It is the other 75 million members of my generation that Bill isn't interested in supporting, and the prospects of having to do so threaten to wreck an unusually harmonious relationship between generations — in many more families than mine, I suspect.
You see, Bill believes there is little money left in the coffers of the entitlement programs meant to cushion the golden years of my cohorts and me, and he is certain there won't be any when it is his turn to call on
And while I am sure he would happily have money deducted from each paycheck to pay for my heart medicine or my rent in a senior apartment building, he has a mortgage and a new baby and he is furious at having to pay for everybody else born between 1946 and 1964.
"You don't have to be an economist to understand that your children cannot both sustain your retirement entitlements and still prepare for their own," Bill said in the days after
He calls often to cross political swords with me, and I am flattered that he considers his aging aunt worth the time.
Bill says we are kidding ourselves if we think we can just roll merrily along toward economic disaster, hoping that the clouds will part and a solution will appear. He thinks our leaders are dishonest and cowardly.
"We need to have some who will stand up and say to us, everyone younger than a particular age will not see
This is an issue that will divide the generations more certainly that birth control, marijuana or rock music did 40 years ago, Bill believes.
"The Greatest Generation and the baby boomers have bled the system out," he said. "And yet you are still at the helm, making decisions for my generation.
"You may be retired for nearly as long as you worked," he said. He ignored my protests that — just as he doesn't believe there is any money left in the
"You may live to be 100," he said. "And I am going to be paying for every one of those days."
Bill made the point that my father had a good pension that sustained him and my mother until their deaths.
Because my boomer friends and I saw our own pensions go away, we will have to rely more on
He says: "My generation won't have pensions, and we won't have
Partisan tinkering with
"We have to have a fundamental conversation about what government should do, and whether we are willing to pay for it," he said.
"I am never going to see any of my
Our conversation was not as tense as it sounds. I am sure Bill will still come to a holiday dinner at my house, and I will be there for the baptism of all his children.
But like any family relationship, things get awkward when there is money involved.
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Susan Reimer is a columnist for The Baltimore Sun. Comment by clicking here.
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=<< © 2011, The Baltimore Sun. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
© 2011, The Baltimore Sun. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.