Friday, January 20, 2012

An Open Letter to the Occupiers from Generation X

To the Occupy movement:
I know some of you mean well. I even share some of your concerns. The dismal economy has made it difficult to find a good job with benefits. Meanwhile, the government is bailing out the wealthy banks and mortgage lenders that helped precipitate this depressed economy.
I hear your frustrations about student loan debt. Generation X has a lot of student loan debt too, with little relief available. The older generations have indebted our generations for years down the road, and with the rising costs of school tuition, we have double the amount of debt. Social Security is expected to be insolvent by the time my generation reaches retirement age. We have been warned not to rely upon it. We are in the same boat as you. In some ways we are even worse off. Most of us have families, children and mortgages now. Losing a job hurts us much more than when we were 25 and single.
But where you are off base is demanding too much. There isn’t enough money to go around for government to solve all your problems. We live in the wealthiest nation in the world. We are overindulged, not deprived. Americans are fat – one-third are now obese - and suffering from an increasing number of illnesses because we live a sedentary lifestyle too lazy to cook, subsisting on unhealthy processed fast food as we drive instead of walk everywhere.
Your generation has been raised by helicopter parents who catered to your every whine, and praised you constantly in order to get you to be quiet instead of teaching you discipline. You have grown up thinking you are more accomplished than you really are. You expect to have it all at age 25 – what my generation has worked for 10-20 years longer to achieve. My generation worked in fast food restaurants and low-level jobs in high school, college and shortly thereafter when we were your age. Most of us didn’t have benefits and we didn’t complain, we were just grateful not to work hard labor in the fields.

Now you want the government to put you in the place that someone much older than you has worked years to achieve. The same government that messed everything up in the first place by meddling with the housing and financial markets. The Democrats are the party primarily behind more government manipulation in the economy and bailouts, although a small minority of Republicans - including some in the executive branch no doubt influenced by Goldman Sachs - were complicit. Democrat Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner crafted the bank bailouts. 172 House Democrats voted for the bank bailout bill which established TARP, along with 91 Republicans. 39 Democrats and 34 Republicans in the Senate voted for the bill. It was mainly Democrats who ordered the quasi-governmental lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to provide subprime loans to people who could not possibly afford homes. Now, those homeowners are defaulting and the rest of us are paying for it, as we are left stuck in homes we cannot sell and probably cannot afford anymore due to losing our jobs.

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