Certainly, they would never call themselves that. As the
title of a 2007 book written by a Baby Boomer brazenly proclaims, they're
"The Greater Generation." I
suppose the Boomer author can be excused
for his excess of self-satisfaction, because Boomers are so loaded with
smugness that it's oozing out their ears.
But surely someone who writes a book about them (and the rest of us non-Boomers) in another
40 or 50 years -- Tom Brokaw wrote his book "The Greatest Generation"
decades after that generation's self-sacrifice preserved our freedom -- will
brand them as perhaps the most selfish generation in American history. That
author would accurately nail them for their greedy, miserable selves because he
and hundreds of millions of others will be living in the cesspool of debt that
they leave behind.
Every time you take a breath, President Barack Obama (he's
on television more frequently than the weather forecast) is pushing through
another costly program, rescue, bailout, giveaway -- whatever you want to call
it -- that we can't afford to pay for ourselves. So, in a magical example of
time travel, he -- we, I should say -- will deliver the bill to the future,
with nary a thought of how the future will pay for it.
No need here for a tedious recounting of the huge,
impossible debt that we're passing off; it has been outlined enough, but the
figures seem to scare few. Our official national debt, the one you hear
occasionally debated in Congress, is a sliver under $12 trillion. Sounds like a
lot? Then get this: Our true national debt, when you include every cent of
benefits promised to seniors, Baby Boomers and other entitled beneficiaries,
amounts to nearly $62 trillion, according to the Northbrook-based Institute for
Truth in Accounting. That's $202,000 for every man, woman and child in America.
Our gift to future generations is the shaft. We could talk about how paying the
interest on the national debt we now have is one of the largest items in the
federal budget, already draining billions from all those education, welfare and
other programs so dear to the progressive agenda. But future interest payments
will gobble up so many of our resources that we won't be able to afford new
cars, homes and the rest of the consumer cravings that fuel our economy. Our
economy will be in shambles.
But wait, that $62 trillion doesn't even include the other
trillions for the sugarplums dancing in Obama's head. The additional $1
trillion for health-insurance "reform." An additional trillion or so
for the third stimulus package. What else, we can only imagine.
When they write about how the Boomers are the worst
generation, my guess is the target won't be aimed at Obama so much. After all,
he's just the frontman; wind him up and off he goes to another press
conference, speech or town hall meeting to tell us how we're headed for hell if
we don't do what he says. No one can spend that much time doing public
relations and devote the amount of time needed to study the consequences of
everything that he wants to stuff down our throats.
No, someone else is his
brain and that's his own version of Karl Rove -- White House Chief of Staff
Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel's cynical proclamation -- "you never want a serious
crisis to go to waste" -- unveils the essence of this administration: its
(read: Emanuel's) lust for power. The unborn be damned. This recession is not
the worst since the Great Depression, as the administration and its media
acolytes keep propagandizing. It's not even the worst since the one we survived
in the early 1980s without the kind of insane spending we're doing now.
Truth is, we've become so frightened of bad things happening
to us that we'll do anything, no matter how reckless, to avoid just the
perception of risk. Our fear of discomfort or sacrifice is contemptible beyond
The Greatest Generation gave their lives so that we might
enjoy our liberties and prosperity. We show our appreciation by imprisoning
future Americans in a dungeon of debt from which they may never recover.
Nowhere in the Obama/Emanuel blueprint is there even the slightest suggestion
of how future generations will survive this mess. Not that they care, but, more
important, there simply may not be a way to lift the burden. Mark this
generation down as the most cowardly and irresponsible in America's history.
Mark it down as the Shameless Generation.
This column also appeared in the Chicago Tribune.