By John Hubbuch
I sometimes think the best that we can hope for is that things will get worse slowly. The cynical, protracted negotiations over raising the budget ceiling are only the latest brick in my house of doom. The seas rise. The air thickens. The rich grow richer. The poor grow poorer. Government fails us. Greed and arrogance are not sins, but ambitions.
So I long desperately for a way out. A path to a possible future that, if not better, will at least not be catastrophic. I need a handhold to pull myself out of this slough of despair. To be sure, my generation, the baby boomers, will not save us. We are the problem, not the solution. Our materialism, greed, arrogance and sense of entitlement are destroying the economy and the environment. We've always wanted it all, but we never wanted to pay for it. Congress is dominated by boomer pols who were asleep at the switches, and failed to address what started out as problems 30 years ago, but today are disasters because they kicked the can down the road for all those years. The baby boomers are a cancer that will need to be passed from the body politic before our nation's health will improve. And I'm not talking about Obamacare.
The cure for boomeritis? Young people. At one time I thought our youth would never be up to the task because they would be too busy checking up on their 500 Facebook friends, listening to Lady Gaga and watching "Jersey Shore." But now I realize that these are only passing diversions for some. My sons and their friends have become responsible adults, raising families and working hard. Wednesday Journal's Evan O'Brien and Marty Stempniak help me with my blog and column, and they're great — smart, funny and willing to talk to an old man. They work very hard and care about what they do.
The way forward is technology and young people get technology. A third grader's computer skills are better than most boomers'. The young will hopefully be responsible for the innovations in technology, communication, medicine, and all the other fields that might save the day for the planet and its inhabitants. The young are much less partisan and dogmatic, and that eventually will diminish the toxicity of the current political gridlock. It's hard to imagine a young Tea Party. Of necessity they will be less materialistic. They won't care so much about owning a 4,000-square-foot home and a Lexus SUV to be happy (as long as they have the latest cellphone). They will be much better equipped to deal with the demise of American exceptionalism. China will in the coming years surpass us in some areas, and becoming Avis will be tolerable for young people who have known globalism most of their lives. This nation will be less likely to police the world.
And they will make the hard decisions on what happens to baby boomers as they get ready for that last Rolling Stones concert in the celestial. We know that the main reason the economic system is screwed up is because boomers live so damn long, and there are so many of us that Social Security costs are spiraling out of control. That and the huge Medicare bills in the last six months of our lives create a crushing burden on the economic system. And you can be damn sure that the AARP crowd will squeal like stuck pigs if even one penny of our benefits are diminished.
I've got a feeling that the number of life support machines that get unplugged just might be on the rise in the coming years. Some will call it euthanasia. I call it payback.