Mark Blyth: Blame the Boomers

Just stumbled on this Mark Blyth interview on Radio Open Source titled "Blame the Boomers". It is a really enjoyable 50 minute conversation covering a long list of topics.

Just a few of the things discussed...
- Millennials - Wake The Hell Up
- Hillary Is Gonna Run Again
- Is Trump Insane? I Dunno. I'm Not A Psychiatrist
- The Tax Bill, The Rich Just Stole $1.5 Trillion From The Rest Of Us
- OMG The Tax Bill Cost $1.5 Trillion, Deficits, Deficits!! Quick Cut Social Security To Pay For It
- Why The Democrats Suck -- And Gave Us Trump

Lots more... If I were you (and you are lucky I'm not), I would listen to it. Wink


Direct Link if your don't want to use The Twitter.
http://radioopensource.org/mark-blyths-state-union/#

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Azazello's picture

It's up on YouTube too.

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Citizen Of Earth's picture

@Azazello Great. Thanks for the link.

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Donnie The #ShitHole Douchebag. The Douchebag Who Would Be King.

Pricknick's picture

Why The Boomers Are Selfish, Awful People (I Don't Disagree)

This quote bothers me. Can you honestly say it is true? If so, you're guilty of lumping or blaming a generation for the actions of a few. A couple of the comments point this out.
Zuckerberg comes to mind. A greedy millennial yet I wont lump in him in with the majority.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

Citizen Of Earth's picture

@Pricknick Well, ok
You'd have to listen to the interview.
Blyth says Boomers are just taking advantage of laws that benefit them -- so you can't really fault them for that.
I removed that line from the essay because raising hackles is not my intention.
Disclosure: I am a boomer myself.

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Donnie The #ShitHole Douchebag. The Douchebag Who Would Be King.

Pricknick's picture

@Citizen Of Earth
Much of it I stand in agreement with.
Hyperbole pisses me off regardless if you are a boomer or not.
Thanks for removing.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

Pricknick's picture

@Citizen Of Earth
Thanks.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

@Pricknick @Pricknick There are certainly generational components to the failures of our economic system, but I like to think it's more about TIME generally than attacking a generation specifically. There has been a lot of economic ignorance and corruption foisted upon our system through cronyistic laws and intentionally misleading efforts on quite a large scale.

For example, most homeowners likely feel that they have 'earned' their house wealth. This is of course not true, but given the large amount of money that a homeowner typically shells out over the life of their mortgage, it is easy to see why they feel they earned it and feel entitled to splurge on themselves every once in a while.

Of course, in our Land-Pyramid system, middle-class homeowners are basically the 'bottom rung' of the ownership ladder. The renters of course who own no land see no benefit at all. Indeed, the Henry George theorem epitomizes the concept that all taxes come out of rents, which ultimately settle in land prices.

AU-GDP-breakup.gif

I've also learned to be quite skeptical of statist solutions (I am for Single Payer though). The corruption of economics took place through our universities and spread like poison through the rest of society and we all let the notion of educational 'meritocracy' define our reality. Amusingly enough, I have no economics background, a high school education, and figured out what was wrong with our system by use of the internet and some passionate Georgists of the world - in short through 'decentralized' educational efforts. If we could have trusted prior generations (Like I used to as a happy-go-lucky neoliberal) I would likely never even have taken an interest in economics.

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@pyradius "There are certainly generational components to the failures of our economic system, but I like to think it's more about TIME generally than attacking a generation specifically. There has been a lot of economic ignorance and corruption foisted upon our system through cronyistic laws and intentionally misleading efforts on quite a large scale."

I struggle with my own generational prejudices against my Greatest Gen parents. Ugh. The more I read it becomes a bit easier to let go of some, I can see just how they were so successfully brainwashed by the propaganda they were fed. Mine were right wingers, so that's lumped in with it too. But I see that they were just as much brainwashed by voting Repuke as I was voting for Dems. I still maintain that the overall Republican agenda belongs to them and I do hold a grudge there. Both parents used SS and Medicare and my dad died on MediCal while voting to cut that for others. But it is the damned owners who programmed them too. And not all of their generation were like them either.

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@lizzyh7 Color, creed, sex, nationality, location, age, politics can all be turned into identity politics. In an age where there is no truth we can all be divided and manipulated. If we let it happen, we'll all follow our own version of Fox news to nowhere.

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@Pricknick It's way more than a few. IMO it's a strong majority.

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Steam coming from ears. Not filtering.

So broad brush. So GOP. I'm sure the full collection of hippie bashing is on display. I'm not going to read it. Can you say "divide and conquer"?

An entire generation of people are bad. Let's you and him fight. Go Millenials. Let the GOP steal SocSec to fund more tax cuts and more wars because the boomers are the cause of the 1% takeover of everything, doncha see?

From the google, its clear this is a full court press by the Third Way. The usual suspects: the NYT, NPR, all the corporate bleaters. And, of course, because it echoes GOP criticism of those commie liberals, the GOP are on board. The Boomers are the group everyone can agree to hate. Fuck the Third Way and all their loathsome apparatchiks, like the asshole who wrote this garbage.

That any thinking leftist buys into this crap (Mark Blyth is now OFF my list of leftists.) shows how utterly suggestible or coopted they are.

Pardon me. Its not the Boomer generation who are the greediest, its the carefully selected (by the 1%)assholes among the Boomers who are the greediest. Assholes like Bill and Hill (how many hundreds of millions have those two grifters nabbed?)and Joe (Senator from Mastercard) Biden (who gave us Clarence Thomas, John Roberts, and Sam Alito). Its also assholes from the generation before them, many of whom still exercise political power: the Koch Brothers (Charles is 82, David is 77), Rupert Murdoch (86), Adelson (84), Pete Peterson (an 91 year old who has been trying to kill social programs since the Carter Administration).

It galls me to hear that I personally have been greedy. I have uncomplainingly paid my taxes, with no gimmicks other than the standard mortgage deduction. I have been paying 7.5% for SocSec since the 1980s when the system needed to be "rescued". My self-employed wife has been paying 15%. But I'm greedy for wanting back the benefit that I earned. I'm greedy for wanting others to have a fair shake in life.

As for greed, the last 20 years have been about reducing government spending on civilian life so it can all be handed back to the rich in tax cuts or the military in pork. What fucking greed on my part, as opposed to the assholes part, are they referring to?

Pardon my French, but this is the opening salvo on blaming the Boomers for all our troubles while the fucking rich assholes (of all generations) help themselves to the final slice of our money and our rights. And to fight it is to play right into it. What a no-win situation.

Anyone have any idea how to knock this down without playing their game?

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@arendt

The Kulaks were peasants who were slightly better off than the typical peasant in the 1920s. They may have owned their own land or a store. Lenin and Stalin inflated this slight difference into "parasites", "landlords", etc; and stoked a class hatred campaign against the Kulaks.

They looted the Kulaks of what they had. But the situation of the average peasant kept getting worse. Stalin offered one victim group after another to distract the peasants, and to scare opposition inside the Communist Party into silence, as he established his totalatarian state. The Kulak campaign was but the first of many.

The Boomers are the last generation of Americans to have, on the whole, had decent jobs their entire adult lives, owned a house, made it to retirement. They are the obvious scapegoats for the resentment of the follow-on generations who got none of those things.

But, destroying the Boomers will not rescue the following generations; it will only destroy the few remaining government transfer programs that trickle a tiny bit of taxpayer money down to the 99%.

Here's hoping that 20-40 somethings recognize this con game for what it is.

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Azazello's picture

@arendt
It has nothing to do with the collectivization of agriculture.

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@Azazello

As I said, this is the classic kind of mindfuck where defending yourself is playing the attacker's game.

I only care about Blyth to the extent that his name is used to promote this inter-generational warfare, which only benefits the 1% of all generations.

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@Azazello
that agriculture exists. HE uses MickeyD as a clumsy metaphore.

Judging by his paean to technology, I would guess he is one more urbanite who thinks farming can be collectivized.

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Nastarana

thanatokephaloides's picture

@arendt

The Boomers are the last generation of Americans to have, on the whole, had decent jobs their entire adult lives, owned a house, made it to retirement.

And only the elder Boomers (birth years 1945 - 1955) at that. For this discussion's purposes, "younger" Boomers (birth years 1956 - 1964) may as well belong to our GenX siblings. We suffered just as they did with expensive, debt-ridden "education" as a requirement for ever more ephemeral jobs. Few of us had decent jobs our entire adult lives, owned a house, or made it to retirement as other than paupers, despite being no less frugal than our ancestors. What little wealth we accumulated dissolved like smoke when the good jobs went away with no other such to replace them. And those who resisted student debts (like me) felt this even worse.

This isn't a generational war. It's a class war. And we need to start fighting it like one. Our enemies already are -- and they're winning.

Bad

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own ass's on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@thanatokephaloides recent depression knocked me out. I'm blessed to have kept my house, but my savings are gone (I got to pay the government early withdrawal penalties - yay!).

Oh well....

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dfarrah

Azazello's picture

@arendt
Then you wouldn't be so upset, believe me. This has absolutely nothing to do with the Third Way or inter-generational warfare.

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Citizen Of Earth's picture

@arendt Sounds
like you didn't listen to the interview. Blyth is firmly on the side of the working man/woman.

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Donnie The #ShitHole Douchebag. The Douchebag Who Would Be King.

thanatokephaloides's picture

@arendt

From the google, its clear this is a full court press by the Third Way. The usual suspects: the NYT, NPR, all the corporate bleaters. And, of course, because it echoes GOP criticism of those commie liberals, the GOP are on board. The Boomers are the group everyone can agree to hate. Fuck the Third Way and all their loathsome apparatchiks, like the asshole who wrote this garbage.

That any thinking leftist buys into this crap (Mark Blyth is now OFF my list of leftists.) shows how utterly suggestible or coopted they are.

Why don't you tell us what you really think, arendt? Wink

Pardon my French, but this is the opening salvo on blaming the Boomers for all our troubles while the fucking rich assholes (of all generations) help themselves to the final slice of our money and our rights. And to fight it is to play right into it. What a no-win situation.

Anyone have any idea how to knock this down without playing their game?

IMHO, you've got the right idea: expose the living fuck out of it as the clear ripoff that it is.

Bad

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own ass's on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@thanatokephaloides
He isn't blaming that on the boomers. You should read more of his work before passing judgment. You may like a lot of it.

It is worth noting that boomers, including me, have done a far better job of protecting our gains than passing them onto our children.

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@FuturePassed

Blyth is merely how I heard of the GG garbage.

If you want this thread to be about only Blyth, let me know. I will (eventually, when I have my blood pressure under control) write an OP about GG.

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Citizen Of Earth's picture

@arendt Yes please
go ahead and post a separate essay about that book.
This essay is about the content of the Mark Blyth radio interview.

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Donnie The #ShitHole Douchebag. The Douchebag Who Would Be King.

@arendt

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@FuturePassed

It is worth noting that boomers, including me, have done a far better job of protecting our gains than passing them onto our children.

First, what exactly are you referring to? Even if you have propery and/or assets, isn't leaving them in your estate the best way to gift them? Thanks to Trump, there is no inheritance tax at all. How is waiting until you die "protecting" something? If your kids ask for financial help, do you deny them? (Just an example, trying to understand what "protecting" means and why its so wrong.

Second, we don't have kids. We spend a lot of money on our nieces and grand nieces. Is that "protecting"?

Again, it is the broad brush that I object to.

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@arendt you'd do best to hang on to as much as you can. My mother saved and I am so damned grateful she had more than enough to take care of her needs when she was dying. That is also a gift to your children, sparing them from the agony of ugly financial decisions when they have a death to worry about. While my mother's Tea Bag ways pissed me off to no end, I'm damned glad she saved what she could for just that time.

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@arendt
When I was young you could see things getting better, much to slowly in the fights against racism and sexism, but getting better. Now the minimum wage has fallen. Vacation time for Americans has dropped. We have infant birth rates in some states that are worse than some third world countries.I could go on and so could you.

I did not mean the provision of baby boomers for their grandchildren.

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Wink's picture

@arendt
We are where we are today becuz we Boomers voted for Dems believing they were of the FDR variety. Simple as that. Do our civic duty and go vote, then go back to our lives believing the elected we elected would take care of business.
Well, they did. It just wasn't the business we expected. No one - nobody - expected Bubba to turn Repub. We dismissed "Doing away with Welfare as we knew it" as tossing Repubs a bone in return for something more progressive. But, we figured Bubba, Hillary and Algore had our back, so really no need to pay much attention. We had lives to live and life was good!
It wasn't until the Supremes anointed Jr. that we came into our "wait a minute... we're not in Kansas anymore" moment. By then the coup was in place. When Jr. won a second term we knew the fix was in or 'muricans were a bunch of dumb futhermuckers. I'm leaning toward the "or."
As a Boomer I take some blame for falling asleep at the wheel, but we grew up knowing what Dems and Repubs were. Nobody expected Dems to join the Repubs. Nobody. By the time we figured it out - early in Obama's 2nd term for me - it was too late. The Oligarchs had essentially won. Without a shot fired. But to blame this mess on the entire Boomer generation is bull$h!t. This was a 70 year operation by the oligarchs. Essentially our entire lifetime. It's like a slow boil. You don't notice much of a difference until it's too late.
This shouldn't be about whose fault it was. This should be about how to fuck these asshats before this becomes Mad Max.

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the little things you can do often are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-1.9) All about building progressive media.

Citizen Of Earth's picture

@Wink
to the interview.
What exactly did Blyth say in the interview that makes him a Moron.

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Donnie The #ShitHole Douchebag. The Douchebag Who Would Be King.

@Citizen Of Earth

That said, I really am trying to de-escalate this. I do think that Wink neatly summarized what I also believe to be what happened - and it wasn't greed.

I also think you are correct to complain about people not listening to Blyth. You deserve to have the discussion of what Blyth said.

Could I ask someone to please make some comments that expand on exactly what Blyth said - because they have been lacking so far in this thread. And, I admit that my griping about GG has played a role in causing that lack. I am interested in what Blyth said, but not interested enough to listen to a 50 minute interview. Could we get a little more detail than the bullet list in the OP?

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@Wink

As a Boomer I take some blame for falling asleep at the wheel, but we grew up knowing what Dems and Repubs were. Nobody expected Dems to join the Repubs. Nobody. By the time we figured it out - early in Obama's 2nd term for me - it was too late. The Oligarchs had essentially won. Without a shot fired. But to blame this mess on the entire Boomer generation is bull$h!t. This was a 70 year operation by the oligarchs. Essentially our entire lifetime. It's like a slow boil. You don't notice much of a difference until it's too late.

Yes. Its not like the hijacking of the Dems was obvious. The Third Way creeps were sneaky. Case in point, Mr. Bill "It depends on what the meaning of 'is' is." Clinton. Nobody recognized the "wealth primary" slipping all these neoliberal slimeballs into the Democratic Party. They called themselves "Atari Democrats" or "New Democrats" or whatever. Say anything to look like a real Dem.

One thing you leave out is how massively stupid the unions were. As George Geoghegan tells us, the true leftists had been largely neutered by FBI campaigns against Communist influence. A lot of the remaining union bosses were Scoop Jackson, rightwing Democrats or Jimmy Hoffa's gangsters. Not a savory lot. So, when the Atari Dems said unions were corrupt; it was sorta hard to argue with them.

As you say, it took them 70 years, but it was done seamlessly, legally, and fatally. The left in America was slowly strangled, poisoned, and impersonated out of existence. And with the Dems just GOP-lite, it has been Robber Barons II since Clinton gave the keys to the store to Goldman Sachs.

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Wink's picture

@arendt

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the little things you can do often are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-1.9) All about building progressive media.

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Wink

This shouldn't be about whose fault it was. This should be about how to fuck these asshats before this becomes Mad Max.

Or, as another of us paraphrased that same thought:

This isn't a generational war. It's a class war. And we need to start fighting it like one. Our enemies already are -- and they're winning.

emphases in original

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own ass's on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

Wink's picture

@thanatokephaloides

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the little things you can do often are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-1.9) All about building progressive media.

Meteor Man's picture

@arendt

The Greatest Generation is a book and term made popular by journalist Tom Brokaw which describe those who grew up in the United States during the deprivation of the Great Depression, and then went on to fight in World War II, as well as those whose productivity within the war's home front made a decisive material contribution to the war effort

https://www.bing.com/search?q=the+greatest+generation&PC=U316&FORM=CHROMN

I think it is safe to say that every generation has it's share of the good, the bad and the ugly. Any over simplified characterization of any group of people is misleading.

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Cali Kush: a bowl a day keeps the doctor away.

Lookout's picture

If you listen...
Marks idea is that the system let us boomers graduate from college without huge debt, get mortgages and real estate at a bargain and so on. I might add in part because we still had a gold standard. Mark focuses (correctly) on austerity. If you deny we had it better than the current generation you're not facing reality. The way the young folks are used in the US is very sad....we had it way better.

I think that is the argument Mark is making

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Daenerys's picture

@Lookout millennials all have smart phones and the internets and vidya games; how can you say the Boomers had it better than us?! /s

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This shit is bananas.

@Daenerys
4K high def TV. I grew up watching football on a black and white TV that might have been 32 inches. Don't expect sympathy from me. /S

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@Lookout @Lookout

pointing out the facts; he has an ideological axe to grind. It is the GG article, and all the cheerleading from the corporate media, that pisses me off.

Mark's idea is that the system let us boomers graduate from college without huge debt, get mortgages and real estate at a bargain and so on.

That college debt is astronomical is a function of the no-bankruptcy laws and the government guarantees. Real estate is at high prices because the Fed and the Banks have been creating asset bubbles to skim from for thirty years.

The problem is not that Boomers were lucky to live when stuff happened to be cheap. The problem is that TPTB made cheap stuff artificially expensive so they could line their pockets on the monopoly rents extracted from all generations.

I would expect a leftwing economist to acknowledge the origins of the anti-luck of the post-boomer generations, as opposed to the "luck" of the Boomers. But, of course, he is on Chris Lydon's show. Lydon is very sharp. The fact that he is allowed on the corporate media tells me that he is "safe" and will cleverly avoid mentioning the points I made. Blyth seems to (Still haven't read the interview. Don't intend to.) have played right along.

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riverlover's picture

@Lookout Boomers (that's me) and on down. Boomers out there could not have anticipated the turns that governments have made since we were in elementary school. Actually, my parents' generation (WWII) may have had it better, but they have mostly died off. Birth dates 1919 and 1920.

My millennial son has some student debt, his father became unemployed late. We intended to free ride both kids but the economy intervened. Daughter will have minor debt after getting her NP in May 2018. And is already thinking about a new SUV. I am not sure things have changed.

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Hey! my dear friends or soon-to-be's, JtC could use the donations to keep this site functioning for those of us who can still see the life preserver or flotsam in the water.

Big Al's picture

I never really got this, it's such a stupid generalization.

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@Big Al

Haven't you been around for all the two-minute hate campaigns that the corporate media runs? They don't have to make sense. They just have to be repeated incessantly until the sheeple internalize the message. That's how 60+% of the country buys the Russian interference crapola.

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Big Al's picture

@arendt

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Citizen Of Earth's picture

@Big Al
You'd have to listen to the interview.

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Donnie The #ShitHole Douchebag. The Douchebag Who Would Be King.

Azazello's picture

@Citizen Of Earth
I sure didn't.

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@Azazello

I was reacting to the GG stuff, which can be grasped instantly.

I recognize that the OP-er took down that comment, and that there is a lot of good stuff in the Blyth interview.

For me, the takehome of this OP is that they are trying (for the umpteenth time) to blame the Boomers for all the shit the 1% have pulled. It is dirty fucking hippie communist, over and over again. But this time, I think the younger folks have been especially beaten down and especially deprived of historical awareness. This time, the bullshit attack could work.

I recognize that its completely different for you. I am trying to walk away from this essay, but I see the meme (greedy, selfish) creeping into various comments; and I intend to call them out. Other than that, I want to move on to GG.

So, much as I would like to enjoy Dr. Blyth, I am fearing for my old age, as they come for the Social Security I have yet to file for; and if I defend it, they call me "greedy".

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Citizen Of Earth's picture

@Azazello Hahaha. Yeah it seems that arendt
has a bee in his bonnet. Funny thing is, given his ranting, he probably would have enjoyed listening to the interview. Oh well. Smile

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Donnie The #ShitHole Douchebag. The Douchebag Who Would Be King.

@Citizen Of Earth can't entirely blame him: you could probably read a transcript of the interview in ten, fifteen minutes. I get frustrated with people putting ten minute videos up on YouTube to address a three sentence issue. That said it's pretty amusing to listen to Blyth speak soon it's probably fifty minutes well spent. I'll have to look to see if this is one I've already stumbled upon.

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Big Al's picture

@Citizen Of Earth political shows. I was wondering why he felt the need to address this topic, i.e., who is actually blaming the boomers (not Blyth)? Arendt mentioned a book, so I see now.

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@Citizen Of Earth

because I can rarely sit thru interviews. The info density is just too low. But, seriously, political figures (and Blyth is political) have to know better than to be quoted directly saying something bad, and then pass it off as "tongue in cheek". The quote makes the rounds; the tongue and the cheek don't.

I appreciate that Blyth said probably said some good things. Its just that the OP started the "greediest" ball rolling; then he pulled it back because someone objected. Now the thread is a mess, with some people having one take on the OP, while late joiners don't know what was removed.

At this point, I have no position on what Blyth said. And I'm trying to write something intelligent about GG.

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Wink's picture

@Big Al

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the little things you can do often are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-1.9) All about building progressive media.

They paid half the SocSec tax the Boomers have up until they were about 60 years old. Many of them had private pensions (something the Boomers either never had, or something that corporations wriggled out of via bankruptcy proceedings or other legal tricks.)

Medicine for them may have been less effective, but it sure as hell was cheaper. BCBS had no problem making money. Many hospitals were non-profit and/or community funded. Salk gave away the polio vaccine. The whole ethics of medicine was different. And its not exactly that, on account of less effective medicine, the WW2 gen had shorter lives than the projection for Boomers. Many of them, like my two parents-in-law, made it into their late 80s.

From 1945 until the 1970s, jobs were there for the asking. (Read Hunter Thompson's "Hell's Angels" about how bikers would ride til they were broke; then grab a few weeks work in a GM or Ford plant to raise cash; then get back on their choppers and ride around.) Work, steady or temporary, was not the issue it was today. Boomers graduated into the 1970s disaster economy - oil shocks, revived German and Japanese competition.

My point with all this rambling is that you can't blame an entire generation for how things were. The environment has always been created by the political elite. From 1870 until 1932, that elite was the Robber Barons. From 1932 until 1968, the elite was FDR, JFK, and LBJ - people who got things done for the 99%. Since 1980, the Robber Barons have returned. I object to blaming entire generations for the machinations of the 1%.

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Pricknick's picture

Your original post included the following:

Why The Boomers Are Selfish, Awful People (I Don't Disagree)

Now, more than once, you have accused many of not listening to the link.
You should consider putting the original post back or at least add an edit explaining you removed the above statement.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

Unabashed Liberal's picture

if you going to blame one, why not blame the one that's most responsible--the Silent Generation. (Alan Simpson is a good example of one of these folks.)

Today, they're in their mid-70's and older. According to demographers, they're the wealthiest of all Generations. And the last generation (if not only) which mostly had defined benefit retirements, etc.

Yet they are without doubt the healthiest and most educated generation of elders that ever lived—and, of course, the wealthiest. Coming of age fifty years ago, they quickly amassed more wealth than the seniors of that era. (Back in the early 1960s, the elderly were poorer than young adults by most measures.)

In 2010, for the first time, the median net worth of households age 75+ ($228,400) is higher than that of any younger age bracket. (See part one.) Astoundingly, it’s over five times higher than the median net worth of households age 35 to 44 ($44,600).

OTOH, not sure that 'pointing fingers' get us anywhere.


"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage."--Lao Tzu


"Purity test"??
I've come to flag that phrase, like many others, as a tool of neoliberalism in order to shut down intelligent conversation. When someone disagrees with you, their issues are not lesser than yours. The lines that they draw are not inferior to yours. They are not being "pure" when they honor those lines. Rather, they are acting with principle.
--SnappleBC

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"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

@Unabashed Liberal

If yes, then I agree with you. I already mentioned that in my first comment about this OP:

Its also assholes from the generation before them, many of whom still exercise political power: the Koch Brothers (Charles is 82, David is 77), Rupert Murdoch (86), Adelson (84), Pete Peterson (an 91 year old who has been trying to kill social programs since the Carter Administration).

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Unabashed Liberal's picture

@arendt @arendt @arendt

between 1925-1942.

Known for being conformists; and, for allowing the McCarthy era Communist witchhunt.

From Forbes,

. . . comprises roughly 20 million adults in their 70s and 80s. Their age location in history sandwiches them awkwardly between two better-known generations: They were born just too late to be World War II heroes (or, GGs) and just too early to be New Age firebrands (or, Boomers). . . .

. . . in their economic lives, this age location has been very good to them—and given them a lifetime ride on the up-escalator coming off the American High.

The Silent started out as the children of crisis. They grew up while older people were fighting wars and making great sacrifices on their behalf.

When the Silent (Generation) began coming of age after World War II, they tiptoed cautiously in a post-crisis social order that no one wanted to disturb. Unlike the G.I.s, they rarely talked about “changing the system,” but instead about “working within the system.” Because they didn’t want anything to go on their “permanent records” and kept their heads down during the McCarthy era, Time gave them the label “Silent” in a famous 1951 essay.

Unlike the G.I.s, the Silent didn’t have to wait for a depression or war to end. A new “booming” economy was ready to join right out of school. Demographer Richard Easterlin, in his 1980 book Birth and Fortune, called them the “Lucky” or “Fortunate” generation for their great timing. Easterlin noted that a remarkable feature of the Sputnik era was how the typical young man could earn more by age 30 than the average wage for men of all ages in his profess­ion—and could certainly live better than most “retired” elders.

He also noted that since the mid-1970s, the economic conditions facing young late-wave Boomers were becoming much tougher. [Re-paragraphed for emphasis.]

Alabama-Georgia 0 - 0 (at 7:57 pm)

ROLL TIDE!

Georgia 13 - Alabama 7 (at 9:37 pm)

[Edited: Added bolding; Game Score]

Biggrin

Mollie


"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage."--Lao Tzu
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"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

Centaurea's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

I have to admit, this is something I get a tad frustrated with: labelling everyone over the current age of 55 as a Boomer. The term "Boomer" is becoming meaningless, except as a pejorative applied to older people.

From what I can see, Mark Blyth doesn't seem to understand the correct usage either.

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"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

Unabashed Liberal's picture

@Centaurea

Mollie

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"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."
--George Bernard Shaw, Irish Dramatist & Socialist
"We [corporations] are the government!" Actor John Colicos (1978)

snoopydawg's picture

@Unabashed Liberal

They were very poor when they first married and when they retired they retired very well off. Dad worked with the teamsters union backing him and mom worked for some doctors who offered great retirement pensions. Both moved up the pay scale so their SS payments were at the top of the pay scale. Teamsters helps with medical insurance to on top of his SS.

Mom let dad retire early because his job took a toll on him and they were able to do a lot of traveling in their very nice motorhome. They bought the house in 1967 for $22,000 and today its worth close to $300,000. It's not too big, but over the years they were able to upgrade it with a bunch of very nice things.

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The western general public is so terminally zombified that false flag attacks can now be announced 4 weeks in advance

The second major issue Blyth lays out is the hoarding of wealth by those who grew up and entered the work force during the so-called “golden age” of economic prosperity in America. So, if you’re looking for someone to blame, Blyth says, blame the boomers:

They’re not awful in the sense that they are awful people. They’re just following the incentives mean laid out to them in a free market system to accumulate as much assets as possible and leave it to their kids which means they hate inheritance taxes they want to pay a little marginal rates and they continually vote down things like bonds for schools bonds for subways Boston et cetera et cetera. So they’re acting in a completely understandable way which for them is individually rational but it’s just really crap for everybody else who come in behind them who can’t accumulate assets in the same way precisely because they’ve done that.

This is complete over-generalization. I myself have never voted against a school bond issue. I understand that younger people will be taking care of me and paying for my SocSec. I want them to have the best so that they prosper and can afford me in my old age. If I lived in Boston, I would vote for transit bonds.

(But, if you know the story, the MBTA was fucked by the politicians. They dumped a large hunk of Big Dig debt onto the MBTA. So, the red ink does not come from rail operations; it comes from a boat anchor hung around its neck.)

Let me repeat another thing the blurb said:

individually rational but it’s just really crap for everybody else who come in behind them who can’t accumulate assets in the same way precisely because they’ve done that.

This completely ignores the way the 1% have trashed the wealth management infrastructure. Nobody, not boomers, nobody is making any money on savings with interest rates between 0 and 2%. People have been forced into the insanely overvalued stock market, which is just the fourth and final bubble. If you look, many of the older and wiser (by experience) boomers stay out of the market because they know they are the dumb money who will get ruined come the next crash. So, the market is held up by pension funds, who are the dumb money screwees.

As Blyth says, people are trying to be rational. But Blyth avoids mentioning how perverse the incentives have become. People aren't greedy, they are desperate and worried. Its not what "they", the Boomers, have done; its what "they" the 1% have done. They have looted this country blind; and now they are taking yet another whack at the last New Deal piggy bank left, Social Security. But Blyth blames the greedy boomers?

Sorry, if this blurb reflects what Blyth said, he is not on my side.

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@arendt
from other lectures. He is criticizing a system, not the majority of people within it. He is talking about incentives the system gave people and the results of when they took it - and then how the system took advantage of their doing so. (i.e. the unintended consequences)
Blyth made his name by analyzing austerity programs, saying the obvious, that austerity stifles growth and contracts economies, thus lowering the tax base, therefore increasing debt. DUH! He also says that things like Brexit and the Trump campaign (to the extent that they are similar, which is only superficially) is that they are not necessarily - or even majorly - racist, but they are a response to the most visible malfeasance of capitalism. (in his case [a paraphrase]"Who has a better life because of the EU? The Polish worker who goes to England. Who suffers? The English worker who has to take a wage cut. Who really wins? The capitalists.")
General advice, not personal: First listen and learn, not first assume and criticize.

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A PROUD Hillary hater since 1993

@doh1304
I posted them two hours before you posted this.

----

Blyth is not attacking the system. He is attacking the boomers directly.

He makes up a strawman boomer and says all boomers were gaming the system. He ignores the 80% of boomers who were screwed by the system. Blyth's strawman knew exactly how to behave in an economy that was a chaotic mess. I was there. I wasn't gaming anything. At the time, it was not clear what was happening at all. Stagflation was unprecedented. No one understood what to do. 20% interest rates were unprecedented (but completely under the control of financial institutions).

Blyth seems to have a big chip on his shoulder about hippies and Berkeley and boomers. He repeatedly sneered at boomers and blamed them for things that the 1% did. (He excuses them only insofar as to say they were only following "incentives" - the way Nazis followed orders.) He is anything but analytical. He is a just-so storyteller who leaves out inconvenient events. To him, the financial institutions that looted America are background noise; in talking to Lydon, he spends 95% of his time blaming boomers for being greedy.

I have seen way too many grandstanding showboats like him in academia. I'll take Michael Hudson's sober analysis any day. You don't get to be economics professor at Brown by being truly for the working class. This guy wears his working class origins on his sleeve while trashing hippies. Construction workers did that when Nixon was president. Didn't like it then, don't like it now.

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@arendt
He is a professor of political economy. Conventional economists would never accept him. He's a heretic. A great deal of his work involves documenting the harm that governments ruled by elites are doing to the general public. He is a prominent critic of austerity. He loudly pointed out that the German bailout of Greece was in fact a rhetorical figleaf for the German government's bailout of German banks. Virtually none of the money went to Greece. He has even made the radical assertion that people who buy what turn out to be bad bonds should expect to take a haircut.

If you don't have time to listen, a number of his videos and podcasts are accompanied by transcripts. But you'll miss a lot. When you hear an audience laughing at his comments it's easy to see that he is not making statements he intends to be taken literally. I understand this creates the danger of misunderstanding when you read his work. But he is most typically directing his comments to an audience and he's good at it.

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@FuturePassed yesterday also is that these particular interviews with Blyth are rather short - there's like 3 segments of maybe 10-12 minutes. I've listened to him before and he uses much more context and detail in his usual lectures, which are longer. I don't know anything about the guy doing the interviewing but if he's considered main stream, then I could see either a few handy edits being done or more likely, not allowing the time to fully explore Blyth's stance in its entirety. You're right, he's usually spot on pointing out all the policies that got us here.

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because I have found him to be a pretty good prognosticator. I mostly can't understand what he is talking about in economics, maybe because he talks so fast and I am not a quick thinking English person. So, when Blyth says Herself is RUNNING AGAIN..!!!!, that scares the bejesus out of me. I thought we were DONE with the old witch.

I do have one quibble about this talk, the part in which he said boomers got to go to Berkley and be taught by the finest intellects in the world, who had all come to CA from Europe to escape the Nazis. American scholarship was not at all bad back then either, even if it tended to concern non-sexy subjects like geology, oceanography and astronomy. Furthermore, the overall effect of the Central European intellectual diaspora, and whether this was A Good Thing, let us just say that that is debatable.

I like Blyth overall, but I think he has the same superficial reading of American life as had Cockburn, Hitchens and a bunch more Oxbridge emigres.

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Nastarana

@Nastarana

Here is a written comment about the show:

Generic use of "The Boomers" to describe a small fraction of the population, the elite, is misleading.

In the 1960s, the oldest of them were sent to Vietnam and would've been fiscally clocked (along with everyone else) in the early 1970s' recession. In the 1980s they learned their employers can rip off their parents' pensions and the feds would do nothing about it but direct them to put their savings/their future in the stock market, 401K, which would mainly fuel Wall St, to their own demise. Disoriented, they'd forgotten what their parents said, "Never put anything in the stock market you're not prepared to lose." With every recession, "the Boomers are going to retire!" and they've been first on the layoff list, in the late 1980s, 2001 and again in 2008. The youngest of "The Boomers" would've supposed to be retiring just about ... 2008.

"The Boomers" and the elite are two entirely different things. Missed the mark on this one, but it makes for a good story.

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glib, Gish Gallop, Boomer bashing.

NO.THIS.MAN.IS.NOT.ON.MY.SIDE.

Lydon directly asks him: "What is wrong with the Boomers?"

Blyth's answer: "Everything". (full stop). And his tongue is not in his cheek, contrary to what some posters in this thread have said.

He blames 1970s inflation on greedy workers instead of on the quadrupling of the price of oil.

He constantly points out that the top fifth of boomers are doing OK. But he has nothing to say about the four fifths who are not.

From the fire hose of his mouth comes the fantasy that the Boomers were "cheating" the banks in the late 70s/early 80s because their mortgages, acquired years before, were now paying less interest than the inflation rate. What nerve. The banks signed a contract, and it went against them. Tough. That's what they tell us when they screw us over. But, according to Blyth this is sneaky, unethical behavior. He doesn't talk about the Boomers who hadn't scraped together enough to buy a house by 1978 when mortgage rates went to the stratosphere (like 18%) for five years. Were all those boomers sneaky cheats too?

He has this just-so narrative that imputes malevolent agency to every action that SOME boomers took. They were so clever, and they cheated everyone else. You can say that he softens this by saying they were just following incentives. Some softening: the Nazis were just following orders.

He simultaeously bashes boomers for being lazy hippies and for being clever financial players. (Some were each, very very few were both - unlike the caricature he draws.) Somehow, magically, this transformation happened in the space of five years when the country was in a complete uproar following Watergate and the Oil Crunch and the CIA revelations. The 20-something Boomers were soooo laser-focused on getting rich that they didn't pay attention to anything but their bottom line.

His Gish Gallop (the guy talks so fast you can hardly keep up listening) constantly blurs the line between the aggregate of Boomers and the 1%.

Bottom line: this guy is a motor-mouthed provocatuer who scatters biased statistics like machine gun fire to cover the working class grudge he seems to have against anyone who he finds to be a Berkeley hippie. Jesus Christ, people on this board are cool with character assassinating an entire generation based on a worn out stereotype? Did you really come away believing the caricature this man painted?

There. I listened. I commented. Say something.

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Wink's picture

@arendt

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the little things you can do often are more valuable than the giant things you can't! - @thanatokephaloides. On Twitter @wink1radio. (-1.9) All about building progressive media.

@arendt
His caricature of a Boomer is the kind of simplistic reductionism known in economics as "rational expectations", in which a single "rational" actor stands in for all the micro- transactions that make up the macro-economy.

In economics, "rational expectations" are model-consistent expectations, in that agents inside the model are assumed to "know the model" and on average take the model's predictions as valid.[1]

Wikipedia

That is, Blyth claims that all boomers accepted his caricature and acted as he proposes. He creates a homunculus that is supposed to act for all Boomers. But unlike RE, which applies the model to new data, Blyth has constructed his model and then only applied it to the past. It is a just-so story, a strawman, a scapegoat for whatever twisted crap he has running. I have never heard a guy talk so fast, with such certainty about such utter fantasy.

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@arendt
provided by Citizen of Earth and click on the "Mark Blyth's State of the Union" talk below the boomer talk you will hear him spend 15 minutes talking about how the 20% have screwed the 80% and are blaming the 80% for the problem. He doesn't mention boomers once.

Your generalizations about Blyth based on 3/5 of one interview are not representative of his thinking or the body of his work.

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Strife Delivery's picture

This probably will be unpopular but I can tell this site is basically Boomer City.

Sorry folks, Boomers had the greatest time period to exist in and then raised the ladders up after them all the while attacking millennials for being "lazy".

Under the Boomer reign we saw the destruction of the concept of government, of the rise in neoliberal policies with the introduction and canonization of Reagan and more. We saw gutting of public institutions so Boomers didn't have to pay as much in taxes though now Boomers want SS and Medicare protected for them. When we hear about Medicare and SS, what happens? That they will be cut maybe down the road...after Boomers are gone. Boomers wanted everything, got everything, then pretended they had to work exceptionally hard to get it even though it was handed on a silver platter.

80% of all assets are owned by Boomers. Boomers had easy access to capital and the means to buy up assets. College debt was nonexistent. Healthcare was a pittance. Jobs galore. The environment wasn't the monumental disaster it is today.

Will say as someone mentioned that the two groupings of Boomers should really be well one and the other (younger) morphed over to parts of Gen X.

Folks here keep saying "But I'm not like this I did XYZ." Yes, there are deviations, anomalies, and distortions in any time period or generational grouping. But in historical analysis we always look through generational groupings, we just don't call it that.

Pick say 1820's to 1860's. We would say that they had regressive views on women and various minorities, such as AA's, Native Americans, and more with slavery and expansion to the West. Yes, we can pick out those who opposed and protested such things, but we often don't look at micro examples. We look at macro levels. We look at society as a whole.

Someone mentioned Zuckerberg for millennials. True, Zuckerberg is a millennial *shudders*. But is he the norm, the average thrust of millennial society? He is the distortion, the anomaly so to speak. When we look at history, we strive towards looking at society in the aggregate, not particularly for the deviations from it unless it is significant enough to change the aggregate.

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Here is an illustrative example:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQXHyFGaP4Q

Very enjoyable commentary from Blyth. I didn't think too much of the interviewer. More on that latter. But, to illustrate my point, some of the topics NOT covered on this end of the year review included:

Hurricane Harvey and subsequent flooding of a major American city and the fact that effective relief was provided by civilians

Hurricane Maria and the devastation of Puerto Rico. It took, what, about two months to get a carrier with hospital facilities or maybe it was a hospital ship to San Juan harbor and then they weren't taking on patients because of squabbles about who gets to be treated. Puerto Rican celebrities like Jenifer Lopez and A-Rod, a baseball player I think, were chartering private planes to fly sick and injured people to the mainland for treatment.

The West Coast fire season, which saw whole towns burned to the ground and fires jump across the Columbia River.

Yemen

Syria

But, embassy (someday after Orange Toupee leaves office) to Jerusalem, that got a mention.
Then the lady, I use the term advisedly, interviewer, got in a weepy virtue signaling moment about how one of her feminist heroines is expelling a Muslim tribe from Burma. She stopped short of saying how betrayed she felt, but it was implied.

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Nastarana