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January 07, 2009

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As an early Boomer, I'm used to the kind of false argument that deems one generation at fault in order to excuse bad policy and harebrained ideology. Boomers didn't invent the sexual revolution nor the Reagan Revolution. We went along for the ride because, as individuals, that's what you do. We were lucky, to be sure, that the old ecoonomy still afforded middle-class lifestyles. Of course, some of us are very unlucky to be at retirement's doorstep with hollowed-out 401Ks and houses that are no longer piggy banks.

It might be that much of this was inevitable, that American Exceptionalism carried with it enough hubris to deny both stern virtues and ordinary economic laws. Does it matter that Generation X was raised on a diet of Milton Friedman and Joel Osteen? Will it matter to the Millenials that their future looks foreclosed before it really began?

We don't feel like a community anymore because we accepted the idea that we're all free agents in a global marketplace. The problem here is that individuals in an Ownership Society necessarily loosen the ties that bind. Disjointed families are a symptom of a country that counts its blessings monetarily. If this is really a new Great Depression, we may rediscover with bitterness and tears that we really are in this together.

Being a late boomer (1958) makes me too young to really feel a part of the Boomer Generation. I was too young for the 60s, too young and uncool for the 70s, too poor for the 80s. Got ahead in the 90s but now have watched it all erode (IRAs down 40%, each new job brings lower pay and benefits). I'd like to revolt believe me. But as you have said, we have gotten old. Revolutionaries are youngsters (low 40s tops).

Speaking of being beaten down, I heard that the PHX PD entered the parking lot of my former employer (5000+ employess) and began handing out tickets for license plate covers that obscured the ARIZONA on the license plate. Guess we know how the city will try to cover its budget shortfall -- legalized muggings ($130 a pop). Maybe there will be a revolt! Revolutions usually require the support of a squeezed and unhappy middle class.

Amusing and true, Mr. Talton. Allusions to the "new paradigm" (Who Moved My Cheese) remind me that it isn't only on the pages of Dilbert that pointy-haired bosses flourish.

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