Monday, March 9, 2020

The Baby Boomers React to a Threat Against THEM

And that threat is...Coronavirus.

That's right. The main victims are those over 65. Many people, by that age, have picked up some medical conditions, such as lung diseases (including COPD) and heart trouble. Those are exactly the ones that are most vulnerable to complications of COVID-19, as Coronavirus is now called.

In short, this is a virus aimed at getting the Baby Boomers to hand off the controls. Some will die, or be forced to retire to a life of convalescence. But, most will simply self-quarantine, in fear of catching the virus. They will give the under-50 crowd a chance to show what they can do.

Either way, it's clearly Nature's Plan to wrest control of the economy, the government, and the educational system from the BBs - by force. Even I, a member of that cohort, have to say, "It's about time!"

BBs rose to power just as they hit adulthood - at least, the leading edge did. They'd survived childhoods that were better provisioned than those previous, benefited from the introduction of antibiotics, and were poised to enter the workforce in huge numbers. And, for a brief time, it worked - in 1969, businesses were hiring people before they exited the elevator on their way to a job interview.

Until the economy collapsed in stagnation, wage controls were imposed, and unemployment among the young cratered. I remember those days. Despite working full-time, I, and most of my friends, were broke. Credit card debt soared, interest rates were let off the leash provided by usury laws, and it was a difficult time.

That era of high unemployment, high prices, and high interest rates put a stranglehold on many households, and made an extended time of dependency on parents a common phenomenon. Few young people could afford to start families.

Many of the BBs, not seeing a future for themselves, joined the protests, dropped out of college, joined the drug-using crowd, and/or hit the road. Some later returned. Many did not.

Others, like me, tried to find their place in the world, and - eventually - were able to afford a car, a house, and a family. We found accommodations that worked - both adults worked, fewer children were born, second jobs were common. We managed. We adapted. We survived.

As a result of not losing most of the young women to home pursuits, the numbers of BBs working was higher than previous generations. So, we had an undue influence on the direction the workplace took, a larger say in the management of businesses, and proportionately more control of government. As a result of greater female employment, the female perspective become embedded in business, academic, and government cultures.

That last was not always a good thing.

Even after reaching what would have been considered, in previous times, a normal retirement age, the damned BBs just would not go. They continued to work. For some of them, it was the result of the prevailing BB ethos - that of the fabled Grasshopper, who failed to provide for the coming winter. For others, it was a lifetime of being slammed by misfortune, unemployment and underemployment, high interest rates, inability to benefit from rising home prices, and having paid inflated prices for their own and their children's education.

A few agreed to retire, given pricey buyouts as an incentive. Some took the payoff, and went back to work in another job.

Even the political candidates - the ones that lasted - were Old Farts. As were the leaders in Congress and the Senate.

So, for the younger crowd, this disease might seem like a dream come true. Fatal, yes, but mostly to those old folks who will not retire and give them a chance. If COVID-19 does develop into an honest-to-God epidemic, there will be a few under 50 who will attend the funerals with a properly grave face, meanwhile planning for how they will decorate the corner office when they go back to work.

[UPDATE: Pascal, in his comment on this post, links to Crusader Rabbit's blog -]

I'd like to think Pascal is wrong; I fear that he may be right.

On the other hand, I come from sturdy stock; only my parents' generation (many of them smokers) died off before 80-ish. In my family, we shake our heads at that, and murmur, "He went so YOUNG!".

The first of my kin to hit the USA (then a colony) lived to 97. He was working his ferry when he drowned. That hardiness is the norm for my folks. My father's mother worked in a factory until she was 82. Others, who farmed, never understood that idea of "retirement".

I plan to go out in my 100's, kicking and fighting the whole way.

1 comment:

Pascal said...

Please forgive me Linda, but the link below, to a comment at CR, contains a revealing graph that adds to your thesis. It also contains a wider discussion that will refresh memories of what has gone before. None of what is happening should be a surprise who has been reading Fran for very long.

Thank you.