We owe oldest Americans an apology

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SamLinder's picture
SamLinder
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We owe oldest Americans an apology

Another one of the reasons that I am angry at the Wall Street buffoons!

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/03/15/greene.generation/index.html

  • Bob Greene: Oldest Americans don't have time for markets to turn around
  • He says they survived Great Depression and sacrificed in World War II
  • Greene: They should be enjoying calm retirement but can't due to crisis
  • It's shameful that they suffer due to foolish Wall St. decisions, he says

 

VeganDB12's picture
VeganDB12
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Re: We owe oldest Americans an apology

Sam

I think the elderly have pretty well been thrown under the bus sorry to be so blunt.  No doubt medicare has to be cut back as appropriate healthcare entitlements for impoverished children and unemployed working age adults are instituted. No way social security entitlements are going to be increased to keep up with real inflation if it hits.  Many of the older adults (over 60 up to 80) I work with were told to keep some money in stocks and are now unable to support themselves to the end due to losses in the stock market even though they saved responsibly.  Some of these individuals either survived the depression or served bravely in World War II or Vietnam.  IMHO, much of the stimulus is oriented towards younger people (i.e. under 40 or so).  I mean SCHIP, job retraining, and plans that will not show any benefit for several years.  These will not help the disabled elderly without families to take them in (and there are many in my corner of the world) who have very little to fall back on in a society that frankly seems willing to let them go under.  I sometimes think the yuppies "age of narcissism" has led to this outcome.  I am 47 and a member of the age of narcissism. I do not have data to back up my ideas, but these are my observations.  

 The elderly I work with are terrified, and some of them clearly plan on dying sooner rather than later because they will have no money very shortly.  It may sound weird but I think they are aware they are being abandoned.   Of course good people of conscience will do what they can to help but many of these elderly are proud, housebound and disabled and will not reach out readily on their own.   It is part of the culture of their generation.

 

I am getting preachy and apologize for this but I just want to say I am glad you have identified this problem.  It is a shame and shameful.  I do not know how to correct this problem but I think these people will need real money to cope and they are fast running out.

Regards

Denise

SteveS's picture
SteveS
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Re: We owe oldest Americans an apology

Jeez,

I've already apologized to my kids (reallly! )for saddling them with what will surely be incredible debt not of their making, and now I have to apologize to my parents too?

 

Farmer Brown's picture
Farmer Brown
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Re: We owe oldest Americans an apology

I agree with everything in this article except the "we" part.  Who is "we" supposed to be?  I surely feel for those who have suffered or will soon be suffering, especially the generation that is the subject of this article, but I personally had nothing to do with this mess and I resent being thrown in to some collective apology.  I'm sorry, but this is bullshit. 

The Fed, our government, countless generations of legislatures and the presidents that worked with them, our banking system, unscrupulous lenders, loan-packaging hucksters, fiat-money puppet masters, and a willing media should not only apologize, they should be forced to pay restitution and go to jail.  But not I.

I reject this collective apologetic bull.  This is wreaks of more socialism, collectivism, and pitching in to save a group of people who are victims not of a collective, but of an elite.

Again, I am sorry for our elderly.  They do not deserve this, and I share their anger.  But I will not apologize for something I had no hand in creating.

 

becky's picture
becky
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Re: We owe oldest Americans an apology

Thanks for posting this Sam,

Rather than apologize, I think I will be thanking my older relatives for passing on a respect for frugality.

And, I can't help but think that some of those who should be apologizing aren't feeling bad about this outcome because it is one more way of destroying the middle class.

becky

 

 

 

paranoid's picture
paranoid
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Re: We owe oldest Americans an apology

we could also add in the young military people who blinded by the lies of their society bought into the idea of defending the homeland - I do feel bad for these young men and women who come home to wives who left them, homes foreclosed, no jobs, and PTSD or permanent disabilities to boot...

Life is a comic tragedy, young and old alike suffer, everyone is blaming someone else but no one is to blame in the end - its just the way things are.

It took 100's of millions of years for evolution to create the perfect predator - T-Rex. And then they end up as gas in my car! Talk about pointless! Life is pointless and, far from depressing, this is liberating! We're all just along for the ride - so kick back and enjoy the roller coaster!

:)

BSV's picture
BSV
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Re: We owe oldest Americans an apology

Patrick is right. Younger Americans should not feel any sense of guilt for the economic pain that will be experienced by older citizens. They did not create the problem. I'm a senior citizen so I feel qualified to weigh in on this thread. Trying to make younger Americans feel responsible for what is happening to my generation is somewhat like trying to make Germans born after the war feel responsible for the Holocaust. Not guilty.

Actually, Patrick, I feel sorry for you and your generation. My generation -- which is the the so-called Silent Generation immediately preceding the postwar Baby Boomers, has enjoyed some good times. We lived in America's Golden Age, which appears to be drawing to a close.

I'm not so worried about my wife and me -- our lives will draw to a close in the fullness of time. I'm worried about our kids and those who will follow. It happens that I'm a naturalized citizen. My mom and dad immigrated to America in 1951 from grim postwar-Britain (where rationing was not eliminated until a decade after the war ended). I was six years old at the time and I've enjoyed the fruits of American citizenship ever since. I have paid enough in taxes to compensate the Treasury many times over for admitting my family in 1951. I also served in Vietnam as a field artillery officer, so I've paid my dues. The point here is that I love this country with a passion that may be hard for some to understand. That's why it is so painful for me to see what is happening to our beloved country.

Patrick, I wish your generation the best of luck. You will  need it.

Denny Johnson's picture
Denny Johnson
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Re: We owe oldest Americans an apology

I was just fixing to post a reply, but see that BSV said it for me.

I'm pushing 62, if there are any apologies due, reckon they should first be directed to the younger generations.

plantguy90's picture
plantguy90
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Re: We owe oldest Americans an apology

As a species we have been no more intelligent than mold.  We have exploited the abundance of the earth in no time.  I dont think we owe the older generation an apology.  The finiteness of the earth's resources is and was no secret to any generation.  The boomers are said to be the most influential generation, have always been, enjoyed the most out of this golden age, and have accomplished nothing.  We owe our children an apology.

Ragnar_Danneskjold's picture
Ragnar_Danneskjold
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Re: We owe oldest Americans an apology

I feel no need to apologize to the elderly. Many of them played a big part in electing the buffoons that have run this country into the ground for so many years and many of them continue to do so hoping for a bigger SS payment, more medicare, entitlements, blah blah blah. I see this line of thinking even in my own family, and find it repulsive.

SamLinder's picture
SamLinder
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Re: We owe oldest Americans an apology

I must admit I didn't expect such a varied set of responses. Quite interesting.

My intent in posting the original article was to note that those of us getting up in years should get an apology from the idiots that screwed up our entire financial system.

I don't expect anyone in the younger generation to apologize for things done beyond their control anymore than I would have expected Germans born in 1944 to apologize for Hitler.

 

I feel no need to apologize to the elderly. Many of them played a big
part in electing the buffoons that have run this country into the
ground for so many years and many of them continue to do so hoping for
a bigger SS payment, more medicare, entitlements, blah blah blah. I see
this line of thinking even in my own family, and find it repulsive.

Ragnar,

Please don't tar everyone with the same brush. It is inappropriate and cold - especially when you don't know the history involved.

Many of us, including me, naively followed the financial wisdom of our time. We were told by everyone involved in the financial system (gov't, bankers, Wall Street, financial advisors, et al) to plan ahead by doing three things (the 3-legged stool concept):

1st leg of the stool: Work for a company that will provide you with a pension (this was before the invention of the 401k)

2nd leg of the stool:
Make sure you save for your retirement

3rd leg of the stool: Plan on Social Security being there for you

So we did. Now, many of us are coming up to retirement or are already retired and our plans for having sufficient money to live on have, in many cases, been destroyed. We didn't expect, nor did we want, to be a burden to our kids. Unfortunately, many of us will wind up being one after all - and those are the lucky ones. The unlucky ones are described above by Denise.

Try to put yourself in our shoes for a minute. You spend your whole life following a set of guidelines which you've been told will result in a comfortable retirement. Everyone has been told this story. There is no reason for you to believe otherwise - after all, everyone you know is following the same script. Then, one day you wake up and find out it was all an illusion - and now you are wondering where you will live or where your next meal is coming from. Wouldn't you want an apology (at the very least) from those who stole your future?

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BuzzTatom
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Re: We owe oldest Americans an apology

Sam this falls under the category of a touchy subject. I certainly have an opinion. You talk about the older generation working under a certain premise. Many of the older generation are doing more than fine. It is based upon how they prepared for the unknowns of life. Some are not doing fine and need help. Who is to help them? The gov't and a very inefficient lets say corrupt system where they see pennies from the tax dollars taken by our gov't?

I work under the premise that they have had the opportunity to at least make the decisions that affected their outcomes. On the other hand by us helping them we impact future generations that not only have not had the same opportunities to make those decisions but are not even born as of yet.

Who should bear the burden? We can't have our cake and eat it too. Tough decisions have to be made. Help where you can but it is going to come to the point for most where they will have to decide between their kids and grandkids future well being and previous generations problems while balancing their own financial lives. At least the previous and present generations have had the opportunity to make decisions to lessen the impact. 

I'm sorry to say this but I vote for my kids and unborn grandkids. 

 

 

 

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Ragnar_Danneskjold
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Re: We owe oldest Americans an apology
SamLinder wrote:

Try to put yourself in our shoes for a minute. You spend your whole life following a set of guidelines which you've been told will result in a comfortable retirement. Everyone has been told this story. There is no reason for you to believe otherwise - after all, everyone you know is following the same script. Then, one day you wake up and find out it was all an illusion - and now you are wondering where you will live or where your next meal is coming from. Wouldn't you want an apology (at the very least) from those who stole your future?

Oh please!  I'm not that much younger than you.  The problems with social security and medicare have been well known for at least 30 years now.  It has ALWAYS been a giant ponzi scheme....it was designed that way.  Where is the logic in providing the same amount of benefits to some dead guy's three former wives who never worked themselves? 

No, I don't expect an apology from anyone.  I voted, but not for any of the idiots that put us in this position.   I've written to Congressmen and Senators for years about debt and waste, and yet continued to pay into these assinine programs knowing that I'd never see a dime back.  I've asked for and received practically nothing.  Foolish and my bad.  That could change, but most people still seem to be content paying for nothing.  Starving the beast is probably the only way the looters and moochers in DC will ever get the message.

SamLinder's picture
SamLinder
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Re: We owe oldest Americans an apology

BuzzTatom,

Let me first extend a welcome to you as I see you are a pretty new poster.

Sam this falls under the category of a touchy subject.

Apparently so - much more than I realized it would.  Surprised

You talk about the older generation working under a certain premise.
Many of the older generation are doing more than fine. It is based upon
how they prepared for the unknowns of life. Some are not doing fine and
need help.

All generations work "under a certain premise." You grow up in the paradigm of your era and know only what you are taught and what you are able to learn as you move through the various stages of life. My generation learned the "3-legged stool" we were taught and all attempts to increase our knowledge beyond that only reinforced the concept. We were not psychic - no generation is. We planned for a future that we hoped would allow us to be there for our kids/grandkids but not be a burden to them. Are you faulting us for that?

Who is to help them? The gov't and a very inefficient lets
say corrupt system where they see pennies from the tax dollars taken by
our gov't?

For starters, I plan on helping myself as long as I am able - as most people in my generation will do. Next, those who are lucky enough to have them will probably turn to family (siblings, kids, other relatives) if they are able to help. Lastly, when all else has failed, we will become those pathetic souls vegetating in a nursing home until we shuffle off this mortal coil.

Will we look to the government for help at the end? Probably. If you had nowhere else to turn, what would you do? I doubt you would take the "honorable" way out and commit sepuku like the Japanese. Don't feel bad - most of us won't do it either. In fact, it's against the law to commit suicide. So, if I did, I suppose they would lock my dead body in jail for some indeterminate time (until I start to smell bad?). Sealed Ewww!

I work under the premise that they have had the opportunity to at least
make the decisions that affected their outcomes. On the other hand by
us helping them we impact future generations that not only have not had
the same opportunities to make those decisions but are not even born as
of yet.

Who should bear the burden? We can't have our cake and eat it too.
Tough decisions have to be made. Help where you can but it is going to
come to the point for most where they will have to decide between their
kids and grandkids future well being and previous generations problems
while balancing their own financial lives. At least the previous and
present generations have had the opportunity to make decisions to
lessen the impact.  

Let me see if I understand this clearly. You are saying, ("Tough decisions have to be made.") that you may not help your parents or grandparents because that would impact the unborn? Hmmm - I'd love to be there when you tell Mom & Dad and/or Grandma & Grandpa why you're letting them starve to death. "Please understand folks, I'm only doing this because I'm saving my money for some children I might have some day." That should cheer them up!

Now let me clarify my position once again as it appears you, and some others in this thread, are not picking up on what I thought I had made pretty clear.

To reiterate, personally I am not looking for an apology from the average citizen - and especially not from the younger generation. Please notice that the very first line in my original post said:

Another one of the reasons that I am angry at the Wall Street buffoons! 

Also, please read the following lines again from my post #10 (emphasis added here).

My intent in posting the original article was to note that those of us
getting up in years should get an apology from the idiots that screwed
up our entire financial system.

I don't expect anyone in the younger generation to apologize for
things done beyond their control anymore than I would have expected
Germans born in 1944 to apologize for Hitler.

Finally, please read this last paragraph from the original article again:

Now they are feeling it, and there is nothing that we -- their sons and
daughters, their grandsons and granddaughters -- can do to convince
them that their fear in the night is groundless. What they are being
forced to go through now is -- in the most elemental sense of this word
-- a shame. I hope they know how sorry we are.

Note that it is written to say that one is sorry that such a terrible thing has happened. The same way you would say that you are sorry for all the people who died in a disaster. The same way you would say that you are sorry for all the bereaved families of those who died.

For
some reason, you and other posters in this thread have extrapolated, from the article and my comments, that the older generation expects the younger generation to "fix" everything or, at the very least, to apologize for screwing everything up.

Perhaps you and others went strictly by the thread title without
reading the article itself - that's the only way I can figure that you
concluded that the "We owe" meant you folks were specifically expected to apologize.
Nothing could be further from the truth.

Farmer Brown's picture
Farmer Brown
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Re: We owe oldest Americans an apology

Sam,

Just for the record, my criticism is aimed directly at the article, not the pieces you pulled out of it.  The very first paragraph reads,

Quote:

As the country frets about extricating itself from the financial mess,
there is one group of Americans to whom the rest of us owe the most
sincere words of apology
.  (emphasis mine)

 

That right there says it all and is what set me off for reasons I won't bother repeating lest I want my blood to boil.  The rest of the article explains why we should be sorry for them, not why we should apologize to them, so it really is a poorly written article.  The title and first paragraph should have been changed, or the article changed to be congruent with the title and lead paragraph.  

I'll tell you who I really feel sorry for:  the author.  He should apologize to Pullitzer.

Cheers,

Patrick

SamLinder's picture
SamLinder
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Re: We owe oldest Americans an apology
Patrick Brown wrote:

Sam,

Just for the record, my criticism is aimed directly at the article, not the pieces you pulled out of it.  The very first paragraph reads,

Quote:

As the country frets about extricating itself from the financial mess,
there is one group of Americans to whom the rest of us owe the most
sincere words of apology
.  (emphasis mine)

 

That right there says it all and is what set me off for reasons I won't bother repeating lest I want my blood to boil.  The rest of the article explains why we should be sorry for them, not why we should apologize to them, so it really is a poorly written article.  The title and first paragraph should have been changed, or the article changed to be congruent with the title and lead paragraph.  

I'll tell you who I really feel sorry for:  the author.  He should apologize to Pullitzer.

Cheers,

Patrick

 

Hey Patrick,

I'm beginning to wish I hadn't posted this article at all. You're right that it is poorly written since it is eliciting so many different perspectives - some of them downright hostile.

For you, and others, who don't feel they should be responsible for apologizing to the older generation - I concur. No apology is expected.

As I attempted to convey in my previous post, I felt that the intent of the author was to say that younger Americans should feel sorry for the older generation who, after all, are their parents and grand-parents. A generation, which had already been through so much (myself excepted), was now caught up in something that, in many cases, has destroyed their "golden years". And that's the sad part about all this.

Farmer Brown's picture
Farmer Brown
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Re: We owe oldest Americans an apology

Hey Sam,

You shouldn't regret posting this in my opinion.  The whole point of a forum is for different members to exchange viewpoints.  If you only post stuff everyone agrees with, we'll never learn anything.

I am sorry for your generation.  But being sorry is not the same thing as apologizing.  Even though when one apologizes, one says, "I am sorry for (fill-in-the-blank-stupid-action-I-took)", what I feel is "I am sorry for your situation/ I am sorry you saved our butts multiple times and now you're getting screwed/ I am sorry you've done a lot of things right and now your promises are being reneged on".  Those are not statements of apology, they are statements of sorrow.

My grandfather fought in both world wars and if he was alive today and needed it, I would help him out.  Likewise, I do not want to see anyone's father or grandfather out on the street because they lost everything in this mess.  However, taking social responsibility voluntarilly or involuntarilly is one thing.  Apologizing for circumstances not of one's making is not only a slap in my face, it also dilutes the blame that should fall on the real culprits, and that would be a giant shame. 

To sum up, I will part with my money to help fix this thing a hell of a lot sooner than I'll part with my dignity.  

Peace out.

Patrick

SamLinder's picture
SamLinder
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Re: We owe oldest Americans an apology

Patrick,

I think we're on the same page. Smile

plantguy90's picture
plantguy90
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Re: We owe oldest Americans an apology

SL,

The moral of the stroy is never trust your Govt or its elected officials.  To be suddenly "had" is no different that listening to the local travelling snake oil salesman.  I used to be a stockbroker 20 years ago, and even then I had a feeling all the boomers weren't going to skip merrily into retirement loaded with gains, that's just not how the markets work. Capital markets serve a purpose to the primary market, the secondary markets have always been a casino.  I too am shocked that my cynical views have been correct.  Being painfully aware of losing your savings, doing your own homework, and being open to unconventional wisdom will serve you better than goiung along with what "they" tell you to do.  

 

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