Friday, August 13, 2010

The “Me” Generation’s Evil Offspring

I’ve often heard the 1980s referred to collectively as the “me” generation. Maybe it was. Big houses. Big cars. Big hair. And big ratings for TV shows (Dallas, Dynasty) that showed us the Hollywood version of how the “other half” lived.

Somehow, though, I think it may have been only the birth of that generation.

Today, I think it’s a full-fledged adult – and one that’s bred an even more egocentric and arrogant generation, the “I’ve got mine, screw you,” generation. I see it every day. You do, too. You need look no farther than your TV.

One of the latest examples comes courtesy of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Gingrich who, like many on the right, lambastes people on unemployment by likening unemployment insurance benefits to welfare. No, Newt. If you’ve ever had a job, or are lucky enough to still have one now, you and your employer pay into unemployment. That’s why they call it unemployment insurance. (Even current House Minority Leader John Boehner, whom I’d generally be hard-pressed to say something nice about, backed away from that one.)

And please, while we’re on Boehner, spare me more of this “trickle down” economics BS. I lived through the ‘80s. Barely. The only thing that ever trickled down to the masses from the people who proposed this idiocy was the utter disdain for the people they were supposed to be representing. I shook my head with the reverence at which people spoke of Reagan when he died a few years back. Clearly, they weren’t affected by unemployment, interest rates run amok and the massive slashes to educational assistance. But now I’m even forced to admit that, compared to today’s “right,” Reagan looks awful d*mn good.

The money from the Bush tax cuts isn’t going to hire any more people. It’s going into bonds and trust funds and under mattresses. (Or whatever people who have millions do with their spare change.) The only people that will benefit from those cuts are the people getting them. End of story.

Let’s pause and write a reality check, courtesy of Jon Stewart. (While I find this amusing, I’d find it a whole lot funnier if it didn’t make so much sense! And this is comedy.)

Is the current administration doing everything right? Hell no. But they’ve had just a few things to contend with in the wasteland they inherited. Yes, that’s right, I said inherited. Everyone seems to be forgetting about 2000-2008. It’s like it never happened. (It’s like that season of Dallas where Bobby Ewing was supposed to be dead, but wait, he was only taking a shower!) Even the RNC chairman needs a reminder of just who did what in setting us on the path to ruin.

Unfortunately, the voting public has a very short memory. But, I remember the first eight years of this decade. And I remember the 1980s all too well. (The only thing from that era that I want to see a revival of is the music.) Tell me I’m not the only person who remembers the economy of the ‘80s, please.

I think the results of the mid-term elections will answer that question for me. I only hope the “me” generation isn’t looking on proudly at its offspring when it’s all said and done.

But hey, you’ve got yours, right?


Victoria said...

This is a fabulous post, and very well written. I 100% agree with you about this generation being selfish and not all of us have forgotten our history.

I am entirely tired of politicians in general at this point. I had hope at the beginning of this financial crisis, that this would be our generations wake up call to the more important aspects of life- but I think all it has managed to do is make people worse.

All I can do at this point in time is my little efforts to make things better for everyone,because frankly the big picture makes me want to scream.

MonkeyGirl said...

I have to correct you on one minor point in your post. As an employee, you do NOT pay anything into the unemployment trust fund. Your employer pays the full load of the money going to pay for your unemployment benefits. Many people believe that the taxes on their paycheck go to unemployment but that isn't true. You may pay taxes for a ton of other benefits but not one dime of your check is taken to fund the unemployment trust fund.

Unemployment is there to help you get through that period of time where you are looking for another job. Given the fact that the weekly benefit amounts are so paltry, I wouldn't liken it to Welfare as it is really hard to make ends meet on a couple of hundred bucks a week.

Disclaimer: This is just my personal opinion - not those of my employer. Too many years in the unemployment industry wouldn't let me let that fact go uncorrected ;-)

Why S? said...

Nicely put.

NV said...

Victoria -- Thanks! Would that everyone would do the same. And it's not meant to pick on the younger generation. Both the me generation AND its offspring apply to people of a variety of ages. :-)

MG -- I stand corrected. I got it half-right, so thanks for setting it straight and for hammering home my point.

Why -- Thanks!

Liz said...


Anonymous said...

I do remember, and as I sit and think back and move along the time line to the present, we have been moving down hill. These are some interesting times we live in, train going off a cliff comes to mind.

Hold on tight everyone it's going to be a real bumpy ride for a spell.

NV said...

Liz -- Thanks!

Michele -- So glad that someone else remembers. :-) Though that means you weren't among the overprivileged set.

I don't think our path was completely linear. I think there were a few hills along the way. Unfortunately, I agree with you that the downward spiral seems to be the order of the day. That said, it started a whole lot longer than 18 months ago, something a lot of people have clearly forgotten.