Recently I took my six-year-old grandson to play miniature golf. The fee for him to play was $6.00, my fee was $4.00. It’s funny how a simple game can reflect what is fundamentally wrong with America. There is only one reason why I paid $4.00 and that is because I am old.
That got me to thinking, what else am I and people like me taking from younger Americans. Sadly the answer is too much. Because people like me vote and all too many other Americans don’t, we seniors are favorites of politicians. They keep us happy and we keep them employed, it’s a very convenient arrangement. If the people we elect get out of line, we can count on the AARP to bat them around a bit and rally us seniors into selfish indignation.
The only problem is how do I explain all this to my grandchildren. Of course they are too young to care or know what I am talking about so I guess I have to explain this to myself.
By the time my oldest grandson is nearing college age the US will be burdened by trillions more debt and accompanying interest payments. When he is ready for a job his payroll taxes will take far more of his earnings than they do today and his income taxes, well who knows, but they sure aren’t going down. And what will my grandchildren get for their money? From today’s perspective they will live in a country that has gone from world leader with unlimited opportunities to a country somewhere back in the pack where being average is considered successful.
We have operated our Country like a generation conducted it’s lives, live for today, materialistic, and consumption based on debt. Many of today’s seniors think they paid for their Social Security and Medicare and resent the word “entitlement.” That is hardly the case, but I guess believing so makes one feel less the recipient of their children’s largesse. However, today incoming payroll taxes are insufficient to pay our benefits.
How can I tell my grandchildren what I grew up believing; work hard, save, avoid debt and not only will you be okay, you will be successful? Today we beat successful people over the head and blame them for all our shortcomings. Today we consider walking away from your obligations good financial planning. In 2011 we have a society where the mayor of New York donates $30 million (along with George Soros plus government money) to help three hundred thousand or so young black and latino men not only obtain job skills, but to become responsible fathers.
There seems to be only one thing we want that we agree on…more, that is more from government and the grandkids can pick up the tab.
What a gloomy, pessimistic outlook you are thinking. You’re right, and I have never felt this way before in my sixty-eight years, but then again I never had six grandchildren to think about either. Something has changed in America and I am not sure it is linked to hope.
So I am still left with the question, what do I tell my grandchildren? I am going to stick with the basics; learn as much as you can about everything you can, sharpen every talent you posses, never give up, stay ahead of the crowd, do the right thing, set goals and work toward them no matter what stands in your way, never step on others in reaching your goals and be proud of what you accomplish. By the way, there is no need to feel sorry for those who have the opportunity but who choose to ignore this advice
Oh, one other thing guys, I’m sorry this generation screwed things up so badly and made it that much harder for you.