Support or reject “Occupy”: but understand where it comes from

“There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.”

– Franklin Delano Roosevelt

The world is moving through a period of great chaos. The status quo has abused much of its power over the past 30 years and now it is being called to account for its choices. Everyone is free to decide where they stand in this process, but I think it is important for thinking people to inform themselves of the issues and complaints in order to understand the changes that are coming. Every generation has its time in power.  The baby boomers are today’s status quo, and in general they have proven to be weak leaders who have made self-interested choices putting themselves ahead of service and duty to those who relied and depended upon them. (I have been speaking and writing about the reasons for this for a couple of years now). As with any major turning point in social norms and thinking this phase of upheaval is unsettling, upsetting and unpleasant, but we will move through it all the same. Like it or not, embrace it or not, history is cyclical and change is happening.  This article from The Burning Platform is worth reading in its entirety (its long, maybe best to print this one off and mull it over when you have some time to think).

You do not have to agree with all or any of it, but I think it makes some important observations about the who, why and how of where we are today and the legitimate reasons for why there is so much upset and unrest in the masses.  Here is an overview of the age categories referred to in the article along with the generation names and relative American population in each category today. Similar weights can be found in these same age groups across much of the western world today.  Notice that the boomers greatly outnumbered the generation before them, but the Generation x and Millenial groups that follow will increasingly take the upper hand from here on out.

Generation/Age/Population in millions
G.I.                86–109         6m
Silent             69–85          22m
Boomer          51–68         73m
Gen-X            30–50         83m
Millenial           7–29         97m
Homeland          – 6          29 m

Here are some key excerpts:

“The Occupy movement is being driven by the Millenial Generation. They have used their superior technological and social networking skills to organize, educate, and inspire people to their cause while befuddling and confusing the authorities. They continue to rally more young people to their fight against Wall Street and K Street tyranny. The generational lines of battle are being drawn. The Baby Boom Generation, who is at the point of maximum power in society, fears this movement. They control Wall Street, corporate America, Congress, the courts, academia and the media. They have reached their peak of influence and power, which will rapidly wane over the next fifteen years. They see the Occupy movement as a threat to their supremacy and control of the system. The cynical, alienated, pragmatic Generation X is caught between the Boomers and the Millenials in this escalating conflict. It is likely the majority of this generation will side with the Millenials, realizing the future of the country depends on them and not the elderly Boomers…

The youth of America listened to their parents and stayed in school. They’ve racked up over $1 trillion in student loan debt getting college educations. Meanwhile, our Baby Boomer leadership had an opportunity to address the country’s unsustainable fiscal path by accepting the consequences of a thirty year debt binge and liquidating the banks that took extreme risks with extreme leverage. An orderly liquidation (aka Washington Mutual) would have punished the stockholders, bondholders and management of the Wall Street banks, while leaving the depositors whole and purging the system of debt that can never be paid off. Our politicians could have ended our wars of choice in the Middle East and cut our war spending by hundreds of billions without sacrificing one iota of safety for the American people. The political leadership could have put the country on a deficit reduction path that would have insured the long-term viability of our republic.

Instead of doing the right thing, our Baby Boomer leaders did the exact opposite of the right thing. They held the American taxpayer hostage and absconded with trillions of their tax dollars and handed it over to the same Wall Street banks that had run the largest fraud scheme in world history and blew up the worldwide financial system. The Boomer Chairman of the Federal Reserve decided to not only save the Wall Street banks but to purposefully try to pump up the stock market, while destroying the lives of savers and senior citizens with his zero interest rate policy. His policies have led to a surge in energy and food prices and contributed to revolutions in the Middle East. The Wall Street banks have used the accounting gimmick of relieving loan loss reserves to create fake profits over the last two years. Wall Street celebrated by paying themselves $60 billion in bonuses between 2008 and 2010. The poster boys for the .1% Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein “earned” $23 million and $19 million respectively in 2010…

The truth is that Americans have always admired entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates who created businesses, created jobs, and ended up with vast wealth. But, that is not the wealth protestors on Wall Street and across the country are angry about. They are angry at the hyper-concentration of wealth in the hands of men that have rigged the system in their favor through bribery (lobbying & contributions), fraud (no-doc loans & AAA rated toxic derivatives), accounting schemes (special purpose vehicles & suspending mark to market) and holding the American middle class hostage (TARP & zero interest rates). When the 400 wealthiest Americans own more than the “lower” 150 million Americans put together, you have a system that is badly broken…

The Millenials spearheading these protests are most certainly capable. In a matter of six weeks they have created a worldwide movement occupying every major city in the world. The biggest complaints coming from the Boomers is they are naïve, misguided, immature, and don’t understand the real problem. The bitter condemnation of the protestors for breaking a myriad of minor administrative laws, regulations, ordinances, and curfews is beyond laughable. Fox News, CNBC, the Wall Street Journal, NY Post and the other mouthpieces of the ruling oligarchy are apoplectic about the young protestors camping out in public parks, but they were not too concerned by the Wall Street banks systematically defrauding millions of people by creating mortgage products designed to deceive.

They weren’t irate when Wall Street held Congress hostage for a $700 billion ransom. They weren’t enraged when Ben Bernanke bought a trillion dollars of toxic mortgage debt from the Wall Street banks at 100 cents on the dollar. They weren’t furious when the government officials forced the FASB to abandon mark to market rules, allowing the Wall Street banks to falsely report their financial statements. But, they are outraged by young people exercising their right to free speech and right to assembly. When their paid armies of thugs attack the protestors with tear gas and billy clubs, they declare the protestors had it coming. It seems the 150 year old American tradition of civil disobedience to protest unjust laws, defined by Henry David Thoreau, is not too popular among Boomers or the corporate mainstream media.”

Read the whole article as food for thought:  Bad Moon Rising

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8 Responses to Support or reject “Occupy”: but understand where it comes from

  1. John says:

    So true and pathetic.

  2. dave says:

    the protesters are also aware of high frequency trading which governments must absolutely must put a stop to

  3. dave says:

    The boomers I know are nearing the end of very successfull careers and and are now or soon to be collecting fat pensions (indexed and many government funded). Most of the Gen X’ers I know lost their jobs. A pension to them seems like a mirage or dream.

  4. dylan says:

    do you think it will take a Millenial as prime minister to end the absurd pensions and broken health care system that in the next few years will start to cripple Canada?

    what a well written and non-political view of this….globe and mail should take a few notes on how to use facts to write an objection opinion not political attitudes, wow Michael Campbell is really wearing off on me :-)

  5. Tim says:

    I don’t think the boomers will let go. They will fight hard to protect there positions and most of the ones I know work hard still. On a side note , Danielle for prime minister ! :)

  6. Jack from Surrey says:

    Can’t wait to read the full article. Cynical Gen Xer here :-(

  7. dazzo says:

    While some may admire the idealism of the Millenials, I would like to posit that it is only a relatively small minority within that demographic, while the majority are as self absorbed and materialistic as those ahead of them. In the 1960′s it was the boomers who were the idealists and having sit-ins and antiwar demonstrations. That didn’t last though did it?

  8. Gay Reeves says:

    Thank you for highlighting the work of Strauss and Howe. I was deeply interested in their books when they came out in the 1990s, and it has been interesting to see their ideas slowly move into the mainstream, as well as to watch society move in the general directions they foresaw.

    It is probably inevitable that their ideas, which I feel are very even-handed in presenting both positive and negative attributes of each generation, will be used to blame one generation or another in a stereotypical way, and that is my only criticism of the very interesting article presented here.

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