Monday, January 6, 2014

Salon: How baby boomers screwed their kids — and created millennial impatience

Ambitious but easily distracted, Gen Y wants to be good but can't stick to anything. It's their parents' fault

The Greatest Generation, raised during the Great Depression and wartime rationing, wanted to ensure that their children did not suffer or miss out on their youth as they did. This is good. This is what all parents want — for their children to avoid their hardships and prosper. And so that’s how the Boomers were raised — to believe that they shouldn’t have to go without. Which, as a philosophy, is perfectly fine and reasonable. But given the size of the generation and the abundance of resources that surrounded them, the philosophy got a little distorted. When you consider the rising wealth and affluence of their childhood, combined (for good reasons) with a cynicism toward government in the 1970s, followed by the boom years of the 1980s and 1990s, it’s easy to see how the Boomers earned their reputation as the Me Generation. Me before We.

Putting the protection of ideas and wealth before the sharing of them is now standard. A New Jersey-based accountant told me that he sees a clear difference between his older clients and his younger ones. “My older clients want to work within the confines of the tax code to do what is fair,” he explained. “They are willing to simply pay the tax they owe. The next generation spends lots of time looking to exploit every loophole and nuance in the tax code to reduce their responsibility to as little as possible.”

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