Opinion by Josh Hoxie
D.C.) -- Historians won’t look
fondly on 2017.
news cycle was dominated by sexual assault, widespread anxiety, the
musings of a mentally unstable president, rising economic inequality,
opioid epidemic. And in case you forgot, the planet is still on track
short, things were bad.
year, it’s time to transition from despair to action.
saw the beginnings of this transition as hundreds of political
out of the woodwork to run for state and local office last year. And
more started the process to run in 2018 and beyond.
isn’t a spectator sport, and it’s good to see a younger generation more
politically engaged than their parents. Unfortunately, the younger
have many messes to clean up left by their elders.
wasteland: a legacy of
Cannon Gibney goes so far as to depict Baby Boomers, those born between
and 1964, as sociopaths in his book, A Generation of Sociopaths:
How The Baby Boomers Betrayed America.
all of them, of course.
limits his analysis to mostly white, native born, powerful Baby Boomers
ones in position to make decisions on behalf of everyone else.
each critical juncture, Gibney argues, these Boomers looked
at the expense of everyone else.
donor class, getting
set to shred the social safety net
saw this play out most recently in the tax cut package just passed by
Regardless of the bluster coming from the White House, this bill was
more than a wealth grab by the already ultra-wealthy. Over
80 percent of the tax cuts go to the top 1 percent.
after poll showed the majority of Americans understood this.
congressional Republicans chose to work on behalf of their donors
see this playing out again as they threaten the Medicare and Social
future beneficiaries. That’s millennials they’re targeting, not Baby
not a coincidence.
white hair all over
case you couldn’t tell by the abundance of wrinkles and white hair on
the people making the decisions in Washington are not young. The average
age in the Senate is 61, eight years older than 1981. More
than a quarter
are over 70.
last four presidents have all been Baby Boomers. They oversaw
expansion in economic inequality in modern history.
people are inheriting
an economy in which it’s all together common to start
adulthood tens of
thousands of dollars in debt, thanks to a higher education system
wages are generally stagnant, and the federal minimum wage falls below
of living of every major city in the country.
people are rightfully outraged at this inequality and are ready to take
action to address it. Or, as legendary Republican pollster Frank
Luntz put it, millennials are “terrifyingly liberal.”
age isn’t everything. Paul Ryan, born after the Baby Boomers, wants to
completely destroy the social safety net. Bernie Sanders, technically
to be considered a Boomer, might be the biggest advocate for young
also has massive support among youths. More millennials cast
a ballot for him in the 2016 presidential primary than both
Trump combined. Unfortunately, Sanders is the
exception, not the rule,
among his cohorts in Washington.
people are ready, willing, and able to take a leadership role in
deeply broken society and environment. It’s time for the “olds” in
either of age or of ideology — to make way for the rising generation.
Hoxie directs the Project on Taxation and Opportunity at the
Institute for Policy Studies. This report was first published at
and s reprinted here with permission.