by Brad Polumbo
Boomers ruin everything. Now, they’re trying to ruin the “OK Boomer” meme, too.
It all started when the New York Times published a piece explaining the slang phrase used by young people to dismiss out-of-touch arguments from their elders. Journalist Taylor Lorenz described “OK Boomer” as “Generation Z’s endlessly repeated retort to the problem of older people who just don’t get it, a rallying cry for millions of fed-up kids.” As she reports, “Teenagers use it to reply to … basically any person over 30 who says something condescending about young people — and the issues that matter to them.”
Thus, the Times’ headline seems fitting: “‘OK Boomer Marks the End of Friendly Generational Relations.” It does indeed.
But boomers aren’t taking the slight lying down. New York Post columnist Steve Cuozzo stirred up quite a controversy with his Saturday column titled “Millennials’ extreme hatred for baby boomers is totally unjustified.” He’s completely wrong and in the most boomer way possible. In fact, the grievances that young people have with their elders are fully justified, as the baby-boomer generation has screwed us over in innumerable ways.
It’s worth noting that Cuozzo’s column is guilty of many of the same cringe-worthy tropes that lead young people to deride boomers in the first place.
For one, he spends much of the piece decrying “millennials,” when, in fact, “OK Boomer” is largely a Generation Z phenomenon. This is not exactly the best way to rebut criticisms that you’re out of touch.
So, too, Cuozzo dismisses young people’s concerns over student loans by reminiscing about how, back in his day, he paid his loans off. He doesn’t bother to mention that the inflation-adjusted cost of college has increased by 1100% since 1978 (four times greater than inflation). He also reminisces about how he once worked 10-hour shifts at a restaurant without any break. Apparently, he expects young people to shut up and accept poor working conditions because he did so decades ago.
Basically, in his column defending baby boomers, Cuozzo falls into the stereotypical boomer attitude that young people hate so much: “I suffered, so you should too!” And the Post columnist never really grapples with the more substantive grievances that young people have with his generation. For instance, baby boomers (and other older generations) have essentially left their young buried in debt they can never repay. The national debt now tops $23 trillion, a whopping $185,000 per taxpayer.
Boomers won’t live long enough to face the consequences of their spending spree. But young Americans will live to see larger annual interest payments, slowed economic growth, and increased financial instability.
That’s not all. As Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank noted, “Boomers expanded entitlement programs that are wrecking the nation’s finances; they failed to act on global warming; they presided over declining faith in virtually all institutions, from religion to the Supreme Court; and their children may be the first generation with dim prospects of doing better than their parents did.”
Of course, it’s not as if boomers have never done any good. But Cuozzo attempts to overstate his generation’s accomplishments. He takes credit in his column for everything from the defeat of communism to the digital revolution. But boomer voters didn’t control the government until the 1990s. The Greatest Generation deserves credit for winning the Cold War, not boomers. And the absurdity speaks for itself that he tries to give credit for the “digital revolution” to the generation that is still figuring out Facebook.
No individual deserves blame for the faults of a whole generation. But boomers ought to give their generation’s legacy an honest reckoning and realize that maybe, just maybe, the kids have a point.
– The Washington Examiner
Young people’s hatred for baby boomers is completely justified
by Brad Polumbo