Skip to comments.Greatest Generation the Most Entitled
Posted on 03/07/2013 5:44:14 AM PST by Kaslin
One thing nearly everybody agrees upon is that the "sequester" is a silly sideshow to the real challenge facing America: unsustainable spending on entitlements. Ironies abound. Democrats, with large support from young people, tend to believe that we must build on the legacy bequeathed to us by the New Deal and the Great Society. Republicans, who marshaled considerable support from older voters in their so-far losing battle against Obamacare, argue that we need to start fresh.
Perhaps it's time for both sides to consider an underappreciated fact of American life: The system we are trying to perpetuate was created for the explicit benefit of the so-called greatest generation, the most coddled and cared for cohort in American history.
I don't mean to belittle or demean the heroic efforts and sacrifices of those who served in World War II. But the idea that a whole generation deserves credit for what only some did is little more than an attempt to buy glory on the cheap. One of the egalitarian precepts that all Americans are supposed to subscribe to is the idea that one citizen isn't more worthy than another, simply by accident of birth. If you stormed the beaches of Normandy, you are due praise and honor. If you were simply born the same year as those who stormed the beaches, you're no more deserving of praise than someone born of any other generation.
Moreover, government was bending to the needs of the greatest generation -- for good and ill -- long before they did anything great. Historians William Strauss and Neil Howe made this argument in their famous 1991 opus "Generations." Before Tom Brokaw dubbed them the "greatest generation," Howe and Strauss called them the "GI Generation."
"The initials GI can stand for two things -- 'general issue' and 'government issue' -- and this generation's life cycle has stood squarely for both," they wrote. "The GI life cycle has shown an extraordinary association with the growth of modern government activity, much of it directed toward whatever phase of life they occupied."
When GIs were children, the White House held its first Conference on Children, and Congress created the first U.S. Children's Bureau and passed the first federal child labor law. They benefited from government-run schools in large numbers, and after the war from the aptly named GI Bill. And when the first wave of GIs approached old age, Howe and Strauss noted, the White House held its first Conference on Aging. Congress created the National Institute on Aging and passed the first federal age discrimination law.
"The entire modern growth in government spending has coincided with the duration of their adult life cycle," the authors noted.
Also, the GI Generation was deferential to authority long before anyone was asked to fight the Nazis. It was the most "uniformed generation" in U.S. history, the historians wrote. Nearly all the scouting organizations -- Boy Scouts (1910), Girl Scouts (1912), 4-H Clubs (1914) -- were launched to accommodate the GI.
Despite nostalgia for the New Deal, people forget how militaristic it was. President Franklin D. Roosevelt conceived of the New Deal as a "moral equivalent of war" effort and promised to use the tactics of World War I to fight the Depression. Nearly all the New Deal agencies were modeled on the war agencies of the Wilson administration. The Civilian Conservation Corps turned 3 million men into a paramilitary "tree army."
The National Recovery Administration, run by former general Hugh "Iron Pants" Johnson, aimed to organize the economy along the lines of war mobilization. On Sept. 13, 1933, he organized the largest parade New York had ever seen. Tens of thousands of workers marched in military fashion celebrating the mascot of the NRA, the "Blue Eagle." Similar militaristic pageants were held across the country.
FDR explained the purpose of the Blue Eagle in a fireside chat: "In war, in the gloom of night attack," he crooned, "soldiers wear a bright badge on their shoulders to be sure that comrades do not fire on comrades. On that principle, those who cooperate in this program must know each other at a glance. That is why we have provided a badge of honor for this purpose."
I have neither the space nor the inclination to pronounce on what was good or bad about all this. But as Washington grapples with the legacy costs of the "greatest generation" -- including the unsustainable burden of paying the retirement bills for the GIs' supremely entitled children, the Baby Boomers, perhaps it is at least worth recognizing that the government and the culture designed to benefit one generation has come at the cost of those that come after it.
The greatest generation went to save Europe and lost America.
A guy who’s never put on his nation’s uniform is belittling the military service of men who risked their life and health for America. Nice. No wonder we can’t win elections any more.
” But as Washington grapples with the legacy costs of the “greatest generation” — including the unsustainable burden of paying the retirement bills for the GIs’ supremely entitled children, the Baby Boomers, perhaps it is at least worth recognizing that the government and the culture designed to benefit one generation has come at the cost of those that come after it.”
The above statement is spot on. Before I say what I’m going to say, let me say first; my dad was a decorated WWII combat veteran. Had one uncle KIA’ed in WWII. Had another uncle and an older cousin serve in the Big One. I am a Vietnam veteran. So, I have a great deal of admiration for those who served for sure. But, and here it is, the Greatest Generation, after WWII eventually took power in government and the private sector. Consequently, this generation shaped post war America into their vision of what they thought it should be. Because many of them served and many lost husbands, fathers, uncles, brothers, etc, designed the subsequent draft law so that their children (baby boomers/Vietnam generation) could easily evade it. There were several ways one could do so; marriage ( this one was eliminated about 1965 I think because just about anybody could take advantage of it, no power or political influence necessary) college, teacher, firemen, police, work for a co in defense industry, Peace Corp, Certain gov jobs such as congressional aides, Reserves or National Guard ( a very few technical and air units served in Vietnam but not many). So, those draft age kids whose ole man had some pull were able to quite easily avoid serving. This started the ball rolling for the baby boomer entitlement syndrome. In my way of thinking, this may have been the greatest disservice done to this country by the Greatest Generation. Sorry I was so long winded, my bad :)
I respect Goldberg, but this is stretching it way too far.
I first became aware of the “Gimme Generation” (long before Tome Brokaw came on the scene) when the lady who lived next door to my parents started going to the nearby church to get her freebies. She didn’t need them, didn’t even want them (to her credit, I suppose, she turned around & gave them away - like to my parents, who also didn’t need them.)
Nevertheless, she would go collect her butter, cheese & peanut butter. It opened my eyes. I started paying attention to “free stuff”. Anything that was being given away, they were all over it - again, whether they needed it or wanted it. Next time you’re at a trade show/expo, watch them. Reminds me of kids at an Easter egg hunt.
Isn’t this the same generation that understood (maybe even developed) the principle, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”? I”m convinced there’s an underlying greediness that also makes them susceptible to something-for-nothing scams.
The Greatest Generation reared lousy kids.
Try reading the article. It’s right there.
No, he is quite expressly separating those out who risked their lives from those who simply were born in the same generation.
His larger point, though I’m not sure why he gets tangled in military and paramilitary weeds here, is that our old folks now are benefiting from a level of government largesse that is on average several times what the put into the system, bankrupting our country by the day, and not sustainable for those who follow.
A simple truth that that generation doesn’t like to hear or acknowledge.
FU GENERATIONAL ENVY AND BLAME
whatever fault every generation before us here
They sure the ______ beat hell outta what i see around me today at age 55
Look at your paystub. SS and MC are deductions that are specific for those programs. Income tax is a different deduction.
SS and MC are supppppoooooosssed to have a separate Trust Fund, OAS/DI, where surplus contributions have always been kept. The funds in total have about $2.5 trillion in them.
Trouble is, it was “””””invested”””” (barf, barf, cough) in Treasury bonds.
If anyone can’t figure out what’s going on here, you need to really sit down, squeeze your brain, and think very hard.
Ask for help if you need it.
Mr. Goldberg ably demonstrates that function of National Review, to frame the conservative argument on behalf of new world order.
A good place to start learning about new world order is to do some research on American International Corporation, founded in 1915.
The “greatest generation” term was brought into prominence by Tom Brokaw, in his book of the same title.
Tom Brokaw is on the Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations, the unelected, invitation-only, Wall Street-founded, unmentioned in the wider news media, unmentioned in school textbooks, arm of new world order that has comprised the leadership of U.S. Foreign policy for about 90 years.
Can you think of a more deceptive and manipulative tactic, than to label that “generation”, one that was massively deceived like all others, as somehow “better” than others ? Just think of the swelling pride, jealousy, etc., that the label stirs up in the general public.
Think McFly, think !
Conservative news media personnel, for the most part, are completely unaware that they are working in the interests of new world order.
They think they are working on behalf of “big business”, “Wall Street”, etc.
Since the history of wall street and its pursuit of new world order is never mentioned in schools or textbooks, it is effectively “not part of history”, so it is viewed as a wacky conspiracy theory.
Let's just admit that we trusted our government, who sold us a lie, and who now tries to foment us to blame the injustice they caused on each other, instead of on them, where it belongs.
Let's get rid of them, face reality, and try to rebuild our society without the idea that we can use governemnt to take money form each other. We all know this, deep in our hearts, and just because they have whispered the opposite to us for 80 years, is no reason to go on believing it.
TOWNHALL.COM HACK ALERT!
“One thing nearly everybody agrees upon is that the “sequester” is a silly sideshow to the real challenge facing America: unsustainable spending on entitlements. Ironies abound.”
Like Dubya and a GOP Congress passing the 7 Trillion dollar Medicare Part D debacle? Odd how Jonah leaves that ironic part out.
I graduated from college in 1969 and joined the Marine Corps. My memory of those times is somewhat different from yours. Your college deferment reverted back to IA once you graduated and it was very difficult to get into the National Guard or the Reserves. Most of the baby boomers that I know do not have the “Baby Boomer Entitlement Syndrome.” We served our country in time of war; went to college and earned a marketable degree; got a good job; got married and raised a family; paid our taxes and voted; saved for our retirement and many, including myself, retired early.
I see the same thing in an 88 year old client of mine. (I’m a Health Aide) This behavior “pads” the rolls of the needy, giving Gov. agencies ammo to claim that poverty, etc., is getting worse. It also, I believe, has to do with the Great Depression, as those who experienced it as children seemingly WILL NOT throw anything away.
The boomers produces almost 9.5 million veterans, overwhelmingly volunteers, Vietnam was overwhelmingly volunteers, unlike WWII which was overwhelmingly draftee (the army was manned by 93% draftees, the Navy Coast Guard and Marines had large numbers of draftees).
Those old leaders lost Vietnam while the boomers were winning every battle.
The boomers are just now finishing up military service with these last couple of wars of the last decade, but boomers were the last great warrior generation, and a very sizable percentage of the men of that generation served.
While the old leaders made the political decision to keep a low profile by not calling up the Reserves and Guard in a big way, they still accounted for more than 10% of our dead in Vietnam.
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