WATCH: Baby boomer politicians have got to go

Salon talks to Bruce Cannon Gibney about "A Generation of Sociopaths," the mess created by boomers and the future

Alli Joseph
March 19, 2017 4:30PM (UTC)

This Salon Talks Video was produced by Alexandra Clinton

Bruce Cannon Gibney's new book “A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America,” suggests that the millennial generation has inherited the insolvent and selfish ways of their parents, the baby boomers. In his book, Gibney claims that much of the generation born between 1946 and 1964 is financially irresponsible and cares little for others.  Gibney's thesis suggests that the boomers have squandered the greatest inheritance in history, and that they are known as the "me generation" for a reason.

"The boomers have bequeathed a situation which may make it extremely difficult for the millennials to live up to their own aspirations," said Bruce Cannon Gibney.

"I think they raised their children as best they could on an individual level," he continued. "Unfortunately, they pursued policies that will make it extremely difficult for their children to be all they can be."


Gibney noted the literature suggests that those who suffer from early life income losses never recover.

"In 2030 when we inherit this mess, we will have World War II levels of debt, we will have unaddressed climate change, social security will be about to run partially insolvent — that happens in 2034." All of this is a result, Gibney claims, of the political and personal choices of the boomer generation.

In direct opposition to their parents, research shows that millennials overwhelmingly look for social good in companies they work for, but aren't necessarily prepared to work harder. "For however much young people want to do a good job, when you arrive at a very stressful time in history when all the problems were in fact actually avoidable — and that's the true tragedy —  asking people to behave incredibly selflessly gets harder and harder," Gibney said.


So what does Gibney suggest we can do to turn around the mistakes of the boomer generation? Vote and be financially prudent. "Don't expect too much from the boomer government," he said. "Save, to the extent that you can. Plan for a long working life, and every two years when you have the chance to go into the voting booth, ask yourself if your representative, your senator, your . . . president, has really done a good job for you. If the answer is no, then vote them out. "

Since most people vote for incumbents and most of the incumbents are boomers, Gibney says, his thesis suggests that "most of the boomers should be viewed with at least some degree of suspicion." And why does Gibney think this? "If you want to look for causality, just look at the people who've been in charge, and the people who have benefited from these policies," he concluded. "They are overwhelmingly boomer politicians. Let's get rid of them. Certainly 25-30 years is more than enough."

Alli Joseph

Alli Joseph is a writer/producer and family historian; a Native New Yorker, she is a member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation.

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