We haven’t heard any serious talk of entitlement reform, which those in our demographic really see as necessary to ensure the long-term stability of these programs intended for our benefit. For a start, the retirement age on Generation X and those that follow should be raised — and not by a few months or a couple of years. We’re all likely to live into our 80s, our kids will live past 100 and in a New Economy with more college-educated workers and fewer manufacturing jobs, not as many of us are likely to retire in the classical sense anyway.
Generation X should keep track of how congressional members vote on various fiscal cliff components. In 2014 we should, like so many other interest groups in the U.S., hold those who vote for others’ benefits at our expense accountable for their decisions. We cannot and should not continue to vote in dismal numbers as the “grownups” make decisions that directly affect us and our families.
If, and most likely when, our taxes go up, Washington shouldn’t be surprised by the corresponding decline in spending. We simply won’t have as much disposable income with which to buy new products or start or grow a business.
Or perhaps we’ll stage our own generational capital strike. Forgoing Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be a short-term disappointment, but in the end, how many more flat-screen televisions or Apple devices do we need? Instead, maybe we’ll pay down our debt and save for important things like our kids’ education.
For now we seem destined to sit quietly drinking our chocolate milk and hoping for dessert and a later bedtime while the adults make decisions on our behalf — using our own piggy banks. Just don’t expect us to be happy about it, or to make it a habit, because when it’s finally our turn to take our seats with the grownups, we might just turn the old table over, turkey and all.