According to the recent Pew Social & Demographic Trends study,
The current (generational wealth) gap is unprecedented. In 1984, the age-based wealth gap had been 10:1. By 2009, it had ballooned to 47:1. Older people today have 47 times more money than younger people; and they have 42% more wealth than their same-aged counterparts in 1984, while the younger generation has 68% less than theirs.
Someone needs to use the Pew data and write on the Silent & Boomer Generations’ little cut of our era’s class war. We should be able to talk about how the younger generations were sold out, without the Republicans co-opting the discussion for their anti- working class institutions (Medicare, social security) campaigns.
Sources of intergenerational (young to old) wealth transfer: housing bubble, privatized education & student loan debt, deunionization & stagnant incomes, pension funds & bank bailouts.
And that’s not even talking what devastation they wrought on the environment, just to keep floating atop their magical oil geyser kingdom. With sincerest apologies to that punk Tom Brokaw, the point is not that some generations are holier or more evil than others. The point is that we need to learn how to recognize when we’re selling out the future, stop ourselves from selling out the future, and formulate a real sense of wealth (cf J. Schor). In order to see class war, we need to be able to see how class warfare strategically manages (inter alia) generation divides.