.

Dear Greatest Generation:

I respect what you did for your generation, but if the "Greatest Generation" doesn't start looking out for future generations, the history books of tomorrow may have to rename you.

 

I was raised by my grandmother and grandfather, both members of what we have respectfully come to know as "The Greatest" Generation," so what I have to say about that generation is not easy for me to do . . .

Our "Greatest Generation" fought foreign wars in Europe and Asia, fought for workers' rights, fought for womens' liberation, and fought against social justice and equality in our own country. This generation gave their lives and their livelihoods for the American dream, and in return, when they retire they receive pensions from their employers, financial help from their government known as social security and medical coverage and treatment from their government, either through Medicare, Medicaid or the VA. But now, this "Greatest Generation," who was so willing to sacrifice for the greater good of their generation so many years ago has turned a selfish blind eye to future generations as we let so many of those things they fought for slip away.

Depending on which polls you look at on which day, seniors prefer Mitt Romney over President Obama by between 4% and 20%, so there no doubt that our "Greatest Generation" heavily favors the GOP ticket, a ticket that is telling America that we need to do away with the very programs and social safety nets that the Greatest Generation fought so hard for. If Mitt Romney wins in November, it will be in large part to the votes of senior citizens voicing their opinion that the programs their generation is living off of right now are too good for their children and grandchildren.

Military

The Greatest Generation fought foreign wars in Germany, Japan and Korea. Our involvement in WWII lasted five years, and when our men and women were released from serving their country overseas, they were greeted with the GI Bill, which gave vets low-cost mortgages and paid college tuition.

My generation has served in foreign wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Iraq (again). Our second war in Iraq lasted almost twice as long as our involvement in WWII, but when congress convened to pass a second GI Bill to the vets of that war, GOP hawks who never served a day of military service in their life like Paul Ryan voted against legislation that provided critical funding for veterans health care, including funds to enhance medical services for active duty forces, mobilized personnel and their family members and $1.7 billion for veterans’ health care priorities including maintenance at VA health care facilities like Walter Reed.

Now Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan's budget is calling for a 20% cut in VA spending, but a $2 trillion increase in active military spending and is rattling the sabre in the face of Iran, Syria, North Korea and Russia. The last thing we need is to send young men and women to another foreign war and then dump on them when the come home -And yet the retired military and VFW members across the country are going in droves for the Romney/Ryan ticket. That is not reflective of the "Greatest Generation" that I know.

Social Justice

When our men went overseas to fight in WWII our women stepped up and did the hard jobs in factories and ship yards that kept our nation afloat. When the men came home and used their GI Bill to go to college, land good-paying jobs with benefits and pensions and then buy housing, those women stepped aside and returned home to raise families, but just a short walk down the road they were instrumental in paving the way for womens' liberation in the workplace and in social issues.

The women of the Greatest Generation led the fight for the right for a woman to choose and to have autonomy over her own body. They led the fight for a woman to receive equal pay for equal work in their place of employment - But now our Greatest Generation is willing to throw those hard-earned rights into the trash and move womens' lib back 50 years by voting in Mitt  Romney and Paul Ryan, who believe that old men in Washington should make personal family planning choices for the women of today while allowing them to earn less pay for equal work. The Greatest Generation is helping to move us backward.

Social Safety Nets

Social security was designed to be part of a three-legged stool for retirees to stand on when they reach that age. The first part was their personal savings, the second; their pension, the third; social security. It also provided benefits to the survivors of an untimely death. Now the Republican ticket, heavily backed by seniors who are collecting social security (62 million) relying on Medicare benefits (39 million) and who attend the VA for treatment (6 million) are willing to vote in Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan who believe that social security is a Ponzi scheme and should be privatized, that Medicare should be voucherized and capped and who want to cut spending to the VA by 20%.

The "Greatest Generation" is willing to put their faith in a man who made his fortune buying struggling businesses, suffocating them with debt, then forcing them to first cut benefits and pensions and finally to unload employees so that he and is company could make millions.

Greedy, selfish people like Mitt Romney are precisely the reason why employers no longer offer pensions, but rather risky, low-reward 401K programs instead. If we had taken Paul Ryan's advice during the Bush years and privatized Social Security, every senior would have lost their ass and they would be living in their grandkids' basements right now.

If the "Greatest Generation" is willing throw out the social safety nets they so heavily rely on for their own children and grandchildren, we will be left with a one-legged stool made up entirely of our savings - no social security, no pensions, and limited, if not depleted Medicare coverage.

College

 With the cost of college unattainable for most middle class families without affordable loans and government grants, today's generation their will enter adulthood saddled with personal debt that the Greatest Generation never knew.

Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney want to cut Pell Grants to middle-class and low-income families and think that if a child wants to go to college, they should simply "borrow from their parents" like Mitt did. Mitt's father was a multi-millionaire and Paul Ryan paid for college with his father's Social Security death benefit.

Barack Obama has increases the amount of financial aide available to more than 7 million more college students and his party has lowered the interest rate on student loans by eliminating private parties making hand over fist profits.

The Greatest Generation used the GI Bill to attend college virtually free because they rid the world of Nazis, but my generation, and the next generation who is trying desperately to rid the world of Al Qaeda and police terrorists across the globe are faced with rising tuition and employers who refuse to offer pensions and are willing to ship the jobs of our vets to China if they even smell the hint of a bigger profit - And this is precisely how Mitt Romney made his millions.

Patriotism

The Greatest Generation proudly wears their VFW hats and displays their American flags high in their front yards, but they are all too willing to vote in Mitt Romney, who has shipped more jobs to China than UPS will ship Christmas presents this year. The Greatest Generation is willing to vote in Mitt Romney because they perceive the GOP as being "tougher" on immigration and a truer patriot compared to Barack Obama - despite the fact that President Obama has deported more illegal immigrants than any other President in American history - And let's not ignore the fact that Mitt Romney is NO patriot, keeping millions of dollars in the Cayman Islands in order to avoid American taxes (this makes sense though, since his family emigrated here from Mexico). That's right, the Romney's fled America about 100 years ago so they could practice polygamy in Mexico without persecution, and only crawled back into America when the civil war in Mexico became too dangerous for Romney's grandfather and his five wives.

Conclusion

I know for a fact that the members of the "Greatest Generation" in my own family are having a difficult time on a month-to-month basis despite the fact that they have a three-legged stool made up of Social Security, personal savings and a pension to stand on. If we vote Romney/Ryan in 2012, future generations will have to do with two of the three legs on that stool missing and a heavily-depleted third leg trying to hold us up.

I respect what you did for your generation, but if the "Greatest Generation" doesn't start looking out for future generations, the history books of tomorrow may have to rename you the "Greediest Generation."

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jay Sykes October 26, 2012 at 07:24 PM
@Craig.... The FICA tax, that Randy talks about being doubled in the Reagan years to keep Social Security financially sound, actually needed to be doubled in the Kennedy years, to accommodate the baby boom while keeping Social Security financially sound.
Greg October 26, 2012 at 07:25 PM
I've got five that says his head flat out explodes.
Randy1949 October 26, 2012 at 07:27 PM
@CowDung -- I have to report that the first time my family experienced a job with rapid turnover was in 1990 -- hire as a full-time permanent position, lay off because the project was over, hire someone else half a year later. People told us when it happened that this company had a reputation for doing this, and they were an anomaly at the time. Unfortunately, over the next decade, it became a pattern.
Michael McClusky October 26, 2012 at 07:29 PM
@CowDung Beginning in 1991 US businesses gave their employees raises that were always below the annual inflation rate. Economists call a person's 'real wage', as an indicator of what the spending power is derived from one's paycheck. Companies could care less about their actual spending power. Anyway, this caused people to switch jobs in order to keep up with inflation. That is what happened in the 90's. These days the inflation rate is much higher just as medium household income is actually declining. The business community hasn't figured that this can cut into their sales. Don't worry- give 'em time- these idiots will wake up and realize that their customers don't have any more money.
CowDung October 26, 2012 at 07:34 PM
It wouldn't surprise me if he spends hours each day trying to reconcile his 'I Recalled Scott Walker Today' button with the fact that Walker is still in office...
CowDung October 26, 2012 at 07:40 PM
What great event are you claiming that supposedly signaled all companies to start giving sub-inflation rate raises in 1991? I'm also unclear as to how someone would get a better wage at a different company since they were all decreasing payroll. I'm also unclear as to how I seem to be an exception to that rule--my raises have always been at or above the rate of inflation since 1991. Certainly I can't be the only one...
Michael McClusky October 26, 2012 at 07:56 PM
@CowDung I did not say that wages were declining, I said that they were falling behind the inflation rate. Yes, in 1991 the economy was slow and the employers took advantage of it by keeping wages to a crawl. They kept this practice up, which led to more people switching jobs in the 90's because there were all sorts of jobs available. Back then everyone I knew took on a new job for better pay, benefits and working conditions. I found another job immediately that paid 2 dollars more an hour than my old job. Last month I was on a job search and found my old employer from 20 years ago. The starting pay was 50 cents higher than it was 20 years ago. CowDung, there are rotten companies out there and it is about time you realize it.
CowDung October 26, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Perhaps it is semantics, but if wages are falling behind the inflation rate, aren't they declining in terms of real spending power? Yes, there are rotten companies out there, but there are also great companies. Similarly, there are rotten employees out there, just like there are some great ones. You can't have it both ways, Michael. Either wages were at a crawl because unemployment was high, or wages were being pushed up because jobs were plentiful and easy to find.
Michael McClusky October 26, 2012 at 08:20 PM
@CowDung What I was saying was that there were jobs available in the 90's but employers still did not raise wages noticeably. The point is is that a person could find a higher paying employer back then because the market itself was labor friendly. My starting wage at my new job was higher than my old jobs' wage. This was quite common back then. The losers were the rotten companies that no one wanted to work for. Of course there are rotten employees out there. Years ago management used to frown on attitude problems of some employees. Now it is companies themselves with the attitude problem. Everyone is expendable and everyone knows it.
CowDung October 26, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Michael: In 1991, unemployment was rising and the economy wasn't doing so well. It's not a surprise that employers would be cutting back on labor costs--supply and demand were in their favor as the labor supply side was increasing. A couple of years later, unemployment was on the way down and employers were paying higher wages to attract workers. The supply-demand balance was tipped toward the employee's favor. Employees responded by leaving their employer and jumping to a job that offered better pay and benefits. Company loyalty was thrown by the wayside...
Michael McClusky October 26, 2012 at 09:12 PM
@CowDung Real wealth for most Americans has not improved in the last 20 years. In fact, our spending power has declined and that is why two incomes are needed now to support a family. It used to be one. Young people are real hesitant to start a new family. I don't blame them. The 90's were great because it benefitted the greatest amount of people. Employees, who are most Americans, were happy to go to work for companies of their own choosing. If an employer could not keep people or could not attract new people, then I say tough luck. Improve the situation. The overall business community is doing quite well now- thank you. The standard of living is declining in the US, but profits have never been higher and the sky is the limit. I am more concerned about families getting by than the wonderful world of profit margins.
CowDung October 26, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Michael: That's not the reason why two incomes are needed now to support a family. We only think we need two incomes--we (as a society) aren't satisfied to live within our means. Average home sizes have grown tremendously since our parent's generation. Things like cable TV, cell phones, and a second or third automobile are believed to be 'necessities' rather than luxuries. Instead of the traditional station wagon that we had growing up, everyone now wants the expensive minivan. Adding such expenses to the household budget will often require two incomes to finance it. Profit margins and wages did rise during the 1990s. The trouble is that profits turned downward around 1995 and continued to decline while wages kept rising. When companies had difficulty finding and keeping workers, and workers were demanding higher and higher wages (even though profits were down), the choice became pretty easy to start looking overseas to fill the open jobs.
Craig October 26, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Jay: I know where you are coming from regarding the FICA tax, I do not dispute it. I do think that if the Gvt. would not have borrowed trillions from it, it would still be solvent for an extra decade or more. My memory may be off, but I thought the last time SS was raided for $1 Trillion was under Clinton? The point being, the TRUST fund was violated. It is backed by the faith and paying ability of the US Government. With exponential growth in Debt and deficit spending, the likelyhood of the ability to continue paying beyond 2030 is next to zero chance. Even with an increase in FICA, it is a day late and a dollar short. But I guess I am preaching to the choir, because I think we are on the same page.
James R Hoffa October 26, 2012 at 09:56 PM
@Taoist Croc - How is NObama's paranoia any different than the paranoia we all hear daily from the liberal lefty Democrats about Romney/Ryan?
Jim Price October 26, 2012 at 10:26 PM
@Craig @Randy1949 – "Holy crap" is, in my mind, well within the bounds of acceptable speech, and especially as an expression of sincere astonishment over you two finding common ground. I won't congratulate myself too much, but reading back over this thread since I put on my fourth-grade teacher's hobnailed boots and scolded everyone, the whole discussion got a lot more interesting, a lot more thoughtful, a lot more informative, and a lot more civilized. Maybe a few don't find that as much fun, because they are too juvenile to appreciate it, but I do.
Michael McClusky October 26, 2012 at 10:42 PM
@CowDung Wages did not dramatically rise in the 90's due to the tremendous influx of women into the workforce in the 80's. Costs of homes, cars, appliances and so forth kept rising, but the wages did not actually rise accordingly. Two incomes became the norm in order to maintain a standard of living that was slipping away. Whenever you dramatically increase the workforce, companies do better but the people do not. Jobs went overseas because the cost of living wasn't even a fraction of what it was in America. You could pay someone diddley-squat in the third world and he would be forever grateful for it. There was no way that the American people could compete to begin with. As for these days: look at the correlation between the drop in wages as compared to the steep rise in food costs. If this trend continues, then the young people will be paying a very large percentage of their income just to feed themselves. Kind of bleak if you ask me.
James R Hoffa October 26, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Hoffa thinks that this blog got way more attention than it originally deserved - over 100 comments and climbing for what amounts to little more than a Patzfahl temper-tantrum???
CowDung October 27, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Michael: You seem to be contradicting youself. First you agree that it was common during the 1990s to switch jobs for better pay and benefits. Then you go on to say that wages didn't rise dramatically. You can't have it both ways--if people are easily finding jobs at higher rates of pay, it seems pretty obvious that wages were rising. I seem to recall that even McDonalds was paying $10/hour and offering signing bonuses because workers were in such short supply... Companies always had the choice to send jobs overseas to pay the low labor rates. It wasn't until American wages were getting out of line with the value of the work being done that prompted businesses to outsource.
Michael McClusky October 27, 2012 at 01:45 AM
@CowDung What you said supports what I said. There were more jobs than there were workers in the 90's- that is how people switched jobs so easily. McDonald's and places like it still could not get enough people to work for them even with an offer of a higher wage. There were better jobs available than what fast food places could offer. I remember back then that if you needed someone to work on your house- well, good luck- because everyone was already employed. As for outsourcing jobs: that was really launched by the signing of NAFTA by Bill Clinton. Everyone I knew was against it. Clinton signed this Republican bill into law because big business saw an endless pool of labor that was as cheap as hell. It wasn't to benefit the American people whatsoever. It was to dramatically increase the profit margins regardless of how they treated their Mexican workers. These moves eventually convinced our domestic companies to downgrade labor costs whenever possible. When unemployment went up in 2008 and 2009, the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post both reported that the private sector saw it as an opportunity to put the screws to their employees. The very idea that their employees were actually worth something was swept away.
Walker October 27, 2012 at 02:46 PM
"The exact OPPOSITE are liberal values - whoa is me I am a victim because I am.... black, a women, short, gay, or any non-white male person." Us there it is; if you ain't a white male you ain't right. Wow, Archie Bunker lives!
Random Blog Commenter October 28, 2012 at 10:09 PM
"When my generation - the generation that fought two wars in Iraq and lived through a second Great Depression" Wow, to compare life in the 1930s and WWII to today is either pure ignorance or delusions of grandeur. Somebody really wants be both a hero and a victim.
Cricket October 28, 2012 at 10:44 PM
When my generation - the generation that fought two wars in Iraq and lived through a second Great Depression, will not retire with ANY of the social safety nets that the Greatest Generation did, thanks to greedy business men like Mitt Romney . . . Who was NOT a "maker" but a rather large "Taker". You are the taker Jason - by the way - when were your tours of dutie in Iraq? Please do not lump yourself in with any war vet - you don't have the cahones to go fight in any war. Every articles of yours just whines and whines and whines - poor me poor me poor me - do you know how pathetic that sounds? If you are so worried about lack of ss or a pension go out and get a real job and start saving your money like the rest of us.
JMB October 28, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Most of your generation that served in the military support Romney two to one. That is why the Dems do all they can not to count military votes. Your generation is being robbed by Obama. If he has 4 more years he will have added more to the debt than all Presidents combined. Every tax payer now owns 180,000 for the debt. If you look at the fact that 14% of your earnings are sent to the govt for SS, invested over 40 years would yield a huge nest egg that is your money. Your generation should want SS privatized. So with this much debt against the will of the people, we get Obamacare. The truth about libs like you is that you always need to blame someone, now it is our Senior citizens. Don't worry though Obamacare will take care of those greedy seniors.
Jason Patzfahl October 29, 2012 at 12:23 PM
It looks like its getting more hits now then ever before thanks to Karl Rove's PAC TV ad starring Clint Eastwood - so here is MY version of a TV ad staring Clint, just in case you missed it the first time . . . http://youtu.be/tR1qbIH33A0
Adam Wienieski October 30, 2012 at 02:51 AM
"(My generation) have lived and raised families through a second Great Depression which was caused by the policies of the GOP." People were eating out of garbage cans in the 1930's while Jason's idea of hardship is cutting back on lattes and not buying a new iPhone. There is so much more wealth today than 80 years ago he literally cannot comprehend the difference. Wealth created by property rights, innovation, imagination and enlightened self-interest; not one political party. It used to be called the American way of life and it was the reason men went to war and died--not some stinking nest egg.
Z-Carpentry.com November 02, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Is it safe to say that neither one of the candidates will meet all of our expectations and we have to choose between the lesser of two evils? This blog has been as informative as any political debate can be. Thanks, as my vote has been mentally casted already.
The Anti-Alinsky November 02, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Z-Carpentry.com wrote: "...we have to choose between the lesser of two evils..." No Z. We have the choice of the candidate who has shown he can reach across the aisle vs. the candidate that rammed through the most radical legislation ever created without reading it or allowing the public to read it AS PROMISED! We have a choice of the candidate who has a track record of creating jobs vs. the candidate who has done nothing but kill jobs. We have a choice of the candidate who can tackle tough issues vs the one that just keeps pointing the finger back to his predecessor. We have a choice of the candidate who will put the United States and her citizens first vs the apology tour candidate that refused to defend his own ambassador. And finally, we a choice of the candidate that we can fire in four years, or the candidate that should be fired NOW for failing to make progress ANY of the promises he made four years ago!
The Anti-Alinsky November 02, 2012 at 06:37 PM
we all saw it the first time Jason, and like the Bears, it still sucks!
Z-Carpentry.com November 02, 2012 at 06:56 PM
In all complete honesty and all bias aside.... Is America in a situation where "It has to get worse before it can get better?" Is America facing withdrawls and reprocussions of decisions made in the past? ... Can any of the candidates be honest with me and say YES there will sacrifices, but here in the long run and scheme of things, your sacrifice will gain x amount of progress... I wouldn't mind the LEAST popular PLAN.. if they had an actual plan and not just an IDEA... WHO can use Americas money and invest it the wisest to bring us out of debt.. does the money belong in the hands of the common man who may squander it or big business who may squander it as well? I dont see an income report for our countrys money, all I see is debt, can't America make any money?
Adam Wienieski November 04, 2012 at 03:22 PM
We've trusted the politicians and bureaucrats to run Medicare and it's on track to go bankrupt in 15 years. I always enjoy hearing progressives lament how Romney and Ryan want to change the program when if you're less than 50 years of age there is no Medicare. We can reform the program now in common sense fashion or we can wait until we're Greece and there's blood running in the streets. Guess which one the left wants you to worry about?

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