Baby Boomers are retiring. Most are now starting to take their pensions and Social Security. The more fortunate are beginning to dip into their IRAs and 401Ks.
As we reach this milestone, our views tend to harden. We are growing less tolerant. Some may call it cranky. We don’t buy a lot of the nonsense that is shoved down our throats by so many of the so called experts on television. We frequently find ourselves yelling back at them.
We are even less tolerant of all the politically correct BS. As our circulation slows, we look forward to spending more time in warmer climates. So, the Global Warming ruse doesn’t scare us a bit. We are oblivious to the snickers of our kids or our comfortable clothing choices.
The cat calls from the Left have little effect either. We acknowledge that we are mostly white, middle class and have faith in God. We worked hard, sacrificed to pay for braces and tuition. Along the way, we paid off the mortgage. So, call us any name you want. We are not homophobic haters and are quite comfortable in our now sagging skin. We are not easily cowed. More than some Americans, we relate to people like Rush Limbaugh, Donald Trump and William Barr.
If there is one thing that makes our thinning hair stand on end, it is the growing sense that we have been lied to. We’ve started to figure a few things out. And we are getting crankier.
For decades we were told by experts that we had to make “investments” in one government program after the next. Oh, they never said that they really just wanted to grow government. No, we were making investments in people or in children. If we had a dollar for every time we were told that our investment in public education was the best investment we could make, we could all retire more comfortably. Here in Minnesota, the per pupil investment in our public schools has increased by 23 percent over the last ten years. This while Social Security COLA’s have increased by only 15.6 percent. Do test scores reflect a very good return on that additional investment?
Against our better judgment, we have allowed our taxes to go up and up. With only a few exceptions, spending (and thus taxes) at all levels of government has grown at rates that far outpaced inflation. The property taxes on our home here in Rochester have gone up 41.3 percent in just the last five years. We could have invested that money ourselves and received a nice return. We’ve been forced to reduce our standard of living to subsidize others. We were promised that if we would just allow the enlightened to build bigger and better safety nets, everyone would be better off. The welfare state grew. Our national well-being did not.
Higher education was said to be the best investment of all. A college education, we were told, was the key to a better future. So, we dug a little deeper to subsidize the denizens of Leftist indoctrination. First, through our taxes and state support. Second, through ever-increasing tuitions. Kids were forced to run up mountains of debt to pay for diplomas, many of which are worth only slightly more than the sheepskin they are written on.
The same voices lied to us about immigration. How many times have we been told that illegal immigrants and refugees “contribute so much to our economy?” Poppycock! If you still believe that, just drive through the large sections of Minneapolis that now resemble a third world country. Taxpayer subsidies have ballooned. The promised contribution hasn’t found its way back to those of us who have been pulling the wagon and paying the bills.
The day for payback has come. Baby boomers are expecting real dividends from their IRAs and other investments. We want dividends on those decades of public investments as well. No excuses. We demand tax cuts and we want them now! President Trump has delivered. Now it’s time for state and local officials to follow suit.
A national tax revolt is brewing among cranky baby boomers. And we vote.
Gil Gutknecht served six terms each in the Minnesota and the U.S. House of Representatives. He writes about healthcare and political issues of the day.