Generational Dynamics: Forecasting America's Destiny Generational
 Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's


Generational Dynamics Web Log for 11-Aug-2009
The Revenge of the Boomers

Web Log - August, 2009

The Revenge of the Boomers

The opposition to the health care plan is being led by "angry old folks," as I heard them described on MSNBC the other day.

In fact the opposition is being led by seniors (i.e., Boomers), and polls show that barely one-third of seniors support President Obama's health care plan.

For years, President Obama expressed his dislike of Boomers, his mouth dripping with contempt. That opinion is shared by other Generation-Xers, many of whom hate Boomers simply because they're Boomers.

(See "Barack Obama to Boomers: Drop dead!" and "The nihilism and self-destructiveness of Generation X.")

Now the Boomers are finally getting revenge against this contempt by Obama and his supporters.

It's really not surprising that Boomers are furious with Obama, given the stream of contemptuous remarks directed at Boomers by Obama's supporters.

For example, Paul Krugman, who won the Nobel Prize in Economics because of his hatred for Boomer President Bush, wrote the following in recent column, entitled "The Town Hall Mob":

"And cynical political operators are exploiting that anxiety to further the economic interests of their backers.

Does this sound familiar? It should: it’s a strategy that has played a central role in American politics ever since Richard Nixon realized that he could advance Republican fortunes by appealing to the racial fears of working-class whites.

Many people hoped that last year’s election would mark the end of the “angry white voter” era in America. Indeed, voters who can be swayed by appeals to cultural and racial fear are a declining share of the electorate."

The implication is that the Boomers are being driven by exploitive political operators and by racism. Stuff like this can only infuriate the Boomers further.

It's ironic that Krugman refers to President Richard Nixon, because it's President Obama who's attempting to do exactly the same thing that President Nixon did. President Nixon imposed wage-price controls, with absolutely disastrous effects on the economy. (See "Obama's health plan, a proposal of economic insanity, appears to be losing support.")

This is Economics 1.01. If health care costs have been increasing faster than inflation, it's because the demand for health care services exceeds the supply, driving prices up. There's no other credible possibility. This has led to rationing and attempted price controls, implemented by the insurance industry.

Boomers understand at some level that President Obama's health care plan is an attempt to change the rationing equation so that Boomers receive less health care and Gen-Xers receive more. Since Obama's plan doesn't create any new doctors or hospitals, the supply of health care will not increase, and so Obama's health plan will not reduce price increases. It will simply rearrange the rationing priorities away from Boomers toward Gen-Xers.

If that were the only result, it wouldn't be so bad. But Obama is channeling President Nixon, using the disastrous approach that Nixon used. Nixon's wage-price controls did not merely fail to control wages and prices; it screwed up the economy so badly that the inflation rate snapped back to over 10%. President Obama's health care wage-price controls would drive doctors out of the system, and would screw up the health care system in other ways as well, resulting in a mess much worse than the current system.

But President Obama and his supporters do not understand Economics 1.01. Instead, they're resorting to vicious ideological attacks on their Boomer-led opponents, a strategy that will drive Boomers up the wall. Obama's ideological attack on Boomers cannot be anything but a political disaster.

Krugman is part of the mainstream press that's completely supporting Obama's campaign. (See "Vile 'teabagging' jokes signal the deterioration of CNN and NBC news.")

This is turning into quite a bonanza for Fox News Channel, which is seeing its ratings surge, because it's the only mainstream news channel that presents boths sides of the health care issue, and which shows respect, rather than contempt, for Boomers.

The following chart shows the cable news ratings for Thursday, August 6. It compares the number of viewers for the five cable news networks (HLN is CNN's Headline News). All numbers are in the thousands of viewers:

    Network  Total day   Afternoon (5-6 pm ET)    Prime Time (8-9 pm ET)
    -------  ---------   ----------------------   ----------------------
    FNC       1395       Glenn Beck        2427   O’Reilly Factor   3716
    CNN        529       Situation Room     600   Campbell Brown     879
    MSNBC      402       Hardball/Matthews  600   Keith Olbermann   1070
    CNBC       193       Fast Money         231   CNBC Reports       111
    HLN        307       Prime News         210   Nancy Grace        946

As usual, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly draws more viewers than all four of the other networks combined. His lead over his competitors has been increasing, and now Glenn Beck is accomplishing the same thing for Fox News in a different time slot.

As I say over and over again on this web site, massive shifts in attitudes and behaviors of people are extremely significant. The "Revenge of the Boomers" and the trend toward Fox News appears more and more to be such a massive shift, and may portend even more vicious political battles between the Obama administration and its opponents this fall and next year.

This kind of vicious political battle is exactly what's predicted by generational theory, as the country goes deeper into a generational Crisis era. As I explained in "Basics of Generational Dynamics," this kind of vicious political bickering will end only when a "regeneracy event," such as a major financial crisis or a major terrorist attack on American soil, occurs and regenerates civic unity for the first time since the end of World War II.

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the President Barack Obama thread of the Generational Dynamics forum and the Fox News Channel vs CNN and MSNBC thread of the Generational Dynamics forum.) (11-Aug-2009) Permanent Link
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail
Donate to Generational Dynamics via PayPal

Web Log Pages

Current Web Log

Web Log Summary - 2016
Web Log Summary - 2015
Web Log Summary - 2014
Web Log Summary - 2013
Web Log Summary - 2012
Web Log Summary - 2011
Web Log Summary - 2010
Web Log Summary - 2009
Web Log Summary - 2008
Web Log Summary - 2007
Web Log Summary - 2006
Web Log Summary - 2005
Web Log Summary - 2004

Web Log - December, 2016
Web Log - November, 2016
Web Log - October, 2016
Web Log - September, 2016
Web Log - August, 2016
Web Log - July, 2016
Web Log - June, 2016
Web Log - May, 2016
Web Log - April, 2016
Web Log - March, 2016
Web Log - February, 2016
Web Log - January, 2016
Web Log - December, 2015
Web Log - November, 2015
Web Log - October, 2015
Web Log - September, 2015
Web Log - August, 2015
Web Log - July, 2015
Web Log - June, 2015
Web Log - May, 2015
Web Log - April, 2015
Web Log - March, 2015
Web Log - February, 2015
Web Log - January, 2015
Web Log - December, 2014
Web Log - November, 2014
Web Log - October, 2014
Web Log - September, 2014
Web Log - August, 2014
Web Log - July, 2014
Web Log - June, 2014
Web Log - May, 2014
Web Log - April, 2014
Web Log - March, 2014
Web Log - February, 2014
Web Log - January, 2014
Web Log - December, 2013
Web Log - November, 2013
Web Log - October, 2013
Web Log - September, 2013
Web Log - August, 2013
Web Log - July, 2013
Web Log - June, 2013
Web Log - May, 2013
Web Log - April, 2013
Web Log - March, 2013
Web Log - February, 2013
Web Log - January, 2013
Web Log - December, 2012
Web Log - November, 2012
Web Log - October, 2012
Web Log - September, 2012
Web Log - August, 2012
Web Log - July, 2012
Web Log - June, 2012
Web Log - May, 2012
Web Log - April, 2012
Web Log - March, 2012
Web Log - February, 2012
Web Log - January, 2012
Web Log - December, 2011
Web Log - November, 2011
Web Log - October, 2011
Web Log - September, 2011
Web Log - August, 2011
Web Log - July, 2011
Web Log - June, 2011
Web Log - May, 2011
Web Log - April, 2011
Web Log - March, 2011
Web Log - February, 2011
Web Log - January, 2011
Web Log - December, 2010
Web Log - November, 2010
Web Log - October, 2010
Web Log - September, 2010
Web Log - August, 2010
Web Log - July, 2010
Web Log - June, 2010
Web Log - May, 2010
Web Log - April, 2010
Web Log - March, 2010
Web Log - February, 2010
Web Log - January, 2010
Web Log - December, 2009
Web Log - November, 2009
Web Log - October, 2009
Web Log - September, 2009
Web Log - August, 2009
Web Log - July, 2009
Web Log - June, 2009
Web Log - May, 2009
Web Log - April, 2009
Web Log - March, 2009
Web Log - February, 2009
Web Log - January, 2009
Web Log - December, 2008
Web Log - November, 2008
Web Log - October, 2008
Web Log - September, 2008
Web Log - August, 2008
Web Log - July, 2008
Web Log - June, 2008
Web Log - May, 2008
Web Log - April, 2008
Web Log - March, 2008
Web Log - February, 2008
Web Log - January, 2008
Web Log - December, 2007
Web Log - November, 2007
Web Log - October, 2007
Web Log - September, 2007
Web Log - August, 2007
Web Log - July, 2007
Web Log - June, 2007
Web Log - May, 2007
Web Log - April, 2007
Web Log - March, 2007
Web Log - February, 2007
Web Log - January, 2007
Web Log - December, 2006
Web Log - November, 2006
Web Log - October, 2006
Web Log - September, 2006
Web Log - August, 2006
Web Log - July, 2006
Web Log - June, 2006
Web Log - May, 2006
Web Log - April, 2006
Web Log - March, 2006
Web Log - February, 2006
Web Log - January, 2006
Web Log - December, 2005
Web Log - November, 2005
Web Log - October, 2005
Web Log - September, 2005
Web Log - August, 2005
Web Log - July, 2005
Web Log - June, 2005
Web Log - May, 2005
Web Log - April, 2005
Web Log - March, 2005
Web Log - February, 2005
Web Log - January, 2005
Web Log - December, 2004
Web Log - November, 2004
Web Log - October, 2004
Web Log - September, 2004
Web Log - August, 2004
Web Log - July, 2004
Web Log - June, 2004

Copyright © 2002-2016 by John J. Xenakis.