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ROBB AUSTIN'S TURN

Baby Boomers Learn From Their Choices

September 29, 2009

It’s been pretty well discussed that the baby boom generation grew up with an entitlement mentality - believing they would enjoy a far better lifestyle than their parents did.

The baby boomers took it for granted they would be happier, move into larger homes, have a better education, earn more money, experience a more perfect government, and live longer than their parents.

It did not work out that way for most of them.

Boomers soon learned that personal success and a healthy prosperity were more often the result of what choices they made rather than some natural order of things.

Many fell far short of their once lofty goals and found their lives to be more complicated than they had once hoped. While they are generally more educated than their parents, they have found themselves to be buried in a mountain of debt as a result of their thirst for acquiring and possessing the newest and latest toys and gadgets throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Many will be forced to work well into their 70s to make ends meet because they were unable to save enough money to enjoy retirement at an earlier age.

The generation that followed the baby boomers - often referred to as Generation X - also feels entitled to a healthy and prosperous way of life, and they see a government run healthcare system as one way to achieve it.

It is little wonder that Generation X is at the core of President Barrack Obama’s support for his healthcare program - and these individuals can’t for the life of themselves figure out why everyone doesn’t want the option of enrolling in some sort of government-run health program.

No where was this more pronounced than in a recent Washington Post news article - where several Generation X individuals were interviewed - some actually dissing those who, unlike themselves, want to keep the healthcare coverage they currently have.

"I don’t know what everyone is so afraid of," a 40-year old woman was reported to have said, adding, "I don’t know what amazing coverage these people have that they’re so afraid of losing."

This goes to the core of an entitlement mentality: if you don’t think like I do - there is something obviously wrong with you! This woman is a school teacher and her husband is a lawyer - and they have employee-sponsored health coverage, the article said.

They have three small children yet she still complained about the "nickel-dime" experience when her young son recently broke his leg. "I just feel like we’re always having to pay $50 bucks here, $100 bucks there,"she said, adding, "and I had to write a check for $5 for cast material."

In the same article, a 36 year-old married woman, whose husband had recently lost his job, is also looking for government help. She wants Congress to do "something" but she recently made the decision not to work so that she can devote her time to home schooling one of her three young children.

Generation X will soon find out what the baby boomer generation found out years ago - there is no guarantee what the future will hold - and prosperity is ultimately about what choices you make.

We’ll know soon whether a government run-option will be part of any national healthcare system - but if it is - most thoughtful people understand it will be expensive and there will be plenty of red tape to go along with it. No doubt those who now want such a system will later complain that it was not designed properly to meet their needs.

It seems that entitlement - to a better life - continues to be handed down to the next generation by the preceding one.

Truth is: prosperity always comes down to what choices you make.