My parents got married in October 1945 the day after they were mustered out of the US Army Air Force at the end of WW II and I was born 9 months later as one of the vanguard “baby boomers”.
I turned 65 recently.
Like a lot of people in my generation we turned the country upside down with our civil rights sensitivities, our antiwar fervor, our enjoyment of rock’n roll, our rejection of the “Reefer Madness” film. John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King were our heroes. And that was the 1960’s.
We went on to graduate from college, get jobs, raise families, buy homes and cars, work for 40 years, and here we are looking at Social Security and Medicare now.
As my dad used to remind me, quoting Winston Churchill, “If you are not a liberal when you are 20 you have no heart. But if you’re not a conservative by the time you are 40 you have no brain.”
My political identity was solidly Democratic, I worked for a Democrat Congressman, and even did some speech writing for several Democrat presidential candidates in the 70’s. I guess I could be called a “political activist”.
But something happened along the way.
I started seeing a lot of great ideas to make the country better turned into dog vomit by mindless bureaucrats who could spend vast quantities of my tax money and produce nothing of value.
My career began to be focused on fighting stupid government regulations on behalf of the private sector and local governments. Oh the stories I can tell about stupid fed regs and bureaucrats.
But I was still a Democrat.
By the 1990’s I was paying taxes in an amount greater than most people in the country earn. And the sense grew that I would get more value for my money if I just flushed it down the toilet.
A decade ago I started getting these little annual reports from Social Security showing how much money I’d paid into the system and for Medicare. Trust me, I will not be using your tax money for my old age as I maxed out the annual deductions for many many years.
And like a lot of my generation I was seriously in debt assuming I’d always be able to keep earning enough money to pay all my bills. US boomers thought we were immortal and would always have jobs.
And then 2008 came along and my world crashed and burned.
I went from being totally self-sufficient to losing my income, wiping out my savings, seeing my home value drop to half of what my mortgage was, and had to take early Social Security at age 62 just to avoid ending up homeless under a bridge.
You bet I was pissed.
I’d worked hard all my life, paid my taxes, raised my kids, and done everything I was supposed to.
But a gang of Wall Street wizards wrecked the housing sector of our economy and nearly threw the country into a full-blown Depression.
Meanwhile the country was running vast deficits and giving tax breaks to everyone but me. Social Security and Medicare were at risk because of the financial melt-down.
But I was still a Democrat and voted for Barack Obama in 2008.
I kind of hoped he take names and kick some butt on Wall Street. Didn’t happen.
In 2010 I lost my health insurance and started praying I would not get seriously ill until I turned 65 and could get onto Medicare. Meanwhile my glaucoma got worse and by this summer I’d lost part of my vision in my right eye.
At this point I was pissed off enough to want to hunt down one of those Wall Street wizards and poke a stick into his right eye.
But the great reforms Obama supposedly achieved with his health care reform did absolutely nothing to deal with my situation. No job. No income. No health insurance.
Instead Wall Street got bailed out, GM got bailed out, and the federal government acted like a drunk with a credit card. The Wall Street pirates paid themselves bonuses.
I had, by now, learned how to live on what cash flow I had and credit is never going to be part of my life again….and that is true for a lot of my generation now.
We learned the hard way. My FICA is more of a “f*%k me”.
But our federal government seemed to want to keep borrowing and borrowing to pretend like the world had not changed, running up a giant debt my kids would have to pay off. $14 trillion !
The kids aree in their 30’s and are still paying off their student loans. Neither of them could get jobs with health insurance.
The kids do not believe there will be anything like Social Security or Medicare for them when they turn 65.
As Obama said in 2008, “you’re on your own”. They are, and it is very frustrating that there is not a whole lot I can do right now to better their situation. The federal government is not going to take care of my kids, nor create jobs so they can support themselves, and I’ve lost the ability to do what every parent wants to do…help them out.
I’m pissed off and I feel like a failed parent as well.
In the last year I’ve gotten very involved in writing again, mostly focused on border security issues and how environmental litigation factories are soaking taxpayers for legal fees and adding enormous costs to our economy to save a few lizards. I’ve become a vocal heretic against the environmental religion.
As a result of my writing I know the widow of Douglas rancher Robert Krentz who was murdered by a suspected illegal alien drug smuggler, and some of the family of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry who was murdered by an illegal alien on a friend’s ranch near my home.
Meanwhile Obama’s Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano keeps claiming the border is more secure than ever. I actually know Janet, and if I were her boss I’d fire her ass right now for making bogus claims about border security when I can show you places where the Mexican drug catels have free reign over our countryside.
If you think I’m pissed off, talk to the survivors of Bob Krentz and Brian Terry.
Meanwhile, as soon as I have some extra cash, I’m buying myself a Ruger ranch rifle. But Obama’s minions want to take away my right to buy what I need to protect my home and family from Mexican drug cartel goons who own our countryside at night down here.
I watched the debates over the federal budget and the debt ceiling with disgust. Like don’t the Democrats get it that we cannot keep spending money we don’t have? Is it right to bet our future on being able to keep borrowing money from the Chinese?
And on a more personal level, I got into a major pissing match with environmentalists over the need to back off putting lizards ahead of people at the border.
The Democrats want even more wilderness areas at the border, which only benefit the Mexican drug cartel smugglers and make it even riskier for those of us who live near the border. Beside the Ruger ranch rifle, a Glock model 23 is on my Christmas shopping list.
Meanwhile Obama’s ATF folks were “walking” guns to the Mexican drug cartel, so there is a chance one of my ranch friends or even myself could end up getting shot by a drug smuggler carrying a weapon he got via ATF’s “Fast and Furious” scam. There are still thousands of these “walked” guns floating around. Hundreds of people in Mexico have been filled by these guns, along with 2 federal agents.
I’m pissed that Obama doesn’t fire Eric Holder and everyone else involved in the gun walking scheme.
I’m pissed that newspapers like the Washington Post would hunt down the Watergate villians like the dogs they were, but are still dodging Fast and Furious because the targets are Democrats.
Then recently the US Department of Transportation popped up with the bright idea to require farmers and ranchers to have to get Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDLs) to drive a tractor…hitting a lot of my friends below the belt.
Obama’s US Fish and Wildlife people are busy declaring every bug and critter in my area as endangered and seeking to run all of us off our lands because the environmental litigation factories are busy trying to destroy our economy and getting away with it.
And Obama still wants a tax increase to keep his liberal minions busy usurping land and water rights in my neck of the desert.
Now they want to turn my valley into protected habitat for birds that never lived here and jaguars that never lived here. And even if a jaguar shows up in my yard and starts killing my dog and chickens, I can’t shoot the son of a b*&^% because that would be a federal felony.
It is a misdemeanor in the US to illegally enter the country, but a felony if I drive over an endangered lizard by accident.
I’ve had it with looking to the federal government to “solve” all our problems.
I’ve had it with smart-ass city boys in Washington telling me that I’m some kind of swine because I don’t want jaguars in my back yard.
I’ve had it with a government that cannot secure our border and at the same time refuses to understand I can’t expect 911 to save my family if we’re attacked at night by drug smugglers who want to steal my vehicle.
I had this fantasy the other day about inviting Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings down to California Gulch where I’ve been with Congressman Darrell Issa’s staff to see first hand Mexican drug cartel spotters on our mountain tops armed witrh Ak 47s…and see how long it takes for Cummings to want to be carrying a semi-automatic rifle to protect himself. I doubt my rancher buddies will loan him one of their guns. He’ll have to buy his own…if he can.
I look across the border and see a large area that has been taken over by the cartels. Last year a cowboy on a Mexican ranch right across the line was killed by the cartel. Right now the population of entire towns over there are trying to escape the cartel takeover.
I’ve had it with a government that can piss away a trillion dollars a year and expect me to pay more so they can keep pissing away more trillions of dollars. $1.6 trillion dollars (whioch is what they collect a year in taxes) is a whole lot of money…the problem is most of it is wasted.
Having gone in medicare I learned that a major reason this program will go bankrupt is it will cost something like $300,000 for the last six month of my life to hook me up to tubes and wires and keep me aliove so the campire medical establishment can bleed the taxpayers dry.
I made the decision the other day that there is no freaking way the vampire health care establishment is going to milk me for hundreds of thousands of dollars in the last few months of my life via Medicare. I will die not asking for a penny of someone else’s hard earned money….I told my kids the other day that if I have to dig my own grave, lay down in it and shoot myself , I will do that to avoid being hooked up to tubes and wires. I paid in over $150,000 to Medicare and that’s all I feel I’m entitled to get back.
My dad, who lived at home during the terminal illness last months of his life, called up one morning and asked to be taken to the hospital so he could die and not haunt the house. I took him in, he signed a bunch of “do not..” paperwork, turned to his doctor and said “you got you last penny out of me” and died. I liked his style.
I figured out I am more libertarian than anything else, now.
I don’t buy using governmental power to try and make me a better person.
I don’t agree with the social conservative agenda at all. I’m more in the zone of Barry Goldwater who was the epitome of the old “cowboy way” of life. You can do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t impact me and I expect vice versa. When there’s a problem, we’ll solve it as good neighbors. But we take liberty and responsibility very seriously. We don’t need a nanny government in Washington trying to make us do what they want.
My generation turned this country upside down a few times. And we’re still alive and kicking
On my 65th birthday I changed my voter registration to Republican.
Inspired by I’m 63 and Im Tired! by Robert A. Hall.
Note: Hugh Holub is a recovering lawyer and a free lance writer who is also the Executive Director of the Center for Sustainable Development