July 17: Boomers are Rolling in it.
... and the usual suspects are angling for a few squares.
I think a trillion dollars has something like twelve zeros, a number one, four commas, and a dollar sign and looks something like this; $1,000,000,000,000. For context, if a trillion dollar bills were rolled into toilet paper rolls, you could provide every US citizen with 30 1/3 rolls- enough to get them through any pandemic (roughly 10 billion rolls).
It is believed that we boomers sit on the equivalent of 350 billion rolls of toilet paper or $35,000,000,000,000.00 of wealth (it’s easier to just say 35 trillion dollars than to try to add up all the zeros). That’s a lot of rolls. And anyone who owns a roll or two can claim some success if not some financial security. Some may accuse you of hoarding.
The seeds to this boomer wealth were, in part, sown when retirement funds were transitioned from pension plans to defined contribution plans and individual retirement accounts. This occurred in the 1970s with the result being a massive accumulation of retirement money. Stephen Malanga writing for City Journal, ‘found that retirement savings of those aged 55 to 69 grew by 126 percent after inflation, to $448,292’ in data taken from 2016.
Many trees went into the tissue that creates toilet paper and the parchment that creates paper money, but this retirement wealth is mostly a result of working and self-discipline. Saving money into 401Ks and other saving schemes that featured tax incentives created by legislation, individuals could choose to save rather than spend. For many, the idea of saving money for the golden years and perhaps having a bit left over for the ‘kids’ was all part of the dream.
Mr. Malanga also writes about those who covet such wealth. The current administration and state governors are discussing a number of techniques to get their hands on your toilet paper. Might be a good time for a meeting with your estate planner.
Use it or lose it. Read article.
Parents Prefer Education Over Indoctrination
Private school placement counselors tell of faces lighting up when told that PoDunk Private School teaches readin, writin, and rithmetic. It appears most parents prefer their children be taught an uncomplicated mix of subjects without long-drawn-out ‘feel’ sessions dealing with what it means to be white and privileged- as if a teacher of any color actually understands what that means. According to the books on critical race theory, if you have to ask what white privilege means, then you are a racist. A child with two parents- is that a type of privilege too? Most parents believe Johnie and Suzy deserve better.
In many states including mine (Washington), governors and legislators have passed laws requiring teachers to be instructed on all the latest techniques for convincing your youngsters that they are guilty of something they had nothing to do with- inherited skin pigment. They will be asked to feel guilty and possibly remain quiet and sit in the back while teachers explain that they are the oppressors and live in a racist country- a country deserving of loathing since its founding in 1619. Even more unfortunate, they will attempt to convince the children of color the value of being a victim.
But parents of all skin pigments are not stupid. The majority see the value of school choice for example. 69% of black parents are in favor of school choice as are 67% of Hispanics. Even most white parents support school choice. There is only one reason to support school choice- you have lost confidence in the only choice you have and you have read reports on how educational outcomes improve when parents are free to choose.
The teacher’s unions, school boards, and progressive politicians are waking up to the unpopularity of their dogma. When asked by parents and media, they demur and look shifty-eyed and attempt to deny that ‘Critical Race Theory’ is part of any school curriculum. Don’t believe them. It is. In my state, it’s the law.
What can we do? As parents and grandparents, we need to support the growing number of organizations forming to fight for school choice and those fighting to bring adult leadership back to our public schools. We need to take some of our rolls of dollar bills and give to those private schools that allow for donations that help families unable to afford a quality education. We need to encourage our own families to find ways to improve the education of our shared loved ones, and if necessary, participate in sharing the cost.
Larry Sand, a former classroom teacher, wrote a well-researched article on the tenuous status of our public schools. Parents are concerned and Mr. Sand has some interesting numbers to prove it.
Great News! The Decline of Christianity is Slowing. It is the ‘Nones’ that are in Decline.
Perhaps there is a silver lining to the pandemic. When walking pensively through empty parks dodging viruses not yet vanquished by the overhead sun, we stilled ourselves long enough to hear another voice- a whispering voice only heard when we pause our pursuits and distractions. Perhaps the whisper encouraged our seeking of greater meaning and purpose. That life driven by fear is really no life at all. That a dimension exists that transcends fear and hate and the gathering into tribes for shelter. That a refuge from the storm does exist. A valley where you will fear no evil.
Some interesting survey results have been tabulated by the Public Religion Research Institute that sheds encouraging light on post-pandemic America. Read here.
A Personal Note
In May of 2021, my wife Natalie was diagnosed with metastasized breast cancer also known as Stage IV). It is a recurrence of breast cancer she first encountered 15 years ago. This time, cancer has spread to her bones.
During the last 15 years, advances in the treatment of cancer have continued at an encouraging pace. While metastasized breast cancer is a serious disease and considered ultimately mortal, there are a number of treatments that promise longer life with better life quality. Natalie is in excellent healthcare hands and in the midst of those treatments. Most have side effects which are generally unpleasant.
As a woman of faith, she believes the ultimate Physician is her Lord and Savior. She covets your prayers.