“Greedy Geezers” is a myth

A recent CNN article confirms what I’ve know all along: the idea of “greedy geezers,” those older Americans that consume so much of the pie that they leave just a few crumbs for everyone else, is a myth.

With Social Security and Medicare subject to debate and potentially on the chopping block, the “greedy geezers” myth has proliferated in politics. Both Democrats and Republicans have said that entitlements must be reduced among the old and that investments must be made in the education of the young.

Not only politicians, but journalists as well, have decried the elderly. In particular, Dale Brandy of the American Thinker describes Social Security as a class struggle between “the young ‘have-nots’…against the power, wealth, and influence of the older ‘haves.’”

However, this proves not to be the case. One fact cited is that Social Security comes pretty close to paying for itself. And as far as older Americans having more money than the younger generation—why shouldn’t they? After all, older Americans have been working and earning for far longer than the younger generations—meaning that they’ve had more time to accumulate wealth.

Even more interesting is the fact that older Americans give trillions of dollars to those younger than themselves. According to a study done by Boston College’s Center on Wealth and Philanthropy, an estimated $41 trillion will pass from one generation to the next between 1998 and 2052. That number reflects what is left to heirs, estate taxes, and charities; it doesn’t even count the likely high amount of money older Americans spend on their children and grandchildren.

Older Americans have worked hard for their wealth, and they deserve to keep it, spend it, leave it to their children—all without regrets.

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