Why Are We Still Governed by Baby Boomers and the Remarkably Old?

  1. I'm old and I agree that 40-somethings should be in office now, leading us into the future. Why they're not is up for discussion. I'm so damn annoyed at the overall technical ignorance of politicians today, its sad.

  2. I was listening to an NPR interview of an Oklahoma state senator who cosponsored their trans-student school bathroom ban that was just passed into law. He went full on “when I was a student in the 50s it was just boys and girls, this issue didn’t come up until just a few years ago” and all I could think was “why are we letting people who graduated 50+ years ago decide what’s right for students now?”

  3. It's a weird style, but the headline is the question that leads from the article, instead of the other way around. You could think of the article explaining the exasperation with the current state of affairs, which is then summed up with the rhetorical question that is the headline.

  4. As a Gen Xer, I would say that this is typical for boomers. I have found that in work situations a lot boomers did not retire in their 60's. They have stayed in their positions (often management and upper management) well after the standard retirement age. This leads to less opportunities for those younger than them to move up. That is the same in politics. Incumbents have a real advantage in elections, so if people never step down, they don't leave room for the next generation.

  5. The answer is money. I can’t afford to quit my job, run for office and maybe win. I need stable employment for me and my family.

  6. In addition to saying young people aren't suited to lead because they don't have enough respect for the past...

  7. The answer is "Because young people vote at a very low rate." 65+ votes at something like twice the rate if 18-29. If young people voted at a reasonable rate we'd have younger leaders.

  8. Young people don't vote in the same numbers. They've only recently started to outnumber the boomers (actual boomers and not say just someone older than them as the term gets used now). If they got involved politically, started running for office and turned up to vote at all levels of government they'd control, well everything.

  9. Well on the other hand, the DeSantis, MGT and other "young" politicians are very much the same garbage as boomers.

  10. If you saw Diane Feinstein or Chuck Grassley getting behind the wheel of a car at the grocery store you’d be terrified. Why are 86+ year olds driving the country right into a shopping cart?

  11. Feinstein is literally senile and her staffers have made many comments about it. But she’s in control of the lives of millions of Californians.

  12. Because they so thoroughly corrupted the political apparatus that we can't pry them out. They made the barrier to entry impossibly high and blew up all the bridges behind them.

  13. Feinstein is an old fucking lady. Literally anyone that can stay awake for more than an hour would be better than her.

  14. Those in their 60s....and above, are usually seen as too old to be skillful workers so they retire. Yet, the entire country is governed by these same people. What a contradiction.

  15. I will never forget how Diane Feinstein used to bully a young Conan O'Brian for doing magic tricks as a child.

  16. You should ask the people that keep voting her back instead of looking to a younger more progressive candidate. She has had challengers, and she will have another this year that you won't hear about if you don't pay attention to california's system.

  17. Honestly I'm starting to believe this theory more and more everyday i feel like these people aren't even human... but what i find sader is that these people are so old that they'll be dead soon anyways, so who cares about this generation anyways? they're not the one's going to be dealing with the worlds problems and climate change as well and they wouldn't have to worry about their kids because they are richer beyond our wildest dreams. then the cycle just continues because they're molded into the same ideology. (Sorry for the terrible grammar just venting)

  18. Perfect description. Do i love biden or Hilary?? Hell no, but I sure as fuck didnt want trump to win.

  19. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.

  20. My dad dropped out of highschool and walked into a factory and asked for an assembly job at 16 and was hired in 1964 to the modern equivalent of $22/hr with benefits and pension.

  21. Also the same generation that enjoyed such a liberation during the 60s basically turned us into a police state vis-à-vis the war on drugs. Fuck that generation

  22. GenX here... we have known all along The Boomers would never give up their seats of power and control. They were literally known as The Me Generation.

  23. Yes, the Boomers thought they were running the country when they were 20 and they will keep at it until they're in their graves. They've been the loudest voice for 50 years now.

  24. GenX here.... we are trash conservatives and our oldest members are more conservative than boomers. Our most powerful politician was Paul Ryan, a staunch conservative and capitalist who loved Rage against the Machine. Our most powerful politician today is Ron DeSantis.

  25. Except for Obama, every President for the last 30 years has been born in either 1942 or 1946. Of those men, Bill Clinton is the youngest.

  26. Thank you for this. Probably the most insightful comment here. It's probably just a random pattern, but maybe we shouldn't be surprised if there are few Presidents from the 1986-2004 cohort. I would be interested if this pattern is also true for politicians in general.

  27. Because money has been free speech for a while and 70% of wealth in the US belongs to people 65 and older.

  28. Because older people vote, and because it takes a lot of money to succeed in politics in this environment. They’ve rigged the entire economy in their favor, and because of the fruits of their rigging, they are the only ones who can afford to campaign. They trade stock illegally on insider information and they’ve made it so that the best way to fund your campaign is by receiving donations from corporations, corporations who will only give you money if you pledge to do their bidding.

  29. More than that. They limit the amount of avaliabe housing in their area. Then gerrymandering comes into play. There isn't enough housing in some districts to overcome any gerrymandering.

  30. Change voting to a Friday AM - Sunday PM and this would change. More time to vote would mean more turnout. More turnout means more likely hood of actual change.

  31. And if progressives voted in greater numbers they could get the change they want; yes we all know gerrymandering, PACs, vote suppression, +++; but how many of the progressive minded simply don’t vote?

  32. Something I've thought about, and hope to read about from the perspective of someone with more than a layman's perspective, is how the wealthy and the old have set up the economy such that its health is reflective of their financial health.

  33. The thing about this that really gets to me is that every single one of them could retire at any time and live the rest of their lives in utter luxury while still leaving an inheritance larger than most people will ever see in their lives.

  34. My guess is a combination of the exorbitant cost of getting into politics and lack of voting from people under 50.

  35. It is hard to unseat someone in politics. They have the resources and a record to run on. More so since the job has good benefits and isn’t that physically taxing it is “easy to do well into your 80s”.

  36. The problem with Congress isn't that people serve for too long - it's that there is too much private funding related to getting elected.

  37. Fuck that. There is already age discrimination, considering you have to be 25 to become a member of the House, 30 to become a Senator, and 35 to become President. Even at the state level, one must be 21 or older in some states to be a member of the legislature.

  38. Says the man who works for the American Enterprise Institute. Say, who might be the youthful luminaries that this person receives his checks from?

  39. Because all the wealth is held by Boomers, and we live in an oligarchy where money equals power.

  40. My grandfather paid for a 4 year college working summers and weekends as a barber… I was barely able to pay for community college out of pocket with a full time technical office job…

  41. So very true, especially as we face another real estate bubble that demonstrates the particular skill so simply owning things. See so many houses stuck in the 1980s bathrooms and kitchens but suddenly are somehow worth 10x their original price without even investing in one gallon of paint or any updated features.

  42. it's an absolute joke to pretend it was hard to start a family and own a home compared to now, where rent payments & childcare costs both outpace the real $ value of family home mortgages even just a couple decades ago

  43. Come to Florida and see the laws being broken by the elderly that no police will enforce. Outside of murder, if you're over the age of 60 you essentially have a "Get out of jail free" card.

  44. They weren’t always old, these were young politicians at one point. What you are seeing is survivorship bias of the young politicians who were able to win as younger politicians and stay in office for decades. Back when they were young politicians there were old politicians that did the same. It’s really a result of no term limits, the benefit of incumbency, and getting entrenched so deep into the political system that only death can remove you.

  45. Because acknowledging that the mental faculties of individuals diminish as they age and that there are some jobs that aren't suitable for people old enough to collect Social Security is considered ageism.

  46. Because Boomers are going to leave this world the same way they entered it; as a shockingly self-centered generation who don't particularly care if they wreck the place on their way out.

  47. One explanation (in part) for the large number of super old House members among the Democrats is because of the

  48. I agree too! I am a boomer, 62. I am fed up with 70-80 something in office. Fed up with their technology ignorance, that is just the tip of the iceberg! Change will only happen if the next generation get out and vote, push for limited terms for government terms. I’m not male bashing…..some of these old guys in office need to go!! ( the good old boys club)I don’t care if they’re conservative or progressive; they need to go!! Change is the only constant in life!! Time for a BiG change!!🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

  49. This is the number one reason, anything else doesn't even come close. The average primary voter is well past 50, possibly pushing 60. People aren't going to get the government they want until they start to vote.

  50. Yeah because they got to live a life of comparative ease marked by of GI Bill, college you could afford on part time wages, lifelong employment with great pensions, and affordable homes in great neighborhoods (unless you were red-lined, sorry Black folks) — all before ruining it all for the next generations. How can we lead a country when we can’t even make our student loan payments?

  51. I hear ya other than the GI Bill part. I think the Post 9/11 gi bill is some of the best its ever been. But then as now you gotta roll some pretty serious dice to get it, and you earn it.

  52. Probably because they haven’t completed their mission to completely destroy things for future generations.

  53. The boomers aren't even that bad--the youngest of them aren't even 60 yet. But, roughly 10% of Congress (all the leadership positions) are from the silent generation.

  54. Because younger people can barely afford to move out of mom's basement let alone run a political campaign. Anyone think their McDonald's fry cook who Ubers at night and has a weekend side hustle is able to run for office? Or the 30 year old slaving away at a $40k/year office job staring down the barrel of $100k in student loans who can't afford a $400 emergency is going to drop everything just to help govern the country?

  55. Well they control the powers surrounding the stock market and heavily invest in and do well in stocks, can change the temperature of the country at the drop of a hat with their "old boys club" silent voting agreements, also the two party leaderships control all 3 branches of government and have stacked the decks for the foreseeable future...so imma go with "great leadership"

  56. Because they lie, cheat, gerrymander and steal elections without consequence. And, most importantly, the young have no interest in politics or even learning about our government that's supposed to be "for the people". Did you know that people like Biden, McConnell, Harris, Ted Cruz, and all of them are supposed to be working for us? We are their bosses. We need to start acting like it, but with educated opinions.

  57. I’m 72 and could not agree with the author more. I’m sick and tired of seeing really, really, really old faces in many positions of power. And the elderly can do great harm. If RBG had retired a few years before she died at 86 while still on the SCOTUS, we would not have Amy Coney Barrett in her chamber.

  58. And it's a great read, explains much in the way about how we came to be the way we are, and as usual, offers little as a solution, other than elect middle age people, not boomers, and not youth.

  59. If elected positions can have age minimums, we absolutely need some maximums. If you have to be 35 to be president, you absolutely shouldn’t be able to have a job that (should be) grueling and demanding if you’re over the retirement age.

  60. I'm 57. Maybe it's because I grew up on the classics of School House Rock but I have voted in every election since turning 18. I remember how I couldn't wait to vote the first time. I know we have voter suppression and gerrymandering but honestly, the number of people who don't participate is disheartening.

  61. Also older people are who volunteer to run the local and state parties. The local party has a lot of influence on who gets on the ballot and of course, how the budget is spent.

  62. That’s always been the case and yet the average age of federal representatives has gotten ridiculously old in the last decade.

  63. They're determined to cement their will just before they die, trying desperately to make sure we all abide by their selfish bullshit for as long as possible.

  64. America has been a Republican Oligarchy ever since Republicans stole the Bush v. Gore election. The government has been deadlocked ever since. Nothing happens in government unless Republicans allow it, including democracy.

  65. Older people are more likely to vote, they hold all the money and positions of power, and the system is heavily rigged in their favor? The young can't afford to even worry about trying to change the status quo right now

  66. Because the votes of anyone but the very wealthy have statistically no effect on policy outcomes and we have near total corporate capture of politics

  67. This IS the question of the day. Now more than ever, the elderly, despite their experience, are holding back society and the performance of Government. As much as I empathize with the rapid changes these people have had to deal with, I’m afraid their self-awareness and attitude become the limits of their effectiveness. Mandates must be set limiting or removing their participation in government past a certain age.

  68. Because, for all the progress our society has made around rights and all the leaps and bounds we’ve made technologically, we haven’t been able to shake the profoundly idiotic concept of age=experience=intelligence=respect. These people are ‘elders’ in numerical value only. Their age has absolutely zero to do with how intelligent they are, and does not require we be silent and give them absolute power and trust.

  69. Because Boomers vote for Boomers or their parents, and until recently , Boomers were so numerous that it was nearly impossible to overwhelm them. The oldest Boomers are now 76 and there will be a steep downward curve to their influence.

  70. Because name recognition equals votes, so being around politics for the past 50 years gets you a lot more votes than being a hotshot new comer.

  71. "We' are not governed by a generation, or a group of old people. "We" are governed by banks and an international consortium of big corporations. The average seventy-five year old has no more say than the average fifty-five year old, who has no more say the the average thirty-five year old. Dividing people up, and blaming them by age or generation, is just another divisive tactic the moneyed class uses to keep the public distracted and angry at each other. That's just where things are.

  72. Money buys political power. Boomers are easily the wealthiest generation. In their lifetime our politics became more corrupt making money even more potent in purchasing political power.

  73. As a boomer (albeit a late one) this article made me so sad. It is crazy that we can't move these dinosaurs out of our politics.

  74. You know who isn’t remarkably old? Lauren Boebert. Same with Madison Cawthorn. I don’t see how age discrimination is helpful here.

  75. IMO it's money. The current politicians are already bought and paid for. Each has their corporate constituencies that they support. The corporate donors know how they'll act and how they'll vote.

  76. Generation who amassed the largest amount of wealth and assets by reaping the benefits of what their parent’s did and has disallowed any of that to their kids and grandchildren don’t want to give anything up? Wow; who could have predicted this?

  77. Because voters vote for them and when anyone tries to unseat them, millions are spent to destroy their reputations.

  78. Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Ron DeSantis, Lauren Boebert, etc. etc. etc., are all in their 40s or younger. It has nothing to do with age. It's corruption and extremism. It's not a segregation of the youth and the old. The young can and have been just as destructive as the old.

  79. Because Statistically the young usually don’t bother to vote and the rest of us are too fucking stupid vote for anybody else

  80. People want there to be some exotic answer to this but the simple reality is that older people vote the most consistently and reliably across all elections (local, state, federal, special) and that's really all it is. Well, that and advantages the bake in for incumbents. Every so often we get atypical turnout from other demographics and we think it will move the needle but the people strategizing campaigns correctly understand that it doesn't actually and that the reliable voters stay reliable and are the more valuable voters to target and cater/pander to.

  81. Outside of younger people not getting out to vote, has anyone in here actually worked with folks who are at retirement age? The experience I have had is that they hold on to whatever responsibilities they have. Worked with someone who recently retired and we discovered just how much he was pigeonholing the department and making a select few reliant upon him.

  82. There really needs to be an age cap and term limit for all political positions. At some point you really have to ask if someone is truly mentally sound at such an old age to be making life altering decisions for the citizens of a country. And, some decisions that could potentially put the country into an unnecessary war.

  83. Cause they gamed the political system, just like every other system, to extract maximum benefit for themselves at the suffering of everyone else

  84. Because they ensured that the wealth needed to run for office would find it’s way into less and less young people’s hands as time ticked on.

  85. They’re the generations that squeezed every drop of stability and prosperity out of the younger generations so we remain soul crushed and indentured servants to the machine. Duh.

  86. Last year Boomer here So I’m the baby of the baby boomers… And I will say I want them all the hell out. There are many many brilliant people that could be leading this country with innovative ideas and an understanding of the Internet in a way that these old dinosaurs can never understand… Just listening to some of the hearings on any subject, the misunderstanding of modern technology is horrifying. 10 more years and they’ll all be gone because they will be dead but let me tell you they’re holding onto power till they scrape into their grave. Greedy greedy people in power

  87. We need young people to step up. But how does someone like me, 27 and ready for change, make a difference more than just voting and participating in local activities?

  88. because they guard old money and only pass it down to their immediate successors when they die. not unlike royalty

  89. As a baby boomer, I am sorry for this. I mean some of us are progressive, but realize we can’t vote too progressive ATM, because of idiot boomers who raised their kids dumber than they are.

  90. The reason they aren’t is because people don’t vote for the right individuals. If we simply keep voting for old politicians, that’s all you’ll get.

  91. This is at least partly a problem that is owned by the younger generations. Certainly, older generations have clung to power for too long, but that's to be expected. It's up to younger generations to push them out. But decades of telling people "BoTH SiDes ArE THe SaMe" and that participation in government doesn't matter has meant that there's a huge dearth of younger people, from Gen X all the way down, to actually enter politics, vote, and run for office.

  92. Cause the younger generations doesn’t get out and vote! They push candidates forward that reflect the voter base and the votes obtained at the primaries!. Get registered and make sure you vote every chance you get! Let’s get some representation in every office that reflects what we truly want!

  93. Hi, Brit here. Gen X. In the US is seems you don’t vote for a candidate, you vote for one of two parties. Those candidates need a shit ton of money. Hard to see how you can reduce the ages of elected people without fundamental change. On the bright side, us Gen Xers get tech, and hate Boomers as much as we hate everyone else’s so good times are coming!

  94. Easy, they figured out how to seize power and keep it. Just like they figured out how to rape the economy to death for their own gains.

  95. Seriously these old crooks have been robbing us for decades from pelosi to trump to McConnell like why tf do we keep voting for dinosaurs who care nothing about us

  96. Because the young don’t go out and push for their ways? It’s probably more complicated but I also know so many people cry about guns and abortion and I don’t see them taking any political actions. Talk on Reddit is probably as cheap as hopes and prayers.

  97. There is a minimum age requirement on nearly every level of US political office. Why can’t there be a maximum? You have to be 35 to be president so why can’t we say you can’t hold office over the age of 75

  98. Experience matters. That said, there are more qualified, experienced potential legislators than many realize. Unfortunately, running an "outside-the-establishment" campaign is extraordinarily expensive. It would be naive to think that the members of that so-called establishment prioritize the interests of their constituencies above those of those funding them.

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