“. . . something else that happened with the end of the Cold War and the passing of the baton from the Greatest Generation to the baby boom generation: an erosion of important, traditional American values that long underpinned our public and commercial life. . . .
“A well-functioning political system must be rooted in something deeper than itself: a culture, which is most vividly expressed through certain values. We believe that as the boomer generation has assumed a dominant place in American society, the country has strayed from three of the core values on which American greatness depended in the past.
“The first of these changes involves a shift from long-term investment and delayed gratification, which were characteristic of the Greatest Generation, to short-term gratification and get-it-now thinking, which alas is typical of the baby boom generation.
“The second change is the loss of confidence in our institutions and the authority of their leaders . . .
“. . . loyalty in the face of hardship. There is no more sustainable value than that. This contrasts with opportunism in the face of hardship. There is nothing more situational than that. . . .
“. . . The drift from sustainable to situational values helped to trigger America’s worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. From Wall Street to Main Street, far too many Americans abandoned the save-and-invest mentality of their Depression-era parents for what became the prevailing ethos of the day, which bankers call IBG/YBG: Get whatever you can now and either ‘I’ll be gone’ before the bill comes due or ‘you’ll be gone’ before you really have to pay the piper.”
“That Used To Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back.” It’s a book everyone should read before the 2012 election.
— John Hayden
- Obama presses American values theme in Iowa (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
- Weekly Address: President’s Blueprint Includes Renewal of American Values (whitehouse.gov)
- The Weekend Word: More Jobs, More Risks (thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com)