Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ike's Farewell Speech --50 Years On

January 17, 1961 President Dwight Eisenhower delivered a valedictory most famous for his warning of encroaching power by the military industrial complex. Jeremy Grantham, in this re-examination of Ike's speech focuses on another aspect that we all really should contemplate.

"As we peer into society's future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without asking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow."

We as a society are entering a demographic nightmare that will surely strain the safety nets of our social fabric. I am talking about the aging and retirement of the baby boom generation. At a time when we need to harness our financial savings we as a society are eating our seed corn. As we ask the next generation to take care of us in our twilight years ,we , my generation needs a sobering self examination. What are we doing to help this next generation in this task. For example as Grantham states,"leaving them with no national debt and an impeccably up to date infrastructure".

The sad answer is : not much.

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