Letters to the Editor

Week of 05-16-2007

Not Aging Gracefully

Don't blame the Boomers: It's curious that Martin Kuz ["Boomtastrophe," May 2] quotes only marketing authors to defend the Boomer generation against claims of public-policy commentators, who take classic conservative positions.

Even odder is his ridicule of the PBS special, Boomer Century, which adopts the same remedy as Kuz for counteracting their alleged "gimme, gimme, gimme" greed of the failed counterculture. Kuz's remedy: cutting Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid before they "devour 80 percent of the federal budget." And who are the economists and historians he cites with no countervailing policy arguments? Kuz fails to identify William Strauss as a former Republican congressional staffer.

Had Kuz bothered to quote any reputable liberal economists and historians, he could have reported that the primary danger for future government spending is not in entitlement programs but in runaway health care spending in the broken U.S. system.

Instead of deriding one-third of Boomers for failing to save much for their retirement, he could have informed readers that one-third of the highly diverse Boomers will be in poverty or near poverty in late life.

Instead of offering an informative debate, Kuz treats his readers to a diatribe of cheap shots and generational bashing. Especially bizarre is how Kuz conflates our two Boomer presidents, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, as evidence of their generation's profligacy. But, as the Don Imus crowd knows well, bashing groups larger than a basketball team is easier than investing energy in good journalism.

The great journalist Robert Maynard urged journalists to examine each story through the prism of class, race, gender, geography, and generation. By only focusing on the latter, Kuz squandered his chance to improve readers' understanding of the aging of the Boomer generation.

Paul Kleyman

National Coordinator, Journalists Exchange on Aging

Editor,Aging Today

American Society on Aging

San Francisco

Kuz the hero:I'm sure you'll get a lot of whiny, breathless, soft-headed letters from Boomers on your indictment of that generation in your latest issue. That doesn't make it any less right.

Congratulations on a smart, funny, and dead-on article by Mr. Kuz.

I haven't read his stuff before, but I'm going to be looking for that byline for years to come.

Brian Caulfield San Carlos, CA

Kuz the ageless slacker: Martin Kuz gets so much wrong that he completely undermines whatever valid points he's able to make. Start with over-generalizing, add caustic smirkiness and fatal, mean-spirited smarminess, and proceed to false logic and a penchant for grandiose statements with no evidence to back them up.

Typical Gen-Xer, if you ask me. At least I think he's a Gen-Xer; Kuz never does identify his own generation. And he says Boomers should off themselves? Take a look in the mirror, dude.

Jim Webster


Public Hosing

HUD's a dud:As a housing advocate who has been pushing for improved conditions at San Francisco's public housing developments for many years, it is refreshing for me to see the Weekly highlight the atrocious living conditions at S.F. Housing Authority properties. I couldn't agree more with Matt Smith's contention that the bureaucratic nightmare that is the SFHA must change and the properties must be made livable again.

But Smith is dead wrong in his assertion that a federal takeover is the solution! Smith is ignoring the key fact that a majority of the problems he mentioned are federal in origin. Of course, "the boarding up of public housing units has been going on for years." HUD, under the Bush administration, has seriously underfunded the agency for years. HUD is not a friend of the public housing resident, but, as an ideologically driven agent of the administration, their worst enemy.

How does it make sense for this very same agency, that has held the ax to the head of public housing, to be a suitable rescuer? What is really needed is more community accountability and local control, not federal oversight.

Sara Shortt

Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco

San Francisco

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