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Downsizing the American Dream


No stimulus plan will get Boomers to spend.

After finally being plowed out from the biggest New England snow storm in years, I headed off to the general store, looking to load up on supplies. Times have been tough and the last general store left is, of course, Wal-Mart. I loaded up, but the only things made in America were rock salt and bird feed.

I grew up in a New England mill town. It was a very prosperous town through the 1960s, but by the 1970s, the mills started shutting down and moving South. It wasn't a good time after the mills began to close. I was lucky: My father ran one of the mills, and we lived on top of the hill, upwind from it. I was able to go to a good college, and I moved away.

I still live on the hill - the big one between the Atlantic and the Pacific. It feels like the 1970s, -- it's time to move -- except there's no place on the big hill that looks any better.
If all the mills on the big hill close, how will that be different then what happened to my hometown?

I'm a Baby Boomer, just 3 years away from my first Social Security check. My wife and I did all the typical Boomer stuff: country clubs, fancy foreign cars, wine cellars, Cuban cigars, exotic vacations, etc.

I'm a trader, but I spend a lot of time looking at macro events and trends, hoping to figure out which way the wind is blowing. Right now, the wind is blowing hard in the faces of the boomers, and the National Boomer Forecast Center is looking in the back closet for the hurricane flags.

The problem, of course, is that there are too many of us. You can't really blame us for being here (it was all that unprotected sex our parents had), but we've had an unprecedented influence on the economy since 1975 or so. As the proverbial pig in the demographic python, we were in the snake's stomach for a long time - and for a long time, we were a positive contribution to the global economy. China, you can thank us.
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