Let me see if I can dig it up...
Ahh there it is, with all my other theories about how Canada will be the next superpower and the US will eventually adopt a national sales tax and Lewis Black should be president. It's crying itself to sleep at night.
Wealth Rejoicing Television Shows and their Emergence
2000 - MTV Cribs
2003 - The Simple Life, The OC
2004 - Laguna Beach (which of course became tits-castle...I mean, The Hills)
2005 - Super Sweet 16, Flip that House
2006 - The Property Ladder
Las Vegas housing prices
2000 - $140k
2003 - $160k
2005 - $275k
2006 - $320k
LA housing prices
2000 - $200k
2003 - $290k
2005 - $410k
2006 - $510k
Here's the most important part:
Debt vs. income ratio (credit card debt per household growth) average US
2000 - 900%
2004 - 1050%
2006 - 1100%
2008 - 1205%
Really, I wasn't trying to be completely serious with this idea. It was kind of half-baked to the point of humor but not fully cooked to the point of reality. It was supposed to be that way. It was, and is, satire.
So I forgot about it, until today, when I read an article in Newsweek (which has awesome fucking articles, don't let the commenters on this page tell you otherwise) titled "Baby Boomers: It's All Your Fault". At first I thought, "blah, I've thought about this tons of times while sitting on the can, blaming my parents for being rich and I see no forseeable way for me to be rich as well, how could this be any different?"
It's different becuase my theory stopped before I got to the idea that some day, all these baby boomers will just stop spending their money. I also assumed it would negatively impact the rest of us by our having to pay for their medicare, social security, et al. As we millenials and Gen X'ers are far fewer in quantity than baby boomers.
The Newsweek article suggests that we will go into a very lengthy bear market as baby boomers age and stop spending all their money, earned at their jobs that they will eventually retire from. Much like Japan (see my blog on how we should follow Japan's every example). This is because, yes, baby boomers will eventually stop their massive spending spree and start utilizing their savings.
That's when I realized how wrong I was about my "Paris Hilton caused the recession" idea: it was the rich, free spending, gotta-have-it-all baby boomer parents, loading their kids up with cash, cars, and credit during their prime earning years. They were at the tail end of a fifty year stock growth spurt that had favored their 401ks and housing values greatly. They were also seeing the same benefit to their own parents' assets. They didn't have a god damned thing to worry about. Their kids reaped the benefits. Their kids, in the rich part of town, became the uber rich. They became the Seth and Marissa on The OC, they could look down on "backwater rednecks" as Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie did on the Simple Life. Why? Because this was their reality. In their reality, the sky was the fucking limit. Their reality was their baby boomer parents' reality - with fifty years of DJIA increases propelling them to financial freedom.
All of this is the same reason that tween stars like Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus are popular: the parents of their demographic are in their prime earning years, they can afford all of their crap that they won't care about in two years.
If we are to follow the great trend of Japan, we will enter a long lasting bear market. As my generation ages, we will eventually get our baby boomer predecessors' upper management jobs, their houses, and their salaries. We will not, however, have their stock market increase or their real estate price increase that they depended on to create the heyday of spoiled brats. Demand will not increase for these things as they did int he last fifty years. Why? Because there just aren't as many buyers and they are already overvalued.
Another symptom, beyond Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber, of baby boomers' spending spree are bubbles. Gold bubbles, tech stock bubbles, and real estate bubbles. Baby boomers were and are the cohort that had the cash to spend on these things, trying to get rich quick.
I hope, deeply, that my generation does not do this. I don't want to spend my adult life chasing bubbles.
Assuming again that we're headed for stagnation (and I think we are), it suggests there will be a lack of industry bubbles in the future. My generation isn't very keen on this. We've seen what a bust does. We won't likely want to play that game - nor will we have the available cash to do so until our parents croak. My "adult life" has really been in existence since 2000 to present. All I've ever known is bubbles and the inherent luck necessary to catch them. Fuck luck. I can't wait to live a life without chasing bubbles.