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Boomer Economics: Coming Up Short

"The Incredible Shrinking Boomer Economy" (Cover Story, Aug. 3), about how America's wealthiest-ever generation has been forced to go from spendthrift to plain thrift, drew comments from readers of all ages. Most agreed with the idea that there had been too little saving among this group: We heard from Gen Xers, who scolded their elders for squandering what they had accumulated—and from boomers, some expressing chagrin. "You nailed me!" wrote one. —David Welch

The richest generation in American history that inherited the most assets in history thinks it's suffering from some force outside of itself. The truth is that boomers have created this economic hole, which they, as well as their children and grandchildren, will have to crawl out of. What age group was in control of the executive suites, boardrooms, Washington, and Wall Street over the last 15 years?

Screen name: XerNation

We went through the same thing when the WWII generation was nearing retirement. The difference is that they had defined-benefit pensions to rely on, while we are gambling with our future and we just hit craps.

Screen name: Loren

Boomers grew up with war and government coverups, and they are naturally skeptical of the "Establishment." However, their skepticism was replaced with greed, and they seemed willing to keep their mouths shut as long as their homes were their nest eggs and their 401(k)s were doing well.

Screen name: Richard Meyer

Holy moley, you nailed me! I am a high-tech Silicon Valley 61-year-old boomer who began buying Mercedes-Benz cars in 1985 and hit my spending peak with a $73,000 BMW. In 2007 (before the downturn), I sold the Bimmer and bought a Mini Cooper and put the difference in the bank. I was so ready to go frugal. My wife and I are not planning any major purchases for the foreseeable future, with the exception of travel.

Screen name: SV Charlie

Consumer Credit: A New Regulatory Agency Isn't the Answer

In "Consumers Need a Credit Watchdog" (Outside Shot, July 27), guest columnist Elizabeth Warren argues that the consumer credit market is broken. She is absolutely right. However, the solution she offers, a new regulatory agency, is wrong.

Warren proposes a plan that would allow financial institutions to continue to develop and market toxic products, as long as the terms are clearly disclosed. This is not the road to recovery.

Odysseas Papadimitriou


Performance Reviews: The Pluses, The Perils

I tend to agree with "Low Grades for Performance Reviews" (Outside Shot, Aug. 3). I've been both the receiver and giver of performance reviews, working in places where the process was rigidly enforced (23 years in the military) and places where it was seldom if ever completed (seven years, one review). I am now the mayor of a small town in Georgia. Our employee handbook is being rewritten to include evaluations of employees' ability to meet agreed-on goals. My question: What else can we do? Give raises across the board and be unfair to employees who excel? Inquiring minds want to know.

Don Rehwaldt


Prof. Pfeffer hits hard on a truth we all know but hate to admit. I like the idea of involving more people in each review so any rater bias is limited. Let's all agree it can't be eliminated unless we have robots conducting reviews.

Screen name: Swaze

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