Why are the baby boomers important?

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Short Answer: Baby Boomers include a very large part of the population, but more to the point, since they have been around a long time and acquired a reserve of wealth younger people have not been able to save up, they control over 80% of the personal financial assets and have more than 50% of of the discretionary spending power. Some industries, such as the medical industry and the travel industry, are very much dependent on them. Furthermore, they have organizations that lobby for them, and so they have a good deal of political clout.
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Booming Effect
Five years ago, Honda introduced a new SUV the Element. This boxy car had an ad campaign targeting people in their twenties that featured the young generation cruising down to the beach with their own personal "dorm room on wheels" (usnews). However Honda's appeal to youth missed the mark, instead it triggered the interest of a much larger group, the baby boomers. During its first year the Element had an average age of buyers of 42(usnews). Several other cars made to target younger generations have been stolen by the baby boomers including the Toyota Matrix, the Pontiac Vibe and the Dodge Neon. But who are the baby boomers? Starting with a long period of decline in birth rates that had been down since the Industrial Revolution, a generation began to grow immediately after World War II. They are the baby boom of about 78 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964 that have molded the world we know today. (bbhq)

Childhood for the baby boomers took place in a changing world. They experienced huge economic growth, job reform with more white collar work becoming available for men and woman, the looming Cold War and even the anticipation of space travel. With total economic growth during the 1950's and early 1960's there was a sense of competitiveness and the hope for individualism that grew in the boomer child even when I came down to who had the best toys. Inventions like the Credit Card, Video Recorder, and even the Crayola Crayon began an age of discontentment for the boomer child and a search for the best new thing. Just like their wartime mothers, postwar moms began finding jobs outside the home. With the assumption that kids were living in a safe neighborhood, many were left to fend for themselves.
The boomers were the only generation to be raised under the perceived threat of Armageddon. During the Cold War Era, many families built bomb shelters in their own backyard. Boomer children were taught in school to "duck and cover" when air-raid sirens sounded. Sometimes sirens were tested after school when mothers were not yet home from work which was scary to and boomer child. Across the country all children in public schools knew how to stand clear of the chimney and go to the nearest door frame for safety, during the occasional siren test (Whitbourne). The lack of family values and togetherness changed the boomers and throughout childhood taught them to be independent and open minded.
In the early to mid-seventies, as the leading edge of the baby boom generation was coming of age, America was undergoing another huge period of dynamic change. The Vietnam War had been raging for a number of years, the struggles for civil rights and women's rights were at their peak, and conservative values regarding everything from religion to sex were being questioned like no other time in history (bbhq). The voices in these debates were young people.The deaths of President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., all left ideas in boomers' heads.
As teens and young adults, many boomer activists pushed for new federal legislation to bring back the dreams of the Bill of Rights and FDR's ideas (Whitbourne). Most important of the American turmoil were the Civil Rights and Women's Rights movements. One accomplishment the Boomer generation speaking up can take credit for was their encouragement for increased representation of women and minorities, especially in higher education and the job world (bbhq). Boomers believed that a boost for new legislation would help equalize access to the American Dream. Among other things, times were turbulent as a result of many civil rights marches, "free love," rock music, drug experimentation and the Vietnam war.
Now disappointed by authority the boomer generation turned to what they knew, themselves. Some with all of the political drama turned back to their childhood dreams and became "hippies." (Whitbourne) They came in groups, many having dropped out of school and hitch hiked across the country listening to music that fed their thoughts of a perfect life. Such music came from performers like Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Pink Floyd.
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