Boomsday (Magill's Literary Annual 2008)
The ldquo;modest proposal” in Christopher Buckley’s comic satire, Boomsday, is a direct descendant of the famous “suggestion” made in a 1729 treatise by Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) that the Irish take care of their starvation problem by selling their children as food. Swift, of course, did not mean it to be taken seriously (although some critics did), and neither does Buckley’s central character, Cassandra Devine, when she proposes that retirees from the baby-boom generation be offered government incentives in return for voluntarily undergoing suicide (she calls it “transitioning”) at age seventy or earlier.
Although treated with sometimes-angry humor, the topic at the center of the novel is quite real: What happens to Social Security and Medicare when the baby boomers (those born between the years 1946 and 1964) reach retirement age and beyond and begin collecting benefits generated by a less populous workforce? As a whole, baby boomers make up one of the largest and most prosperous generations in the history of the nation. Still, future pressures on government benefit funds when the boomers leave the workforce is already a serious concern, and Congress has done little to prepare for it. According to a March 18, 2004, brief by the Congressional Budget Office, “The population of retirees will grow much more quickly than the taxpaying workforce, at a time when average benefits per retiree are expected to continue rising.” Such...
(The entire section is 1692 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2008)
Business Week, April 9, 2007, p. 102.
The Economist 383 (April 28, 2007): 95-96.
Entertainment Weekly, no. 928 (April 6, 2007): 80.
Library Journal 132, no. 5 (March 15, 2007): 56.
New Statesman 137 (October 15, 2007): 56.
The New York Times 156 (March 19, 2007): E1-E6.
Publishers Weekly 254, no. 9 (February 26, 2007): 54.
The Washington Post, April 22, 2007, p. BW06.
(The entire section is 36 words.)