OK, Boomer… The Group that gave us the Mercedes 80’s

Right after the ravages of the War to end all wars (WWI, which obviously didn’t end all wars) you had the birth of the so-called Greatest generation.  Born from the ravages of war and a Global Flu pandemic they were weaned in the scarcity of a worldwide economic depression, they were shipping off to the second war to end all wars.

When the greatest generation got back from kicking Imperial Japan and Nazi ass they started humping like rabbits.  With two of the greatest engineering societies in history devastated, the “Baby Boom” generation grew up in an incubator of peace and prosperity.  Everyone in the 50’s could plant some roots, get a good unionized factory job with an excellent pension.  If you really wanted to be ambitious you could go to one of the many affordable colleges and state universities.

The earliest boomers, coming of age in the 60’s, rebelled against the social structures of the day.  Divorcing sex from emotion, believing in “Free Love”, free from the bedrock moral systems but not consequences of an explosion of STD’s they were the first Generation to have sex without Guilt and the last to have it without fear.

Free Love. Money for nothing and the chicks for free. Gimme. That was them.

They started to achieve legislative dominance in the late 70’s early 80’s and it showed. 

Former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller describes boomer legislative agenda as such back in 2012:

“In 1962, we were laying down the foundations of prosperity. About 32 cents of every federal dollar, excluding interest payments, was spent on investments, only 14 percent on entitlements. In the mid-70s the lines crossed. Today we spend less than 15 cents on investment and 46 cents on entitlements. And it gets worse. By 2030, when the last of us boomers have surged onto the Social Security rolls, entitlements will consume 61 cents of every federal dollar, starving our already neglected investment and leaving us, in the words of the study, with ‘a less-skilled work force, lower rates of job creation, and an infrastructure unfit for a 21st-century economy.”

Perfect.

Chiropractic in many ways had a parallel to these genrations.

In the early 20th Century you had DD and BJ until the second half.  Clarence Gonstead was in the middle of the Century making miracles.  Reggie Gold was developing a generation of Chiropractors in the 60-70s.  George Goodheart, the developer of Applied kinesiology, was the first Chiropractor to serve on the USA Olympic Medical team in 1980.

It could be said that Reggie, Clarence and George was Chiropractic’s greatest generation, bringing it passed the egocentrism’s of the Palmers and into the mainstream culminating with the victory at the Wilks trial.

Despite our wars with the medical communities the Profession grew and reached mainstream status due to the efforts of these giants in the 50’s and 60’s and 70s.  A profession which could be lucrative, its education cheap, and its personal enrichment immense was to hand the baton to the next generation of Chiropractors.  

Born in the 40’s and 50’s, and attending Chiropractic colleges in the 60’s and 70’s the Boomer Chiropractors gave us the Junk bond- trickle down era of Chiropractic known as the Mercedes 80’s.

Boomer Chiropractors inherited a profession at it’s zenith and ravaged it.  It was at this time that they learned the Sith ways of insurance billery and pre-paid package fuckery and the PM Gurus.  Gold’s were replaced with the Singer’s and the Mertz’s, gone was the day of seeing everyone enough to relieve their ills and maintain with minimal and we had “You must be seeing several hundred visits a week to be worthy as a chiropractor.”

Between Workers Comp and PI and 3rd party  insurance they took the legitimacy those that came before them had clawed from the public and turned it into a money grab.  How much could you extract from a policy.

I forgot how much Grumples told me his Chiropractic education was when he graduated LACC in 1984 but I remember how much he made year 1 in his dinky little clinic: $250,000 (Give or take the man was prone to exaggeration).  

It wasn’t that hard back then.  You could set up shop in your hometown and your unionized buddies from the factory, foundry or the fire department had that swanky sweet paying insurance.  At 100 a pop and assuming a 5-day work week that’s 9.5 patients a day you could achieve a Quarter of a million dollars in a year.  

They speak of how they were able to put themselves through Chiropractic College, when College was affordable, they have gone to assume roles in Chiropractic college exponential increasing tuition costs.  I imagine their IRA’s contain our weaponized debt which rendered many unable to start their own practices. Forced into an indentured associateship where they continued to eat their young, while sardonically wondering why these entitled youngsters didn’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps like they imagine they did.

The struggles of Generation X and future millennial Chiropractic are a simulcra of the general malaise that effects society and the body politic today and in the past.

But like all things elsewhere things will be reborn.  History has a cycle to it.  The craven live good and die too late but spring is reborn seeded from the grist of their bones.

The profession will be reborn from casting off the scams of the 80’s and 90’s and rebuilding the profession in the image that our greatest generation bequeath us before the boomers looted the Bank and enslaved the generation following them.

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