Boomsday by Christopher Buckley is a political satire about the rivalry between Baby Boomers and younger generations of Americans. The novel follows the story of Cassandra Devine, a 29-year-old blogger who incites massive public outrage over the mounting Social Security debt.
Through her blog, she proposes a radical solution to the problem: allowing people over the age of 70 to voluntarily end their lives in exchange for a hefty financial reward.
The main themes of Boomsday are generational conflict, the power of social media, and the consequences of unchecked greed. Buckley uses his trademark wit and humor to explore these themes, creating a story that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. He also takes aim at politicians, highlighting their hypocrisy and lack of accountability.
What I Liked
The book is really good satire about an actual generational conflict that has been known for a very long time (with no action from any politicians). It’s funny, readable, and, like all good satire, helps break cognitive dissonance by pushing a scenario to the limit.
I also loved how the book makes the real life solution quite obvious – it’s called an inheritance tax. It’s simple, obvious, all-American, equal, approved by Thomas Jefferson, Adam Smith, easy to implement, and has few negative economic consequences than other taxes.
What I Did Not Like
The book requires quite a bit of context & background for the satire to make sense. It was published in 2007 – right after the inheritance tax was in the news over George W Bush’s efforts to change the Social Security system and eliminate the estate tax (and sell it by calling it a “death tax”). Outside of that context, the book might come across as odd and dated…even though it might be coming back into relevance with the rapid aging of the rich world.