Angry youth take to the blogs

29/05/2012 § 6 Comments

Welly Gnome wasn’t happy with the Budget. Quoth the Gnome:

It is morally abominable that Billy Bunter and Don Key refuse to raise the retirement age from 65….Paying people who no longer produce anything when New Zealand is losing tens of thousands of productive people overseas every single year is demographic insanity.

I’m not convinced that we necessarily have to raise the retirement age. Earlier writers and economists speculated that all this machinery and technology accumulating around them could lead to more leisure and intellectual advancement. There’s a work-leisure trade-off, in the present, over one’s lifetime, and across members of society. We could all retire at 55, for example, but in smaller houses with fewer toys.

But I point to Welly Gnome because of the explicit recognition of the current inter-generational conflict. WG’s ‘About Me’ page says that the writer is 22 years old and believes that there aren’t enough Gen Y/Echo/Millennial voices on the Web. WG’s youth is central to the writer’s blogid(entity). And this youth is angry.

For good reason, I might add. There was a time in New Zealand when child healthcare was free, university was free, and houses were affordable. Now, not so much. The people who are now reaching retirement age and demanding their full pensions are the same people who introduced fees for child healthcare (now that they no longer need it) and university fees (now that they have their degrees), and support local land-use regulation that underpins high section prices in the major cities. Yeah, I’m looking at you, Boomers.

We have to be a bit careful, of course. Back in those days of free education, getting foreign exchange was something of a mission. Now, I pay my Amazon bill with my credit card and think nothing of it. Cars are easier to buy and more reliable. Many things are better now than they were then.

At one level, though, it doesn’t matter what I think. It matters what the Millennials think. And some of them, like WG, think they are getting raw deal. As the world economic troubles make it harder to join the workforce (have you seen the unemployment stats for young adults?) and user-pays means they get charged for everything, they may look for ways to raise their take-home pay. What better way to do that than reduce transfers to the generation that got all that free stuff to begin with?

As Phyllis Diller said, always be nice to your children because they are the ones who will choose your rest home.



§ 6 Responses to Angry youth take to the blogs

  • wellygnome says:

    I have no problem with user pays.
    I have a major problem expecting user pays while simultaneously creating numerous hoops my generation has to jump through in order to get to a point where “user pays” isn’t completely onerous but just part of day-to-day life.
    As for inner city zoning, I’d argue it is de facto racial segregation. Just look at demographic maps from Stats NZ!
    Wealthy, urban liberals don’t want minorities being able to afford to rent or purchase property in “nice” areas so they are all behind zoning restrictions and keeping the price of housing high.
    Even if they are National voters…

    • Bill says:

      What’s your impression – is there enough of this sort of dissatisfaction to affect the political parties anytime soon?

  • raupeka says:

    Bill, my sympathies are all with Welly Gnome. My four oldest children are Gen Y and the three youngest are whatever the next generation down is. My Generation Y children are open about their resentment of baby boomers (I am one of those myself), and I see their resentment as being entirely justified. I wish that young people would vote cohesively against old people in the way that older people vote cohesively in their own grotesquely selfish interests. Presently there are no political options for young people. They can vote only with their feet, and that is what my children all plan to do. Part of their motivation for this is that they don’t want to hang around and have the blood sucked out of them by aging baby boomers. The recent budget made no changes to Super and, amazingly, increased the money going to subsidised public transport for Gold Card holders. Meanwhile, class sizes are being increased and the availability of student allowances reduced. I have wondered if we may begin to see a migration from the West to the East.


    • Bill says:

      Wow – I didn’t know that there was so much resentment between the generations. I can understand it, and the recent Budget didn’t help. The big question is how Gen Y will react – change things or leave? It sounds like lots of young people are choosing to leave — will they come back?

  • wellygnome says:

    Leave. Young people don’t vote because what is the point? They are demographically cancelled out.
    Unless I get a graduate job offer above a pre-determined salary point, I’m leaving.
    Even then, the most I could see myself staying in New Zealand for is 3 years after graduation.
    I’m learning Spanish and Mandarin and planning reconaissance trips overseas as soon as I can afford it.
    I have an enormous family on my dad’s side – all of my cousins over the age of 22 live overseas!
    They are marrying and having kids with foreign girls too.
    Why come back to New Zealand when they would :
    a) not be able to get similar paying work
    b) have to downgrade their lifestyle significantly
    c) pay through the nose to see their friends in the UK/USA/Middle East/Asia

    There is a non-trivial chance that within 10 years, none of my cousins will live in New Zealand. On mum’s side my 2 cousins are on track to move to Australia this year.

    My biggest fear is what will happen to passport renewals and ease of exit when the reality sinks in of how bitter my generation is.

    Unless you are in the 1% and can earn a high income through connections/nepotism/exceptional talent your life in NZ will be miserable.

  • […] surprisingly, this has created some resentment not just among the generations, but within them as well.  It cuts across nationalities and classes, […]

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