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.