Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Bashing the boomers

Once again some idiotic journalist is blaming the older generation (the "baby boomers") for the hard times facing the young as they pile up debts, hunt in vain for jobs and can barely afford a home of their own.

He castigates all 17 million of us over the age of 60 for reducing welfare benefits, bringing in university fees, pushing up property prices, accepting mass unemployment and letting working conditions decline.

Well, excuse me, but I'm not responsible for any of these things. I never supported them, I never voted for them, I never caused them. And I would say that most of the baby boomers never supported them either.

I think most of us wanted the next generations to have the same advantages and opportunities that we had. We never envisaged the big lurch backwards that produced the harsh realities of today.

The real villains are without doubt not us but the politicians. Time after time they've been elected on a harmless-enough manifesto, only to ditch half of it months later and do something utterly repellent. Like Tony Blair suddenly deciding university tuition fees would be a nice little earner. Like Gordon Brown scrapping the reduced tax rate for the low paid.

Blaming every baby boomer for the plight of the young is as ridiculous as blaming all young people for binge-drinking mayhem, or blaming all parents for playground bullying.

Many of us are as furious as the young about the obstacles they're having to struggle against, particularly when it's often the baby boomers themselves who're having to put their hands in their pocket to bail out their children and grandchildren.

So if you're searching for someone to blame, try looking at the House of Commons and its slippery, two-faced occupants.

30 comments:

Mr VeryVeryBored said...

I would like to see a politician brave enough to stand up and question some of the expensive 'common-sense' that gets bandied around. Like "more police = less crime". No, no it doesn't. How many times in a policeman's career has he turned a corner to find a burglar's feet disappearing through someone's window? "Lock 'em up = lower crime rates" - no, no it doesn't, and prison places are dazzlingly expensive.

Sadly, too much lazy politics and 'common sense' can be pointlessly expensive to the detriment of the useful things in life - like a secondary school education in a classroom that isn't falling down.

Scarlet Blue said...

...the baby boomers are going to need their dosh for their pensions... who else can pay for them?!
Sx

Nick said...

Bored - Absolutely. So many "common sense" ideas actually turn out to be half-baked nonsense, while properly thought-out solutions are rejected. Schools are a good case in point. Did anyone vote for the proposed freeze on the school rebuilding programme?

Scarlet - Age UK has pointed out that if all the oldies who wanted jobs were able to work, they'd raise enough tax to pay the entire pensions bill. Mass unemployment is the real issue here.

kylie said...

actually, i was under the impression that everything was my fault so if you boomers are getting the blame for once, i'm happy


and there was you thinking blogging got you considered replies

Nick said...

Kylie - Of course you're to blame. You voted for all those rotten politicians. And when I mentioned considered replies, of course I was ignoring lunatic oddballs like Kylie from Sydney.

kylie said...

ha! i thought i only appeared lunatic and oddball in real life....

Grannymar said...

I am so relieved that it is not all my fault! ;) Since there is no need to post my widow's mite to the Government, I can put it back in the mattress for another rainy day.

K8 the Gr8 said...

It's all about blaming these days. I remember when they used to pull teeth without novocaine and nobody was blamed! Well maybe I don't but I get told about it a lot.

Nick said...

Kylie - What, you didn't realise your blog was totally see-through?

Grannymar - Good idea. But make sure the mattress is fireproof.

K8 - Blaming's fair enough, it's the sweeping blame and the misdirected blame I object to. And the tendency to scapegoat the whistleblowers who expose the guilty.

Leah said...

They blame the Boomers here in America too. But I think you're right--my parents generation is busy spending inheritances bailing the "kids" out!

Nick said...

Leah - I think it's happening a hell of a lot. It's a sick society when the young are so financially strapped they have to be rescued by the old.

secret agent woman said...

It's a similar situation here, and while I didn't vote for those politicians either, someone sure did. It's hard to escape the fact that greed - and the desire for bigger houses, faster cars, more "stuff" - got us into a fix. I don't think we should take all the blame by any stretch, but I don't think our generation is blamesless.

Macy said...

I've never heard any other generation mentioned... I have a suspicion it might be simply because no one has come up with an alternative phrase as catchy as "Baby Boomers" ...

Baino said...

Takes a generation to make money and the next to lose it. I think 'they' are very good at realising we're an ageing population and they're not prepared sufficiently to cope with it. Wages have never been higher, gadgets have never been cheaper but housing never more expensive and Governments never more reactive rather than proactive. The younger generation has very different priorities to us and a 'live in the now' attitude. I think frankly they're a little jealous that many boomers are spending their inheritance.

Nick said...

Secret Agent - Like so many others, I voted for some of the politicians, but then they pushed through policies we hadn't voted for. The Labour government was a bitterly disappointing one.

Macy - Indeed. Yet middle-aged politicians and managers are carrying out the policies we oldies are being blamed for.

Nick said...

Baino - It's not that the younger generation are losing money, it's more that they have less chance to make any. They've got student loans to pay back, salaries have been driven right down, housing costs eat up those salaries etc.

Wisewebwoman said...

There's not an easy answer, is there Nick?
Our lifestyles have contributed, the huge McMansions and McCars (and I was as guilty as the next), chewing up more per capita than the third world, outsourcing everything to Asia and Mexico, I could go on. But that's only a small part of it all. Out of control corporatocracy and their willing political poodles did the rest. And the almighty military machine. Blair and Obama have been enormous disappointments too for that betrayal.
I don't vote for these idiots either. I don't know how to get rid of them.
We are very easy scapegoats.
(and believe it or not I've been asked to run federally here, still mulling...)
XO
WWW

Nick said...

www - I don't think it's the big houses and cars as such, it's the fact that many young people won't have a comfortable lifestyle for years to come because they're so badly-off financially.

tattytiara said...

I think every generation is equally guilty of spending more time complaining about things than they do trying to improve them.

Nick said...

Tattytiara - That's very true. Though trying to change government policy once it's been decided on is virtually impossible. My personal motto is not to complain about things I have no power to change. Life's too short.

Brighid said...

Baby Boomers Rock! We raised our kids to know the value of a dollar, use common sense, the importance of family, and to participate in life. They are teaching the same values to their children. You aren't going to hear about them in the media, because they are not considered News worthy, but they are out there.

Suburbia said...

Indeed, but what can we do about them?

Nick said...

Brighid - Yep, baby boomers rock! We did our best to improve the world. If others have done their best to wreck it, we're not responsible for them.

Suburbia - The politicians, you mean? A good question. If we can't trust them to do what we voted for, how the f*** do we keep them in line?

Liz said...

Oh yes, we know all about the bale-out.

It is such a struggle for the young people - our children. And to begin a working life in debt thanks to university loans is horrendous.

Nick said...

Liz - The idea that it's normal for the young to start their adult life with huge debts hanging over their heads is alarming. Too many huge debts were exactly what caused the banking crisis and the recession.

Brighid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nick said...

Brighid, I got your comment on my email. But as you wanted to delete it, I won't reply to it.

Brighid said...

Thanks Nick, I was just so frustrated, but thought better of posting it.

The Mad Penguin said...

I wish I had read this last semester! In my postgraduate class, we have a healthy mix of young and old, and this was one of the debate. I do think it was a bit unfair to blame the boomers...had it been the other way round, had the economy been good we youngsters would have gone "Hell yeah, we did it ourselves! Go us!" instead of "The boomers really paved the way for us".

My (still-uninformed) opinion now is that the my generation should just shut up, harden the f**k up and do something about it, instead of just whingeing! I bet we wouldn't survive a real Great Depression so at least we should be grateful we don't have to experience it. Sheesh. Human have such short memory and very little grateful bone in their body...

Your post have sparked a research idea though!

Nick said...

Penguin - I'm not sure the youngsters would be applauding their own economic success, since they're too young to have made any serious economic impact. Also, I'd like to think they'd be a bit more generous than that!

I think the young are in general NOT whingeing but doubling their efforts to get what they want in life, in particular a decent job. I wish them luck, the economy's in a hell of a mess.