I don’t get cross at much, but one thing that really sticks in my craw is the constant harping by a certain section of a certain age bracket – that somehow the baby-boomers are the source of all evil in the world.
Do they realise that the next generation is going to say exactly the same thing about theirs? With just as much or as little justification? Probably not. They’re God’s gift to humanity they are.
What exactly are they doing to create a better world? Are they using fewer resources? Are they voting for political parties that are trying to? Not by the look of that house and that car and those clothes they’re not.
Which generation is expert at internet crime, likely to cause the collapse of the global economic system as we know it, and deal in new forms of bush-button warfare?
Not fair criticism, they say. No, it’s not fair – but it’s as fair as what they’re dishing out to their parents, or maybe their grandparents.
Not you, of course, if you happen to be of that generation – as I said, you’re smarter than that.
Do they think corporate greed suddenly emerged twenty-plus years after the end of World War 2, just with people now retiring? Have they never heard of the 1929 Depression, the idiocy of Prohibition that gave us the platform for organised crime? Should the baby-boomers try to pass the buck to their parents, and they might do to theirs?
Yes, some baby-boomers made money by investing in a house to put a roof over their children’s head. Generally, they were not looking to end their lives basking in luxury. They just wanted security, and most paid for it fortnight by fortnight, interest rates at about 15%.
Some put off travel until retirement, once they gave their kids a start in life. Now a lot don’t have the money or the health to do that, or new responsibilities have been dumped in their laps that they had no idea were coming. They’ve missed out on a lot of the fun. Maybe not your oldies. Good for them if they’ve managed to squeeze it in before they drop off the perch.
Who wants to start at the top? Who’s seeking luxury right now? Who’s travelled all over the world before they’re thirty, and have a brand new car?
I know that you saved money and paid for your trip and are busting your guts paying off that car. You know better than the whingers. I’ve no intention of insulting you. And you also know what your oldies did for you.
A lot of baby-boomers didn’t have any of this. They didn’t leave high school with a glorious gap year ahead, often with no end of the gap in sight, supported by social security built on a system the post-war generation paid for. It was unthinkable.
Incidentally, I’m in favour of the gap year, but that’s another story. The point is, remember where the structure which supports it comes from.
Most baby-boomers helped create a stable financial environment, paid into superannuation funds or, if they couldn’t afford that or it wasn’t available, the money was put into giving their kids the education and comforts they now have.
Break your arm at basketball on a Saturday afternoon, and [in Australia] you can go to Accident & Emergency at a public hospital and have it dealt with – free of charge. Yes, it’s way from perfect, but Gina Rinehart didn’t give you that. Those baby-boomers did.
The greatest critics are the well-heeled upstarts who have been handed their advantages on a silver platter. Luckily there are others the same age; you, for example, who know what your parents have done/are doing for you, and yes, we know you are still paying off your HECS tertiary education debt. I had to pay term by term for my university fees as well in the 1960s. Up front.
Let’s not forget a few things. Many of these baby-boomers are rearing their children’s kids while their own children draw a salary. Yes, that income is critical and they don’t begrudge it. In sadder cases, they’re rearing children whose parents are rarely if ever around.
Bear in mind that this is after these baby-boomers spent their working lives rearing their own, and thought they were going to get a break. Raising grandchildren is exhausting for people approaching old age, but they rarely complain, for the sake of those kids.
They have not robbed their children of their future. In many cases, they sacrificed their own. And if they haven’t solved the world’s problems, like it or not, you may well have been the beneficiary, and the debt for that might well be passed down to your children through you.
The ingratitude of those who say they are now going to have to pay something to support their parents’ old age is bloody despicable. If that’s their attitude, I say, grow up, kiddies. Make the stats say what you like. We were there, preparing to give our kids a future. It so happened that some made money. Woopie-do. A lot didn’t because they made big sacrifices, and often still are.
But as I said, I’m not talking about you. You have more sense. It’s them. The immature, self-centred ingrates.
To them I say, get off our backs. Many baby-boomers are all too familiar with that sensation, and we don’t buy those spurious claims the piggy-backing little sods are making.
NOTE: My own children paid their own way after high school. They gave us as much as we gave them, and they don’t complain.
Editor’s Note: This is a repost of a Denis Wright piece on baby boomers. As Denis put it, it is in response to those who make generalisations about generations; not all, as that would be generalising.