Thursday, August 04, 2005
Britain's post-war generation was the first to enjoy the full fruits of the welfare state and the last to be able to buy houses before prices rose sky-high.
Succeeding generations, especially those now under 35, are not so fortunate. By the time they retire (which may not be until they're 70), the state pension will be derisory. Already half of the tax they pay is being spent on pensions, healthcare and social services for the elderly, and this burden will increase with demographic change. Much of their remaining income goes in rent - paid to older property owners.
Younger generations are beginning to perceive this as generational theft on a massive scale. From their perspective, the 'baby boomers' enjoyed the good times but failed to make adequate provision for their old age, expecting succeeding generations of taxpayers to pick up the tab, while profiting from over-inflated property values.
Ed Vickers has started a blog titled Out With The Old, inspired by the German pressure group and think tank, The Foundation for the Rights of Future Generations. Look out, too, for an article by Gareth Epps in the forthcoming issue of Liberator, where he argues that this year's Liberal Democrat election manifesto was skewed to the demands of retired people and baby boomers.
Take note of these views. Whatever you think of them, I predict you'll be hearing a lot more of such arguments. Indeed, a generational war, as opposed to the class divide, may become the defining feature of our politics over the next ten or twenty years.
PS: Read this BBC report.
- Grammar Schools
- Full Maintenance Grants
- Free dental treatment
to name but three?
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