Is it not time to stop harassing the baby boomer generation?
I’m thinking of starting a movement to stop the increasing persecution of the baby boomer generation.
You see, I believe this government has not only lost the way of itself in so many things it is also very anxious to get on the right side of the younger generation which appears to imagine that my generation has never had it so good and we should, God forbid, start paying our way more.
My anxiety levels in this subject increased this week when I read that no less a body than the Royal College of Psychiatrists is advising the government that the over-60s need to cut their consumption of alcohol to 11 units a week. One of the authors of the report Dr Tony Rao says that while young people are decreasing their use of alcohol and drugs (you could fool me on that one) which leaves older people fast becoming the highest risk group.
More serious to me since I’m not a big drinker, is the idea from the Resolution Foundation think tank (the sort of organisation the Government takes notice of) is that baby boomers ‘‘will have to reach into their own pockets’’ (it’s executive chairman David Willetts is a baby boomer, obviously a much richer one than myself) and fork out more for public services. The age of tax cuts, he says, is over.
No doubt he has in mind that tiny amount extra we baby boomers get in our state pension every year (allied to inflation which, of course, has been rock bottom for years while prices for just about everything continue to soar).
Then there’s the fuel allowance for the winter and the free TV licence for the very elderly.
Those extras all add up to a pittance of course but baby boomers are a thrifty lot – I include myself in that – though owning a dog and two cats is not cheap. I regard them as my primary indulgence.
I can’t really compare my salary when I was 20 to the salary of a 20 year old Millennial (today’s generation) but I do know I couldn’t have afforded the fashion wardrobe then that the young enjoy today.
Nor was I able to sun myself on a Costa holiday every year, nor indeed have massive birthday parties where I would have been escorted to the venue in a big flashy limousine with a bottle of champagne to help me on my way.
I remember my hen party consisting of my mum, my sister and brother all anxiously awaiting a call from Australia from the sister whose birthday date I had chosen for my wedding day.
Himself arrived but was sent away well before midnight so I could get an early night.
Today, anytime I board a flight to Europe, there’s sure to be a pre-wedding party of girls on board, in fancy dress, all set to blow umpteen euros on a good time. Good luck to them. I think my wedding cost all of £400, which would be about £2,000 today.
A bride-to-be, now, would spend that on the dress alone never mind the rest.
I suspect it’s all down to comparisons. The millennials look at today’s baby boomers with their mortgage-free homes and imagine that we got it all so cheaply. We didn’t.
I remember mortgage rates of up to 17 per cent, being out on strike for six weeks with no salary, and childcare costs which werw almost as expensive for me then as they are for today’s families who seem to think they shouldn’t be working just to pay for childcare.
That’s exactly what I did for a long time knowing it wouldn’t go on forever. The children of baby boomers were able to go to university without it costing today’s £9,000 a year on average, but it was still expensive.
The computer age was emerging and it was costing £2,000 for a computer which today would be just a fraction of that.
How would any government propose taxing my generation at a higher level? We have paid our dues and more. We are not defenceless exactly unless they decide to remove our right to vote as well. It’s enough to drive us all to drink.