The selfish generation

I have already had one go at this book, When the Money Runs Out: The End of Western Affluence, and now I’m going to have another. I have a post at Quadrant Online about the book which focuses on one element in his solutions chapter, the culpability of my baby boomer generation for the problems of the world today. You can read the whole article at this link, but let me fix on just one part of what I wrote:

Here are his thoughts about how to deal with this baby boomer generation for whom he has a name of his own.

“One answer would simply be to wait for the selfish generation to expire. By that stage, however, the damage may have been done: their gains will have been the rest of society’s losses.” [My bolding]

Yes, we could wait for us all to die off, but that’s such a slow process, he thinks. So what to do? In a continuation from the previous sentence and in the same para he therefore suggests this.

“Another [answer] would be to recognise the futile nature of the large amounts of medical expenditure for those approaching the final curtain, a use of resources for which the returns are, sadly, lacking [!!!]. It seems unlikely [!!!], however, that society is yet [!!!] willing to embrace voluntary euthanasia – let alone the involuntary kind – any time soon [!!!], or to become indifferent to death, whatever the age.”

This is not written as a joke in “a modest proposal” sort of way. You can quite clearly see that even if he’s not game to say it, his actual real answer is to leave us all to die off as quickly as possible. If we are no longer productive, we should no longer be allowed to absorb resources.

This man is an absolute caricature, a Monty Python version of a merchant banker.

He may think we are the selfish generation, but if this is really what he thinks, other words come to mind that would fit all too well for his.

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113 Responses to The selfish generation

  1. Anon

    He’s right though. Old age might be a little more unpleasant for boomers than they currently imagine.

  2. MemoryVault

    Okay, okay, I confess. My wife and I are part of the “selfish generation”.
    As youths I was a champion swimmer, my future wife a champion netballer.
    We competed all over Australia. There was no Institute of Sport. We paid our own fares.
    Our parents paid taxes.

    We both went to uni.
    I was on a cadetship, my future wife worked days and attended lectures at night.
    We both worked and we both paid taxes.

    We literally built our first home ourselves, from a kit.
    There was no First Home Buyer’s Scheme.
    We both worked and we both paid taxes.

    We made and raised babies. There was no “baby bonus”.
    We both worked and we both paid taxes.

    We educated our children. There was no “book allowance”.
    We both worked and we both paid taxes.

    When our youngest got his girlfriend pregnant in their final year of high school, they lived with us.
    We supported them, and nobody collected any benefits.
    We both worked and we both paid taxes.

    Now all our children are living independently, and have children of their own.
    We all work and we all pay taxes.
    We look after the grandchildren.
    There is no “childcare allowance” for this, not for us, not for our kids.
    We all work, and we all pay taxes.

    God, how could we have been so selfish?

  3. Notafan

    Prior to world war Two Australians who had assets ( other than the family home) but insufficient income and wished to receive an age pension, had to give said assets to the commissioner (subject to some exclusions).
    This is referred to in the first interim report of the joint parliamentary committee social security 1941 to 1946
    Not that I am advocating a return to such a measure but throughout the postwar period access to pension and ancillary benefits has become more and more generous.
    I don’t know if anyone has or could quantify the many concessions and benefits made available though state government, local councils etc.

  4. calli

    I’m really intrigued as to why an entire generation of people could be labelled ‘selfish’ and the writer expects us to take what follows seriously.

    Is it because there are just so many boomers and so there is a higher proportion of ‘selfish’ people in the mix than in other generations? Or is it because the label is cheap and easy for younger ones to apply in the hope that it sticks.

  5. calli

    If anything, where I feel we Boomers may be most at fault is producing the generations that have come after.

    Observing the types of work my children will and won’t do, and the quality of housing/furnishings/vehicles etc. that they will and won’t accept, I’m inclined to agree. I don’t have to look far to find the resources gobblers. And of course, Gen X and now Gen Y make up my clientele when it comes to resource hungry discretionary spending.

    Oh my! I have created monsters. So the boomers must be to blame after all.

  6. I can find remarkably little biographical info on the interweb thingummy about this Stephen King, except that he used to work for the UK Treasury and was educated at New College, Oxford.

    I would love to know how he has been blessed personally by the selfishness of the baby boomer generation.

    However, he is completely right about “the futile nature of the large amounts of medical expenditure for those approaching the final curtain, a use of resources for which the returns are, sadly, lacking”.

    We do far too much intensive medical intervention on the very elderly, when they would be better off with simpler care (nutrition and hydration included), that alleviates pain and keeps them comfortable as they approach natural death, rather than pursuing expensive and dramatic interventions which are designed for younger and healthier bodies.

    Michael Giffin wrote an excellent piece in Quadrant (‘Let’s talk about dying’, vol 55, issue 10, 2011) about this, which was balanced and humane. Dramatic medical interventions at advanced age and advanced illness are great if you’re a doctor who wants to practise this intervention, or a relative who’s panicking and ill-informed, but they are usually* not good for the patient or for the health care system.

    I would much rather see huge improvements in realistic palliative care than anything else.

    *Yes, there are always exceptions, including your Aunty Beryl who was given a triple bypass at age 99 and is now teaching yoga and smoking a pack a day. But Beryl is the exception, not the norm.

  7. Bushdoc

    It is hard to know where to start to comment on this.
    However I shall try, firstly the correct term for involuntary euthanasia is murder.
    Secondly, the description ” the selfish generation”, is a moniker while cute, does not reflect that those that follow, Gen X and Y, are no more altruistic, indeed the evidence is quite the opposite. For all our failings, the baby boomers know you have to start at the bottom and work up. Gen X and Y, believe you can leave school and immediately have a corporate salary and lifestyle. They believe many tasks are beneath them, particularly in the service industries. They are “lifestyle” orientated. They are choosing careers over family, having children late in their reproductive lives ( not immigrants and the economic underclasses). This leads to significant on costs in health as assisted fertility is very expensive.
    I speak as a doctor, I deal with all generations on a daily basis. The differences in generations is really quite astounding. The internet generation (Gen X & Y) have very poor social skills, appalling lack of maths and grammar/spelling etc. Worse still the addiction to mobile communications, leads to some truly irritating behaviours. Answering text messages and phone calls in middle of consultations. They are generally surprised at my lack of appreciation of how important their communications are, during my consultations.
    That said I agree we should not bequeath the next generation our debts, hence my objection to government debt. Health care and pensions need to be reined in, co-payments are a small but necessary step. (I do not agree with the AMA etc on how terrible co-payments would be). Realistic decisions will need to be made re health services for the elderly. However that means appropriate rationing, not withdrawal(i.e. not doing bypass surgery on 85 yr olds) Costs will have to be more equally shared with the users of health care, not just the government.

  8. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    I don’t have to look far to find the resources gobblers

    Certainly with you on this one, Calli. We are facing the next generation demanding as the starting point, what it took me over forty years of hard work to achieve. Financial security, a standard of housing and vehicles far beyond anything I have ever wanted, oh and “schoolies” in Bali? Oh, and it’s impossibly boring to even contemplate how some did without these things.

    I am trying not to sound like “used to live in hole in middle of the road”……..

  9. Baldrick

    The Economist and The Financial Times 2013 book of the year!

    Wonder if author Stephen D. King also believes in the Keynesianism & Eugenics theory?

  10. Anon

    I agree that the description of an entire generation as selfish is a gross generalisation and very unfair. I am merely saying that you better get used to it and the other unpleasant consequences described above.

  11. .

    They are choosing careers over family, having children late in their reproductive lives ( not immigrants and the economic underclasses).

    Sorry. It costs way too much to own a house these days. Most people don’t want to have kids until they are near owning a home. I know young people who are traders or bankers and who refuse to buy a property. Why would you pay a mortgage on half a million dollars of tax?

  12. Max

    Forget about peak oil. What we have hit is Peak White Men!!

    We sadly are loosing our most Inventive, Co-operative and effective demographic the world has ever seen.

    And immigration is not the answer, many Christian Italian immigrates have been hear 50 years and still dont queue properly at shops, co-operate socially, or speak english.

    Chinese prefer to stay in their enclaves serving their own tribes with their own shop signs and language, gaming the selective schools systems and bringing out their 114yo great grandmothers to live here.

    Look at a world map! everywhere you want to live is a society built by white men and we are running out thanks to the birth control pill.

  13. MemoryVault

    If anything, where I feel we Boomers may be most at fault is producing the generations that have come after.

    Yeah. Our first home was a five square, two-bedroom we built ourselves.

    My eldest son’s original idea of a first home was an architect-designed, two-story, four bedroom, three bathroom mansion with a home theatre room with projection and suround-sound, separate games room, family room, study AND computer room with high-speed fibre connection, on acreage at least 20 kilometres from the nearest neighbours or busy road, and less than five minutes away from a major shopping centre.

    Plus swimming pool and spa.

    He was a tad disappointed when he finally came to grips with the fact that he just might have to lower his expectations for a while.

  14. Max

    I agree that the description of an entire generation as selfish is a gross generalisation and very unfair. I am merely saying that you better get used to it and the other unpleasant consequences described above.

    Yeah – like sudanese muslims are going to pay taxes for your medical care? or Pakistani nurses aren’t going to “misread” the label and give you a double shot of morphine and leave the window open on a cold minters night at the nursing hospice.

  15. H B Bear

    Peter Switzer has a go at laying out how tough the Baby Boomers have had it in The Australian … and doesn’t do a very good job at it,

    Cars were dearer then too. Craig James says it now takes 27 weeks to buy a Ford Falcon XT auto sedan. In 1977 it took 32 weeks, but the car of today has power steering, airconditioning and airbags. Baby boomers lived without all that.

    but he lets the cat out of the bag,

    Many baby boomers may look like the legendary Reilly locked up in their expensive homes, but they’re often cash poor and the irony is many of them are hanging on to their homes to leave them to their whingeing kids.

    When you have governments running up hundreds of billions of dollars in debt that has to be repaid out of future taxes and inflation inter-generational equity is a front and center issue.

  16. He was a tad disappointed when he finally came to grips with the fact that he just might have to lower his expectations for a while.

    It’s always enjoyable to hear the sound of reality dawning on the young people of today …

  17. Senile Old Guy

    I was going to respond to something specific, but I am bored with this entire “slap label on generation [something]” and then “blame generation [something] for everything” meme. It is intellectually lazy and people have been doing it since forever.

  18. Louis Hissink

    And it was the white man who invented socialism and the idea of the free lunch.

  19. Max

    And it was the white man who invented socialism and the idea of the free lunch.

    Care to elaborate? can you get any more SPECIFIC?

  20. calli

    Sorry. It costs way too much to own a house these days. Most people don’t want to have kids until they are near owning a home.

    Dot, it has been ever thus, but I do concede that house prices, particularly in Sydney are ridiculously inflated, particularly in the ‘affordable’ $650-800K bracket.

    A quick ask around yields part of the answer: a desire to have a renovated, modern house rather than the old ‘builder’s special’ that can be improved over the years providing sweat equity; the trend to start late, not just families, but serious relationships; the desire to travel extensively, have expensive, time consuming gadgets; wasting time at uni on useless degrees which will not yield the type of job and income hoped for…the list goes on.

  21. Max

    the trend to start late, not just families, but serious relationships; the desire to travel extensively, have expensive, time consuming gadgets; wasting time at uni on useless degrees which will not yield the type of job and income hoped for…the list goes on.

    Sex without responsibility = People without responsibility

  22. el gordo

    The baby boomer generation, coming at the end of a world war, were a hard working productive lot during a time of technological advancement.

    Their parents had been through the Great Depression and were frugal, while later generations had easy credit and this created an unraveling.

  23. Token

    The concept of “selfish” is alway defined by people who are full of envy. Not only the baby boomers suffer from the issue, anyone who saves and doesn’t squander will always have this label thrown upon them.

  24. Pedro

    “Forget about peak oil. What we have hit is Peak White Men!!

    We sadly are loosing our most Inventive, Co-operative and effective demographic the world has ever seen.

    And immigration is not the answer, many Christian Italian immigrates have been hear 50 years and still dont queue properly at shops, co-operate socially, or speak english.”

    Jeez, what sort of fuckwit are you Max?

  25. Paul

    “…or Pakistani nurses aren’t going to “misread” the label and give you a double shot of morphine and leave the window open on a cold minters night at the nursing hospice.”

    Already happening. Some Private hospitals are sponsoring them in large numbers, displacing the local nurses. A well known large Melbourne Institution with a number of campuses comes to mind. Issues of fundamental competence are already looming large.

  26. Combine_Dave

    Is it because there are just so many boomers and so there is a higher proportion of ‘selfish’ people in the mix than in other generations? Or is it because the label is cheap and easy for younger ones to apply in the hope that it sticks.

    They have something they worked, built and paid for, and no the ones that have nothing and are used to getting things for free/little effort want to take.

  27. Max

    Jeez, what sort of fuckwit are you Max?

    Over the last 15 years the means of production in the computer industry have been distributed from 100million people to 3 billion people around the world.

    Please show me, and Indian, Chinese, Spanish Italian, African etc etc etc
    Computing language
    Computer application
    Operating system
    Blog platform
    e-business platform (not including chinese direct copies)
    social media platform (not including chinese direct copies)

    Just paste a link mate…. Hint…. you will not find any…

  28. Eddystone

    MemoryVault
    #1292425, posted on May 5, 2014 at 11:35 am

    You selfish bastard! About time you did your “fair share”.*

    (*© Joe Hockey.)

  29. Combine_Dave

    Look at a world map! everywhere you want to live is a society built by white men and we are running out thanks to the birth control pill.

    It’s okay Max.

    Abbott’s PPL has that covered.

    Just need to stump up for an increase in prices (due to the PPL Levy) and an related but very much more expensive directed action Tony Tax Deficit Levy.

  30. Max

    Already happening.

    I know

  31. philip j. fry

    It will be interesting when the retail and other industries finally work out that the people who had disposable income and were the primary customer base are leaving the marketplace.

    They can blame the internet for some of it, but the super-profits of retail in particular, are going.

    yes, the next generation may get some of it, but things will be different I suspect.

  32. .

    A quick ask around yields part of the answer: a desire to have a renovated, modern house rather than the old ‘builder’s special’ that can be improved over the years providing sweat equity

    Dude.

    You know what sort of fees councils and spivs charge?

    Sweat equity is being squeezed. You gotta get approval to put up a freaking small shed.

  33. calli

    Sweat equity is being squeezed. You gotta get approval to put up a freaking small shed.

    Yeah, dude! Tell me about it! For the type of work I do, I might as well be putting up a block of flats…ughhh, the paperwork. :)

  34. .

    Err Max

    The educated people in India speak English anyway. The same with China. Of course they use BASIC, FORTRAN etc.

  35. Combine_Dave

    yes, the next generation may get some of it, but things will be different I suspect.

    Does this mean the baby boomers spent more on retail than the younger generations?

    I don’t know if this is true, however I can honestly say my family’s ratio for purchases made online vs instore is about 10-1 (and our online orders are only likely to increase). Not good if you’re a retailer, and not a trend likely to be reversed by a decline in the Aussie dollar or a great big new tax in the form of a lowered GST threshold.

  36. entropy

    Boomers as a collection aren’t selfish, just stupid.

    The concept of unintended consequences appears foreign to their collective agenda, and we are fortunate there are still one or two capable of independent thought. The sad thing is that the boomers have worked very hard at making sure that independent thought has been thoroughly removed from their offspring via the education system.

  37. Token

    Thanks Pedro.

    There are so many important messages based upon homespun common sense in a Christmas Carol which it is clear Dickens himself didn’t get.

  38. mundi

    I would say buying online is a result of government interference in land picked and labor prices.

    How can it possibly be cheaper to deliver items to individual delivery points than to have people come pick them up at their own cost?

    It’s not like people have better things to do and value their time more than delivery fees (because of minimum wage – most peoples time out side of work is worth $0).

    The reason is that there is a good free market in last mile delivery. You can have it done on contract for $1 per item. compare that to all the regulation of running a store and paying the ridiculous industrial conditions on retail employees.

    I don’t think the internet will win out in the long term. The regulations tend to play catch up.

  39. mundi

    The problem with the boomers is that they are a bulge in the population, so under democracy they will tend towards incurring debt that will be paid for by a smaller future generation.

    As for people here bagging out thier own children’s work ethics, gen y give preto charity, work more hours and have wore average work experience than any other generation.

    If you kid doesn’t want to flip burgers during high school / college it’s probably because they have you bent over and are feeding out of your hands. teenagers and young assizes dominate the shitty service jobs – no matter how many plumb cat parents think otherwise.

  40. Pedro

    Max, did you happen to notice that you’re a racist?

    Mundi, Amazon is also doing great business in the US.

  41. Formerly A Political

    Oh yes I am part of that selfish generation.

    I well remember how selfish I felt every year when I received one good dress for winter and another for summer. One good pair of shoes for winter and another for summer.

    At Christmas I was extravagently selfish. One present only, from Father Christmas and we had ice-cream cake for desert and soft drinks as a bonus. Can’t get more selfish than that.

    During the school holidays I selfishly went out and got myself a job to buy Christmas present for the family and even worse to selfishly buy myself a book or two. Worse selfishness was to come. I finished school and selfishly went out to work, no youth start or dole then.

    Selfishly I used cloth nappies when my children were born and worse still I washed them by first boiling them in a copper and then washing (using a washing board) in soapy water by hand. I must admit I nearly died of shame at my selfishness in buying a twin tub washing machine.

    I compounded my selfishness by becoming an “Avon Lady” in order to earn money to buy a tumble-drier to dry not only the nappies, but also the few clothes I selfishly bought for my children.

    My husband and I were doubly selfish when we bought our first home, which had 4 bedroom, but no en-suite and no floor coverings or curtains. We very selfishly estapoled all the wooden floors ourselves and I made our own curtains.

    Our selfishness knew no bounds. We paid for medical insurance, no Medicare then. We paid for our children’s uniforms and books, no hand-outs from the Govt then. I stayed home and looked after our children, no subsidised child-care then. We joined a Baby Sitting Club, couldn’t afford to pay a baby sitter in cash.

    I have had enough, my brain is in turmoil and my heart is aching at the thought that I could ever have been so selfish. If only I hadn’t been so selfish all would be right with the world and Australia.

  42. cohenite

    Why would you pay a mortgage on half a million dollars of tax?

    Because you can live in it; paint it, improve it, add value and when you sell it it’s all tax free. No other asset can claim that.

    I like houses.

    If Abbott puts any more taxes on them he deserves to lose.

  43. calli

    As for people here bagging out thier own children’s work ethics

    Trust you weren’t referring to my flippant comment, Mundi, about ‘creating monsters’. My children all work very hard, and work long hours, just like their parents. They have done so since Year 10, all in the ‘flipping burgers’ type part time jobs. Two went on to uni, one to a trade. All have well paid jobs, one with a business of her own.

    The difference between me and them is their priorities and expectations as they have come to maturity. The crunch comes when they finally meet their beloved and want to buy a home.

  44. mundi

    What I am saying is, would Internet still win if the sellers were regulated to pay delivers a fixed wage regardless of items delivered? Or if they were forced to pay local councils millions for the ‘right’ to deliver in their area?

    Both us and aus have essentially no regulation for companies that deliver to door themselves, which is why it’s booming. Auspost biggest competito in parcels is actually buisness delivering themselves.

    It won’t stay that way. It will get regulated.

  45. Infidel Tiger

    It won’t stay that way. It will get regulated.

    What, they are going to put parcel police at every mailbox or doorstep?

    They can try, but they’ve got no hope.

  46. johanna

    Heh. My first jobs were spinning fairy floss and leading pony rides around at a carnival. I was 10 or 11 years old, and got paid (cash) $10 a week.

    Like others here of the “selfish generation” I did many crap jobs, paid tax every year, got no handouts, and saved for many years for a deposit on a 3 bedroom weatherboard “renovator’s delight” in a then unfashionable suburb.

    Looxury, eh?

  47. Pedro

    “What I am saying is, would Internet still win if the sellers were regulated to pay delivers a fixed wage regardless of items delivered? Or if they were forced to pay local councils millions for the ‘right’ to deliver in their area?”

    You can invent all sorts of scenarios that are not grounded in reality. Nobody is forced to pay Council millions to have a shopping centre or department store. But planning restrictions do impact on the level of competition along, with building costs. The internet advantage is derived from scale and savings in real estate cost because warehouses are always cheaper than shops for a similar level of goods suppliable and delivery is pretty efficient. Amazon seems to do well even where planning restrictions are not an issue and the minimum wage is low.

  48. Combine_Dave

    What I am saying is, would Internet still win if the sellers were regulated to pay delivers a fixed wage regardless of items delivered? Or if they were forced to pay local councils millions for the ‘right’ to deliver in their area?

    Is that a change coming in the next budget?

  49. Senile Old Guy

    The internet advantage is derived from scale and savings in real estate cost because warehouses are always cheaper than shops for a similar level of goods suppliable and delivery is pretty efficient.

    One of the advantages of the internet is that you can buy what you want or need but isn’t stocked by stores in your city.

  50. manalive

    It’s not just the end of an age of affluence, he shows. We have made promises to ourselves that are achievable only through ongoing economic expansion. The future benefits we expect—pensions, healthcare, and social security, for example—may be larger than tomorrow’s resources …

    Spiky-haired King looks like a Generation ‘Y’er brought up on the usual diet of environmental/resource pessimism and now augments his no doubt handsome salary by spreading doom and gloom which feeds on itself and sounds like another version of ‘pulling the ladder up behind you’.
    Despite occasional setbacks and undoubted future risks, the baby boomers have continued the achievements of their parents and grandparents. Perhaps they should leave their wealth to medical research institutions or the dogs’ and cats’ home.
    If West falters it will be self-induced.

  51. .

    King is still pushing the Club of Rome idea that there are limits to growth? What a chump.

    FFS, national GDP growth rates are trending up across income levels.

    What is unsustainable is the welfare state. The resource “genius” is looking for is demographics.

  52. Notafan

    We worked on a early morning paper route when we were 12, umpired netball, worked parttime at the supermarket, helped prepare family meals because mum worked and dad had left, in year 12 competition was intense we studied for hours and gave up on a social life, we drove a 20 year old car,at university we worked really hard doing a double degree in the hard sciences as well as working parttime. When we finished we got a good job but despite saving hard we are looking at eye watering mortgage for a modest two bedroom house on a small block in an outer suburb.
    Current age, 26. (Not me by the way, I’m a tail end boomer)

  53. Token

    I well remember how selfish I felt every year when I received one good dress for winter and another for summer. One good pair of shoes for winter and another for summer.

    You do realise the “gap” between rich and poor they bang on about is actually the gap between those who can overcome the compulsion to spend immediately and those who choose not to?

    Those who only consume what they require against those slaves who consume according to their desires.

    The sophistry of the left and their pet economists will be ignored by everyone who wants to achieve. Too bad that through the education system people like you paid to build with your taxes too many children are being taught to worst possible values and will be condemned to lives of destructive desire, consumption and envy.

  54. Token

    One of the advantages of the internet is that you can buy what you want or need but isn’t stocked by stores in your city.

    Another advantage is it is now possible tod develop algorithms so companies like Amazon can identify inventory level by product class, by city so they can respond to requests in the shortest possible time.

    Bricks & mortar retail have a lot of work to do to match this technique of distribution, but knowing human innovation they will develop help build a mechanisms like the “baby sitter club” Formerly A Poltical referred to in their efforts to compete with the Amazons.

  55. Helen

    Please show me, and Indian,

    That would be the bloke that rings up all the time wanting to fix my computer?

  56. Rabz

    Like others here of the “selfish generation” I did many crap jobs, paid tax every year, got no handouts, and saved for many years for a deposit on a 3 bedroom weatherboard “renovator’s delight” in a then unfashionable suburb.

    Looxury, eh?

    Now, now – t’is better than shoebox by side of road and burning your undies at night to keep warm.

  57. Senile Old Guy

    Bricks & mortar retail have a lot of work to do to match this technique of distribution, but knowing human innovation they will develop help build a mechanisms…

    So last year I bought a power pack upgrade (to recharge my phone away from home). Battery pack was made in China and purchased from the Netherlands. They specialise in batteries and have them for anything you could possibly want. Can a retail store in Darwin match that? No.

  58. Combine_Dave

    So last year I bought a power pack upgrade (to recharge my phone away from home). Battery pack was made in China and purchased from the Netherlands. They specialise in batteries and have them for anything you could possibly want. Can a retail store in Darwin, Perth, Cairns, Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney match that? Probably not.

    FIFY.

  59. Anne

    Okay, okay, I confess. My wife and I are part of the “selfish generation”.
    As youths I was a champion swimmer, my future wife a champion netballer.
    We competed all over Australia. There was no Institute of Sport. We paid our own fares.
    Our parents paid taxes.

    We both went to uni.
    I was on a cadetship, my future wife worked days and attended lectures at night.
    We both worked and we both paid taxes.

    We literally built our first home ourselves, from a kit.
    There was no First Home Buyer’s Scheme.
    We both worked and we both paid taxes.

    We made and raised babies. There was no “baby bonus”.
    We both worked and we both paid taxes.

    We educated our children. There was no “book allowance”.
    We both worked and we both paid taxes.

    When our youngest got his girlfriend pregnant in their final year of high school, they lived with us.
    We supported them, and nobody collected any benefits.
    We both worked and we both paid taxes.

    Now all our children are living independently, and have children of their own.
    We all work and we all pay taxes.
    We look after the grandchildren.
    There is no “childcare allowance” for this, not for us, not for our kids.
    We all work, and we all pay taxes.

    God, how could we have been so selfish?

    This should be on the front page of The Age, under the heading…

    “WAKE UP AUSTRALIA!”

  60. Anne

    Sorry, I omitted your name, Memory Vault.

  61. Mr Rusty

    This should be on the front page of The Age, under the heading…

    …and then handed out to every school kid to recite verbatim and then forcibly tattooed on the forehead of every whingeing moocher.

  62. Pete of Freo

    That’s right Steve, “This selfish generation”; the ones who bullied me at school, got free tertiary education, destroyed teacher accountability, got Medicare, are getting and will continue to get pensions and PBS and all of the other taxpayer funded excesses for which me and my children will have to pay, who have done NOTHING for me (except those who served in the military). Fuck em, the sooner they all die the better because I’m sick of paying for them and the legion bureaucrats who cater for this failed generation of tit-sucking parasites.

  63. Kaboom

    Johanna:

    “Like others here of the “selfish generation” I did many crap jobs, paid tax every year, got no handouts, and saved for many years for a deposit on a 3 bedroom weatherboard “renovator’s delight” in a then unfashionable suburb.”

    I thought it was AWESOME when my employment did not necessitate climbing into refuse skips, to tamp them down. Student employment, but some folks did this full-time.

    Chrissake, everyone needs to work shit, low paid jobs – this is the only thing that encourages you to do better, to strive for what you can! Minimum wage reform (a) destroys the shit job employment market, and (b) destroys the inherent intent to better yourself.

    For fuck’s sake, when you even attempt to imbue today’s coddled youth with any sort of granular wisdom, you are accused of fascism, racism, condescension and/or sexism, as well as being a capitalistic exploiter of labour.

    Thank Gaia that my kids are fine, but they will be a rarity in the Brave New World…

  64. A Lurker

    Let’s see – I’m a tail-end boomer but grew up in a Depression-era mindset household. What I remember from my childhood.

    Washing day was Saturday and was a family affair – copper to boil the clothes and then into two concrete tubs to rinse (with some ‘Bluo’ to whiten them), and then a hand-cranked wringer to drain most of the water away. Clothes were hung up on a Hills Hoist in the backyard.
    Dining out was very rare – and when it happened it was at the local Chinese restaurant.
    Mum had a nifty little soap shaker into which she loaded all the tiny Sunlight soap-ends, she’d use this instead of detergent in the kitchen wash-up.
    If I wanted to read books – it was down to the local Library and load up enough for a fortnight.
    Father Christmas would come with a small present (usually books or art supplies and very occasionally a doll) – but birthday and Christmas gifts were usually clothing.
    Sewing machine was an old Singer, mum used it to repair clothing, she used to darn our socks as well.
    We had a B&W TV for years (and my first TV when I moved out of home was an old B&W portable).
    No home phone for years – we used a relative’s phone who lived next door.
    Social activities for the family was the extended family, Church, and guides and scouts for us kids.
    Mum stayed at home to raise us, Dad worked.
    Family holidays were at a rented beach house.
    Our family never travelled overseas, but mum and dad must have scrimped and saved to send us kids to NZ during grade eleven for one Big Excursion each. That trip was the first time I’d been in a plane.
    We all turned out pretty well.
    Can’t say that we were raised in a ‘selfish’ household.
    I see far more selfishness and greed in the present younger generations.

  65. calli

    Fuck em, the sooner they all die the better because I’m sick of paying for them and the legion bureaucrats who cater for this failed generation of tit-sucking parasites

    Not dying just yet, sunshine. Still paying tax, still haven’t received any ‘middle class welfare’…oh, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t bully you at school, either.

  66. .

    Pete of Freo
    #1292718, posted on May 5, 2014 at 4:15 pm
    That’s right Steve, “This selfish generation”; the ones who bullied me at school, got free tertiary education, destroyed teacher accountability, got Medicare, are getting and will continue to get pensions and PBS and all of the other taxpayer funded excesses for which me and my children will have to pay, who have done NOTHING for me (except those who served in the military). Fuck em, the sooner they all die the better because I’m sick of paying for them and the legion bureaucrats who cater for this failed generation of tit-sucking parasites.

    That’s a fine rant sir. We appreciate such finer things like this, impressionist paintings, Cartier one offs and the writings of Gibrail Khan at Catallaxy Files.

    The explanation is thus: you are in the wrong end of the tail of the boom demographic.

    I suggest legal tax minimisation & resistance to stop enabling as much of this grubby largesse as possible.

  67. johanna

    oh, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t bully you at school, either.

    Me neither, but I may have a glimmering of the rationale for it.

  68. .

    Lurker – you sound like my Mum. Her big holidays where in Sydney in the city or Northern Beaches. usually holidays were at a farm where granddad was fencing (eventually he owned his own business).

  69. calli

    I missed this bit, despite the caps

    who have done NOTHING for me

    And there we have it…the basis for every last wee atom of intergenerational anger and jealousy. You have done nothing for me (that I can see) therefore I hates youse! Sad.

  70. calli

    Oh dear, Dot. Lurker sounds like a better heeled version of me. Holiday cottages indeed! Overseas trips!

    Looooooooxury. :D

  71. A Lurker

    I’m a child of the sixties Dot, but as I said, my parents had a Depression-era mindset, so that was passed onto us kids as well. Ironically my mum promoted and lived a ‘sustainable’ lifestyle four decades before it was trendy with the hipsters and hippies.

    We had a couple of big interstate family holidays – Sydney and Canberra.
    Dad drove the family in the old EH Holden sedan.

  72. .

    My Mum still has a depression era mindset.

    Which in a lot of ways is a good thing.

  73. A Lurker

    Looooooooxury.

    Mind you – we’d be considered deprived compared with today’s generation.
    Those were good days. Didn’t ask for much, or expect much, however we were content.

  74. calli

    Dad drove the family in the old EH Holden sedan.

    Dad’s pride and joy was an auto HR. We drove to the wilds of Mackay and back towing a campervan (which Dad had built himself and Mum had sewn the Birkmire canvas on her Singer machine).

    And she used Bluo and the Sunlight soap cage for washing up. And dislocated her finger in the twin tub spinner because she was always impatient… I still use Silver Star Starch…but that’s another story.

  75. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    My Mum still has a Depression era mindset.

    Asked my father years ago what it was like during the Great Depression.

    “Don’t know.” he said.”Never had any money when it started, never had any when it finished, so we never noticed the difference.”

  76. A Lurker

    Those were simpler days Calli – and in many ways, much better for raising a family.

    Did your mum collect aluminium foil milk bottle tops? I know my mum did but I never worked out what it was for. Perhaps there was a call out way back when – maybe a leftover from WW2.

  77. MemoryVault

    And there we have it…the basis for every last wee atom of intergenerational anger and jealousy. You have done nothing for me (that I can see) therefore I hates youse! Sad.

    Too true, Calli.
    All these armchair economists spewing vitriol from their computers, using electricity almost certainly coming from a power station built by us baby boomers, using our baby boomer taxes.

    Most of them owe their ability to be able to operate the computer because of the education they received, paid for us baby boomers, largely in schools, universities and TAFE colleges built and paid for by us baby boomers and our parents.

    They’re in a nasty mood because of the traffic jams coming home from work. Traffic jams caused because the four-lane highway we built and paid for 30 years ago is now inadequate, and they’ve spent the last ten years bickering over who should pay for the upgrade. Ditto if they travelled by train.

    And if tomorrow they trip over on their front doorstep and split their skulls open and half their brains dribble out, regardless of how much private health insurance they’ve got, they’ll end up in the Intensive Care Unit of a major PUBLIC hospital, which we baby boomers probably built and paid for.

    They’ll be treated using multi-mullion dollar equipment our generation invented, developed and paid for, operated by specialists we trained, in universities and teaching hospitals we also paid for. And in three months when they are finally brought out of the induced coma that saved their lives, they will have clocked up more in medical costs than they’ll ever pay in a hundred years of Medicare levy and private health insurance contributions.

    But hey, what the hell did we ever actually DO for them?

  78. MemoryVault

    Oh. and by the way, I never bullied anybody at school, I was too distracted.

    I went to high school in that magical handful of years between really short skirts becoming fashionable, and pantyhose becoming generally available.

  79. Eddystone

    who have done NOTHING for me

    You probably didn’t ask to be born either, poor lamb.

  80. Eddystone

    I went to high school in that magical handful of years between really short skirts becoming fashionable, and pantyhose becoming generally available.

    Me too.

    Unfortunately it was an all boys school!

    :(

  81. calli

    I went to high school in that magical handful of years between really short skirts becoming fashionable, and pantyhose becoming generally available.

    Heheheh! Me too…and I was the one in the short skirt!

    Ah, serge box pleats and liquorice legs. Chrissie Amphlett had it almost right. Classroom heating was so appalling that a new garment was invented – they were called witches’ britches…heated bliss for goose pimply bare legs. :)

  82. Senile Old Guy

    I went to high school in that magical handful of years between really short skirts becoming fashionable, and pantyhose becoming generally available.

    Me too.

    Unfortunately it was an all boys school!

    Short skirts at a boys school?

  83. Eddystone

    Short skirts at a boys school?

    We were years ahead of the times!

  84. MemoryVault

    Unfortunately it was an all boys school!

    Forget the whinging bastards here.
    You were TRULY deprived.

    Me too…and I was the one in the short skirt!

    Thought I recognised you from somewhere.
    Seriously though, were you one of the girls who sewed elastic into the bottom of your blouse, to hide the rolled up skirt at the waistband?
    That was cool.

  85. Combine_Dave

    But hey, what the hell did we ever actually DO for them

    Yes, but what free things have you gifted us recently?

    If you give up your pensions should help us pay for Gonski, and NDIS .

  86. stackja

    Both my parents died suddenly in their age 80s.
    I expect there is plan by the left to make euthanasia compulsory so not to waste any of the arts budget on the unproductive.
    I will refuse any extraordinary efforts to keep me going.
    I do not expect any unearned support.

  87. calli

    Seriously though, were you one of the girls who sewed elastic into the bottom of your blouse, to hide the rolled up skirt at the waistband?

    Hmmmm. If you must know, we didn’t have skirts as such until senior years, just tunics. After uniform inspection (hats and gloves and skirt length) and just before we went out the gate, we would take a deep breath and draw up the tunic as much above the belt as we dared. The hem would just cover the basque of the stocking top (I know because we used to check).

    This is Secret Women’s Business…you did not read it on Catallaxy…in fact you did not read it at all.

  88. Combine_Dave

    I do not expect any unearned support.

    Hockey would be proud of you.

  89. johanna

    Good Lord, Witches Britches! I’d forgotten all about them (my Mum would have flayed me if I’d ever worn them). I seem to remember lurid shades of purple and red, with black lace, were the go.

    And yes MV, those who resent the BBs should go and live somewhere where it never happened, like Afghanistan.

  90. MemoryVault

    If you give up your pensions should help us pay for Gonski, and NDIS .

    What pension?
    Today it cost me $55.00 to visit the doctor to finalise the paperwork for my Disabled Parking sticker, and my mobility scooter rego.

    The last freebie the grubbermint gave me was an airline ticket to Nashos training.

  91. MemoryVault

    I will refuse any extraordinary efforts to keep me going.
    I do not expect any unearned support.

    Good. Then I’m not likely to run into you in Intensive Care, then.

  92. MemoryVault

    The hem would just cover the basque of the stocking top (I know because we used to check).

    Stop Calli, I have a heart condition.

  93. stackja

    MemoryVault
    #1292890, posted on May 5, 2014 at 6:34 pm
    I will refuse any extraordinary efforts to keep me going.
    I do not expect any unearned support.
    Good. Then I’m not likely to run into you in Intensive Care, then.

    I do not expect so. Probably some else later.

  94. cynical1

    Yes,
    Changed the climate too, you never thought of the children…

  95. calli

    Stop Calli, I have a heart condition.

    I haven’t started yet on gym slips and bloomers… :)

    Look out! MV is turning an interesting colour…

  96. Eddystone

    The last freebie the grubbermint gave me was an airline ticket to Nashos training.

    Looxury!!

    I had catch t’bus.

  97. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Stop Calli, I have a heart condition.

    Think of crushed ice, cricket and chamber music and things should be all right.

  98. manalive

    This is not written as a joke in “a modest proposal” sort of way …

    Swift also had a solution to oldies who seem to live forever.
    In Gulliver’s Travels there are the ‘struldbrugs’ who actually are immortal:
    “As soon as they have completed the term of eighty years, they are looked on as dead in law; their heirs immediately succeed to their estates; only a small pittance is reserved for their support; and the poor ones are maintained at the public charge. After that period, they are held incapable of any employment of trust or profit; they cannot purchase lands, or take leases; neither are they allowed to be witnesses in any cause, either civil or criminal, not even for the decision of meers (metes) and bounds … otherwise, as avarice is the necessary consequence of old age, those immortals would in time become proprietors of the whole nation, and engross the civil power, which, for want of abilities to manage, must end in the ruin of the public”.

  99. MemoryVault

    I had catch t’bus.

    Perth to Puckapunyal is a bit of a hike.

  100. MemoryVault

    Look out! MV is turning an interesting colour…

    At least I now much the new sofa.

    Think of crushed ice, cricket and chamber music and things should be all right.

    Good God man, I’m only crippled, not dead!!

  101. Anon

    All these comments and no one has bored us to tears about how great the 60′s were – music, fashion etc. Are you sure you are all boomers?

  102. MemoryVault

    All these comments and no one has bored us to tears about how great the 60′s were – music, fashion etc. Are you sure you are all boomers?

    Listening to what passes for “music” today, is there any need?

  103. stackja

    Anon
    #1292943, posted on May 5, 2014 at 7:05 pm
    All these comments and no one has bored us to tears about how great the 60′s were – music, fashion etc. Are you sure you are all boomers?

    The 1950s did not have much music, fashion etc. Well on the radio it was mostly Nat King Cole and Perry Como as I remember. In the suburbs fashion was not the thing the inner city may have had. And a lot of Mums sewed their own clothes.

  104. calli

    And because I’m extra selfish…

    Twice for your listening pleasure. I won’t link to Gloria out of respect for MV’s health.

  105. johanna

    Stupid kids today think that rap and electronic drone is seductive.

    Growing up around Cronulla, the Beach Boys were every surfie with a panel van’s best friend. Although I was more of a blues and hard rock fan meself. :)

  106. Splatacrobat

    Another name that is being coined for baby boomers is the sandwich generation. We are the first generation having to deal with ageing parents whilst bringing up our own children.

    My wife an I have been assisting both our parents over the last 15 years and bringing up three children of our own. Trips to doctors, paying bills, gardening, shopping, house maintenance, and all done out of love for them that looked after us.

  107. calli

    You forget the grandchildren too, Splat. My ‘day off’ but still my pleasure to look after them.

    So, on my plate, so to speak, are two elderly parents (recently resettled in a new house), three married children (finally all out of the house), the littlies…a business to run, a life to live, a husband to love, two small dogs…and a partridge in a pear tree.

    And I’ve got it easy compared to some, cause I’m a healthy old bat thank goodness.

  108. johanna

    Splat, I think that close families have always done that stuff for each other – mine do. But the term “sandwich generation” also refers to the fact that we have had to fund their retirement (via pensions) as well as our own (via super), while raising kids has also become a lot more expensive. As discussed above, you can’t just send them to the local school barefoot and give them cardboard boxes to play with any more. :) And then send them out to work at 14 or 15 and start charging board (which was common when I was growing up).

  109. MemoryVault

    Sorry children, but if it didn’t feature an organ,
    or a piano/orchestra,
    or a crazy weird hot chick,
    or an extraordinary event,
    then it wasn’t sixties music,
    it was just music.

    There were a few notable exceptions, but not many.

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