What the boomers are leaving their children

Fewer jobs. Lower pay. Higher taxes.
Now the Screwed Generation is starting to push back.

What the boomers are leaving their children

Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images; Andy Clark/Reuters

This January, the first baby boomers turn 65. The huge post-Second World War generation—which numbers 76 million in the United States, makes up almost a third of Canada’s population, and according to one estimate, controls 80 per cent of Britain’s wealth—will continue to enter their dotage at the rate of tens of thousands per day for the next 20 years. By 2050, there will be 30 million Americans aged 75 to 85, three in 10 Europeans will be 65-plus, and more than 40 per cent of Japan’s population will be elderly. In Canada, the ratio of workers to retirees—currently five to one—will have been halved by 2036. And despite the odd dissenter, the generation that still oddly finds Paul McCartney relevant has made clear its intention to take everything it feels it has coming. It will be up to all who trail in their wake to pay for their privilege.

Common sense, not to mention decency, wouldn’t call that just. But an outsized, over-entitled, and self-obsessed demographic is awfully hard for politicians to ignore. Take Britain’s example. In last spring’s general election, the most effective ad run by David Cameron’s Conservatives was also one of the simplest: a close-up of a newborn baby, wriggling in a bassinet as a music box tinkled in the background. “Born four weeks ago, eight pounds, three ounces. With his dad’s nose, mum’s eyes, and Gordon Brown’s debt,” intoned a female voice. “Thanks to Labour’s debt crisis, every child in Britain is born owing £17,000. They deserve better.” The point was impossible to miss: the time had come to stop mortgaging the country’s future.

As his first act, the new prime minister, a 44-year-old Gen Xer, cut his and his ministers’ pay by five per cent, and froze all their salaries for five years. Tackling the U.K.’s $177.5-billion budget deficit and $1.6-trillion-plus national debt—annual interest payments alone stand at $70 billion—would require everyone to sacrifice, he told Britons. But there were also expectations that the burden wouldn’t be equally shared. After all, one of Cameron’s leading wonks, David “Two Brains” Willetts, now the minister for universities and science, had published a rather pointed manifesto, The Pinch: How the Baby Boomers Took Their Children’s Future—and How They Can Give It Back, just before the election. After their victory, Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist, applauded the coming reckoning for a generation—his own—that had “eaten through all that abundance like hungry locusts.” And even as the new government’s chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, stood before Parliament in mid-October to announce $131 billion in spending cuts over the next four years—and the elimination of as many as 500,000 public sector jobs—the protect-the-youth rhetoric continued. “Today’s the day when Britain steps back from the brink,” he said, ensuring “that we do not saddle our children with the interest on the interest on the interest of the debts we were not ourselves prepared to pay.”

The reality, however, proved to be somewhat different. The age when U.K. citizens can start drawing old-age pension would gradually increase from 65 to 66, but other entitlements like free eye tests and prescriptions for the elderly would remain untouched, as well as winter fuel allowances, and free local transit for anyone over 60. Among the biggest budget losers was the department for education, facing an overall reduction of 10.8 per cent, which according to one economic think tank will translate to funding cuts for 60 per cent of primary schools, and 87 per cent of secondary schools. And the legacy of “Two Brains” for Britain’s shafted youth? A 40 per cent cut to post-secondary teaching grants, and a doubling—or in some cases, tripling—of tuition, to as much as $14,500 a year.

On Nov. 10, more than 50,000 angry students gathered in London to rally against the cuts. A video of Nick Clegg, the Liberal-Democrat leader and deputy prime minister, promising to do away with university fees during the election campaign, was greeted with choruses of “wanker, wanker.” “They’re proposing barbaric cuts that would brutalize our colleges and universities,” said Aaron Porter, the president of the National Union of Students. “We’re in the fight of our lives. We face an unprecedented attack on our future before it has even begun.” Later on, a crowd of several thousand descended on the Conservative Party headquarters, trading punches with police, smashing windows, lighting fires, and for a time, occupying the building.

“The situation for young people is not terribly good,” Ed Howker, a 29-year-old London journalist and author, says in a classic bit of British understatement. “And there’s no sense from the government that they have the interests of the next 30 or 40 years of Britons in mind.” Of the country’s 2.45 million unemployed, close to 60 per cent are under the age of 30.The new budget has not only frozen civil service hires, it scrapped two youth jobs funds, slashed rent subsidies, and cut the money for new housing by half. Howker, who along with Shiv Malik wrote the just-released Jilted Generation: How Britain Bankrupted its Youth, says the sense of despair is becoming overwhelming. “Our generation just seems to be a lot worse off. In terms of key things like getting stable housing, or a well-paid job, or a successful career, we just don’t have it.” The boomers’ aren’t evil, he says, but they nonetheless bear much of the responsibility. The generation that relentlessly mythologizes its “peace and love” heyday became ardent consumers as they aged, and ended up moulding politics in their “me-first” image. “It’s a consumer version of democracy, where politicians realized that if they merely satisfied the short-term desires of their electorate, rather than think in the long term and make good decisions on behalf of the future of the country, they would win elections,” Howker argues. The bills become somebody else’s problem.

Want a scary number? How about $1.5 trillion, the amount the C.D. Howe Institute estimates Canada’s rapidly aging boomers are going to cost Ottawa and the provinces in extra health and pension expenses over the next 50 years. Or perhaps 2,500, the number of new long-term care facilities the Canadian Medical Association says will be needed to accommodate the doubling of Canada’s 65-plus population in two decades. Sixty thousand is how many RNs the Canadian Nurses Association predicts we will be short by 2022. Or maybe just one per cent, the expected annual amount of real per-capita GDP growth in Canada over the next 30 years as boomers leave the work force—less than half of what we’ve experienced over the past four decades.

Combine a demographic bulge with a falling birth rate and ever-increasing life expectancy (now 80.7 years at birth in Canada), and pretty much all the figures start looking ugly. “We have a significant challenge ahead of us,” says Chris Ragan, a professor of macroeconomics and economic policy at McGill. “The tax base will slow down, and spending will speed up. We can’t just do nothing.”

Old Age Security, currently costing $33 billion a year, is already the No. 1 item in the federal budget, and Ottawa and the provinces collectively spent $183 billion on health care in 2009. By Ragan’s estimate, health and benefit costs will be inflating federal and provincial budgets by a further $56 billion a year by 2040. (Last spring, a TD Bank report predicted health care expenditures in Ontario will rise from the current 46 per cent to 80 per cent of all program spending by 2030.) The options are stark. We can go the route of the U.K. and cut spending, or we can raise taxes. Stand pat, says the professor, and 30 years from now Canada will be back facing the same fiscal wall as it did in 1995, when the debt-to-GDP ratio peaked at 68.4 per cent.

More frightening still is the fact that the U.K.’s debt already stands at 73.1 per cent of GDP. In the tax-phobic United States, the Congressional Budget Office estimates the debt-to-GDP ratio, currently at 62 per cent, will rise to 87 per cent by 2020. Five years later, it will stand at 109 per cent. And by 2035 it will be 185 per cent. Later this month, a bipartisan commission set up by President Barack Obama will flesh out proposals to cut the US$14-trillion national debt by $3.8 trillion. Everything, including cuts to Social Security, Medicare and tax hikes, is reportedly on the table. “I think we need to listen, we need to gather up all the facts,” Obama told reporters. “If people are, in fact, concerned about spending, debt, deficits and the future of our country, then they’re going to need to be armed with the information about the kinds of choices that are going to be involved.” Some of the trial balloons being floated—like raising the retirement age to 69 by 2075—suggest the real burden will be again borne by the post-boomer generations.

In October, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank, debuted its Global Aging Preparedness Index, ranking both the fiscal sustainability and the adequacy of government benefits for the elderly. Canada was in the middle of the pack in both categories, ninth and 11th respectively. France, Spain and Italy were judged to be in an even deeper hole than the U.K., Japan or the U.S.: facing not just debt problems, but spiralling pension and health care costs, as well as some of the lowest birth rates in the developed world. India, with a relatively young population, meagre benefits, and close to 83 per cent of its elderly citizens already living with their children, looks best prepared for the coming storm.

But surely, the best-educated generation in history, not to mention the trailing Gen X, Y and the millennials, must understand all of this: how precarious the global situation already is, and the dangers facing Canada. How we all must prepare. Seemingly not. Household debt in this country reached $1.41 trillion last December, according to a study by the Certified General Accountants Association of Canada, about 2.5 times greater than the 1989 amount. The personal debt-to-income ratio reached a new record high of 144.4 per cent at the end of 2009. And 43 per cent of Canadians admitted to being concerned about their retirement, yet 32 per cent were committing nothing to savings or RRSPs. (Not surprisingly, young people, trailing school loans and other debts, save the least, with only 19 per cent putting 10 per cent or more of their earnings away, according to a different 2009 survey.)

And many of us are either too scared, or stupid, to even risk reading the tea leaves. Close to half of respondents to a new national retirement survey by Bensimon Byrne, a Toronto ad agency, said they had not yet calculated how much income they will receive when they stop working. But 86 per cent said they expected CPP, and 83 per cent Old Age Pension, to be crucial pieces of their financial puzzle. And 77 per cent are counting on eventually selling their house or condo to finance their golden years.

A capital idea. But what happens when millions of boomers all start selling off their homes to the far smaller and less wealthy generations working their way up the food chain? The baby boom generation who “have driven up housing demand and prices for three decades” could have the opposite effect once their mass sell-off commences, Dowell Myers, a University of Southern California demographer, wrote in a 2008 examination of the “generational housing bubble.” Crunching the numbers state by state, he concluded that the current subprime-inspired meltdown may well pale in comparison to what lies ahead: lots and lots of sellers, far fewer buyers, and a two-decade long slump. “Whereas the major housing problem was once affordability, it could now be homeowners’ dashed expectations after lifelong investment in home equity.” The study won a prize from the American Planning Association.

Experts in Canada tend to be more optimistic about the fate of the domestic real estate market, but in a country where close to 40 per cent of personal wealth is now tied up in home ownership, even a small price drop could have drastic consequences. Boomers may have big dreams about retirement in sunny climes, or riding their Harley Davidsons into the sunset (the average age of U.S. motorcycle riders is now 47, up seven years since 2000), but they certainly haven’t figured out how to pay for it all. A recent TD Bank survey found that just 44 per cent of Canadian boomers have actually paid off their mortgages. And among those who haven’t, a quarter still had 75 per cent or more of the debt left to pay down.

The cover of the October edition of The Atlantic features a cartoon of Doonesbury’s Zonker—a blissed-out hippie for 40 years and counting—rolling up his sleeves as the sun sets in the background. “The boomers’ last chance,” promises the sell for the story by Michael Kinsley. Part generational apology “for ruining everything,” and part call to arms, the piece suggests he and his contemporaries have just “19 years to redeem themselves.” Kinsley’s big idea—offering the next generation a fresh start by reducing the national debt, massively investing in education, and repairing America’s crumbling infrastructure—sounds nice. Although in true boomer fashion the “extraordinary historic” fix he proposes—flat taxing the inheritances they are about to receive from their parents, and might reasonably have been expected to one day pass on to their own kids—somehow misses the point. Net cost to his “self-absorbed, self-indulged, and self-loathing” generation? $14 trillion of somebody else’s money.

A truer indication of the kind of battles that boomers are girding to fight can be found in the news pages: a growing movement to enrich, or even double, Canada Pension Plan benefits, via substantially higher premiums for businesses and the ever-shrinking work force. Or last week’s decision by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal reinstating two Air Canada pilots who were forced, under company rules, to retire from flying at age 60. “This will be welcome news for all Canadians that one more element of age discrimination has been undone,” proclaimed Susan Eng, vice-president of advocacy for the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP). “The decision is especially important for those people who must stay in the labour force for economic reasons or simply for the dignity of work.”

Boomers seeking to extend their careers—by any means necessary—is a growing trend. Substitute teaching, once a way for young education grads to get into the profession, is now dominated by retired “double-dippers” collecting both a teacher’s pension and a paycheque. Law firms in the U.S. are redrawing policies that forced older partners out in the aftermath of two high-profile age discrimination lawsuits, and greying Bay Street hotshots are now quietly pushing to remain at the top of their profit pyramids for longer. Whatever the reasons—debt, divorce, pride—baby boomers are serving notice that they don’t want the gold watch and farewell parties they foisted on their elders. The Bensimon Byrne survey found that 62 per cent of Canadians between 50 and 64 expect they’ll continue to work full or part time after hitting “retirement” age.

Recent graduates already at a disadvantage from the recession (a study by Canadian economists found it can take up to 10 years for those who enter the workforce during bust times to catch up on wages) could face even more challenges. That’s an already well-established pattern in Europe where the youth employment rates and standards of living are significantly lower now than just a generation ago. French sociologist Louis Chauvel has even coined a term for such unfortunates: “babylosers.”

The defining characteristics of the baby boomers have been their sense of self-importance and limitless entitlement. And Kinsley’s plea aside, there is little reason to expect that will change any time soon. If anything, it’s getting worse as they age. “The yuppies have become the grumpies,” says Frank Graves, president of EKOS Research. “They’re reluctant to give anything up. It’s like Charlton Heston: ‘From my cold, dead hands!’ ”

In the recent U.S. mid-term elections, boomer angst and anger fuelled the rise of the Tea Party and right-wing Republicans. And in Canada, suburban boomers—generally less educated and less well off than their downtown compatriots—form the base for Stephen Harper’s Conservatives, and every-schlub Rob Ford’s hostile takeover of Toronto City Hall. As perhaps their final legacy, boomers are dominating politics the same way they have transformed every other aspect of our society. To be sure, politicians share the blame for cynically playing to them. But it can’t last forever. At least, not unless somebody rediscovers Ponce de Léon’s fountain of youth.

“In five to 10 years we’re going to start seeing a different Canada emerging,” predicts Graves. Younger Canadians who don’t vote now will start turning out in numbers as they age—but without the traditional party allegiances. (Ekos’s surveys consistently suggest under-25s would elect a Green party majority.) Gen Y, who according to a study by a University of New Hampshire management professor score even higher for entitlement and narcissism than their parents, will slowly take over. And the concerns of boomers will start becoming less and less important, just like their position in the consumer markets they once dominated. “Unless they’re buying Viagra or upright bathtubs, nobody cares anymore,” says Graves.

And the truth is, the brewing war between generations will feature more clashes around conference tables than riots in the streets. Hallmark programs like old-age pensions and health care are too important to young and old alike to let wither and die, so fixes will eventually be found. American journalist Ted Fishman, the author of the new book Shock of Gray, says an aging society presents a lot of other changes that we should be worried about, like soaring rates of road accidents, depopulating suburbs and denser downtowns as seniors cluster closer together, and the stresses for young people who will be balancing careers, families and the care of their elders.

Greying populations aren’t just a European or North American problem, they are now a global phenomenon. “You can’t escape from it anywhere in the world,” says Fishman. As boomers have gotten older, and more expensive to employ, our search for cheaper labour and goods has created a “feedback loop” in the developing world. China, with its “21st-century urban industrial wonderlands filled with young people siphoned out of the countryside,” is now aging faster than any place on the planet, he notes. The combination of rapidly growing cities, better wages and higher educational aspirations are shrinking families worldwide.

The real paradigm shift might be in learning to view this inexorable greying of the globe as a good thing, rather than a problem. “On balance it’s all overwhelmingly positive,” says Fishman. “An aging world happens because people live longer, and because women can achieve their aspirations and don’t have time for big families. We’ll be investing much more in the well-being of the kids we do have, their feeding and education. They’re the pillars for future economic development and prosperity.”

Now all we have to do is convince the boomers that it’s finally no longer all about them.


What the boomers are leaving their children

  1. What's Macleans doing about this problem? Do they offer paid internships to new graduates and a guaranteed job after their internship with Macleans is over?

    • So it's journalist's responsibility to solve the problems they report on? :rollseyes:

  2. Glad to see this article is finally online. It hits a number of very salient points.

    I worry somewhat for the kids today. When I went to university we were given large grants. Now the kids have to borrow the money and pay it back at interest rates I consider shocking given that this is how we educate our young to join the working world and pay taxes for 35 plus years afterward.

    How do we expect them to buy houses, cars, raise families etc etc when we saddle them with tens of thousands in debt from the get-go?

    Seems the baby boomers who once benefitted from these grants didn't think anyone else should have them. How selfish can you get?

    • Getting into discussions about student debt is something I usually try to avoid as I am not sure where I stand on it, but I think even having the discussion in the context of this article is missing the point.

      What do you really think is going to be more expensive for my generation: student debt, or our parent's medical bills and retirement expenses? Which do you think is going to have more impact on our lives as a whole?

      I don't think it's student debt.

      • I'm a boomer and I agree with the comments about the “precarious global situation,” and I don't like what is happening either. Generally, I agree with your statement about “the defining characteristics of the baby boomers have been their sense of self-importance and limitless entitlement.” Well we old buggers generally vote and a good portion of this demographic “form the base for Stephen Harper's Conservatives.”

        Unfortunately, until more young people get engaged in politics, I don't see how things will change. I've read that in the age group 18 to 24, only 26.3% of that group vote. Why aren't they voting? Why is that? If we could change that statistic, I think we could see quite a positive change in public policy areas.

    • I got no grants. went to the "poor" If dad and mom made too much money (and they did) student loans and grants were to "equalize" things for the North Enders and the street kids… only a few of whom acvtually finished University!!! Most ended up at The Mill..paking pulp or something .

      Me? I got a job and worked at it although I then had a career which encompassed about 8 or 9 "jobs" in my work life..it's been a slice. and the dirty filthy rotten Guv-ment didn;t do anything but squeeze me for more and more. Every year CRA demands to see our medical receipts..then they send them back, unopened. HAHAHAH .. I wish they'd invent some blue oiltment for the lice infesting the system today. By the time they do I shall be a legal resident of the BVI .. paying NO taxes to Canada and supporting my own insurance from Worldwide Global Insurance providers. By paying for my own insurance (3600.00 p.a.) and dropping Canada's income tax (over 14,000 p.a.) I save about $9,000.00 per annum!

      • Good for you Grandpa! Me? I got a job, And got laid off. Got more education. Well rounded experience. Got laid off again. Go back to feeding the Geese. You clearly are not aware of the current situation.

    • You may have been given large grants, but I wasn't and neither were some of my friends. Our parents were not wealthy either. I paid for my own education. So speak for yourself.

      We also paid for our children's education and they are struggling, but they will make it and my husband and I help them out. Maybe that is why we find it hard to retire. When we finally retire we are going to take any pension owed to us, because we paid into them, more so than any other generation before us.

      • The cost of your education compared to what it is now is a joke so get off your high horse. Same goes
        for mentioning you paid your kids tuition, woopty-doo, I love how boomer parents think they deserve
        sainthood for taking responsibility in educating the life they brought into the world. If boomers patted
        themselves on the back any harder their eyes would pop out.

    • Give me a break! People buy fancier homes, cars and all kinds of grown-up toys (quads. ect) at much younger ages than they did a generation ago. They feel it is their right to have what their parents have,…. now, not after 20 years or more of hard work. Our first home was a tiny little house, we now have a slighty larger home. I have never owned a new car. These" baby boomers" deserve health care and everything else they have spent their lives building up. BTW not everyone qualified for grants in "the good old days" I was given a loan and had to pay every penny back with interest.

      • I am that younger generation and I can't even afford a home. Not one of my over-educated friends owns any property. There are two and they are seriously in debt (but they also came from more affluent families). I have an apartment and if I'm lucky I go from a smaller apartment to a slightly larger apartment. Cars are out of the question. In fact, public transportation is out of the question for as long as I can deal with the cold. I bike 9 – 10 months out of the year. Why? Because I can't afford a bus pass.

        And please allow me to contextualize this. My goal is to simply not be in debt. I graduated the first time 'round not being in debt. I traveled the world and stayed out of debt and I am furthering my education, paying it myself, and striving desperately to not be in debt. My family isn't poor. Admittedly I came from a single-parent home but we were decently middle class. My mother didn't finish highschool and she earns more money than I do.

        All I want is a home. Not a huge home. But more than a one-bedroom apartment where my boyfriend and I are stepping on each other's toes.

        Children are out of the question right now. Why? Because we couldn't AFFORD it.

        This society cannot sustain itself and quite frankly, I don't want to have to sustain you when you collect that pension so please, start pinching those pennies. I know I do.

  3. LOL I remember when Boomers said the exact same things about the previous generation.

    Wasn't true then, isn't true now.

    • Didn't the Boomers refer to the earlier generation as "the greatest generation ever?" Or was that a self-assigned name…?

    • You have no idea what you are talking about. The Boomers have looked out only for themselves.

    • agreed

  4. These same enormous debts are also what is hindering growth. Higher taxes is leading to more of the millenials not being able to afford to have children, and so the cycle continues..

  5. I get depressed about the things raised by this article on a regular basis: my generation is screwed.

    The best part is that we've been told over the course of our lives that politics and politicians are worthless, and no political party is serious about engaging these issues or engaging younger people. So, until we realize what is at stake and start making noise we're going to be marginalized and if we wait too long, there will be very little we can do to influence what is going to happen; we'll just be left with the bill.

    • True. All politicians have a 4 or 5 year perspective. A 50 year plan is beyond them. That is why the seeds of destruction are within the belly of the very democracy we thought was perfect. They always say violent crime is declining…not when compared to the 50's and 60's… in that perspective it has skyrocketed.
      so. they lie. and lie some more. the masses are stupid and gullible. educators have made them thus. a smart man plans to move out and get out of the equities before they take the next hit. the 1998 and the 2008 market crashes almost did for me ! Now? Offshore. Like Paul Martin. arms length brokerages. it's all good. It was no coincidence that the Ad Scam suspect had to return here from his home in Belize. No coincidence that Rahim Jaffer & Helen Guergis were HEADED to Belize.

    • hogwash! your generation is not screwed! you are just too lazy and selfish to do anything about it. we paid and are paying for our parents social network. you must pay for ours! we gave you everything we could, going into debt to do it. You want more? tough! get off your lazy butt and get it yourself. we can't afford it any more, stop telling us we owe you everything while we slog away at jobs you refuse to do. do you seriously think those walmart greeters WANT to be there? I find the "me" generation think they are entitled to a university education. get a job and pay for the damned education yourself. Until you start doing something but whining how hard life is, you will continue to be "marginalized" by your parents.

      • You disgust me. Went into debt for our generation? Ya right. More like went into debt living beyond your means. You feel entitled to all of these government social programs yet refuse to pay for them. I am paying my way through an engineering degree, working 2 jobs at the same time. We will be burdened by the debt you have left us for our our entire lives. Thanks Judy.

        • I totally agree Matt.

          Also I paid for my university degree. And I'm continuing to pay for my education. In fact, ask any parent what they want for their kids and it probably doesn't include a Walmart greeter job. So the irony is that they want more for us and they provide the seeds in our minds that we are better than Walmart greeter jobs. Well I've cleaned toilets, made your coffee, served your brunch, and went to school the whole time?

          The result, admittedly, minimal debt, but I can't afford a house. That's laughable! I can barely afford PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION. Why? Cuz I don't want to be in debt like the generation before. And what kind of jobs await my overqualified over educated expertise?


          Thanks Matt, and everyone else willing to speak up about this hypocrisy.

          P.S. Enjoy your retirement because WE'RE paying for it.

      • We didn't ask for Walmart greeting jobs, your generation created them. We didn't ask for a society where
        we need post-secondary education to get a half decent job, your generation did. At one point in my younger life
        I had to work four part-time jobs becuase that was all that was available for students, so please don't call
        me lazy you ignoramus.

      • methinks you doth protest too much. Should I order you a whaaambulance?

      • You have no idea what you are talking about, I worked one full time job, and 2 part time jobs to get through school, which i managed to do debt free. I when I was finished school i was so broke i had to get a loan to buy a 3,000$ car just so i could get a job. After 5 years of experience in my chosen profession and my diploma and doing extra work of my own on the side i still don't even make 40k a year, so don't make some sort of ignorant generalization about a generation of people when you clearly don't know anything. Even people who are broke as hell work their asses off, and some of them don't get anywhere, why, because this economic system we've created for ourselves is so flawed it's disgusting. In this day and age working hard doesn't necessarily get you anywhere and the sooner people begin to realize that the better.

    • Would you like some cheese to go with that whine? 8-/

  6. hahah, A Green Party majority as voted by the under 25's?

    I'd love to see a shake up like that in Canadian politics… it's time to hit the "refrsh" button in the HofC (can the senate!)

    • Clearly this is a full proof argument for raising the voting age to 26.

    • and thats what worries me. this generation has little or idea how things work or even care for that matter. they hear the word "green" and they become mindless sheep voting for what they think is good for the environment "fight the evil corporations man!" they have no sense of political or historical context for anything, and that ignorance will be our downfall. right now the college, high school, and university students seem to be going through the same phase in political awareness that i went through when i was 10.

      • Seeing this is extremely scary. I guess all we can do is hope that when these students join the 'real world' and start paying taxes as part of the workforce they will wake up. This is why when I see low voter turnout stats, especially in the younger demographic, I always think it is a good thing – lower turnout, less uninformed vote. However it is not all of us (students) who fit into this generalization. Unfortunately, however, the vast majority do.

        • If you’ve got it all worked out why is the world in such rough shape with boomers at the helm?

  7. Im very happy this article has been written. It's what I've been saying for years. The goddamned babyboomers borrowed extensively for years to fund idiotic entitlement programs for this and that, and they very generously left us with the tab. So we will be paying taxes for most of our working lives only to service the debts the babyboomers left us.

    Some drastic measures will be needed to fix this, and I will be watching the boomers squirm like fish out of water when their entitlements are taken away with a big smile.

    • Squirm when their entitlements are taken away? Way to miss the point, dude.

      The reason why boomers are staying in the workforce is because they don't have enough money to be able to retire. Both of my parents, now in their 50s, are likely going to be working until they're forced to stop due to health issues as they simply won't have enough money to manage otherwise, and I suspect this will be the case for many, many others. What'll end up happening if there are cuts is that more seniors are going to be pushed into poverty as they have to pay more for their medical care and as they receive less from the government to supplement their inadequate retirement savings.

      This isn't a story about how great it is that the boomers are getting what's been coming to them, it's a story about how we're all failing to deal with this before it is too late.

      • Yes I actually got the point. My point is that the math just doesnt add up, and the boomer's kid's generation (i.e., mine) probably wont put up with being saddled with a huge debt and also pay for the boomer's retirement – therefore, boomers should expect that we will deal with this at some point, and they wont like it.

        I hope your parents manage to make ends meet – but frankly the boomers, as a generation – have behaved like spoiled brats ever since they've collectively turned 18, and have treated my generation like a piggy bank, so I wont shed too many tears for them if they are "pushed into poverty". For those boomers who have behaved responsibly and who still end up in poverty, I will empathize, but as this article makes clear, generally boomers deserve what's coming to them.

        Not only did they spend their kid's money for dumb "progressive" government programs, they did not have any kids, thereby leaving us with a reduced workforce to support their spendthrift ways.

        So my point stands: boomer's entitlements will be taken away in the near future, they will squirm, i will smile.

        • you're dreaming. boomers still outnumber other voters – no politician will touch their entitlements.

          they will continue to suck the country dry until all the young have gone elsewhere in search of jobs and non-crushing taxes. then the country will collapse. end of story.

        • I was born in 1955. My generation didn’t create OHIP , CPP or OAS. We paid for your free K-12 education and most of the cost of your degree (if you got one) so take your anger out on someone else!

          • Yeah thanks for that “free education”. Mine was worth about as much as a used diaper. It has about the same vslue as the diaper too.

    • très amusant man. You obviously haven't heard of CARP. Like AARP in the USA CARP will massively derail any attempts to make Boomers squirm. We're going to FLorida sonny and livin' the dream!! WOOT!

      • Have fun being robbed, raped, and killed down there Deke, you might not have heard but they're
        pretty much living Mad Max times south of the border and its only going to get worse.

    • Not all boomers can be painted with the same brush. This article is very much skewed to the Bay St crowd and those who live in highly leveraged McMansions. Many of us boomers have worked, paid our taxes, sent our kids to school and lived a modest life while government squandered the monies we sent them. As the younger generation please remember, you have not paid into this economy yet and have merely been waiting your turn at the trough. What happened to innovative thinking? A government, in a perfect world, should run the show with the monies provided and ensure that all who benefit from our way of life pay their fair share. Here is a clue; next time you do business at a convenience store, gas station, grocery etc owned by a recent immigrant, see if your transaction is punched in, demand a receipt. If income taxes were paid and consumption taxes remitted as they should be, our deficit problems would be non existent. Be part of the modern solutions in a modern world, forget blaming previous generations, we paid our taxes. Educate yourselves and start asking the proper questions of the proper people. Unfortunately I blame the younger generations oblivious, polyanna attitude for allowing these tax crimes to run unchecked.

      • Our time at the trough was squandered before we were even born. All its really going to take is the wrong thing to happen on the wrong day and the whole country will go up in flames.

    • This echo generation should get off their high horse,,, their boomer parents did (in most cases) everything they could to give their kids all the necessities of life and a good number of the luxuries. Impossible to see a teenager without an Ipod and cellphone these days. True, some have jobs to pay for them but if the reported unemployment figures for those under 20 are accurate, in the 20% range, I would assume that they are being highly subsidized by us boomers. Every generation whines about the mess their parents left them, in our case it was imminent nuclear destruction. Now it is imminent economic catastrophy…

      • I’d take imminent nuclear war over a hopeless, meaningless, wasted life. At least you got to live until the bombs fell…Oh right they never did. My life hasn’t improved one bit since I graduated high school back in 04. I did everything right and now I’m stuck looking for my 6th job in 2 years. This next one will be my last then I throw in the towel. I’ve put in a lifetime’s worth of effort in few short years and got massively negative return.

  8. "The baby boom generation who “have driven up housing demand and prices for three decades”

    Baby boomers? No they didn't. What has driven real estate through the roof has been Canada's highest-in-the-world level of immigration, and an out of control, fraught with fraud, immigration ministry. Over the past 20 years, too many immigrants didn't bring their money. They bought homes in Vancouver and Toronto, but left their capital Off-shore. The principal family bread-winners also did not move to Canada permanently, they stayed in Moscow, or Hong Kong, etc.

    The result? . . . A breaking Medicare system, and unaffordable housing for the new generation.

    Well done Canada.

    • Then why was the real estate bust far worse in the US (which has a lower rate of immigration) than it was in Canada? Why have Toronto and Vancouver real estate prices remained relatively stable? Why did prices increase at rates far in excess of population growth (which even counting immigration is not that high)?

      I won't dispute that immigration drives up housing demand. However, it does so in a way that is sustainable, so long as we assume future immigrants will come to Canada. It is demand driven by people that actually need and want houses.

      The real estate crisis was driven by people who speculated in home-buying. We should think of this as a perverse notion. Houses shouldn't increase that much in value over time – perhaps at a rate similar to population growth or maybe economic growth. Moreover, due to repairs (or depreciation), property taxes and the fact that houses are almost always debt-financed, one would think they were a poor investment vehicle.

      In the United States they were aided by policies like tax deductible mortgage interest and of course sub-prime loans. New financial "innovations" like credit default swaps enabled lenders and investors to hedge on the risk of making sketchy loans. The only problem was that this system wouldn't work if lots of those risky borrowers defaulted at the same time. Of course that was likely to happen because lots of them were folks roped in by teaser interest rates, and because economic growth was slowing down.

    • Ummm immigration is the only hope that the next (my) generation has of keeping up with the payments of the debts. Canadian families are not turning out enough children to keep our population going up when the baby boomers start to pass away.

      And when was the last time you heard of an immigrant boomer? Baby boomers are unique because there are so many of them that they create a bubble at every stage of their lives that majorly influences the world. This is simply not true for immigrants.

      • Randi
        You're crazy
        more than 10% of the immigrants end up on the dole..or immediately go ON the dole..along with old family members allowed to come in with them . See Ruby Dhalla try to get medicare wait times reduced for Grandman San and Pappa San ?? Huh??? Plus IRB , made up of immigrants is CORRUPT as Satan!
        This thinking ..this lack of critical thinking is endemic to your generation.
        New Book for yuh – call it "Blinkers my Trudeau Left me".

      • no, baby boomers are unique only because we were the first generation that had more than 1/4 survive childhood. THAT'S the only reason we are unique. oh and the fact that we spoiled our kids so much that they expect us to keep supporting them til they are ready top retire

        • that was a mistake – oh well. Now we pay by listening to the whining.

    • Did we not read the same article? It's a GLOBAL PHENOMENON, not exclusive to Canada. Furthermore, the UK has double the immigration quota per capita that Canada does, so you're wrong on that count as well.

    • I wonder if anyone is listening? You are correct. The wise and just men of this land know it. But it is inopportune to deal with it! All major parties have a stake in the immigrant. The immigrant is KING. Funny how Canada Revenue Agency goes nuts about Canadians moving offshore..yet Lebanese immigrants living back in Lebanon are banking, selling, trading and making money all below the radar of CRA… The Hong Kong immigrants are so deep into the Asian Bank and CRA cannot find them or touch them..In fact, legally , offshore immigrants getting residency in Canada have a 5 year window or something to move their assets around before they have to declare other state income!! No no no.. We should all read the Canadian series of books by Alex Doulis. such as "Take your Money and Run" …CRA hasn;t closed all the legal loopholes…yet!!!!!!!

  9. Boomers are entitled to their entitlements only because they voted for them, not because they worked for them. So it can be seen that we would all be better off with limited constitutional government. If our governments were not so large, this wouldn't be a problem.

    • seriously? we didn't work for them??? I don't know about your parents, but I worked from the age of 12. and paid taxes on every cent I made and UI and all the other deductions since I turned 16. Don't tell me I didn't work for the little I'll be getting in old age pension, because I did, and a damn site harder than you'll ever have to work.

      • Ditto for me. I shovelled sidewalks, mowed and trimmed lawns, babysat and walked dogs for money from the age of 6, and a retail job from the age of 12 on which was allowed with a note from your parents. My parents stopped giving me any kind of money from that point on. I, along with most everyone I know, have paid in, paid in, and paid in. The ones who are going to be, and are being carried are not anyone that I know.

        • I’m 32 years old and doing what you did as a child as my primary source of poverty. You boomers are nowhere near as special as you think you are. Most millenials would run circles around you in the work force if given the same chances you had which is why we’re so angry. We want to pay our own way but we need you to retire and hire a replacement to do it. Speaking of which why hiring a replacement so hard for you? What does it signal the end? If only I could be so lucky as to hire and train my replacement before retiring! Ha! Fat chance of that!

      • Well said …….I also worked hard all my life(started at 13) always supporting these benefits to which I am now entitled.

  10. The same thing is happening all over the western world, folks….so stop blaming it on boomers, immigrants, govts, aliens and whatnot.

    And kindly remember all the good things you've benefited from, instead of just whining. Time to grow up.

    • it's happening all over the western world because everywhere in the western world, leftist policies of government expansion have suffocated the productive sectors of the economy, and that is the boomer's fault. So the blame rests squarely on the boomers, and the governments they elected.

      these leftist policies have failed everywhere they have been implemented, and we are now reaping their consequences.

      • Oh nonsense. Peddle the outdated ideology elsewhere.

        • Why is it non-sense? How did the generation prior to the boomers get along without tons of social programs and low debt loads?

          Conservative ideology would absolutely mean less debt load. Liberal ideology could mean whatever it wanted to. This isn't to say any of the parties are innocent, but the difference in the actual philosophies certainly played a role. Far too many "conservatives-in-name-only" and liberals have been elected in the past. Now the only solution is slash-and-burn conservatism, that needs to fix the mess, rather than just maintain a status quo of conservatism.

          I certainly would not trust liberals to fix the mess; they'll always find something to spend on.

          • The same situation exists in the US….that long-standing bastion of left-wingers like Reagan and 2 Bushs. LOL

            Canada has always had a debt….from day one. So has the US.

            The generation prior to the Boomers had WWII to contend with, and then the 50's peace dividend kicked in when most of the world was trashed and NA factories had willing markets everywhere to rebuild. The 50's won't come again. It was a one-off.

            And the generation before that had the Great Depression, which came after WWI.

            Slash and burn has been tried many times in history….it results in massive unemployment, which just feeds a vicious circle.

            Liberals paid down on the debt, eliminated the deficit, and gave us years of surpluses…which Harper promptly spent.

            You can't look at history through ideology-coloured glasses.

            Boomers felt like the 'put-upon' generation too….vast numbers of them and never enough schools, or housing or jobs….and the cry went up….'The old guys won't retire and they're hogging all the jobs'

          • Again you go to "people" who "claimed" to be "conservative." The problem is true conservatism requires social spending cuts and that's never popular, so conservatives of the past of tended to borrow to head off any real criticism. That has to stop.

            And I will absolutely look at the world as a conservative. It is the only ideology that reflects reality. Just need someone with the balls to actually stick with it.

          • The argument about who is a 'real' conservative and who is not, is as unending as the argument about who is a 'real' christian, and who is not.

            Nobody is interested frankly….it's a dead philosophy.

          • Interesting that you blame the boomers for expanding social programs. In 1975 when boomers entered the workplace, government spending was about 40% of GDP in Canada. Today it is still about 40% (it rose till the early 90s and fell after). It is the GI Generation that spawned big government. They didn't spawn big deficits true, but that was because they raised taxes as they increased spending.

          • you want to know how they got along without tons of social programs? they died! they went to war! they went without! do you seriously think we did what we did for ourselves? We did it so YOU could survive things like small pox and polio, and be assured of not having to work at the age of 10 or 12, or for 25 cents an hour like we did. our 'social programs' ensured YOU didn't get beat by teachers and bosses for standing up for yourself. but you selfishly took everything you could and like usual blame your 'horrible' parents for givingyou what we didn't have. like someone already said.: grow up

          • what a bunch of idiotic self-serving BS.

            So you invented the small pox and polio vaccine? Im impressed. No seriously how dumb do you have to be to suggest that these medical breakthroughs came from 'social programs'. Get a freaking handle lady, you're losing it and fast.

            And not having to work at the age of 10? Well neither did my middle class baby boomer parents. Nice try making sh1t up though. Boomers did not grow up in the industrial revolution, they grew up in the post-war economic boom.

            And not getting beat up by teachers? That came from social programs? Are you stil high on LSD from the 60s lady?

          • Oh judy, get off your high horse. You repeating this to yourself over and over is not going to change the legacy of debt that you have left behind. Perhaps it makes you feel better about your life. What you really need to do is try to undo as much of the harm that you have caused in your waning years. The least you can do is lighten burden that you have left behind for us to deal with. It seems you are just too selfish to make the sacrifices necessary. It saddens my heart that you are not willing to take any responsibility for your own actions.

          • For your information your "boomer" gen. did't fight or creat @#$# that was my grandparents gen. so stop actting like you gave me anything you selfish @#$%.

      • The biggest cause of our woes comes from the rich convincing the rest of us to spend beyond our means – personally and politically – to increase their own profits. Wealth is increasingly being concentrated in the hands of the few, to all our detriment. And they keep finding still more ways to get us to part not just with what is in our pockets, but with our future earnings. And too many of us believe all will be fine as long as we continue to make the minimum payment on our debt…

        • It's not the fault of the 'evil rich' either.

          The world changes, and you have to change with it.

          • I would argue that – indirectly – it is. They and their marketers are the ones who have sold us so thoroughly on commercialism that we – individually, and collectively via governments – rack up more debt than is reasonable or safe. All while consolidating wealth into fewer and fewer hands.

            At some point, someone will call the debt and everything will collapse. To a degree, that's what we all have been living through these past few years – but this is nothing compared to what could be waiting in the wings. Imagine, for example, what would happen if China and the Middle East decided to call the US's debt…

        • Well said buddy.

        • Keith, perhaps you should take some responsibility yourself. I can only see one person to blame for spending beyond your own means. Of course the rich will try to earn get richer, it is your responsibility not to go into debt to fund this. Your view is a sad one, and looking back a big part of the reason we have this crisis at all. It isn't the rich, or the government that is to blame. It is the people who spend beyond their means, and elect officials who do the same, who are the real root of our problems.

      • In related news, Harper extends the stimulus spending for another year!!!

  11. So, Macleans have looked at trashy daughters, lazy boys being outperformed by young girls, hapless twentysomethings childless couples, and now, the Boomers themselves.

    I have to hand it to Macleans; at least they do not hold any particular constituency sacrosanct.
    I am just curious as to what the next demographic will be. They seem to be running out. The cohort that are the foundation of for the reality show "Lake Shore" perhaps?

  12. Agreed. What the article doesn't answer, is when the boomers begin to retire, won't there be way more jobs available for younger generations? And if a bunch of boomer's want to sell their homes, but there will be fewer buyers at lower saleries, won't the price of housing go down – making it more affordable?

    • On the flip side, as they all try to cash out their investments, the stock markets will plummet. Those of us a the tail end of the boomers / beginning of Gen X (where exactly I fit depends on who is drawing the line) are likely to find nothing left in their stock-market-based RRSPs when we hit retirement age.

      • Agreed Keith – following the boomers has been a curse on our cohort. They drove up the price of housing with flipping and speculation so by the time we got around to buying our first there was nothing left for first-time buyers. My son was in grade school during the Harris years in Ontario when the fundraising became perpetual because the boomers' kids had moved on and they had better things to do with their money than pay taxes to fund schools. Comfortable-to-affluent themselves they now support so-called Conservatives who keep their taxes down and spend on them and their concerns only.

        Selfish, hypocritical and destructive as locusts.

  13. Every generation tends to blame their elders for the probles of the world. Certainly my generation did its share. But it's getting tiresome to hear about the disadvantages of the newest generation and the assignment of blame to the "boomers". First off, the boomers are not a homogeneous lot. There are few common experiences between myself and those that are about to turn 65. Do I find Paul McCartney still relevant? Sure. I also find Elvis, Cole Porter and Bach relevant, at least as far as music goes. This doesn't make me, or my peers primary suspects as the sources of all the contemporary woes of Canada.

    Is Canada's economic future in jeopardy? Absolutely. Is it because of an aging population, or is it because of a new generation who lack a vision for Canada and the drive to make it happen? Is it because of a lack of political will or is it due to the growing economic dominance of countries such as China and India? Would this shift of economic power be the fault of "boomer"? Unlikely.

    Young Canadians, need to take ownership of the democratic governance of Canada, demand changes to government policy to return the potential of economic growth to the country and put the effort into building their own future.

    There's no "boomer" who wishes to see this Country and its young people suffer. Blame is an easy way to avoid taking ownership of problems.

    • "Blame is an easy way to avoid taking ownership of problems"

      Says the person who is avoiding taking ownership of the problems his generation has wrought by blaming the generation behind his.

    • How can we "take ownership of the democratic governance of Canada" if Gen X is smaller than the boomer cohort? Geez….no politician cares about the smaller demographics. You boomers will always hold the balance of power.

    • Are you suggesting the younger generations ought to take responsibility for decisions made before they were old enough to vote?

      I agree that sometimes we younger generationers use boomers as the boogyman. However, sometimes blame isn't merely a way of denying responsibility for problems, but a way to place the fault where it belongs.

      If according to this article, boomers want to sit on their profit pyramids for longer, I say we tax them heavily until they do retire. On the flip side, tax rates in the top margin tax bracket are already close to 50%. How much higher can we go without being totally socialist?

      Could be worse, we could live in Africa.

  14. I'm a boomer and I agree with the comments about the “precarious global situation,” and I don't like what is happening either. Generally, I agree with your statement about “the defining characteristics of the baby boomers have been their sense of self-importance and limitless entitlement.” We old buggers generally vote and also unfortunately, “form the base for Stephen Harper's Conservatives.” Why aren't more young people engaged in politics? I've read that in the age group 18 to 24, only 26.3% of that group vote. Why aren't they voting? Why is that? If we could change that statistic, I think we could see quite a positive change in public policy areas.

    • Hey big guy. There's nothing wrong with forming the base for Stephen Harper's conservatives. And as to changing the demographic, well if that doesn't take away all that I have built and become entitled to, I'd be OK with that. You do KNOW they lowered the income threshold a couple of years ago so as to claw back your OAS eh ?

      What about your CPP? Now, you paid into it , you expect it . Did you expect that they'd get most of it back from you just because you saved a few investments to give you a supplemental income? Huh? Or were fortunate enough to work and have a pension? They want you equal all right equally POOR.

      Anyone with a brain is looking at establishing residency elsewhere, in non-tax jurisdictions, they have already gotten the bulk of their money offshore, and when they establish residency in another country, they can then invest that offshore money without Canada Taxers getting their grubby little hands on it . Also, if you pick the right country you'll get medicare with your residency. Hint =Think Costa Rica!!

      They WANT you to retire there…

      • Re: CPP…..My dad (preBoomer) paid 2% off his slary for CPP contributions, I pay 5%. He will see more thant I do in payments on retirement. The math is simple – genX (and Y) is paying for the boomers lavish lifestyles !

  15. Don't worry! Be happy! Krugman is cracking the whip and Bernanke is running the printing presses full tilt and revving up the helicopter rotors as we speak. There'll be money everywhere! What could possibly go wrong…?

    Of course, I am old enough to remember when the counterfeiters were the bad guys… Hmm…

  16. The boomers are not without their accomplishments. While they gave us economic stagnation, a larger rich-poor gap and deficits, they also gave us some good things.

    1. Boomers like Bill Gates were at the forefront of the information revolution. Even though median wages haven't budged since Gates was tinkering with the Altair, we have a lot more options than consumers did a generation ago (not only directly in the form of high tech gadgets, but indirectly as a result of the niche products that are feasible in a world with extensive data on consumers, eg. microbrew beer).

    2. Boomers absolutely deserve a star for giving women more choices. Not only do modern women have a greater ability to enter the workforce, the wage gap has decreased significantly. Young single women, on average, earn more than their male counterparts, and boys increasingly look like the problem gender in schools and the workplace.

    3. Good television. Have you ever watched tv from the 50's and 60's? Utter garbage. Bad acting, unfunny comedies, and worthless plots were the order of the day. The baby boomers helped win the war on bad tv. Where would we be without the surrealism of Monty Python (okay a lot of those guys are only borderline boomers), the insightfulness of the better Simpsons seasons, or the mockery of the mundane that is Seinfeld.

    4. And while we go after the boomers for making us all so fat, lets not forget that they also licked smoking pretty good. Indeed, on balance trading smoking for obesity was probably a pretty good deal – and the fact that life expectancy continues to rise bears that out.

    5. The boomers also gave us world peace.
    War deaths, from interstate wars
    1975-2010: 1,379,488 (population ~3.5 billion in 1975)
    1946-1974: 2,817,681 (population ~2.4 billion in 1946)
    1910-1945: 26,971,000 (population ~1.8 billion in 1910)
    1875-1909: 1,213,851 (population ~1.5 billion in 1875)

    6. Free love and plenty of it.

    • (sorry that should be interstate wars and colonial wars)

    • Boomers also gave us divorce, strange new norms of no morality, sexually transmitted diseases and worse.
      They taught us how to be excellent at ME ME ME & then wonder why their Grandchildren are 'selfish'.
      Boomers gave us over priced rat traps of houses that require 5 lifetimes to pay off (so we'll just rent them from the bank.)
      They taught us how to say one thing (free love) and do another (i.e. harm the next generations with over taxation and debt.)
      Boomers also taught us that they have to be right all the time & anyone disagreeing with them is not 'evolved' as they are.
      They lied to us. A university degree does NOT buy Boomer's standard of living unless Boomers all move to another planet somehow. Which isn't going to happen so we are screwed. (Oh we are getting tetchy? Boomers don't like that. We should shut up and go away and work like slaves for their meds and Boomer's holidays while they double dip working & collecting their pensions while living in their paid-for houses which cost 1/10 of today's prices.)
      Um Boomers… yeah what a great legacy. No wonder younger generations don't respect you past a point.
      ps: Boomers should have to come back as below Generation Z as karma. Sweet.

      • Yeah, because as we all know, STDs were invented in 1966…

  17. I've often thought that if we could magically transplant us younger generations into the situation of the boomers, we'd probably do things more or less the same.

    Not a very useful little imagining though. I certainly don't find intergenerational blame useful either. Younger can blame older for the problems of the world (but let's not forget what they did right as well), older may say younger is lazy/misguided (but let's not forget who raised us, and often still are in a position of leadership or mentorship).

    What I find useful is to not draw sharp lines but see the generations as a continuation. We all have our human weaknesses to contend with. We all must live in this shared society of our own making. I figure best to get on with it and try to keep things in good shape for ourselves and posterity. Data and talking points that doesn't serve that end seems to me like unnecessary drama.

    • wish we could but there is no point ok fine no ones fault dosn't chang ethe fact were $%^#ed so I for one say fine I me for me I will stop paying taxes and head for the hills.

  18. Yeah, the usual inflamatory tripe from MacLeans, but that's what sells magazines I guess. As a gen x / boomer cusp guy, I came of age in an Alberta that had no jobs for young people and a housing market that seemed totally out of reach. I struggled to find work until the economy came back, moved to a small town where I could afford a modest home, and saved my money religiously. Never had a fifth wheel, a four by four truck, a marble counter top, etc., but I've had what I needed and so have my kids. No pension, but I've got enough saved I should be ok if I get $500 a month or whatever it is from CPP. I don't think that's too much to ask. Entitlements? What entitlements? Sometimes I have that "poor me" feeling, like the older boomers have already peed in the pool by the time I've got my swim trunks on, but really, most of them don't seem all that well off, big LED TVs notwithstanding. I dunno. I guess we should all stop whining, stop blaming someone else, dig in and do what needs to be done. As others have said to the twenty and thirty-somethings: vote, campaign, make yourselves heard.

  19. Among other things, this is the age of greed beyond belief. With the coming demographic winter–who cares…

  20. A civil service hiring freeze punishes the younger generation. It locks in high-paying jobs for older workers at the expense of the young, who pay taxes like everyone else. If they wish to freeze civil service pay, there should still be allowances for hires of young people, and to compensate, some layoffs of older people as well as some reductions in pay of older workers.

    Otherwise it simply amounts to a generational wealth transfer.

    If they had decided to fire all high-paying older workers to hire younger workers at lower pay, there would have been an outcry of discrimination. But when they essentially do the same to younger workers by freezing them out so they can continue to pay older workers at the same number and rate as always, that is the exact same thing. This means that young people will get nothing so that older people can get it all. This is a perfect example of screwing the younger generation. Canada did the same thing in the 90s.

    • Very well said. When my brother entered the workforce in the nineties, it was very difficult, especially at the entry level. Maybe my memory is off, but I seem to remember the term 'McJob recovery" bandied about especially with the young workers.

      • I had the same experience. I was working phones when I got out of university in the mid 90s with an MSc. Took me a long time to find that phone job too. It was not an easy time to enter the workforce.

    • Okay, so you want something you haven't earned and wish to deny something to those that have earned it. Typical of your generation.

      • I'm not sure what your point is, other than the fact that you want to whine. How on earth does your statement have anything to do with what I said?

        • If you don't/can't see the connection, you need to read your first paragraph again. Move your lips if you have to.

          • Nope. No connection. I think you need to make sense. Your whining is pointless.

      • Then maybe they should have thought a little harder on junior's future before having him.

        • I suspect Mike was thinking of (with?) altogether something else entirely at the time of junior's conception.

    • aww. gee, poor baby, can't get a government job? me neither, but hey, I'm 59 and working my butt off in the private sector, for lower pay and fewer benefits. you've hit the age of majority, the gravy train has pulled out, babe. get off your butt, learn some respect for others and get a job. oh and while you're at it, get out of your parents' house, they need some down time. by the way, all 3 of my kids work in civil servant jobs so the not hiring youth thing is crap.

      • How can someone misunderstand an obvious and indisputable point so badly?

        • Good question. I have no idea. It's like she never bothered to read what I wrote.

      • For no apparent reason you've misjudged my age by about 20 years. I've been working for more than 95% of my adult life, I haven't lived in my parent's house since I was 17, and I have no desire to work in the civil service.

    • Wooa! Hold the phone … DO you not understand.. a Civil Service produces NOTHING ? They dig nothing from the ground , they manufacture no pulp, nor paper. A huge civil service… what is it good for? Absolutely nothing …except to move around all that "program spending" initiated by your hated Boomers… yes yes..welfare, social development, Human RIghts ..alll bureaucrats..all civil servants.

      You gotta' remember the whole Deux Solitudes thing was about upper class Quebec families smoothing the way for their offspring into the upper echelons of the Federal Civil Service!! What better way to live your life?? Coddled..cossetted..all in your OWN LANGUAGE … That was Bilingualism man!!! (and bi-culturalism ho ho ho) Colosal waste.

      Canada is a stagnant country … civil servants take momey from the taxpayers, get taxed on it ..and spend the rest. What up with that? The creation of NEW dollars is essential. Manufacturing, converting raw materials into goods…

      the "service" industry is worthless without primary industies… now. Enough of the economics from 30 years ago lesson. get with the tour big fella'!

      • I agree with you, for the most part. But the civil service will never disappear completely, and as long as it's there, it should serve all citizens well, and be open to all citizens, not serve as a generational wealth transfer, or a transfer from English speaking to French speaking people, or even to Ottawa from everywhere else.

  21. Corporate profitability and PRODUCTIVITY has ballooned since the 1970s and yet, salaries stagnate as the cost of living soars. If I can't blame the boomers for this, the people who are the most likely to BE CEOs, who shall I blame then, hmmm? My 24-year-old friends who are paying down $30,000 of student debt?

    • so, the question is, why the hell did they take on $30,000 of student debt? too lazy to work for their education?

      • I suspect increasing tuition fees might have something to do with it.

      • You see Judy, universities frown upon students camping out in lecture halls, and rummaging through trash cans for food. Can you live for 4-5 years on $30,000? I doubt it. Add tuition and books on top of that.

  22. Lemesee…I've worked since '72…never collected EI and have a total of about 20 sick days (paid for by my company, not gov't). I've put 2 kids through school.
    I've paid into Canada Pension, EI and Alberta Health for nearly 40 years.
    Do I feel I'm entitled to collect a pension to supplement my savings?…you bet I do.
    All this as opposed to some of the 'screwed generation' I work with in our office that are away 'ill' on a near weekly basis…and have the attitude that taking time for customer/client service interferes with their facebook time (on company time)…nope, I don't feel quilty at all

    • All that money you paid into EI, CPP and Alberta Health was spent. It was spent on stuff for you, or for others in your generation. It's not like you haven't received anything in return. If you yourself didn't get any of it, your contemporaries did. It paid for the roads, the hospitals, the health care, EI for other people, or any number of other things, at the time that you paid it, things that were not paid for by your taxes.

      None of it is left. So either you take the same amount from young people who cannot afford it because there are less of them and they earn less, or you accept the fact that it's gone. Or you can expect to get less.

      That's the crux of the article.

      I mean, if these programs were actually run the way such a program should, then you might have a point. But when they are designed to fail when demographics change, and when the money that goes into them is funneled into general government revenues that is spent on just about anything (and long gone by now), then you have no right to blame the younger generation for things that your contemporaries did.

      • Exactly!!! This is the exact problem and what is so frustrating. Their parents generation developed and paid for massive infrastructure and education programs used for the baby boomers, they then spent their "savings" on the day to day running of the country, yet were and are unwilling to similarly invest in their children's generation. So we are going to be stuck with the bill taking care of them while they insist "we are entitled!" even though they are the one's who have been in charge the last 40 years making this mess.

        • You are both so laughable.
          I'll assume you both have all the niceties of life…you know, a university education…probably running around with your i-pods, i-pads, macbook airs…nice newer Honda, and likely spend at least one night out a week at the pub bemoaning to all your friends how tough you have it.
          Guess what bubba-boy…I had none of that (as did few of my contemporaries). Got by with grade 12 because unlike now university was not a given BECAUSE THERE WERE NO STUDENT LOANS…that's something my generation started for you.
          I could go on and on, but I won't, because you of the 'screwed generation' just don't get it…if you get off your duff and work hard (as many of you acutally do…but they aren't the ones complaining) you'll come out just fine when you're older…and I guarantee you'll be just as annoyed with your kids when they start whining about how you've screwed things up for them

          • You poor thing, you had no student loans. Ever heard of a thing called a "bank? I do believe they existed throughout your lifetime. Anyway, because you never heard of a bank, you are entitled to other peoples' money, and you have the right to criticize the people who are paying your pension. Good for you.

            Ha ha, "my generation started student loans, for you". That's along the lines of "Al Gore invented the internet", and "I did not have relations with that woman". The concept of a loan has been around a long time. And not only that, the whole point of a loan is that the money is PAID BACK. It's not a gift, you twit. It's a loan. And loans have been around since the invention of the wheel. What's next? Are you gonna claim that you invented food? For us? You invented shelter? Just for me? Wow, I'm so thankful. I owe you everything. Please come by and pick up your free car and your free house. Actually, I have no house, just the car. But you sure feel that you're entitled to it, so come on by.

          • Your right s_c_f, my generation did start student loans.
            You know…the kind of loan where you are not expected to pay anything except modest interest fees until your education (which could be 6 years) is finished.
            The kind where it is fairly easy to defer payment once your education is finished if you have even a reasonably good reason…like limited income.
            This is all fairly different from a bank loan that requires payments start within 60 days of the loan being given.
            And where anymore than 3 missed payments meant the loan in its entirety could be called in.
            Yup…we had bank loans all right…but they were nothing like what you have now.
            But it's okay…I know how tough you from the screwed generation have it….after all, you have to worry about how your latest Mac will be obselete next month and you'll have to upgrade.
            Yup…to quote a saying from my day…my heart bleeds purple p***

          • Bob, your generation didn't need student loans. Many of you got jobs with just a high school education that your children can only dream of getting with our one or two degrees – because you all just won't retire! We go to university, take on the debt, because we think it will help us get a good job, but it doesn't. They just aren't bloody there.

          • So Kate…just why the hell should I retire??
            Your right…I got a job out of high school…apprenticing as a heavy duty mechanic working 12 hour days 6 days a week (made a heck of lot of overtime, I'll admit). Working outdoors in -35 degrees on 25 ton D9 bullodozers.
            Now I am in an unrelated managment position.
            And do you know what I see…25 years olds that leave at 5PM ON THE DOT every day (after their tough 7.5 hour day). They whine if you ask them to work a little late and complain if you mention they should spend a little less time on Facebook (on company time).
            Truthfully…if us 'oldtimers' all retired tomorrow the country would fall apart!

          • My mothers a boomer and she got a loan, I think you just had a little trouble trying
            to fill yours out.

          • Not really Scott…I was too busy making gobs of money in the oil industry to bother with university.

          • So Bob you certainly would have been able to sock away plenty of your own savings – yet you feel entitled to a pension even if it means you're picking the pockets of kids?

            Yep, you're a boomer.

          • bob. your inability to comprehend the actual situation being addressed in this article negate any of your arguments.
            I work in a similar field to yours(mining) It is run by individuals such as yourself who make self serving decisions at the expense of the business. I can only imagine with your narrow point of view, in your 'managerial' role you make similar poor decisions.
            The problem is that its not worth my time to stay after 5. you've already made enough costly mistakes for the day to negate any productive advances i've made, regardless of my cautions. Sure you've been doing this for 30 years, but you forget that you know nothing about management. And you are still in your office after five neglecting your family because you are unable to figure out Excel and Outlook. So yes, I head home, enjoy my friends and family; and maybe even at a pub. Because guess what. My last boss. He was just like you. And he dropped dead 1 month ago. On a weekend, having not even met one of his grandchildren. The kid was 2.
            I'll out wait your poor decisions without a worry.

    • So you've paid taxes, and paid into EI and CPP your whole working life.

      So what? So will we. The difference is, we will get much less for it.

  23. We can go the route of the U.K. and cut spending, or we can raise taxes.

    This is a false choice. It has been shown that regardless of tax rates, the amount of tax collected relative to GDP will never exceed about 18% of GDP. This is because higher tax rates cause capital flight and also depress economic activity. Holding spending in line is the only option. Raising taxes to attempt to exceed this level will not increase tax revenues relative to GDP. Instead, GDP will shrink, shrinking the incomes of all workers, resulting in fewer people in higher tax brackets and less taxes in general due to lower earnings, the same overall tax revenues relative to GDP.

    This is known as Hauser's law and has been observed for decades. It's as fundamental as the laws of physics (although it's bizarre that so many people don't know about it).

  24. I grew up in the sixties and never knew anyone resembling the author's description.  I worked full time and went to university at night.  Every one I knew that went to school full-time also had jobs.  Our parents post-war incomes weren't that high.  There were so many of us looking for jobs at the same time that decent ones were quite scarce.

    Most of us did not have much access to our parents' car (note the singularity).  I paid for my first car, phone, vacation, trip out of the country, television, computer, cell phone, etc.   The fat lifestyles bemoaned by the author and many contributors here were enjoyed by subsequent generations, mostly paid for by us.  Rather than our extravagant lifestyle coming back to bite us, it's your very comfortable lifestyle and high expectations that are coming back to bite all of us.

    Our parents lived very restrictive and conformist lives.  The openness and many of the freedoms and rights in your daily lives, that you do not recognize as such, began with the "Boomers".

    And the most ridiculous comment made here?  Give up the job and income I've worked for all my life so so you can have it. Talk about entitlement. This over-"educated" pampered bunch will have to scramble for it like we did. 

    They will also have to provide some value, something that the author of this article has yet to provide, considering his writings to date.  He is capable of stringing words together, but has never had anything more to contribute than filling space between advertisements.  He will never be as memorable as the journalist who coined the word "boomer", and his name was….um…????

    • And I guess that's the point. People of the war-era didn't have much but still could retire on what they had. Boomers, however, have lots but still expect the government to pay for their retirement. The government wasted all the money they were supposed to save for this, and now the young generation has to pay for it and there's not going to be enough of them to do so.

      • The war era people relied on their savings, company pensions and government pensions, the same as we will. The companies were far more loyal and the pension plans more dependable. Bad government has been catering to more than the boomers for the last 40 years. Whose taxes do you think has been paying for all this nonsense.

        • Yes, there was a government pension, but until the 60's you had to be 70 to get it (rather than today's 65); combine this with the fact that most people at that time didn't live past 70 and you have a lot less dependence on pensions than you do now. As for company pensions, great if you had one but more people (like my family) lived in rural areas and didn't work for companies that gave pensions.

          Boomers taxes have been paying for the services demanded by boomers because they're the most important electorate. Governments form just by pleasing them.

          And that still doesn't address the fact that there is only going to be 2.5 workers supporting each retired person.

        • But we don't have company pensions.

      • Boomers planned well..and then, the bar was lowered by CPP and OAS schemers… What government wrapped the Canada Pension money into general revenue? How did the EI monies become a slush fund? and who lowered the bar on taxation so that a family's OAS gets clawed back?? huh?

        People of the war era retired on their frugal savings. My father went to war, worked for 45 years and cruised the Mediterranean, and went back to Holland where he beat the Nazis. Not bad. But his marginal tax rates were way lower. The "fees" were non existant (fishing licenses for gods sake..boater licenses…HAHAHAH what a rancid joke.)Hey..Is the IRS ruining your life as the commercial says ? The CRA may be… they can't find the Swiss accounts so they come after th people who they know where they live! Get a grip. The increase in taxes, fees and government charges outstripped any advantage for the middle class..plus our income stagnated for 25 freaking years now. It was in the news 2 days ago… stagnating middle c lass.

      • You need to stop just noticing the facts that suite your purpose, as did the hack who cobbled together this trash article.

        In 1965 I was 14, and my parents were nowhere near retirement. Sorry, not a boomer plot.

        People made the choice to move to the city or not. Pensions weren't 'given', and working for large companies for 35+ years in those days was no treat.

        "Boomer taxes have been paying for…" Correct, thanks for noticing.

        "Governments form by just pleasing…" In what world! It's all on TV. Government press releases, not policy, respond to the population. Accountability is a bit better now with the explosion of the internet (a gift from our generation – and your laptop – operating system – your welcome) and the ability for anyone to publish instead of being filtered by the msm.

        "…only 2.5 workers…" Population has been dropping since the early 1900's. The boomers were a correction of the big slump caused by 2 world wars and a depression, but fit into the overall downward trend.

        Generations work in 20 year cycles, assuming classifying generations is valid at all. Using the very wide brush strokes used to characterize us, the group after us that everyone seems to be ignoring are a very cynical and mercenary group who tended to go into finance instead of engineering and the sciences. The very serious consequences of that are just starting to surface now. They've been out in the wild and voting for 20 years. But, I'm sure that's our fault too. Lucky you though, you still have another group to blame after we're gone.

        By the way, most of us consider ourselves lucky if we can afford to buy into and restore the 50 year+ old houses and neighbourhoods built for our parents that are starting to crumble. And most of us are still trying to find out where that mythical 40 year party is that we are reputed to have attended.

        The group in university now or recently finished within the last few years has been brought up in more comfort and convenience, more material wealth, more freedom, education and opportunity than any generation before. Most of the things they take for granted, or don't even notice, did not exist when we were growing up. So, now that they are entering adulthood, do they really believe they will never have to divvy up?

        • I guess Generation "Y" won't be satisfied until we are all dead. It doesn't matter what we say to defend our lives it will never be "right" in their eyes.

        • And that still doesn't address the fact that there are only going to be 2.5 workers per retiree.

          You tell me that population has been dropping since the 1900's. I tell you the sky is blue. Both are statements of obvious facts; neither statement answers how 2.5 workers are going to pay for somebody's retirement.

          Regardless of whose fault it is, it still seems highly unlikely that the working class is going to be able to afford the retiring class in the future at current benefit levels.

    • Even through I'm technically a boomer, my life did not follow any of the boomers in the article – I suspect they are the yuppies which was largely a Toronto/Montreal/Vancouver group!!!!

      It is only in the last 10 years of my career that I have earned significant dollars to contribute to my retirement – didn't get my first car until I was 34 and it was a used car that my father passed on to me. Only every 3 years do I treat myself to a nice holiday after saving up for it for the three years. Few of my friends of the same age have experienced any of these wonderful benefits that this article suggests boomers took advantage of. As I have said elsewhere – for most of my life I was competing with a huge number of other boomers and there was always just too many of us.

      • But what you don't understand is that the next generation aren't taking ANY holidays. 0.0
        Your tail-end boomer life as it is sounds like heaven to many of us below you.

        • really? the next generation doesn't take holidays?? bull hockey! wanna explain why the tourism industry is growing then?

          • Judy,
            I haven't had a vacation in 3 years. I have sick days that, if used, will mean my being let go from my job (at a 9/h job). I have a Masters Degree, spent 3 years teaching over seas, have volunteered more than most baby boomers combined and when I go in for informational interviews in my field I am told that there are no positions as no one is retiring.
            As for the tourism industry, it is growing for seniors and boomers, not those like me who have to work 3 jobs to stay afloat and never get time off. I will never, and I do mean NEVER, be able to purchase a home, and will always be renting. I am not saying that all boomers should just up and retire, but come on, stop padding pensions that are bigger than what most of the younger generation make yearly. If you have a full or almost full pension… retire. Your parents did, so should you!

  25. That's wonderful. I work 2 jobs while going to school and I will still be graduating tens of thousands of dollars in debt. Your job did not pay for the entire cost of your education, most of it was from the government (which was not using debt financing).

    • Congratulations. Most of the people I went to school with had the same problem. Your job is only paying for a small part of your education. The rest is from my taxes. Serious deficits were begun by the politicians from my parents generation. My guess is that, if not you personally, most everyone in your generation has been brought up with considerably more luxury and freedom the we had, and certainly far more than my parents and grandparents had. And if you're in your early 20's, chances are that your parents are a generation behind me, and they demanded far more from the government than we ever did. Boomers seem to be an easy target. We had it easier than our parents, but nobody handed us anything.

      • Boomer, the difference is you were able to pay about $1500 a YEAR for tuition and books and living costs. Easier to earn that over May to August back then, than now. Today's basic degree is roughly at a low estimate $40,000 divided by 4 years minimum. That is $10,000 a YEAR. Wages today would have to be about 8 or 9X to equal in value what you made in the past to pay for your degree. Are many young people earning $40 or $50 an HOUR for a summer job May to August? NO. Inflation has eroded earning power while the sheer cost of university has expanded ten fold. THAT, Baby Boomer is the problem.

        • $1500 was a lot of money when the average yearly income was $1500, though you seem to forget that. I started working for 25 cents an hour. now the minimum wage is nearly $10

          • Yet, today, the average salary for someone who finished University isn't even a salary. It is an hourly wage of about 10/h. which does not equal 40,000/yr for education.

  26. The solutions for the majority of the national issues the US is currently facing are directly related to the attitudes, awareness, and mentality of its citizens.

    This is basic to any nation, but due to the state of its citizenry, the future of the United States is looking bad. First, consider our youth and the issues they face: teen pregnancy, dropouts, crime, and substance abuse. Now contend this demographic against the responsibilities which will be placed on them according to this article. It's not going to happen.

    Consider the ever diminishing median IQ of the nation (No, not average, median). Now consider the fact that the states already has a personal debt of $16 Billion Dollars. Do you imagine that the youth graduating into adulthood over the next 10 years will be any more capable of managing their debt than those previous?

    How much can a nations leaders TAX a people who are born into a previous generations debt? The spin machine hasn't been invented that can paint a pretty picture of this situation.

    Whatever global issues the US believes warrants their involvement, and the involvement of the nations resources ($$money$$), they cannot take priority over the welfare of the citizens. Fix the people, fix the country.

  27. Obviously it is important for Baby Boomers to stay involved in politics. The rabid 30-somethings are liable to try and take it all away from those of us who have earned and innovated for their entire benefit going forward. Interestingly CRA should make it simpler for Canadians to obtain residency abroad. Many Canadians are taking up residency in places such as Belize and Costa Rica. One advantage is loosing the oil/electrical bills for wintertime habitation here. Another is cheaper goods and services. Costa Rica particularly has excellent health care for retired people who have obtained residency – there's a huge ex-pat Canadian community there. Salvation for many will come from moving abroad. Canada cannot afford NOT to tax Boomers more and more… and Boomers are not going to live in cold water flats in Lowertown !!!! Got that??

    • We'll catch up to ya….and take back all you've stolen.

    • Bunch of gold bricking cowards, take everything they can from Canada and then slither
      away to Florida or somewhere else, pathetic cowards.

  28. As a boomer who was on the tailend of the boom, I'm pretty tired of hearing about how difficult it is for the generations behind the boomers because we are greedy etc. etc. Heads up – most of these articles are written from the perspective of a very small number of boomers – probably the exact same group that were the yuppies of the 1980's – no boomer I knew identified with that group.

    Some realities – as a kid growing up, my school pictures show classes in the 35 kid range because there were just too many of us: didn't get into university first try because there were just too many of us; graduated from university right into a recession and a bad job market because there were just too many of us (however no student debt because student loans were harder to get because there were just too many of us); first house purchased with sky high interest rates (remember 15/16% mortgage rates!!) and after paying huge taxes etc we will be denied service because there are just too many of us – are you seeing a theme here???

    The only fault that the boomers committed against the next couple of generations is that they provided too much comfort for them – they demanded schools with only 20 kids in a class and teacher aides everywhere; they are letting their kids stay home WAY too long (there was no choice when I was growing up because with 6 other siblings there was NO ROOM). They think its fine for their children to change university/college majors at the drop of a hat (my parents made it clear to me they could support me for 4 years of university and that was IT!).

    Enough of this whining – boomers have paid and paid and paid for the services that 'youth' enjoy today – youth need to cowboy up and quit whining

  29. Apart from being one of the most petulant pieces of writing I've ever read, let me point out just one of the many, many irrelevancies in the article: "By 2050, there will be 30 million Americans aged 75 to 85." Really? Gee whiz! Your point? A person who is 75-85 in 2050 would have been born in 1965-1975. This piece is about baby boomers, so why the reference to a GenX demographic? Gatehouse obfuscates with irrelevant numbers.

    That GenXers, GenYers and Millennials, archetypes of self-absorption, would have the effrontery to say the *we* think it's about *us* is hypocrisy beneath contempt.

    One inescapable point is pretty much always left out of this type of whinefest about us evil baby boomers: you know what? WE ARE GOING TO DIE. We will die, more and more of us every year — so whence the hoopla, kiddies? Mid-boomers, those born around 1955-56, will be in their mid-80s by 2040. The ones that survive, that is. And in their mid-90s by 2050. But only those that survive. Just what percentage of this huge population bulge do you expect to survive into our mid-80s? 90s? beyond? (I'll research the answers myself in 2050, when I'll be 102.) 8-b

    • Baby boomers will eventually die and still haunt us all with whining from the other side for more.

  30. Come on n ow…I began my full time work life at age 17 with a grade 12 education. I was one of six childern in a working class household. I received no subsidies and no inheritance to speak of. I paid for my commercial pilots licence by working a split shift and cycled to work and flying lessons. My two children had one half of their post secondary education paid for by their parents and stand to inherit a property of substantial value. I love them dearly and do not worry overly much about their future. They, like we, have the blessings of being born into a loving family in one of the most priviledged countries in the world, during the most affluent period that history has ever seen. Let's now fret over which generation had it best. We are all among the luckiest people on earth.

    • Peter
      If you left school at age 17 and with your grade 12 now, you'd be homeless and you'd stay that way. You may not have received direct subsidies but if you are a boomer, then you benefited from them all the same. For instance, the tuition you and your kids shared was a fraction of what kids have been paying the last few years. And they had jobs to go to when they graduated.

      "We are all among the luckiest people on earth."
      Too right you were.

  31. That the Baby Boomers will go down as the group largely responsible for the downfall of western civilzation is not in doubt. They promised to 'change the world'…and they certainly did that. We will never recover from them.

  32. Lol. Yes health care and other social services will get destroyed by the influx of older users. I can say as a fact, that I will not fund this by paying higher taxes. I will take my higher education and move to another country that let's me keep my pay cheque. This is ridiculus. All the young talent will leave to a new country that doesn't rob them blind. I will lead the charge to the exits. Good luck capitalism.

    • Nice wendel, we handed you everything & when you have to pay the piper I hear. "I don't care about you anymore, I'm running away from home". Well Good riddance & good luck finding a better country. I hear China is doing well, don't let the door hit you on the way out.

  33. Hmmmmm. So yes some of you have paid into cpp and pension plans. But at a reasonable rate. Now you want the young to pay a much larger ratio. Won't happen. The young will leave and your benefits that you thought you would collect in retirement will not be there. The young will not shoulder the brunt of this debt. I'll join wendel and go to greener pastures.

    • Hurry Vince run away from home join the circus with Wendel. Where were you two going again? You failed the mention where these greener pastures are. China? India?

      • Greg – you fail to respond to the point…GenXers are paying double INTO the system then what boomers did and will be receiving LESS out of the system than boomers. the math is simple and makes a simple statement. Why shouls I pay for my father's golden retirement???

        • maybe they are paying double, but guess what.? you are also making more than quadruple the money than we did or do.

  34. You're mistaking Canada's economy for Capitalism? There's been nothing reasonable about our tax rates or wage erosion. And you must be referring to the social and health services paid for by us and used by you all your lives. What you don't seem to understand is that you are the debt. You're welcome to leave, please, but be sure to take Bob Rae, the spawn of Trudeau and Mulroney, and Ignatieff with you.

  35. I will leave. Enjoy the kraft dinner and wieners you will be dining on you fool

  36. Well the one thing I do know about our so called boomer generation is that we have a strong work ethic and a belief in doing what must be done to survive. So don't you fear Vince, Wendell & Xxx, even if we have to dine on kraft dinner and wieners every night and work until the day we drop dead (because you three have left this wonderful country for "greener pastures") to pay the bills and keep the economy afloat, we'll do just that!

  37. What a disgusting lie. Just another in a long line of smears from the right.

    The key characteristic of those responsible for the mess is class (ruling), not generation.

  38. Blame the hippies…again? Isn't it possible that neoliberalism and the deregulation of financial markets has finally been exposed as a fraud.

    We have known about the demographic problem for a long time and as hard as this may be for some to accept…we might actually have to invest MORE money in social services and less in the military. We will soon find out what real "security" means.

    • "neoliberalism and the deregulation of financial markets…"

      Sounds like, oh I don't know, Tony Blair and Bill Clinton….the iconic baby boomer losers….

      • Yeah… and Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Brian Mulroney, George Bush Sr., John Major, Jean Chretien, Gordon Brown, Paul Martin, Stephen Harper, George Bush Jr., Michael Ignatieff, Sarah Palin and anyone else who receives majority support from either of the two centrist parties.

  39. "45 year old gen-Xer"?

    Uhhhhh… off by a decade or so there bub. No one from Gen X is in their 40s yet.

    • Douglas Coupland is.

    • wrongo Spammer….the GenX generation is broadly defined as those born between 1964 and 1982. Nothing is of course cut and dry as there is a grey area at the edges. EG. Some boomers had kids (gen Y) prior to 1982.

      Broadly Boomers are 1946 to 1964, Gen Y is 1982 to 2000 and the millenials (kids of the Xers) are 2000 to 2018.

  40. Part 1: Baby Boomer corporatists and their apologist cronies are responsible for this situation. These self entitled corporate abusers have created this economic illusion of monetary scarcity to be assumed by the middle class and the next generation, while paying themselves fat salaries, benefits, bonuses, retirement and severance packages while asking middle class workers and their children to foot the bill and to buckle up their belts on all of the above. These corporatists and their apologist cronies have part timed all the jobs for next generation, exported our well paid jobs to the third world countries while raking in the insane profits and then they have the gall to raise prices and taxes, the cost of living, health care and education costs while they find loop holes to pay less or no taxes and then hide their assets in Swiss or Caiman Island tax havens.

  41. Part 2: These same people then preach austerity to the middle class and the next generation, while they live like self entitled kings in opulence. The Baby Boomer generation turned their kids into self gratifying consumer addicts to generate insane profits and then use their children's addiction for gadgets and other pass times against them as an excuse to rationalize and raise their tuition fees by shoving corporate constructed consumer habits in their children's faces. These greedy Baby Boomer corporatists and their jealous apologists have shown their true faces and how they dehumanize their children and themselves in the process and then rationalizing their behaviour as business needs. This greedy Baby Boomer generation should be ashamed of themselves.

  42. Stop blaming the Boomers. Every generation has faced challenges in their work and financial life. As a BOOMER I was lucky to have had a 19 +3/4% Mortgage to go with the 22% car Loan. This in an atmosphere of more than double digit unemployment. If anything a couple of severe recessions taught the Boomers to be conservative in their spending. Buy a small house and only move up when you can afford it. We have been married for 30 years and always only had one car. We never went on a vacation we could not pay cash for and never ran credit card debt. I have 35 years of working and never collected unemployment insurance. There was no extended Unemployment insurance for Maternity leave and my Wife stayed home with the pre-school aged children. Again we never collected any child care benefits and paid our own way. So BUCK UP kids, get an education you can actually do something with and get out of your parent's basement.

    • Hm yeah buy a small house in metro Vancouver for what $800,000 on a minimum wage job after graduating
      from university with huge debts. Boomer, yeah, umm hum.

      • did someone tell you that you have to live in metro van?? the country doesn't end at the BC eastern border

  43. There is a solution. NO CHILDREN!
    No children until you finish school, get a reliable job and a place to live. Then think about children. But if the state wants us to have children, they'll have to fork over a reliable future for them!

  44. Glad to find this article online. I'm generation screwed and I can't afford a magazine subscription.

    • tha's ok, hon. we baby boomers can't afford one either

  45. Unfortunately, this article misses the point. The issue is not the "entitlements", taxation rates etc. that the baby-boomers have left their children, but rather a crap economy. Years of deregulation, privatization, and supply-side interventions have left an economy that is in utter chaos: consumers are overburdened with debt; workers are underpaid and overworked; and inequality is at or approaching pre-depression levels.

    In reality, it's difficult to place the blame on a single generation. What we really should be discussing is what led us down this path. We should be questioning the merits of an ideology that promotes the beneficence of a free market. Maybe it's just me, but opening the hatches to investment was no panacea to the economic troubles of the 90s. Instead, it has left us with a world of trouble and real anxieties as to where we go from here.

  46. As a young Canadian reading the above comments left me terribly disheartened. I am a typical Gen Y. I have had the luxury of 8 years of University education, I've travelled the world and yes I do currently live with my parents. ( I am unemployed like many other graduates in this country). Am I in debt? Oh yah. Do the next 5 years look promising for employment? Not particularly. Do I think pitting generations of our citizens against each other is a necessary or worthwhile endeavor? ABSOLUTELY NOT.

  47. Come on Gen Y, show some leadership. Now is the time to look at the unique demographic issues and come up with some INNOVATIVE solutions. We are going to inherit this country and this talk of leaving the country for "greener pastures" is absurd. Think of the generations past, the sacrafices they have made, some giving their lives so that you could have the luxury to decide where you wanted to live and what you wanted to study. The task is great. Our economy is in chaos, we have unprecedented challenges in health and social care and we are currently lacking political leadership. So to that end, yes our country and our future generations deserve better. Time to man up and stop comparing the challenges of generations. They are all unique and all require unique solutions. Time to reinvent what it means to be Gen Y.

  48. I get tired of all the complaints about how the Boomers are responsible for the debt and lack of opportunity. As Gerard Caplan says in his article at Rabble.ca, "There are more filthy rich folks now than at any other moment in history and they're leveraging their astounding wealth to make sure they get filthier(richer) at the expense of the rest of us." That means at the expense of all workers but especially the most vulnerable ones, which includes young people. The lean and mean policies of the corporate world, and undertaxing the millonaires are the causes of the bleak outlook for today's young adults. His article is worth reading. Blaming boomers helps to take the heat off the real culprits but it won't fix the problem.

  49. Some facts to be considered before blaming babyboomers.
    Post tax income growth between 1979 and 2006 for the poorest Americans increased by 11%
    for the middle class, income increased by 21% ( largely as a result of 2 income families)
    FOR THE WEALTHIEST 1%, post tax income INCREASED BY 256%!
    Go to http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175326/tomgram%3A… for the whole article.
    There is only so much to go around and SOMEBODY is taking more than their fair share! That's why the future looks grim.

  50. I couldn't have said it better.

  51. The Venetian "diplomatic" model of international relations suggests that the best way to manage rivals that could treaten the wealth and power that you have looted, sorry, earned is to orchestrate a conflict between those rivals.

    If you are so inclinded, indulge my thought experiment: Who are the Venetians within Canadian soceity? How would they (continue to) benefit if our soceity was encourage to fracture along generational lines?

  52. So who’s to blame:

    The Great-Depression-WWII generation who vowed their children would never have to go through what they did, or

    The politicians who rose to that call, or

    The children who were conditioned to expect nothing but the best?

  53. Generation Screwed aka The Boomer Blame Game
    As a 65 year old, I have been increasingly bemused by the ongoing fingerpointing in the media regarding the incredible challenge the current 44-64 year olds will create for the rest of the world’s humanity over the next 20 years: starting (GASP) in only a few short weeks.
    A few observations follow in response to casually gleaned data from current journalism.
    On the one hand, there appears to be great concern about the elder population staying in the work force as this behavior reportedly takes jobs away from younger workers. Yet governments worldwide are considering raising the age of retirement to encourage elders to keep working. As well, on this note, those who retire early are pinpointed as increasing the costs of healthcare, et al on the smaller numbers of the younger working population. These Canadians are, it would seem, benefitting from the increasing number of available jobs as this large group of elders goes into retirement. It appears that boomers are dammed if they do and dammed if they don’t—-Hmmm—can’t have it both ways !!!
    On a world level, it would appear that the non boomers are doing a fine job of creating their own economic woes, what with the spending well beyond one’s means as reported in Britian recently (“Live for the moment” was the rational) Street riots of thousands protesting cutbacks on the incredibly bloated social programs found in many countries in Western Europe have been staged and participated in by many non boomers, as simple perusal of photographs of events easy illustrate. Apparently, wanting one’s cake and eating it is not just the perview of any specific generation, even if the cake is not to be served for decades and needs to be paid for continuously and well in advance by those protesting.—once again, can’t have it both ways
    Despite current media rhetoric, opportunity to succeed is well within most peoples’ grasp in Canada, due to a variety of reasons, and regardless of whomever one may otherwise like to point fingers at to blame. Pointing a finger at someone else means there are three pointing back at oneself; but I digress. Young people can’t complain about unbalanced competition from ethnic groups who are willing to practise a more focused work ethic than they. What will they do in the next few decades as Canada once again, as in the middle of last century, becomes a nation of immigrant families? What do these people from around the world who desire coming to Canada know about opportunity that entitled “Canadians” seem to be ignorant of? These new Canadians of the next two to three decades, who will represent a large percentage of the country, will bring with them the desire to make a better quality of life for themselves and their adopted country. All those currently not willing to face up to the challenge will find themselves falling behind; and rightfully so.
    It is worth pointing out that the pension benefits people receive upon retirement have been contributed to throughout their working life as involuntary deductions by their employer and government. Therefore they have in fact contributed, in the case of teachers for example, hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout their career that remains locked in to whatever plans they were involved with for the balance of their lives.This decades- long contribution process should manage to offset the proported cost of the existance of an increased number of elders without imposition on society in general, unless short sighted governments of the time neglected to invest these deductions to cover future costs. In addition to this, the sheer number of volunteers that will be available over these next two decades will indeed mushroom, as elders generally make up a high percentage of this group in any society; thus further contributing to cost reductions at all levels in society across the board.
    I could continue, but will resist that temptation with a simple closure for consideration by any analysts tempted to build an arguement/make a point at the expense of another individual or group.
    As with all things, this current so-called critical time too will pass as the boomers walk off the planet in the next 20 plus years and the resources they currently are connected to through personal ownership or social programming will be redistributed to society in general.
    “BAZINGA” -tm–Jim Parsons AKA Dr.Sheldon Cooper

  54. I often worry about what our generation will be left with, although I do look forward to buying a super cheap house in 10-15 years

  55. That is right the glut of immigration has ruined at least in Canada
    they come here with their elderly parents ( family unification ) and are a drain on the medical system as well as purchase homes on speculation driving up prices ITs not all baby boomers fault plus these young people today have to have everything all at once I am in my 50's and I still am working towards having the basics in life

  56. there was a party??? where??, when?? and just like Christmas this year,(because the generatrions behind won't go into the service/health care industries I worked through it

  57. great article. I work with a boomer who is slow, and useless. He hates his job and his coworkers so he is constantly subconsciously sabotaging the work environment, making more work for his coworkers. Ive asked him seeing that he’s obviously so burnt out; why doesn’t he just retire? (he would get two full pensions) Answer: ‘I’d get bored” BOO HOO. He’s having surgery soon, hope he doesn’t return….. To all boomers- if you dont need the $, volunteer. Dont take jobs from those that need to pay for your $!*&#! care home.

  58. You can see how most people consume media that agrees with their own viewpoints, hence the readers and their reactions seen below. It’s not the Boomers that are the problem. It’s the fact that all the suppliers of the services mentioned that must be paid for are hell-bent on being billionaires for delivering these services and the rich “wankers” and corporations that benefit from them won’t pony up sufficient taxes lest their bonuses are threatened. There is no longer anything that resembles compromise or shared sacrifice. Both sides need to give to solve the problems, but finger-pointing and me, me, me greed always get in the way. Government should play the wise parent, the regulator that uses reason and makes tough choices, but when it’s run by the same spoiled children more concerned with their own wealth and comfort than that of the country as a whole, good luck. First off, they desperately need to understand economics, and who and what drives an economy. A strong middle class with buying power and the money to pay for services solves a lot of problems. Yes, make cuts, but not cuts for cuts sake. Cut the FAT not the lean. Fatten the wallets of the common man and watch the economy rise, tax collections rise, and with wise stewardship, deficits fall.