I wrote this story for News Corporation on generational inequality. As a resume writer, I get to work with lots of people and this story came from the stories my younger clients told me. It’s one of the most serious issues facing Australian society.
One generation rises, another falls. It’s an article of faith that younger generations will inherit a more prosperous economy from their forebears.
Young people have watched as generations before them were showered with one-off seniors’ payments, indexed pensions in line with average male earnings, tax exemptions on family homes and superannuation tax breaks, while house prices skyrocketed.
A Treasury’s Intergeneration Report (IGR) states that the worst-case scenario is that net debt would reach about 122 per cent in GDP in 2054-55 — that’s about $5,559 billion in today’s dollar.
Healthcare per person would climb from $2830 today to $6460 per person in 2055 (in today’s dollars). The Government’s proposal would see a ‘‘moderate surplus’’ of around 0.5 per cent of GDP in 2054-55 and net debt would be paid off by 2031-32.
According to the IGR, the Government is spending $100 million a day more than it collects, and is borrowing to meet the shortfall. The political spin behind the IGR is to get the Senate to pass the economic austerity measures and for older people to remain in employment.
There was very little mention about young people or older Australians in the 50-plus group who can’t get a job due to age prejudice. There are about 175,000 Australians over 50 looking for work through Job Services Australia.
From the mid-1980s to 2019, the Boomers rode the greatest wave in Australia’s economic history. Roughly 5.8 million Australians over 55 now hold 58 per cent of domestic wealth.
Many readers will say, “That’s life’’. Some generations were born at the right time, in the right place. Young people, though, are having trouble finding a job, let alone entering the property market.”
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