Today is budget day. Lots of people have tried to capture Chrystia Freeland's ear. But the young don't have any representation in the budget process. Max Fawcett writes:
They are, after all, getting hosed on any number of fronts right now. That begins with housing, where massively overpriced markets in big cities like Toronto and Vancouver have recently been joined by increasingly unaffordable rental options across the country. And while rising interest rates have taken a bit of froth out of house prices, they’ve also made it far more difficult for new buyers to afford them in the first place.
This has any number of negative knock-on effects, from smaller family sizes and delayed saving for retirement to people being forced to leave places like Toronto and Vancouver for more affordable markets. As the recent net migration data shows, that’s already happening. And while there’s nothing wrong with living somewhere like Edmonton or Regina, there’s a certain unfairness in Canada’s biggest cities effectively pricing out an entire generation.
Then, of course, there’s climate change, where the federal government has simultaneously done more than any before it and not nearly enough for the governments that will come after. As the IPCC’s recent report showed, we’re not moving nearly fast enough to head off the worst potential outcomes from a rapidly warming planet that will be visited almost exclusively on young people and their children. Their anger over our collective indifference to the threat of climate change is both inevitable and understandable, and it’s only going to build with the passage of time.
Folks like me have fared pretty well:
Seniors, on the other hand — and yes, that means you now, baby boomers — continue to get help they probably don’t need. Old Age Security benefits are generous to a fault, with the full amount available to those with incomes as high as $81,000 and partial payouts still made to people making $130,000 a year. In the last budget, the federal government threw in a one-time $500 bonus for anyone over 75 who’s eligible for OAS because … well, why not?
Unlike the Canada Pension Plan, which is funded by both past and present contributions, Old Age Security is paid for by today’s taxpayers. “That means today’s retirees, when they were working, supported a much lower level of elderly benefits compared with today’s workers,” the Globe and Mail’s editorial board wrote in a recent op-ed. “And today’s retirees enjoyed much lower costs for education and housing compared with today’s younger people.”
Today's young people could use that kind of help. A society that ignores its young has no future.
Image: AZ Quotes