Tuesday, March 28, 2023

A Society That ignores Its Young

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


Trailblazer said...

Provincial government policies, such as the late Campbell/Clark on here in BC which was highly financed and sympathetic to land developers and realtors inflated home costs by enticing foreign nationals, particularly Hong Kong , to buy BC; and they did.
The federal government did not help with it's passports for cash decision .

We still build , often on farmland, large houses, not homes, of 4-500 sq ft to house two adults and one or two children , this is driven by real estate speculation and the promotion of poor use of land.

If we would build and provide more subsidised housing many more would have a decent roof over their heads ; as it is now the older slumlord housing has been sold off to build condo's putting many people on our streets; so many that they are a huge cost to society in both human dignity and cost to the taxpayer.

It is perhaps erroneous to suggest everyone should own a home perhaps everyone should have a solid roof over their head that is not necessarily their own?


zoombats said...

As 69 year old father of two young women, I have worked incredibly hard my entire life. I have always been told that I was as a baby boomer, privileged. I didn't see it as that cut and dried. When I was young my family received baby bonus, a thing that quickly evaporated when I was a young father. My father had an incredibly good paying job and mother always worked. I have been crippled by property taxes my parents never knew. As Well off baby boomers we lived through an era where jobs were already becoming scarce, unions on decline and downsizing rampant. One of us had to stay home when our second child came because $50,00 a day chid care was out of the question. The baby boom generation saw massive housing prices in the seventies and eighties where my first house in 1980 was a shack on Lake Scugog with no running water for $50,000 and with a mortgage rate that would make eyes water. All I am trying to covey is that I think our generation had it hard enough and dare I say harder than my parents. When we were young our parents benefited from more infrastructure, ice rinks, swimming pools, government buildings etc. And upon become working adults and parents we got Toll highways, user fees and cutbacks. Remember child tax credits. I just seem to remember a lot of carrots on sticks never being with in reach. I also remember when someone described our parents as pulling the retirement ladder up with them when they retired. It was just last week that Ontario Government added six months to seniors getting eye test paid for. Another concern especially as I have now developed cataracts. Just another carrot on a stick.

Owen Gray said...

Not everyone can afford a house, TB. But everyone should be able to afford rent.

Owen Gray said...

Immediately following World War II governments that investing in people was investing in the future, zoombats. As the years progressed, that idea became passe.

That was folly.