You have to give it to the baby boomers. They have contributed more to the world in terms of screwing it up and leaving a lasting poisonous legacy than any other generation in the history of the history of the world.
Where to start. Their parents had fought, been captured and often died in Two World Wars to prevent tyranny and protect freedom. They sacrificed themselves to create a better world for their children with a new deal and the creation of Beveridge Report to end horrific conditions that pre-war Brits had had to deal with. Housing was improved dramatically and a welfare safety net to help those in most need. They gave them free schools and free university studies to get well paid jobs and a decent education. Free medicines, eye checks and dentistry all were part of the deal too. Generosity from a generation who had suffered almost unimaginable hardship.
The thanks the baby boomers gave their parents was to stick two massive fingers up at the society that their mum and dads gave them and undertook the biggest rebellion ever. From music to fashion, culture to work, drugs to ideology – the baby boomers turned their nose up and did exactly the opposite of what was expected whilst still using, and abusing, the privileges their parents had provided.
Once out of rebellion phase, the baby boomers proceeded to rape and pillage the planet of anything that was worth a profit. Oil, coal, gas, concrete, plastic, cars, roads. Whatever would make life better for the baby boomer, regardless of the consequences for future generations, was worth it. They were worth it.
Living within your means was out. In came spending, money and staggering amounts of greed – all at the expense of anything and anyone that stood in their way. It is no coincidence that meaningful, accelerated, unstoppable global warming started with baby boomers, the eradication of the ozone layer from CFCs, deforestation and icecap melt, the massive increase in deaths from wars and starvation, the big bang in capitalism and ‘the markets,’ nuclear proliferation or ever increasing crime. The 80’s and the 90’s, the era when the baby boomers governed and ruled society was an era for the self and the selfish.
Fast forward another two decades and their power and selfishness lives on. Despite their kids having moved on, they continue to live in the 5 bed family house that they have lived in for the last 40 years despite now being by themselves. They refuse to downsize leaving their children and grandchildren struggling to find anything remotely affordable to get on the housing ladder with. Yet they complain they are asset rich and cash poor.
In the UK for example a baby booming pensioner will get a free TV licence when everyone else has to fork out £150 quid a year, a free bus pass that would cost hundreds for any younger person and a pension that is universal – a free handout no matter how much you contributed to society when you were of working age and no matter how rich you are now in retirement.
To add insult to injury, their pension is also legally ‘triple locked’ so that, regardless of how badly the economy is doing or how much debt the country is in the baby boomers will get paid a minimum of an extra 2.5% on their wage/pension. Meanwhile, at the same time their children and their grandchildren received, over the last 8 years, a 1% hike in their wage. And who pays for this extra money?
It should therefore come as no surprise that the latest figures, which came out just days after Brexit from the ONS, showed that in the 1980’s average earnings for working age people were 40% higher than pensioners. Today that has shrunk to just 7%. In just a few years it will reach parity and then baby boomers will start to receive more in pensions for doing nothing than an average wage earner working a 40 hour week.
Then there is the NHS. A service created by their parents and now milked dry by the baby boomers who treat it like it was a God given right. It is no surprise that 60% of NHS beds are stuffed full of baby boomers. But they stripped away any chance of free dentistry or eye care for younger people. That was just for them to have.
Meanwhile in the care sector they demand the state pays for every facet of their life and bemoan when people paid less that what it costs to stack shelves at Tesco aren’t as kindly as they expect. Yet it was the baby boomers who were in charge when the care sector was privatised and they were in charge when their was the race to the bottom for wages and the deunionisation of the UK marketplace.
Then there is Brexit – the final ‘fuck you’ to their children and their grandchildren. The thing that they have benefited from for all their adult life – from visa less border travel, peace and prosperity, the chance to work and study and ultimately, ironically, retire, to a different EU state was ended in June 2016. Out of the 30 areas with the oldest population – 28 voted for Brexit. Out of the 30 areas with youngest – 28 voted Remain. To their bitter end their spite as a generation knows no bounds.
Probably the three worst part of this awful story are the effects on Generation Y, their continual ability to deny that they have done anything wrong and the inability to criticise this group.
Their children and the grandchildren – Gen Y and the Millennials – and in all likelihood their grandchildren’s grandchildren, will be cleaning up the baby boomer mess and paying for their greed for decades to come. Meanwhile they continue to deny climate change is a problem, that capitalism worked for them but has screwed future generations or that the society that they created cannot allow anyone to make anything for themselves no matter who they are.
Woe-betide anyone who says anything against this group as there is still a dwindling but extremely powerful lobby of them controlling many of the strings of the establishment. It is no coincidence that the British press is owned or edited almost exclusively by baby boomers. Paul Dacre, the most powerful editor on Fleet Street, was born in 1948, Richard Desmond, owner of the Express and Daily Star, 1951. I could go on. Meanwhile, baby boomers are more likely to vote – and to vote for people who have policies that fit what is best for them even if it screws their kids over.
Until that generation passes the world will remain a dark place – filled with anger, greed and people who are just out for themselves at any cost. The power lies with this group to this day and the rest of us just have to watch as they destroy the world their parents built.