Opinion Column

THE DUEL

Duel: Baby Boomers are the selfish ones

By Petr Pospisil

Home ownership is difficult for millennials starting families. (File photo)

Home ownership is difficult for millennials starting families. (File photo)

Topics

This week’s topic: Are millennials in B.C. getting a raw deal?

Our nation’s seniors grew up in the golden age of the middle class — a time when Canadians could buy a modest home and raise a family on a single income. With or without a college degree, wages were high, unions were strong, and basic necessities like housing were relatively cheap.

Rhetoric against the young is repeated generationally. Generation X, millennials, and now Generation Z are “coddled, told they ‘are’ special and everyone ‘gets’ a trophy just for showing up.” What Brent states about the millennials was once directed towards him.

I would never claim all Baby Boomers had it easy. However, it is a bit rich to hear the most entitled generation in Canadian history say, “kids don’t work hard enough.”

A benefit of my career is being able to witness the strong work ethic and ingenuity of our youth. Yet, unlike the baby boomers, their efforts might never be rewarded with well-paid work, affordable homes, and anything resembling retirement.

Read Brent Stafford's column here

Under our trickle-down governments, there has been an increasing focus on taxpayers and their capital. Unfortunately, kids have no capital and pay minimal taxes. When Baby Boomers support neoliberal governments, they selfishly kick over the ladder which supported them on their ascent.

It is not easy being a generation born into decline, when seniors vote to cut taxes for themselves while slashing services for everyone else.

Government now funds only 55% of university budgets, down from 83% in 1982. Tuition fees for colleges and universities have increased at seven times the rate of inflation since 1990. No wonder the average student graduates with $27,000 in debt.

But education is just the start of the difficulties millennials grapple with. The BC Liberals refuse to curtail foreign home ownership; Baby Boomers continue to stock their capital while the housing boom destroys an entire generation already anchored to their education debt.

We used to believe in equality of opportunity, but B.C. has become a province where opportunity must be purchased. Want an education? Your parents must buy you one. Want a home? You must inherit one.

While Baby Boomers feed on their own economic interests, too many of our hard-working youth (especially the 160,000 B.C. children living in poverty) pace hungrily on the outskirts of success, waiting for a bone. Let’s provide our youth the same opportunities our parents and grandparents deserved.

Petr Pospisil is an educator, musician, union and social organizer. He studied genetics at UBC and co-created crackshackormansion.com. 

Poll

Who wins this week's Duel?