Stealing from the young in Britain

Pity the young of this country: their future prosperity and career prospects are being sacrificed in a lockdown primarily designed to save the elderly. That narrative of intergenerational injustice is one we keep hearing. But it’s  nonsense to suggest pensioners will be getting “an unmerited free ride during the country’s slide into recession”. The countless billions with which the Chancellor hopes to safeguard jobs and restore growth will be borrowed at ultra-low interest rates (the official guidance is of long-term Treasury debt being issued with a coupon of 0.3%). And who will buy this debt? Mainly British savers and those British pension funds that are obliged to keep a significant portion of their portfolios in government bonds. If the economy does eventually recover, the younger generation will stand to benefit from all this cheap, long-term borrowing.

But oldies like me? Quite the opposite: it will ensure yet more abysmal returns on our savings. But who’s complaining? In that “spirit of mutual support and solidarity” that the young have so admirably exhibited, “I declare them fully deserving of our fiscal sacrifice”.  (Dominic Lawson, the Sunday Times, London).

My comment:  In Britain the disdain for the old is clear and obvious.  I am old myself and I happen to sympathize with the grievances of the young.  We had ( a generalization) secure jobs, often for working lifetimes.  They have little job security at all, and many have to cope with the disgusting gig economy.  We (most of us) could buy houses at reasonable prices and have seen their value rise exponentially. Few of them can afford to buy in  the over- priced housing market.

We had decent pensions.  They do not, and where they do the pensions are money purchase pensions.  We, if we went to university had government help (all my tuition was paid by the taxpayer!).  They start working lives with huge college debts around their necks.  And the bosses of their colleges pay themselves huge sums.

No wonder there is inter generational disdain.  This situation, similar to that in the US, was created by politicians and greedy company bosses. And the Baby Boomer generation created the worst of it.  No wonder one hears so much grievance .  No wonder the young runners and cyclists pass close by, panting, without masks, making a silent protest about the world we are leaving them?

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