No Jobs, No Money
I read what I think is a good editorial piece today, What's the matter with kids today? Well, no jobs, no money..."
Gary Mason is saying everything that I have been saying, but he says it so well:
If youth unemployment and the bleak prospects for an entire generation isn’t a crisis, I don’t know what is. Yet, governments seem blind to what’s going on or unwilling, at least, to divert their attention away from the needs of whining boomers who have all that voter clout.
I am at the tail end of the baby boomers but the economy was very different for those of us at the end of the baby boom years then those at the beginning or even the middle. For many of us jobs were scarce, and while we were trying to get established the cost of housing went to levels that forever compromised lifestyle. I had jobs way below my ability, but there was zero mobility because no one was leaving because there was no where to go.
Contrast that to today and many young people can't even find those dead end jobs that at least offered a living and financial independance from parents. The other thing, you have no hope of financial independance from parents even if you do find one of those low paying dead end jobs because the buying power of the lower end jobs has declined to about half of what it was in my youth. In my youth having a roommate was a way to obtain disposable income whereas today I suspect low income workers might not make ends meet even in a shared accomodations living arrangement.
Gary Mason has it so right to say it is a crisis and the more I think about it, it is an unprecedented crisis for the sheer number of youth it is affecting. He starts the article by describing the work ethic of the young people. When I first graduated I sent out hundreds of resumes and I landed only 2 follow-ups, one interview and an invitation to write a 3 hour exam against 24 other applicants to compete for one of the 7 interviews, and half the applicants had master and doctorial degrees. This is the kind of prospects our young people face and our brightest face it with huge student loan debts. I suspect wages will be so low they will be hard pressed to make any kind of dent into their debt.
The C.D. Howe Institute, meantime, estimates that aging baby boomers are going to cost Ottawa and the provinces $1.5-trillion in extra health and pension expenses over the next 50 years. It’s almost certainly going to mean higher taxes for young people, who are going to have to help shoulder a big part of that load.
I can be brutally blunt that pensions are obscene relative to what people put into them and obscene isn't even a reasonable word when you look at what pensions are relative to youth prospects. A couple years ago I tracked down a plotted data with respect to the ratio of working versus the retired population. Essentially over the next 15 years we go from about 4 workers per retired person to 2.5.
A few years back I researched pension history and I found at one time there was a means test to obtain a government pension. After the depression there was huge gross levels of poverty in the aging population because of being wiped out and not having opportunity for gainful employment to build a necessary level of wealth to help sustain a retirement.
Well, no generation going into retirement has ever had more opportunity then the baby boomers to provide for themselves then any other generation in history and yet the whine. Meanwhile, the founding principles as to why pensions were established in the first place will apply to today's youth as they have very poor opportunity to establish themselves both through the poor job prospects and then when they do get work, due to the high transfer payments from youth to age, the high cost of house, excessive student loan debt and low wages.