Thursday, 27 March 2008

Cor! Thanks Dad, or how Generation X has been fucked by the Baby Boomers.

I'm 30, and I'm fed up of hearing about the Soixante-Huitards. Do we really have to Laud them every decade: They were and are pointless, socialist cunts - and rioting is rioting. Fun, but ultimately futile. Why is Vietnam, a baby boomer cause more relevant and Laudable a cause than (say) poll taxes, globalisation or football, about which Generation X fought police and broke things?

In 1946, our grandparents' generation started to make love, not war. They'd had enough of the latter. The inevitable result of the fact that the second thing a soldier does when he gets home is take his boots off, was the baby boom. Now as Danny Finkelstein points out in yesterday's Times, the result of a large adolescent population is always trouble, therefore 22 years after our Grandparents stopped fighting and started shagging; young, dumb kids (our parents) started chucking rocks at American Embassies protesting about how they wanted the Communists in Vietnam to win. I'm not sure how they got away with this spiteful adolescent rage being portrayed as idealism, but there you go. Perhaps it's because they did write some good songs about it. However, Between 1957 and 1968, most countries authorised use of the contraceptive pill, which ended the madness: Like socialist lunacy before it, 22 years after the pill, the demographics started to be reflected in sensible governments: Thatcher and Regan. Steven J. Levitt noticed a similar effect in US crime rates following legalised abortion: 18 years after Roe vs. Wade, US crime rates started to fall precipitously from the early 1990s. Demographics had seen these figures drift down from a peak in the early 1980s.

In the UK, this demographic lunacy also meant that the Labour party did its thing for the 35 years after the war: Stupid, ignorant kids, egged on by tired soldiers hungry for welfare handouts as the reward for doing their bit, voted for socialism whilst the Tories impotently sat on their hands and watched taxes rise (especially on the poorest), industrial planning lay waste British industry and inflation debase the once mighty pound. The economic ramifications are still being felt. I think we can forgive our Grandparents. They fought for our freedom and naively thought they could build a land fit for heroes and elected hubristic arseholes who actually thought they could deliver. The Tories who followed them were merely lacking in the confidence to reverse the disastrous changes that Government put in place: the welfare state, nationalisation and the NHS.

The real damage, however was done in 1964-1979, a period which Labour dominated - completing the programme of the post war Government in bringing the country to its knees.

Look at the economic mess that the Baby boomers have left their kids. They voted for governments which promised generous pay as you go pensions. That means we (few) are going to have to pay for their (tax funded) pensions and face no realistic prospect of taxes coming down any time soon as a result. The NHS ineffectually swallows ever more money, and will continue to do so ever more rapidly as our parents become old and incontinent. This bill is unlikely ever to shrink, as our parents made no provision for themselves. Indeed they voted for Governments which actively discouraged it! As a result we will be paying, via taxes an ever increasing bill for our parents' healthcare. Because they failed to check abuse of the welfare state, our parents oversaw the creation of a 20%-strong section of the population who chose not to work. Because the generation of 1968 thought it a sin to be wealthy and live in a stable household, they sought to use the welfare state to subsidise the opposite: unemployed single parenthood. This at once costs us one third of our tax bill in direct benefits payments and results in our property being regularly stolen by a benefit recipient with nothing better to do. Because they were too proud to wipe arses in their precious NH"S", our parents oversaw mass immigration from the commonwealth (they thought black people should do the shitty jobs, not them), which destroyed the very homogeneity which may have allowed a generous welfare state to work. But It's not just the welfare state, it's economics: Two Generations of Nimbys have prevented houses being built, and those that are are either concrete monstrosities or ghastly breeding hutches. Despite the shit which is being built, House prices have risen sharply, which means most young people, if they can ever get on the property ladder are unlikely ever to pay off their mortgages. Our parents had inflation do most of the dirty work in paying off their mortgages. They will counter with the 15% interest rates which bit them occasionally, but this would have only been painful for a couple of years until inflation eroded the real capital value of the principle. Thus, we are paying for our parents houses, their mortgages, and face no realistic prospect of ever owning a 4 bedroom family home, unless we inherit one, in which case we'll paying swinging death duties because of thresholds which have not risen in line with asset prices. Finally in a last, disastrous exercise in a lack of self confidence and misplaced faith in politicians, they voted to take us into "Europe". Another fucking big bill, which I will be paying for the rest of my life, in the form of taxes and the bureaucratic hyperactivity which characterises the EU project.

As a result of this, the hours we young people work are disproportionate to those in any recent generation, though we see precious little for it - certainly not enough ever to build a nest egg for ourselves. The money is going in taxes: We are being forced to pay for the wealth our parents borrowed. Of course we all live so long, we'll never see any of it until we're in our 50's. Of course I'm not blaming my actual parents, who voted Conservative, and have emigrated, so Spanish taxpayers can fund their incontinent years (payback for the EU perhaps?). If yours didn't and haven't, tell them from the Dude that they're cunts, will you? Then murder them for the inheritance. We want some of that money back - We've got mortgages to pay.


Anonymous said...

Every time I see Professional scouser Cilla Black flogging Funeral plans I want to put my boot through the TV. "The 60's were a special time". Pass the sick bag.
Chris Gallagher
Good post BTW

Yokel said...

As one of your parent's generation, I can remember Jack Straw being President of the National Union of Students when I was at university. Unlike those on the left who chose waffle (non-)courses like social studies, those of us on the right had work to do and couldn't afford to play SocSoc (Socialist Society) at their games. Jack Straw of course is still at it!

Later on, we had families to feed. Even then, Tory politicians of the time were liars, especially Ted Heath who knowingly lied about the then EEC on entry. And of course Harold Wilson lied about it "only being a trading block" when we had our one and only chance of a referendum on the topic.

Perhaps this is a plea not to be too hard on the minority who did not act as you describe. But as an overall assessment of how the UK has arrived at its present F'ed up state, I think you are pretty accurate.

Now what do we do about it? Especially as the ruling classes are still in lying mode, and none of the political parties will in fact do anything other than tax us highly, and cement us into Europe.

Umbongo said...


Please don't blame us all. Since my parents decided, presumably as some kind of vote of confidence in the future of Britain, to produce me in 1943 I suppose I'm a pre-BB but I recognise the symptoms you describe. However, don't believe everything you read about the 60s or about the attitude of those outside the magic circle of metropolitan opinion makers.

It's always a good time to be young and it was good to be young in the 60s but not necessarily better than it is to be young now. The events of 68 - in fact the whole "phenomenon" of the 60s - was blown out of all proportion then let alone now. Most of my contemporaries regarded the political, showbiz and fashion "celebrities" of the 60s as self-regarding turds who were given quite undeserved attention by people who should have known better (and probably did). Consider, if you will, that Tariq Ali was treated for a time as a serious political commentator by the press and Herbert Marcuse was even portrayed by some grown-ups as a "philosopher". If it weren't tragic it would be laughable.

But mea culpa: I actually voted Labour in 1970 for (I think I can be farly certain) the last time and - to my eternal shame - voted in favour of staying in the EEC in 1975. Mind you how was I to know that Heath and the whole tribe of Europhile fantasists were such lying scumbags and that - for the only time in his life - Benn was right? However, as you imply, the Conservatives then were no better. It's no surprise that Howard Brenton has suddenly developed a new respect for Macmillan. The 60s Tories were slow-motion socialists and Macmillan was the epitome of that tendency (think of an intelligent Francis Maude and you'll be in the right ball-park). The enormous mistake of those Tories was to allow Mrs T to become leader. Unfortunately, with Cameron and Osborne in control, the Conservatives are right back on the slow-motion socialist track and even you can't blame the BBs for that

Anonymous said...

"..I'm fed up of hearing about the Soixante-Huitards. Do we really have to Laud them every decade: They were and are pointless, socialist cunts - and rioting is rioting. Fun, but ultimately futile. Why is Vietnam, a baby boomer cause more relevant and Laudable a cause than (say) poll taxes, globalisation or football, about which Generation X fought police and broke things?.."
Not all of us rioted, or took part in anti-Vietnam protests. Bit of a sweeping generalisation to describe Vietnam as a "baby boomer cause". Who cares about poll taxes apart from a minority of Soc/Trot hypocrites? Tax in general is a Bad Thing but if any sort of tax is to be levied, a poll tax - flat rate of course, same for everyone, only fair - seems more acceptable than most.
Who cares about globalisation? A vogue word signifying the onward march of international trade.
Who cares about football? A heavily commercialised, vulgarised, profoundly boring ball game with particular appeal to the underclass.
You're a stockbroker? You want to encourage me to have faith in your business acuity? Then try to spell correctly the names of people whose works you like, namely the Coen Bros and JRR Tolkien...
Spelling matters! Not just to baby boomers...
Keep fighting the lefties...

Miss Brody said...

Been Reading your blog for the last 3 months now.

What can i say... I think I'm in love :-)

liwo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Love how all the boomers come on to whine, "Don't blame me, it wasn't me who mortgaged your future to the hilt so I can have a guaranteed pension." Typical Boomer behaviour - it's not my fault, it's someone else's. Therefore I shouldn't have to give up anything. Let someone else give up their stuff. Preferably someone poorer and/or darker than I.

And of course since Generation X is so much smaller than the Booms and the Millenials, we're the ones who will get the shaft for the Boomer excess.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you brits are just as fkd as us yanks. Me and the wife were born circa 1970. Texans, and yes, my grandmother was a war bride from England, Didcot to be exact. Who knew we were so similar in our general sad states, working for nothing basically and disillutioned with just about everything. Cheers my fellow x'ers in Britain. There is at least one yank who feels for you. BTW, me and wife decided to just kill ourselves when we can't work anymore or take care of each other. 'Tis better than sucking the life out of those younger than us. Once again, Cheers and have a hot beer for me, I never did like them myself. A cold corona is great comfort to a South Texan.
Also, why is London crawling with arabs, just curious?

Richard Jones said...

I'm 33 and only speak of my own experience. My parents made no provision whatsoever for their retirement My father claimed he could work past 70 easily then died at 64, self employed he never paid into a pension his whole life. My mother worked for the government and just retired on a massive £70 a week after 22 years of service. If their house was not worth about 300k they would have nothing.

This kind of story is common but it is defiantly not the real picture of the baby boomer generation. The majority of the wealth in the UK is held by guess who; the older generations (pretty much everyone past 50). This is no surprise and is the natural order of things. My simple argument here is and I am not even a fan of this myself is that the older generation pay far far less tax as a percentage of their wealth.

It's cruel to tax someone's hard savings but the simple cold reality is that taxes will inevitably be paid by those who have the money to pay them. There is no point trying to tax someone who has nothing. I hate the idea of inheritance tax and similar taxes on wealth but I do believe we should be able to find a much better way of distributing the tax burden.

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