Comment 106269

By JustinJones (registered) - website | Posted November 18, 2014 at 10:21:28

This piece is yet another in a long line of writing that's been highlighting the challenges of being young and ambitious in the new millennium. I have been, for a long time, exhausted by the "kids these days" attitude of many in the boomer generation who place the blame on the shoulders of fickle millennials who won't stay at a job, whose work habits and desires are different and whose lack of forward progress often leaves them living in their parents basement well into their twenties without looking in the mirror to see what the cause of those trends are.

Young people are much more likely to work for minimum wage than those over 35, but raising the minimum wage would mean more economic output by the employers, which would mean a temporary dip in their profit margins (studies have shown that the long term impact of a higher minimum wage tend to be dramatically positive for all sectors of the economy, but that's another issue for another day), which means lower returns for their shareholders (the bulk of whom are 35 and older), which becomes a non-starter - so there's that aspect of all of this.

Next, since the 1980s, the rallying cry of the boomers has been "LOWER TAXES". As a result, we've watched the revenue tools available to our governments dwindle to the point where we run deficits every year, even in good times, with the brunt of that burden being borne by our municipal sector - the sector that delivers the most value for our dollar. Regressive tax policies like GST cuts, cuts to corporate taxes and cuts to the taxes of the highest earners, to say nothing of the silly (and devastatingly expensive) income splitting scheme have meant more money in the pockets of the top 20% of Canadians while the bottom 80% see fewer services, and are forced to pay more out of their own pockets for things like daycare and after-school programs to ensure that their children are looked after and that they have time to put in a full work week.

There's many more points I could make here, but the one that I see as the most important and insidious is the assertion by companies that the talent pool just doesn't have the skills that they need anymore. The population has never just magically had the skills that are necessary to make the economy work, but up until the 80s, companies actually invested in their employees. They trained them, nurtured them and provided them with secure, full-time employment. That's not the case with my generation - we're expected to either have the full, exact skill set that the employer wants or we're expected to go out and acquire that skill set either at our own expense (by returning to school) or by working for free. And even if you do have the skill set required, you're still likely to only be offered a contract - no benefits and no security included. This speaks loudly to the author's final point - about the generation currently occupying the upper echelons of power needing to reach down, as it were, to offer a helping hand to the generation waiting in the wings. That's exactly what happened in generations past, but those in control of the economy have been so preoccupied with using both hands to stuff their pockets that they have neglected to take one out and reach down to help those who will support them once their economic prime has passed.

I sincerely hope that more of the boomer generation reads articles like this, and starts to realize that the millennial generation isn't just a bunch of lazy, iPhone crazed sexters - we're an ambitious bunch with great ideas and a passion to create a better world for us and our children, just like you were. We just need the same support to do so that your generation received from your parents, just like their parents before them. It's not too much to ask, especially when it's your future at stake too.

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