As a "boomer" myself I struggle to speak for my generation - it wasn't - isn't - that unified. My friends and I were out protesting on the streets against the rise of individualism and materialism, against the rise of the economics-is-all model. Against my parents generation and my own. I was spat on for having long hair and many of us eventually jumped ship into communes and alternative lives as an antidote to despair. There was no consensus then.
Ben your generous attitude to older generations is well received and perhaps your pointing to "basic principles" is a very good path to explore.
What are the basic - Human - principles that we can gather around ?
One for me is collective rather than individual. Somewhere down the track we got sold this story that we are all free agents, individuals, sovereign entities whose task is to follow our individual destinies. Survival of the fittest, the lone cowboy, we are all heros etc etc. In the broader arc of human history it is just not true - we got to where we are by holding hands and collaborating. Individuals working together.
In the pension debate - one view is how will we look after our elders? Together. In harsher times we threw them out to die in the cold but lets be clear these are not harsh times by any means.
Your call for a " inter generational consensus" is a good one - one place to start - you have already Ben - is finding real respect and aroha - elder to younger, younger to elder.
And it us that will do this, not our politicians - or at least not our current ones.
Man I'm loving this debate !
Poetry from Ian , some fantastic metaphors from Islander. Excellent volley exchange with Islander and Sacha and I have learn't so much. Great thinking bubbling up all over the place and so much to ponder on.
Compared to the crap debates on Telly we are on fire!
I agree James, getting hard on solo mothers and avoiding the bigger - and voter sensitive - area of pensions is appalling behavior for a government. Those woman are bringing up a part of the next generation and on their own as well - our government should have a lot more respect for basic human dignity and the environment our children are growing up in. And more early child education (day care) is not a solution either, that's getting into Brave New World territory.
The problem lies in that there has been such a demographic bulge such that there are simply far more baby boomers than there are of other generations. Because of this, over 65s are projected to go from 12% of the population now to over 25% in a few decades, and the ratio of workers:retirees is going to plummet from about 4:1 now to 2:1.
Yes I am aware of those projections - but they partially are based on assumptions that retired people will make no contribution to the economy ie they will be a burden. The people ratios also don't allow for income differences (between retired and working people) and therefore tax take over time . The gap between rich and poor is widening - throughout the spectrum - therefore in decades past those 4:1 were providing less tax per individual than the 2:1 today. Not a major perhaps but ..
In my father's day being over 65 meant you were pretty well useless , burnt out or just buggered. My generation will be capable of earning and paying tax well past 65. Just not perhaps with the same mortgage driven frenzy we did in middle age.
Not denying the problem but I reckon the picture is more complex.
I better go pollenate my petunias.
Is that legal?
Damian discovered girls.
And perhaps drugs and rock and roll.
Raising the retirement age by 2 yrs may have some merit and some economic advantage ( how much I wonder) .
But what about a finer tuning of super - asset testing, income testing or even basic needs testing - do you really need this?
I know many people who are asset rich, have incomes ( investments) and consider getting super a nice little bonus. Surely that just does not make any sense.
I don't tell me its too complicated to test eligibility, the IRD are masters at in in other domains.
Ben - thanks for writing on the notion of super as a thank you to our elders.
I have been struggling to understand the other line that goes "I paid tax all my life so I deserve some back when I am old" it doesn't feel right and as others have pointed out it does actually work like that economically.
But to consider the broader aroha of us all looking after our elders in gratitude for the contributions of their lives, in respect for the fact we need elders freed up from nose to the grindstone work to ...um.. Be elders , it feels right. It feels human.
Damian - what changed your take on the Libertarians - aside from getting older and smarter? I remember the Ayn Rand wave - those people were scary, their shiny eyes and brutally cold logic turned me right off.
I watched the game in with some psychologist mates in a RSA . We’re all students of body language and had our own competition predicting the success of a kick by reading the body language of the kicker. It was scarily accurate – seeing if he was “in the zone” or not. Piri’s eyes kind of glaze over slightly, he has a very slight smile just before he kicks and does this deep looking down at the ball thing before moving .
It may be a brutally physical game in the whole but parts of it require an intuitive intensity that approaches art.