I am deeply ashamed at the debt drowning the dreams of the next generation.
Boomers are the generation born between 1946 and 1964, during the post World War II baby boom. I know, as I am one. We have been described as a 'shockwave', and the pig in the python and we have made a difference. We entered our teens and switched the channel from Elvis and Jazz and Sinatra to rock and roll, the blues, protest songs, punk, disco and R&B.
There is so much I am proud of in terms of how we used our strength in numbers when we were younger. We were part of the civil rights movement, activism to end the war in Vietnam, and rejecting the status quo. We reformed healthcare and education. We didn't fix all the problems but we put a dent, and times a sledgehammer into a rigid system that truly believed in black and white.
Our generation led to the birth of the suburbs, moving from apartments to houses, and owning cars, credit cards, and debt-fuelled consumerism. We worked hard, took vacations and for the first time we could think beyond survival to pursuit and happiness.
Yes, like every generation we had to deal with some massive changes as our economy shifted from manufacturing to services and then to information. Even with these changes more often than not our productivity was increasing, and wages and prosperity were going up with them.
But we became selfish and were willing to grow richer while turning a blind eye to those growing poorer. We accepted a great and growing divide. Our generation consistently fought to cut taxes that favoured the rich, we ignored the environment, postponed investing in infrastructure, raised tuition, we created laws for the advantaged and prisons for the disadvantaged. We allowed massive overspending without any sense of accountability on public service contracts while rewarding our civil service with guaranteed jobs and pensions. Time and time again we proved that our votes could be bought by filling our trough of entitlement.
In doing so ignored the math and common sense in favour of a fantasy that the brave new world we created could only get bigger and better. Well, our Utopia became a Dystopia.
When I look in the mirror I see a generation who surrendered fiscal responsibility and with it the Canadian Dream. What has happened to our middle class, affordable tuition, a rich intellectual and resource-based economy and a strong democracy? What has happened to decency, respect and chasing down versus shrugging our shoulders at incompetency or worse corruption? What has happened to free speech and the right to protest? When did security become insecurity and certainty become uncertainty?
And please don't blame the pandemic. I am not saying Canada is dead or dying, but we are different and divided and favour partisan interests over the interests of the people. And as we retire in greater numbers, with an insatiable appetite for healthcare, we must reckon with this reality. The Boomers should be leaving the next generation a giant surplus, instead, we are drowning their dreams in insurmountable debt.
The Boomer, the greatest tax-generating cohort that has ever existed in the modern-day world, who powered an economic boom should be leaving the next generation a giant surplus to invest in their future and a social net that includes healthcare, dental, pharma and unemployment insurance. Instead, we have buried them in debt that they will spend their lives, and many more lives to come, sprinting hard to try and service the debt we fed on. And that is simply not okay.
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