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North Perth, WA, 6006
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On Blooming Baby Boomers

Tahlia Palmer: Steady Eye

On Blooming Baby Boomers

Andrew Ryan

Baby Boomers have begun to hit retirement, and I’ve been trying to come up with a plan of defense I can take against the inevitable crumble of society under the pressure of the aging population’s desire to just have the best goddamned Golden Years EVER because-we-worked-hard-for-it-goddammit etc. The health care system will be flooded because they partied too hard without knowledge of future consequences as youths, a skills shortage will overrun a whole bunch of industries because the schooling system has been stuck in outdated modes for at least 15 years now, and don’t get me started on the living-off-a-credit-card lifestyle this generation found so exciting throughout the 80’s and 90’s, before anyone realised it allowed banks to take over the whole fucking world.

Some days I wish everybody between the ages of 50 and 65 never existed, and other days I forget that they exist at all, because I’m happy about having a shiny red apple to eat while I buy clothes on the internet. I swing between passionately hating on the legacy my seniors have left in the wake of their enthusiastic consumerism and selfish socio-political ideals, and accepting the fact that this is just life and my generation has no choice but to make the most of it. So what if the culture we were raised in encouraged us to place importance on buying things we don’t need and eating food that is bad for us, using airbrushed images of symmetrical faces and sexualised everything to make us buy things, and all the other shit we’ve dealt with that has, at best, temporarily fucked up the mental health of a huge percentage of the “western world” under the age of 30… and who cares that a whole bunch of future government budgets will now go towards aged care instead of modernising the education system, or fixing up the mental health care system, you know, those proper long term future planning things that have been so sorely needed for the last 30 fucking years? Nope, it’s going to be all about subsidized dentures and getting the most out of their heavily mortgaged slices-of-paradise by the beach in that gap between legally being allowed to stop working and the day they die.

I am very unimpressed. I find it so hard to fathom that people in my age group (Gen Y) are still admonished by baby boomers for being lazy, impatient, demanding, reliant on technology etc, simply because it’s so painfully obvious that they are the ones who taught us to behave as such in the first place. Most of us grew up with single parents, so it’s not hard to see how a care for personal relationships and emotional well-being takes precedence over material possessions and company loyalty. Being the first generation to grow up with the internet, we were always going to view the world in a different way. Planning for the future- our own and that of our children, emotionally instead of monetarily- is a huge deal for us, especially because we saw how badly a lack of foresight worked out for our parents. Well, for us really.

So faced with the continued stubborn selfishness of the 4 million people in Australia who are wrinkly and extremely influential in terms of the governing of this country, what can we do to fix things up a little? The impending carbon tax is threatening to retirement funds (see: MIGHT slightly dent it), even though general taxes will rise to pay for their medical care anyway, which they will definitely be demanding more of than their parents. And for what cost? To ensure the last 30 years of their lives can be spent with just as much environmental unawareness as the 30 before? Fuck that. Quick solution? No more health care to anyone over 65 from now on.

Let them live it out as long as nature dictates, then mince that flesh and turn it in to sausages. Distribute these sausages to the starving. Or if you can’t vibe on cannibalism, turn the corpses in to food for plants, and start some vegetable gardens! It could be the solution to the problem of expanding cemeteries too. Cemeteries have little use in such large populations. They waste space. Fuck, if it was legal I would donate my body to a vegetable garden.

In all seriousness, when it comes to taxing on carbon in Australia it would appear that conservatives around the country can not be swayed by reason and logic, with that me-me-me mentality so common amongst men and women between the ages of 50 and 65 loudly trumpeting that the “Aussie way of life” will be threatened. Did you know that David Cameron, conservative British Prime Minister, praised Julia Gillard for her carbon tax plan? He and his government respect the findings of climate scientists. Did you know they have a carbon tax plan also? Did you know that South Africa has begun implementing a carbon tax? And so has India. Finland and Sweden have long established carbon taxes. A city in the USA has been testing a tax locally. Quebec and British Columbia have a carbon tax too! Fact. Any claims made that we are the only country in the world to try this stuff out is propaganda, total bullshit designed to freak out a population that is used to basing their values and ideas on those of older nations. Does this information not make you question every other statement that has been made concerning this issue?

Politics and career aspirations are getting in the way of facts, understanding, careful consideration and a solution to what is obviously a problem- too much man-made carbon based gasses spilling in to the atmosphere and noticeably negatively affecting it. Bipartisanship should be what’s called for instead of an election. If there is going to be an alternative to Gillard’s carbon tax, I want to see one that has been properly assessed, not just come up with in retaliation to what’s already been put forward. My respect for pretty much everyone over the age of 45 is low at the moment, and politicians certainly aren’t helping.