Cheeseburger Gothic

Generation of losers

Posted April 15, 2014 into Blunty by John Birmingham

Did anybody in Generation X expect to retire at 65? Maybe not. We’ve always known the Boomers were going to swarm across the landscape like wrinkled locusts consuming everything in front of them. They got all the sweet deals and it looks like they’ll get the last one too, retiring at 65 on a publicly funded age pension.

At Blunty.

31 Responses to ‘Generation of losers’

Varangian78 asserts...

Posted April 15, 2014

Great article JB, as true as it is concerning.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted April 15, 2014

Cheers, V.

Respond to this thread

Halwes has opinions thus...

Posted April 15, 2014

I've been very concerned about this issue since we robbed the upcoming generations of their ability to access their super and jacked up their retirement age until just before they are pushing up daisys. The trouble with our dumb boomer logic is that the Xers will be making the laws and writing the budgets when we are dribbling over our copy of the financial review trying vainly to remember who signs what and where on the corrupt family trust documents. I don't expect much sympathy from them and nor do we deserve it.

Respond to this comment

JG would have you know...

Posted April 15, 2014

Baby Boomers can include those born up to 1964. I was born in 1963, so to some, I am a late, on-the-cusp Baby Boomer, while to others, I am a first-minted Gen X. You may yet call yourself a Baby Boomer, JB, although that’s unlikely. Don’t want to be old before your time.

The retirement pension age may well go up to age 70 in the next couple of years, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it eventually edges up to age 75. My father worked until he was 75. He’s now 77. The ability to work into old age (say, to 75) comes down to individuals’ capacities to work and their state of health.

My survival mode started at age 48, when I realised I wasn’t getting any younger. For a start, I’m trying to stay as healthy and fit as I can at age 51. According to a recent bio-age test, I’m only 32. Ha. OK. I’m willing to believe that. That means I can work until I’m 100.

I turn 51 in June but I’d say my physical health is 90 per cent better than most people in my age cohort (eg I’m running my first full marathon--42.2km--in July). Nevertheless, I noticed that I started to feel older and tired easily more from around the age of 48.

Given that many people start to feel the effects of ageing from around age 48, how will many Australians cope working for another 25 or 30 years? Physically, I don’t think the majority will have the energy to work until age 70.

I don’t think working to 70 or 75 is a bad thing—it’s great if you are able to, and all power to those who can and do—but there will be many elderly people who cannot cope with the physical, mental, and emotional stresses of participating in the paid workforce.

Then again, I doubt that a lot of older people will be able to get paid work again, even part time, if they lose a job due to unforeseen circumstances such as retrenchment or further casualisation of the workforce. There is still discrimination amongst employers towards older workers. Employers simply want fresh, energetic, younger people in jobs, particularly in full-time work.

I’m not overgeneralising here: it’s a cold, hard fact. I know from my experience trying to get work once Campbell Newman retrenched all the contract/temporary public servants in Queensland. Once you’re over 45 these days, it’s tough to get work regardless of high levels of education or experience. Just don’t lose your current job. There are simply not enough jobs to go around.

Technology has killed off much of the need for workers. The workforce is shrinking in part because of our ‘smart’, technologically driven societies. There are also global influences on Australia’s workforce. It hasn’t regained equilibrium since the GFC.

There’s always volunteer work to occupy the unemployed, but that doesn’t pay the bills. If older people are forced to live on the pathetically low, barely survivable level of unemployment benefits—Newstart Allowance (or whatever it’s called in the future)—then it’s a sorry indictment on society. Is that any way to treat an older, frail generation? No respect or sense of decency, these days.

Let me exaggerate now, people, and get a bit silly. Let’s say governments of the future legalise voluntary euthanasia and encourage older, frail people to die earlier. Just get rid of the old sods. Put them to rest; encourage them to push up the daisies. Whatever. Add to that, a one baby per family stipulation, forced sterilization, and, the big whammy: World War 3. The big war should kill off millions of people and rebalance the over-population problem. Bingo! Problem solved. Sick.

Hey, I’m being sarcastic, people (if you’re sad old grey matter has not picked that up), but there’s an ugly element of truth in these comments. Overpopulation + fewer jobs + fewer working to support the older/frail/infirm = we have a problem, Houston. It is an unsustainable world we live in.

Conclusion: life wasn’t meant to be easy: suck it up. Or, alternatively, it’s a case of survival of the fittest. We will adapt. Perhaps. You decide.

Joanna G

<!--EndFragment-->

insomniac reckons...

Posted April 15, 2014

Why not start even earlier a la Logan's Run?

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted April 15, 2014

I hadn't of it in those terms, but a really, really interesting angle that I dont think anybody has thought about yet is the increasing ill health of Gen X and the later cohorts. Rising obesity levels in particular will constrain their ability to work later in life.

JG swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 15, 2014

I was tempted to write that obesity is the Australian norm in my comment (above), JB, but thought I'd offend too many overweight readers here.

So true. Nothing ages and limits people quicker than obesity.

Joanna ;)

Respond to this thread

Miss maudy puts forth...

Posted April 15, 2014

I don't know about the idea of retirement being extended to 70 - I can only look at my own motley collection of Old People (of which I have more than my fair share) and say that it totally depends on the person and the work they do and their level of fitness (mental and physical). Even looking at my own friends - we're all between 40 and 50, and some of us would have another 20+ years of work in us. Some wouldn't.

This means the OPs who aren't capable of working for whatever reason are dumped onto the disability support pension (which will be cut out) or left to rot in the mire of newstart

OP #1 (male aged 74) 'retired' before he was 60 due to ill health - no way he could have worked to 70. Desk job when he was working.

OP#2 (female, aged 73) worked in a physical job well into her sixties and still does labouring every now and then.

OP#3 (female aged 72) would happily continue working now if someone would have her.

OP#4 (female aged 71) never worked a day in her life.

OP#5 (male aged 71) still pretty fit and active, did volunteering until he got sick last year.

OP#6 (male aged 69) still works to fund overseas trips and uses OP#2 as labour.

(OP#7 died aged 60, but fortunately retired at age 55 so he got to have some fun)

w from brisbane has opinions thus...

Posted April 15, 2014

I'm aware of four people who have continued to work in offices after 65. Two are totally useless, one has some skills but causes too much damage by insulting everyone, the other works at about 40% capacity.
The superviser of one of the useless ones took a posting in probably Africa's most dangerous country just to avoid the horror of daily dealings with the oldster. I kid you not.

People have rightly made the point about the challenges for manual workers continuing on, but I can't see it being much easier for the office worker. The problem in office work these days is that, even if your desk doesn't change, your job continually does. Every few months, a new system, totally new tasks. Output, Output, Output. Every keystroke and movement logged. There is some mythical team of three people in India that you individually have to out-produce. You just get too old for it. Try as you might, you can't think as fast. At some point, about 4 system iterations ago, you just lose the thread. Maybe if they could spend the last 10 years with the same tasks, but that just won't be feasible I reckon.

Lulu would have you know...

Posted April 15, 2014

w - and there are physical challenges involved with office work as well: RSI, carpal tunnel, etc etc.

w from brisbane puts forth...

Posted April 15, 2014

You are right there, Lulu.
As health experts has stated, the office is a biologically toxic environment. Primarily, all that sitting down; bad hearts, bad backs, plus, as you say, RSI, carpal tunnel etc.
A friend of mine was considering early retirement at 55 and chatting about it while waiting for the train. Another bloke overheard him, he was older, but looked fit and healthy. He said. "Excuse me, I can't help but overhear you. I'm 61, but I retired when I turned 55. The mates around my age that I worked with, that decided to work on, they have been dying off one by one. All I can say is, if you can afford to retire, I strongly recommend it."

Respond to this thread

w from brisbane has opinions thus...

Posted April 15, 2014

Yesterday I heard Kevin Andrews dolefully intoning on the need to work until at least 70.

This comfortless message reminded me of Mr. Andrews other great policy passion; keeping voluntary euthanasia illegal. Remember, back in 1996, when he rose spectre-like from the parliamentary ooze to tell us that our death will not be at a time of our own choosing, not if he has anything to do with it. With his corpse-like face and funereal voice, Mr Andrews seemed to be the embodiment of Death itself. I still get creeped out thinking about it.

So, to sum up Mr. Andrews contribution, you can't stop working and you can't die until there is utter physical collapse.
I find it hard to warm to this dude.

Halwes ducks in to say...

Posted April 16, 2014

I still can't believe the feds never busted me after the letter I wrote to scumbag Andrews after mum died a lingering death. Doctors do the right thing eventually by upping the morphine dose to lethal levels. Andrews and whatever wonderfully benevolent god you may worship need people to suffer painfully in an undignified manner and feed the doctors next holiday to the Algarve first. If you've got any brains then you are thinking about this stuff well before you are too incapacitated to pull your own trigger.

Respond to this thread

Aaron ducks in to say...

Posted April 15, 2014

Good article I was ranting with a friend about baby boomers just yesterday so it's like jb has rolled in cavalry style to back me up. The generation themselves aren't bad but the policies designed to target their particular votes have been the true danger.

Respond to this comment

tqft mutters...

Posted April 15, 2014

Work requires a job. What jobs?

Bunyip mutters...

Posted April 15, 2014

Yup. I've been rendered redundant by Sensible Govt(TM), so I'm basically an unskilled 50 year old. In the country.

Respond to this thread

Darth Greybeard asserts...

Posted April 15, 2014

I had my rant at Blunty but seriously, I didn't ask to be born in the Boomer demographic. We've looked after our kids as we were by our respective parents - no Winnebago, no OS holidays. We live reasonably well, paid our taxes, get zero government benefits and provide child care, interest-free loans and/or gifts. Interestingly when our bank stuffed up recently, daughter offered us $60k in a flash out of their mortgage account (we needed $10k in the end). The whole generation thing glosses over the fact that there are greedy bastards and shit parents in every generation, not just Boomers. At least part of the solution seems to me that we save compulsorily through an expanded Super scheme, with a safety net for those who can't. Until we can guarantee that all 70 year olds are mentally and physically capable of working, this simple age rise sucks. And BTW, I doubt that I'll ever get a cent from the pension and damn few benefits so I don't personally have a stake in this.

insomniac would have you know...

Posted April 15, 2014

If both my grandmother and father develop Parkinsons while in their 60s, what are my chances of working until I'm 70.

Darth Greybeard asserts...

Posted April 16, 2014

Exactly. Also to the above rant, we raised the first two kids and managed the mortgage on just my salary - women had to resign when married in them days. Not because we were bleeding marvellous but because you could do that then. By the time No.3 arrived, not so easy and like many others she returned to work when he was kindy age. Facts of life, each generation does what it can with conditions at the time, but we don't control those conditions. But she also salary sacrificed a high percentage into Super which is why we're now able to live in reasonable comfort. Industry Super - it's da bomb. But if it were centrally organised by the Feds as in the US, it could cover those who can't get jobs, are frequently out of work etc. Civilisation is having each others backs and sharing the loot. Or something like that.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted April 16, 2014

That's socialism, and that makes it evil.

damian asserts...

Posted April 16, 2014

How come the devil's got all the good tunes?

Respond to this thread

Dino not to be confused with puts forth...

Posted April 15, 2014

Hey JB,

I recall your article about "Greedy Hippies Stealing Electrons'.

This Fuckwit who live across the road from me claimed the solar panels and solar hot water were an 'eyesore'.

Yep.

What can I say.

Fuckwit.

Am leaving the neighbourhood.

Will confront him shortly.

I ripped the inverters out of the wall and smashed them on the streer.

I am sure he saw them.

No response.

Another Jew coward.

Seeking locale` with integrity.

Dino not to be confused with swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted April 15, 2014

Yeah so for a year or two the inverters have not been connected to the panels.

No Income.

Paying full electricity prices.

Wanna see him suck my dick?

Respond to this thread

Lulu reckons...

Posted April 15, 2014

The comments on BT made me think of the 'four Yorkshiremen' sketch:

"We used to live in this tiny old tumbled down house with great big holes in the roof."

"House! You were lucky to live in a house! We used to live in one room, all twenty-six of us, no furniture, half the floor was missing, and we were all ‘uddled together in one corner for fear of falling."

"Eh, you were lucky to have a room! We used to have to live in the corridor!"

"Oh, we used to dream of livin’ in a corridor! Would have been a palace to us."

Respond to this comment

Lulu is gonna tell you...

Posted April 15, 2014

The comments on BT made me think of the 'four Yorkshiremen' sketch:

"We used to live in this tiny old tumbled down house with great big holes in the roof."

"House! You were lucky to live in a house! We used to live in one room, all twenty-six of us, no furniture, half the floor was missing, and we were all ‘uddled together in one corner for fear of falling."

"Eh, you were lucky to have a room! We used to have to live in the corridor!"

"Oh, we used to dream of livin’ in a corridor! Would have been a palace to us."

Respond to this comment

Dino not to be confused with puts forth...

Posted April 15, 2014

Captain,

Some ignoramus mentoned Houston.

I will adjust the Haarp Frequency.(The Wave JB, the wave).

My associates in Austin are enquiring as to whether we need extra voltage.

ACDC HIgh Voltage.

The offer is there.

I have thanked them and the staff at JPL.

Next fuckwit that mentions Houston may recieve a headache...

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted April 15, 2014

Too much, Dino. Too much.

Respond to this comment

Dino not to be confused with mutters...

Posted April 15, 2014

Aye Aye Captain,

But Honestly who need more than Kiss and Madonna?

Respond to this comment

Dino not to be confused with would have you know...

Posted April 16, 2014

You know the first time I remember going to UNSW was when I was 10 years old.

Yep.

Buncha brass uniforms told me I should study physics and chemistry.

I asked them why I couldn't do what they were doing?

Since they had no fucking idea about physics and chemistry.

Oxymoron?

Fuck yeah.

Respond to this comment

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted April 16, 2014

Signal to noise ratio, Dino. Signal to noise.

Respond to this comment

Aaron mumbles...

Posted April 16, 2014

Well it's certainly generated so e healthy and not so healthy debate. I like greybeards thoughts.

As mentioned who will employ someone at 65 let alone 55? I can see a future where you will have to present a medical along w your resume, assuming they even look at it.

Respond to this comment

Respond to 'Generation of losers'

Follow along with RSS