• 前言
  • Old people are richer than in the past, young people are not
  • Why is the next generation increasingly unable to support the previous generation?
  • Apart from pondering the legacy, is there a way out for young Australians?
  • Postscript: Young people who live and get tired

There is an old saying in China that "green is better than blue". Parents of the previous generation always expect the next generation of children to live better and better.
However, for people living in Australia, the living standards of today's younger generation are actually no longer as cool as the days of their parents.
According to a report entitled "The Generation Gap: Ensuring Young Australians Have a Fair Opportunity" released by the Grattan Institute, young Australians do not receive the same level of economic benefits as their predecessors.
In fact, in the past ten years, Australia’s economic growth has been slow, the aging population has intensified, and the climate change crisis is on the verge of – and who will most of the burden of these changes fall on?

Old people are richer than in the past, young people are not

For most of the last century, strong economic growth has created more and more income and wealth for Australians.
Although compared with their peers a few decades ago, the elderly in Australia now have more wealth, income and expenditure than in the past; but at this point, the young Australians are far behind the "skillful" of the elderly. Pace".
At the same time, the wealth of people under the age of 35 has basically remained the same since 2004, and has even shrunk in many years.
Is it because young people nowadays can spend more money?
It seems that many young people's consumption concepts seem to be changing. For some female international students, the money spent on milk tea each month may be enough to buy a bag.
But in fact, as shown in the chart below, although Australians of each age group spend more on essential expenses such as housing, young people are reducing their expenditure on non-essential items (including alcohol, clothing, furniture, entertainment, etc.) .
In addition, since the global financial crisis, Australia's stagnant wage growth and severely saturated job market have also dealt a heavy blow to poor young people.
In this difficult background, the elderly who have established their own careers, because they may have other sources of income, are often spared these blows;
But the new generation of young Australians is not so lucky: once low wage growth and fewer job opportunities become the "new normal", then we are likely to see that this generation of adults earn lower incomes than before.
This situation has not only happened in Australia.
In the United States, according to a study by the Federal Reserve System in 2018, the "millennial generation" (also known as the Y era, in American culture refers to people born in the 1980s and 1990s) is not as wealthy as the first few years when they were young Generations have lower income, fewer assets, and less wealth.

Why is the next generation increasingly unable to support the previous generation?

"Everyone is for me, I am for all." In fact, the tax and welfare system is, to put it bluntly, a contract that connects the two generations in Australia.
Those of working age are not only the “net contributors” of the Australian government’s budget, they are actually helping to support the retirement of the older generation. While making their own contributions, they also look forward to their children and grandchildren to support them.
However, Australia’s population is inevitably aging-as the government's spending on medical, aged care and pensions continues to increase, the working-age population who can afford these expenditures is becoming more and more. less.
Bad luck in the demographic structure is one thing, but some changes in policy are also making the burden heavier.
In the past three decades, a series of tax policy decisions—especially pension income that is tax-exempt at retirement, refundable stamp tax credits, and special tax credits for seniors have meant that the government now requires Australian seniors to pay The income tax is much less than before.
What’s disturbing is that these policy changes also mean,With the same income, young Australian families now pay far more taxes than older families.
In addition, the average pension and medical subsidies for families over 65 have also increased significantly. This means that the net benefits (government benefits minus taxes) received by older families have increased significantly, while for younger families there has been no increase.
The effect of these numerous policies is that Australians who are currently working hard are forced to more and more afford the lives of those retirees.
According to statistics, a typical 40-year-old Australian now contributes more to the retirement population through taxation than the predecessors of the "baby boom" generation (especially those born from 1946 to 1964 after World War II). . Coincidentally, Ta is actually working harder to prepare for his retirement.
Even for Australians between the ages of 55 and 64, their labor force participation rate has been increasing, and they have basically become "net contributors" who only pay taxes and no benefits.
People can only become increasingly afraid to grow old.

Apart from pondering the legacy, is there a way out for young Australians?

Many young people in Australia also know that they can't count on fighting on their own, so they began to think that their parents would spend their entire lives saving money and leaving a rich legacy to themselves "a hundred years later."
But after all, this only helped a small number of people, and could not solve broader problems. In fact, inheritance distribution will only exacerbate wealth inequality, because they mainly flow to those who have achieved wealth, such as the "rich second generation."
Perhaps what Australia urgently needs is actually some policy changes:
For example, changes in urban planning to encourage higher-density suburban residents to live in order to solve the problem of housing affordability;
Such as promoting Australia’s economic growth and improving structural budget status, improving people’s current situation, and coping with other challenges such as climate change;
For another example, reconsider the tax incentives for elderly Australians who are living a "comfortable life".

"Young idler, an old beggar."
It is often said that struggle belongs to young people. In fact, young people, whether in Australia or China, are living more and more tired.
Recall that in China more than XNUMX years ago, the son of a worker was a worker and the son of a peasant was a peasant. Basically, having an urban hukou is equivalent to "across the class". At that time, working to make money was naturally tiring, but people were used to eating and sleeping and then started another day of work.
However, this generation of young people who grew up surrounded by the Internet and overwhelming fresh information since childhood, too many people clearly yearn for a free life, but they see the cruel gap between ideal and reality.
Therefore, the previous generation often cannot understand this kind of "tiredness", let alone empathize with it.
Darrendorf has a passage in "Modern Social Conflict", which describes the work and mental state of young people in modern society very well:
In the morning, they read the daily news on the city's express train; in the evening, they went home with a file bag full of materials.
They expect to get the same salary as a professor in one year after graduating from university, or even double it in two years; sometimes they also do other things, such as their serious attitude towards jogging or tennis. jobs.
They believe in what they are doing, but when there is a better opportunity, they will switch to other companies...
They want to earn their first 100 million very soon, although not all of them can earn 35 million every year by the age of 100...
At some point in their lives, they had to expect that they would slow down on this fast-growing road and transition to a slow downhill...
But to them, life is like a car without brakes... it definitely can't lead downhill.