Baby boomer calls out millennials, Gen Z for waging ‘war on oldies’

Baby boomer calls out millennials, Gen Z for waging ‘war on oldies’

Australians are waging a “war on oldies” but the growing resentment towards the nation’s baby boomers is misplaced, one commenter has said.

In an opinion piece for The Daily Telegraph, former political reporter David Jones said younger Australians had drawn “battle lines” against baby boomers, making them “feel they’re a looming burden” on the country.

“Make no mistake, there is a ‘war on oldies’ happening in Australia, with growing resentment directed at the nation’s aging baby boomer population,” Jones, a self-confessed boomer, wrote.

“It is happening in subtle and not-so-subtle ways but the underlying message is the same.

“Baby boomers, you’ve had it too good for too long and now that you’ve reached your dotage, it is time to pay for your’ sins’ of affluence – and hard work.”

Vibrant elderly people looking at the camera while standing together against a colourful wall.
An Australian commentator called out young people for animosity toward baby boomers.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Jones argued that the simmering anger directed at baby boomers by younger generations was misplaced, especially when the former had “actually contributed a lot” to building modern Australia.

“Are baby boomers really as bad as people think? No we’re not,” he continued.

Boomers, he argued, were the children of Australia’s “finest generation”, those that endured the Great Depression and served in World Wars, with many being killed in the process.

That generation was committed to ensuring their children’s lives were better than their own and boomers grew up appreciating the huge sacrifices their parents made to get them there.

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Jones admits his generation was “born into the halcyon days of full employment and a seemingly endless economic boom” when recruitment was easy.

Senior couple having some bananas while sitting at the bottom of a hiking trail.
Jones argued that young people are making boomers “feel they’re a looming burden” on the country.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Employers “recruited us on the quadrangles of Sydney’s high schools”, Jones said.

“The lingering insinuation is that the ‘boomers’ are too self-satisfied and electorally powerful for their own good.

“They own too many properties, they’ve occupied too many rungs on the career ladder, they don’t have mortgages and looking after them in their old age will be a burden on the state and the generation to come.”

Jones concedes that millennials have “good reason to be resentful about a number of things” – from the cost of living and housing crisis, sky-high interest rates, even stagnant career opportunities – “but the blame doesn’t rest at the feet of baby boomers”, he said.

It belongs on the shoulders of politicians for making “dumb decisions” in government.

“In defense of baby boomers, we shouldn’t be held responsible for the catastrophic failure of all levels of government to allow home housing in sufficient numbers to satisfy demand for purchase and for rent.

We didn’t … feel comfortable about the orgy of government spending and borrowing during Covid that put Australia on the road to high inflation and economy crippling interest rate hikes.

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“Nor did we have a choice about getting older.”

Jones doubled down on his argument in an appearance on 2GB’s Overnights with Luke Grant program, even suggesting that baby boomers had made the intergenerational war with younger Aussies worse by “taking a simplistic view” of millennials’ complaints.

Senior adult trying to installing credit card for shopping on  online store.
Jones concedes that millennials have “good reason to be resentful about a number of things” – from the cost of living and housing crisis to sky-high interest rates, even stagnant career opportunities.
Getty Images

“I think some of my baby boomer colleagues made a strategic error because some have turned around and said well what are young people talking about? as if we didn’t go through problems,” he told host Luke Grant.

He said he would be “bloody annoyed” if he was a young person today.

“They’ve walked straight into a cost of living crisis, you can’t find a place to rent, buying a home is next to impossible, … and as far as a career goes, there’s no certainty for them because you never know when you’re going to be a restructure away from losing your job,” Jones said.

“The point I was trying to make was that times are tough and they probably are tougher than we (boomers) experienced. But don’t sheet the blame home to baby boomers, as such, for that problem.”

He said Australians “can’t blame every baby boomer who lives next door” for what he sees as a “complete and abysmal failure by all levels of government”, especially to address the ever-worsening housing crisis.

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He referenced the Albanese government’s signature $10 billion social and affordable Housing Australia Future Fund (HAFF) – which finally earned the support of the Greens on Monday, breaking Labor’s political stalemate with the minor party and Coalition over the legislation.

The deal means the HAFF will now pass the Senate this week.

Although it is set to bring some relief, critics say it still does not go far enough to address the housing crisis.

Jones told 2GB he thought young people were “dealing with a pretty complex world … pretty well”, but agreed their tendency to blame boomers for their misfortune was unfair.

In the conclusion of his opinion piece, Jones suggested: “Instead of waiting for boomers with baseball bats, surely our generation should get some credit for helping build a prosperous nation.”

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