Don’t mess with the boomers

I suspect we will see this in increasinly frequency in the coming months and years.  This is from the Daily Gleaner today: Letters to the editor: I’m a baby boomer, but I am not a drain on society.

This retiree is quite livid at the growing talk of the cost of the aging population for the government of New Brunswick.  I won’t go into all her points but I will say a few quick things as I think it is vitally important to have this conversation.

It is true that retirees pay taxes – and they paid a lot in the past.  She is right about that.  However, on average, they pay far less taxes than people in the 45-64 age range because the average income level is much lower.  And it is true, on average that a person over the age of 65 costs the health care system far more than a person under the age of 65.  That is certainly not a criticism – it is a basic reality – and I hope the system is there for me in the not too distant future when I arrive.

I think that boomers will have to work more after the age of 65.  Right now we have the second fewest persons aged 65 and up working – BC has the highest.  Across Canada this doesn’t even seem to be that coorelated to need – rich BC communities have very high seniors employment rates.  I think it would be great if people that are able and willing to work – part time, seasonal, whatever – work as long as they wanted to.  I plan on working until I can’t work anymore. 

I think boomers will have to lead the health care conversation.  I have talked about setting some kind of envelope for health care spending overall (for example growing at the rate of inflation on average) – in a previous blog and was criticized – fine but no one offered any solutions. 

It is safe to say that snot-nosed kids are not going to tell boomers what to do.  Boomers already have the numbers to drive the political process (demography and voter participation) and will do so.   For the good of NB I hope this conversation has a future-oriented, economic development flavour.

1 thought on “Don’t mess with the boomers

  1. I wonder if there is a correlation between before-retirement income or type of work and willingness to work until 65 or later. A blue-collar worker might be less able to work after 60 or 65 due to the demands of his work; plus, that blue collar worker might not have the training required for less physically demanding but well-paid jobs. If they are asked to work longer rather than draw on their pension, then that might leave them with jobs that pay poorly.

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