It’s all your fault… apparently

Thanks to the language surrounding the reporting of the fourth Intergenerational Report (IGR4), those over 50 could be forgiven for thinking they are to blame for all the country’s misfortunes. Yet this is precisely the generation which the government thinks can help save our economy by simply working longer and expecting less.

The grey army marches back to work, Grey cloud on the horizon and Older Australians and women need to be encouraged to work more, are just some of the screaming headlines which indicate that the current ‘older’ generation is to blame for the ageing population ‘burden’ predicted in the IGR4 and must be the ones who correct the situation.

Suggesting that the ‘grey army’ needs to get back to work highlights the notion that those in the baby boomer generation are sitting back and relaxing – I don’t think so. And if any generation or gender needs to be ‘encouraged to work more’, I doubt that it is those over 50, or women who have had to go back to work, often working more than one job, in order to try and add to their meager superannuation savings.

And honestly, Grey cloud on the horizon simply disregards the fact that many Australians age 50 and over not only work hard and contribute more to the economy than many of their younger counterparts. It’s also worth noting that this will be the generation which is least likely to receive an Age Pension, will have to fund their own retirement with fewer years preparation to do so and, will more than likely go into retirement with a mortgage debt.

Few people will take the time to dig down into the detail of the Intergenerational Report and this is understandable. So much conjecture and many questionable predictions are quoted as fact, yet a report which covers a span of 40 years will surely require continual review and modification. And perhaps this is what the government was counting on when it detailed the savings it would make from changes to the Age Pension indexation and increase to Age Pension eligibility age. Despite the fact that such changes are still to pass through the Senate, Tony Abbott is banking on them to boost the economy – but at what cost to older Australians?

Do you think the language surrounding the Intergenerational Report is negative? Do you consider yourself a burden on the economy? Does the report really have any value in its current format?

Written by Debbie McTaggart

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