This argument is all too familiar. In recent times, pensioners have been attacked for living too long and becoming a healthcare burden; they have been blamed for high house prices and rent inflation, with their critics even calling for the downsizing of pensioners’ homes; and they have been slammed in general for consuming more than is their rightful share. A 2015 report by the Intergenerational Foundation concluded: ‘While increasing longevity is to be welcomed, our changing national demographic and expectations of entitlement are placing increasingly heavy burdens on younger and future generations.’Pensioner = Senior Citizen, for those who don't speak English English. We hear this nonsense in our country, too, of course. While my case may be anecdotal, I still financially support members of the next two generations of my family, mainly because I've saved over the course of a lifetime, not because being a clergyman is so lucrative. A liberal arts degree only cost $16,000 in my day, mainly because we didn't need more administrators than faculty. We also didn't need luxury dormitories.
This demonisation of old people has got to stop. For a start, the idea that pensioners are thwarting younger generations’ chances at a good life is simply untrue. The Resolution Foundation report makes clear that pensioners’ income is higher than those of a working-age only after household costs. Before household costs, those of working age actually have a higher average income than pensioners. This is hardly surprising – pensioners have had the time to save and pay off mortgages while people of working age continue to spend money on housing costs.