Editorial—Generational Divide

This week, our feature article is one of the best articles, the kind that features one of you.  That’s right, Minds We Meet is slowly but surely coming back.  It’s always been a priority article for me to have here in The Voice Magazine when I can, because it’s really what The Voice is all about, helping students connect with fellow students.  And what better way to do that than simply show each other who we are?

With that in mind, if you’re willing to have your story in The Voice, please get in touch with me at voice@voicemagazine.org and we’ll make things happen.  Not only will you help create a sense of student community at AU, but you’ll receive some nifty swag as our thank you for taking the time.

In other news, something that caught my eye this week was a Financial Post article on some recent research from the Deutsche Bank, warning about the generational wealth divide between the baby-boomers and the situation of the millennials threatening to bring us into what they’re calling the Age of Disorder.

In short, they warn that the ongoing and growing inequality between the generations, if not dealt with through governments taking proactive action now, will result in governments making massive swings in future in economic policy, and point to politicians such as Bernie Sanders and his growing popularity with young people as evidence.  Their focus, being the Financial Post, is of course on what this will mean to the average investor, and how it will make it difficult for investors to continue to profit easily.

Their solution is for policy makers to start encouraging more home-building and to bring in tax measures that address the imbalance between earned and unearned income.  To me, though, this seems to be missing the point.  More a palliative measure to stave off revolt without addressing the real issue in our system being in how it encourages this type of inequality to build up in the first place.  Addressing the tax gap between earned and unearned income will certainly take some pressure off younger generations having to take care of the debt that the older generations have created, but it will not stop the problem of inequality from continuing to grow.

What can do that, however, is education.  But the massive difference in the public funding of education between the time of the boomers and of the millennials is not going to be addressed by increasing the capital gains tax.  That’s going to take an entire reversal of attitudes within our government and a large portion of our populace being that education is a cost while tax relief is an investment.   In reality, the reverse is true.  Tax relief is merely a cost for governments.  There is little evidence that it provides any growth beyond short-term growth, and a growing body of evidence that, overall, it creates a slight drag on the economy as it lessens the ability for governments to address issues.  Meanwhile, educating citizens is almost always a winning investment, leading to more entrepreneurship, healthier citizens, and more socially active citizens.

So yes, there is a generational divide, and yes it will cost us.  But the place to look for it isn’t in the tax code, but rather in the provincial grants to post-secondary institutions.  Enjoy the read!

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