Tuesday, July 5

Blame it on the boomer

What a great world power Spain would be if it did not have to carry the heavy backpack of the baby boomers. Think about it. There is no problem or public matter that does not end up being your fault sooner or later. And there is no solution that does not go through making him pay one way or another.

Let’s start with unemployment and precariousness. If there were no boomers, our young people today would enjoy permanent and well-paid jobs. Everyone knows that the high rate of unemployment and precariousness and the miserable wages that children bear are the fault of the privileges that parents enjoy thanks to their unsupportive indefinite contracts, full of rigid privileges and onerous bonuses. It has nothing to do with the voracity of companies determined to improve their profit margins by replacing stable and decently paid workers with poorly paid and easily replaceable workers. This dual labor market has been created by boomers, selfish, unable to give way to their own children. It has nothing to do, either, that the only salaries that have grown in Spain in the last decade are the salaries of those who run those companies that have triggered precariousness; or that the youth unemployment rate has always been among the highest in Europe, even when the youth unemployment rate boomers They were young and looking for their first job.

Let’s continue with the house. If it is impossible to access a house today in the center of large cities, it is precisely because many of those same boomers They now enjoy their rents in their third or fourth residences, located in idyllic urbanizations, while they rent to tourists the apartments they were able to buy as an investment during the eighties and nineties, decades in which houses were in balance and mortgages were given away in banks, as everyone remembers. It has nothing to do, of course, that banks, their real estate and investment funds are the first homeowners in the country and the largest landlords.

Who emptied emptied Spain? The boomers and their parents emigrating en masse to the capitals, blinded by the gold rush, leaving behind that placid, safe and well-being life in that full Spain, so longed for now by their children and grandchildren while posing grotesque dilemmas between having a sun roof or have a house and have wifi or have children.

If today we pay the most expensive electricity in our history, it is because citizens in general, especially those boomers because there are more, they are very badly accustomed and they put the washing machine or iron at the hours of the young men. Once again, it has nothing to do with the fact that the energy supply is in the hands of an oligopoly that pacts prices or that we lack a public control system that prevents them from doing literally what they want with the bills.

And so we come to pensions, the capital sin of the boomers, because there are many, live longer, retire and also pretend to collect a pension. According to EU forecasts (The Aging Report 2012), when we finish retiring from the ‘Baby Boom’, in 2052, Spain will spend 14% of its GDP. It is the same that Italy or Germany dedicate today. But for Spain it will mean a catastrophe that we cannot afford, solely because it already seems an excess to pay today an average pension of just 1031 euros and dedicate 12% of GDP.

According to the most terrifying forecasts, based on the idea that everything decreases except pensions, pensioners will account for a third of the population and will exceed contributors. But the sustainability of the pension system does not only depend on how many work. It depends even more on how much is produced. The correct question is how much productivity will have grown until 2052 and, above all, who will have kept the benefits of that growth and how much will they have contributed through taxes, which will be how we will finance a good part of those payments. Given our long fiscal tradition, they will almost certainly be the same people who are now neither in nor contributing to the public pension system. But do not hurry, surely that is also the fault of the boomers that, as Minister Escrivá says, we are a broad generation; we put up with it all.