Reaction to Stephen Harper's Davos announcement of coming changes to Old Age Security was predictable. "Poor old people" was the general tenor -- one day they're heading jauntily toward retirement at 65, but now, because of our emotionless jerk of a prime minister, they'll have to work an extra two years.
Well, boo hoo. Am I the only one unmoved by the "Won't someone think about the old people" cries? Because it seems to me that working an extra two years is the least old people and soon-to-be-old baby boomers can do for the rest of us.
Two years really isn't a long time. By the time you get to 65, years must pass by as quickly as days do for the typical 30-year-old. Those extra two years will be over in a jiffy -- old people will hardly notice the extra time at all.
Moreover, oldies have already been working for 40 years; they're used to the routine and it's my understanding that old people love sticking to routines -- that they turn into shriveled head cases when their daily schedules don't follow predictable patterns. So staying at work (combined with regular consumption of prunes) is actually the healthiest option for them.
Another point: People are living a lot longer these days. It's common for Canadians to live well into their 80s and 90s, so old folks'll have lots of time to make up for the hours of bridge, lawn bowling, and daytime TV-watching lost to two extra working years. The Young and the Restless will still be around, don't worry.
You think working till 67 is bad? Well, we're going to be working into our 80s at least, for lower salaries and with much worse health care and fewer government handouts. Every economic indicator says life is going to be a pantload harder for people now entering, or just entered into, the work force (if we can even find jobs in the first place).
All those times you told us about how everything you did -- the back-breaking work, going without fancy clothes and cars, etc. -- was so we could have a better future? Well, turns out the future's going to suck. Thanks for that.
I'd remind old folks that us younger people will be the ones taking care of your drooling shells as you inevitably fall victim to Father Time. Don't piss us off with your complaining, or we might just throw you in one of those nursing homes you made us swear we'd never send you to. Instead of leaving us in even bigger debt so you can have one of those stair-escalator contraptions in your house, why not save up the money with two years of extra work? Money doesn't grow on trees, you know.
You always tried to teach us about the value of work -- that working hard is its own reward, that it would keep us honest and make us better, smarter people. We listened to you, and now we're slaving away, often at jobs we can't stand and with people we loathe. Did you take work calls and answer work emails on the weekends? Didn't think so.
We're going to be corporate slaves for the next 50 years -- the least you can do is stay in your jobs for another 24 months before you start doing nothing for a living.
Your generation was taught to accept conventional wisdom, our generation has been trained to challenge it. We know that 65 is nothing more than an arbitrary number -- that it makes no more logical sense to retire at 65 than at 67, or 75. The world's changed -- nobody's buying your "I'm old and wiser than you" routine.
We know that we know more than you -- we've grown up in a world where all knowledge is available at the click of a mouse. The collective wisdom of the Internet trumps your meandering stories of personal hardships. We're the wise ones, not you.
So, old people, it's time to get up off the couch and make yourselves useful. No more free rides here.
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