Gen X at 40

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Matthew Fletcher -

Rising rates of taxes? I don't know about the last 30 years, but in the last 22 years, income tax rates have come down.
Rising cost of everything? Depends. The cost of many household goods has come down; either in real terms, like computers, or in relative terms, for a lot of other appliances and goods.
Lower corporate taxes? Yes. And if you work for a corporation it has had more money to pay you with.
Less Free? Completely ridiculous. Gays and lesbians are, in absolute terms, more free today than they were 30 years ago. Women are much more free on the basis that they have a much greater access to abortion. The Internet has generally created a massive liberalisation of communication and information availability. The rights of most other people have not regressed or declined.

People are having fewer children; when my parents were my age they had three kids, I have none. Is that because of a real or perceived increased cost? Possibly. But I think there are a lot of factors, but it is important to note.

Are women negatively assessed for leaving the home to work? Often, for sure. But less so now, I think, than 30 years ago.

Overall, I can't agree with much in this rambling declinist paragraph.

David Janes -

Oh man I wish I had some time.

Brief notes:
- TV is free OTA. Scale down to one phone with no call display, etc.. I bet you can get Internet for $25 month.
- Scale heating costs to the size of the house compared to grandparents. [There is a strong argument that economic malaise is related to energy costs].
- Kids are expensive, and especially expensive if you want them reared in a camp-heavy bourgeois lifestyle.
- Mostly everything we have is awesome, and less expensive than 40 years ago. Cancer is not a death sentence, neither are a large number of childhood diseases. Cars can run a decade without falling apart. Access to encyclopedias is measured in milliseconds, not by trips to the library.

K'Shoshana -

The last 22 years income taxes have come down….but what about provincial income taxes, sales taxes, health taxes, EI and CPP rates? Of course, there were considerably more ‘tax deductions’ we were allowed 30 years ago than we are allowed today.

I would be remiss if I did not point out to a whole host of consumer goods and services that sales taxes have been imposed on that were never taxed 30 years ago. Just think things like hairdressers or lawyers for starters. Why even birth certificates and driver’s licensing cost considerably more today than they did 30 years ago. Shall I even bring up the cost of water taxes, property taxes, and the price of electricity or gasoline? I have a friend who lives in an apartment and uses less than $20 worth of electricity a month but her bill is always closer to $100 because of the extra surcharges which are added. And appliances, well the thing is, when you brought a fridge 30 years ago it tended to last another 30 years easily – ditto other household appliances. Of course, the cost of a car didn’t represent the size of a down payment on your average 3 bedroom house in the GTA. It was quite common 30 years for a car to run longer than a decade. Contrary to idea that ‘cars’ are built to last longer today - my mother bought a ’73 Duster which ran till 1989. Most people chose not to drive their cars that long because new cars didn’t represent the expense they do today.

Now we can talk about the outrageous prices we pay for things like coffee, butter, bread, milk, rice which have seen fairly hefty price increases in the last 3 years alone. What about the price of beer and booze.

In 1981, I made $175.00 a week and a month’s cash fare for TTC cost me $30 ($.0.75 cash fare). If I made minimum wage today, I would have monthly income of $1200 (based on a 40 hour work week) but the cash fare for 20 working days would cost me $240.00. Now tell me again, about how much cheaper everything is today. I have not even brought up the costs of books, women’s clothing, shoes or boots. And David Janes, most families I grew up around had encyclopedias in their homes 30 years ago. No trip to the library was required. Either they were on a layaway plan and each volume came in the mail or we used our green stamps from shopping at Steinberg’s grocery to buy them. But I cannot quite help but think it sad that a trip to the library is perceived as an ‘inconvenience’.

In 1981, I made $175.00 a week and a month’s cash fare for TTC cost me $30 ($.0.75 cash fare). If I made minimum wage today, I would have monthly income of $1200 (based on a 40 hour work week) but the cash fare for 20 working days would cost me $240.00. Now tell me again, about how much cheaper everything is today.

Less free, absolutely. The weight of municipal laws alone is crushing - from regulating the number of cars I can park in my driveway to where I can hang my laundry outside to the type of garden I am allowed to grow on my property. The list goes on and on – and it seems quite never ending. Furthermore, travelling outside the country – or even in country is a nightmare. Thirty years ago, I use to just show up at the airport with my passport and cash in hand and I would buy a ticket for the first plane I could get on. I don’t think I ever had to wait more than 20 minutes before a flight took off either - cannot do that now.