Born Bankrupt: Sky News TV hits the intergenerational nail on the head

Antony Mason suggests that Jeff Randall’s TV report should be required viewing for anyone interested in today’s intergenerational issues.

In just 24 minutes, a Sky News Documentary presented by Jeff Randall sets out the alarming situation facing young people today, and future generations, as they inherit the debts and liabilities that the “baby boomer” generation has gifted itself.

It covers all the main aspects of this “intergenerational theft”, as Jeff Randall himself puts it: government debt, pensions liabilities, inflated house values, student loans, social care costs.

Mark Littlewood (Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs), Paul Johnson (Director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies), Professor Christopher Barnatt (Economics Futurist at Nottingham University Business School), Matthew Sinclair (Taxpayers’ Alliance), Ros Altmann (Director-General of the Saga Group), Robert Chote (Chairman of the Office of Budget Responsibility), David Willetts (Universities Minister and author of The Pinch) and Shiv Malik (co-author of Jilted Generation and advisory board member of the Intergenerational Foundation) all lend their voices to the argument.

Here at IF, we see this as something of a landmark broadcast, not just because it makes the case so succinctly but also because it shows the degree to which this viewpoint is now an accepted part of the national debate.

“Born Bankrupt” was first broadcast on Sky News on Friday 24 August. You can see a YouTube version of  it by following this link:

“If you are worried at all, if you have one iota of concern about the environment and climate change, and the sort of planet we are going to leave our children… you should be apoplectic about the level of debt we are leaving them. It is outrageous, it is immoral, but we have lived well beyond our means, and our conclusion is to send our children and our grandchildren and the unconceived the bill for that…

“Here’s the con. If you are a politician, you want to promise everything you can to the people on the electoral register. The best way to do that is to send the bill to the people who aren’t on the electoral register. If you are under the age of 18, or not yet born, you are not on the electoral register. That’s what we’ve done…

“We are voting ourselves rich, frankly knowing full well it is going to be children and grandchildren who pick up the bill.”

– Mark Littlewood (Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs), in “Born Bankrupt”