Son's Comeback to 'Boomer' Parents Over Workers' Pay Praised Online

A post left by user Madamiamadam on Reddit subcommunity r/antiwork has sparked a discussion online about how the "Baby Boomer" generation is out of touch with the difficulties facing younger generations.

In the post entitled "Shut my Boomer parents down today," which has gathered nearly 30,000 upvotes, Madamiamadam described a recent interaction with their parents.

"Boomer parents are in from out of town. We were driving around and we were talking about their friend who runs a plumbing business. They stated that work was crazy in their home state but their friend had a problem getting new employees/keeping employees. I asked why," the user wrote.

Baby Boomers retirement
An older couple enjoy a round of golf. Stock image. Baby Boomers are defined as people born between 1946 to 1964. Getty Images

Madamiamadam's parent's responded: "Well all these new kids want more money and don't have the experience to earn that much," to which the user replied: "So if he can't afford to pay them it sounds like he's s***ty at business."

"Well he can't afford to pay what all these big businesses are paying and offer the same benefits," the user's parents said, before Madamiamadam replied: "If you can't pay your employees what they want/they are worth they will find somebody who will. Why would you work for less money?"

Still, the parents persisted, saying: "If he can't get employees he can't make his business work!"

"If he can't afford to pay people what they are worth and other businesses will, then his business deserves to fail. That sounds like the free market worked just fine and is getting rid a s***ty business," Madamiamadam wrote, before saying that their parents then sat in silence for 15 minutes.

The Reddit user ended their post asking: "Do Boomers not understand that 'ThE fReE mArKeT' works both ways? God it's annoying."

What Is the Free Market?

The free market is defined as an economy operating by free competition, or in simple terms, a system of supply and demand that is not controlled by government or other authority agendas or bias.

Baby Boomers versus Millennials

Merriam-Webster defines a "Baby Boomer" as a person born during a period of time in which there was a marked rise in the population's birth rate, especially a person born in the U.S. following the end of World War II, usually considered to be in the years from 1946 to 1964.

Generation X are people who were born in the 1960s and 1980s, a millennial on the other hand, is defined as a person who was born in the 1980s or 1990s, and Generation Z are people who were born in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

There is an ongoing disparity between those known as baby boomers and millennials due to a perceived lack of understanding from baby boomers about how aspects of society have changed, including the housing market, the economy and employment norms. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the link between productivity and pay has become dismantled over time, meaning that wage increase has slowed down since the 1970s.

They report that from 1979 to 2020, net productivity rose 61.8 percent, while the hourly pay of typical workers grew far slower, increasing only 17.5 percent over four decades after adjusting for inflation. Essentially, everything has become more expensive since the 1970s, but salaries have not risen to match, leaving millennials with more job opportunities, but less ability to buy landmark purchases that were the norm for baby boomers, such as real estate and cars.

Millennials socializing
A group of Millennials socializing. Stock image. A Millennial is defined as a person who was born in the 1980s or 1990s. Getty Images

One user commented: "My boomer parents went to college for $50 per quarter," and another agreed, writing: "They also also never understood that things aren't as affordable now as they were back then. The fact that the husband, typically, could work a single job and support a family COMFORTABLY, back then and now a couple with two paying jobs still struggle is just astonishing, but Boomers will act shocked when someone asks for a livable wage."

Users also commented on the price of accommodation compared to the baby boomer generation, with one user writing: "Omg my parents just couldn't wrap their heads around the idea that my rent for a 1 bedroom flat was $1,500 a month when they bought their 3 bedroom house for $22k not that long ago."

User Vividknightmare wrote a scathing review of the baby boomer attitude, gaining over 1,000 likes: "Boomers NEVER understood the free market. They understood they did great in the 50s and 60s and the term free market was thrown around a lot so they incorrectly associated the two things. They just think free market means lots of money for everyone.

"The fact America was in a golden era of production thanks to the decimation of the rest of the world in the 40s was irrelevant to that fact. Boomer do not understand how the world works or ever worked. They understood life was great during the golden age which they wasted and spoiled due to bad habits they formed from excess during that golden age and they simply cannot evolve or grow beyond that moment in time."