A surplus of budgetary bullshit: a Gen Z guide to rage

Today’s young people have grown up watching ‘grown ups’ hurl shit at the world’s metaphorical fan, well past the point of maximum shit saturation – the world’s scientists nervously pointing out the truly alarming quantity of shit on the walls – knowing full well that at some point it will be our job to clean up said shit, or drown in it. 

You don’t need to worry about when today’s youth will “crack”. As a Zoomer myself, I can assure you we broke years ago. In fact, Gen Z are the least hopeful generation, because, in case you haven’t noticed, the world is a wee bit fucked. 

We watched the Millennial generation try their hardest with hope in their eyes to get the same so-called ‘grown ups’ to stop throwing shit at the fan, right up until they couldn’t ‘live laugh love’ any longer; we watched their souls get crushed. From that generation, mine learned that hope is hopeless. 

But hey! Let’s not wallow in our collective depression. That’s what TikTok is for. Instead, I welcome you to this Gen Zer’s guide to rage!

To begin, let’s address the myth that older generations want young people to get involved in political discourse. They really don’t. When a young person enters a discussion they are cheered on by those older, right up until the point they say something that doesn’t align with old biases. Then the patronising begins. We are told we’re ‘naive’ and ‘don’t understand how the real world works’. Personally, people tend to throw in a bit of ableism, and my female friends cop a lot of ol’ fashioned misogyny for good measure. Holy fuck, no one ever seems to want to address how both ‘sides’ of politics are fine with bigotry when they disagree with the person it is directed at.

With that in mind, if at any point you feel the compulsion to pull out an iPad and tweet at me to tell me I’m wrong about this, just… don’t. I can assure you I’m familiar with the tired traditional political theories, I just also know the world is fucked and these theories are getting us nowhere. Ok, gramps? 

Derision like this helps justify the surplus of budgetary bullshit older shills like to peddle. Take JobSeeker. As an unemployed young person, Labor basically told me to go fuck myself and starve. How very ‘empathetic’ and ‘un-Scomo-like’ of them!

They promised to be better than this. Last year the government told David Pocock that they couldn’t raise the rate until an expert panel of their choosing investigated it but they would implement the panel’s recommendations. The panel came back and unsurprisingly said no one should be living in poverty. The report said the rate is so low it works as a barrier to entry for the job market, suggesting at a minimum it be lifted by $100 a week. The government, of course, backflipped on doing the bare minimum and last week announced a raise for over 55s, in a manipulative plot to divide the poor and to stop the negative headlines about the ‘the fastest growing at risk group’ of people, headlines that by the way aren’t even fucking true! 

According to the ABS, young people are the most at risk of homelessness because of fucking course we are. Just like the sea levels, the intergenerational wealth gap is rising and, again like the sea levels, the Australian government only wants to make it worse while pretending to care. The next most at risk group is children (many coinciding with single mothers fleeing abuse) followed by Indigenous Australians. None of this should even be fucking relevant, though, because why the fuck would you cherry pick which groups have to choose between eating or shelter? 

So much for that promise of ‘nobody left behind’. Why is that the only election promise that the government is fine with breaking? Instead of, say, tax cuts for the rich? I guess the government didn’t get the memo that Australia voted for change.

This public vibe-check for how much callous disregard the electorate can handle was the political class saying the quiet part out loud. It is how every policy is decided. After not getting the positive headlines they wanted from this move, the government ‘clarified’ that over 55s are being added to the higher amount (by a couple bucks a day) and everyone else is getting a jump of $2.85 a day – a jump that is 20% of what their own panel called the bare minimum. Or in other words, fuck all!

My guess is that PM Albanese wants to set up a future generation of people like me to have to fight and struggle even harder than he did, so we can grow up and become even bigger class traitors. The biggest taste of ‘King Shit’ from ‘Albo’ since he was kissing Charles’ arse on the weekend.

Speaking of doing fuck all, let’s talk the housing and rental markets. My generation will likely never own a home unless we have rich parents willing to help with the cost, leaving many to rent overpriced shitholes for the rest of our lives. FUCK YEAH WHAT A GREAT SYSTEM!

Australia has a unique problem where housing, a need, is treated as an investment, one that is uniquely not allowed to be seen as a risk. 

In Australia rentals are getting harder to find, renters have fuck all rights and prices are skyrocketing. Meanwhile, any attempt at meaningful action is met with media outlets and rich politicians cherry-picking stories of struggling homeowners, before doing nothing to help them either. Instead, the government announces programs to ‘help owners’ who want to buy even more properties to rent out. So sorry anyone who doesn’t own a large investment portfolio, I guess we all deserve to go fucking homeless!

Maybe we can all go live in those fucking submarines!

Another dread for young people is student debt, or ‘HECS HELP’ as we so patronisingly call it in this country. ‘Oh I am going to be in debt for the rest of my life, but it’s called HELP, well then how fucking helpful.’

HECS debt indexation is rising so fast, making it harder and harder to pay off, but the closest thing we can get to actually addressing this growing crisis that further entrenches the growing income inequality is having people who went to uni for free scoffing while they tell us that this is the ‘good type of debt’. A phrase that would be too on the nose for a cheesy rich guy villian in a soap opera to say.

And the planet that all these other issues occur on, Earth, this one, is deteriorating. Climate change is only getting worse. Even our current government is shovelling billions of dollars on new fossil fuel projects, while calling it ‘green energy’, for the simple reason that they won’t have to live through the disasters these decisions cause. They set the rules so it’s not legally considered corruption to give fossil fuel companies billions of taxpayer money and in return collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to the parties.

But even more soul crushing than that is what happens when we protest the destruction of our planet. If we peacefully protest for the sake of our species, we are thrown in jail for longer than paedophiles are. Meanwhile, when Terfs and Nazis threaten violence over plans to read books to children, governments fold to their demands. 

Gen Z are the most openly LGBTQ+ generation. We support and stan our LGBTQ+ friends. The world doesn’t. Vile hatred is normalised and perpetuated by the media. Our PM is hanging out with Kyle Sandilands and is yet again dropping transphobic dog whistles, this time while chatting with Piers Morgan.

All these factors play into the fact that Gen Z is the most depressed generation ever. It’s why vaping is so popular with young people. I don’t vape, but a lot of my friends do. They know it’s bad for them, but it’s also the only semi-affordable vice left to help cope with everything else. But the government had to appease Boomer fears and ban vaping, while smoking, which is worse in every way, remains legal. That’s like banning drink-driving but legalising absolutely fuckeyed driving.

This is the Tim Smith of policy decisions. A decision made by a generation of politicians who all did cocaine when they were our age. Zoomers can’t afford cocaine! This would be like if the environment minister spent all day posting photos of her holding koalas saying she wants to save the koalas meanwhile approving shit tonnes of new coal and gas projects to fuck, sorry ‘frack’, the planet for decades to come… Oh wait!

Maybe if they really want young people to stop vaping and stop being so social media obsessed, they should start working to address the systemic issues that lead people to being so depressed and disenfranchised by the oppressive systems they control?

I have seen kids and teens articulate the problems with the world better than those who are meant to be trying to solve them. This is because young people are experiencing these problems. We aren’t naive, we are sharp and aware. We are too smart to have any hope for this broken system, and until anyone starts trying to actually do anything about it, the only question to ask is are young people just depressed, or are we depressed and angry enough to do something about it?

And to those in power and older than me: when are you going to grow up and take some fucking responsibility? You live in the real world now buddy, fix your shit.

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