In my generation of baby boomers, and probably the next, most would say that they planned and worked hard to give their children a better and easier life, with better opportunities than we enjoyed ourselves.
It seems that we have mostly failed.
A report by the Grattan Institute, Generation Gap: ensuring a fair go for younger Australians, suggests the young are not making the same economic gains as their predecessors.
It is harder for younger generations to buy a home, and perhaps secure a job, afford an education and so on.
The pressures are due to economic and demographic factors, and to policy choices made by governments, and by us as a nation.
Grattan refers to what they call an "implicit generational bargain", with working-age Australians being net contributors to the budget, helping to support retirees. They suggest this bargain is breaking down as a series of policy choices, in tax and welfare, over recent decades and has distorted the system in favour of older Australians.
For example, tax-free superannuation income in retirement, refundable franking credits, special tax offsets for seniors and the like, mean that older Australians now pay much less tax than other Australians.
Many older Australians now do more to help their children and grandchildren in financial support and care.
Government has a big role to play, in part to reverse decisions taken in the past - mostly for perceived short-term political gain - only to have compounded longer-term structural issues and challenges.
Indeed, so much of short-term politics has simply just pushed the "big issues", like housing affordability and climate, down the road, while often favouring older Australians simply in the hope of tying up their vote.
The greatest policy failing has been not meeting the climate challenge to ensure our transition to a low carbon society.
John Hewson is an ANU professor, and a former Liberal Party leader.
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