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Frances:
I sympathize with your sister having also been born in the early 1960s. I had never seen my feeling articulated as well as your post but I've often felt like large portions of my life and career have been like arriving at a wedding after dessert had been served. I have attributed this feeling to an overactive imagination but was surprised to see others having a similar view. Curious.

Born in the late 60's. Three kids, 5-13 years old. One working spouse. Looks like I hit the sweet spot!!!

Given the slowness of the political process, the problem must build up before the ruling class take notice. Given the preferential treatment their own kind receive, it may take a long time before they realize the magnitude. And if the affected group doesn't vote ( as the young and / or por do) then who cares?
Vietnam was a cause for trouble because LBJ kept the draft and middle-class and even some affluent were forced into combat. GWB didn't made the mistake. As long as the non-voters suffer,,.

I'd have to look at other policies perhaps, but of the ones you mention, I won't benefit either, despite having been born mid 50's (I know, you're thinking I don't look that old, but there it is)and presumably better placed. Maybe they're just stupid policy proposals.

Kondratieff, anyone? :)

Boomers, drowning in decades of jam every single one of them, complaining through their jam-streaked faces about how badly off they are and how tough they had it. I've been hearing it my whole life. Sorry, but it's nauseating.

Jim, "I won't benefit either" - and PEI votes are the cheapest in Canada, surely someone should be trying to seduce you... ;-)

Craig - "Sorry, but it's nauseating." - A completely normal and healthy reaction. I find baby boomers nauseating, and I'm one of them (my mother got pregnant with me a few months before the birth control pill hit the market place.)

K - "Looks like I hit the sweet spot" - I don't know, you always sound like a nice person in your comments, so perhaps it's something other than luck?

Livio - "was surprised to see others having a similar view" - I'm surprised you're surprised.

I have a related view to your sister's, Frances.

People have a certain view of what a job should provide and pay and benefits, particularly the latter. People think they *ought to, by right* to have a DB pension (that is their personal understanding of the term "pension") and a health, dental & disability plan.

They fail to understand over the fact that these things are *voluntary*. Nowhere is it written (except in Quebec on health plans) that an employer must provide them or that you have a right to them. They are then shocked when an employer offers you a job and doesn't provide them. Or the position is contractual. I have family members who can't comprehend that form of employment and how tenuous it can be.

Seemingly it's business when it happens to other people, it's a travesty when it happens to you. After saying "a job is a job", they then act appalled when you don't have benefits, or a pension, and the pay rate won't compensate for the lack these things. Further, if you have a chronic condition like diabetes anybody who says your pay will compensate you in lieu of actual benefits is operating under a false assumption.

The change in one person's attitude between these two extremes is breathtaking to behold. It just goes over their head when I say it isn't the 1970's any more.

They can't comprehend that in a voluntary system where some people can opt out, they will opt out.

This is the Echo Generation talking to early Boomer parents.

Frances:"perhaps it's something other than luck?"

Thank you. But, of course, it's actually all luck (when and where you were born, who your parents were, the economy when you hit the job market, supportive spouse, blah, blah, blah). This, despite dumb policy proposals on all sides, is why I'll never vote Tory.

It sounds like your sister is not the Median Voter, or anywhere near him.

Mike, "your sister is not the Median Voter"

I'm wondering about that. After all, Jim Sentence is saying the same thing, despite being somewhat older.

Given the state of the country's finances/the economy, schemes to bribe the median voter by writing him/her a large cash cheque are not really financially viable.

Then the question is: what are the parties competing on?

This is an interesting link, it has each party's political positions according to the controversial "vote compass" tool on the CBC's web site: http://rabble.ca/comment/1233271/Concerning-Compas.

Looking at these links, it strikes me that the defining issues become things like the environment, foreign policy, immigration policy, social policy, and specific issues like gun registration, public funding for political parties, etc etc.

Frances, my wife (b 1966) and I (b 1964) were having this exact discussion (for the fifth or sixth time in 15 years) last night. Just as we are no longer able to benefit from the Income Splitting, Childcare or much of the Learning Passport (though we will get some benefit from this one), we also missed out on maternity leave expansion 10 years ago. By then we had paid for my wife to stay at home a full year when each of our kids was born. We did get 25 weeks EI, but missed out on half a year's pay.

While I believe that policy cycles which respond to demographic and economic cycles exist (they must, mustn't they?), it also seems to me that it may be a good thing if we are always just missing out on some new, better policy. It means things are continuing to improve, at least in some small measure. One can lament missing out on them, but be happy that at least the next generation will have them.

Of course, this is only meaningful in an isolated sense: if other factors diminish or compromise the effectiveness of these proposals, then who's to say which is better? When we were kids average wages were sufficient for most middle class families to get by nicely on one income, which meant access to fulltime support at home, including better health and educational outcomes. I would venture that no amount of subsidy will compensate adequately for the significant loss of purchasing power and change in living standards caused by two working parents.

Which is why I prefer the Liberal/NDP approach to guarantee quality childcare, rather than handing back some taxes. Income splitting will no more create additional qualified daycare than the existing child care benefit did and does.

But I think your point about policy cycles is well taken.

William Strauss and Neil Howe have a cyclical generational theory that agrees with you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strauss-Howe_generational_theory. In The Fourth Turning, they discuss how the "Nomad" generations, including the Lost generation and Gen X, tend to be the poorest generations alive at any given time.

Stephen: "One can lament missing out on them, but be happy that at least the next generation will have them."

But if you read the link that JeffreyY has in his comment, it says:

The Third Turning is an Unraveling. The mood of this era is in many ways the opposite of a High: Institutions are weak and distrusted, while individualism is strong and flourishing. Highs come after Crises, when society wants to coalesce and build. Unravelings come after Awakenings, when society wants to atomize and enjoy...

So this is assuming that it doesn't all unravel!

"Then the question is: what are the parties competing on?"

Bruce Anderson (Harris-Decima) suggests that this time around, there's a clear choice between the Conservative and Liberal platforms: tax cuts vs. "a chicken in every pot."

Beyond the spending [the Conservatives] deem vital on the military and for prisons, almost all roads lead otherwise to lower taxes. For businesses, for families, for piano lessons, for fitness. A tax cut for every occasion. Voters who crave tax cuts can’t possibly be confused about who to vote for.

The Liberals, in contrast, offer a platform that draws more from the “chicken in every pot” tradition. More support for home care, for pensions, for education. Taxes don’t go down, priorities are different. Voters who believe that government programs, rather than more money in your pocket, are the best way to solve these problems, will see the Liberals are the more logical choice.

So, while both parties are battling for votes around the centre of the spectrum, they are hardly identical in how they are approaching that fight. What’s interesting to me is that neither approach is misguided, in terms of what public opinion has been telling these parties for the last decade or so. On any given day, voters around the centre of the spectrum may feel drawn to a smaller government-lower taxes pitch, but the next day, they may feel inspired by a passionate case for government leadership on worrying social issues. Many voters harbour internally conflicting values: and the campaigns are trying to resolve this conflict, not only to win their natural, un-conflicted, base voters.

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