Editor's note

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is keen to talk about “the promise of Australia”. Ever since white settlement that promise has been that the newest generation will be better off than the one that came before it. As Bruce Springsteen put it, describing a promise that has been betrayed in the United States, “every child had a pretty good shot to get at least as far as their old man got”.

A new Grattan Institute study released this morning finds Australia is set to go the way of Britain and the United States. Australians aged under 25 are no better off than the under 25s that came before them, and set to be worse off as it becomes apparent they’ll find it harder to buy a house.

Young Australians are spending much less on luxuries than young Australians used to. Older Australians are spending more. Don’t believe what you hear about avocado. And younger Australians are paying more to support older Australians than those older Australians used to when they were young. One of Grattan’s graphs shows Australians under 65 paying far more tax than Australians over 65 on the same income.

The report’s authors, Kate Griffiths and Danielle Wood, looked at a series of tax decisions taken by Morrison’s government and others over three decades and offer suggestions they hope would go at least some way to restoring that promise.

Peter Martin

Section Editor, Business and Economy

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The avocado latte is indeed a thing, but young Australians are spending less on luxuries than they used to, while older Australians are spending more. Shutterstock

For the first time in centuries, were setting up a generation to be worse off than the one before it

Kate Griffiths, Grattan Institute; Danielle Wood, Grattan Institute

A new Grattan Institute study finds that for the first time since white settlement, young Australians are no better off than those who came before, and are likely to do worse.

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