‘The trapped generation’

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Sir, – “People born since 1980 belong to a trapped generation, squeezed between precarious employment, fixed wages and exorbitant rents which make city life more and more inaccessible.” So reads the main article in your newspaper (“The Irish Times Viewpoint on Youth Living Standards: The Trapped Generation”, Opinion & Analysis, May 11). At the risk of annoying your readers with some economic aspects, the main factor contributing to this situation is the monetary stimulus policy of the ECB and other central banks. Put simply, the central banks’ quantitative easing policy (i.e. money printing) has had the effect of significantly raising all asset prices (stocks, bonds and goods) because all that extra money is looking for a home to invest in. In the meantime, wages remain relatively static. As a result, older generations (who own property and other assets) get richer, and house prices and rents become increasingly less affordable for young people. Quantitative Easing is literally free money. But it disproportionately benefits those who already have money and other assets (i.e. older generations). Perhaps this was not fully taken into account by politicians and central bankers. Or maybe it is. I wonder what generation they belong to. – Yours, etc.,

JUSTIN EGAN,

Blackrock, Co Dublin.

Sir, – Much recent commentary on the housing crisis has focused on buyers hoping to make an investment gain. My fear for young people who cannot buy their home is that Irish pension schemes will not be enough to cover rented accommodation. – Yours, etc.,

FERGUS DALY,

Cobh,

Co Cork.

Sir, – The Taoiseach declared in the Dáil on May 5 that he was against the institutional purchase of housing estates. Yet over the past decade and before, real estate companies have done just that. Rent building is rife, large private entities are building massive portfolios of Irish properties resulting in higher rents, fewer properties on the market for sale to individuals and families, more homeless people, and this in a company that prides itself on having a strong social backbone.

Why not rent control? A thorny subject, perhaps never mentioned in the Fianna Fáil tent of the Galway races. But why not give the average Irishman a chance to at least live on a little disposable income after paying the month’s rent?

Rent control will boost the local economy as the average bettor will have more cash to spend locally, thus supporting local businesses. Go out, shop for a bit, and don’t we all deserve a vacation?

Rent control will dampen the real estate market. Rent control can bring the next group of politicians to power.

If it’s the Constitution, then change the bloody Constitution! – Yours, etc.,

IVAR BLANKER,

Dún Laoghaire,

Co Dublin.

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