Ira Wolfe has a new piece on why society should stop bashing millennials. It’s worth a read. However, Wolfe got me thinking, and it led me to a conclusion: Millennials don’t simply deserve greater respect from our elders, we deserve some sympathy.
There are at least three reasons why.
1. We’re Paying More for Less
Millennials face tough challenges climbing the economic ladder. For one, college education. While most of our parents went to college for relatively affordable sums, student debt is now out of control. Yet it’s likely only to get worse. And what’s most tragic about this situation is how little colleges have done to address the problem. On the contrary, whether grossly inflated pay packets, or liberals with regulatory fetishes, or bloated tuition hikes, or huge administrative costs, young Americans are paying more to get a good education. The issue here isn’t student loan companies or government. It’s colleges that rip off students because they can. I don’t believe the government should force builders and co. to pay for college for students, but we are getting a raw deal.
Sadly, it’s not just education. Rising housing prices also unduly afflict our generation. A recent report outlines how Millennials are struggling to buy a home. And home ownership is an essential step towards our better future. It offers us a capital asset that will grow in value over time. And owning a home also means that we’re no longer paying rent: which is money down the investment drain.
Still, there is hope. The price of buying a home varies by city and state and tends to be higher in liberal areas, notably San Francisco and New York City. Millennials looking to buy a property should be more cautious about where we move. In short, relocate to red states.
2. We’re Unfairly Forced to Subsidize our Elders
The average Medicare recipient now receives three times what he or she paid into the system. Talk about a good deal. Young people? We’re far less lucky. In fact, we’re very unlucky. We’re the ones who are paying for the generous benefits that our elders receive! Moreover, it’s only set to get worse. President Obama did very little to reform the entitlements system of Social Security and Medicare. And unless amended, it will go bankrupt within a generation. Making matters worse, President-Elect Trump claims entitlement reform isn’t urgent. All this means that millennials face a future in which we’re left to pick up an insurmountable tab.
And again, unfortunately, it’s not just the entitlements system. Take Obamacare. As I’ve explained, Obamacare punitively steals from the young to pay for the old. A better balance – which ensures all find care, but all are treated fairly – is possible.
3. Globalization Means More Opportunity, but Tougher Work
Donald Trump believes that the low-cost production of goods abroad, which are then imported into America, are responsible for an exodus of U.S. jobs. And while I don’t disagree with Trump that these losses are partly a consequence of globalization, I believe globalization’s benefits far outweigh the costs. Remember, those benefits are saving American families thousands of dollars each year. If, for example, we made everything in America, we would pay a lot more for basic goods like T-shirts.
Still, millennials face a problem with globalization. That’s because globalization isn’t just about goods. It’s also about services. And as other millennials around the world seek to provide professional, value-added services at lower prices, we face increasing competition for jobs. In response, we need an education system that equips future generations with the skills to compete globally. And at present, that education does not exist in America. Nor do we have a tax system that makes foreign companies want to set up jobs here.
Ultimately, however, we can’t just blame our elders. For one, a better future will require millennials and Gen Z-ers to improve our productivity. That means working more efficiently. And perhaps, also harder. We’ll also need government action to ensure that America remains the global capital of innovation. This is a particular concern in the sharing economy age of Uber, Airbnb, and Co. After all, the sharing economy is coming under attack from older Americans who don’t want to compete with a young, dynamic workforce.
Regardless, even if nothing else, our generation deserves a little sympathy.