Wednesday, May 22, 2019

End of the Line - Part II

It may seem a bit anti-climatic but this is the story that stuck in my craw like a tablespoon of cinnamon - Boomer Bequest Is Millennial Misery –  subtitle: Saddled with student and public debt, today’s young adults will long pay the price for our elders’ folly. A hat tip to the copyeditor for that headline, just reading it raised my blood pressure. It also succinctly summarizes the article and lets you know out of the box that it was written by one of the aggrieved generation.

Image result for millennial frowny faceBoomers invented the Happy Face which Millennials appropriated and turned into Frowny Face

Buckle up buttercups, this is gonna be a long one…

To reiterate, the author’s premise is “the boomers took everything, screwed it up and all I got was this lousy life.”

Image result for millennial all star t-shirt…and this lousy T-shirt

The case is laid out without a whiff of irony or sense of personal responsibility. No indication whatsoever that Millennials might have had a hand in the mess they think they’ve landed in, not even from those of them who –like the author- are now nearly 40 years old. Which I remind him was considered middle aged for his parents’ generation. Even the worst of the boomers would have felt foolish blaming their parents for their failure to thrive at that age.

Image result for millennial  t-shirt  adulting

Let’s, as the kids like to say, unpack this article, which is poorly written and even more more poorly argued. FYI, the author is Joseph C. Sternberg who is not just any 37 year old millennial, he’s a WSJ columnist and editorial board member.

The first political challenge is the most frustrating: proving to our elders that we are in economic trouble. Baby boomers look at millennials and see a generation living through the most prosperous era in history. We enjoy creature comforts, technological innovations and varied career opportunities. More of us have gone to college, which boomers view as a definitive mark of social and economic success. And even though we held back from buying houses early in our adult lives, now we’re leapfrogging starter homes and moving straight into bigger ones.

You’ve kind of disproved your first point - “we are in economic trouble” - in the same paragraph you made it.

But these hopeful signs mask deeper problems that developed out of the 2007-08 financial panic, the Great Recession, the slow-growth recovery, and a string of bad decisions the baby boomers made in that span.

Um, not just any old baby boomers, the Democrat, progressive ones. And Barack Hussein Obama who is technically a baby boomer.

The job market failed many millennials early in their careers. Partly that’s because the recession accelerated a trend that saw employers replacing younger, less-experienced employees with machines operated by older, more-experienced ones.

You couldn’t possibly know this because you weren’t born yet but there was a pretty wicked recession in the 70s too, followed by another pretty wicked one in the 80s where there was not just a shortage of good jobs for all the young boomers, but it was accompanied by incomprehensible inflation. The didn’t call it stagflation for naught. Oh, and did I mention the draft? That happened in the 60s and 70’s when your parents were young. The government could just tap you, your brother, friend, boyfriend or husband on the shoulder regardless of what you’d rather be doing and sent you to Vietnam to crawl on your belly through rice paddies. It was a thing.

When we wanted to find good jobs, our parents told us to go back to school. They spent their working lives thinking of college as a guarantee of economic security, so the advice seemed obvious. Alas, we followed it…We borrowed to make this happen.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know; college didn’t cost as much when boomers went, we could work our way through, yada yada yada. Then again, boomers considered themselves very lucky to land a job out of college paying $8K a year. Funny, the generation that was taught that everything is relative doesn’t really believe it.

Image result for t shirt it's complicated

Boomers presented school as an investment in ourselves, worth financing with debt because it would pay off in higher earnings later. To hear them tell it, education is the only sure investment in history. That’s now proving preposterous.

Image result for millenial t shirtPreposterous, but not impossible

Blaming your parents for encouraging you to get a college degree with debt isn’t the real problem. Not being wise enough by the time you inked that loan to invest it in a degree in a field that actually increases your earning power, that’s the problem.

Well-rehearsed evidence that college graduates earn more than high-school graduates on average conceals substantial variations and significant overlap in earnings between the two groups.

Some of those “variations and significant overlap in earnings” are, again, probably related to your chosen major. And as an aside, remember that last sentence – “Well-rehearsed evidence that college graduates earn more than high-school graduates on average conceals substantial variations and significant overlap in earnings between the two groups.” when women start whining about the gender-based wage gap.

Image result for t shirt women's earnings gap

By one count, the lowest-earning quartile of college grads earn roughly the same as the top quartile of high-school-only workers, but with more student debt to show for it.

Okay, stop me if you’ve heard this one before but the lowest-earning quartile of college grads are mostly the ones that came out of college with no more skills than they arrived with. You know, mostly the students with degrees that end in “ology” and all of those that end in “studies” unless they also got a teaching degree.

A severe student-debt crisis has also developed among young adults who reached for college but found it beyond their grasp, racking up debt with no degree to show for it.

Okay, I’ll blame the boomers for creating the myth that everyone should go to college. Clearly. Not. So.

Millennials now are entering politics and might have a chance to change course. But an uncomfortable question is what we will be able to do about these and other urgent economic and social problems in the decades to come. The boomers’ fiscal choices threaten to constrain severely our political options.Image result for t shirt we're so screwed

The long-term problem is federal debt. Including debt owed to the Social Security trust fund, it is now around 105% of gross domestic product. Those are claims that millennials (and their descendants) will eventually have to pay, largely to fund social transfers to the boomers that they weren’t willing to pay themselves.

First of all, please remember that we boomers funded Social Security for the Greatest Generation. Secondly, the unfettered federal debt and pillaging of the Social Security System to fund other domestic social giveaway programs…these are not generational sins, they are ideology sins. Turning the Social Security System into the biggest Ponzi scheme the world has ever known – that was the Democrats and their progressive ideology.  If you are looking for a villain, look to the progressives; robbing Peter to pay Paul has always been their game of choice. As they inch rapidly towards socialism the thefts are simply going to get bigger.

Weave these strands together and the tapestry that emerges depicts an enormous heist, in which boomers stole a decade from their millennial children. The boomers’ combination of naiveté, panic and negligence buried millennials in trouble. Digging our way out will be our primary economic and political challenge.

Just shut up already. The Greatest Generation had two decades stolen, one by depression one by WWII. Then the post-war boom happened. The boomers lost a generation to Vietnam and stagflation and then came Reagan, prosperity ensued. So you’ve got student loans and the Obama malaise. Study history and do something about it.

It all suggests 2020 could become a depressing slugfest between the ne plus ultra boomer and an opponent peddling century-old socialism, neither of whom offers millennials much of a solution to our urgent problems.

Instead of trying to figure out how to drop phrases like ne plus ultra into casual conversation why don’t you just change your stupid t-shirt

Image result for millennials t-shirt

and get over it. Stop voting for stupid progressives at every opportunity. Put down that frowny face and help MAGA.

Image result for millennial frowny face

Be part of the solution, not part of the whiny problem. It’s called personal responsibility. Try it, you’ll like it. 

Trump 2020 T-shirt "I Voted Trump" MAGA Shirt Flag Tee