How does the future look for young people? In “The Kids Aren’t All Right,” columnist Veronique de Rugy sketches a somewhat gloomy outlook for youngsters and casts the blame on government policies that may initially look good on the outside. She states:
“Washington has willfully ignored the looming crisis of entitlement spending, knowingly consigning young Americans to a future of crushing debt, persistent underemployment, and burdensome regulation. Politicians on both sides of the aisle share the blame.”
First she addresses the higher education bubble. Even though Congress cut student loan rates this past summer, de Rugy says this didn’t really solve the problem. In fact, she claims that federal student aid is a big impetus behind inflated higher education costs and unnecessarily high student debt. She indicates that subsidies are a vicious cycle of rising prices.
Once young people exit college, de Rugy says they face other challenges. Unemployment is only 6 percent for those age twenty-five and up but jumps to 16 percent for those ages eighteen to twenty-five. On top of that, many young people are underemployed.
Government policies often underly hesitancies to hire new full-time workers. De Rugy implicates ObamaCare for the growing trend for employers to stick to more part-time workers. On top of that, ObamaCare will naturally result in higher insurance premiums for healthy young people, potentially encouraging them out of the insurance market altogether. De Rugy sums it up:
“In other words, they still won’t be insured, the job market will still be constricted by ObamaCare, and they’ll be poorer by the amount of the penalty.”
In addition, the already existent weight of Social Security and Medicare liabilities could mean higher taxes for the young as they are on the hook to fund promises made to previous generations.
All these policies had good intentions. All these policies spell trouble for young folks:
“From poor public schools to the minimum wage, well-intentioned policies tend to backfire. In addition, we are about to embark on a massive transfer of wealth from younger to older Americans. It is today’s youth who will take the brunt of punishment from Washington’s decades of ‘helping’ previous generations of Americans. It is today’s youth who will most likely see their own federal benefits cut dramatically, their taxes increased, or some combination of the two. And it is today’s youth who will find it harder to get a good job (let alone start a company), buy a home, support a family, or do many of the things that were long considered a near-certainty for college graduates.”
As good as it sounds to hand out government help in one way or another, are these policies sustainable? Is there a better course to pursue for the future of our young people?
>>Source: De Rugy, Veronique. “The Kids Aren’t All Right.” Reason. November 2013.