Eating Our Young
Finally, the idea of medieval exemption masked the oppression. Colleges were loudly progressive. Faculties sided with the Palestinians and Walmart greeters in the abstract, never the exploited part-timers in their midst. The noble poor were always distant, not the supposedly clueless lower-middle-class student who went into hock to subsidize academic rants on equalitarianism.
Little need be said about Obamacare. It is a third method of a vast redistribution scheme between the age cohorts, one that seeks to hike insurance premiums on the mostly young, healthy, and low paid or unemployed in order to subsidize the health care costs of the older, less hail, and more affluent. The success of Obamacare hinges on taxing a youthful cohort for a service it will rarely use in order to subsidize those better off who will use it a lot.
This administration has added so far about $8 trillion to the national debt. By the end of its two terms, the national debt will have doubled in less than eight years. After the tax hikes and sequester, we may nonchalantly talk of deficits stabilizing at over $600-800 billion, forgetting that such annual red ink will in aggregate add trillions to the soon to be $18 trillion in aggregate debt. The tab can only be serviced by continuing virtually non-existent interest rates. For the present generation of toddlers, it is likely that the debt will only continue to grow and the eventual cost of servicing will soar. Interest rates will rise, and those who ran up the tab will be retired -- while those who were not responsible for the profligacy will pay if off.
In short, those now in the womb to the age of thirty will have to subsidize Social Security and Medicare for benefits that they themselves will never commensurately enjoy. They are paying far more for college than did either their parents or grandparents, and receiving less sound education and more dismal job prospects -- with aggregate student loan debt that may match their mortgage obligations. Finally, the youth have no choice whether they wish to become as profligate as were their parents. Like it or not, for the next generation’s natural lifespan, federal budgets will be reduced and taxes probably raised to service the enormous debt of others.
The old notion of marriage in one’s early twenties, two or three children by one’s thirties, a two-car garage in the suburbs and a mortgage paid off by retirement is already a myth from a now forgotten age. Like the citizens of Petronius’s Croton, the best bet for generations X, Y, and Z are an inheritance from those of an easier age. We can easily caricature today’s youth -- the prolonged adolescence in the garage or basement, the tattoos and piercings, the sorta, kinda going to school or part-time working that so often eats up one’s twenties and early thirties -- but the fault is more so their parents’ generation who strangled and bankrupted the economy.
In California, the boomers have virtually stopped natural gas and oil production in the Monterey Shale formation. It was adults that idled hundreds of thousands of acres of irrigated farmland that in turn put thousands out of work. The youth did not cancel new water projects and put California on the edge of disaster. The rich, affluent, and mature were opposed to salvaging a billion board feet of torched timber after the recent Sierra forest fires. It was always the smug older establishment that decided that they had enough money and security not to worry whether the less fortunate others might have commensurate opportunities. To the Bay Area grandee, one spotted newt or valley rat is always worth sidetracking a few thousand youthful futures.
So, yes, there is something nauseating about the full, tenured professor indifferent to the plight of the part-timer, the Sierra Club attorney who cares nothing for the out-of-work young logger, and the pensioner with additional Social Security who assumes that the minimum-wage young fellow at Starbucks should always pay more benefits that he will never see.
Symbolic of the many gifts bestowed by the baby boomers to the present generation of youth -- aside from Botox and liposuction -- was the new idea of the “intern”: an unpaid helot position predicated on the notion that the young and poorer might someday win a wage from the older and richer.
How odd that President Obama, in his soon-to-be-infamous “I have a pen and phone” boast to bypass the Congress, claimed that he would act outside the Constitution to enact his agenda and help the “kids.”
In truth, no administration in recent memory has done more to harm young people. Like some strange exotic species of the animal kingdom, we Americans are now eating our own young.