New Year’s Revolution

Millennials, already disproportionately suffering under the enduring Great Recession, likely have a bleak 2014 in store.

Millennials suffer unemployment rates 50% higher than their elders. When you add in those working part-time while looking for full-time work, that already-high figure doubles. And half of last year’s college graduates work in jobs that don’t require a degree.

With the first few years out of college crucial to establishing the course for one’s entire career, Millennials face the very real prospect of being a “lost generation”—never overcoming this early handicap.

The roll-out of ObamaCare “piles on,” disproportionately burdening the young and healthy with the higher healthcare costs of the older and sicker. Our 29-year-old son—who became self-employed after his architecture career was killed off by the bursting of the federally-induced housing bubble—saw his health insurance premiums double this fall. Will his animal-care clients accept double fees for dog-walks, boarding, and training?

And now Mr. Obama is promising a higher minimum wage, the fall-out from which will, again, disproportionately hurt the young:

Economist David Neumark, an expert on minimum-wage economic studies, says that an economic rule-of-thumb is that every 10% increase in the minimum wage reduces teen employment by about 1% to 3%. In October the U.S. teen jobless rate was 22.2% and for black teens it was 36%. The Obama minimum wage combined with the health mandate could mean up to a 10% reduction in jobs for the poor and young.

Even if they do somehow manage to overcome all these obstacles and actually secure an income, Millennials and their younger siblings face the daunting task of paying for the drunken binge of deficit spending and generous Ponzi-scheme retirement packages their parents have voted for themselves.

Not a rosy picture.

Millennials might therefore wish to consider taking a page from their parents’ playbook. “Baby Boomers” revolted in the late ’60s and ’70s against the prospect of being used as cannon fodder for a war that didn’t seem to offer much benefit, resulting in a huge shift in the culture.

Years before the Independent Institute was a glint in his eye, David Theroux joined the throngs protesting in Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza, though with a difference: rather than spouting Marxist-Leninist propaganda, David marketed the classical liberal alternative: peace, individual rights, free markets. Using the “Wanted” poster pictured above to attract listeners, David exposed the State as inevitably tyrannical and warned against looking to any politician as savior.

Hopefully, Millennials seem to be waking up: according Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, Millennials are abandoning Obama and Obamacare:

A majority of Americans under age 25–the youngest millennials–would favor throwing Obama out of office.

Even more heartening, increasing numbers of Millennials, eager to serve and to change the world, have no faith that public service or elected office are the way to get it done.

They need to retain that clear-eyed vision and not follow the sell-out of the Baby Boomers, who after all their rhetoric of not trusting “the Establishment,” ended up embracing it big time.

The good news is Millennials aren’t inevitably doomed to be left holding the bag for such profligacy. Just as Baby Boomers chanted, “Hell no, we won’t go,” Millennials should take up the call, “Hell, no, we won’t pay!” Their elders have accumulated plenty of wealth that can and should be liquidated to cover their own debts and obligations.

As the bankrupt city of Detroit is discovered to own, among other things, artwork valued at up to $866 million, so governments at all levels hold untold, and grossly undervalued, assets: real estate, gold, oil and gas, mineral rights, and far more. Governments at every level with debts and obligations exceeding current ability to pay should be forced to enter reorganization, sell assets sufficient to become current, and propose future balanced budgets that are subject to the approval of those from whom expected revenues will come: the Millennials.

It’s time to bring an end to the beggaring of the future, and only those whose future is at stake can exercise the will necessary to effect hard change: Millennials of the world, revolt! Turn your back on the failed Statist model, and embrace the liberating alternative of secure rights, free enterprise, and community. Private individuals in voluntary association have and can again produce a world far better aligned with your ideals than the worn-out command-and-control model you rightfully reject.

Mary L. G. Theroux is Senior Vice President of the Independent Institute. Having received her A.B. in economics from Stanford University, she is Managing Director of Lightning Ventures, L.P., a San Francisco Bay Area investment firm, former Chairman of the Board of Advisors for the Salvation Army of both San Francisco and Alameda County, and Vice President of the C.S. Lewis Society of California.
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