Victor Davis Hanson

The curricula of far too many universities does not inculcate enough math and language skills. Young people did not dream up the race, class and gender industry that often crowds out skills-based classes and substitutes therapeutic "studies" courses. At a time when students need traditional general education more than ever, colleges are turning out graduates with costly degrees, obtained on borrowed money, that employers do not equate with broadly educated job applicants.

Obamacare will not, as the president promised, "lower the cost of your premiums by up to $2,500 a year." Most estimates suggest that the Affordable Care Act will add trillions to the already huge national debt. The current $17 trillion aggregate debt is largely a result of out-of-control entitlement obligations that skyrocketed the last 20 years and largely were paid out to those over the age of 30.

When interest rates creep up, the cost of servicing the national debt may claim one-third of the yearly federal budget. The millennial generation will come of age to pay higher taxes and receive fewer government services to cover for prior generations who wanted more things on credit billed to their grandchildren.

It is often easy to caricature the young. Today's youth see expensive iPhones and iPads as necessary as a prior generation's cheap pencils and pens. Some younger people wear sneakers and shades that cost more than three months of health care premiums. Suburban kids are as likely to be playing video games on weekend mornings as cutting the grass and raking leaves.

All that said, the aging '60s generation has far more to answer for. We are handing over a very different America to our young people. They have received a worse education than did prior generations at a far greater cost in mostly borrowed money.

There are fewer job opportunities and higher taxes. Others ran up the huge debt; young people will largely pay for it over the next half-century. Early marriage and child-raising, a nice house, two cars and pay-as-you-go college for the kids are all becoming a fantasy of a bygone generation.

Professors talked mellifluously about trendy green issues, gay rights and abortion without ever explaining that those lectures came at high financial costs. "Hope and change" benevolent government sounded great to the young and idealistic. What was left out was that a captivated cohort was taken for granted and thereby seen as an easy mark to pay for it.

In short, young people have been had.


Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal.


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