My generation is screwed.
That's what popular radio host Mark Levin outlines in his new book "Plunder and Deceit: Big Government's Exploitation of Young People and the Future." He argues that the ruling generation (our parents and grandparents) have supported politicians that have engaged in reckless government policies that are bankrupting the future of the rising generation (which is us millennials, and frankly the term "rising generation" is much better than the term "millennial") in ten precise and concise chapters with a barrage of facts and statistics.
The future is definitely bleak for those of us in the rising generation, as Levin warns of the rising threats from China, North Korea, Iran, etc. as well as President Obama's abuse of the Constitution. But I want to focus on the economic malaise that faces us, as this is the first thing on everyone's mind.
Being 22 years old, most of my friends in the rising generation are either in college or just graduated from college. So it really all starts with education, which Levin details in Chapter 5 of "Plunder and Deceit."
The cost of college has become absurd. In 2013, the average cost of college tuition, room, board and fees was $20,234, up from $1,248 in 1963-64 and rising faster than inflation. The rising costs of tuition have incentivized students into taking student loans- which have been nationalized by the federal government under Obamacare- with 71% of students taking on an average of $29,400 in student loan debt, with $1.3 trillion total in student loan debt. This is the highest growth of indebtedness in the country: (emphasis mine)
The Pew Research Center found that, in households headed by young adults, those without tuition debt had more than seven times the overall net worth of similar households with student loans ($64,700 to $8,700). Those with student loan debt also had nearly double the overall indebtedness of those who had no such loans ($137,010 to $73,250).
For those beginning careers, thousands of dollars in student loan debt can take years for net worth to climb into positive territory.
In addition, the student loan program faces a $21.8 billion shortfall due to Obama's student loan relief efforts.
But the higher costs are not necessarily associated with a better education. In fact, colleges and universities have a debt bill of $205 billion. And the reason for this is because universities go on lavish spending sprees on dorms, buildings and recreational facilities as well as give employees an average compensation of $44.82 an hour.
And the education received in these colleges and universities is liberal propaganda, more often than not. As Levin points out in the book, 62% of professors identify themselves as either liberal or far-left, while around 12% defined themselves as conservative or far-right. You can see examples of this liberal bias on college campuses every day on Campus Reform and The College Fix.
To get through college, or right after graduating college, a number of members in the rising generation naturally need jobs to avoid being stuck at home with their parents. But this is becoming increasingly harder for members of my generation to find work because of the minimum wage and our lax immigration policies.
Many of my friends- who naturally are in the rising generation- are enthralled by Sen. Bernie Sander's presidential campaign, as statism and tyranny can be very alluring to the youth. Sanders champions the $15 minimum wage. But if they were read to "Plunder and Deceit," they would realize that a $15 minimum wage would be disastrous. As Levin writes, if a restaurant were required overnight to increase pay for their employees from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour or even $15 an hour, it has to pass on the costs, whether that's laying off employees, increasing prices, hiring fewer workers or decreasing work hours.
Levin cites and details studies showing how the minimum wage prices the youth out of these low-skilled jobs, but perhaps the most compelling piece of evidence against the minimum wage is when Levin provides an example of hotel employees who were harmed by Seattle's $15 minimum wage:
When asked whether they appreciated the increase in the minimum wage, a hotel employee replied, "I lost my 401k, health insurance, paid holiday and vacation."
The hotel has also cut overtime and the opportunity to earn part-time pay. A part-time waitress stated, "I've got $15 an hour, but all my tips are less."
Then there's our country's lax immigration policies. Again, many of my friends are amnesty supporters who think it's heartless to deport illegals. But they've never been told how immigrants- legal and illegal- are reducing job opportunities for us and keeping wages artificially low.
This is best illustrated in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), a field many of my friends are entering since I am from the liberal cesspool that is the San Francisco Bay Area. Levin cites a study from the Economic Policy Institute showing how there is indeed a vast supply of workers ready and able to enter the STEM field, and yet are unable to find a STEM-related job because tech companies instead are looking for cheaper foreign labor, backed up by the fact that a third to a half of the number of new IT jobs go to immigrants.
Levin also dispels the myth that immigrants do jobs that American citizens won't do, citing statistics showing that Americans are in fact willing to do those jobs and face higher unemployment in industries dominated by immigrant workers. Legal and illegal immigration is expected to surge to 51 million in the next eight years. This isn't to argue for no immigration, but how can those of us in the rising generation be expected to find a job unless immigration levels are significantly reduced?
But perhaps the most troubling future facing us is the debt. The $18 trillion debt that we constantly hear about in the news is actually massively understating the problem. Levin cites Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff stating that the debt is actually $210 trillion total when the unfunded liabilities of entitlements like Social Security and Medicare are accounted for. Try wrapping your head around it. There is simply not enough money on the planet to begin paying that off.
So what does that mean for us? Levin writes that the debt creates the effect of crowding out private sector investment, and also means higher taxes, interest rates and less job growth. After all, all Social Security is expected to be insolvent by 2033, and Medicare even earlier than that. And then one day, the debt will cause a financial collapse if left unaddressed.
And to top it, Levin cites Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers that show that the labor participation rate will drop from 76.4 percent in 2002 to 67.3 percent by 2022 for the age 20-24 age group.
That's the future for us in the rising generation- after going through the high cost of going to college and burdened with student loan debt, we face a scant job market and where we work to pay off the debts bequeathed to us by an out-of-control federal government.
To the ruling generation: how could you do this to us? If you truly love us as your children, you will surely work to make sure we don't have to face his this future.
And to my friends in the rising generation: the good news is that all is not lost. Levin gives us a way out, as he describes the Convention of the States process in "The Liberty Amendments." And we can still spread the word. A college conservative armed with the facts in "Plunder and Deceit" is a radical professor's worst nightmare.
My friends in the rising generation who lean left, I urge you to have an open mind and read this book to at least understand the perils that face the country.
Levin concludes the book by calling for another civil rights movement, for the rising generation to stand up and fight back:
So I ask the rising generation- America's younger people- what do you choose for yourself and future generations? Do you choose liberty and tyranny? And what do you intend to do about it?
I, for one, choose liberty, and intend to spread the word and fight back against this out-of-control federal government. What path will you choose?