Generational Warfare

In an Esquire piece called “War Against Youth,” David Marche claims that Baby Boomers and older GenXers are robbing and undermining GenY. According to Marche, the federal government spends $480 billion on Medicare, but only $68 billion on education; $62 billion on drugs, but only $8 billion for Head Start. He cites a 2009 Brookings Institution study to state that the federal government spends seven times as much, per capita, on the elderly as on children.

I had no idea that older generations are sucking the wealth out of younger generations. You can’t say that older generations did anything for the younger generations. Sure we raised them, but what did we really do for them? Not much, considering that the average child only cost his or parents a quarter of a million to raise. If parents were not so selfish they would spend a lot more on their children. My two millennials walked away from graduation with no student loan debt, but I do not have any retirement savings to speak of. But why should that be considered?

My kids gave me huge gratification with their achievements. It would be pretty small of me to try to put a monetary value on what I did for them. It would be mean and self-centered of me to think that the younger generation should help me in my old age. However, you cannot just look at raw numbers and draw conclusions. We need to properly fund the safety net for the young and the old and we need to pay our way.

Let the Bush tax cuts expire. When has a tax cut ever resulted in decreased unemployment? Never.

Do I think secondary education costs are unreasonable? Hell, yes! Am I sympathetic for the plight of students graduating with their futures mortgaged to the hilt? Double Hell, yes! The well-off can afford to send their kids to Ivy League schools AND save for retirement. The middle class are getting the shit kicked out of them. The country’s infrastructure is falling down. Higher education is unreasonably expensive specifically to inhibit social mobility.

A college should be able to provide secondary education for around $2,000 per student, per year. Yet, even a lower-priced state university like Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan charges $6,900 in annual tuition, then collects $3,563 from the state, on top of the tuition. Michigan State charges $12,400 tuition and collects $6,740 from the state – then collects hundreds of millions in income from its fat endowment. That is obscene.

We need to fund our government adequately with taxes and we need our government to spend the money wisely. However, just looking at a few figures and deciding that older generations are waging war on younger ones is just sensationalism to sell periodicals.

 

John B. Payne, Attorney
Garrison LawHouse, PC
Dearborn, Michigan 313.563.4900
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 800.220.7200
law-business.com
 
©2012 John B. Payne, Attorney
 
 
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