Shortchanging the Next Generation

I will start drawing Social Security next month. I think I've earned it. On the other hand, I have to admit that society has been good to my generation.

I was able to graduate from a good private college with no debt. Four years at Oberlin cost $10,000 -- tuition, room, board, books, fees. Not $10,000 a year -- but for four years.

My wife and I were able to buy our first home when housing was relatively cheap, and we accumulated net worth without lifting a finger, as housing values appreciated.

My employers all provided good health insurance. Though I've had a somewhat unorthodox career, I did not hold multiple jobs because economic circumstances forced me to but because I enjoyed being at the cusp of journalism and academia. Yeah, I've worked hard, but the truth is, I've had a nice generational tailwind.

Why am I telling you this? Not because I expect to retire any time soon. But because, if you are under 40, your generation is getting utterly screwed compared to mine, and you should be in the streets.

The fact that student debt just approached a trillion dollars, that kids without rich parents must begin economic life saddled with college debt, that public universities are no longer free -- none of this has anything to do with changes in the structure of the economy. It all reflects lousy policy.

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