In The American Conservative, Charles F. McElwee III, details the plight of America’s Millennials. Loaded with debt, chronically underemployed, and with low prospects, the generation could become lost if policy isn’t modified to push them forward. He writes (abridged):
What does the future hold for Millennials?
They are renters and borrowers, not owners. They live in rooms, not homes. They incur debt for financial survival. They consider appreciation a sentiment, not a term for monetary value. They are a group lacking the accoutrements of Baby Boomer affluence
One long-term consequence of this is America’s declining fertility rate. Last May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics reported the lowest general fertility rate on record: only 3.85 million American babies were born in 2017. Millennials are electing to forgo marriage or children because they can barely support themselves.
From a policy perspective, AEI’s Mathur believes more skills training and paid apprenticeship programs are needed so younger workers can adapt to the new workforce. “Paid apprenticeships are beneficial because they don’t force kids to take on student debt, and the students get some pay while learning, and eventually get a job after training,” notes Mathur. “So it’s a win-win for both workers and companies that are often lacking workers with the right skills to employ to their vacant positions.”
But for now, Millennials must continue their fruitless march. This is not the economy that they expected. There are no car seats for young children, backyards for family dogs, or 401(k)s for retirement.
Millennials are broke and disillusioned. They are foreclosing on their own future. We ignore their generational plight at our own peril.
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