A millennial blue-collar worker told me a friend of his was supporting presidential candidate Andrew Yang (who has since dropped out) because he promised to cancel her student debt. My neighbor asked her if she knew what that meant in practical terms — namely, that he would end up being taxed for her college costs. She had no reply.
College education at public universities is already heavily subsidized by taxpayers. For instance, the University of California system receives over $3.5 billion every year in direct state taxpayer subsidies. Why is it that no one ever asks the colleges to forgive student debt instead of asking taxpayers to contribute more?
The free-college movement assumes that going to college is a right and that society owes them the price of the same. Yet, the average student loan debt in this country is approximately $30,000, which is about the cost of an average vehicle — hardly a crippling burden. What these students don’t know is that the one-third of the debt they owe accrues in part from a $9,800 contribution they were forced to contribute to the pension fund of their professors.
Another millennial took umbrage when I described his generation as being enamored with socialism and to boot, they didn’t even know how socialism works. Millennials believe that socialism means equality, glossing over the difference between equality of outcomes and equality of opportunities. In fact, the only way socialism can guarantee equality of outcomes is by limiting the equality of opportunity.
As Winston Churchill explained it, socialism results in the equal sharing of misery. That is, in socialist countries, in order to treat people equally, individual choices, including the symbiotic relationship of risks and rewards, are eliminated, and the system can only last so long until they run out of other people’s money, as Margaret Thatcher put it.
In the meantime, millennials grouse about the cost of housing and the threat of climate change, not realizing how the two subjects are related. I recently attended a presentation suggesting how Santa Barbara County could save our agricultural lands from being converted to urban uses. The solution? Force people into high-density, high-rise developments, which will, of course, further exacerbate traffic congestion. These developments, in essence, save the “open space” in the rural areas by way of eliminating open space and private yards in urban areas.
We are already seeing this plan unfold. Three-story developments are being built throughout the Central Coast despite the fact that less than 10% of the region has been developed. When I mentioned to the planner that this is not how most people want to live, he literally replied that it doesn’t matter what people want, that this is what we must do to address climate change. That is, we have to reduce the footprint of development. Why? Preventing sprawl via increased density (skyscrapers anyone?) theoretically cuts down on commuting, the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Lost on everyone? These California stack-and-pack houses are still more expensive than traditional homes throughout the rest of the country.
The millennials are in for a rude awakening. Some of them are now approaching mid-life. As soon as the baby boomers ride off into the sunset, they alone will be left paying for everything — namely, all that “free” stuff they are now demanding for themselves and their children. They think that taxing Wall Street at a 70-90% clip will be the solution to all their ills, not realizing that by doing so, they will be taxing the company they work for, in addition to their own cost of living, their inheritance and their personal savings.
Andy Caldwell is the executive director of COLAB and host of The Andy Caldwell Radio Show, weekdays from 3-5 p.m., on News-Press AM 1290.