Imagine watching as the government robs your parents of their retirement security, denies them access to decent health care, and compromises the independence that is supposed to mark their Golden Years.
That’s not a scene likely to generate support for those inflicting such agonies on the people who gave you life, especially when the perpetrators also hand you the bill. Thus will the progressive vision for America end with the Millennials.
Conventional wisdom sees Social Security and Medicare going bust just as massive numbers of the Baby Boomer generation begin applying for benefits. Political upheaval will surely ensue as Boomers experience the destitution that follows hard after collapse of these two landmark entitlements.
But look beyond the Boomers to their kids – the Millennials, 60 million strong and the first “grown-up digital” generation, (see Don Tapscott’s book by that name).
This coming entitlement crisis will engulf Boomers just as Millennials enter the most fecund years of family life and career. But instead of enjoying such rewarding endeavours, they will face the hardships and heart breaks that will come with being what The Washington Post’s Robert Samuelson earlier this week called “the Chump Generation:”
Samuelson’s label, however, doesn’t begin to do justice to what lies ahead for Millennials, thanks to their government:
- Their federal taxes will hit unprecedented levels as Washington props up Social Security, Medicare and other federal entitlement programs. So will state and local taxes, thanks to similarly generous pensions for teachers, cops, firemen, and bureaucrats.
- Good health care will be harder to get for middle class Millennials and their kids, thanks to government rationing of medical services.
- With a no-growth, high-tax, “green economy,” entrepreneurial opportunities will be scarce, new jobs rare, and standards of living falling for the first time in American history. Most things will cost more, everyday tasks like getting to work and grocery shopping will be more tedious, and the general quality of life will be noticeably less pleasant.
In the process, millions of Millennials will have to take in their aging Boomer parents or otherwise care for them, and do so with fewer personal resources and under far greater economic pressures than those faced by perhaps any previous American generation since before the Great Depression.
Samuelson said Millennials were notably strong Obama supporters in 2008, but he wondered if being the Chump Generation will “dim their enthusiasm for government.” I see something far more serious than merely less enthusiasm for activist government, for two reasons.
First, the dominant values of Millennials are inimical to centralizing, top-down, command-and-control government at the heart of the Progressive vision. Millennials grew up in a decentralized digital world of endless choices, limitless opportunity, and transparency in everything.
Think about that: Where Obama and the progressives dispatch reams of bureaucratic edicts, legions of bureaucrats, and tons of tax dollars to solve a problem, Millennials reach for their laptops, Internet creativity, and collaboration with each other. They don’t need officious, over-paid GS-14s in Washington to tell them what to do. And they know it.
Second, it will be crystal clear who caused the entitlement crisis. Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are seeing to that now in their mad rush to pass Obamacare, even if means doing so over unanimous Republican opposition.
So, trust me, when the entitlement crisis hits home in full force during the next two decades, the Millennials will be hit hard and they will know exactly who to hold responsible. There will be hell to pay, with no grace period, no more bailouts and no more patience for politicians peddling lies about what government will do for them.
Mark Tapscott is editorial page editor of The Washington Examiner and proprietor of Tapscott’s Copy Desk blog on washingtonexaminer.com.