You already know the dismal data in this article; “The unluckiest generation in U.S. history,” in the June 5 Washington Post. Maybe not the detailed numbers, but the reality. This one depressing chart tells the story:
As the article says,
After accounting for the present crisis, the average millennial has experienced slower economic growth since entering the workforce than any other generation in U.S. history. Millennials will bear these economic scars the rest of their lives, in the form of lower earnings, lower wealth and delayed milestones, such as homeownership.
The losses are particularly acute on the jobs front. A few brutal months of the coronavirus set the labor market back to the turn of the millennium. In April, the economy bottomed out with about as many jobs as in November of 1999. The economic regression to the Y2K era is a fitting symbol for a generation that — more than any other — has been shaped by recession. Things improved in May, but the improvement just means we’re back to December 2000 levels of employment.
Many of you aren’t interested in advice from elders, and I won’t quibble about that. But here’s some anyway. It’s the best I’ve got:
The main chance for rescuing your economic future is to show up in November and turn the election into a huge Democratic landslide.
I’m not referring here to Biden over Trump; that goes without saying.
The crucial point is for a sweep in Congress: clear out McConnell and that crowd, big time.
Then make your demands. Here are the Big Five
1. A massive federal jobs program, starting with (but not only) infrastructure & climate. I’m talking trillions.
2. Cancellation of most student debt.
3. Free (or damn near) public college.
4. A comprehensive version of Medicare for all. And
5. Organize unions, both white and blue collar.
There are some more, but these are the central changes, and you’ll need Congress on board to get any of them.
Those five will bust open the doors to generational wealth that are now barricaded against you.
Also, these five will be of special aid to Americans of color, but they are meant for and will benefit all.
And, no matter what your Fox-watching uncle says, while swilling beer bought with Social Security and popping Medicare blood pressure pills, these changes will not make America socialist.
There will still be plenty of room for enterprise, and plenty of work required to claim your piece of family capital it will make possible.
Such landslide-fueled times of change have happened before. After the 1932 election. And in my lifetime, 1964.
It won’t be easy, but it could happen again. You can do it.
Even with all these, you’ll still end up being a tired generation. But also one that changed its luck.
It starts in November.