They want you to think we are not poor. Who’s “They”? Powerful interests. No, I’m not talking conspiracy-theory shadow government organizations that run the world. No, I’m not talking about some specific evil rich person like Elon Musk or Rupert Murdoch or Charles Koch or George Soros.
I am going to sound like a hippie, though. “It’s the system man. It’s the whole system, man!”
By ‘They,’ I mean the powerful financial and political interests shaping public perception.
The economic system we have right now is broken. And the people in charge of this system – powerful, wealthy interests – write articles with headlines like " Millenials are doing just fine ".
They share graphs like this one:
Pictured: A graph showing an increase in wealth owned by “Millennials”.
But of course they share graphs that don’t show the whole picture. In reality, these graphs mask the deeper, more systemic issues. They often fail to account for the growing disparities within generational wealth, the increasing cost of living, and the challenges of stagnant wages in many sectors. While aggregate wealth may have increased for Millennials as a group, this increase is not evenly distributed. A significant portion of this generation still struggles with debt, particularly student loans, and faces hurdles in accessing affordable housing and healthcare.
When you look at other charts, they show a much bleaker picture.
Recent generations are likely to have lower income, higher rents, higher cost of education, and less savings than the generations that came before them. Almost every statistic shows that things are not in a great place for the younger generations today.
And there’s a common denominator. A common root cause. Motherfucking Ronald Reagan, the devil himself.
Ronald Reagan’s presidency in the 1980s marked a significant shift in economic policy, a shift that has had lasting impacts, particularly on younger generations. His approach, often referred to as “Reaganomics,” was characterized by several key policies.
Firstly, Reagan implemented substantial tax cuts, primarily benefiting the wealthy and corporations. The idea was that reducing the tax burden on the rich and businesses would stimulate investment, economic growth, and ultimately benefit everyone – a concept commonly known as trickle-down economics. However, critics argue that these tax cuts led to increased income inequality, as the wealth generated at the top didn’t effectively ‘trickle down’ to the lower and middle-income groups.
Secondly, Reagan significantly reduced the government’s role in the economy. This included deregulating various industries, reducing federal oversight, and cutting spending on social programs. While these measures were intended to boost economic efficiency and foster free-market competition, they also led to reduced support for the needy and increased vulnerability of the economy to market fluctuations.
Furthermore, Reagan’s policies promoted a shift towards a more debt-driven economy. While the U.S. saw economic growth and lower unemployment rates during his tenure, it also experienced an increase in national debt and consumer debt. This shift laid the groundwork for the credit and debt culture that has become a defining feature of the American economy, affecting younger generations who now grapple with high levels of student loan debt and credit card debt.
Reagan’s approach to labor also had significant implications. His administration took a tough stance on labor unions, most famously exemplified by his handling of the PATCO (Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization) strike. This undermined the bargaining power of unions, leading to stagnating wages and deteriorating working conditions for many American workers.
Those things almost sound reasonable at first look.
Tax cuts? Less government? Fight “evil” labor unions? But look closer.
The tax cuts championed by Reagan, and many governments after, always cut taxes only for the wealthy. “Boo-hoo, work harder!”, right? Not so fast. Cutting taxes on the wealthy means a concentration of wealth in the hands of people who don’t need to spend money. Cutting taxes on the rich does not improve the economy. Take $10 million dollars. Give it to one rich guy. Is he going to eat at your family’s restaurant? Get his knicknacks from your store in the mall? Or is he going to buy a Yacht made overseas?
Take that same $10 million and give it to 1,000 random people. They’ll be shopping in your stores, patronizing your restaurants, and spending that money in your community. The money will have a much more massive impact. Tax cuts for the wealthy only hurt the economy.
Now what about “reducing the government’s role” in the economy? Fewer social spending programs. That sounds clever, right? But here’s the thing – again, the economy is worse off because of their actions. They only reduced the governments role in the way big-businesses deal with the economy. Less taxes on Wal-Mart -> less funding for children’s food programs. Less funding for schools.
Less oversight and regulation? Less clean water in the Mississippi River. More big businesses that bully and abuse small businesses with monopolistic actions, and no government to stop them from doing it. Corporate landlords are buying up rental properties and raising rates 30% year after year. You’ve seen Disney make tons of false copyright claims over their now-public-domain Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse. And nobody is going to do anything about it.
Money and power is being concentrated in the hands of people who already have it. There are common sense policies to fight back. Tax windfall profits. Regulate businesses that have gotten out of control. And stop voting for politicians that are going to cut taxes on the wealthy and leave everyone else with crumbs. This isn’t just bad for Millennials, it’s bad for the entire economy.
If you don’t vote: VOTE YOU FOOL. VOTE.