The War on the Young

Founder Bill Bonner

Those poor young'uns. Run of bad luck, right?

Incomes going down. Jobs scarce. Economic growth rates at about half the rate of the 1950s and 1960s. No more go-go in the housing market. No stock market gains -- in the aggregate at least -- in at least 12 years. Households are poorer than they were 20 years ago... except, of course, households of the old and the rich.

All that college debt (more than $1 trillion). And the official national debt (a little over $16 trillion). And the unofficial -- but very real -- national debt, which we've seen calibrated by professor Lawrence Kotlikoff at Boston University at $222 trillion... and by professor Niall Ferguson at Harvard at $238 trillion.

Suspicious Minds

Yes. It is too bad. But some people just are unlucky. Black cats cross their paths. They break mirrors. Every day is Friday the 13th. Guess America's young people are like that.

Young people have gotten a bad hand. But wait. Is it just bad luck... or dirty dealing? Is this the luck of the draw... or the old false shuffle?

Where did all this student debt come from? Wasn't it a good thing that the feds were willing to take money from parents and lend it back to their children? Or was it just another zombie flimflam?

First, the feds realized that people who go to school don't show up on the unemployment roles -- until they get out. So they wanted to keep people in school as long as possible.

And it wasn't as though the young people got to keep the student loan money. They had to pass it on -- to older people in the education industry. And then, after enduring years of brain-numbing schooling, they have to pay the money back -- again, to older people.

And how are they going to do that?

Many law school grads can't get work these days. How about all the sociology majors? What about the history majors... the literature majors... the politics majors... and all the other university graduates who are completely unprepared for the real world of work?

Not only are they unprepared, but the longer they stay in school the less able they are to work in the real economy. Because the more "educated" they are -- with the ideas, information and habits of the school world -- the less well adapted they are to the real world.

What can they do? Go to work for the government!


We Don't Need No Education

People with a lot of schooling usually come to believe that schooling -- rather than actually being able to do something -- should determine what rank people hold in society. A person with a master's degree, for example, believes that he deserves a higher station in life than someone with no degree at all.

Ultimately, this way of looking at things -- favoring credentials over performance -- tips society toward zombiedom.

Zombies (and the feds) never really produce anything of value. So, they can't get their status (to say nothing of their income) based on what they do and what other people think it is worth. They prefer substitutes. Degrees! Certificates! Licenses!

Most people in the government earn more and work less than people in the private enterprise economy. When this is brought to the attention of the government workers they reply: "But we're better educated!"

Dirty Dealing

We will be exploring the whole education scam in future updates. In the meantime, let's look at dirty dealing in healthcare...

Our parents had no "healthcare" to speak of. When we were ill, they took us to the doctor and paid the bill. There were a lot of poor people where we grew up. Our local doctor never turned any of them away. She (one of the first women doctors in the country) did what she could with what she had to work with.

Then "healthcare" costs rose. Patients started suing their doctors. Old people wanted more treatments and more pills. Everyone became more aware of the many things that could go wrong. Discomforts that would have been stoically accepted as "part of growing old" needed attention. New tests and devices were put into service.

The cost of family health insurance is now about $15,000 a year. Overall, spending per person on "health" has reached over $7,000 annually.

Who does the spending? Old people. Who pays the costs?

Well, there's the dirty dealing. Instead of allowing people to spend as much of their own money as they want (which would put the burden of healthcare on those who needed or wanted it), the feds set up a system that takes money from younger people and redistributes it (in the form or almost unlimited consumption of "healthcare") to older people.

Only 1 out of 10 dollars spent on "healthcare" comes directly out of the pocket of the person doing the spending. The other $9 comes from others -- usually the hard-pressed young.

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