Earning Much Less, Despite More Education
Dear Commons Community,
Steven Rattner, financier, author and MSNBC commentator, has an op-ed piece in today’s New York Times analyzing the lives of millennials (those born in the early 1980s to the early 2000s). He describes them as follows:
“To some, millennials — those urban-dwelling, ride-sharing indefatigable social networkers — are engaged, upbeat and open to change. To others, they are narcissistic, lazy and self-centered.
I’m in the first camp, but regardless of your opinion, be fretful over their economic well-being and fearful — oh so fearful — for their prospects. The most educated generation in history is on track to becoming less prosperous, at least financially, than its predecessors.
They are faced with a slow economy, high unemployment, stagnant wages and student loans that constrict their ability both to maintain a reasonable lifestyle and to save for the future.
Longer term, rising federal debt payments and increased spending on Social Security and Medicare will inflict a tremendous financial burden on them, threatening their own prospect of receiving promised retirement benefits.”
He concludes that their plight is the fault of baby boomers (his and my generation).
“To a considerable extent, that’s the fault of my generation, the baby boomers. We were the children of the Greatest Generation, but we may also be the most irresponsible generation” mainly because we will have saddle the millennials with crushing debt that will increase as we get older and rely on federal programs such as social security and Medicare.
Rattner provides a number of charts and tables to support his position.
It is a sobering picture and he may be right that we baby boomers are not leaving this place in better shape than we came into it.