Young people: get ready to grab your ankles
December 16, 2010
Auckland, New Zealand
If you’re reading this and under 30, let me be absolutely clear about one indubitable point: your government is going to sacrifice your future in order to pay for its own mistakes from the past.
To give you an example, students in London came out to the streets in droves last Friday to protest the British parliament’s most recent austerity measures which tripled the cap on their university tuition to $15,000.
Sure, Britain is imposing all sorts of austerity measures on its citizens… and while I won’t get into a discussion about the absurdity of government controlled education, I will point out that students are having their benefits cut far more drastically than any other segment of the population.
Are pensioners seeing their costs triple? No. Are middle-aged workers seeing 50% tax hikes? No. Aside from the very small segment of high-income earners who will be forever robbed and pillaged of their wealth, the younger generation is next in line to receive the butt end of the crisis fallout.
Younger folks have comparatively lower incomes, benefits, job opportunities, and political clout than their seniors, yet they are increasingly expected to assume a disproportionately larger burden of the consequences of government folly.
It’s the younger generation that is called on to go fight and die in pointless wars in faraway lands; it’s the younger generation that is forced to assume the debts of their forefathers; and it’s the younger generation that gets relegated to the back rows of the political amphitheater and dismissed by the establishment.
Meanwhile, retirees aren’t seeing massive benefits cuts, and middle-aged wage earners income earners are being protected from above by politicians. In fact, let’s take a minute and look at the looming fate of the average young person today:
1) Your government-run university tuition is going to go through the roof, saddling you with unfathomable debt before you even enter the world as an adult;
2) Once you graduate, you’ll be the last in the hiring queue;
3) If you do get hired, you’ll be the lowest on the totem pole and the first to be let go when tough times befall your business;
4) Once the labor market eventually stabilizes, you’ll enter your prime earning years with some of the highest tax rates ever seen as your government continues to cannibalize your generation to pay off its largess and indebted entitlement programs that benefited older generations;
5) For your entire working life, you’ll pay into a pension system that is going to be bankrupt by the time you’re qualified to draw on it;
6) More than likely, you’ll never achieve the standard of living that your parents achieved;
7) Whatever wealth your parents accumulated won’t be left to you– the bulk of it will be confiscated by the state (unless your folks were smart enough to plant multiple flags) due to a host of death taxes.
If you’re in the millennial Facebook generation, this is going to be the standard storyline of your peers. The system that’s in place right now– the failed cycle of debt and consumption fed by continuous government intervention– has stuck you with the bill.
Fortunately, there’s a silver lining (as always). Younger people are generally less anchored and more mobile than their elders, hence it’s much easier to opt out of this perverse system.
If you’re angry that your government is saddling you with the responsibility to pay off generations of bad decisions, then get out of dodge. Stop playing by the same rules of the game that used to work in the past– the old playbook of “go to school, get a good job, work your way up the ladder” simply doesn’t apply anymore.
Don’t stick around a society that has completely forsaken you and is waiting with knife and fork in hand to carve up your earnings once you finally enter the labor market… get out of dodge now, while it’s easy to do and you have little to risk.
Go explore the world and get an education based on experience, not expensive academic theory. Seek opportunities in thriving, frontier markets overseas… places like Kurdistan, Mongolia, Botswana, Kazakhstan. Soak up the local intelligence and become the grease guy on the ground who can make things happen.
Find people whose lifestyles you want to emulate and make yourself indispensable to them as an apprentice… this will be the only time in your life that you can afford to work for nothing in exchange for a valuable, first-hand education.
Most of all, stop playing by everyone else’s rules. Refuse to be enslaved by the idea that it’s your civic and moral responsibility to pay off the debts of your government’s failures. Cast off the yoke of their control… and summon the courage to live a life by your own design.
The path to prosperity in the Age of Turmoil depends on this ability to reject the old system, declare your economic independence, and carve your own path.