The millennial generation is the most down-trodden, disenfranchised, and disempowered generation of the 21st century. Meanwhile members of the millennial parents’ and grandparents’ generations have retained power, sequestered wealth, and imposed policies and regulations that have and will ensure that most millennials will live paycheck to paycheck, suffer from inexorable student loan debt, and be unable to buy a house, a car, or comfortably raise children of their own.
There are roughly 45 million Americans with a combined student loan debt totaling approximately $1.7 trillion dollars. Millennials comprise the majority of student loan debt holders. Unlike other financial instruments like credit cards, personal or business loans and medical bills, student loans are not allowed to be dissolved through bankruptcy. Bankruptcy has been a tool utilized by older generations over the years by both businesses and individuals alike to reset their lives during difficult financial times. Many people in America believe that American slavery ended with the civil war. I wish this were true. Unfortunately, there are still roughly 45 million Americans living out an existence more or less equivalent to economic slavery; a new American tradition.
The recent COVID-19 press conference by our President and “the experts” put the onus of stopping the spread of the virus on millennials shoulders saying that “it is up to the millennials to stop the spread” by adhering to the newly proposed 15-day self-quarantine. The “experts” then went on to say that even though millennials’ personal health is not in question with regards to COVID-19, they should stay home anyway to stop the spread of the virus. So let us recap. The Millennials – the most down-trodden, disenfranchised, and disempowered generation of the 21st century, who themselves will not amass any wealth, own any property, and will continue to be enslaved economically by their student loan debt, and who themselves are unlikely to be adversely affected by COVID-19 – should take the economic brunt of the COVID-19 outbreak by self-quarantining and taking time off work simply, “for the good of the older generations”? This line of thinking shows that the older generations have and will continue to look out only for themselves, both giving nothing to and asking everything of younger generations.
It is unreasonable, unethical, and downright despicable to further burden the millennial generation by asking them to sacrifice their already impoverished financial well-being in order to “give more to the older generations”. If there is a group of people who can afford to self-quarantine, who personally benefit from self-quarantine, and who could take the responsibility of contracting and spreading a virus into their own hands, it is the parents’ and grandparents’ of the millennials who have the wealth, the property, and the power to weather the storm.
It is far past time for the parents and grandparents of the millennials to step aside (i.e., retire) to allow millennials to regain upward trajectory in their careers and to allow millennials to enter positions of power at local, state, and federal levels of government. If you love this country as millennials do and you want to see the country flourish far into the future, then we need new ideas, younger spirits, and a more vibrant and wealthy millennial generation. To this end, as a country we might consider fostering a brighter and healthier economic future for America by taking such actions as: implementing mandatory retirement at age 70, allowing for the dissolution of student loan debt through bankruptcy, and providing healthcare coverage to younger generations who are not able to get employer-based healthcare because there are no jobs. The older generations seem content to retain power forever. It is time for millennials to seize the day!
The Millennial Soul
A Millennial Perspective to COVID-19