Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Millennial Economic Survey by the Economic Innovation Group

This blog started after the 2008 financial crisis in an effort to monitor events which might lead to monetary system changes. While no major changes have taken place thus far, the preconditions for change are simmering below the surface. This recent survey by the Economic Innovation Group points out that the upcoming Millennial generation views things quite differently from older generations. Below are a few excerpts from the survey. I added the underlines for additional emphasis.


"Millennials are the future of the U.S. economy. But when it comes to their future, and the future of the country, they are a deeply pessimistic generation. EY and EIG conducted a new national public survey of 1,200 Millennials to gauger their views on a variety of issues related to the economy at all levels--personal, local, and national-- and the challenges they face almost seven years into the recovery from the Great Recession The results outlined below paint a complex picture of a generation convinced the economy is failing them, one that is willing to work hard to better their lot, and one that is very uncertain about what comes next." 

. . . . .

"Millennials will be the most educated generation in U.S. history, but they are not convinced that higher education will provide them the same leg-­up on the path to prosperity that it guaranteed earlier generations. Their ambivalence stems in part from the inexorable rise in the cost of college, which has changed its value proposition. Instead of opening doors, many Millennials feel that student debt has boxed them in. In fact, between 2004 and 2014, there was an 89 percent increase in the number of student borrowers, and the average balance per borrower grew by 77 percent."

. . . . .

"True to reputation, Millennials are skeptical of the establishment. While not as overtly iconoclastic as some of their parents might have been at similar ages, Millennials put very little confidence in established institutions—perhaps because established institutions have yet to deliver for them. The establishment aside, Millennials remain fiercely patriotic and supportive of a leading role for the United States in the world."

. . . . . 

"Millennials’ stunted launch into a recession-­plagued economy has clouded expectations about their future prosperity. Millennials hold out little hope that their standard of living will rise above their parents’. Blacks and Hispanics buck the trend somewhat, and men remain more optimistic than women. Nevertheless, Millennials are a generation slowly coming to terms with the reality that they may be the first in modern times to experience backsliding living standards."

. . . . . 

"How to win the coveted vote of a supposedly fickle and hard to decipher generation? Evidence suggests that economic uncertainty greatly influences Millennials’ political priorities. It comes as little surprise that Millennials want more public investment in education. More surprising is how large retirement already looms in the Millennial psyche: Social Security and Medicare are their second biggest priority for federal funding, suggesting that their economic anxiety runs deep and far into the future. Many Millennials want an investment and growth strategy to improve their lot. And true to reputation, their political preferences often don’t fall down conventional party lines."


My added comments: Some of the findings of this survey are in line with what is generally believed about Millennials. However, other findings are perhaps surprising. The survey describes Millennials as "fiercely patriotic" and says that the political views of Millennials are spread out across the political spectrum more evenly than some may have expected (about the same ratio as older generations with a bit more of them calling themselves independents).

The excerpts shown above indicate that there is simmering discontent with our present system. The survey says Millennials believe our established institutions and economic system have failed them. From an economic point of view, they were born into a system saddling each of them with an enormous debt burden well into the future. Their taxes will fund the programs relied upon by their parents such as Social Security and Medicare. On top of that, society told them that they must have a very expensive college education to make it in life. The increasing price of that education has resulted in the average millennial graduating with over $25,000 in student debt to pay off on top of funding the social programs mentioned above.

No wonder we see simmering discontent. Are we surprised when some start asking when they get some benefits from the system rather than just paying off all the debt? How will Millennials respond to new ideas directed towards them that all these debts they hear about don't really matter?

These issues are not going to just go away. The debate over what kind of financial system and monetary system we should have (and what is a fair system) is more likely to just continue to intensify as the millennial generation matures. 

The goal of this blog is to provide a source of free basic information related to these issues for anyone interested. Coming up in April on this blog will be some articles that are designed for Millennials looking to get some basic fundamental background information on money, monetary systems, and some history on how we got to where we are today. Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, an understanding of the fundamentals of money and monetary systems is of value as these issues are debated in the coming years. Please check back in April and take advantage of these articles if you are new to these issues and want to learn more.


I asked Dr. Judy Shelton to preview one of these articles and she offered me this comment to use here:

"I hope this kind of information reaches many young people and causes them to reflect on the importance of trustworthy money."  -- Dr. Judy Shelton

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