Over the past week, President Obama has been on the road making an appeal to young Americans, offering a sales pitch on lower interest rates for their burdensome student loans. What he didn’t mention, though, is the even bigger nightmare they’ll face down the road.
The president’s meme is one that USAToday picked up on this morning, describing the plight of Millennials, their piles of debt, and their high rate of unemployment:
Today’s twentysomethings hold an average debt of about $45,000, which includes everything from cars to credit cards to student loans to mortgages, according to a PNC financial independence survey released last month. Unemployment for those 18-29 is 12.4%, well above the national rate of 8.2%; and young people face an increasingly complex global economy that is credit-driven and puts more responsibility on individuals to plan for and manage their retirement accounts.
Personal debt might be the demon pounding on some young people’s doors today, but a little farther down the road is an even bigger beast that today’s Millennials might not even know about.
On Monday, the Medicare Trustees released their 2012 report in which they described the bleak future Medicare and Social Security. Both programs are headed for insolvency with Medicare operating in the red by 2024 and Social Security running out of funds in 2033. Reform is drastically needed, yet Washington refuses to take the necessary steps to get the country’s fiscal house in order. And that means that the young Americans the president is appealing to today will have to foot the bills tomorrow.
The Heritage Foundation’s newly released 2012 Federal Budget in Pictures series paints the picture of what those bills will look like. Today, every American’s share of the debt is $36,267. By 2036, that number will be nearly $135,547, dwarfing the $45,000 in debt that young Americans are reportedly shouldering today.
Yes, Millennials have their share of fiscal struggles, but they’re taking on more of their share because of Washington’s neglect. If President Obama really wants to give them a leg up on their future, he should start ushering in reforms to entitlement spending right now.