“The Millennial Commission” by Hilary Doe and Lucas Puente, published on The Huffington Post:
f you believe the stereotype that Millennials, members of the generation born between 1978 and 2000, are indifferent to issues of social insurance — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. — Congress’s recent conversations should change your mind. Even if you imagined that young people across the country were not personally touched by or invested in the support that social insurance provides, you must recognize that the proposed Deficit Commission, intended to decrease the national debt by making cuts outside the democratic process, could serve as a rallying cry — an impetus for the largest-ever generation of Americans to demand a voice in the debate. Before Social Security or Medicare are targeted and slashed as part of the undemocratic commission’s “solution” to our growing fiscal debt, Millennials must be given the opportunity to weigh in. That is because we are engaged in these issues, we are prepared to contribute our perspective, and, most importantly, we are capable of designing the society that we would like to inherit.
It Goes Beyond Debt: Insuring Our Present and Our Future
As many have previously noted, the Millennial Generation is unique. We are interconnected, socially conscious, and innovative. We desire community, hold a holistic view of the world, and value progress. The Social Insurance programs taking the brunt of criticism by deficit hawks in DC have shaped our society since the Social Security Act’s passage in1935. If they are to change, reforms should be informed by these values, and not simply by a goal of deficit reduction. A country’s social insurance programs should be reflective of the citizens they serve. Therefore, instead of simply worrying about passing debt to future generations, Congress must consider the society that young Americans desire to live in when considering reform.
Millennials recognize the benefits of social insurance. We are beneficiaries of Medicaid benefits. We recognize the important role that Social Security and Medicare can play in our future. We aspire to self-employment and identify ourselves as entrepreneurs–an aspiration made less risky by a strong social safety net.
Additionally, Social Security already supports Millennials nationwide. For example, millions of young Americans are being raised by their grandparents. For many, the income received from social security makes this possible. Additionally, Social Security provides financial support to the families of children whose parents are disabled or deceased. In total, Social Security removes 1.3 million children from poverty every year and improves the impoverished conditions of 1.5 million others. Even Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) reaches less than half of the number of children whose conditions are improved via Social Security. As a generation, we must recognize that both our present and our future are directly affected by the existence, strength, and breadth of the American social safety net.
A recent report by the Center for American Progress and Demos confirms the Millennial Generation’s support of strong social insurance programs in America. Millennials favor increased government spending to stabilize Social Security, with 66% of 18 to 29 year-olds in support, compared with 52% of those over 60. Similarly, the number of young adults favoring more government support for Americans’ retirement stands at 69%, up from 56% in 1996 and 53% in 1985.
Let Us Design the Society that We Will Inherit
The Millennial generation’s support for Social Security does not imply, however, that we are not concerned about the level of debt that we will inherit. We are not ignorant of the cuts or revenue-raising measures that will need to be taken to ensure the solvency of any program that we intend to support. We are concerned. We are conscious of the difficult decisions that need to be made, and, we must be included in these important conversations. In fact, the aforementioned values and attitudes that define our generation–innovation, social consciousness, and interconnectedness–imply a unique potential for Millennials to design a system that is fresh, transformative, responsible, and reflective of those people that it supports. We can imagine reform efforts that pay heed to reality and look outside the box to redesign our social safety net.
So, while we appreciate Congress’s efforts to reel in the national debt, an undemocratic process that compromises social insurance without input from the citizens that it supports is not the answer. Failing to include the perspective of Millennials, the generation that stands to be impacted more than any other at the table, would represent a tremendous missed opportunity. Most importantly, by not engaging the Millennial generation on issues of social insurance, we fail to consult a generation of Americans equipped with powerful ideas capable of balancing our budget and reinvigorating social insurance for decades to come. That is something this country simply cannot afford.
Filed under: National Life
From the book, Who’s Your City? via Andrew:
Filed under: National Life
A little while ago, my roommate and I were discussing favorite bloggers and she remarked as to how my favorite were a gay British guy and a black guy.
Well, I’m pretty sure that you don’t have to like TNC to enjoy this post, nor do you actually have to be black to understand it. Basically, it’s hilarious and sometimes the blogosphere just needs to take a chill pill and joke around a bit:
From Fighting Words:
Can we stop with the “cucumber sandwiches” bit? I have never had a cucumber sandwich, and I don’t know anyone who has.
I have kept silent in the past, but now I must object to this campaign by some African Americans to demonize cucumber sandwiches. I’m as white as they come, and I find the taste of cucumbers disgusting. But I feel honor bound to defend this vegetable from the attacks of certain radical black ideologues.
This unjustified savaging of an innocent vegetable — which was first cultivated by brown-skinned people in India — is particularly ironic, given that the cucumber is a member of the same family (Cucurbitaceae) as the watermelon.
I feel like I am selling out my people because I have never had a cucumber sandwich. I would assume you use mayo instead of miracle whip to make more WASPy.
I am determined to get cucumbers next time I go shopping
White people, I have heard your message loud and clear. This blog has been insensitive and inconsiderate. In as much as it dismisses the lighter races as Coldplay-listening, cucumber sandwich-eating dilettantes, this blog has been grossly unfair. For nearly 400 days, it has repeatedly subjected whites to some of the worst verbal oppression every experienced in all the history of internets.
We have held up the beauty of obscure figures like Nia Long and Nona Gaye, while ignoring Nicole Kidman. We have marveled at the artistry of MF Doom, while offering nary a mention of Eminem. We have tried to see the world from the perspective of black homophobes, while offering no quarter to white homophobes. Why are their so many Chris Rock jokes?? What about Seinfeld?? What does it matter the color of a homophobe. Are they not all worthy of quarter??
Now is the time to free white people from the shackles of the neo-colonial, fascist, Gestapo black blogesphere. I dedicate the rest of my life, and the rest of this blogs life, toward ending Black Skin Privilege, toward bringing the races together, toward harmony, and fried chicken and congac for everyone. Black Supremacy is the enemy. Say it with me white folks, “You are. Somebody.”
Filed under: Democrats, Economy, Election 2008, National Life, Republicans
I by no means consider myself an economist. I haven’t taken economics and most of what I know comes from new analysis, professor analysis, and the help of my parents who work in the healthcare and insurance sector.
My Dad yesterday commented about how he was upset that the Democrats were breaking overwhelmingly in favor of the bailout bill while the Republicans are against he. He thought it was going to break the other way. Obviously, he didn’t quite understand the bill- he thought it was still Bush’s plan, rather than a bipartisan effort. Also, his old school conservative laissez-faire leanings were starting to come out.
Here’s a little explanation for my own understanding, my dad’s, and for everyone else (liberal leaning of course):
The calm version, courtesy of Steven Pearlstein:
The basic problem here is that too many people don’t understand the seriousness of the situation.Americans fail to understand that they are facing the real prospect of a decade of little or no economic growth because of the bursting of a credit bubble that they helped create and that now threatens to bring down the global financial system.
Politicians worry less about preventing a financial meltdown than about ideology, partisan posturing and teaching people a lesson. Financiers have yet to own up publicly to their own greed, arrogance and incompetence. And leaders of foreign governments still think that this is an American problem and that they have no need to mount similar rescue efforts in their own countries.
In the coming weeks and months, all of these people will come to understand how deep the hole really is and how we’re all in it together.
They’ll come to understand that the giant sucking sound they hear is of a massive deleveraging of the global economy and the global financial system as households, governments, businesses and investment funds adjust to living in a world with less debt and more inflation.
And they will come around, reluctantly, to the understanding that the only way to get out of these situations is to have governments all around the world borrow gobs of money and effectively nationalize large swaths of the financial system so it can be restructured, recapitalized, reformed and returned to private ownership once the crisis has passed and the economy has gotten back on its feet.
In the next few weeks, the center of attention here in the United States will shift from the Congress and an exhausted Treasury to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which will now have to rescue any number of failing banks, either by taking them over directly or managing their transfer into stronger hands. It will also shift back to the Federal Reserve and other central banks, which will have to step up their efforts to maintain liquidity in money markets and prevent the credit crunch from taking down hedge funds, businesses, and state and local governments.
These will, alas, be only holding actions. Restoring real stability to financial markets will require the kind of systemic approach and extraordinary government interventions that the public has refused to authorize and finance. In better times, the public might have put aside its reluctance in response to the strong and unified recommendation of political and business leaders. But it is a measure of how little trust remains in both Washington and Wall Street that voters are willing to risk a serious hit to their wealth and income rather than follow their lead.
The…erm…less calm version from Kevin Drum:
I spent most of the day feeling about the same way I did on 9/11, consumed with a debilitating combination of fury and despair. I don’t feel much better tonight, but here are a few thoughts on the failure of the bailout bill anyway:
- The Republican Party Is Now Officially Hostage To A Band Of Primitive Conservative Ideologues Whose Knowledge Of Economics Was Already Outdated When Christians Were Being Fed To Lions. They Are Simply Beyond Belief.
- I’m Not Much Happier With The Jello-Like Support The Bailout Bill Got From Many Of Our Leading Liberals. Unfortunately, I Include Brad DeLong In This Group, But He’s Certainly Right When He Says, “This Republican Party Needs To Be Burned, Razed To The Ground, And The Furrows Sown With Salt…”
- John McCain Deserves To Be Tarred And Feathered. His Behavior Over The Past Week Has Been Almost Unbearably Craven.
- Barack Obama’s Behavior Has Been A Little Better. But Only A Little. He Hasn’t Exactly Displayed A Backbone Of Steel On This Issue.
- An Awful Lot Of People Really, Really Still Don’t Get It. I Swear, If I Hear One More Blogger Or Pundit Suggesting That Maybe It’s Actually A Good Thing The Bailout Bill Failed Because Now We Have A Chance To Pass An Even Better Bill, I’m Going To Scream.
- After The Failure Of The Bill, The GOP Leadership Invented A Fairy Tale About Nancy Pelosi Being At Fault For The Vote Debacle Because She Gave A Partisan Speech On The Floor Of The House. The Press Is Almost Unanimously Reporting This Seriously. If Republicans Had Blamed It On Santa Claus, I Guess They Would Have Reported That Seriously Too.
- Do You Know The Old Saying About Credit? “It’s Like Oxygen. You Don’t Know How Much You Need It Until It’s Gone.” We’re About To Go Into Financial Hypoxia, And It’s Not The Millionaires Who Are Going To Suffer Most From This.
- There Are Many Of You Who Probably Think I’m Overreacting. I Hope You’re Right.
And if you think this post is too caustic and bleak well, you should have seen the first draft that Windows ate. This is the toned down version.
It’s odd. The fact that I’ve been warning my friends about potential problems in our financial sector for nearly 2 years now didn’t make today any easier. In some ways it might have actually made it worse. Either way, well… yes, I am most definitely beginning to panic. This is very, very not good. I hope very much that I’m wrong on this, but I suspect things are about to go very far downhill very quickly.
UPDATE: Meanwhile, many on the left are gloating because they believe this now means we can get a “better bill.” Before I react to this, let me revise and extend my earlier remarks just a bit. When I wrote the first update to this post, I did not mean for it to in any way imply that I thought the collapse of the bill was a good thing. The “now that its failed, let’s make the bill more progressive” was an attempt to suggest a way to make lemonade out of lemons. In abstract, I prefer a more progressive bill. In reality, I would have very much preferred the bill pass as is. Now, with that out of the way…
The kids at MyDD and dKos are gloating tonight about the failure of this bill. They do not understand that they are playing with fire. For every day this crisis goes on, the resulting recession gets deeper and longer. Given that most if not all of these people hope for and expect an Obama administration, they ought to think carefully about the long term political implications of anything even remotely resembling an economic collapse. Moreover, if they are truly “progressive,” if they truly believe all of this “we are all in this together, so we must help one another in times of distress” rhetoric that they so often put forth, they need to start thinking about the very real pain that inaction is going to create.
I need to repeat myself here:
Please, please remember: the Great Depression didn’t happen overnight. It is not as if one morning everything was fine and the next it was not. History books might give that impression, but if they do they are wrong. Black Tuesday is a symbolic starting point for the Great Depression, nothing more. It did not “cause” the Depression any more than the assassination of an Archduke “caused” the First World War. Complex events always have complex causes. Always.
Financial catastrophes unfold over weeks and months. They do not happen in a single day. Yes, some days matter more than others, sometimes much more, but they are never alone in their importance. Never.
The loss of over $1 trillion in wealth today may be just the tip of the iceberg. I hope beyond hope that I am wrong about this, but I do not see any reason to believe that I am. The problem, as Pearlstein notes above, is that the full ramifications of today’s events won’t be felt for months, and in some cases even years. These things play out over time, and by the time their implications are obvious it is usually far, far too late to react.
History does not pause for us while we make up our minds.
The problems we face are enormous. They are not going to go away. Put aside your ideological dreams and get serious about this. Everything in our lives runs on credit. Everything.
Your checkcard? It is a form of credit.
Your bank account? That money isn’t in the bank. It has been lent to someone else on credit.
The gas station where you fill up your car? It buys from suppliers on credit.
Your car? No doubt you bought that on credit.
The grocery store? It buys that food you ate for dinner from its suppliers on credit.
The corner bar? It bought that beer you drank tonight from a supplier on credit.
Credit crises roll downhill. Once this thing gets going, it will reach you. You will not be able to avoid it.
I am not trying to cause a panic. I’m just trying to make you understand. Everything in America runs on credit. And credit is disappearing at a ridiculously alarming rate. It doesn’t really matter right at this moment how we got here. We’ve got to find a way out of this mess.
To repeat: This problem will not solve itself, and history will not pause and wait while we deliberate.
McCain was sure quick to jump on the “I-Saved-The-Economy-By-Suspending-My-Campaign” Bandwagon earlier today when it looked like the bailout bill was going to pass in the House:
I put my campaign on hold for a couple days last week to fight for a rescue plan that put you and your economic security first. I fought for a plan that protected taxpayers, homeowners, consumers and small business owners.
I went to Washington last week to make sure that the taxpayers of Ohio and across this great country were not left footing the bill for mistakes made on Wall Street and in Washington.
Some people have criticized my decision, but I will never, ever be a president who sits on the sidelines when this country faces a crisis. Some of you may have noticed, but it’s not my style to simply “phone it in.”
But when the bill failed, the Republican roll call was tabulated and 133 voted nay while only 65 vote aye. McCain obviously did not turn out his party rank-and-file to vote in favor of the bill. Should he be to blame for the bill’s failure?
From the NRO, just to put all of that liberal MSM in their place:
When I first saw the clips, my suspicious and mean-spirited nature kicked in. I went to my computer and looked up the demography of that Hartford neighborhood. Uh-huh. (That’s just the broad zip code, which likely includes some gentrified zones. Here are student stats for the nearest public high school. Here are the same for the nearest public elementary school.) Yet in all the TV news and talking-head coverage of the incident, nobody bothered to tell us about neighborhood demographics. Not only did they not bother to tell us, they pointedly refrained from telling us. The talking heads were all: “What’s the matter with us?” and “How did we get this way?” and other verbal hand-wringings, while vast numbers of white TV viewers who’d already guessed the thing I’d looked up, were thinking to themselves: “Whaddya mean, us? This isn’t us, it’s them. Nothing to do with us.”
John Derbyshire cannot be serious can he?
“Whaddya mean, us? This isn’t us, it’s them. Nothing to do with us.”
First: Who is this them he is speaking of? People from Connecticut. Maybe, if he’s criticizing liberals. Probably not though, most people in Connecticut are pretty well off and good standing citizens. Ok, so not people from Connecticut. How about people who watch a hit and run and fail to come to the person’s aid directly. That’s what most people who agree was the horror surrounding this hit and run caught on tape. But no, he’s not talking about them. How about the people in Hartford. Ok, getting warmer. People in Hartford tend to have less education and less money than the rest of the people in Connecticut. But to be more specific, he is talking about the high minority population, specifically Hispanics and African Americans that live in and around the area in Hartford (Park Street) where the hit and run occurred. Ok so an US (white people who are citizens in good standing) vs. THEM (African Americans and Hispanics who are poor and live in inner-city Hartford, CT and couldn’t give a damn about anyone but themselves and their welfare checks). Sounds to me like someone is making way to many generalizations about people and being openly racist.
Second: What Derbyshire and his like-minded friends fail to realize is that of course the events that occurred in Hartford have to do with us. The hit and run shows us all that we all have to watch out for and protect each other. The Bible, other religious texts, etiquette, good manners, and being raised as good people and good citizens teach us to always care for other people. Hit and runs are terrible crimes as the driver has no regard for the injury or possibly even death that he might have caused another. Watching a hit and run happen and then stalling to get medical aid to an injured person lying in the street is also terrible as every moment counts in order to save a person’s life or minimize and injury. The hit and run is an example to Americans of the wrong way to treat our fellow citizens.
Further, this crime is an example of the deplorable conditions in some parts of Hartford and in a greater meaning to the rest of America, other inner-city areas across the United States. Scholars, politicians, etc. have debated and will continue to debate how to fix the problems of the urban underclass. The events captured on tape show just how much a life of homelessness, money problems, drug use, gang violence, missing fathers, pregnant teens, and broken homes can harden a community and turn people into humans who’s only concern is looking out for themselves.
Obviously something needs to be done in America to change and reverse the plight of the urban underclass. How? Well there is no clear cut answer. Obviously, universal preschool, a strong improvement in schools in the inner-city, ETIC and other aid programs, family planning classes, mentors, cleaning up the environment in the city, job training programs, more police patrols, and more jobs that pay well enough to support a family and live comfortably will all go a long way towards helping those people. The correct solution has never really been created yet, but it is surely a combination of many of those programs listed above, along with others.
One thing that most definitely will not help aid the urban underclass and change the hardening of the community is by drawing racial distinctions between people- attributing a person’s actions to race.
Our nation has come a long way since Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream Speech”. Unfortunately, his dream has not yet been fully achieved. I see it in my generation- our indignation at drawing racial distinctions and our ability to simply accept all different types of people from all different walks of life. We are the future, we are achieving King’s dream. Yet, for every step forward, there are always steps back- racial distinctions are drawn and lines are crossed. Once the majority of the nation beings to see the way the Millennials- no color or label attached to people- then King’s dream will have come true. Until then, we “kids” will have to sit and listen to people like John Derbyshire, those that are too ignorant to realize that his conclusions are racist and have passed their prime in this country.
Flooding in Iowa.
Terrible. The worst the area has ever seen. A true natural disaster.
Bad for the people living there- their homes and livelihoods along with their towns have been completely destroyed. Bad for the nation- the crops the have been lost will affect not only produce supplies but also meat supplies as the cattle, pigs, chickens, etc. now no longer have the feed that is supplied from the area.
Something this terrible comes along and the national government should get involved as soon as possible. The President needs to be there helping people, talking with the mayors and other local officials, and even sandbagging areas to protect against cresting rivers.
It’s a good thing that the future President and his large grassroots network of supporters are there for the people of Iowa.