by Missi Lastra
I was visiting with family members when one young gentleman entered the home where we were meeting wearing a Bernie Sanders 2016 t-shirt. Needless to say, I was quite put off and had to hold myself back from starting an anti-socialism debate. The worst thing was he was in the home of a disabled Army Ranger and Iraq War Veteran. While wanting to respect his beliefs, I still could not help from feeling a little embarrassed.
First let me describe this family member:
He is a 25-yr-old that has never lived outside of either his mother’s or father’s home, never attended college, never joined the military, never owned a home nor does he have a family to support. He has a decent part-time job that he just started with a government agency. He just purchased his 2nd car with his mother’s co-signature, his 1st car was paid for in cash by his father. It took him a long time to decide to buy a car after wrecking his 1st car, and preferred using his mothers’ car until it was simply not feasible any longer. So, essentially, he is either super cautious, or super leery of responsibility, or both. He does pay bills at his mother’s house, which he seems to prefer over independent living. As for his education, his family has strongly encouraged him to go to college but he never seems truly motivated to do so. His education consists of a sub-par public education from a major Florida city. He is a good-hearted young man, and a child of technology loving video games more than playing outside. Even when encouraged to go into gaming as a profession, he was simply not motivated to get up off the couch to do anything about it. Sound familiar? I think he is probably quite typical of the age group.
As a local conservative activist, I have been working closely with local young Republican groups. I see them as the future of not just our party but of our country. I attended a debate watch party last night with a local college Republican group and they lifted my spirits regarding this issue considerably. I was able to sit alongside young Conservatives who are enthusiastically searching for knowledge and hoping to make a difference with not only their powerful vote, their time and effort, but with their future career choices. These young people were between 18-22, some live at home while others live on or by the campus. All have jobs, either part or full time. Not one of them expects anything for free, nor do they believe for one second the government is more qualified to make decisions for their lives than they are. Alas, there is hope for our young leaders.
So again I ask, who are these millennials anyway? Why is there such a disparity between them? And this is where I begin my research to discover if my family member is representative of this group? Or is this group of inspiring young people I sat with last night the better representation of the millennial generation?
A poll from the Harvard Institute of Politics found that younger millennials are not as liberal as older millennials. 18-20-year-olds identify party affiliations as 42% Democrat, 33% Republican and 26% Independent. The older, 24-25-year-old millennials are more liberal with 50% identifying as Democrat, 27% Republican and 23% Independent. The younger generation grew up in a different, post 9/11 world and a recessed economy which may account for some of their more conservative views. However, strangely enough as both generations start earning $40-$60k they also become more fiscally conservative and less inclined to support income redistribution policies. Which takes me back to my millennial subject.
For the sake of understanding the research I have chosen for this article we must go back to the reasoning of my family member. One of his points was that Bernie Sanders was going to give everyone the right to a free, 2-year college education like every other civilized country. This was a wild exaggeration, but to his point there are other countries that offer low-cost education – but not free. I have looked at these countries, i.e., Brazil, Germany, Slovenia, Sweden, Finland, France, Norway and even Mexico. Looking at each of these countries, though they may have low, or no-cost tuition they do have registration fees and many have extremely high living expenses. So, in the famous words of my dad, “Nothing is free and be very suspicious of anyone that says it is.” The economies of these countries vary from extremely poor and disparate to offering good opportunity for regular people. Those countries that offer better opportunities for workers also have much higher tax rates for their citizens. In some countries the citizens do not get to choose their profession, nor do they have the right to choose to be business owners.
From what I can see, a low cost education has strings attached. Which is why the United States is one of the top destination countries in the world that education seekers flock to for our esteemed learning facilities. Please note, I have issues with many of our educational facilities ranging from extremely high and unnecessary costs to professors using their grading power to socially blackmail our youth into liberal views. I am definitely not saying we have it just right here in our country, but I am saying that we should be very leery of those offering “free stuff”. Anybody who has worked, paid taxes, raised a family, owned a business or served our country and is not mentally incapacitated should know that free things have long term costs. Accepting “free stuff” is sort of like selling your soul to the devil, eventually you will have to pay up.
Back to my democrat-socialist family member whose other point was the fact that in this country we have an unfair income disparity. I am not certain how to truly research this. Yes, we have income disparity. I am not rich, or even wealthy unless you count the fact that I have an amazing and loving family. But I simply do not believe there are other countries that are in any better of a situation. I don’t know the answer to fix this but I do know that we will never be able to make poor people richer by making rich people poorer. It simply doesn’t work, just ask New Jersey how it worked for their state? Raising taxes on the wealthy just made the wealthy move elsewhere and led to an economic recession for the state. Or look at the large companies leaving the USA with American jobs to go operate in other countries with less taxation and regulation. More taxation and regulation simply does not lead to more prosperity. Simple! (Maybe I do have the answer?)
What I do know is that with all our disagreements, issues and problems, the United States of America is still the best place in the world to live and raise a family! This is one place in the world where anybody, from anywhere, can achieve anything. It takes hard work, commitment, a willingness to learn and even fearlessness! We have an amazing doctrine, authored by our forefathers, called the U.S. Constitution. There is no place in our Constitution for a government ruling the people but is for the people empowering the government. Socialism is a hiding place for the lazy and unmotivated and a demotivater for over-achievers. Even Democratic Socialism would be the end of America as we know her.
Attention Millennials, do not make a deal with the devil for “free stuff”! Simply do what Americans have done for many years…….Earn It! Work for it! Serve your country for it! Get off your mom’s couch and own your lives. Please don’t think any government can do better for you than You!