Many people know that the US national debt is currently at over $22 trillion. Many may not realize that this is the highest level of debt which has ever existed by any nation at any time in history. US debt accounts for 1/3 of all debts by nations globally.
Yet most people do not realize that US consumer debt has also skyrocketed. US household consumer debt has increased to $13.54 trillion as of the 4th quarter of 2018, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. This is higher than 2008, before the crash and 21% higher than 2013.
Corporate debt is reported as being $9 trillion, according the CNBC on 11/21/18.
This all comes at a time while student loan defaults are at the highest level in history, vehicle loan defaults are higher than 2009, corporations are downsizing or declaring bankruptcy and retail closures may well reach record numbers for the second year in a row. As corporations downsize or fail, that affects consumer income, leading to more debt, more defaults.
As of this moment, the only reason we are not seeing a rise in home foreclosures is because new property loans since 2009 have primarily been to equity owners. In other words, companies that buy property to rent out, rather than for direct occupancy. Those corporate owners got a reprieve via the bipartisan tax cut but that has a limited beneficial time frame. While rents have increased, so has the percentage of vacancies nationally.
Many younger Americans are staying in their parent’s homes longer than they used to for financial reasons. They are also not buying as many vehicles as previous generations, opting instead for public transportation or car pooling. They are also having children later or choosing to not have children at all. If they do leave home, they are less likely to purchase a home because they cannot be assured of employment status for any reasonable period of time. Aside from student loans, they try and avoid long-term debt for exactly that reason.
Younger generations have become the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, sharing and upcycling generations. They may buy some things new but tend to reserve their funds for things they really want instead of going on wild-eyed capitalist frenzies.
Some of this is done out of fear for very real reasons. Jobs pay too little and are not reliable. The younger a person is, the more prone they are to being laid off in a last-in, first-out scenario when mass layoffs, corporate restructuring, downsizing are announced. I saw much of the same conditions regarding job experience when I was a teenager. Employers demanding experience, yet not willing to hire a young person so they would gain that experience.
Younger people are less able to become successful entrepreneurs than previous generations. If they start a business, it is likely to be driven out of existence by corporate competition. If they have an innovative idea, it will be stolen, copied and mass produced with no credit or royalties ever offered.
The thing to realize about all of this is that nearly all of their well-based fears is that these conditions are being orchestrated by those of older generations. Older corporate executives announce layoffs and bankruptcies while claiming multi-million dollar bonuses. Older stockholders demand these conditions by insisting on stock dividends every year or even every quarter. Older workers have seniority which they insist upon, some deserving for their experience and others barely productive, just riding out the calendar. AARP lobbies for special treatment of older workers, special rates, while sometimes being the same ones causing the other conditions which younger people face.
Is it any wonder that younger people today are voicing ever-increasing support for Socialism, all the way up to Marxism? Is it any wonder at all that there is a perceived conflict between both economic class and generations?
We’ve known for years that the population is aging and there are not enough younger workers entering the workforce to provide for the elderly who are retiring. Wages are stagnant and Social Security may not exist to the time when I retire and I am about to be 57 years old. Yet the national debt keeps increasing so much that we will soon be paying so much interest that the debt will never be paid by any living generation.
Add to this the fact that younger people are more likely to come out as gay or bisexual than older generations. Yet more and more laws are introduced which target them for their orientation. Some of this is mere ideology but most of that ideology is forced upon younger generations by older generations and even employers who check social media posts and associates. Privacy is a thing of the past and employers sometimes make sexual orientation a subject and condition of employment. One of the most ironic aspects of this is that older generations claim younger people are sexually frivolous today, even though studies have shown that today’s younger people are waiting longer to have sex at all, more likely to use protection and have fewer partners by the same age as their parents did.
Younger Americans are also less likely to buy and own firearms than their parents. Which is why firearm sales have decreased over recent years. Once you’ve lived through fear of being a school shooting victim, guns seem a lot less attractive for some reason. A few months ago, the NRA claimed it is going broke and may not be able to afford to continue to exist. That’s doubtful but we can always hope.
None of the above even mentions young people fearing that a draft could be instituted, considering the number of wars the US is in and expanding for the benefit of corporate profits and unreasoning xenophobia of their older countrymen.
Millions of older Americans like myself do understand and are not blind to the predicament young people are in. That there are valid reasons for rising illicit drug use, antidepressant use and clinical depression that have become so common for younger generations.
I am not speaking for or against it but a flashpoint is coming. The lid is off the powder keg and we’re just waiting for the spark that sets it off now. It’s unlikely there have been this many calling for a true Revolutionary overthrow of the government since the Civil War. JFK said, “Those that make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.” We’ve been trying for a peaceful revolution for years. It’s not working. Patience has worn thin.
So it’s up to the young and the poor just what happens from here. You know which side I’ll be on.