Over at Newsweek Joel Kotkin paints a gut-wrenching portrait of the plight of the millennials, who still dream the same dreams as their parents but lack the means to realize them. “Generation Screwed” is his term for the young adults facing unemployment, depreciated degrees and massive debt laid upon them by their boomer parents.Read the whole thing. Of particular interest is Kotkin’s look at the millennials’ complex political makeup: a mix of dissatisfaction and a yearning for the blue model institutions of old. Growing up amid the Great Recession, the young are drawn to plans for higher taxes on the (boomer) rich and promises of income redistribution. On the other hand, much of the redistribution in our economy today is from younger people to the older folks, and no millennial can ignore the rickety state of programs like Medicare.Can “Generation Screwed” make a stand in politics? Kotkin has some suggestions for them:
[M]illennials need to force the parties to cater to them and play hard to get. Being taken for granted, as African-Americans have been, does not always produce the best results for any demographic grouping. Politicians target “soccer moms,” “independents,” and suburban voters precisely because they are not predictable. Millennials should not want to be in anyone’s hip pocket.
There may be signs that this cohort is beginning to heed Kotkin’s advice. The millennials backed Obama and the Democratic Party in recent elections, but younger millennials seem less impressed and there are questions about how large the youth vote will be in 2012. The War on the Young is being waged to keep the blue model alive for older voters while leaving younger people to scramble for crumbs. As more young people recognize that many of our redistributive policies are stacked against them, it will be interesting to see how their politics shape up.