by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Amity Shlaes aims her latest Forbes column at new voters, suggesting that they peruse two new books written by former staffers in the Bill Clinton and George W Bush administrations. Both books aim to help solve the problem of unsustainable federal entitlement programs.
Neither book, however, feels partisan, and both supply numbers that matter intensely to Millennials. Herewith, some data points highlighted by one or the other of these authors.
– $400. That’s the amount of monthly pension a person who is young today will receive when he or she retires, unless the law changes and that person saves more than the average. The only way $400 a month in private pension in 2065 doesn’t sound terrifying is when you consider the government pension, Social Security, might supply the balance of a retiree’s needs. But seniors are taking so much from the Social Security kitty right now, in 2015, that what remains for grandchildren will be minimal.
– 11. The multiple of annual earnings that young Americans need to save if they want to sustain their working lifestyle in retirement.
– $29,400. The average debt of a student upon leaving college. That sounds all right until you consider that in 1993 the average student debt ran around $10,000, or one-third today’s level (and, yes, those figures are in constant dollars). Paying off debt is tougher, too. Today 8% of college grads under 25 are unemployed, but even more grads are underemployed–44% compared with only 34% in 2001.
– $6,000. The hidden tax that regulation imposes on a person each year. In Wyoming it takes 175 days to qualify as a barber, or six college debt payments. In Nevada qualifying takes more than two years. Then there are even less obvious burdens–for example, Dodd-Frank, the financial-regulation law, protects big companies but makes life hard for the small new ones that young people want to start. Even regulation of the supposedly pro-youth minimum wage actually discriminates against youth by encouraging employers to hire more productive (older) talent.