Who Is Rob Long and Why Should We Care What He Thinks about 20-Year-Olds?

Future Majority
Craig Berger
June 30, 2011
Well, another day, and another unknown guy lamenting the horrible things happening to our generation and our supposed complicit behavior.

This rando,* a [screenwriter and conservative] Gen Xer named Rob Long, writes that young people are being ripped off thanks to a "a vast, Madoff-like Ponzi scheme," in which payroll taxes are immediately shuffled off to help seniors pay their medical bills. He can't believe that young people are letting this go and are not more alarmed, Glenn Beck style.  Long writes:

"And yet: no protests in the streets. No marches. No student sit-ins. No youth agitation at all, really, except for a couple of College Republicans in blue blazers. What? Are they stupid? After all of that college tuition? Are young people in their 20s just dumb?"

I appreciate your phony concern, Rob. But if you're truly advocating for a strong quality of life for Millennials, you'd come to terms with what must be a painful truth for you. Your party, while railing against imaginary deficits in the future, blatantly ignores the fact that many of us are struggling to make end's meet today.

One of your party's governors, in the name of fiscal responsibility, cut $30 million from childcare centers. And "after all that college tuition," House Republicans propose to balance the budget by taking away Pell Grants, and therefore the prospects of higher education, from many of us at the worst possible time. This is at the same time that we're being crushed by trillions of dollars in student loans. Fellow Future Majority writer Karlo Marcelo used a great analogy to frame this reality back when we were debating the stimulus:

UPHILL CLIMB"Millennials will face new challenges when caring for the Baby Boomer generation as they near towards retirement. What they don't need are unnecessary financial burdens that make it difficult for them to succeed early on in their adult lives. Young people are already saddled with a "burden", and the GOP needs to recognize and respect that reality.

 "Imagine for a moment that you are trying to traverse a hill. The hill represents how much taxes you expect to pay over your lifetime. One end of the hill is the start (the beginning of your life), the top of the hill is middle-age, and the other end of the hill is, well, six-feet-under. At both ends of the hill, you pay relatively little in taxes, and the top of the hill is when you pay the most in taxes. This is what tax-paying looks like throughout the course of one's life. For some generations, traversing this hill was made easier (but not faster), because the government helped invest in the well-being of the tax-payer very early on in life.

"This is not the case with Millennials. The rising cost (PDF) of college and beyond has not resulted in a proportionate increase in services or resources. When you place this fact of rising costs into the context of rising college attendance, the effect is magnified. The share of young people that have attended college has increased 21 percentage points from the 1970s to the present (PDF, pg. 5). What's more is the fact young people with post-graduate degrees on are on the rise, too. What all this amounts to is a more difficult (but not slower) journey over the hill. It's almost as if Millennials have to carry a heavy backpack (read: student debt) and still keep pace with everyone else. Now add to that the fact that the end of the hill for Millennials is much farther away than it is for previous generations due to longer life expectancy."

- Karlo  Marcelo

So, if you're seriously concerned about our collective future, do us a favor: get off your high horse, hop on a time machine back to now and start working on these problems.

Mr. Long, you're not done. Please sit back down. Let me explain another thing. And I'll go slowly, because this might be hard for you to understand:

Millennials. Like. Government.

Seriously, we do. You can see that here, here, here, or even here.

According to NDN, a Washington think tank, 58 percent of Millennials actually favor larger government, as opposed to one that “stays out of society and the economy.” It might be surprising since we've been let down by government so often (especially from 2001 to 2006 when the GOP ruled Washington), but it's the truth.

And we do protest. Your fellow "unknown" Ted Nugent also made the mistake of assuming young people don't get mad and act on it, and we provided these examples (these being just a few that one quick Google search turned up):

...and there's more.

Based on the list above and the little we do know of you, it would appear you're merely grumpy because we don't protest the same things that your Tea Party friends do.

Do us a favor and can the fake outrage. If you're genuine, you'd be doing what you could to keep conservatives from defunding our collective future so that fat cats can keep flying their corporate jets.

*random person

Craig Berger earned a masters degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Miami University in 2011 and is an active member of Future Majority, a blog dedicated to covering the involvement of young voters in progressive politics.

This article was originally published on the Future Majority blog.  It is reprinted here with permission.

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