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

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

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.

Craig Berger