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Not Going to College Can Solve a Lot of Problems

In response to being called out for one of the most shockingly self-unaware tweets of the year, Time magazine reporter Charlotte Alter turned to fellow millennials for support.  And it only made things worse.

You will remember that Alter was the one whose cover story on Representative Ocasio-Cortez included the pathetic rationale that the reason millennials are choosing socialism is because they have never known prosperity.  It’s an unrealistic premise as I outlined here

When others rightly mocked the assertion that the most privileged generation in American history was underprivileged, Alter retweeted fellow blue-checked, left-wing millennial Amanda Litman who protested,

“My mentions are 90% rage about how millennials are entitled, lazy, spoiled & self-absorbed. Facts: We took on 300% more student debt than our parents, are 1/2 as likely to own homes as young adults in 1975, 1 in 5 are living in poverty & we won’t be able to retire until we’re 75.”

Oh my.  First, it’s a bit bizarre when making the indirect case for socialism to cite the collapsing state of government-run retirement schemes as a reason its necessary.  Of course, costs of home ownership and student loan debt is also a problem that can be effectively placed at the feet of big government as well.  But what really strikes me about this is the inability to see the fairly self-evident work-around to all these problems: stop going to college.

Obviously I’m oversimplifying here, and I also acknowledge that certain careers make post-secondary education a necessity.  But if Ms. Litman wants to talk “Facts,” let’s do so:

Every student in elementary and high school should be learning about the “success sequence.” The phrase was introduced by Isabel Sawhill and Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution and has lately been reinforced with a study by W. Bradford Wilcox and Wendy Wang of the Institute for Family Studies.

What they’ve found is that students have it within their power to virtually guarantee a middle- or upper-class income if they follow three steps. Those three basics are 1) finish high school, 2) get a full-time job, and 3) get married before having children. Young people who follow all three steps have only a 3 percent likelihood of living in poverty when they reach young adulthood. Eighty-six percent of Millennials who put marriage first had incomes in the middle or upper third, compared with 53 percent who had children before marriage. The success sequence works for those born into poverty, too. Seventy-one percent of Millennials who grew up in the bottom third of the income distribution were in the middle or upper third by young adulthood if they followed the three steps. Among African Americans, 76 percent who followed the success sequence achieved the middle class or above, and among Hispanics, the percentage was 81 percent.

So back to Ms. Litman’s frustrations: young people that follow this “success sequence” don’t have that student loan debt she laments.  They will own their own homes, won’t live in poverty, and can plan to retire at whatever age they prefer rather than wait til when the government tells them they can.

All it requires is being proactive, being smart, being prudent, and being responsible.  If Ms. Litman resents that path or intentionally refuses to promote it, perhaps her mentions should be full of 90% rage.

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