Economic Malpractice and the MillennialsFebruary 10, 2012
There are 80-plus million Americans today who were born roughly between 1978 and 2000, and they’re getting hit hard by economic circumstances created over the past 30 years. The Millennials are the first generation of Americans who cannot count on doing better than their parents. Many Millennials are working longer hours, and have seen their earnings decrease. Meanwhile, their personal debt has increased over the last four years to the point where they face unrelenting payments on interest for money they borrowed for college or just to stay above water.
How have these realities affected their outlook? And how will it impact Barack Obama’s future? Millennials turned out for him by huge margins in 2008, but their enthusiasm has waned. On this week’s Moyers & Company, Bill Moyers talks with a Millennial who has dedicated herself to tackling these issues. At 31, Heather McGhee directs the Washington office of the research and advocacy group Demos, and is fighting for financial reforms and consumer protection.
“Our generation is the most diverse generation in American history… But we are also the generation that is experiencing record inequality — inequality in our economy and inequality in our democracy,” McGhee tells Moyers. “We need to become a very politically-engaged generation.”
In the same broadcast, Moyers talks with conservative economist Bruce Bartlett, who wrote “the bible” for the Reagan Revolution, worked on domestic policy for the Reagan White House, and served as a top treasury official under the first President Bush. Now he’s a heretic in the conservative circles where he once was a star.
Bartlett argues that right-wing tax policies — pushed in part by Grover Norquist and Tea Party activists — are destroying the country’s economic foundation. When he called George W. Bush out as “a pretend conservative” in his book Impostor: Why George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy, Bartlett was fired from his position as a senior fellow at a conservative think tank. His new book is The Benefit and the Burden: Tax Reform — Why We Need It and What It Will Take.
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