Roper: Millennials are getting screwed by progressive policies

By Rob Roper

Senate Majority Leader Becca Balint, D-Windham, recently penned an op-ed discussing “The financial predicament of millennials.” She opens by quoting a young friend who is struggling to make student loan payments, find affordable child care and pay the mortgage.

Rob Roper

Rob Roper is the president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

Balint concludes noting, “Vermont’s young families face much bigger financial obstacles than their predecessors. They aren’t whining; they’re telling the truth, and we need to listen.” This is true. But the “much bigger obstacles” are the direct result of policies put in place by Balint and others who share her big-government-control ideology.

Take the first example of struggle: student loans. Who dominates the university system today? progressives. In 1964, the average annual cost — including tuition, fees, and room and board — for a four-year public university was $1,051, and $2,202 for a private university. Those are calculated in (nearly, 2007) current dollars. It was common for students to earn their tuition for the year with a summer job as a waiter or life guard. Today you’d have to have a summer job as a hedge fund manager to pay for your college. Those same averages had by 2007 ballooned to $14,203 and $38,400, respectively, and are certainly much higher today. For example, UVM’s 2017-18 rate for in-state students was $29,792, and $53,408 for out-of-state.

So, what happened? The National Higher Education Act of 1965, part of Lyndon Johnson’s big-government, Great Society agenda. The act, as described by the LBJ Library:

is the major law that governs federal student aid, was intended ‘to strengthen the educational resources of our colleges and universities and to provide financial assistance for students in postsecondary and higher education.’ It increased federal money given to universities, created scholarships, gave low-interest loans to students, and established a National Teacher Corps. The original law… has been reauthorized nine times through the years.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? The government (we’re here to help!) stepped in and messed with the free market to ostensibly make higher education more affordable and accessible. In practice, however, these left-wing politicians in collaboration with left-wing academics have since turned higher education from an affordable path to prosperity into an unaffordable debt-ridden path to poverty for too many young people.

Which brings us to the second mentioned area of struggle: affordable child care. Here in Vermont we are witnessing in real time our ideologically left-leaning government create a child care crisis both in terms of accessibility and cost. In 2016, Montpelier passed a number of draconian regulations that were designed to drive private childcare providers out of business. It worked. According to the Vermont Joint Fiscal Office, since 2015 the total number of childcare slots in the state has dropped by 1,693, or over 7 percent. But, as the report states, “the most striking result of this analysis of child care capacity is the significant reduction in home providers and child care slots,” where capacity declined by over 25 percent.

So, thanks to the progressive policies of our government, young families now have fewer childcare options, and those that are still available are more expensive because they have to incorporate and pass on the additional cost of complying with the 2016 regulations. The nefarious objective here is to create a false crisis of access and affordability that will generate a public outcry so that the government can then provide the taxpayer-funded, government-run “solution” of birth to five public schooling. This, by the way, its advocates estimate will have a price tag of about $850,000,000 annually. Add that to our current $1.7 billion K-12 education spending and see what it does to your property tax bill!

Which gets us to the last point of contention: paying the mortgage. Unbearably high housing costs are, indeed, a plague afflicting young people trying to settle in Vermont. But every initiative the majority in Montpelier has recently pursued and is pursuing will increase — not decrease — the cost of housing in Vermont.

High property taxes are one big cost to owners and passed on to renters, but no serious reform efforts are being considered in regard to lowering them. Our regulatory and permitting processes is expensive and unpredictable — high costs, again, passed along to the owner/renter if the hurdles don’t discourage adding housing capacity in the first place — but no efforts are underway to streamline them. In fact, the Act 250 “reform” being proposed today would make it harder and more expensive to build housing by, for one example, requiring new structures to be “carbon neutral.” That may sound nice, but it will make paying the mortgage a more daunting task.

Add a carbon tax to the complaints Balint lists, making transportation more expensive as well as heating that already unaffordable home. And a $15 minimum wage that will make entry level jobs more scarce. And a new payroll tax that will cost the medium household income nearly $700 a year for a family leave benefit most Vermonters don’t want and will never use. And “progressive” health insurance mandates and regulations that artificially drive up costs for young people.

So, millennials, it may seem nice that Senator Balint is putting her arm around you sympathetically and lamenting your plight. But, you might want to consider that she is the source of your pain.

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Rob Roper

7 thoughts on “Roper: Millennials are getting screwed by progressive policies

  1. It astounds me that the lib/progs that control VT continue to make it more and more expensive to live there because they believe they are endowed with some higher level of knowledge. The worst aspect of this is that a large enough percentage of the population believes them. Only time will show them how wrong they are.

    • “The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato’s and other ancients applauded by some of later times; that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God.” William Bradford, Governor, Plymouth Colony

      Time has shown, over and again, Socialism’s Tyranny of the Majority, its Tragedy of the Commons.

      “Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head
      And pretend that he just doesn’t see?
      The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
      The answer is blowing in the wind.” B. D.

    • Great comment Steve Allen, however, these people are not capable of understanding another point of view, after all…they feel clever and morally superior

  2. It sounds like millennials are getting what they voted for. It’s beyond laughable that the left-wing cabal in Montpelier can’t connect the dots that it’s their clueless meddling in the free market that has Vermont’s economy in a free fall. 0% job growth in 2018 and #49 out of 50 in economic outlook, according to Forbes. Voting for left-wing dunces like Balint and expecting economic success is like shooting yourself in the foot and expecting to win the marathon. Just wait till the democrat bunglers raise the minimum wage by 50% and kill thousands more jobs. The you can really watch your property value plummet.

  3. Wow, let me wipe the tears, we all make decisions to bad many are wrong !!

    Is a four-year college pricy ( Yes ) Do you need a top tier college ( No ) Can you go to
    a two-year technical college ( Yes ).

    So when you apply and get accepted you know the cost, so how do you plan on paying for
    it ?? Unless Daddy’s rich you’re on the hook for payment, depending on what field you trying
    get into, can it support the cost of the degree ??

    Today’s Millennials need to wake up, life’s not free !!! Quit listening to Socialist Sanders it’s
    all BS

  4. The Progressives, who religiously believe the path to Utopia is through centralization of control in the federal government, are given to accusing the Conservatives of being Fascist while there is little to differentiate Progressivism from Fascism. They are both Command and Control political religions. They are also given to comparing Trump to Hitler. While the Liberals, the Progressives, don’t idolize Hitler or give recognition to their own similarity with Hitler’s Germany, they certainly do appreciate Hitler’s accomplishments – Centralized government control and management of education, health, housing, industry, mass media, the banks, the economy and (extremely) forceful suppression of dissenting ideas. Hitler was very Progressive. The same people insist that the National SOCIALIST German Worker’s (NAZI) Party was not Socialist. And they have the equivalent of Mussolini’s Camicie Nere, the black shirted mobs that suppressed dissent, intimidated the expression of ideas that were not politically”correct.” And who, like the Antifa, wore black shirts. They even do Hitler one better: Hitler apparently did not extend his manipulation of the German people to the belief could manipulate the weather.

    • Add to your very accurate list the fact that the AG’s office is now officially attempting to mimic the East German Stasi, complete with it’s own ‘bias incident’ investigative branch. That pesky Constitution can’t stop them. Wonder when the sanctimonious members of the Chittenden County delegation will propose building re-education camps for those of us too obstinate to pack up and leave.

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