Teen Vogue showed the ignorance of a poorly educated and lazy generation by trashing capitalism in favor of socialism. The magazine told kids who act like they read Teen Vogue that capitalism has left the world in a “dystopian ‘Mad Max’ nightmare in which resources have dwindled and rich plutocrats own everything.” In this view we should strive for the much more desirable system of socialism. It went on to espouse the virtues of socialism over capitalism. That tone of lazy economic ignorance could foretell problems for our country.
Years of the influence of Obama, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren and the populist left media have left today’s youngsters thinking that socialism is a utopia of wonderful things for which no one has to pay. They think socialism’s great offerings are free education, health care and housing. Yet they are not taught history’s clear lesson: Socialism’s three great failures always end up being breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I hope this generation can reverse this mind-set. Statistics show that the percentage of adults under age 30 who own a business is the lowest in 30 years. Today, only 4 percent own a stake in a private company, compared with 6.1 percent in 2010. Even more troubling, this number was 11 percent in 1989.
The trend toward a lost generation of entrepreneurs has profound implications for the growth of our economy. We have raised kids averse to risk and hard work. More Americans want a government job or a disability check. When they think of “free markets,” they think they are free because government pays for them -- and should.
It was once a source of Puritan pride to own a business. Now many people prefer to collect food stamps, unemployment and disability benefits. Why is the younger generation not starting businesses? Obama’s “You didn’t build that” speech made palpable his disdain for business owners, and it presupposed government is responsible for everything good -- not the individual, the collective.
Maybe this generation has been raised in bubble wrap. No bike riding (certainly not without a helmet and shin guards), no dodge ball in school, no playing outside in the neighborhood, no drinking from garden hoses and no talking to strangers. We give ribbons for ninth place, and everyone gets to play. Forty years ago, we rode dirt bikes and bumper cars, our popular rides of choice, at the county fair. Today, the most popular rides are those motorized shopping carts at Wal-Mart. Are we raising a generation of wimps?
If we have something to fear, it is that we fear too much. Risk is good. Risk teaches lessons. Risk provides good things. Failure is necessary; it’s a byproduct of risk and should not be ridiculed. What deserves ridicule is not trying.
The massive student loan debt carried by kids coming out of liberal colleges might also impede their risk taking. They are told that capitalism is evil and that, somehow, “making a difference in the world” involves some lame government bureaucracy job.
I’ve got news for you, kids: It’s hard to change the world when you are making $35,000 a year working in a cubicle at the IRS. Go start a business, provide a product or service that people willingly buy, employ lots of people and enhance their lives. Create other millionaires in your wake. Then start a huge foundation that, in retirement, you can use to really change the world.
We have been importing many entrepreneurs who value the opportunity our country once represented. A comedian said his immigrant father came to America from India ten years ago with only $35 in his pocket. Then he paused and said, “He had $4.6 million in stocks and bonds, so I guess what I am saying is that he was not big on carrying cash.”
It is critically important to our economy that we have people starting businesses — not only for employment, taxes and growth, but also for the new ideas they generate. Think Apple, Google, Uber, oil fracking technologies and pharmaceutical companies.
The new American Dream? Getting a lawyer who advertises on the side of a bus who will help today’s young “adults” qualify for some of that sweet disability money and live in their parents’ basements for free. Yet they have this odd sense of accomplishment. Many strut around their parents’ basements like they rent the place.
Ron Hart is a libertarian op-ed humorist and award-winning author. Contact him at Ron@RonaldHart.com or @RonaldHart on Twitter.
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