Five economic reforms every rational Millennial should be fighting for

I remember when I first began to understand the issue of poverty.

We were not wealthy by any means, but we weren’t impoverished. The concept perplexed me. One day I came up with a brilliant idea and suggested it to my dad:

“Dad, why don’t we just give money to everyone so then everyone has money?”

“We are supposed to give money, Matt. Jesus wants us to give to the needy.”

“No, I mean why doesn’t whoever MAKES the money… like wherever the money comes from… like the president… why doesn’t he just print out a bunch of money and GIVE everyone a million dollars? Then we are all millionaires and nobody will ever be poor again!”

That’s when he told me about things like taxation, and inflation, and how pricing works. He explained that if EVERYONE suddenly has a million dollars then, in effect, nobody has a million dollars. Having a million dollars would be like having three pennies. If you could end poverty by printing money and handing it out, then there wouldn’t be poverty anywhere.

And thus ended my brief flirtation with liberalism. I was six years old.

In other words, I became too mature for liberal economic theory, but I still ate Elmer’s glue during art class (a habit I’ve yet to break — the stuff is just delicious).

Not all kids develop at the same pace, though. Which is probably why someone in my generation — purporting to speak for my generation — recently penned a piece for the Rolling Stone called “Five Economic Reforms Millennial Should Be Fighting For.” The author, Jesse Myerson, points out how us Millennials have been “especially hard hit” by the economic recession. This, of course, is everyone’s fault but ours. Our personal debt? Well, that’s, like, because of society. And the bankers! The bankers did this to us! You decided to take out a college loan you couldn’t afford? Maybe put a bunch of iPhones and laptops on credit? Bankers! Wall Street! The rich!

Because that’s how the young generation should approach life — powerless, whiney, looking for someone to blame. A recipe for prosperity, is it not?

This is the philosophy that Myerson espouses. And he does it while using phrases like “you know else blows?” and “as much as unemployment blows, so do jobs.” I’ve got nothing against the guy personally. I don’t know him. I’m sure he’s a decent enough fellow. But what he represents, and the dull, juvenile, inarticulate, “hip,” way in which he communicates it — that’s what I hate. I hate it because it’s the sort of thing that festers on the soul of my generation like a toxic mold, and it will kill us all if we don’t work to eradicate it.

His idea for “reforms” to help my generation are:

1. Give everyone a job!

It’s that easy, dude. Unemployment blows! Just sayin’. Lolz. How do you correct the problem of people not having jobs? Well, magically create a job (and a market for these new jobs) out of thin air! Easypeezy lemonsqueezy.

2. Give everyone money!

As the author notes, “jobs blow” also. So if people don’t want to work — just hand them cash!

3. Have the government seize private land and give it to people!

What could go wrong?

4. Let everyone own everything!

And by “everyone” we mean the government. See, we have to take wealth and property away from the wealthy elite, and then promptly hand control of it over to the government… which is run by wealthy elite.

Oops.

5. Public banks!

Well, the IRS already has unfettered access to your money, and now Obamacare owns the rest of you, so why not? The author makes the point that government run banks don’t make “seedy deals.”

Yes, governments totally never make seedy deals.

Government: honesty, transparency, and fairness. And unicorns.

Now, as a Millennial myself, I thought I’d offer a different perspective. We young people can sit around begging Uncle Sam to give out jobs, money, and land for free, or we can develop a different strategy for long term economic success and security. Here are my proposals for five economic “reforms” we, as individuals, and especially as young people, can immediately instate:

1. Don’t go to college unless you actually need to be there.

14 million people under the age of 30 have outstanding student loans. The average debt for the class of 2012 will be just under 30,000 dollars. Meanwhile, the median income for that same age group is about 23,000 dollars. This is what happens when you take out massive loans despite having no financial assets, no job, and no coherent plan for the future. Here’s how we cure this problem:

Stop doing it.

Go to college if you NEED to go to college. Go to college if you have a PLAN for the future that makes college a NECESSITY. Go to college if you won the megamillions jackpot at the age of 18 and can now afford to take a four year vacation. Because that’s what college is for many — not all, many — of the bright young folks who attend. We’ve got kids bankrupting themselves for the sake of getting drunk and passing out on vomit-stained couches for the next 48 months. This is insanity.

College is a means to an end. It isn’t a destination unto itself. Don’t go for the “experience.” You want an experience? Move out of the house and get a job. Pay your own rent. Get evicted from an apartment for failure to make a payment. Work three minimum wage jobs at the one time. Mop floors. Go a winter without heat because you can’t afford to keep it on and eat at the same time. Run out into that cold, wild world and muscle your way to the top of it. THAT’S an experience.

You want to be an engineer? A doctor? An astronaut? An architect? By all means, go to college. You want to build cars or become an electrician? Maybe a trade school is in your future. You have absolutely no clue what you want out of life, what your talents are, or what career path best suits you? College isn’t for you. In fact, college is an objectively BAD idea for anyone in this category. And this is a category that includes, for instance, most college students.

Don’t want debt? Then don’t borrow money. If you do borrow money, you better have a good reason. Hint: “Eh, I’ll figure it out” isn’t a good reason.

2. Don’t buy things unless you can afford them.

This is more of an addendum to point 1. But it’s a basic budgetary principle that escapes many of us. Before you buy something, ask yourself: do I have the money to pay for this? Remember: if your debt exceeds your financial assets — you don’t have any money. And “your money” really only includes what you have leftover after your bills for the month have been paid.

It’s a good thing the news constantly reminds us about how poor we are, because there’s little evidence of any of this at America’s shopping malls and Best Buys. It’s interesting: my generation is saddled with unemployment and college debt, yet how many of us own smart phones? Like, everyone? Those things aren’t cheap.

Something isn’t adding up here.

3. Work hard.

Will working hard guarantee you wealth and happiness? No, nothing guarantees you anything. You might get screwed over by a vindictive boss. You might get into a horrible car accident and lose three limbs. You might die tomorrow on your way to the gym. Horrible things might — scratch that, will happen to you. But if you’re my age and the first step in your plan for success isn’t “work my butt off,” then you have a problem.

You are a problem.

Fix it.

I suppose there might be some people out there who oversimplify and act as though hard work can achieve literally anything. But far more common, and far more dangerous, are the naysayers who insist that you have NO control and NO say over your lot in life. On the bright side, they offer a convenient excuse to people who’ve failed due to their own laziness, apathy, and complacency, but this also has the necessary effect of belittling and diminishing the people who’ve struggled against immeasurable odds to achieve their dreams. So, you might feel rather charitable telling an inner city drug dealer that he is a victim of his environment and not responsible for his choices. Now what about the guy who climbs out of the gutter to conquer and inspire the world? If the first guy isn’t responsible for his choices, neither is the second.

You just took that man’s achievements from him and turned his life story into a simple roll of Fate’s dice.

How dare you. You should be ashamed.

4. Develop a marketable skill.

Imagine a job interviewer asking you this question: “So, what are your skills?”

If you don’t have an answer, you better be charming as hell, because that’s your only chance at landing the gig. Most of us, however, aren’t that likeable. If we want to work in a particular industry, we need to have something that we do. Skills are honed and developed over time; this is a process that you should start before you even graduate high school. If you have a useful skill, you’ll always have a way to make money. It really is that simple.

5. Save money.

I used to think it was more fun to spend than save. Then I grew up, and began to understand the joy of making sacrifices in the short term, so that I might have some financial security in the long term. Social Security ain’t gonna be there for us, my friends. Our parents generation will cash out and leave us in the lurch. It’s a bad hand, but it’s the one we’ve been dealt. Deal with it. Save your own money for your own future.

Well, it isn’t as sexy as free money for everyone, but this is my proposal. The best part is that we don’t have to wait for any politician or president to make this happen. We can do this now. And we should.

And we need to.

We don’t have a choice.

*******

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262 Responses to Five economic reforms every rational Millennial should be fighting for

  1. Jeff says:

    Well, I don’t know about college. Didn’t have such an option, but I was really surprised that an honest, hardworking, intelligent friend of mine was turned down for as position as a labor for the local electric company for a slightly younger gentleman with a college degree. I’m sure this guy’s college degree had nothing to do with digging holes, but, nonetheless, he got the job. Now I’m not saying that he wasn’t capable of doing the job or undeserving, but I know that they truly lost out on an amazing employee when they let my friend walk away. Why is it that it seems like society is telling us “if you want a job digging holes then you better have an education”. Whatever happened to working your way up. Next thing you know McDonald’s will be turning people away because they don’t have a degree. I like to hire people who don’t think they know it all and are ready to learn and work hard. These are the best employees for my industry.

  2. A Non-American says:

    Good grief, I send the article to my kids before I realised the junk that was in the comments. Please can you clean it up quickly before my kids see them?

  3. Duncan says:

    I have a college degree. Maybe I didnt start out with a plan- my degree is in biology and I now work in engineering, but I make 80% after three years what the senior guy in my job section does after 35 years- because he never got his degree. He started at minimum wage and I came in at 45K/ year, now 55K. College is a scam but it is the scam everyone is playing. you put “BS” after your name and its like a income multiplier. Dont get me wrong I encourage my son to think about how he will make money with his degree, and caution him on student loans, but you have to have some kind of post secondary education. For those gifted with their hands look into apprenticeship programs, because a HS graduate with 5 years as a plumber makes more than me.

    • TheApostlePaul says:

      * For those gifted with their hands look into apprenticeship programs, because a HS graduate with 5 years as a plumber makes more than me.*

      That’s true when the economy is good. When it’s bad, plumbers have to scramble like the rest of us because building jobs aren’t happening and people scrimp on home maintenance.

      • TheApostlePaul says:

        PS: plumbers also have to deal with evil unions 😉

      • On the other hand, as long as people have plumbing and are unable to do the work themselves, they will need plumbers. If not for the maintenance, then for the repairs of catastrophic failures due to lack of maintenance,

    • College is investment. Go to college and get a PhD, you will have a bright future. I encourage my kids to get their masters or PhDs in engineering or other science fields. My cousin has a PhD from MIT. She is the one makes most money in our family.

      • caseymonc says:

        College is an investment if you get a useful degree that can get you a job. College is a money sink hole if you get a useless one.

      • A College degree is the minimum requirement for good pay jobs. Without a degree, your resume is going to be in the garbage. That explained why those high tech jobs in Google, Apple, Microsoft etc go to those Indians, Chinese, Russians…. I’ve been there and my husband has been there. We all experienced the importance of college education – the door for middle or upper middle class lifestyle.

        • danielvu says:

          So are you encouraging everybody to invest in college? Even those that have absolutely no clue on what they should major in, or what they should do in life? With all due respect, that’s the worst advice you can ever give.

          Google recently stopped asking their brain teaser questions, along with GPA’s, and college degrees (unless you already have one), and would much rather look at a portfolio of work instead. This goes with many startups that no longer look at college as a minimum requirement because it’s not enough.

          Sure, you can have three pieces of paper that say Bachelor (I am at leased qualified….I think), Master’s (I am qualified), PhD (I sure as hell am qualified!), but it doesn’t make you a genius. It’s agreeable yes, that you need to go to college to become a Doctor, an FBI agent, or lawyer.

          But if you’re to tell an aspiring artist, a creative writer, or a developer that they must go to school first to get a piece of paper that says they’re qualified instead of developing their creativity, then it’s the wrong message to send out.

        • Everyone from my family has at least one B.S. in engineering. They all have pretty good life. Who wants to invest in those dumb fields like liberal arts? But of course you have to be smart enough and good at math.

        • danielvu says:

          Bachelor of Science? There’s honestly no problem with that then. We can both agree that a liberal arts degree of any sort is pure crap if an individual wants to make a great career out of an field relating to art (or whatever that’s not science/math related) However, even with a BS, it’s not enough to get a job. For example, I had a friend who graduated with degree in Electrical Engineering and he didn’t even get a job with that. He ended up teaching himself coding and now has a great job with AirBnB that pays well.

          Did he need another degree to get that job? Not necessarily, but he did present a portfolio of his own project in order to get the job he wanted (his story is posted below and he got that job really fast).

          View at Medium.com

          Degrees that were considered an instant ticket to a job, that no longer applies. Look at the recent articles on Law, Pharmacy, and Nursing. The theme of those articles is practically the same: Too many graduates as a result of too many schools, too little jobs because Baby Boomers don’t want to retire/employers are cutting back, and the once lucrative salaries that entry level employees earned is long gone.

        • If you are just come out of college and no experience, you have to start with minimum pay or no pay interns to buy experience. Eventually you may have a real job. My sister started with one way two hour commute minimum wage intern. Now (ten years later) she makes over six digits. The competition is not from other college fresh graduates, but from those Chinese, Indians etc. They are highly educated (lots of them are PhDs), very experienced and willing to take less pay. Now it is really a global economy and we have global competitions. Not many companies give you a good pay entry level job. My company just hired lots of H-1 visa Chinese and Indians, since they can’t find qualified Americans. Silicon Valley big tech companies all request the government to increase H-1 visa so that they can hire more people directly from India and other countries. Without college education, you are further behind to compete.

    • Courtney says:

      That’s the scam everyone was playing last generation. It worked for our parents but things are changing and we need to change with it. We can’t play our parents’ game and expect to be in any position other than what they are in: broke and unable to retire because they trusted that their 401k was “safe”. What worked for them doesn’t can’t work for us because things are different now. College degrees aren’t affordable and they don’t pay returns like they used to. Having a BS after your name no longer carries any weight because EVERYONE has it. The kinds of companies where it matters (while still very big and powerful) are on their way out and those that are in are far more concerned with work ethic, dedication, and innovativeness. The leaders of the next generation are those who thought outside the box and they aren’t going to care about how many initials you have next to your name. So our generation’s choice is to either cling to a dying institution or pull ourselves out of the status quo and pave the way for what is coming down the road. The book The Fourth Turning by William Strauss talks about this in great detail.

    • Brianna says:

      If you’d said “housing is a scam, but it’s the scam everyone is playing” in 2003, that would have been a brilliant idea. If you’d said it in 2007, it would have been a terrible idea.

      Here’s a hint. Remember when your parents asked you, “If little Johnny jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?” and told you the correct answer was “No”? They’re still right.

      • Brad says:

        Usually the question was, “If all of your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?” and I’ve realized after years of thought that, contrary to popular belief, the answer is yes.

        Let me give you an example news report: Yesterday, at 5:36 PM, a group of high school students turned screaming in terror and fled off of a cliff, preferring the chance of the fall over what they were running from. Most of these people were level headed individuals and afraid of heights. Those who stayed behind and failed to escape…

        Do you think that something nice is going to happen to those people? I think not.

  4. I agree wholeheartedly with everything except the college part. I totally agree that you shouldn’t be going to an expensive university if you don’t know what you want to do with your life, but not starting school at all just because you haven’t figured out the rest of your life at 18 just leads to people working jobs they fell into and they often get stuck. Most of my husband’s generals were $1,000/semester or so… which is about $250/month (less than most people’s car payment) and now we found a program for his bachelor’s that will cost even less… but going to Harvard for generals is unwise in my opinion.

  5. Caroline Carmichael says:

    I wish someone had told me all of this 10 years ago. Save. Print. Hang on my sons wall for when he learns to read so that he remembers it when he is older and planning his future. Done.

  6. Daniel says:

    how are these “economic” reforms? they’re not they are social/personal reforms. This post has little if anything to do with the actual American economy. By all means, don’t go to college if you don’t feel it will benefit you, by all means, work hard, by all means save money, and by all means, don’t spend above your means.

    but….again, what the heck does any of that have to do with ACTUAL economic reforms for this country? Absolutely nothing. Furthermore, this post reads like red meat for conservatives and is really meant to supposedly hit at liberal thinking. However, the post is full of straw men and is really actually rather ridiculous. If this is “reasonable” and “serious” and “thoughtful” conservative thinking, i’d hate to see what stupid conservative thinking actually looked like!

    What Matt Walsh seems to not understand is that liberals ALSO believe in these behavioral recommendations. We also think you shouldn’t go to college if it doesn’t benefit you. We also think you shouldn’t spend above your means. We also think you should work hard. We also think you should develop a marketable skill (actually one of the reasons for college in the first place, but we won’t go there). And we also think you should save money. Those are sound personal recommendations. However, once again, they have nothing at all to do with ECONOMIC reform.

    • Anthony says:

      I think the answer to why these can be considered economic reforms is absurdly obvious. Every economy is made up of units of money. Money controls the economy. People control money. When people reform themselves (in a large enough proportion) the economy gets reformed. An economic reform doesn’t have to come with through the the bureaucracy. In fact more bureaucracy means more waste. It’s best if economic reform comes from the reformation of those who control the economy… the people.

      Also note that bureaucracy doesn’t have to mean government. Bureaucracy can come from elsewhere, including corporations.

    • 34happened says:

      These are “personal economic reforms” – – economic reform is not just what the government and world economy impact. We all have responsibility towards our *own* personal economics. That’s part of the overall issue we have. Everyone wants the broad-sweeping, easy answer that helps everyone. If we start small, start with ourselves, THEN we are in a position to help others with what we’ve learned!

    • Suzie Ama says:

      Daniel, at the heart of liberal economy theory is the notion that there is a finite amount of wealth out there, and if it were evenly distributed by some elite authority, then there would be no rich and no poor, and all would be fair. The trouble is, it is not fair. You can have equal opportunity or equal outcome–but not both. They are mutually exclusive (and the prospect of equal outcome is temporary anyway because it is unsustainable). Giving someone who does nothing the same amount of money as someone who works hard discriminates against the one who works hard and denies that person opportunity. Hard work is naturally disincentivized and, thus, declines. This is a matter of historical record in the former USSR. What liberals also fail to realize is the economic pie is not a fixed size. It grows or shrinks, depending upon the level of human activity. In a system in which hard work is disincentivized, the size of the pie will shrink. In a system that does not punish hard work and innovation, the pie will grow. Absent any obstacles, people have a natural drive to build, create, and innovate.

      Your complaint that Matt’s recommendations have nothing to do with economic reform is interesting. I assume this is because you believe that economic reform can only occur via government policies. Yet, what is economic activity if it is not a collection of personal behaviors? Moreover, one’s personal values about money and work translate into advocacy for or opposition against specific public policies. Your comment about the article reading “like red meat for conservatives” suggest to me that Matt struck a chord of truth with you. You protest too much, me thinks.

      Both writers are advocating for the improved condition of individuals. The contrast readers should be drawing between the Myerson RollingStone article and the Walsh article is the following:
      * Myerson thinks that people are essentially powerless, incapable, and entitled. More government intrusion and more laws and policies are needed to take care of everybody.
      * Walsh thinks that people have much more power over their destiny than liberals grant them. He offers advice about how to thrive in the face of obstacles. And he suggests that the largest obstacles people face are their own attitudes about work and material wealth. This has everything to do with economic reform.

    • krabz says:

      Perhaps you are inserting your own need to make all things political?

  7. Daniel says:

    how are these “economic” reforms? they’re not they are social/personal reforms. This post has little if anything to do with the actual American economy. By all means, don’t go to college if you don’t feel it will benefit you, by all means, work hard, by all means save money, and by all means, don’t spend above your means.

    but….again, what the heck does any of that have to do with ACTUAL economic reforms for this country? Absolutely nothing. Furthermore, this post reads like red meat for conservatives and is really meant to supposedly hit at liberal thinking. However, the post is full of straw men and is really actually rather ridiculous. If this is “reasonable” and “serious” and “thoughtful” conservative thinking, i’d hate to see what stupid conservative thinking actually looked like!

    What Matt Walsh seems to not understand is that liberals ALSO believe in these behavioral recommendations. We also think you shouldn’t go to college if it doesn’t benefit you. We also think you shouldn’t spend above your means. We also think you should work hard. We also think you should develop a marketable skill (actually one of the reasons for college in the first place, but we won’t go there). And we also think you should save money. Those are sound personal recommendations. However, once again, they have nothing at all to do with ECONOMIC reform.

    so where is the sound, thoughtful, reasoned post? because this one does not meet that criteria.

    • Jim says:

      Daniel,
      while Matt did not address the government’s role directly, his argument flows from a rebuttal of a view that politicians by legislative fiat will make all our problems go away. Matt correctly noted that the admittably liberal writer at Rolling Stone wanted to trade what he perceived as the oligarchy of the wealthy for the oligarchy of wealthy legislators. How was that a real economic answer? America is or perhaps was a unique experiment in Natural Law capitalism. The government’s main job was to protect citizens from threats to life and liberty. The government would also protect each individual’s natural rights. Once the government tries to “guarantee” anything beyond that, it becomes a big part of the problem. Success and wealth are not guaranteed by birth. The idea is that people motivated by necessity and the blessing of liberty will be inventive and capable of making their own success over time albeit with failure likely in the short term. They will group and build industry accordingly. This in turn will create an economy that all can benefit from.

      We can look at the many economies that promised guarantees and have collapsed, Russia and Greece are more recent. Numerous Western nations apart from US subsidies and military, would collapse left to themselves, (if we want to talk real problems, not straw men). Just cut foreign aid. See how long they last and then how long before our debt is called. Our global economy is syphoning off of the machine of capitalism. If you don’t believe me, look at the closed nations like North Korea on Google earth at night. Something missing?

      Matt believes that if people under the rule of a government fettered first to Natural Law and freed from false premises and ideology, “pursue” happiness (work and industry), that all will benefit more than under any other system of government. So the difficulty you experience with his answer is that you start from the opposite end of the spectrum, the government can do more, so we don’t need to focus first on individual rights and responsibilities. You are willing to give more of those up than Matt or I. Matt comes from the perspective that we don’t want to give government any of our Natural Rights or limit our liberty for the sake of any short term benefit.

      Neither of you would suggest slavery and Matt would never suggest that capitalism means freedom from law or basic decency. He would simply suggest that our problems of economy are ultimately a reflection of our individual economic decisions of debt and personal demands. The government cannot cause wealth by fiat. People cannot do just what they want and be rewarded. They need to recognize the reality of supply and demand, not demand something and the supply appears based on need. Even if we confiscated the actual wealth of the top 10% we could only fund a few months of our governments current obligations. So where would we be after the Rolling Stone economy is in place for the next year? But either both of you are starting from the wrong place or one of you starts from a perspective that will not advance your stated goals long term.

  8. Ash says:

    Matt-please spellcheck so I can post your blog so my liberal friends have nothing to criticize you for. “you know else blows?”

    As always, you are spot on my friend. This stuff used to be common sense!

  9. Gen Oliva says:

    Being elderly I have watched this happen to the generations that followed me and wonder what caused the problem…did we do it to our children or did something else happen that we didn’t realize. It’s sad to sit here at the end of my life and watch my children, grand children and soon great grand children believing that life owes them even if they don’t want to work or struggle.

  10. phatlady says:

    I’ve heard when something is said 3 times in a row it really means something, so here is my comment on this particular blog: TOUCHE`, TOUCHE`, TOUCHE`!!! (although I don’t know if my iPad can get that little ” ` ” in the right spot. Absolutely LOVE these ideas! Keep up the excellent writing, Matt!!!

    • sapphina says:

      (It’s touché ~ try holding down the e until the extra letters appear then slide your finger over to the é.)

  11. pbachmeyer says:

    Good post, Matt. These are 5 points that everyone needs to pay attention to, especially the younger ones.

  12. Fantastic article Matt. My wife and I paid off 19k in student loan debt in 8 months and now write on similar topics for our generation. For every millennial willing to make excuses about why they can’t get ahead in this “terrible economy,” there is another who is getting ahead right now. Makes me chuckle a little bit.

  13. I think #3 should be #1 on the list. Those of us who are parents and who aren’t teaching our kids to work hard – by giving them a daily chore or two and expecting them to complete homework – are just as guilty as those who believe they are entitled to the latest of everything because they’ve always had it.

  14. mckjillian says:

    I’m a millennial and can’t tell you how many of my friends got a degree in Communications, Interior design, Theatre, Humanities, etc.. not one of them has a job now that fits that’s degree. Not one. And many don’t have a job at all. I did the less popular thing (don’t know about everywhere but at least in my home town) and went to nursing school. I have a job and skills that are useful. I never understood why my friends wasted their time and money. I wish everyone would read this post. We’ll done, Matt.

    • Rebecca C says:

      My little sister is currently in a Masters/PhD program for theater. And she thinks some college somewhere is going to want to pay her to do research, with no teaching, after she graduates. My guess is, she’ll end up a drama teacher at a high school or (teaching) professor at a college. If she works in that field at all, she has joked before about being a housewife, and doing theater stuff for fun.

      Sure, she isn’t going into debt to do it, but my parents should probably be saving that money for their retirement.

      • James says:

        Don’t know where you’re at, but as public schools pay based on degree and seniority, she will not likely get a job teaching. I have a bunch of teachers as friends and family, and the instructions are:
        1. Get your BA, and teaching certifcate (or get an emergency credential).
        2. Take classes during your first couple years towards an MA but don’t get it until after you get tenure.
        3. Get Graduate degrees after tenure.

        With budget crunches, the districts don’t want to pay for your degree, especially as most teachers only last 7 years in the field.

        Good luck to your little sister. I know from personal experience, an English degree is more marketable than drama and theater.
        I have switched over to construction, and my 2 classes and certificates in building inspection earned me much more than my BA did.

  15. Mike M. says:

    PSSSST, don’t tell our wonderful leaders in Washington anything about your recommendations that college isn’t for everyone, (it’s all they ever tell young people), it will replace 2013’s biggest lie of the year and may affect the interest income to all the lending institutions. (Not to mention the collaspe of the Dept; of Education!)

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  17. Lori says:

    I love this article. So well stated. Especially the part about college. I hate how our society has pushed this “you have to go to college to be successful” thing which has really just done the opposite. College is great if you need it, but most don’t. Thanks for this, Matt!

  18. Adam says:

    Wow, Matt, that’s amazing the way you came up with five things that nobody actually really believes, and then followed it up with five more things that everybody already knows. Really impressed there.

    The problem, Matt, is that people are finding it harder and harder to actually follow your totally original, never before heard of tips. This is not because they don’t want to work or think they are special. This is because there are no jobs. The magical mythical precious job creators will never bring jobs back here, unless Americans are ok with getting the same wages and worker protections as they have in Karjakistan, which is where all the jobs currently are.

    And the jobs that are left? Well, more and more of them involve not even subsistence wages. Like, can’t even afford an apartment wages, much less Cristal and solid gold iPads. You might ask, “Well, what have these workers done to DESERVE enough money to afford an apartment?” Well, I’m asking, what have these workers done to DESERVE slave wages and food stamps? And I can’t help but notice that more and more and more jobs seem to fall into the “not meant to be REAL jobs” category. As in, well, that’s not meant to be a permanent job. That’s your job while you earn your MBA. Right? Right.

    Can you honestly say that it’s ok for McDonalds to encourage their workers to get food stamps? Do you think it’s ok that workers at the business owned by the richest family in the world can’t afford to shop anywhere else, or pay rent on an apartment, or need to do food drives for their own damned employees?

    The nightmare scenario that conservatives always throw out there as an example of “government run amok” is that of say, Russia during the Breshnev years. 8 people living in a 2 bedroom apartment, saving pennies so they can maybe go buy pizza at the end of the month, while the Party Elites live in luxury and profit off of the labor of the poor, unsuspecting suckers. Well, I see that same scenario here. Except we call it “the free market.” Our version is hunky dory. Their version is communist tyranny. Never mind that both systems result in the exact same thing.

    • TheApostlePaul says:

      I guess “Too Big To Fail” isn’t required reading for homeschoolers.

    • Suzy says:

      If no one believes it, why are there millions of people screaming for it? I have heard many, many people use almost the exact words Matt did, unfortunately they said it without the realization that it’s the epitome of idiocy.

      The point you made about jobs just not being there is true. There are a lot fewer jobs than there would be under more normal circumstances. We can thank leftist policies for that as their primary effect is to decrease wages & opportunities among the lower & middle classes & increase income inequality. And no, the “free market” has absolutely nothing to do with this. The US economy doesn’t even vaguely resemble anything even like a free market. It is a textbook fascist market, and both parties are to thank for that. It’s really tragic to see that Americans are so uneducated these days that they genuinely blame anything on the free market. America hasn’t seen a free market in many decades. People, like you, are upset that the the market is fascist, so they call for more fascism.

      • Matthew Robertson says:

        Well put, Suzy. This is not a free market economy. Billions in monetary easing and interest rates held artificially low? What our government calls “stimulus” is actually manipulation…a byproduct of fascism.

        • Adam says:

          I’m sorry, which “free market” are we talking about? We had one hell of a free market at the turn of the last century, complete with child labor, Triangle Shirtwaist fires, people being paid in company script, and the Pinkertons being sent in to beat people to death for attempting to organize. And all of this was considered part and parcel of star spangled, God Given Liberties because the government thought it was “tyranny” to interfere in the way people did business, no matter how many people got hurt, killed, or ripped off. We have been drifting back into that mindset for a few decades now. Capital rules all, and everybody else is a useless parasite who should be grateful for the opportunity to make $300 a week with no healthcare.

          What I find strange is that most of the people who are really big fans of the Matt Walsh Blog never seem to realize that true prosperity happens when there is a healthy argument between labor and capital. It’s when one side wins completely that everything gets bad. I mean, the last time labor and capital had a healthy argument was a time when absolutely everyone benefited. About a 30 year period between the end of world war II and the 1970s. And we lived in a manner that you guys absolutely drop to your knees and genuflect over: One income covers the whole deal, mom stays at home, everybody goes to church on Sunday. Real Norman Rockwell stuff. That didn’t happen because we just decided to let capital do whatever the hell they wanted. It happened because labor organized, and workers demanded a bigger share of the astronomical profits.

          A NEGOTIATION, you see. What you guys call “sound business practices” when it happens between two lawyers or two CEO’s, and what you guys also call “blood soaked communist tyranny” when it happens between a CEO and a Union.

  19. Julie Cook says:

    I totally agree with the college thing, Matt. I went for a Bachelor’s, a couple Master’s, and a PhD but they were paid for by my employers and that just doesn’t happen anymore. I didn’t need the degrees – I was just bored back then and kept hearing about how more is better. I home-school my 8 year old daughter so she shouldn’t be hearing about how “necessary” college is from anyone. Yet, she does, and I don’t know how (although, the game of Life has 2 paths and the college paths have you making double what the non-college paths do). She used to regularly ask me what college she should go to and if I’m saving money for it. I had to sit her down last year and tell her the truth about college and that while I have saved enough for her to go, that it is entirely possible/likely, that she won’t want to go or need to go. I have to explain that while everyone seems to think every person needs college, that is the opposite of the truth. Since we home-school, don’t vaccinate, or watch TV, she’s used to me giving her the “we’re different from most people because……” speech.

    • Rightdownthemiddle says:

      College is not necessary if you are looking to go into a trade, or be an entrepreneur. I agree that if you do not know what you are interested in after high school, it’s probably best to wait, maybe take a few community college courses, work, and explore yourself that way as opposed to “finding yourself” in college. Also, if you know you want to start a business, just get to it! Why spend 4 years in college first – just make it happen. However, if you know what you want to do, and/or you can attend a 4-year school without being saddled in debt, then absolutely college is the way to go. It’s a prime time to transition out of your parents’ care, to think independently, to meet people, to let loose a bit, and to learn something more specific to your liking.

      I’ve never been a fan of getting the “liberal arts” experience. If you’re going to college, you need a specific plan for your degree, and execute that plan in something marketable and specific. I have two sons going to college very soon. They both know the field they want to pursue, and they will go to schools within a specific budge that won’t leave them with huge bills to pay. If they had no direction, I would have pushed community college and a part time job to start.

    • Jonathan says:

      From the department of labor.
      Average yearly income with no college:
      23, 200
      Average yearly income with a bachelors degree: 45, 600
      (Numbers come from the department of labor)
      I guess the game of life had it right after all 😉

  20. TheApostlePaul says:

    *1. Give everyone a job!*

    Well, it worked with the WPA. And, if PRIVATE industry isn’t hiring, SOMEBODY has to pick up the slack.

    *2. Give everyone money!*

    DEMAND CREATES JOBS. The CONSUMER is the JOB CREATOR. If people don’t HAVE MONEY, they cannot SPEND MONEY. on ANYTHING. We’ve given trickle-down economics 30 years to work. It DOESN’T, and it WON’T. What was the definition of insanity, again?

    *3. Have the government seize private land and give it to people!*

    I have a feeling this is a gross over-simplification of what was in the original article. Although houses that have been standing empty for years DO bring down property values…banks actually WORKING with homeowners would be a win-win.

    *5. Public banks!*

    You mean like when your hero Ronald Reagan nationalized the banks after the S&L scandal of the late 1980s?

    We don’t want “public banks.” We want Glass Steagall (which created a wall of separation between consumer and investment banks) reinstated.

    • My mother tried to buy one of those empty houses that had been forfeited to the government. They agreed on a price and then the government agency with whom she’d been negotiating said that the agency would have to add some unspecified amount to the price of the house to account for “repairs”, and that she wouldn’t find out what the amount was until she’d signed all the paperwork.

      She didn’t buy the house. For all I know it is still standing empty.

    • Isaac says:

      Government has never actually created a “job” and doing so has never “worked.” Government jobs exist because work needs to be done (educating children, building public roads, etc.), and these jobs are a necessary drain on the economy, not an addition. Seriously, this is basic economics. Little kids should understand this.

      If your argument for more government jobs is “people need jobs” then you can achieve the exact same result by just giving everyone free money from other people’s taxes. It’s actually more cost-effective to do it that way sometimes. But I think you should be able to grasp by now why that would not be sustainable, just as increases in government work, touted as “job-creation” is the source of most of the debt problems states have.

      If employment isn’t increasing in the private sector, your “job-creation” is smoke and mirrors.

  21. Darris says:

    He didn’t suggest land redistribution. He suggested land value tax.
    I would shift taxes off of income, sales, and payroll and onto land.

    Think about it. At present, your taxes go to build a school and then some guy who just happens to own land (that he didn’t make- that no one made) nearby has his property value go up without him having done anything.

    Now you may say “but we already have property taxes” that’s not the same. A property tax means that when you improve your property, the government punishes you with higher taxes. You can’t individually increase the value of your land. Land value is created by the community.

    Furthermore the land value tax would incentivize making the highest economic output with the lowest amount of land. That means highrise apartments and lower rent.

    • Isaac says:

      The “highest economic output” from land would actually mean HIGHER rents- upscale housing is so much more profitable than low-rent housing that the government typically has to step in and incentivize the latter.

      And a “land-value tax” is just insane. You’re making land-owners, especially in safe, nice neighborhoods, pay like, ALL the taxes. Anyone able to see two moves ahead in a game of Connect Four should be able to immediately see the unintended consequences that would have….middle-class homeowners would be priced right out of their homes. The wealthiest 1% would end up owning ALL the land.

      Why would you resent some guy’s property value going up anyway, as if that was some travesty of justice? He doesn’t benefit from that unless he sells his house, business or farm! In which case, it’s one of the few honest ways a middle-class person can get a windfall. (Also, many states already fund schools entirely through property taxes anyway, in which case, the landowners deserve to benefit from a new school going up. They paid for it all by themselves, even the ones with no kids.)

  22. The way Myerson speaks childish and simple. He is talking down to people in your generation. Unfortunately, some people do agree with him and it is not necessarily young people.
    My wife and I were just discussing college the other day. There was an article in WSJ about colleges and how they are starting to change due to the consistent rise in costs. Anyway, college will not be the same when my boys go to school and it should not be. I do question college at this point and who needs it and who does not. It is too expensive to go as simply an exercise in finding one’s self.

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  24. Matt M says:

    His suggestions are things that I, and most of my friends, have applied and still apply. And on the whole I agree with him as far as personal habits go. I practice and encourage self-reliance. Where I part ways is his oversimplification of our problems. The income inequality gap is a real economic problem that our generation needs to be aware of, and no amount of personal responsibility will fix the tremendous irresponsibility that is exercised by the tiny percentage who have most of the power. Most of the poor work 2-3 jobs, so giving advice including “work hard” is a slap in the face. And worse, many churches, who take 10 or more percent of an already shrinking income, back these shady politics under the umbrella of “self reliance”. I think self-proclaiming Christians should stop being seduced by such politics and get back to the business of advocating for the poor instead of shaming them.

    • Jonathan says:

      Something to consider for you. If we consider all of the wealth of the united states government as a pie than income inequality is explained by unequal serving sizes. The poor have small pieces compared to the rich who have comparatively large pieces. This seems extremely unfair and that the obvious solution to end poverty is to slice the pie more fairly right? It’s wrong for a very interesting reason. Because wealth is not a finite thing. It can grow. Wealth is constantly being created in America. In other words the pie can get bigger. So when you cut the new bigger pie again those that get little still get less than those with a lot BUT THEY GET MORE THAN THEY HAD BEFORE. Interestingly enough, it is the richest people that create the most wealth therefore indirectly helping all of the poor. The lifestyle of the poor is much better than it used to be (not to say easy by any means). For example poor people nowadays enjoy color television at very little expense. An innovation once only available to the very rich.

    • KML says:

      Just a thought on your comment about churches: my church doesn’t take ten percent of our income. My husband and I give it happily because we WANT to and believe in the cause we are supporting. We also donate money elsewhere because we feel like that is something we should be doing. I just wanted to mention that, because most of the Christians I know are very generous and do advocate for the poor. (I have many non-Christian friends who have a heart for the poor as well, but I only mentioned Christians here because you referenced them specifically).

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  26. lex6819 says:

    There are a number of colleges which are tuition free (Berea College, for example), and others which offer a debt-free financial aid package as an option (Davidson College). Those are options for students who need college, as per #1 on your list, but still don’t want to go $30K into debt, even to become a doctor or an engineer. Also, faith-based colleges sometimes offer a discounted tuition for members of their church (for example, I think Brigham Young’s tuition is around $100 per credit hour for Mormon kids – I’m not a Mormon, I just happened to pick up that tidbit somewhere). As for TheApostlePaul’s assertion that the WPA “picked up the slack” – sure, it’s easy for the government to create a lot of make-work jobs that don’t produce anything. TheApostlePaul needs to watch the EconStories youtube video “The Fight of the Century” -Round 2 – comparing the Keynes and Hayek views on economics. WW2 created lots of jobs, but everyone had ration books because there still wasn’t enough food and resources to go around. Government jobs aren’t “productive” because they don’t create an abundance of consumable goods and services the way that private industry does. Last I checked, our government has spent billions on “stimulus”, but unemployment – and underemployment – remain unacceptably high….and it is now 6 years since the 2008 downturn. Where are all the jobs? Top-down stimulus doesn’t work to create jobs and prosperity. The six-year experiment in Keynesian economics has failed miserably.

    • Jonathan says:

      I go to Brigham Young University. It’s a private institution where each semester costs about 2, 500 for mormon kids. Not too bad really. Thought you might like to know.

  27. Victoria says:

    Great article Matt and good points. I’m debating on whether my 16 yo (a junior) is going to be ready, or even want to, go to college.

    My oldest son’s friend barely graduated high school, he was in remedial classes (special ed). He had a horrible home life, no family support and I didn’t think he had much of a future. BUT, he started in auto mechanics, now has 10 years experience (semi engine repair) and is making tons of money with tons of toys, a great family and children.

  28. Melissa says:

    I liked your article, doesn’t fit with my story but I see the value… I have told my children that I hope they do go to college, but to be smart about it. Don’t get loans, get a job and pay for it or better yet get a job at the college they want to attend and let that be one of their work benefits (any job will do). I told them not to have children until after they graduate so that they can spend their time working, when they are not studying. I really don’t want my daughters to have college debt so that, if they choose, they can stay home with their children and hopefully homeschool them. However, I also told them that God has a plan for them and that the very best thing they could do is to seek His guidance and direction on this. Hopefully, by the time they graduate they will have such a relationship with God that they will be able to follow His leading.

  29. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, as a mother of a 23 year old thank you! And it is so true most of us worker bees really aren’t that likeable but we show up to work on time and we actually work all day to get the job done so we can get paid so the bosses put up us.

  30. Critical Thinker says:

    “And thus ended my brief flirtation with liberalism. I was six years old.”
    Just so you know, everything you said is completely compatible with liberalism…since liberalism isn’t an economic theory, it’s a political one. In other words, ‘liberalism’ does not equal ‘liberal’. If your post is any indication of your political beliefs, then you have not at all ended your “brief flirtation with liberalism.”

  31. Kris says:

    On the college note, I’d add that there are a lot of other ways to get a degree without racking up $30K in debt before you even get a job. I went to a community college for the first two years to get all my basic requirements, then transferred to a local state school that accepted every credit for the last year and a half. I took a full load every semester (including summers) to finish sooner, and worked at the same time. Gave me a degree with zero debt by the time I was 21. Other family members also did military service and then went back for their degree with the GI Bill, or went to school on an ROTC scholarship or to a service academy. Sure, you owe some time in uniform afterwards, but that in and of itself is a good thing – leadership training, experience, serving your country… certainly not a fit for everyone, but definitely an option to consider. As a side note – there is a disturbing and growing gap in this country between the small percentage (a recent Pew study says only one half of 1 percent of American adults have been on active duty) who have served and the rest of society. The majority of Millennials don’t have any connection to the military, and this is a dangerous place for our society as a whole to be in – the burden of defense and protection, the cost of sacrifice, borne by a small group completely unconnected to the majority. Not directly related to the post here, I know, but this is worth considering and part of the reason I mention military service as a way to pay for college.

  32. Maggie says:

    I spent 10 months in massage therapy school and about $10, 000 (some of it was covered by grants). Even though massage is considered a luxury, and the Las Vegas economy has struggled greatly, I have never not been able to go rustle up some work when I put my mind to it. I encourage all of my children to go to trade school, if they really feel they must have some expensive schooling. $10,000 was a lot easier to pay off than $100, 000 would have been.

  33. A concerned highschool junior says:

    Thank you so much for passing on ideas of responsibility to our generation! It frustrates me that these lessons aren’t being encouraged by the media. We’re told to dream big, take risks, and that we can do anything- but the necessary “disclaimer” that we actually need to work hard, start small, save money, and plan realistically is usually absent. We all want to be successful but there’s a price to that. It isn’t easy, and it isn’t supposed to be. (I was especially glad you included the observation that everyone has a smartphone; I see it too, and it’s insane. If you don’t have money for food, or are struggling to pay rent, why on earth would you buy technology’s most expensive attractions?)
    I am planning on going to college, but I’m not sure exactly what major (leaning toward Journalism) so I may simply take a year to gain basic math and English credits online or at our local community college while I continue to work hard at my dance company and develop my writing skills before settling into the right major. I know my two “fields,” so right now I’m trying to focus on those while I wait for God to show me where he wants me to use what He’s given me.
    I think that’s something, on the other hand, that also needs to be told to young Christians; that God has a plan for us and our job is to work hard at our talents so we can put them to use in shining our light into the world.
    I think you do that wonderfully. You are one of my inspirations, and I have read nearly every one of your posts!

  34. Boilermaker says:

    Furthermore, if you want to go to college have a plan. Work your butt off to earn every scholarship you can. Do what it takes to set your self up for success. You know how many people I know that have psychology degrees that are psychologists? None, they went into job fields unrelated and didn’t even require a college degree. But that awesome debt remained! Another friend never went to college, he became a Mercedes mechanic and his first job paid more than what most of my college grad friends earned their first year out of college. He doesn’t have a dime of debt. My first job offer with my degree was for a whopping $8 an hour. But I got to have the “college” experience Matt talks about. Our generation has effectively flooded the market with over educated people competing for jobs that don’t require higher education. Before I graduated a recent grad wrote an opinion piece for the campus newspaper blaming the university for her failure to find a job. That is our generation.

  35. Nancy says:

    Number 2 might have an addendum I have found most helpful. If you cannot pay for or MAINTAIN it, don’t buy/do it.

  36. Rachel Keyes says:

    Good article. However, I don’t agree with your opinion on college. Although everyone should be careful with how they spend their money and prepare for college, it is crucial for most to have a degree. Most employers won’t even bring you in for an interview without some kind of degree on your resume. Not going to college because you are undecided usually leads to a string of minimum wage jobs and little room for advancement. Of course this doesn’t apply to everyone. I know its possible to be successful without college but I wouldn’t recommend it to the average person.

  37. krabz says:

    Going to college and ignoring the “Five Points” is useless. Heeding and following the “Five Points” and bypassing college will bring dividends. Going to college and following the “Five Points”, sans #1, may pay off handsomely.

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  39. Tiffany Dubois says:

    You had mentioned in one of your blogs that you were in the process of revamping your blog. If you are looking for a professional may I recommend Mandy Roberson. You can find her at mandyroberson.com. I am a biased friend, but I know that everyone who she has worked with has been greatly satisfied. She has amazing experience building blogs, cites, whatever.I have enjoyed reading your blog. You have a talent for stating the obvious, thinking, and articulating your thoughts. Tiffany DuBois

    Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2014 01:31:18 +0000 To: whinnid5@hotmail.com

  40. Jonathan says:

    For the first time Matt has said something blatantly and unequivocally WRONG. I love reading this blog but it’s shameful that it was used in a way to discourage the progress of the American people.

    Fact: Every American should seek post secondary education.

    Reason: Rather than focus on exceptions to the rule let’s state the general rule. People without a college degree of one form or another make an average of 23, 200 per year. People with Bachelor’s degrees make on average 45, 600 per year. These numbers were taken from the department of labor website. So what is the opportunity cost of not getting a college degree? 45, 600 on average!! Who in their right mind would encourage their peers or the younger generation to forgo ON AVERAGE 22, 000 of extra financial security per year?

    I went to college having no idea what I wanted to do with my life but you know, they invented this thing several decades ago called an advisement center. What is the purpose of this place? To help people decide on a major that they’ll like and do well in. I went to mine several times and after putting in several hours of research and meeting with advisors I landed in my current major which I love and NEVER would have considered otherwise (economics). So if you don’t know what you want to be, go to college and with the help of trained professionals FIND OUT. God knows most 18 yr olds have no idea about their future plans when they graduate high school.

    Finally, to you people that claim you can’t learn something that will help you in college consider the example of the artist. An artist’s success without college depends on many things. 1. Familiarity with art history. You never know where the inspiration will come from for your next piece. 2. Technical ability. 3. Massive amounts of creativity. 4. Probably the most important is the know-how of how to market your art, tend to your personal accounting, and in a phrase make a profit. Now consider the artist with a college degree. 1. Has taken several classes in art history to further appreciate the study and inspire young minds. 2. Has studied with technically proficient artists that will help you expand your abilities in unimaginable ways. 3. Where creativity is encouraged in every art class. I know, I’ve taken several. 4. The intelligent artist will suplement their education with a course in marketing (how to sell your art and have customers) and a course in accounting (how to make a profit). These can be available as general electives.

    Don’t kid yourselves people. Education is the greatest assett a person can have and no learning is ever wasted. College is hard and requires serious self discipline to make things work out but I guess you can either try and put on your big boy pants with a school loan or with a nice big mortgage (with no extra 22, 000 dollars extra on average to back it up).

    • KML says:

      Hi Jonathan,

      I am truly happy that you were able to find a major that you enjoy in school. Like you, I strongly value education. You’re right that no learning is ever wasted. BUT, going into debt for college can be debilitating for some. When an 18-year-old has no idea what he/she wants to do with his/her life, is it really a good idea to take out a loan? (By the way, someone has to co-sign a student loan, essentially accepting full responsibility for the amount of the loan if the student never pays it back…)

      My story is this: I went to college and LOVED it. My parents were able to pay for my tuition, which was a huge blessing. I learned a lot. I earned a liberal arts degree (which is somewhat helpful when job hunting, but not nearly as helpful as a more practical and specific field would have been). My husband weighed the benefit of attending school and decided to pursue it as well– on loans. He is now in the engineering field. To this day, he would have still wanted to go, but not necessarily the same way. You see, when you graduate at 22 with $75,000 worth of loan debt, you know it will be with you for a LONG time. Next year, at the ten year mark, we will have paid it all off! After our experience, I can see why it’s not a great idea to go into a heap of debt for a degree, especially if you lack direction.

      I think some young college graduates now are expecting to graduate and find a job earning upwards of $45,000. Sometimes that does happen, and sometimes it doesn’t. The truth is, you may graduate and find a job making $22,000. A degree doesn’t guarantee that you’ll ever make $45,000. The “median” number includes college graduates who have been in the workforce for 20+ years. I don’t want to discourage you at all– it is wonderful that you have found something you love. I can just see now why college might not be for everyone.

  41. Angie says:

    Great article!! I worked three jobs to put myself through a public university. I lived at home. I made the most of my time and appreciated my opportunities. I graduated with zero student debt.

    I think far too few young people really take a close look at their career goals and the most efficient way to get there. And I think far too many parents coddle their children, paying for $20,000-30,000 schools, essentially, so their kids can party. In addition to evaluating if you are better suited for college, trade school, or employment, more young people could benefit from thinking about their intended career path. Are you going to be a teacher or an accountant? Will you really be any better off attending that private university than you would a public one? Is the additional cost of private schooling and board really worth the outcome? If you are going to be a doctor or a lawyer, maybe, but for most of us it is not worth the debt.

  42. At the end of the day, there is no limit to the amount of wealth that can be generated that must, therefore, be divided up among everyone. When you generate value, you produce new wealth that did not exist before. But here’s one last point missing from this article. Suppose you do go into debt, for whatever reason–to start a business, to go to college. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. What is wrong is when you attempt to blame society, the system or anyone else for being in debt, and the consequences that comes with volunteering to go into debt. It is your own challenge of your own doing that you and you alone are responsible for dealing with. This is something that well represents my reality. And the same thing goes for this new trend of talking up “income inequality.” There’s no such thing. You are paid what your skills are worth. Not what you think is fair (e.g., a “living” wage–another made up term).

    I don’t envy people with more money because I know that I didn’t want to make the kind of sacrifices they had to make in order to get it. If I did, I would have done it. I am happy with what I have because it is consistent with what I was willing to give up in terms of time, effort, personal investment, and so on. Maybe I could have moved to 15 states in 20 years to turbo-boost into the six figures in my mid-20s. I didn’t do that because my happiness was going to come from somewhere else. But those people in their mid-20s that make more than I do because they’re already CEOs? And got there because they DID work harder than me? They deserved it because they earned it. Plain and simple.

    • Cog-Itate says:

      Dairenn,

      Your response is encouraging beyond words. I’m 47 and while I didn’t choose to move to 15 states in 20 years, I did 20 years of hard traveling on the road so we could live in our “dream location” with three children. The problem is our dream location was only our dream location (not companies in my industry) and to support the lifestyle we committed to through debt (nothing fancy but house, car(s), boat, vacation(s) etc), I had to rapidly climb the ladder to keep the financial wheels turning at home.

      20 years later, I had a hiatus in travel starting in July 2013. it’s the first six months I’ve been home every night for dinner for a little over 20 years. My sons are 17, 14 and 7. I can tell you now that it’s only *starting* to sink in what I’ve traded away as my oldest son is about to go off to college.

      I fully agree with yours (and Matt’s) admonition to work hard. The flip side of that coin is that you can work “too hard” and end up seeing that happiness dwindle away over the years.

      Personally, I’d like to meet the author of the Rolling Stone article in 20 – 25 years when he’s paying the bills (not only his own but for all the programs he’s blowing on and on about). I just hope that we still have the freedoms we have today 20 – 25 years from now.

  43. Dave says:

    C’mon, Matt, why tell people not to go to college unless they actually need to be there? That only upsets lending institutions that want borrowers who lack the discipline to work hard in college to also lack the discipline to pay off their debts after college. How else will they collect all that interest? It also upsets those colleges who want enrollment any way then can get it. And how else can professors pour liberal philosophies into minds if there are fewer students, and who are too disciplined and focused on their goals to want to listen to them? Colleges and the liberal agenda NEED students willing to bum around campus – the more semesters, the better – get into more debt, blame others for their lot in life, and get brainwashed. You’re just being too harsh and unrealistic.

  44. andrey says:

    saving is an excellent piece of advice, except when everything goes bust, saving won’t help you. governments freeze peoples assets, inflation devours life-time savings in a night, and nothing is safe.

  45. conservativebixbychick says:

    Reblogged this on Conservative Bixby Chick and commented:
    If you haven’t read anything from Matt Walsh get ready. You will either love it or hate. I however tend to usually love it!

  46. Andrew says:

    Matt,

    Thank you so very much for writing this blog. I know I’m not alone.

  47. June Day says:

    Great post. I think some people are misunderstanding your point on college: The point isn’t to not go. The point is to go with a purpose, not to go “just for the heck of it.” Or because, “It’s the thing to do.” I live in a huge college town and too many people go because they are “supposed” to and end up: a) not graduating, b) not going into their field anyway, or c) taking out the max amount of student loans and/or become career students so by the time they actually do graduate, they have such massive amounts of debt it doesn’t matter how much money they make. I just shake my head.

  48. Jennifer says:

    Let me tell you that your response to this post is spot on. Let me also tell you that the original article is NOT reflective of liberal economic thought. Its a sophomoronic, or perhaps just moronic, feild of dreams. Many of those who responded to this post were also spot on, some remarkably so, and it was very VERY encouraging to see such well thought out responses from the conservative viewpoint. I agree that economic reform should come from the individual. I agree that the original article’s pipe dreams and flowers notion of reform was absurd and should be mocked. I agree that hard work and self-determination are the way to make a difference, and I agree that large and intrusive government are inherently dangerous and that welfare disincentives the workforce. In a perfect world we would live in a meritocracy where our success and failure was largely the product of our ability to work hard and/or smart. Where liberals differ with conservatives is that we no longer, and perhaps never did, live in a meritocracy. The progressive reforms that liberals believe in are essentially designed to edge us closer to that meritocracy, which this bogus article completely negates. Progressive liberal economic theory has more to do with ensuring a more level playing field, guaranteeing equal access and opportunity, not equal results. More recent theory adds to that, that a postmodern society should be able to provide at least a subsistence level of care for those who are disenfranchised, if for no other reason than to prevent poverty from being a death sentence. I, for one, am willing to pay a few extra dollars to prevent babies from starving. The size and complexity of our government is clearly unmanagable, inefficient and inequitable and should be reduced drastically. I think we can all agree on that, liberal and conservative. The problem is deciding where those reductions should take place. I am a liberal progressive who thinks that reductions should take place in our insanely engorged military industrial complex, and the tax cuts and incentives given to extremely profitable corporations, farm and financial sectors. I think the government could be safely cut in half, in terms of bulk, if its mechanisms could be purged of redundancy and inefficiancy. But I think it is vital to continue to invest in science and technologies that could enhance and advance our quality of life. Which requires reasonable and expansive education without the crippling debt currently associated with the student loan industry, which any marginally educated person knows is predatory and unethical at the very least. I had more to say, but have to go. Will try to come back later to finish.

  49. Noah says:

    With the exception of his advice about college, everything he says appears to be sound economic advice that both liberals and conservatives would agree with. However, what I don’t see is how they are economic reforms. Perhaps that is his point. We won’t need any government backed economic reform if everybody just follows his advice.

    If this is indeed his point, I feel that he is either being intentionally misleading or that he hasn’t explored the issue carefully. With 3 job seekers for every job opening, it is impossible that everyone who wants to work can. Perhaps he would argue, it is because they lack marketable skills. They should go to college and get into debt to acquire the skills they believe will be marketable only to find out the skills are no longer marketable upon getting a degree because they have been outsourced or automated. Of course this will not always be the case, and it is sound advice to encourage people to acquire skills that are marketable, but at the best it seems highly unsympathetic to assume, despite hard evidence to the contrary, that as long as they work hard and save smart they will find success in life. This has never been the case for everyone and never will be.

    This is why the social contract is so important. If we truly are a society whose members care for one another—that is to say we have any semblance of unity—then we should care about the least among us. And this means, that those of us who are hardworking, smart, and, yes, lucky enough to be successful owe a part of our wealth to the society that has supported us. People who have had opportunities for education, who have their health, who are not disabled by mental illness, who have had the support of some community—these people—should give up a portion of their wealth to support the society that has given them so much, to support those who have not had the same freedom and opportunities. And right now, this social contract is lacking. Worker productivity has grown tremendously while the vast majority of the wealth generated by this productivity has filtered to the top. It is because of this that liberals (as well as many conservatives) back economic reform. It is because of this that we ask the government to intervene. It is not to encourage laziness and to take money from the smart, hardworking, lucky, and successful. On the contrary, we ask the government to intervene in order to restore a fair bargain to all Americans, that if people really do follow Matt’s advice, then they will find success and that those who are unable to follow it will be taken care of by the society they are apart of. I truly believe it is how we treat the least among us that we should judge ourselves as a society. Right now we are found wanting.

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