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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

A Letter to the Baby Boomers

I just reach the cut off to being a millennial. Unless your parents are filthy rich, one thing unites us: after college we’re going to be swimming in debt. Some of the lucky ones will be splashing in puddles; others will be drowning in oceans. Either way, the majority of us are going to be soaking – for a long time.
I’ve heard the older generations say: “Get a job! I was able to pay off my student loans within a few short years!”
And to that I say: good for you. But I must ask, how much were your student loans? Three thousand dollars? Five thousand dollars? Nine thousand dollars? Guess how much the average student loan debt is for the class of 2015? It’ss 35,000 according to the Wall Street Journal. And that’s just the average. That means some people have to pay more. Way more. And by way more I mean six figures. Yes, some people have so much debt they could buy a small house with it. Or a fancy sports car.
And that’s not even counting graduate school.
I’m sure some Baby Boomers reading this are saying, again, “Work harder! When I was in college I was working a minimum wage job and I still paid off my student loan debt within a few short years!”
That’s great. Except here’s the millennials’ problem: inflation. You see, in 1968 the minimum wage was raised from $1.40 per hour to $1.60 per hour. If you adjust 1968 dollars to 2014 dollars you get $8.54 per hour. Currently the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour, meaning, with the adjustment, minimum wage workers are working for less than $2 a day.
I’m sure the baby boomers are saying, again, “People in minimum wage jobs should just get a better job!”
Nowadays, if you want to get a better job you have to go to college and get a degree. Unfortunately, some people can’t pay for college and get a degree. So they work minimum wage jobs to save up. But living is expensive so their tiny paycheck goes towards their rent and food. Maybe they don’t even have enough money for that. Maybe they’re receiving some assistance from the government so they don’t starve. Maybe they’re in Section Eight Housing so they aren’t homeless. Needless to say, if you don’t have enough money for rent and food, you certainly don’t have enough money for college. And if you don’t have money for college you get stuck in a dead-end job. It’s a never ending cycle.
The lucky ones––if you can say that––take out loans that gather interest. And in the end you get a bill that’s around thirty-five thousand dollars. Maybe more, maybe less depending on how you play your cards. It also doesn’t help when colleges, private corporations, and even the government are trying to trick you into taking out loans.