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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

America’s Lost Generation, Us?

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America’s Lost Generation

First of all, I’d like to congratulate you, my fellow students, for making the financially sound choice of coming to UMB for your college education. The reason we do so – despite the fact that many of us commute to school everyday and bust our asses for our diploma – is we don’t have to amputate an arm and a leg to do it. Yeah, we may struggle and work two jobs, feed two children, but at least we didn’t decide to take out massive student debt and go to private school for a piece of paper saying we have permission to get a job we don’t want so that we can buy things we don’t need. We can do that without private college!

Some people started paying attention. Nobel Laureate Economist Joseph Stiglitz was interviewed by takeaway.org talking about America’s Lost Generation said, “If you’ve gone to one of those for-profit private schools, profit making schools, your future is bleak. The statistics say the likelihood that you will get a job, for which you paid a heavy tuition, is very low… The statistics show that the US is less of a land of opportunity than Europe.” For those who do not know, the Lost Generation was the decade after Japan’s housing market collapse and period of forced inflation during broader deflation (stagflation). The Japanese Lost Generation were highly educated young people, like us, stuck in low paying jobs if they were lucky. We’re now in the same mess in the US. We are considered the Lost Generation of America.

Europe is also falling apart financially. The riots in UK and Greece are evidence enough of that. We are already marked by the deflationary housing bubble pop. Financial contagion is a bitch; if the European domino falls, it will hit and harm us here. Moody’s Analytics came out with a report that criticized student lending, with plenty of numbers and not-so-sexy-charts to back it up. They state: “Unlike other segments of the consumer credit economy, student loans have not demonstrated much improvement in performance despite some improvement in the broader economy. […] [T]here is increasing concern that many students may be getting their loans for the wrong reasons, or that borrowers – and lenders – have unrealistic expectations of borrowers’ future earnings.” Hmm. Doesn’t this remind you of the time the housing market collapsed because the loan originators had no idea whether mortgages could be paid off by those receiving the mortgage? If you ask me, “Housing prices will keep going up!” is starting to sound a lot like “you need to go to college to do well in life!”

It gets worse. Legally, students cannot discharge student debt in bankruptcy. Unless you throw enough money at that ghost, it will follow and haunt you for life. Many people complain about government ineptitude, Wall Street’s greed, and our imminent demise – but will protests and riots like those in Europe promulgate change, or will we students evolve?

We, the so-called “future of America,” are the only ones who can do anything about it. We’re not fully molded. We’re still young and invincible. We have to do something, create something real, something new, something epic. I refuse to be one of America’s Lost Generation, and you should, too.