Tag Archives: Youth

The Loneliest Generation, by Jennifer Sey

There are a lot of lost young souls out there, staring at their screens and trying to suppress their fears. From Jennifer Sey at brownstone.org:

By all accounts, Americans are lonelier, more anxious, more depressed and more suicidal than ever. The Pew Research Center reports that at least 40 percent of adults faced high levels of psychological distress during covid. Alarmingly, young people are leading this trend, as they do with most trends; though with this one, their “trendiness” is a cause for serious concern.

  • The suicide rate in the United States is the highest of all wealthy nations. One in 5 young women and 1 in 10 young men experience major clinical depression before age 25.
  • Suicide rates among children 10 and older are the second leading cause of death among 10-24-year-olds, behind unintentional injuries and accidents.
  • Close to 10 percent of kids 13-17 years-old have received an ADHD diagnosis and over 60 percent of those kids have been placed on medication. And 60 percent of them have been diagnosed with a second emotional or behavioral disorder. Thirty percent of those diagnosed with ADHD were also diagnosed with anxiety.
  • Among teen girls who report suicidal thoughts, 6 percent of them traced the desire to kill themselves to Instagram. What’s worse is, Instagram — owned by Facebook parent company, Meta — knew their platform was adversely impacting teen girls and did nothing to stop it, presumably because that would interfere with the ever-increasing screen time for these young girls. In 2019, one Meta internal company slide in a presentation read: “We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls.” But more screen time = more data to mine = more profits for social media companies.

Of note, these alarming numbers are all likely underestimates vs the current state of affairs, as they are all from BEFORE isolating covid policies took hold.

In March 2020 our kids were thrust onto screens for hours and hours each day, and were left with their only means of “socialization” to be on-line or “virtual.” They were forced to Zoom and DM and Twitch and TikTok all day every day, if they didn’t just give up altogether and hole up in their rooms under the covers, with absolutely zero interaction at all.

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The Soviet Union Is Gone, but the Young Yearn for Socialism, by Richard Ebeling

It’s one of the more pitiful aspects of contemporary education that most young people have no clue about the twentieth century horrors of socialism, and think it would actually be a desirable system under which to live. For their sake, and our own, let’s hope they never get their wish. From Richard Ebeling at aier.org:

This August marks the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the end to the Soviet Union. During August 19-21, 1991, hardline members of the Soviet Communist Party and the KGB attempted a coup d’état in Moscow to prevent the political and economic reforms introduced over the prior five years from going any further. The coup failed, and on Christmas Eve, 1991, the Soviet Union was dissolved and disappeared from the political map of the world.

The events of those days are especially imprinted on my mind because I was in Moscow at the time, watching and, indeed, even participating in those August 1991 events. Frequently traveling to the Soviet Union on privatization and market reform consulting work, especially in the, now, former Soviet republic of Lithuania and in Moscow, I witnessed the failed coup attempt and its immediate aftermath.

The Soviet regime had ruled Russia and the other 14 component republics of the U.S.S.R. for nearly 75 years, since the Bolshevik Revolution in November 1917 led by Vladimir Lenin and his communist cadre of Marxist followers. During that almost three-quarters of a century, first under Lenin and especially Joseph Stalin and then their successors, historians have estimated that upwards of 64 million people – innocent, unarmed men, women and children – died at the hands of the Soviet regime in the name of building the “bright, beautiful future” of socialism.

Mass Murder and Slave Labor Under Soviet Socialism

The forced collectivization of the land under Stalin in the early 1930s, alone, is calculated to have cost the lives of nine to twelve million Russian and Ukrainian peasants and their families who resisted the loss of their private farms and being forced into state collective farms that replaced them. Some were simply shot; others were tortured to death or sent to die as slave laborers in the concentration and labor camps in Siberia or Soviet Central Asia known as the GULAG. Millions were slowly starved to death by a government-created famine designed to force submission to the central planning dictates of Stalin and his henchmen.

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The Young Have Nothing to Lose But Their Chains, by Robert Gore

The road to freedom is paved with repudiation.

Tuesday The Burning Platform website posted an article, “Your Government In Action,” that had a Twitter video of a long line of cars in Albuquerque, the people in them waiting for coronavirus tests. I posted the following comment:

I live in Albuquerque and was not one of the idiots in line. Yesterday was a beautiful day and I rode my mountain bike for 40 minutes in the sun. It was just right, not too cold, not too hot. We have an arroyo near our house and I did some dirt biking on the loose sand, great exercise for the legs. My gym sent an email last night and it’s closing for an indefinite time. Looks like mountain biking will be the exercise for awhile. but I could tell that the fresh air and sunlight were doing me more good than time spent in my hyper-sanitized gym or cooped up in the house. I felt great. The schools have been closed and I found it disturbing that I didn’t see one kid outside playing. Sunshine and fresh air are known disinfectants, but parents are keeping their kids indoors and the world is locking up people in quarantines. No sunshine, no fresh air, only insanity.

Read a Wall Street Journal article this morning about the younger generation in Europe rebelling against the insanity, going to bars and restaurants and having dinner parties. Why not, they aren’t getting coronavirus, and when they do it amounts to a cold or minor flu. My son is 22 and has the same attitude. What all the grim statistics no longer categorize is the age of the people dying. The media still begrudgingly admit that it most severely afflicts those with compromised immune systems, i.e. primarily older people. Our gerentocracy is panicking because they’re the most at risk. One among many issues most boomers refuse to face is their own mortality. I’ve told my son several times that if his generation sits still and pays the taxes and debt service that’s going to be required to fund our generation’s “entitlements” without repudiating the debt, slashing the entitlements, and perhaps out and out revolution, his generation will deserve its fate and its shame. Boomer removal indeed. Party on kids, maybe the coronavirus will lighten the load my generation has foisted on you.

Yojimbo, a Burning Platform commentator, posted the following:

Maybe since you are against Socialism, write a simple, concise argument in an essay about why repudiation of the debt is a far better answer than the Socialism that Bernie is advocating.

Perhaps if it were short, simple, and cogent, it might circulate among the young and truly inform them and turn them away from Socialism?
Just a thought.

I replied:

That’s a good idea. I’ll see what I can do.

Here’s the article. It’s short, by my standards; I hope readers find it “simple, and cogent.”

The Young Have Nothing To Lose But Their Chains

According to usdebtclock.org, the on-the-books’ debt of the US government is almost $23.5 trillion, or over $72,000 per citizen. The four biggest items in the government’s budget are Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, defense, and interest on the debt. The government’s unfunded liabilities are over $128 trillion, or over $397,000 per citizen. Now it is true that national assets stand at $151 trillion, or over $468,000 per citizen. Unfortunately, many of those assets are debt, equity or contractual claims (like insurance and pensions) on insolvent governments or businesses, or real estate, often subject to a mortgage. The problem is that all these assets are valued at current market, which can shift dramatically in a very short time—as we’re now seeing—while the nominal value of the debt doesn’t go down, it just continues to grow, and with the coronavirus outbreak its growth rate will increase.

Taking a cue from their parents and grandparents, the younger generation wants to grant itself new entitlements—higher education, medical care, guaranteed incomes, etc. They’ve flocked to Bernie Sanders, the most prolific promiser of free stuff. The older generation owns most of the assets and because they’re retiring, whatever they “contribute” towards taxes and debt services will be far outweighed by what they’ll draw in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Consequently, for whatever it grants itself, the younger generation will be either be paying taxes or adding to its already staggering debt and unfunded liability burdens. It will be shooting itself in the foot.

There is another way that will do much more for them. Instead of voting for supposedly “free” stuff for which they’ll wind up paying, the younger generation would be far better served by repudiating the older generation’s debt and unfunded liabilities. By refusing to be debt slaves to pay for their elders’ entitlement promises to themselves, and for the forever wars they’ve waged since World War II (which the younger generation is now expected to fight), the younger generation could opt for a clean slate. There is already an undercurrent from the fringes promoting debt jubilees and the like.

For the young to be truly better off after a debt repudiation and to solidify its moral basis, they would have to swear off entitlements for themselves, to be paid for by their children and grandchildren. However, that seems like a fair trade—no entitlements, but no crushing debt service and tax loads either, and undoubtedly a far healthier economy than what now lies in prospect. In other words, more freedom, much more so than if their elders’ schemes run according to plan.

The growing debt load is not sustainable; repudiation is going to happen one way or the other. If the older generation wants to make its oft-expressed bromides about the “children,” “grandchildren,” and “future generations” anything more than self-serving pieties, it will support repudiation in a way that benefits their posterity. If they oppose it, they should at least quit lecturing the young about Sanders and “no free lunches.” They’ve been giving themselves free lunches for decades.

As for that posterity, instead of voting for an old guy who’s only going to enslave them more, the younger generations should coalesce around candidates who promote debt repudiation, rescind or eliminate taxes, and freedom. Unite and repudiate, you have nothing to gain from the bankrupt and corrupt status quo and nothing to lose but your chains.


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The Kids Are Not Alright, by Robert Gore

Debt initially dazzles and deceives, then it disappoints, disillusions, devastates, and destroys.

The thing governments do best is borrow. Performance varies across the range of their purported functions—warfare, maintenance of public order, provision of goods and services, redistribution, regulation—but they all go into debt. The structure of governments and their underlying philosophies also vary, but there’s one commonality. They are set up to optimize their own borrowing. Thus, central banks are essential.

There is a cottage industry devoted to the minutia of central bank personnel, policies, and pronouncements and what they mean for humanity’s future. Actually, cottage industry is not a correct characterization. No cottage industry could generate the kind of money paid to central banking’s acolytes.

After months of speculation, President Trump named Jerome Powell as the next Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. If you know why the Fed exists and how it operates, the speculation was so much dross. The Federal Reserve exists to “facilitate” the US government’s issuance of debt. Mr. Powell will do what Janet Yellen, Benjamin Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, Paul Volker, G. William Miller, Arthur Burns, and every chairperson has done on back to the first one, Charles Hamlin: make it easier for the government to borrow. All of the other candidates would have done the same.

Central banks, their fiat debt, and ostensibly private banking systems that either control or are controlled by governments (take your pick) have facilitated unprecedented global governmental indebtedness. Suppressed interest rates and pyramiding debt via fractional reserve banking, securitization, and derivatives have led to record private indebtedness as well. The totals so dwarf the world’s productive capacities as measured, albeit imperfectly, by gross domestic product figures that the comparison yields an inescapable conclusion: most of this debt cannot be repaid.

A debt instrument is a promise to pay interest over the life a loan and return principle at a date certain in the future. If a private debtor dies before that date certain, his creditor can look to his estate for satisfaction of its claim, which has precedence over the claims of heirs. However, the creditor cannot go after the assets of those heirs. A government that borrows, on the other hand, is pledging repayment from the income streams and assets of future generations, binding parties that may not even exist at the time the debt is incurred. Specious as it is for governments to bind present taxpayers to debt repayment with only their “implied” consent, it is odious in the extreme for them to bind future generations incapable of any kind of consent.

Compounding governments’ culpability, their increasing debt loads make it that much harder for those future generations to repay. Debt that funds productive investment can be considered a factor of production. Just like any other factor of production, it is subject to diminishing returns. At some point the gross return of debt is so scant that after debt service costs, the net return is negative. Additional debt actually reduces rather than adds to economic growth.

This is already happening with debt-funded productive investment, but that’s not the worst part of the story. The lion’s share of debt funds consumption, which generates no offsetting return at all. If you borrow $10 and buy $10 worth of goods, the proper accounting for your transactions is that you’ve increased both your liabilities and assets by $10. There has been no increase in either your income or your net worth. Had you invested the $10, there is a possibility that your income and net worth might increase in the future. When debt funds consumption, it is always a net negative, unless the debtor can borrow at zero or negative rates.

The national income accounting of the US and most other nation ignores debt, so when a government borrows $10 billion and buys $10 billion worth of goods and services, it adds to the gross domestic product, official national income increases $10 billion. Virtually every dime a government spends some politician or bureaucrat will label as an “investment.” However, the claimed returns are dubious or nonexistent; the lion’s share of developed country budgets funds consumption.

In the US, the increase in government debt has been larger than the increase in GDP every year since the 2008 financial crisis. Under the accounting standards the government mandates for the private sector, the US is going backward, getting poorer. Future generations will carry an ever-expanding debt load with a shrinking ability to repay it. The aging population and unfunded pension and medical liabilities—promises made by governments, but not technically debt—exacerbates this bleak scenario.

This year the world has become aware of Mohammad bin Salman, the Saudi Arabian crown prince and heir apparent to the throne. It will be a long time, if ever, before we know the full story behind his recent maneuvers to consolidate his power. However, 32-year-old Salman is emblematic of what will probably be the future’s most consequential conflict: debt-ignited intergenerational strife.

Saudi Arabia sits on one of the world’s largest pools of oil, which has funded a welfare state on steroids. The Saud tribe and its allies have arrogated unfathomable wealth. The benefits with which they buy off ordinary Arabs make work an unattractive option; laborers are imported from other countries. However, the sand is running on this happy state of affairs. Beneficiaries and their “needs” have expanded faster than oil revenues. The country’s foreign exchange reserves are shrinking. It has issued debt and is contemplating a partial sale of Saudi Aramco, the national oil company.

Perhaps the young prince is seeing the writing on the wall and has decided to do something about it. Get rid of the old farts, their multitudinous wives, mistresses, siblings, children, nieces, and nephews, the conspicuous consumption and the shopping jaunts to London and Beverly Hills. Seize their jets, yachts, and fat bank accounts, certainly quite a haul. Start diversifying the economy. Wars in Syria and Yemen cost money, it’s true, but youth is inconsistent. The prince probably does not want his generation’s future (he’s reportedly popular among the young) further mortgaged by a kleptocratic oligarchy.

If so, he’s not alone. Across the developed world, the younger generation faces a future already mortgaged by a kleptocratic oligarchy. Unlike the prince, they can’t do anything about it, and relatively few are even aware of it…yet. Debt initially dazzles and deceives, then it disappoints, disillusions, devastates, and destroys. The oldsters got the first two, the youngsters will get the last four. The former reassure themselves: we vote, the kids don’t, we’ll protect our benefits. Debt deceives. Mounting public pension problems are a harbinger: you can’t squeeze blood from stone, not matter how many vote for it.

A collapse of the debt skyscraper of cards is inevitable, the issue is who bears the losses. Amidst the devastation and destruction, the young may cast a gimlet eye on the benefits their elders have voted themselves, and decide they’re less than willing to fund them. They may decide a generational uprising is in order—perhaps outside the boundaries of the normal political process—and a reshuffling of the remaining assets. The developed world’s elderly could find themselves in the same position as the oleaginous old thieves who ran Saudi Arabia: bereft of power and wealth. Except their reduction in circumstances may not be quite as tolerable as house arrest in the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton.

Once upon a time…

You didn’t have to ask

the government’s permission




He Said That? 6/11/16

From Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher, The Dawn (1881):

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.

Die Already, by Robert Gore

Death has its uses. The aged of any species are less fecund and adaptable to their environment. Keeping the aged alive requires resources that are, from the standpoint of propagation of a species, better left to the young. For humans, death as an evolutionary necessity may not offer the solace of religion or philosophy, but at a time when every policy proposal is pitched in terms of “the Children, the Children’s Children, and Future Generations Yet Unborn,” those who take such rhetoric seriously should derive some comfort knowing that their own inevitable passing will fulfill nature’s requirements.

Consider the gerontocracy that runs the United States. Not only are most of the members of what is known as The Powers That Be old, more perniciously, the ideas that guide their exercise of power are ancient and decrepit. Modern medical science has increased life expectancies and the gerontocracy has access to the most advanced care. Disturbingly, the gerontocrats will probably be first in line for any scientific breakthroughs on extending life spans.

If she’s elected, Hillary Clinton will be 69 years old when she takes office. The policies she espouses—government control of everything, spending other people’s money, going further into debt, and making war—are more tired than her lifeless eyes and sagging flesh. Her political party, once epitomized by the youthful vigor of John F. Kennedy, has become a flock of cynical vultures, feasting on rotting government and the dying American economy while cackling their saprophytic political philosophy: “More corpses.” It is symbolic that the current administration’s crowning “achievement” has been government hijacking for Democrats’ political advantage the system that administers to the sick and the dying.

Republican stalwarts point to their comparatively youthful roster of up-and-comers as if chronological age had anything to do with a dynamic and youthful political philosophy. The party’s foreign policy brain trust of stale intellectuals has promoted mindless military interventions that have brought the nation to the brink of World War III in Syria. They are worse than the proverbial old dogs to which you cannot teach new tricks; they are cartoon dogs who keep chasing cars and getting killed, only to reappear ten seconds later. They are figuratively resurrected, but their wars have literally maimed, displaced, and killed millions.

The surprise of this election season has been Republican voters’ rejection of old wine in new bottles. Republican money honeys have spent millions promoting Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and the like, but Donald Trump, his own money honey, is running away with the race. Tired policies lead to tired rhetoric, which has calcified in the crusty canon of Republican political correctness. Trump has only directly challenged the shibboleths on immigration—most recently Muslim immigration—and trade, with a few off-the-reservation comments on foreign intervention and crony capitalism, but the canon is as brittle as osteoporotic bones and the Republican establishment is shattering.

The Democrats have their own hoary shibboleths on the welfare state, gun control, the environment, the failing cities they govern, and bizarre articles of faith on ethnicity, sex, and gender, which are particular Democratic preoccupations. Much of the Democratic canon is required coursework and reading at American institutions of higher learning, finishing schools of statist indoctrination. It’s easy to make fun of some of their “product”: snowflake college students, hyper-sensitized to micro-aggressions, demanding their safe spaces and abridgment of the 1st Amendment rights of those with whom they disagree.

So making sport of millennials is all the rage among the generations that preceded them. However, when it comes to intergenerational equity, the millennials are, in Shakespeare’s words, “More sinned against than sinning.” No generation has had to face a debt burden anywhere close to the one bequeathed to the millennials. Years of government programs designed to make higher education more accessible, notably student loan programs, have made it much less so, and most of today’s graduates start their careers burdened with debt. Suffocating government and an economy that is barely carrying that mountainous load of debt don’t throw off much in the way of opportunity. Many graduates settle for jobs requiring no higher education at all, move back in with their parents, indefinitely postpone homeownership and starting a family, and endure countless jokes and cartoons about barista jobs and living in the basement.

Of course, the “kids” their elders are joking about, and criticizing for everything from their electronic gadgets to their political views, are expected to fund their elders’ old age “entitlements,” fight the gerontocracy’s perpetual wars, and subject themselves to all-encompassing surveillance in the name of a never ending war on terrorism. No surprise that Edward Snowden is a millennial hero. It’s a wonder when a gerontocrat rationalizes yet another government program, restriction of freedom, or foreign intervention with the “we’re doing it for the children” routine that the younger generation doesn’t vomit en masse, and perhaps open fire.

The best thing the gerontocracy could do now for the young is die already, and take their archaic faith in government with them. Get out of youth’s way; let them make their own mistakes and blaze their own trail. They can’t do any worse than their forebears. The baby boom generation has hogged the spotlight since the 1960s, but like a faded, deluded actor, it refuses to recognize that it’s long past time to leave the stage and give someone younger a chance at the starring role. Youth, it is said, is wasted on the young, but the best of youth have always had a burning desire for freedom and liberty. Let’s hope the best of the millennials lead their generation to reject the debt they are expected to pay, the benefits they are expected to confer, and the wars they are expected to fight. The gerontocracy hasn’t acquired any of the humility and wisdom associated with advancing years. Old age is often wasted on the old.


TGP_photo 2 FB




Europe’s Youths Yearn to Move as Prosperity Proves Elusive, by Niklas Magnussen

The real surprise is that only 23 percent of Europeans aged between 18 and 24 are contemplating moving. Europe was an economic basket case before the mass migration from the Middle East and Northern Africa, which will certainly not make thing better. from Niklas Magnusson at bloomberg.com:

Survey found 23% of people 18-24 years old contemplating move

Intrum Justitia chief says report shows youth `lack hope’

An unprecedented number of migrants from Asia, Africa and the Middle East have headed for Europe this year in their quest for safety and prosperity. Yet for almost a quarter of its youths, the continent is no wonderland.

On average, 23 percent of Europeans aged between 18 and 24 years old are contemplating moving to another country to escape the financial situation at home, according to a report by Intrum Justitia, Europe’s biggest debt collector.

“What our survey shows is that many young people in several parts of Europe are considering moving to other countries and that is sad since it indicates that many young people lack hope for their economic future,” Erik Forsberg, Intrum Justitia’s acting chief executive officer, said in the report. Still, the refugees who are escaping violent conflicts and coming to Europe “is another, much more acute problem,” he said.

What’s perhaps no coincidence, some of the highest percentages in the survey involve countries that have been the least welcoming of refugees.

Hungary, which built a razor-wire fence along its southern border to keep them out, topped the survey with 60 percent of its young people considering a move. Poland and Slovakia, both unhappy with redistributing refugees across the EU, followed with 41 percent and 40 percent, respectively. The percentage of those considering a move abroad was also well above 30 percent in Italy, Portugal and Greece, according to the company’s European Consumer Payment Report, which surveyed 22,400 people in 21 countries.

Those numbers correlate closely with national youth unemployment rates. They underscore the quandary facing many EU nations — particularly those still grappling with the fallout from Europe’s debt crisis — when it comes to dealing with the hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers arriving from Syria and other war zones in the Middle East.

Some of their governments tend to justify their reluctance to welcome refugees by arguing that they already have enough to cope with trying to provide for their own citizens. At about 21 percent, the average unemployment rate for Europeans under age 25 is double the overall jobless rate for the 28-member bloc.

To continue reading: Europe’s Youths Yearn To Move