Navel gazers of the world unite! Millennials are embracing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s socialist philosophy, some say, because they think they’ve got it rough. If that’s what they believe, then they are delusional, writes David Harsanyi:
[H]istorically speaking, the only thing millennials have seen is relative prosperity, most of it provided by free markets and American political stability.
Although every generation has its struggles, if the world continues on its present trajectory, American millennials will have collectively lived the most peaceful, wealthiest, safest, most educated, and most globally connected lives in the history of the world.
For starters, millennials had the world opened to them like no one else, benefiting from the perhaps greatest technological revolution in information and commerce–even more consequential than the printing revolution. […]
Do we always use the technology for good? Of course not. For most millennials, however, any book, any piece of music, any great work of art—virtually any nugget of human knowledge—has been at their fingertips throughout their entire adult lives. And today, more Americans have access to high-speed internet than ever. This is a manifestation of prosperity. […]
[S]ince Ocasio-Cortez graduated from college—her “adulthood”—she has only seen a single quarter of negative GDP growth, and 13 quarters of more than 3 percent growth. […]
The idea, though, that millennials get less for their dollar than their parents did is risible to anyone who lived more than three decades. Working adults before the 2000s understand how difficult it would be, for instance, to separately buy all the functions available on a simple smartphone. Wages have also grown (long-term and short-term.) Living standards have increased. Put this way, millennials live better than John D. Rockefeller.
Because of those technological advances, almost everything is cheaper today. In the last 50 years, spending on food and clothing as share of family income has fallen from 42 to 17 percent. At the same time we have countless choices—many of which would seem exotic to an average person in 1989.
On an average night in the United States, a nation with a population of somewhere around 350 million, only 193,000 people have no access to nightly shelter. Home ownership has remained incredibly stable at around 65 percent.
It’s true that health-care costs have risen for millennials. That too is a reflection of prosperity, as Americans have generally enjoyed longer life expectancy (though it has fallen for a couple of years) and better care in every imaginable way.
[David Harsanyi, “Millennials Are the Most Prosperous Generation That’s Ever Lived,” The Federalist, March 22]