Letter to the editor
Writer responds to own letter to the editor
April 12, 2007
After reading my own letter to the editor last week, I realized that my approach was far too tame for my target audience: the college undergrad. My intent was to draw attention to the book you need to read: “Strapped: Why America’s 20- and 30-Somethings Can’t Get Ahead,” by Tamara Draut.
The title should read: “Screwed: Why America’s 20- and 30-Somethings Will Never Get Ahead.”
Today’s young adults (that’s you) are being systematically screwed over by your government, your schools, the lending industry and your prospective future employers. What’s worse is you won’t fully understand the extent of how screwed you are until it is too late to do anything about it. By the time comprehension of this reality hits you fully, you will already be harnessed with crushing amounts of debt. It’s the new American way.
The big dollars you anticipate earning with your new undergraduate degree are going away as I write this; temp workers are cheaper for the employer because they don’t get benefits. You know those frilly things like health insurance and retirement investment options.
The banking industry is no longer regulated by the government, thus if you are one minute late paying your phone bill, the interest rate on your Visa Card can go up 20 percent. What does your phone bill have to do with your credit card? This deregulation has also led to very creative mortgage practices that are getting young adults into houses they cannot afford, and these homes are often lost to foreclosure.
Add to all of this a bouncing baby and you are even more screwed than before. Raising a child is extremely expensive, and all the love in the world won’t buy you the formula, diapers and beginning of a lifelong commitment.
Probably the saddest result of all of this is that today’s young adults cannot afford to make mistakes, and mistakes are one of life’s greatest learning tools! It is too expensive to decide your major is not right and spend another year in school to pursue your new-found dream. This often results in “settling” for what you can (not really) afford in the first place.
If there is going to be change in this limiting, expensive and depressing situation it will have to come from you-today’s college students. You must become involved in the political and social arenas and fight for change for your sake. You can start by reading the book.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead.