With all the bailouts, financial assistance and porkulus talk and action lately, I think it’s time for my fellow 20 something year olds to demand our piece of the pie. Certainly the government has made it clear that money will be spent, spent frequently and in large numbers in the name of economic recovery. This got me thinking… Where is our piece of the pie? I’m talking to those of us who have graduated college/graduate school in the past few years.
How many of us have double digit thousands in student loan debt? How many of us are struggling to make ends meet despite a relatively competative starting salary? We did things the right way, didn’t we? We went to college, paid for some of it by working or taking out student loans to be paid back. We got a job and are working hard to establish ourselves in our young careeres. So why is it so hard to get started?
Well, with the basic needs when you start out; a car, place to live, bills, student loan payments, maybe a few new suits (you can’t meet a client wearing the same blue jeans and sorority t-shirt you wore to class in college everyday)… it is without a doubt a difficult task to get your start in this society, especially if you’re one of those college grads whose parents don’t set you up with the basics. We all have the same fears in this economic climate. Am I experienced enough to keep my job if my company downsizes? Can I trust my job long enough to make the payments on the car I just bought that gets me to and from my job? Will I ever be able to stop throwing my money away on rent and buy a house someday? Or maybe your income allows you to afford a mortgage, but a down payment (done the right way, 20%) seems impossible to save since you’re living paycheck to paycheck (why with taxes, student loans, car payment, rent, etc. that number on your job offer seemed so much larger than it really is). What’s a young “producer” to do?
Well, our government just wrote a hot check for $1.3 in the name of economic recovery. But how is this benefiting those of us whose income taxes will still be paying for this long after our parents have retired? Well here’s an idea. What if the government, in its infinate wisdom, decided to throw a bone to us? What if they said, “hey, since we’re borrowing this money from you, and asking you to take on the task of paying this money back in your lifetime, why don’t we help you get ahead a little?” Why can’t the government give a little boost to the auto and housing industries by giving us a tax grace period as a graduation present?
Let’s say that for the sake of argument, you are making a startingly average $40k at your first job (which is half of what you just spent on college). You will pay over $8k annually in taxes between federal, state, Medicare and social security taxes. How would it stimulate the economy if you gave people like us a break for our first 2 or 3 years of employment to help us get started? Our biggest needs at our age and in our situation is a car, a house and repayment of government backed student loans among other “starting out” costs. We don’t have kids yet (most of us), we don’t need government housing, we don’t need welfare. We’re paying part of the bill to bail our parent’s generation out of their bad mortgages and being told to just deal with it and pay it back later on. It looks to me like we’d have a nice little economic boost if our government gave us a little piece of the pie. What could we all do with an extra $8k a year? Buy a car? we have our down payment and then some. Buy a house? If we save for 3 years (assuming we make the income stated above), that’s about $24k. Pretty close to that down payment that we otherwise would have never come up with. Student loan payments? Well, if we’re getting a tax break, the government is still getting their money back if we use it to pay our loans off.
Indeed, our particular demographic is going to have to take on the burden of paying this money back to the tax payers. I just think it would be a nice “investment” in our future to help us when we’re starting out. That way we can all be that much more successful when it comes time for society to ask us to pay back the money our elders borrowed from us to save the financial system their generation broke.