In a survey produced by the Pew Research Center a couple of years ago, it was revealed that millennials are overwhelming liberal, especially when compared to the political philosophies of their parents. Of the 10,000 Americans that were interviewed, almost 40% of millennials considered their views to be either “mostly liberal” or “consistently liberal.” This is compared to only 15% of millennials who considered their views to be either “mostly conservative” or “consistently conservative.”
The survey also found that millennials are more liberal than the previous generation of Americans. Apparently, 50% of young people today identify as Democrats or lean towards the Democrat Party, compared to just 46% of baby boomers (ages 50-68) who said the same thing.
The ironic thing is that while millennials support big government policies, it’s those same big government policies that have put so many of them in precarious financial situations due to student loans.
The 44.2 million Americans who have taken out student loans to help pay for college now owe a total of $1.3 trillion, an astronomical amount of debt even for older, more financially sound adults. According to Student Loan Hero, the average graduate of 2016 is burdened with $37,172 in student loans, which is an increase of 6% from the class of 2015 average.
Shockingly, a LendEDU survey of 500 students revealed that nearly 50% think their student loan debt will one day be forgiven. This, of course, is simply untrue for the vast majority of college graduates. Despite the fact the student loan forgiveness takes a long time, it is usually only offered to students with disabilities or students who become public school teachers in underserved areas. In other words, it is certainly not something that students should expect to happen when taking out student loans. (RELATED: You need to know about this massive student loan scam).
The survey also indicated that 80% of students were unaware of their student loan interest rates, which is arguably even more shocking than half believing their student loans will be forgiven. To not even know the interest rates on student loan payments is somewhat irresponsible, and demonstrates that many millennials are unorganized and even careless when it comes to finances.
I believe that there is something going on here that accounts for these survey results, and it has to do with a particular mindset that appears to be unique to the millennial generation.
As someone who just graduated from a four-year institution last spring, in my experience, young people are wanting much more for much less. Instant gratification is not only something that millennials crave, it’s practically a way of life. If they are getting something fast and getting something for “free” (emphasis on the quotation marks), then little attention is every paid to the potential financial consequences.
Furthermore, it doesn’t help that the entire student loan process of very deceptive. When students turn towards the federal government for money to help pay for college, the government is more than happy to give out the loans because they are able to collect interest (the rates of which 80% of millennials are apparently unaware). The colleges don’t mind either, obviously, because the only thing they care about is getting the money; where that money comes from is irrelevant.
Even though on the surface this seems like a generous and appealing system, the truth is that government subsidies are the reason why tuition rates are so high. When colleges realize that students can afford school because of the government handouts, they also realize that they can charge more, thus creating a vicious cycle of increasing student loans and increasing costs of tuition.
This harsh reality can best be described by the words of Ronald Reagan, one of the greatest presidents this country has ever seen: “Government is not the solution to our problems, government is the problem.”