America's youth faces an "unprecedented" situation in which they might be the first generation not to have it better than their parents.
A broad range of economic factors has conspired to suppress wealth-building for younger American workers; the trend predates the Great Recession. Younger Americans are facing stagnant pay -- the median income, when adjusted for inflation, has declined since its 1999 peak -- as well as a housing collapse and soaring student loan debt.
Each of those three burdens--stagnant pay, housing collapse, and student loan debt--were caused by liberal policies. I'll examine each in detail, starting with the latter.
Student Loan Debt
Economics 101. When demand outpaces supply, prices increase. Even tuition.
Generous student loan terms of low rates and long terms made it possible for more people to "afford" school--afford the payments long enough to attend a university, that is. After all, everyone has a "right" to higher education that the government must provide, correct? Well, when anyone can qualify for a low-interest loan of tens of thousands of dollars with no money down, lots of people will sign up, especially when they can delay adulthood for four more years. More people means more demand. More demand means higher tuition prices.
Coupled with the liberal obsession with soft social sciences, students don't learn productive skills. They graduate in massive debt and without any job prospects.
A big cause of the wealth disparity between the younger generation and their parents is home ownership. Baby Boomers have houses, and they quintupled in value over a decade, for much the same reason tuition increased. Easy loans. Little down. Low interest rates. All leading to more demand and therefore higher prices.
Through bailouts, refinancing, and lax foreclosure rules, the financial and public sectors conspired to artificially keep housing prices from collapsing as far as they would have in a free market. The result was that Baby Boomers kept their houses and their children were kept from getting them.
Apart from attacks on job creators, progressives also hurt those seeking jobs--particularly the young. Not only do they learn impractical soft sciences in high school and college, preparing them poorly for the real world, but they are hampered when they try to get job experience as well.
Minimum wage laws hurt young people disproportionately. Inexperienced and low-skilled young workers typically take low-paying jobs where they accrue experience and skills. However, if minimum wage laws make low-paying jobs higher-paying ones, then those jobs go to more experienced workers. If a working student's labor is worth $5/hour but minimum wage is $9/hour, the business will opt to hire an employee whose labor is worth $9/hour--that is, an older more experienced one.
Nevertheless, young people are the most enthusiastic supporters for progressive policies, despite all the damage it does to them.