What has been the best year in human history? The answer may seem subjective, but it is really an objective one because the greatest time is the current year. The kings and queens of the past could only wish they had a modicum of what America’s poor get to enjoy in the current world. Instant communications with someone on the other side of the world. Technologies that fight illnesses and touch the stars. A simple box that allows you to store fresh food for a long time. We might take these advancements for granted, but the economic progress made in the last 200-plus years has given us a standard of living never seen before.
Despite our modern-day luxury, a quick glance at Twitter or a few minutes sitting alone in a room with Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) might have you fearing for your life. The perpetual handwringing and pearl-clutching, the outrage du jour, the latest proclamation from Carl Bernstein about something being worse than Watergate – these are all things that would have you second-guessing how splendid these days are.
But consider the following: common illnesses of the past, like polio and yellow fever, have nearly been wiped out. Our living standards have never been higher; even America’s impecunious are better off than a rich person in the 19th century. Life expectancy rates are climbing. Technology has given us an explosion of goods and services never seen before. Yes, life is grand, and tomorrow will be even better than today.
Unfortunately, the consensus is the opposite. All you need to do is listen to certain Democrats speak to determine that they are anticipating doom. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) think the future is bleak. Things are so bad that we probably won’t be around in 12 years! AOC recently claimed that she had “never seen American prosperity” and that “capitalism won’t always exist.” Robert Francis O’Rourke went on an even longer diatribe about how we’re one step away from living in a society similar to that of Soylent Green:
“Let us all be well aware that life will be a lot tougher for the generations that follow us, no matter what we do. It is only a matter of degrees. Along this current trajectory, there will be people who can no longer live in the cities they call home today. There is food grown in this country that will no longer prosper in these soils. There is going to be massive migration of tens or hundreds of millions of people from places that are going to be uninhabitable or under the sea.”
We have heard all these things before. What’s funny is that they never come true. The myriad of negative prognostications – capitalism’s end, nature’s collapse – have failed to materialize. Yet, predicting doomsday continues to be the rad thing to do.
So, are tomorrow’s consumer, voter, and investor fated for ruin? Not only will they survive, but they will thrive. The greatest wealth transfer ever seen is set to happen over the next 25 years as Baby Boomers hand off $68 trillion to their generational successors. Global life expectancy rates will add another five years by 2040. Astronauts won’t be the only ones able to come face to face with the heavens as space tourism will be a multi-billion-dollar industry. Tuberculosis, rabies, syphilis, and brucellosis are expected to be eliminated.
No, the future is not a morose one. That said, there is one area that should be a cause of concern for Generation Z and beyond. The public purse.
The U.S. national debt recently topped $22 trillion, and it is projected to grow $1 trillion a year for the foreseeable future. The budget deficit is unlikely to be eliminated anytime soon. The biggest debt bomb about to go off is an estimated $200 trillion in unfunded liabilities and expenditures.
Who is going to pay for it? How much longer can all three levels of government postpone financial Armageddon? It won’t be the Baby Boomers paying the bills. Generation Xers, like Beto, are shouting empty platitudes. Millennials are too busy getting offended. Generation Z will likely see their children begin to suffer the consequences and pay the tab.
While people born tomorrow will have it better than everyone living now, they will bear the brunt of today’s inept politicians overpromising and pretending to be Santa Claus all year along.
Medicare for All? It’ll be more like Medicare for none after insolvency happens.
A $1 Million Deal
Let’s say an omnipotent being approaches you and asks if you would be willing to accept $1 million in exchange for never using the internet again in your life. This means you would be prohibited from doing a diverse array of things for free or a minuscule price: learn another language, listen to an immense music library, stream thousands of hours of content, and chuckle at Paul Krugman blog posts. Would you give it up?
Perhaps older people would, since they are more accustomed to using snail mail, walking to a store to buy an item, or not taking a selfie with their meal and sharing it with strangers. For younger folks, though, most would concede they could never live without the online world – not for $1 million. That makes this generation, and the one after, the most prosperous generation in history. But don’t tell that to the entitled whiners who think they have it worse off than someone living in 1353 or 1933, unless the left has its way and everyone receives a pile of cash just for breathing.