Book Monitor

Disinherited:
How Washington Is Betraying America's Young 

Diana Furchtgott-Roth and Jared Meyer

With passage of the $1.15 trillion budget in December of 2015, it's clear that politicians are pushing the U.S. toward fiscal catastrophe. This book examines the specific ways government policies betray young Americans, who will ultimately pay the price.

Today's young people are the first Americans who probably won't enjoy a better lifestyle than their parents or grandparents. Millennials are being poorly educated, crushed by college debt, and charged for the health care and retirement benefits of everyone else. Their job prospects are often dismal due to crippling regulations and other bad policies.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) funds healthcare for the poor on the backs of healthy young people who least need insurance. "In 2014, 27-year old males saw their premiums rise an average of 91% because of the law." The ACA law has also caused employers to hire only part-time workers so they can avoid providing health insurance.

Making the federal government the direct student loan provider encourages colleges to "blithely" raise tuition because they know the government federal loan program will subsidize those increases.

In 1975, the Code of Federal Regulations was 71,224 pages. By 2013, it had mushroomed to 175,000 pages, much of it overreaching, useless regulations spawned by overgrown, self-serving bureaucracies. The authors say that in 1950, fewer than 5% of workers needed any sort of certification but today 1 in 3 occupations require a government license or certification.

The authors use Uber and Lyft as examples of workforce innovations that government seeks to stifle. Young people use these ride-sharing services and can make a living providing rides. While they are currently allowed in 100 cities, many hope to make them illegal or heavily regulated.

Federal minimum wage laws are an example given by the authors of how young workers are priced out of the job market. The laws' unintended consequences include fast food chains replacing counter workers with computers.

This book offers solutions to many of the problems facing young Americans. Education reform should include removing college lending from federal government control and increasing universal school choice options to put decisions and money in the hands of families using vouchers and education savings accounts. They also recommend the repeal of Obamacare, a gradual rise in the age of Social Security recipients, allowing Medicare choices that would make patients responsive to costs, repeal of federal minimum wage laws, and eliminating unnecessary licensing and regulations.

(Encounter Books, 2015, 152 pp., $23.99)


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