TED Conversations

Hanne Lore

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How do you feel about the responsibility of the government towards the young people (18-25) regarding the economic and financial crisis?

Who is going to pay the longterm debts of the crisis? I strongly believe that many young people are/will be fed up with paying the price in the end. We are fed up with being called the 'lost generation'. If we are lost, why don't you save us?

  • Oct 26 2011: "If we are lost, why don't you save us?" Interesting closing - and its shows the disconnect between what America has always stood for and many Americans today. America represents a land of freedom where one can, by their own willpower and hard work, make their life better. Its not easy. For Americans to be shifting away from the concept of individual accomplishment being meaningful is a big change. It shouldn't be a question of what responsibilities the federal government has toward anyone - but instead of the American people's responsibility to say 'government get out of our way'. America's success has NEVER been in her government - but in her government's constitutional restrictions to stay out of its people's way and let them take care of themselves and in turn, one another. That is why she is a land of opportunity, and that is what we are very much at risk of loosing
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      Oct 26 2011: Well put. I could not agree more.
    • Oct 26 2011: Alright, but when every bank in the country steals your savings to pay its executives I'll be standing here saying "I told you so".

      It's not laziness. It's justice.
      • Oct 27 2011: Hi Addison - can you please help me understand what you mean by 'Its justice."?
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        Oct 27 2011: Name one bank that has stolen anyone's savings?

        You can't. Even if your bank went underwater, your savings are still available to you. Any monies that were held on your behalf that the bank can't pay out of capital are insured up to the FDIC limit. Monies beyond the limit that may be lost to you were still not stolen.

        Money that has been invested, rather than placed in savings, has always been at risk. When you purchase a stock, bond, mutual fund, swaption, puts, futures, CDO's or any other financial instrument you are putting your capital at risk in exchange for the opportunity of appreciation or a future income stream.

        Your anger at the outsized paychecks of some lucky few people in finance is ill-informed and misplaced.

        This comming from someone who lost 90% of their investments by listening to a big banks advice just prior to the dot com collapse. They didn't steal my money, they encouraged me to make bad decisions which they earned fees on. The near total loss was due to the bad investment itself. I have since educated myself and have survived the great recession quite well.
        • Oct 28 2011: 1997 an employee of wels fargo embezzled a few millions dollars. The action started by skimming .0001 cent from everyone's 401k through a company in Portland Oregon called CNF. When that individual was faced with being caught he hurriedly crashed through account after account taking 20 years worth of 401k deductions in some cases, others were a little luckier. Now i realize this is not just a standard checking account, but those founds were never recovered. Wels Fargo did however send out apology letters headed nicely with beautiful stationary ...
        • Oct 28 2011: Oh come on, surely you've heard of the great depression? the FDIC doesn't have enough money to cover everyone.

          Think this is unlikely? It almost happened in 2008. They injected hundreds of billion in an attempt to stop the mass withdrawals and it was sucked up in a matter of hours. They had to shut the whole works down and reopen it the next day when everyone had calmed down. All caused, of course, by people who know better but are too damn greedy to care.
        • Nov 8 2011: The Fed reserve just gave 16 trillion to bail out banks, that money was OUR tax money, it was not theirs to give, thats stealing
    • Oct 28 2011: One of the issues with this conversation is the idea that there is no longer an equal playing field when it comes to the ability to find ones own way or work toward the "american dream".
      Certain injustices' need to be addressed about how we can achieve our dreams. How are corporations allowed to claim bankruptcy steal pensions from workers and reward top management with millions in golden parachutes? Why are Bank bailouts Paid for by the public used in this same way? We aided the Banks in this to save or serve the greater good.
      there are safeguards in place that aid us in time of need to serve the greater good as well. Medicaid medicare etc. and these institutions are under attack in this time of uncertainty undermining our trust in the "greater good contract we have as american citizens.
      100 years ago about 80% of the population was self employed and now about 20% are self employed. So corporation's have grown to a massive scale and control more of the government than we the people do. They have changed the rules and the landscape, and receive preferred treatment due to their economic power.
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    Nov 2 2011: I begin with these fundamental facts; (1) all human beings are not created equal. Some are healthy, others are not, etc., etc., etc. (2) Not one single human being was asked to be born. (3) Not one single human being asked to be born into their particular situation, biologically, historically, economically or otherwise.

    As a result I believe a role gov't should play is as a facilitator for its' citizens. Not just for corporations. A facilitator who provides opportunities so each and every citizen can be the best they can be. Contribute to their society. Lead a fulfilling life.
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      Nov 4 2011: Indeed. Well put. I think a good start to this is to make lobbying illegal again, and end corporate personhood. That would do well in limiting the influence of corporation on policy, as well as limiting the benefits which are afforded to corporations at sometimes a great expense to everyone else. It doesn't address everything you've stated, but I think it's a start.
    • Nov 8 2011: I very much so agree.with you Manuel. its simple and to the point. I didnt ask to be born but im here now. Regulate big buisness trickle down theory doesnt work throw it out the window take back the money the rich bastards have in their bank that was ment for their workers. and oh my goodness the economy bounces back because every1 has money. wierd how that works
  • Oct 26 2011: http://gizmodo.com/5851062/generation-x-is-sick-of-your-bullshit

    See this article. This is what GenX thinks about the whiny generation of 18-29 year olds. You will have no sympathy from GenX.

    I've personally been through two recessions and was laid off 3 months into my first job out of college (2001). The dot com bust hit me hard. I didn't sit around asking what the government was going to do for me. I didn't bring my parents to my job interviews. Nor, did I expect anyone to GIVE me anything, like a spoiled brat.

    I went out and hit the pavement looking for a job. I called every company I could find and attended every job fair in a 100 mile radius. I did all this while still having to PAY MY debts of student loans.

    So, how do you feel about the responsibility of the government towards the young people (18-25) regarding the economic and financial crisis? I don't think the government has any responsibility here.

    "If we are lost, why don't you save us?" Why doesn’t this generation of young people (18-25) stop being spooled, coddled brats and get off their ass and go save themselves. STOP expecting someone to GIVE you or save you. SAVE YOURSELF!
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      Oct 26 2011: Indeed. We are now doing the brunt work for holding this meager economy up for our greedy exponential-growth boomer parents, and our spoiled younger siblings. No one notices that. In-between those two, we've pretty much been swept under the carpet. Much, if not everything, that's broken now began in unsustainable policies put forth by the boomer generation, and is being perpetuated by the same, at least here in the US.
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      Oct 26 2011: While what you say is mostly true (I'm 23, decidedly not whiny, and off to get my Masters, paying off my education by myself, first generation college student, blah blah) it would be awfully nice for you and for me if more jobs were created and if someone found some way to make getting an education in the United States sustainable. We shouldn't have 20-30 year payment plans on our futures. That doesn't help me or you or anyone, and it sure as heck curbs any interest in starting an equally financially risky new business.

      All of us are victims of stunted career paths because of the economic downturns and competition from much more experienced candidates who have lost their jobs. And most of us have ridiculously large educational loans. I don't think it's too much to ask of our politicians to help us help ourselves.
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        Oct 26 2011: You're spot on about the education financing. That's an issue for both Gen Xers and the current crop of college students/graduates. It's doubly tricky because, at least in the US, you can only get bad or no credit from it; while paying on time, you get NO points added to your credit record. On the other hand, if you're late or you default, you lose credit points. God forbid, if you have to file for bankruptcy, in most cases, student load debt isn't forgiven. Add to that, government student loan accounts are now managed by a private company (two of them together, actually). This is not good, any way you look at it. Many of you will not be able to pay them off, or pay them off in the usual ten years allotted. This could become the second consumer crisis, to follow the housing crisis.
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    Oct 26 2011: I believe that we, as a generation, have a responsibility to save ourselves. The growing apathy among young people about our future in the long term has crippled us from being able to take responsibility for our own lives. Over the past decade I have realized that there is this outlandish idea that government will keep us afloat. This is a fallacy. There is no one power that will rise and save us from this financial crisis. Either we will have to learn to cope and act responsibly, or we will continue down a road of debt.
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    Oct 31 2011: I believe with all of my heart that a government's prime responsibility is to its people of all ages. First and foremost its purpose should be to ensure their safety and well being at every age. Governments should be collaborative systems to coordinate the greatest good for the most people. It starts with healthcare and education.
  • Oct 27 2011: They have no responsibility at all.

    First of all you cannot retroactively legislate a problem.

    Financial institutions failed to perform due diligence when lending money on behalf of their investors. That is the extent of their responsibility. If you are a customer of a large financial institution and you don't like this behavior, please take your money to a small private bank, or a credit union.

    People are also responsible for their financial situation. Buying an overpriced home, when you know it is overpriced and you can't afford it isn't realizing your dream. It's taking a gamble and losing. We live in a country where basic economic fundamentals for managing your personal wealth and budgeting isn't required to graduate from High School.

    If you want meaningful education at an affordable price, write tax law that allows companies to invest in courses that benefit themselves. If you build airplanes, sponsor/design curriculum to create skilled labor jobs in your field of business.

    If someone takes out $80,000 in loans to become a Kindergarten teacher making $25,000 per year they're an idiot. Not only are they an idiot, but that sort of student loan shouldn't have been allowed in the first place. The reason student loans are expensive is because people find justifications to take the money and never pay it back repeatedly.
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    Oct 26 2011: This is a cop out. I am in-between the two generations. Many of the people you now blame (politicians, banking CEOs, wall street CEOs) were in your shoes the last time the economy looked like this (late 70s - early 80s). They inherited the same type of economic problems and political problems that you have today. The difference, and it really does make a difference is options. When cable TV is too expensive, the Internet hasn't been invented yet, cell phones look like cinder blocks, video games are in 8-bit, and the concepts of Facebook, iTunes, Skype, etc. are as alien as Aliens...you don't have options to wallow in. You have to create something, that someone wants or wants to be a part of...consequently the largest boom of startup businesses worldwide since the Great Depression was in the 80s. If you realize that the education system is ill-equipped for the future you face then re-educate yourself. If you realize that the job market doesn't have a job for you, create your own business. If you don't want to pay for the debts accrued by older generations, get out to the polls and vote for representatives that have YOUR interests at heart, lobby for issues that matter to you.

    People think this generation is lost, not because you can't find your way to happiness but because you don't have your own definitions of happiness. You are every bit as capable, and more, than the generations before you...ONCE you choose your mission. Until then you will follow the missions of others dispassionately, if at all, and be lost.
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    Oct 26 2011: To be fair, there is a great deal of focus on the effect of the economic situation on younger age groups, especially on developing apprenticeship schemes for people entering the job market without academic qualifications. It's rather defeatist to shift the blame on to generations who have coped with a whole series of downturns. There's a young, active generation coming up and a lot of them are creating interesting and profitable opportunities for themselves, not waiting for something to be handed to them.

    There's a very big change in the employment model and it's affecting all generations. Technology is making it possible to shift jobs around the world to where resource is cheapest, so the economic forces which take away jobs in one part of the world often create jobs elsewhere. We all have to recognise that and adapt to it, however old we are. The younger generation, having grown up with fast moving technical innovation, are probably better equipped to deal with today's reality than are many older people.
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    Oct 26 2011: Young people are often used as a rhetorical prop - arguments are driven by the notion that actions must be taken in the interest of "the next generation," but the policies presented rarely take into account the plight of the generation that is already here, starting their professional lives in such a mess. Education cant be the only option - we have it already! Good educations, too! Now, what are we supposed to do with them?
  • Oct 26 2011: It is first and foremost the government's responsibility to provide us with affordable education. Without education, it is likely that this generation won't learn how to properly take down a system that they don't agree with. How convenient.
  • Oct 26 2011: I think that a good education is the best gift. The best thing the government can do to help my generation is make higher education more accessible and affordable to us. Need I say more?
    • Oct 27 2011: I believe a good education is important too but I believe it is best left to the private sector and not the government to provide. Here is why:

      "I'm from the government and I'm here to help." We all know that is a joke because the government doesn't help, government destroys anything it touches. The reason education is so expensive is BECAUSE of government intervention. Look to the federal reserve and government policies for the high cost of tuition.

      When the federal reserve creates artificially low interest rates, people and businesses make risky "mal-investments" they wouldn't normally make with higher interest rates. Why? Because with low rates, you have less to pay back, assuming it is a fixed rate. Now throw in the government sponsored enterprises (GSE), like Sally Mae, whose cheap student loans are backed by the government and all lending standards go away. Basically, the government tells Sally Mae that if a student defaults on the loan, the government will pay it back for the student so there is zero risk to Sally Mae. If there is no risk, then they will lend $100K or $200K to a 19 year old kid with no income, effectively giving them a mortgage without the house. Colleges know that these kids have no trouble getting these loans so they take advantage of the situation and raise tuition so they can make a bigger profit.

      This wouldn't happen in a truly free market because the government wouldn't be there to give the bank money if a student fails to pay their loan. Therefore, if the bank had potential to lose out (risk), they would think twice to make the loan. Not one bank would lend a kid $100K or even $30K with no income, and no credible plan to pay it back. The money wouldn't be there so colleges would be forced to lower tuition just to get students to enroll or else nobody would attend and the college would go under.

      This is the almost the exact same way the housing bubble happened and popped. Just replace Sally Mae with Fannie Mae & Freddy Mac.
      • Oct 27 2011: By private sector I hope you don't mean private companies like University of Phoenix should provide higher education in the U.S. That would be a real fiasco.

        Currently student loans cannot be forgiven except in extreme circumstances. Even bankruptcy cannot rid someone of student loans. This is important because students could simply declare bankruptcy upon graduation and rid themselves of the debt. If someone took out $100k in loans without thinking of their future income and job prospects given their major, then they deserve what they get. There is ample information provided to student loan borrowers about the loan terms. The days of getting a decent job upon graduating with a BA in History, Philosophy, Sociology, or any similar major are over, so don't take out a loan if that's your major and you have no immediate plans for business school. And cross law school off your list too. It's a bigger scam than for-profit schools. Just Google "Law School Scam."
        • Oct 31 2011: I agree. You have to be a respondible individual. Don't just take out a loan because you can.
      • Oct 27 2011: END THE FED!
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      Oct 27 2011: Ugh.
      "I think that a good education is the best gift... Need I say more?"
      YES, you need say more. With regard to the question at hand, that was a bit like saying, "Sorry about that ever so thoroughly metastasized cancer, here's a glass of warm milk."
      • Oct 31 2011: What more do you want to hear mate? This is the best thing that the government can do for our generation. Where would we be if people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were not given the opportunity to attend college. Educating the people of the nation will create jobs and develops better leaders to rule our nation. Now the question was not "how do we fix the economic crisis now" but "How do you feel about the responsibility of the government towards the young people regarding the crisis" IMO this is the best thing our government can do for us individually and worldwide.
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          Oct 31 2011: If that's really your reply, at the risk of sounding condescending, you're failing to see beyond your own nose. Simply sending people off to college doesn't even address our woes right now, let alone do anything substantial for those woes. We have a system right now, by which large corporations can lobby to have laws passed which benefit them at the cost of the financial health, freedoms, and protections of the everyday man and woman. Add to that corporate personhood, which provides unfair tax loopholes and other benefits to corporations, which puts further burden on the everyday man and woman. Add to that the corporate leaders, most of whom (but not necessarily all) feel no responsibility to the greater good. Corporations themselves, as entities, are neither good nor evil. Coincidentally, I don't feel their leaders are either, but they are, in many cases, irresponsible, and it's our government's job to hold them accountable, rather than support, pay for (as in the bank bailouts), or turn a blind eye to their practices. Corporate entities, themselves, neither good nor evil, exist solely to grow and turn over greater and greater profit for their investors and leaders. Without people of greater conscious at the helms, as well as regulations which hold them accountable, what happens is what we see now. How do you suppose paying to send more kids off to college, with money we and they really don't have, is going to fix that??
        • Nov 8 2011: Dont waste your breath, TED is now FULL of NWO Propagandist doing what they do. Educated people understand that YOU are spot on, End the Fed, what ELSE NEEDS TO BE SAID ?, If you understand the implications, economic cause and effects, fiat currencies, are intelligent enough to follow the corruption money trail, WHAT ELSE INDEED ! Scan above, World Central Bank, World Health, Government should provide this and that etc, etc, Their propaganda only works on MOST, but NOT ALL ! My LAST ever on TED CONVERSATIONS, Ted Talks rules, this, HOWEVER is a Propaganda Pit
      • Oct 31 2011: Indeed those are the great problems that we face economically. But what caused those problems? - Many things but one of them being uneducated people that don't understand the consequences of taking on a loan that they cannot pay off. No doubt there needs to be a reform of our "system" but a poorly educated middle class will surely worsen our problems. All I am saying is let’s not neglect the most important tools we have (our minds). Without a good education I doubt that you and I would be having this conversation and heaven knows that the world would be in a deeper hole of trouble than we are now.
        What we need are developers of new TECHNOLOGY. THAT will create jobs. THAT is what makes US such a strong nation, the technology that we develop. And to develop these potential technologies requires a strong education. I am not denying the severity of what you have argued. These things are indeed terrible problems. I just feel that educating our generation will better prepare us for the ominous future ahead.
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          Oct 31 2011: No, it was not a lack of education, and I think your thoughts are still short-sighted and quite outside the point. Many of our biggest corporate leaders, as well as leaders of government, as well as many of our chosen representatives, are college graduates, many of them with high-ranking degrees from esteemed institutions (I believe the camaraderie of such is part of what keeps the current system in the hands of the same people, or same sorts of people, in fact). I have no college degree, work as a developer in technology, and can see our problems quite clearly, and I think I'm just one tiny individual of many, so I'm not special, nor any exception to any rule. So what? So, simply putting people through college and developing new technology does not even begin to put us on a path leading out of these issues. In fact, I think bringing materials manufacturing back in-country would be better, actually. The countries with the fastest growing economies right now are those who are actually producing physical goods, not those producing fluffy-vapor coded things.

          I should also add that some of our more respected and capable corporate leaders and representatives have or had no college degrees and/or little in the way of formal education...
        • Nov 8 2011: Dude, i know personally young people talked into taken more classes than not only can they NOT afford, but more class hours than they can handle, and told them so, then they reassure/CON them by saying, just try, you can drop if you cant handle it, then, they will NOT reply to calls or emails or even take sick days and vacations the 3 days before Free drop date !to drop the class, Boom, they are over the drop date and are stuck w/ MORE debt, Collage counselors MY ASS, nothing more than con artist
      • Oct 31 2011: " Many of our biggest corporate leaders, as well as leaders of government, as well as many of our chosen representatives, are college graduates..." Yeah, no wonder. Are you denying that these people learned skills that helped them to get these high positions?
        Also I think you should consider companies such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, so on and so forth. Think of all the jobs these companies have created and all the money they have made.
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          Oct 31 2011: You're reaching here, and veering almost directly against your initial argument. After all, if the same leaders who are at the root of our problems are products of this educational paradigm you're touting, wouldn't that indicate that simply providing everyone with the same formal education is actually detrimental to solving our problems? So, which are you saying? Are you saying that education is key to solving our issues, while at the same time actually commending it as a cause for the irresponsibility of government and corporation? Really? At this point, you're just arguing for the sake of arguing and not giving honest thought to the issue.
      • Oct 31 2011: I am saying that he best thing the government can do to help my generation is make higher education more accessible and affordable. Educating our generation without discrimination(against social class for example) will better prepare us for the future.
        Are you now blaming the immoral actions of these "leaders" you speak of on their education? That seems odd.
        Also It's not completely these "leaders" fault. Someone had to borrow the money they were lending and someone has to buy the products/services from these irresponsible companies. I believe educating the masses could potentially prevent this along with doing the thing I spoke of earlier.
        To blame any one thing for the economic crisis is a "reach" sir. There were many variables that contributed to the economic crisis. I am just stating my opinion. That I would appreciated a good education to better prepare me for the future so that I can get a good job or develop a new product to produce income for me and my nation thus doing my part in society.
        Perhaps you should reconsider the topic of this discussion. "How do you feel about the responsibility of the government towards the young people (18-25) regarding the economic and financial crisis?" I feel that it is partly the government's responsibly to provide the common people with a good, strong education. Especially the people within 18-25 years of age.
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          Oct 31 2011: No, by your own previous argument YOU blamed these issues on education. Maybe you didn't mean to, but that's the way it came across. You do realize that sort of argument is empty, right? It's juvenile to turn your response to try to make it appear to be another person's, simply for the sake of doing so. Add to that, maybe you should be the one to reconsider the topic of discussion. Mayhaps you should put more emphasis on the "regarding the economic and financial crisis" portion?

          The argument "provide me with an education" doesn't effectively address the issue. Especially when you and the individual who posed it have yet to explain where the money to do so will come from, in the middle of an economic crisis, and have yet to explain why, despite the level of education of the people at the head of corporations and government, we are still in this blunder.
      • Nov 1 2011: Have I been inconsistent? I never necessarily blamed the economic crisis on poor education. I quote myself " But what caused those problems? - MANY THINGS but ONE OF THEM being uneducated people...." One potential reason among MANY THINGS.
        And once again the original question "How do you feel about the responsibility of the government towards the young people (18-25) regarding the economic and financial crisis?" I gave my opinion. An education will provide us with the tools to potentially find solutions to these problems. As far as funding is concerned, education doesn't seem to be a priority in the states which is a problem. IE: we spend way more money on war than on education.
        Solve these problems if you are able, ser. If you disagree then I agree to disagree. It's all good. That's why we all have the right to voice our opinion in this great nation. Vote, participate, and be heard.
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          Nov 1 2011: When did I ever say you were inconsistent? And why can't you directly address my rebuttal? Why can't you simply say where the money to do so will come from, in the middle of an economic crisis, and explain why, despite the level of education of the people at the head of corporations and government, we are still in this blunder? Why can't you explain how this is the best the government can do with regard to the financial crisis?

          No, I never once said you were inconsistent, just that you were consistently wrong. You said, "...the best thing the government can do to help my generation is make higher education more accessible and affordable"

          With regard to the question at hand, that's wrong. The best thing our government can do, for ANY generation, in this situation, is change policy, away from that which has been lobbied for, and in some cases, literally paid for by and benefits corporations and banks at the expense of The People, to policy which protects against the sort of greed and failed assumptions of exponential growth and being "too big to fail" which has stifled the rights, freedoms, and protections of The People for the sake of constantly increasing profit for a few at the top and rewards and protects those at that top from irresponsibility and failure.
      • Nov 1 2011: Cool story bro. Go troll somewhere else kid. I'm sorry i don't hold all the answers. Go fix the world oh wise one.
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          Nov 1 2011: Yes, I'm a troll, because I think you're wrong and that your proposed solution makes little logical sense when compared to the issues in question. That makes perfect sense.
      • Nov 1 2011: Logic? You know nothing of logic, son. Go to school, read a book. However, this is your opinion. Let us agree to disagree and move on.
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          Nov 1 2011: Only after you've had that last opportunity to call me 'son', 'kid', or 'bro' one more time and make another nonsensical remark. No, really, it makes up for the lack of anything to back your argument.

          (BTW, no one from your generation should be referring to anyone else by any of those three terms, not even another from your own generation. Put on some miles first.)
  • Nov 8 2011: Interesting issues brought up here. I want to respond to two things I saw brought up here...

    First, regarding a free market approach to solving the economic problem: isn't the current system of affairs the outcome of free markets? It would seem to me that votes are simply a service people exchange for some perceived benefit. Or, if you're like many youths today, a service withheld because the perceived benefit is too low.

    But regarding universal education, I do have an idea that I think would work, and I'm interested to hear what you think of it. The fact is, education is expensive. It may be overvalued, but it will always be valuable. And having worked as a teacher, I know it's not something like water that can be easily provided for many people. But information, unlike education, is even easier to provide than clean water. It's already universally available in the developed world, even rural areas have computer access centers, and anyone who walks to one, or to their public library, can learn all they want at khan academy or MIT. So learning isn't actually expensive. What is expensive is getting a degree.

    So rather than subsidize everyone's education, why don't governments simply require that final exams and qualifying examinations be open to all who wish to register? Universities would still be able to attract students who want to interact with experts and their peers, but anyone who gained their knowledge otherwise could have it recognized officially.

    This would give skilled people who trained in other countries a chance to practice their professions here, and anyone who wished to get a degree could earn one without taking on debt, if they were dedicated or talented enough. I think this would be a good compromise to the problem of expensive education.
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    Nov 1 2011: 3 quotes come to mind:
    1. "That government is best which governs least" HD Thoreau
    2. "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." JFK
    3. "Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him." Booker T Washington

    The state of our economic crisis has revealed a deep cultural paradigm within America. That is to say, we expect our government to legislate happiness. Take Government Bailouts or Occupy Wall Street for example. Or our heated debates on Healthcare, Social Security, cheaper education, etc. From jobs to education to social welfare and healthcare these institutions of our government are privileges not constitutional rights. But many of us in our country act as if the removal of any of these is an act against our inalienable rights. The fact of the matter is our government exists to promote Life, Liberty, & the PURSUIT of happiness. The US government does not exist to legislate or provide happiness.

    Thus, I am inclined to say that many of our economic woes are due to an inflated view of what a government should provide; in turn this affects our politics, media, and education. Somehow we got the idea that the American Dream is a constitutional right. But it's not. Never in the history of mankind has a country been without hardships. And to expect our government to make life easy for us is ridiculous.

    Beyond protecting LL&PofH, the only responsibility our government has to its young people (and everyone for that matter) is to instill a national fervor that causes us to take ownership of our country; a fervor that enables us to reach our hands out rather than expect handouts, a fervor that expects hardship and delights in perseverance, a fervor that looks at the interests of our fellow Americans as better than our own.

    If every American thought "How can I make USA better?" rather than "How can USA make me better?" this country would be better for it.
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      Nov 2 2011: I like your points about asking what you can do for society not what society can do for you. But I think that most people would rather be enabled to contribute to society than to take handouts?

      Isn't Occupy Wall Street protesting government bailouts? I think OWS is trying to promote awareness about the impact of economics on government, not asking for government help. In fact one of the largest criticisms of the movement is that the protesters aren't making demands.

      I think you're right about the next generation having a different cultural paradigm: I think they don't want to get ahead at the expense of others anymore. You say that young Americans need to take ownership of their country but I think that the whole country needs to wake up and realize that they're part of the world and that the "American Dream" can only exist through exploiting others.

      "Never in the history of mankind has a country been without hardships" So why aren't we changing that? I think the problem is that the older people get, the more they resit change. Personally I don't feel that the fact that life has been crummy and happiness hard to obtain and hardship a normal part of life, an excuse to perpetuate that same lifestyle in the next generation.

      Maybe the next generation IS looking to the government to provide more social support than America has in the past? What's wrong with that? Countries like Costa Rica that have free healthcare and education have higher self-reported happiness than countries without. Shouldn't that be how we measure success? What do you mean "make USA better" if you don't mean improving quality of life/happiness?
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        Nov 2 2011: Letitia, I think you & I agree & disagree at the same time. I'll clarify my position with the hope it will bring clarity to yours. ;)

        I think the 'paradigm' I am talking about is systemic throughout all USA from young to old and all social classes. & yes I'll concede that OSW is protesting gov't bailouts but they are making demands for jobs and economic equality; and some people are even demanding 'down with the fed.'

        The problem isn't with our gov't, but with 'we' the people.

        My gripe isn't with what people are demanding, but more so the posture people are demanding from. That is, it seems pretty obvious to me that Americans have an entitlement complex. We think economic equality, healthcare, jobs, social security, education, etc. are our rights. And on the other side, corps/banks want bailouts. These are not rights we have in our constitution. Show me where, if they are there.

        And yes I desire to improve the quality of life in USA. But sometimes you need to break a broken-bone even more so it can heal properly otherwise it will be damaged permanently. Our country is in the same situation. It's broken. And our approach to solving our problems is trying to put a band-aid on rather than stepping back & assess the sacrifices we need to make in the short-run to benefit the long-run.

        Not one politician we have is talking like this (except maybe Ron Paul) because Americans don't want to hear it and our Politicians are so polarized by their ideologies that no one is willing to come out of their ivory towers and demand effective results.

        Furthermore, hardships are a part of life. I have seen the benefits of it in mine. I don't desire for people to suffer but our gov't has no right to legislate happiness, it can only protect our right to PURSUE happiness. Happiness is not a right it's a privilege.

        So when I say 'make USA better' I don't mean social programs, I mean the ethos: a united Spirit that drives USA to rally together and deny oneself for our country.
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          Nov 2 2011: Okay I think I see your point now: that you are talking about a philosophy that pervades the whole population including taxpayers, corporations, governments and all age-groups. And I agree with you that happiness can't be guaranteed since it is more of a mindset than a lifestyle anyway. Happiness doesn't need to be a right because it is already available to everyone. What isn't available to everyone is the "stuff" that we think will make us happy like houses, cars, money, good paying jobs. So maybe both of us are frustrated with this misconception.

          I also agree that the hardships in my life have had positive character-building effects on me. But people aren't all born equal and hardship isn't evenly distributed. I think that social programs help people who have gotten more than their fair share of hardships catch up to those who have had an easier ride through life and helps them to become contributing members of society instead of falling through the cracks. I think we may have to agree to disagree about how much hardship governments should try to alleviate.

          I don't quite understand what is it that Americans need to deny themselves from though? Do you mean that they need to stop spending money?
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        Nov 3 2011: No, of course not. I love capitalism and free market economies.

        What I mean by 'deny themselves' is this: "That govt is best which governs least." Now, I am not anti-govt, neither was Thoreau. What he meant is that we don't need nor should we look to the gov't to govern every aspect of life. In fact gov't is better when its citizens are self-governing. In other words govt is better when the citizens are keeping each other accountable and actively meeting the needs of the local community.

        Here's an example:
        I live in MPLS, MN a fairly large city with gang and crime problems. This past summer, drug dealing and gang crimes in one park had gotten out of control. My church responded by hosting dinner and a movie in the park every Sunday for six weeks to feed the neighborhood; even some of gang-bangers ate with us too. Literally, the crime stopped overnight.

        Self-denial in this instance was resisting the urge to overturn our municipality because of its inability to control crime. Self-denial was people taking time out of their schedules to help the local community. Self-denial was us not expecting or waiting for or our city to do anything. We just saw what needed to be done and we did it.

        Obviously, not all circumstances are the same and not every situation can be approached like this. There are issues that only govt can and should deal with. But it all goes back to how we view the role of our govt and our role within it; of thinking 'how can I make USA better' rather than 'how can USA make me better.' If we wanted MPLS to make us better then we would have been idle and demanded our city to do something about the crime.

        Finally, I think we will have to agree to disagree on the hardship bit. I sympathize for those who suffer, but people cannot expect their govt to be a savior. It's a dangerous social dynamic that gives too much control to the State.

        Plus, it's okay to be 'unequal.' Why is it we think the highest moral is equality? I'll need to qualify I'm sure.
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          Nov 3 2011: Okay, this makes your previous comment make a lot more sense. I wouldn't have considered community events and volunteering denying oneself because I enjoy those activities, but I can see in the context of government involvement that you meant that people should take more of an active role in problem solving themselves and I agree.
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          Nov 4 2011: Here is a talk about why unequal hardship has a negative impact on whole populations. Just something to think about if you are advocating that everyone look out for themselves.

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    Oct 28 2011: @ Addison Yes I have heard of the great depression, I beleive that is what lead to the creation of the FDIC. The banks collapsed because of runs made by depositors when the bank was over leveraged. That is not the same as the bank stealing your money.

    @ Danita I am not familiar with the details of that case. Even so, it would seem the money was stolen by an employee, not the bank itself. I am also sure it does not fit the original complaint I was disputing that the "Bank steals your money to pay its executives".
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    Oct 28 2011: A quotation I came across in regard to subject:
    "People always criticize the youth of today, but they always forget who raised it!"
    Doesn't answer the question, but it is sometimes enough to silence the ignorant critic. Speaking on a more productive and progressive level; I agree with the sentiment expressed by Hanne. What do you do when you find a lost person? You help them out and point them in the right direction. Rarely do things "un-lose" themselves.
    I don't think we are going to see a mass revolution as there is simply too much apathy prevalent through society, and it isn't just my "lost generation". Why does it matter if we are apathetic given we are not the people running things. People blame problems in the world today on youth apathy but how can a bunch of bored youngsters be blamed for a world they have no control over! If we had a greater stake in the world; if we had a means to let ourselves be heard outside of twitter and outside of facebook then perhaps different things would be said about youth.
    My final thought; since when were youth not apathetic. It is the nature of being young, we want to enjoy freedom before debt and commitment role in. The 60s saw youth stand up, but when else in history have youth been seen worldwide as a globally recognized body? We are an unfinished article, give us ten years and mark my words this generation will produce some fantastic people (some of which are already emerging) and influence this world just as greatly (if not greater) than any before us, but stop expecting miracles and great feats of stature from a bunch of people who are still learning how to live away from home. Each generation goes through this stage, so why is it a big deal right now?
    • Oct 28 2011: I believe it is a big deal now more than before. For the first time in history, people of like minds are able to communicate with each other and lend support and Ideas ( like we are doing right now).
      With such support the world is awakening! We can compare ourselves and our plight. Arab spring is a result of this! as is OWS.
      • Oct 29 2011: My light bulb flickers on when i see the word "is" , the older I grow the less i try to use it - everything "is" metaphor (not mine). I used to be certain about many things, the only thing I hold onto now?... statements leave people agreeing or disagreeing with the content, the question " what caused the Arab spring " has as many answers as the number of people who took part in it (on and off the stage), and it prompts thought and hopefully increases understanding rather than the binary response that we generally use to statements.
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      Oct 30 2011: Rowen, thanks for your thoughts. If you could ask for something and know that the older generations were listening and would do something (or help you do something), what would you ask for?
  • Oct 27 2011: The government responsibility toward the young people regarding the economic and financial crisis should have been zero or as close to it as possible. As good intentioned as they were, the government attempts to help the young people caused this and more "help" is not the solution. A free market, void of government intervention, would never have let this happen to begin with.

    Since most loans were backed by government (thru Sally Mae), there were no lending standards and no reason for them to care if the student defaulted because the government would reimburse the bank. That is how a teenager was able to get a loan for $100K or more, with no income and no credible plan to pay it back. No government guarantee to the bank would mean too significant of a risk to the bank and the kids wouldn't have received the money.

    Think of it this way, would a bank, that doesn't have a safety net, approve a kid with no job, for a $150K mortgage? No! But because of government that is what kids got, minus the house.

    With this money so easy to come by, colleges raised tuition costs to create a larger profit for themselves, which proves to me that most colleges have no real interest in providing a quality education anymore. If the money wasn't so easy to get, not nearly as many students would go to college at current tuition costs. Colleges would be forced to drastically lower tuition costs to attract students or else they would go under. My parents were able to work part time while going to college and pay their own way. Their debt was, at most, a few thousand dollars upon graduation. This was BEFORE the government stepped in to "help" and tuition was low.

    Most students want a bailout. I don't, but it is in the works. I made sound decisions after high school and have no college debt. Bailouts steal money from me thru taxes or printing money (inflation) to pay for someone else's stupidity. Bailouts are perfect examples of "Robbing Peter to pay Paul".
    • Nov 8 2011: ok, look, why do you folks keep saying the banks did nothing wrong when they made loans KNOWING the loans were unsecured, just because the Fed back them, doesnt mean thats legal
      there WERE Standards in place, they ignored them, THEN knowingly used the Fed backing ...
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    Oct 27 2011: Daily decisions are made in America using up the natural capital of our nation and the world for the benefit of residents alive today. Indigenous Americans make decisions based on far longer term timeframes-seventh generation. To advocate for your "fair share" how can young people get in the game? You will not have the luxury of ignorance and play and consumption while you come of age as others have. You see institutions failing on all fronts that one time supported your parents' world view. Changing the mindset of those currently in power may be a boat more difficult to turn than the Titanic, and we know how that tale turned out. To answer your question, "If we are lost, why don't we save you?" The plain truth: save yourselves, now. Get in the lifeboat and row, go, let go, and so... it is up to us all to change our personal courses to save our collective selves.
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        Nov 8 2011: Dear Kat and Tim,
        I think that there needs to be a good balance between pursuit of money and pursuit of happiness. I am the mother of 5 Tim and part of what I see is that this generation is pursuing happiness as a birthright. Reality has to come into play though and if you are going to spend 6 hours a day on video games it should come as no surprise that other areas of life will suffer. I truly believe that one of the fundamental errors that our generation has made is to allow the younger generations to believe that supplying the practical is not theirs to shoulder. I really think that everyone in a community or in a familiy should pitch in to do what they can.
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        Nov 8 2011: Hi Tim, It seldom helps the conversation to polarize the debate with profanity or diminition of the other. Trying to find common ground is the approach I prefer. Please remember that not everyone on the planet or on TED is American and we are not all willing to conceed that your form of thought represents the highest of human thought.What I was obviously trying to say is that as a mother- of course I want my kids to be happy just as I want yours to be- but real life makes it clear that some effort has to be expended to achieve it. If someone is expecting that the food will be placed in their mouthes and will not make an effort to find, prepare or consume the food - they are not likely to be happy. Yes, we may be saying the same thing if you concentrate of the word pursuit which is an active and intelligent part of the phrase.

        PS= if you are convinced that happiness is a birthright- can you please inform the world about how millions of people in desperate conditions could cash in that certificate?
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        Nov 8 2011: Let me respond to your dismissive "that work for you?" with another question, Tim. How likely is it that your answer, in actuality not just in theory or fantasy, would be able to produce actual happiness in these people. Surely you admit that it would take a bit more than this tidbit of advice to change their oppressive circumstances.
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      Nov 8 2011: Kat, Tim and Debra,The transtitions ahead in all areas of human endeavor will not be pretty nor sustainable. There is no way in God's green earth that she can accomodate 7 billion all who want the American dream, without even realizing it has become a nightmare. The ecological footprint folks talk about needing 4 or 5 more planets (like earth) if everyone adopts our standards of living and not dying. The path we are collective on will result in intergenerational sucuide, make no mistake about it. The very fact that we aren't collectively smart enough to make the critical adjustments in our consciousness and behaviors is evidence of the depths of our denial. What adjustments? One example is to'Institute a carbon tax' and stopping the depletion allowance. Identify the true costs of everything in terms of life cycle costs including all liabilities and unintended consequences. Leave no cost unaccounted and stop the insanity of the seriously incomplete and self serving analysis that gets passed today. "There is enough for everyman's need, but not for everyomans greed? Gandhi . As long as greed gets rewarded, nothing changes. If we really loved our children, we would understand the implications of what we use and what we leave behind. It's very instructive that those cultures who lived for many generations on this planet understood, 'we do not inherent the resources of the earth from our ancestors, rather we hold them in trust for future generations'. We could learn a lot from those whom we stole their land, if not blinded by greed and control. Perhaps the time spent with electronic gadgets has become this generations denial response.
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        Nov 8 2011: Hi Craig, thanks for your perspective on this. It is really true that we all need to put our best into the pot to fix the problems we are collectively facing. Greed is a fundamental problem. I recently read a book by an American historian about Lincoln and his 'team of rivals'. I was astounded at the price that the south was willing to pay in terms of human life and at the fact that mothers were willing to send their sons into battle and to their deaths to defend not just slavery but to defend what they percei ved to be their 'rights' to priveledge. They must have somehow hardened their hearts to watch and think that the enslavement of other people was warranted to provide a bit more lace and caviar. There are many today that think that their privelege should also be defended at the cost of human life. They must beleive that their money and elite status will ultimately save them. I fear for the future of us all when I realize that people were actually willing to die to keep slavery alive. What will their equivalents be willing to do at this stage of history?
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    Oct 26 2011: It basically comes down to education here in the United States, particularly the cost of education.

    Generation Y is the most educated generation in human history, yet none of us are achieving positions in companies that utilize our unique perspective or our expensive college degrees. The reason for our generation's workplace stagnation is simple: companies are passing by young, inexperienced workers in favor of experienced workers who are willing to work for less. We can only speculate about the long term consequences of such actions.

    Also the student loan debacle is about to come to a head. The cost of higher education has risen much faster than inflation. In fact, during the crisis when most private and public lending was decreasing, student loan lending increased quite a bit. Students invested money believing that the college degree guaranteed high-paying jobs. They were wrong. In fact, according to the New York Times, only 50 percent of new jobs landed by college graduates require a college degree.

    Are we a "lost generation" ? No. Are we a "stunted generation"? Absolutely. We are doomed to a life of working as indentured servants. High-cost college loans, lower than average wages and the increased cost of living promises Generation Y a long and hard road ahead.

    Good luck everybody. Persistence is key!
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    Oct 26 2011: Well I dont think that we need saving. most of us live in countries with stable economy. yes there is a crisis, but there is no war, revolution or any other incident that would totally change the political or economical environment. you just have to take the crisis into account when planning your future. we have access to education and information. access to cash is harder then it used to be but that way less risky investments are being made. I dont want the government to think to much how to help me. I just want it not to get in my way. And the most of all I dont want the government to spend any money on me, because that means sooner or later I will have to repay it in form of many different taxes.
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    Oct 26 2011: Hannelore.

    Why do you need to be saved? Can we not rise above the previous generation?
    We live in a time with great challenges to be solved.
    Of course a lot of problems have risen from previous generations, and we are or will be creating new ones ourselves.
    I firmly believe we can find or create work. We can solve problems of the past so we can be happy and say we don't leave debt to our children when their time comes.

    We are not the lost generation (Ok, i'm not 25 anymore) , we are a very flexible and creative generation, ready to adapt to the decline of past economic growth towards a world we wish to mold.

    It is far too easy to ask for their help, or to accuse others of the world's problems (even if true). Cleaning up their waste might take a lot of effort, but we can be better than them, and that is what we might want to strive for.

    And as for paying them: they will have lower pension wages if we decide to accord it to them, we can change laws and decide the future of the political landscape too...
    Though I'm also quite grateful for the generation that went to the moon, invented internet and computers, nuclear power, cell phones, United Nations and the European Union, quite democratic education, medical breakthroughs,...
  • Oct 26 2011: Never before have we seen so many young adults in so much debt all at once. The average debt for college graduates is at around $25,000. Personally, I am at $100,000+. With the inflated cost of tuition, rising wages of College Presidents, and lack of federal funding, the situation is causing a student loan bubble of almost $1 Trillion in student debt. It's only a matter of time before this bubble pops just like the housing bubble did in 2008, crashing the global economy. It's up to our government to try to prevent this bubble from popping.

    I'm not asking for a free hand out, although that would be nice. I'm asking for federal assistance. Give us an opportunity to pay back this debt within reasonable means. Remove any interest rates on federal or private student loans, give us a federal program to consolidate our federal and private loans with little or no interest rates, let us pay the money back in 25 years instead of 10, let bankruptcy absorb student loan debt, just help us out. If college graduates didn't have to spend upwards of $1,000 a month in student loans alone, we would have more money to invest into the economy. We would be more willing to open up our own businesses and work toward building the future of America. Instead, we're shackled by debt.
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    Oct 26 2011: I don't think the United States' government respects it's youth at all. You can see that by the violence allowed by the police towards the Occupy Wall Street and other protestors who are peacefully exerting their feelings and opinions.

    The government is corrupt. It is run by the 1%. Hopefully the revolution is on its way.
    • Oct 26 2011: Revolution from who? Gen Z is still too young to fully understand what's going on, at best they can be script kiddies for Anonymous. A fraction of Gen Y is expressing itself in protests and discontent, the rest of them are either ignorant of the world around them or too apathetic to try and do anything. Gen X is fighting to keep things stable while they find a place for them in an ever tumultuous society. The baby boomers grew up in the years where they feared revolution, they saw what happened in Eastern Europe and Latin America, the Asian nations saw what revolution did for China. This is our parents' generation, they hold the biggest power, and they want no part in a revolution.

      No, without something grand or earthshattering there will be no revolution.
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        Oct 27 2011: I don't think what you said has much to do with the topic of conversation. Everyone in the country is angry about losing their jobs, having early retirement, and the union protests. I've seem mostly youth at the Occupy events, but there are people of all generations there.

        I think it's quite pessimist to say there is going to be no revolution. It might not lead to tanks and guns, but I think there will be a lot of changes in government. Most people are sick of what is going on and they are demanding change.
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    Nov 8 2011: We need to create free online colleges with interactive programing, where all students need to do is play a game. As they progress they reach higher and higher levels. Upon completion they get a PhD.

    Wff N' Proof was a college course in Propositional Calculus. The manuel w;hich was 244 pages. The rules of the game, were the rules of propostional calculus, and reverse Polish notation.
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    Nov 8 2011: I'm quite saddened by the circumstances for people within that age bracket, actually.

    I can only imagine how trapped I would have felt if things were this bad when I was 20. I was working during the day and going to college at night and I had no real alternative option than to room with someone to make ends meet as living with my parent wasn't an option.

    Now, having said that,humans of all ages have a habit of overcoming the worst of circumstances. And at the risk of sounding too optimistic, sometimes problems can become opportunities for much needed change, during difficult times.

    I feel like our country, heck the world really, is going through a change. Change, both good and bad, can produce some painful, growing pains, however, so I am not surprised that most of us are feeling a little bruised.

    It's time to put out some innovative ideas and throw them to the wall. What do we have to lose?

    How about free college? (too wild?) Okay, how about forgiving student debt and giving those institutions that incurred that debt something in return (no idea what). What about creating volunteer positions for young people to work in fields that need workers with specific skills (bio-engineering, computer security etc.) and, first, provide them with training in those fields and then, eventually, these young people can earn grants so that they can further their education in said fields, but the employers can hire them without the education, because once they have the skills they can do the job now and get the education later? What about giving an incentive to employers who do this.

    The above examples are all employers who deserve tax breaks. Those who help the community, who build on the society that helped build them. I'd be willing to give those companies all kinds of tax breaks, wouldn't you?

    Anyway, just a thought and for all it's worth I feel for you!
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    Nov 2 2011: What responsibility ? The governments aren't responsible of the people they govern.

    It is the people that is responsible for the government they trust, or don't.

    The longterm debts cannot be paid, plane and simple, they cannot.
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    Nov 2 2011: Hello Hanne. Thanks, for your question brings to light things that are mostly absent in today's conversations. One is that governments are human constructions. It would be inpractical to get a million people together to try to achieve consensus on every issue, in a democracy, people select representatives to negotiate with other representatives and achieve greater ends. As such, governments always have a responsibility to those represented

    Another thing it highlights is that in a closed system every gain is offset with a loss, there's no such a thing as a free lunch, and when someone makes millions, somebody else ends up paying. Even in an optimistic scenario, maybe other countries, or the planet will end up paying for our gains, but no wealth comes for free. Now, governments have a responsibility towards the young generations (and towards generations not even born yet) because they are willing to take money from them (by taking on deficits that will have to be paid by future generations). So it is only fair for the government to assume responsibility towards these younger generations

    I have libertarian friends, and I praise the way they highlight individual freedom and responsibility in our every day lives. I myself think there are areas where the government should stop sticking their noses. But I don't agree entirely with the libertarian world view. Not everyone is responsible for their misfortunes (the poor are not poor just because they are lazy, and the rich are not rich just because they work a lot). Indivdual rights are meaningless for hermits. If everybody in a society is to have the same inalienable rights, then everybody who agrees to live together must consider the impact of their actions on other people. I disagree with Ayn Rand's view that egoism is the primary force behind human progress. I think human nature is a combination of self-preserving and altruistic behaviors, and I think we must understand and accept both in order move forward as humans
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    Oct 27 2011: I though TED was for the intelligent few in this world! If I want to see/read a childish argument on-line I'll go to Facebook!! Seriously folks, what is important here, the issue or getting across your little social agenda while trying to look big and clever.
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    Oct 27 2011: Governments responsibility to the young people is to (1) shrink in order to (2) pay down the debt in order to (3) provide a stable environment for the free markets to make us rich again.

    I think my feelings are pretty generic when you look at the thinking population of my demographic.
  • Oct 27 2011: Government has no responsibility. People have responsibility. You and I have responsibility. Most of our problems in our society were caused by poor government policy. I do not expect the government to fix a problem that they have caused. I would suggest a free market approach to our problems: cut government programs, eliminate the minimum wage, end the federal reserve, cut military spending, get government out of our lives.
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      Oct 27 2011: Yes, because everyone has the right to work, even if it means for only $1 per hour.
      I think you're lucky someone took the time to respond...
      • Oct 27 2011: What happens if someone's skills and output is not worth minimum wage? All a minimum wage does is keep people out of the work force. Why do you think youth unemployment is high? How can young people get a better wage when they can't get the job skills and knowledge to get a higher wage? The minimum wage does more harm than good. It hurts wages instead of improving them. Everyone does not have a right to work. It's up to the individual to get the knowledge and skills to get a better job and a higher wage.

        How am I lucky that someone who doesn't know about economics replied to what I wrote? All you prove is that liberals don't know shit about economics. But, I already knew this from hanging out at the occupy wall street protest.
        • Oct 27 2011: So how do you propose to be able to live on a dollar per hour or for that matter minimum wage, while attaining skill and knowledge to gain a higher wage?

          How does making wages higher hurt wages from being higher? It would seem that the only wages that could be decreased in that manner would be higher up managers, ceo's and stockholder's profits.

          I don't think upper management is really hurting for wages.
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          Oct 27 2011: Kenny, you're lucky to get a response because YOU obviously don't know anything about economics, aside from the same canned diatribe every other ignorant conservative spouts by means of the usual whack-a-liberal methodology. Amusing, considering I'm not a liberal. Amusing, but not original, just more of the usual, taken straight from Faux News.
      • Oct 27 2011: @Ryan_ Whitted. So how do you propose to be able to live on a dollar per hour or for that matter minimum wage, while attaining skill and knowledge to gain a higher wage? Good question. Generally a 16 year-old is living at home and is not paying rent, car loan, or a mortgage. A minimum wage keeps low skilled workers like high schoolers out of the job market.

        How does making wages higher hurt wages from being higher? Another good question. Your wages dictate how much production you can create. Lets say the minimum wage is $1 an hour and that employee can only produce $.75 worth of production an hour. Why would you want to hire that employee? You would go after another employee who has more skills, more experience, and can produce more. You keep the low skilled employee out of the job market. Hence, that low skilled employee is unable to get the knowledge and the skills to get a higher wage. This depress wages.

        In the end, you want a free market. Historically, the best mechanism to bring people out of poverty is a free market. The government distorts economic output and keeps the poor in poverty.
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          Oct 27 2011: Although I have never been a supporter of helping those who have no interest in helping themselves, I have to say that the transition into a free market system would be too costly for such a transition to ever happen. Too many people have grown accustomed to a social system which protects them from failure. This buffer allows them to stay at that $.75 production rate, without the fear of losing what they have and without the desire to push themselves further. In a free market system, this majority of people would be left at a crossroads where they would be forced to make the decision to work harder or blame the system which has coddled them and wait for an unrealistic shift back to the old system to happen. I fear that a substantial percentage of people would choose the latter.
        • Oct 28 2011: At one time I might agree with you that a free market system would work , but with the large income gap I disagree. I think there are flaws in the idea of a free market system, mainly the trickle down idea and in general the idea that a company will be benevolent and fair.
          In your free market idea without a minimum wage I agree some people will be paid for the amount of work they do, but in general I think a company will pay much less than what the work is worth.
          Basically I don't trust corporations to be fair and benevolent. Granted I don't really trust the government to do that either.
  • Oct 26 2011: A few years ago, John Mayer wrote a popular song: "Waiting for the World to Change," and it's been called a song for this generation. I question that mantra. Of course it is the government's responsibility to support our youth, as evidenced by Obama's announcement this week about college loan tuition. BUT, my generation stopped a war. It is up to this generation to not "wait for the world to change," but to take action to force that change. I'm thrilled that the younger generation is stepping up with the "Occupy Wall Street" protests. We need more leaders of that generation. We've all become too complacent.
    • J ARm

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      Oct 27 2011: I am not in the "John Mayer generation" and not in yours either -- I'm a gen Xer. I understand all the talk about the younger generation not being more active -- but I'd really like to point out that NO ONE is talking ENOUGH about how the mistakes of the boomer generation don't seem to truly impact the boomers -- instead the Gen Xers and younger folks have to deal with it all. This is pretty frustrating. Before pointing too many fingers, let's look also at where a good amount of blame lies.
      p.s. John Mayer is awful so I apologize to the Millennials.
      • Nov 8 2011: excellent point, Am i missing something here, but wasn't the boomers the largest population of any? generation ? Talking about a movement or control as far as voting power, and the amount of business owners, aren't they actually responsible for setting up this prob or at the very least responsible for not stopping this corruption ... that idea kind of gnaws at me