"Just work harder" just doesn't cut it in today's economy
On the poisonous nature of inflation and monetary debasement.
I’m sure many of you have an older acquaintance, colleague, or relative who has opined to you that the younger generation in America is just too damn lazy to make it in this country. This supposed lack of motivation and effort, they say, is the reason why all the kids these days don’t have two nickels to rub together.
Here’s why that’s nonsense.
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A recent viral TikTok video (watch it below) has fueled lots of excited commentary across social media, sparking sentiments that are similar to the aforementioned themes.
In the video, a young woman named Eliza decries the fact that her 40 hour a week job is barely paying her bills. She brings in $2000 a month, which is just enough to afford her $1600 rent for a two bedroom apartment. Eliza adds that she’s physically and emotionally exhausted from this process. Anyway, watch the video and decide for yourself and see how you feel about it.
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This week, I’ve witnessed lots of notable people on the “right” of the political divide labeling her lazy and entitled, demanding she “just work harder” to achieve the life she seeks.
That’s not just the wrong approach to this topic, it’s both ignorant and naive.
But first, let’s separate the realities in her life from the macro issue that Americans face in today’s economy.
Yes, she could obviously do a much better job at budgeting, especially if living at home for a while or finding a roommate is an option. But let’s put that aside for a moment.
Now, Eliza's unfavorable position within The System is the result of living in an increasingly centralized financial order, in which our "leaders" in Washington and on Wall Street rob the American working class with endless infusions of inflation and debasement.
Sure, the American economy is freer than most (and people from other countries still have it so much worse!), but nonetheless, so much of our system is controlled by just seven members of the unbelievable racket that is the Federal Reserve. And then we have Congress, the vast majority of which has sold out to corporate lobbyists, and has committed to a full betrayal of the purchasing power of the average American.
Why in the world should someone like Eliza have to work a full time job just to barely make ends meet?
It wasn’t always this way.
This isn't the America that Eliza’s parents, and especially her grandparents, grew up in.
In 2024 America, we are staring down a $34.2 trillion dollar debt bomb.
In 2024 America, those who don’t come from well to do households better be prepared to take out a six figure loan to make a future degree a reality. If they want to buy a vehicle, they better be ready to take out another loan on their car. If they want to buy a house, it’s time to take out yet another loan and start making those mortgage payments. And unlike previous generations, a full time job won’t provide them much of a chance to pay off these loans anytime soon.
Young Americans are being glued to the fiat debt treadmill, and they’re being set up for a lifelong sprint just to make ends meet.
Now, none of this should function as an excuse to prohibit us from putting in the work to succeed and even thrive within this system. But for the 99% of Americans who don’t have the access necessary to influence the system, “just worker harder” just doesn’t cut it in today’s economy.
My fellow Americans, especially those of us who believe in the power of markets and human freedom – we have to stop maintaining the delusion that we operate within a free market system. And in doing so, we should work towards a freer and fairer system for all of our countrymen.