Since millennials first started entering the workforce, their spending habits have been blamed for killing off industries ranging from casual restaurant dining to starter houses. However, a new study by the Federal Reserve suggests it might be less about how they are spending their money and more about not having any to spend.
A study published this month by Christopher Kurz, Geng Li and Daniel J. Vine found millennials are less financially well-off than members of earlier generations when they were the same ages, with “lower earnings, fewer assets and less wealth.”
Their finances were compared with Generation X, baby boomers, the silent generation and the greatest generation.
The researchers examined spending, income, debt, net worth and demographic factors among the generations to determine “it primarily is the differences in average age and then differences in average income that explain a large and important portion of the consumption wedge between millennials and other cohorts.”
This information ought to affect our city’s Economic Development strategies, but it won’t. Our Economic Development strategies were developed in the early aughts, temporarily postponed by a global recession, and revived in 2012. That revival was manifested in the 2012 Quality of Life bonds which were passed behind a veil of lies.
We are experiencing the confluence of demographic factors which spell big doodoo for El Paso’s future. One, millenials don’t have any money to enjoy all the “amenities” that City Government is foisting on the taxpayers, and that means that the revenues that were projected to cover the Operations and Maintenance expenses will fall shorter than projected. Second, our “brain drain,” i.e., the exodus of our young best and brightest hasn’t abated, it has accelerated, and a ballpark and trolley aren’t sufficient inducements to convince them to stay. Third, older El Pasoans are aging into the $40,000 homestead tax deduction available to homeowners who are 65 years old, and older, and that means higher property taxes for everyone else.
(City Council is coming after that senior citizen deduction pretty quick. You can expect that charge to be led by the City Council “Representatives” who have termed out, because they have nothing to lose. That’s one more reason to vote out the incumbents. I’ll write more on that later.)
A responsible city government would change its tack and trim its sails. I think maybe we’ve elected a bunch of glue-sniffers.