Change in Average Net Worth by Age Group, 1983–2010
(Source: Urban Institute via Suzy Khimm)
Whatever the causes, we should also remember that public policy now places increased burdens on the young, whether in ever-higher interest payments on federal debts they will be left or the political exemption of older generations from paying for their underfunded retirement and health benefits. At the same time, state and local governments have given education lower priority in their budgets; pension plans for government workers now grant reduced and sometimes zero net benefits to new, younger hires; and home ownership subsidies post-recession increasingly favor the haves over the more risky have-nots. Maybe, more than just maybe, it’s time to think about investing in the young.