Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America enthusiastically cheer the first two months of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and point out that good things can happen when a leader hits the ground running on the things they promised to do. They also wince as just six House Democrats agree that illegal immigrants shouldn’t be voting. And they wonder if millennials are really far to the left or whether they embrace labels they don’t quite understand as 73 percent favor the government instituting universal health care but 79 percent want to keep private insurance.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America shake their heads as the Republican National Committee furiously tries to line up a few Democrats to push Mike Pompeo over the finish line as the next Secretary of State. They also hang their heads as large percentages of Americans demonstrate very poor knowledge about the Holocaust, including 41 percent of Americans and 66 percent of millennials who have no idea what Auschwitz was. And they throw up their hands, as the Republican National Committee tries to discredit the upcoming media blitz from former FBI Director James Comey by favorable quoting Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Maxine Waters.
Teddy Kupfer of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America cheer President Trump’s selection of John Bolton as National Security Adviser and look forward to his tough stance on North Korean nukes and the Iran nuclear deal while liberals fear that Bolton will start bombing everyone. They also unload on the bloated $1.3 trillion omnibus that the majority of Republican representatives and senators approved, much to the delight of Democrats and the fury of fiscal conservatives. Teddy and Greg understand the desire of Republicans to rebuild the military but find the reckless spending in other areas unacceptable. They scratch their heads trying to figure out why more than half of millennials actually enjoy doing their taxes. And they offer a champagne toast to the late Democratic Georgia Gov. and Sen. Zell Miller and reflect upon his memorable keynote address at the Republican convention in 2004.
A new survey detailing the extent of casual sex among singles shows many are having intimate relations before the first date, a development that can be blamed in part on technology but leads to tremendous regret and permanently damaged relationships.
This week, the dating service Match released a new survey on sex and singles conducted by Research Now. Included in the data are the revelations that 34 percent of singles have had sex before a first date and that millennials are 48 percent more likely to have sex before a first date than all other generations of singles in order “to see if there is a connection.”
In a USA Today story on the survey, sex therapist Kimberly Resnick Anderson suggests millennials have inverted the relationship process, using sex to determine if they want to pursue anything further with that person.
“We used to think of sex as you crossed the line now you are in an intimate zone, but now sex is almost a given and it’s not the intimate part. The intimate part is getting to know someone and going on a date,” Anderson is quoted as saying.
Ruth Institute Founder and President Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse says the discrepancy between millennials and other singles is that the older ones know better.
“The reason older generations are not [having sex before a first date] is because they have figured out already from experience that this is not a good idea. What we’re doing is just one generation of young people after another are having to figure out for themselves that hopping into bed with somebody is a lot more complicated and potentially hurtful than we’re led to believe by the media and stories like this one,” said Morse.
Morse also says smartphone apps for the explicit purpose of casual sex are contributing to the trend.
“It’s a new thing when you having dating apps or casual sex apps on your cell phone and you can find out if there’s somebody close by who wants to have sex with you. That’s a new thing,” she said.
“The desire to be sexually active has been with us forever obviously, but this way of going about it and the way the culture is pushing people towards sex without any kind of intimacy or friendship, that is something new and, I think, uniquely destructive,” said Morse.
Morse calls surveys like this and their positive portrayal in the media “cheerleading for the sexual revolution.” But despite the glamorous and enticing portrayal of casual sex, she says it comes with many consequences, including the attachment people are specifically not looking for.
“What you learn from experience is that your body has a tendency to attach to the person you have sex with. If it doesn’t attach, often times what we have done is we are separating ourselves from our bodies, we’re anesthetizing ourselves,” said Morse.
She also says the surveys and the pop culture leave out other aspects of the hook-up culture.
“One thing they don’t talk about here is the roles of alcohol and drugs in casual sex. What one can see in other kinds of surveys is that when people decide they’re going to do completely anonymous sex like this, it isn’t unusual for people to get themselves completely plastered before they do it,” said Morse.
“That should tell you it’s not as much fun as it’s cracked up to be. That’s something that I’ve been hearing from college students for quite a while,” said Morse.
It’s not just college students who have regrets. The Ruth Institute has begun what may be a one-of-a-kind program called “Tell Ruth the Truth,” which invites people to share the impact that casual sex has had on their lives.
“What we’re trying to do is get away from this message of airbrushing away all the problems and allowing people space and time to say here’s what really happened. ‘Here’s how I really felt after casual sex. Here’s the next step after the first time you have that kind of encounter and then you get kind of swept away in it and are having one encounter after another and they’re not really satisfying you. Here’s where that leads,'” stated Morse.
She says her work shows that personal stories resonate best with young people.
“I think millennials particularly want to hear stories. They don’t care for data. All these numbers aren’t going to touch them one bit. But if someone who is 35 years old stands in front of them and says, ‘This is how my heart was broken by doing what you’re standing there thinking about doing. They just might listen to that,” said Morse.
Perhaps worst of all, says Morse, is the long-term damage casual sex inflicts on future efforts at meaningful relationships.
“The results of sex are bonding and babies. That’s the natural biological result of sex, bonding and babies. If people don’t know how to bond with one another, they’re going to have trouble creating lasting, stable relationships for when they do finally want to have babies. Then they’re not going to be ready to really care for their children and give the children the kind of security and attachment that they need,” said Morse.
She says impact of poor bonding is also is also felt by the children.
“The kind of damage that’s going to happen to children of people who can’t form relationships is really hard to predict just how bad that can be. Honestly, I don’t see a floor under this elevator. We’re still going down,” said Morse.
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Ian Tuttle of National Review discuss millennials choosing Hillary Clinton by a much smaller margin than Barack Obama enjoyed in previous elections. They also unload on the liberal politicians and columnists screaming for the Electoral College to be abolished. And they slam the media for throwing a fit over Donald Trump going out to dinner without telling the media.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are pleased to see millennials far less excited about Hillary Clinton than they were about Barack Obama. They also shudder as many states reveal the massive Obamacare premium hikes in store for the coming year. They react to a DNC bus pouring human waste into a Georgia storm sewer. And they mark six years of the Three Martini Lunch with a look back at two of this year’s funniest moments.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are pleased to see millennials very discouraged by the 2016 campaign and don’t blame them one bit. We also discuss Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte saying he’s going to wipe out drug dealers and users the way Hitler wiped out the Jews. And we analyze Donald Trump’s late-night Twitter rant over Alicia Machado.
By Ryan Brown
When President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act in 1935, it’s possible he didn’t understand the huge effect his social welfare plan would have. In 2014, over 59 million Americans will receive almost $863 billion in Social Security benefits. 9 out of 10 individuals over the age of 65 receive benefits and among those, half of elderly married beneficiaries rely on Social Security for 50% of their income. 47% of single, elderly beneficiaries rely on Social Security for 90% of their income. These numbers are in addition to the disabled workers and dependent family members of deceased workers who also receive benefits.
In a word, Social Security is huge.
Unfortunately, the system is in dire need of repair, and that spells bad news for young people.
Andrew Biggs is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC, and he’s also worked as deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration. When asked if Social Security will be around for millennials, his answer isn’t reassuring.
“The answer to that is yes and no,” he says.
Biggs says that the program isn’t going anywhere, but what a young person receives will vary.
“The idea that you’re not going to get a penny from Social Security, I really think is false. On the other hand, what are the chances I’m going to get everything I’ve been promised from Social Security? And I think those chances are pretty slim,” he says.
If that isn’t depressing enough, Biggs goes on to say that postponing the problem isn’t helping anyone either.
“The Sooner you fix it the easier it is. For every year that goes by, we’re essentially putting off the problem and so it gets to be harder to solve,” says Biggs.
A solution to the problem isn’t going to come easily, and that shouldn’t surprise anyone. Economists each seem to have their own ideas of how to create solvency, and they fiercely debate one another over the pros and cons of their plans.
Melissa Favreault is a Senior Fellow in the Urban Institute’s Income and Benefits Policy Center. She says that even if economists can’t come to an agreement, though, almost all the proposed solutions include some mix of adjustments on the tax or revenue side, and adjustments to benefits.
“Some of the proposals that are most common are things like lifting the cap on earnings that are taxable for Social Security. There’s also some talk about increasing the taxation of benefits, or broadening the base, for example, to include things like health insurance benefits that are currently not taxed for Social Security purposes,” she says.
The proposed benefits adjustments are equally varied.
“One that we hear a lot about are things like increasing the full retirement age, or increasing the early retirement age. We also hear about things like reducing the cost of living adjustment. Among proposals that we’ve seen in a lot of recent plans are adjustments in the rate of growth for benefits,” says Favreault.
Though a solution will likely entail a combination of changes, Biggs says the most likely change he sees is the retirement age.
“The retirement age currently is slowly shifting from 65 up to 67. It’s something that is not an easy change to make, but I think encouraging people to work longer is really the best way to address these issues,” he says.
But some are disappointed with any and all attempts at fixing Social Security. When the system was designed, it was based on a three-legged stool of retirement: private pension benefits, private savings, and Social Security. Many see a decline in private pensions and savings and an increasing reliance on the third leg, Social Security. For young people, this means they should start saving for retirement now. For other advocates, the increasing reliance on Social Security is the beginning of a downward trend, and they want the freedom to take their retirement savings into their own hands—to privatize the system.
While privatization models of retirement savings have shown huge gains for savings invested in the stock market, Biggs is quick to point out that the biggest issue in privatizing the system is something called “transition cost.”
“If you take the money that you’re currently paying into Social Security and you put it into a personal account on your own, that’s money the system doesn’t have to pay out benefits to your grandparents. So during that time, you have to come up with additional money to cover this transition,” says Biggs.
It’s that transition cost, and the fact that the current system needs money flowing in to function, that necessitates a multifaceted, well-thought-out solution to Social Security’s solvency issues.
For Favreault, the most important thing for young people to understand, is that Social Security requires a group perspective.
“We’re kind of all in this together, and we’re saying that as a society, we want people of retirement age and people who become disabled, or the children of workers who die before retirement, that they’re protected,” she says.
Biggs admits that, for a lot of young people, that can be hard to swallow.
“Is it fair to say that a lot of younger folks are kind of getting ripped of? Well, that’s kind of what the numbers show. So you want to find some solution that smooths things out and makes the system sustainable, not just in a financial sense, but sustainable in that people feel it’s something they can really support,” he says.
For a lot of millennials, Social Security is something that they see having little effect on their day-to-day lives. For a solution to the rapidly approaching solvency crisis, though, millennials and other young Americans will have to decide this is an issue they want to fix. Otherwise, they’ll bear the financial consequences.
By Ryan Brown
The 2008 housing crash is still having a huge effect. During the recession, Americans lost more than a quarter of their net worth. Housing prices dropped 20% and total home equity in the United States dropped $4.2 trillion. All told, losses during the recession totaled $8.3 trillion.
But some of the losses appear to extend beyond mere dollar value and penetrate Americans’ psyche. In 2011, 53 out of every thousand eligible young adult renters became a homeowner. That’s 38% lower than the pre-recession 85 per thousand, recorded in 2001.
It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that so many young people pause when confronted with the question of whether they should rent or buy. Among an age group where only 43% respond that they are “very satisfied” with their current job, researching the question to buy or to rent is a tough situation.
That situation isn’t made any easier when a lot of experts agree that the best answer is, “it depends.”
Rick Harris is regional vice president for the National Association of Realtors and the owner and broker of Coldwell Banker Pro West Real Estate in Ashland, Oregon. He agrees that it does depend, but adds that there are a few criteria by which young people can base their decisions.
“It depends on some things that you can point out. It depends on a person’s financial situation and what their goals are. It depends on what kind of credit they have. It depends on where they live, what the market is like where they live, how long they plan to stay there, and really how flexible they want their lifestyle to be,” says Harris.
If a young person can’t give good answers to those questions, Harris says the best thing to do is wait and keep renting. That, in itself, he says, may have some added benefits.
“Renting gives you great flexibility. You can move for jobs more easily and you can live where you want to. Unless you have a lease you can be out of a rental and move to a different place relatively quickly. Up front it costs less to get into a rental investment and you can call the landlord if the roof leaks. If the paint needs to be redone a landlord will often do that, or if there are plumbing repairs they’ll often deal with that,” he says.
But when a young person is ready to sacrifice some of the flexibility of renting and buy a house, Harris recommends they remember one important fact from the recent housing crisis.
“Understand that real estate is a long-term, not a short-term investment. In the bubble, a lot of people were doing what was essentially day trading in houses. They would buy houses before they were built and flip them. It worked like the stock market works, but the same thing that can happen in the stock market happened in the housing market—the bubble popped,” he says.
As with any complicated issue, however, even when someone is ready to own a home after answering some of the important questions in home-buying, those questions open the door for even more questions. In renting and buying, many of those new questions focus on real estate’s biggest issue, location, location, location.
Jed Kolko is chief economist and vice president of analytics at Trulia, an online real estate site. He says where you plan on living might help you determine whether to rent or buy.
“When we look across the country and compare a similar unit for rent and for sale, similar-sized units in the same neighborhood, it looks more than a third cheaper to buy than to rent. But that’s only if you get today’s low mortgage rates and if you stay put for seven years,” says Kolko.
A closer look at the data shows that buying ranges from being just 5% cheaper per month than renting in Honolulu, Hawaii, to being 66% cheaper per month than renting in Detroit, Michigan. Kolko is quick to point out, though, that the length of time you plan on staying in an area is still the most important factor.
“One of the most important factors in deciding whether the math makes sense to buy or to rent is how long you’re going to stay put in a place. People who aren’t planning to stay put at least five or seven years, might be better off renting,” he says.
For young people who plan to stay for seven or more years, have a great job, and want to settle down, though, there are still hurdles they may face, simply because they’re young.
“There are a lot of obstacles right now for young people who might want to buy. The first of course is the down-payment. Qualifying for a mortgage is also a hurdle. And, as student debt is rising, debt might make it harder for some young people to qualify for a mortgage,” says Kolko.
To make sure that young people do all the necessary research and get all their facts straight, Kolko recommends they use a rent versus buy calculator to really make sure that the details all point in the direction of renting or buying.
“A rent versus buy calculator lets you compare for any two units whether buying or renting is going to be the better deal. The calculator lets you put in what your tax bracket is, how long you’re going to stay in the home, and your location, to get a very personalized calculation of whether it’s going to be cheaper to rent or to buy,” he says.
But using a rent versus buy calculator can leave some questions unanswered. Jared Gerlach is a software developer in Provo, Utah. He says that even after a lot of research, owning his first house came with some surprises.
“Before I bought a house, I didn’t realize all the different things that I would need to do. I have to worry about paying utilities and the mortgage on time, watering the lawn, taking out the trash—stuff like that,” says Gerlach.
Though the decision to rent or buy might seem to be subjective, by using rent versus buy calculators, taking into account the flexibility of their lifestyle, and looking at location, young people can navigate this difficult decision.