Monday, December 4, 2017

Those Tricky Millenials

So the state is going to spend seven million dollars in a marketing effort to attract more millenials to Wisconsin bolster the workforce.  With our older population, we just don't have enough "youngins" running around here to take over positions at companies.  Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation officials think flashy multimedia presentations and cleverly placed pop up advertising will "speak" to those twenty- and thirty-somethings and convince them to "Say Yes to Wisconsin!" (a very old state marketing statement some of you may recall on green bumper stickers.

The marketing campaign is going to focus on things WEDC thinks millenials care about: affordable housing, lower taxes and short commute times.  But what they fail to take into consideration is that those are things those of us who have been independent adults for decades care about--but the generations that have followed us have all but abandoned.

Take "affordable housing" for instance.  While those with kids and a job they expect to keep for decades like having their own home and a yard and the freedoms associated with that, younger adults have no interest in "being tied down" with a house.  They prefer densely-packed housing developments where all of the maintenance work is done for you.  Shovel snow?  Rake Leaves?  Cut the grass?  All wastes of time for them.  Plus, that next job could be a couple of mouse clicks away--in a city 2000-miles away--so who wants to get "bogged down" by a mortgage and real estate that you need to sell before you can go anywhere?

"Lower taxes" doesn't hit home with millenials either--because they haven't been paying that much anyway.  When you don't own a home, what do you care about property taxes?  Sales tax is just a line that sometimes gets added to an on-line purchase--depending on the retailer.  Nobody on ebay or Craigslist is charging you sales tax.  And when student loan deductions, health insurance premium subsidies and lower tax brackets mean a fat refund check from Uncle Sam every April, it seems to young workers that they really aren't paying that much income tax anyway.

Short commute times is another lost concept.  Millenials expect their residence and their employer to be on public transit lines.  They don't understand the freedom granted by having your own mode of transportation that you can take anywhere, anytime you want.  They don't have cars in the same percentage of ownership as previous generations--preferring instead to just book an Uber or a Lyft if they need to get somewhere.  They don't need conveniently located shopping either--because they can order anything they want without ever leaving the house on the internet.

Democrats criticizing the Governor's marketing plan may be right in saying that policy is more important that place when it comes to attracting the next generation.  Millenials probably do want de-criminalized marijuana possession, no enforcement of immigration laws, free contraceptives, and much higher government spending--and not so much a house, kids, two-car garages, low crime and cheap beer at a Friday night fish fry.  You just have to ask how much of that do those of us already here want to give up to make it "better" for them?

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