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Conservatives should woo the millennial generation

As an unmarried, small business owner in New York City who does not own a home, I am taxed at one of the highest rates in the country, forfeiting upwards of 50%

As an unmarried, small business owner in New York City who does not own a home, I am taxed at one of the highest rates in the country, forfeiting upwards of 50% of my income to the local, state and federal government every year.

Now, I’m sure this elicits few tears of sympathy. That’s okay.

But for many young millennials who have dreams of moving to the big city, starting up their own businesses and maybe one day being able to afford a nice home and a piece of the American dream, this should be something of a wakeup call.

David Burstein’s new book Fast Future: How the Millennial Generation is Shaping Our World is a must-read for anyone between the ages of 18 and 30 looking to survive in an economy that is, in many ways, unable to keep up with you, and for anyone interested in shaping policy with 80 million people in mind. Millennials are the largest generation in United States history, and by 2020, they will account for one out of every three adults.

We interviewed Burstein here on this program last week, and I sat down with him for an hour-long interview that will air on CSPAN next month. What he said about millennials was nonetheless fascinating.

This is a generation that came of age in the midst of permanent war, a housing boom and bust, a recession and staggering unemployment, skyrocketing costs of education, and most recently, a government that seems paralyzed and ill-equipped to see to even the simplest of tasks, like balancing a budget and keeping itself operational.

In many ways, they’ve been chastened by our mistakes and the mistakes of our parents. They’re taking on less debt, they’re renting instead of buying homes they can’t afford, they’re not buying cars or other big-ticket items. They’re starting their own businesses, making use of technologies that render brick-and-mortar overhead costs and risks less daunting. And they’re attempting to solve problems in their communities that the government has been slow to act on.

This risk-averse behavior is not without its perils. The long-term impact on the economy when no one is buying homes or cars could be disastrous.

But at least for the short term, millennials should be rewarded, not punished, for making good financial decisions. Instead, burdensom regulations make it harder for them to start a business, and the current tax code essentially charges them extra in many states and cities to rent instead of buy, and to wait until they are financially stable to start a family, to be the independent go-getters young people often are.

These are behaviors that society should reward, and for Republicans in Congress, millennials are fertile ground to advocate for lower taxes, fewer regulations and smaller, smarter government.

Young people have been brainwashed by Democrats into thinking that their policies and their party of cool charisma are good for them. It’s been a hard narrative to shift, but if ever there were a time for conservatives to try, it’s now. Millennials are the present and the future, and contrary to caricature, they aren’t lazy, apathetic or looking for handouts. If conservative movement leaders do this right, they could get a piece of that 80 million voter pie. Until then, my advice to millennials: save up. It’s getting outrageously expensive to be you.