Prom season is upon us.
It’s wonderful to see the excitement on the faces of young people as they pose for photos in their front yards, dressed up in their finest duds.
I hate to admit it, but I feel bad for these young people.
As they stand there being photographed, enthralled by the last event of their high school years, they have little idea what their future holds.
After spending their entire lives in an era of low inflation, cheap money and a growing economy, they must now feel the sting of higher costs.
Because their fancy dresses — along with everything else in our inflation-wracked economy — are so expensive this year, the trend for many young women has been to choose lower-cost fabrics, according to MSN.
Many kids will head off to college where they and their parents will be greeted with ever-increasing college bills.
I hope they make wise choices. If they don’t have the big bucks to pay for college, I hope they don’t borrow tens of thousands of dollars to do so.
I also hope they do what many wise students have been doing for years — start at a community college, where the costs are reasonable, then transfer the credits to another school in their junior year.
Finding meaningful, well-paying work is hard enough without starting your career up to your neck in student-loan debt.
Speaking of debt, our political leaders keep racking up ridiculously huge debt and deficit numbers.
As baby boomers retire — as we cash our Social Security checks and run up Medicare bills — guess who is going to have to pay them?
That’s right, those young, smiling people posing for prom photos on mom and dad’s lawn.
Worse yet, as our country’s never-ending debt strangles the economy, at some point many of the government programs today’s high school grads will be funding will have to be cut, which means they likely won’t get to enjoy them when they become old.
Watching today’s prom kids makes me realize how lucky I have been.
I graduated from high school in 1980. When I got out of college in 1984 I was greeted by a booming economy and, despite being an English major, a good job with a high-tech company that was also booming.
My generation had a lot of reasons to be optimistic and all of my friends have done very well in their careers — some of them have enjoyed financial success beyond their wildest dreams.
My parents graduated in the 1950s and they, too, had reason to be optimistic.
They grew up with nothing and went on to live better than they ever expected in a country and an economy that blossomed wonderfully throughout most of their lives.
We still have an opportunity to save the future of our prom goers, but that would require us to get our act together.
We could get leaders from both parties to focus on the expensive elephant in the living room — our $30 trillion debt — and rein in federal spending now before we are forced to do so later.
But all our political leaders do is “talk.”
“Congressional leaders make progress on spending talks,” the headlines always say.
They never say, “A bold plan to rein in spending and save the future of young Americans was signed by the president today!”
So enjoy your prom, my young American friends. I hope you have the time of your lives, because, I fear, you are in for a rocky adulthood.
Copyright 2022 Tom Purcell, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Tom Purcell is an author and humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Email him at [email protected]