The United States is experiencing the benefits of a robust economy. At the top of the list are a strong job market and increasing wages. Some Democratic politicians are not able to accept the good news brought by President Trump and his economic team. Case in point – California Rep. Maxine Waters. Waters is the new chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.
Friday Waters spoke to the 22nd Annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit organized by Jesse Jackson. She apologized to millennials searching for jobs, unable to find salaries they think they are entitled to or something. As crazy as that sounds, I think she was being serious. At a time of record employment levels in every classification, including young people and minorities, Maxine Waters claims she has millennials telling her that they can’t find jobs worth taking because of low wages. Some millennials tell her, she says, that they have to work two jobs to pay the bills. Mon Dieu.
“What they’re not saying is ‘you haven’t done it enough. It hasn’t worked well for us. We have gone to school. We have graduated. We have done everything that you told us to do only to find we can’t get a job,'” she said. “‘If we get a job it is not worth going to work every day because of the pay that’s offered to us, and we are disappointed at what we thought would be available to us when we come of age when we graduate and we’re ready to start our careers.'”
“Millennials, I’m sorry about that, but one of the things I talk to the banks about is I want you to create a millennial project. I want you to tell me how you’re going to stop treating millennials the way you’ve treated us traditionally when you looked at our background and our credit records and how many jobs we’ve had and decided whether or not we were stable or not.”
Excuse me but it is not unusual for young people starting out in their working careers to start at the bottom, which means less pay than they would like to be offered. That’s just life. Waters knows this, of course, but she’d rather turn her speech into a promise that she’s going to demand banks create “millennial projects”, whatever that means. What she didn’t talk about, though, is how crazy it is that she’s the chair of the House Financial Services Committee. Here is a quick refresher of some shady behavior in Waters’ past.
During the height of the 2008 fiscal crisis, Waters helped arrange a meeting between the Treasury Department and top executives of a bank where her husband was a shareholder. Using her post on the House Financial Committee as leverage, she called Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson personally, asking him to meet with minority-owned banks.
When Treasury followed through, there was only one financial institution present: OneUnited. Had that bank gone under, the New York Times reported, Waters’ husband would’ve lost as much as $350,000. Luckily for the Waters family, OneUnited received a cool $12 million in bailout funds.
After three years of special investigation, the ethics committee eventually ruled that Waters didn’t technically break any rules. But that ruling came after unearthing her more than questionable family business practices, like making her grandson, Mikael Moore, her chief of staff.
The congresswoman has been listed on the most corrupt politicians list at least four times. She used her position to ensure the bank in which her husband was invested received a handsome government bailout. And, she uses her elected office to financially benefit family members. Talk about financial services Now she’s going to use her position to haul in bank executives for questioning, though it’s unclear exactly what questions she has for them.
“We’re going to have the CEOs of all the major banks in our committee. We’re going to be asking them some questions, many of them don’t want to come, and many of them think that perhaps we’re going to be too hard on them,” she said. “They don’t really know. All they know is that I’m the new chair and I’ve got the gavel and they’ve got to come, and so when you come, you will find out.”
I could sound like an old Baby Boomer and remind Ms. Waters what the minimum wage was when I began working full-time out of college. I did all the “right” things, too. I began working when I was thirteen and babysitting a neighbor’s children. I worked summer jobs throughout high school and temp jobs during breaks in college. Nonetheless, I started out at the bottom of the ladder as everyone else did because doing all the “right” things doesn’t make anyone special. It just prepares a person for an adult working life.
Millennials are feeling the growing pains of entering adult life and all the responsibilities that entail. They’ve benefitted from the excesses of Baby Boomer parents – many of whom are helicopter parents. They are the Everyone Wins a Trophy generation. Unfortunately, that was our mistake. Life isn’t fair and hard work isn’t always rewarded. Lots of people have to work two jobs to pay the bills even well into their working lives. The economic environment now, though, is not the problem.
A survey from Ernst and Young found that millennials in 2018 had seen economic improvements in recent years, though few have confidence the economy will remain strong and many still lag behind where Gen Xers and Baby Boomers found themselves at younger ages.
Maxine Waters, if she was honestly trying to give advice to workers entering the jobs market, should have said that times are better than they’ve been in years and jobs are out there. No one is entitled to a six-figure salary and a luxury car straight out of high school or college. It’s great if it happens but don’t count on it. She should have talked about perseverance and not talking about jobs “not worth it” to go to every day. She chose class warfare over real talk when she chose to villainize banks instead of offering real advice.