The Resolution Foundation tells us that the young people of today are being shafted by the economic set up. Further, by age 27 the average millennial has earned, in their lifetime, £8,000 less than someone at the same age in the previous age cohort, as measured 25 years before.
This is appalling and something must be done.
Our suggestion would be that someone go and talk to David Willetts, who is fortunately the head of the Resolution Foundation. He was also variously Shadow Secretary of State for Education and later Minister of State for Universities and Science. We would suggest presenting him with this snippet and then asking him what he thought would be the effects upon the earnings of people up to the age of 27:
Overall participation in higher education increased from 3.4% in 1950, to 8.4% in 1970, 19.3% in 1990 and 33% in 2000.
It is higher than that now of course.
Just to prompt - the major cost of attending university is the opportunity cost. One might earn while there but it's going to be odd jobs and part time rather than the first few years of a career. So, the more of an age cohort that goes to university the less the cumulative earnings of that cohort are going to be a couple or five years after the likely graduation age.
It is also a generally stylised fact that graduates do not earn more than non-graduates straight out of the starting gate. Those extra three or four years in the workforce mean that it's not until some years after graduation that graduate earnings start to pull away from those who went straight to work.
That is, if we have a greater portion of an age cohort going into tertiary education we would rather expect earnings of that cohort to be lower at 27 or so. Probably not at 35, but probably so at 27. We would certainly expect cumulative lifetime earnings at 27 to be lower and we would strongly suspect that current earnings would be too.
This report argues that this one fact, these lower cumulative earnings, mean that the entire welfare structure must be changed. Perhaps it should be but the solution to this problem is to have fewer going to university. Which isn't we think, quite what they meant to argue.
Purely by chance we spotted this in The Guardian:
Our nine-point guide to spotting a dodgy statistic
We would slightly change that point, to, well, you've got to understand what is causing your statistic before you start decrying it. True dat.