Last week, while millions of students were busy studying for final exams, millionaire Tim Gurner sat in one of his 5,700 properties and explained how millennials are at fault for their current struggles. Insisting that we cannot afford homes because of our own irresponsible spending, one of the wealthiest men in the world unironically named overspending on avocado toast as a culprit in the current housing crisis.
As many have noted, Mr. Gurner was only able to begin his real estate empire thanks to $35,000 gifted to him by his grandfather. While Gurner claims that this money was used to secure a much larger loan of $120,000, it is clear that he is anything but a “self made man” whose accomplishments could be achieved by just any hard-working individual. Today, the average American owes more than $100,000 in total debt. The fact that Gurner started above water at all shows his privilege. A girl I went to highschool with is currently working three jobs, in an effort to save enough for university, and still barely managing to cover her cost of living. That is what being self-made looks like. To equate Gurner’s blind luck with her desperate climb is frankly disgusting.
Gurner is a lottery winner standing atop an ivory tower and shouting blindly that anyone can win, if only they would buy more tickets.
Most egregiously, he chooses to target a disadvantaged generation with his tone deaf attacks. Millennials face more than $1.3 trillion in student loan debt. Even the most fortunate students are likely to spend their adult lives paying off loans for an education they were forced to purchase. Further, we are likely to die younger than our parents, breaking a trend which goes back to the foundation of our country. A startup launched this year in California preys on that desperation, offering “text book money” in exchange for the blood of millennials — blood which will not go to hospitals for emergency use, but rather will be injected into wealthy boomers as an “anti-aging” treatment.
I am incredibly fortunate by all accounts, and even still, I will graduate with just under $100,000 in debt, even before graduate studies. Growing up, I watched the older millennials enter into an economy which was ravaged by moguls like Gurner, and can look forward to one which has only recovered for the rich. Three years ago, one of my friends hung himself in his dorm room at MIT. He was the victim of a system which worked him to death while accusing him of laziness. I have trouble naming even one peer who has not suffered anxiety or depression thanks to that double standard. For Mr. Gurner to sit on his throne and label my peers as irresponsible freeloaders is not only grossly unjust, but homicidal. The blood of our generation is on his hands, and he has the audacity to blame us for bleeding.
Worst of all, I am confident that neither ignorance nor incompetence lead to Gurner’s murderous idiocy. He knows how unfair the system is, and is quite aware that our struggles are not caused by trendy meals. He attempts to mislead us because, if we recognize that the system is rigged against us, then we will try to change it. That would mean forcing men like Gurner to earn their keep without exploitation, and he knows that. So he tries to blame us, desperately hoping that we will continue working ourselves to death for his benefit.
Gurner represents a much larger problem facing our modern world. Today, a group of incredibly wealthy oligarchs wages war against the young for the crime of wanting justice. Facing economic stagnation, global environmental disaster, and ever growing inequality, we must not allow ourselves to be duped into apathy.
We deserve a better world, and we don’t have to give up avocado toast to build it.Like (0)