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Should The Age of Adulthood In America Be Changed

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/25/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 440 times Debate No: 85532
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




Young American adults are in duress due to today's climate. From the highest expectations in education that Americans have ever seen, to a disturbingly high unemployment and poverty rate, Millennials are suffering. It is my stance that the youth of our nation are asked far more than previous generations with only the same amount of time to ready themselves for life, and, therefore, the age of adulthood should be set back to until a person reaches the age of 22.


Older American adults are in duress due to today's climate. From the highest levels of technology that Americans have ever seen, to a disturbingly high rate of skill obsolescence and turnover from automation and workforce replacement, Millennials are rapidly changing the workplace dynamic. Older workers find themselves over-priced and under-skilled leading to high unemployment rates, defaulting mortgages, excessive credit card debt, and dwindling retirement packages. (Sounds a little silly for old people like me to play the 'woe is us' card, no?)

It is my stance that the youth of our nation have a greater opportunity presented to them than ever before. The internet is a game changer and a playing field-leveler that favors younger entrepreneurs who can keep pace with a dynamically changing environment. Millennials are best positioned to take advantage of that. If millennials hope to break into the established, and aging, workplaces then I understand the frustration. Changing the age of majority (18) will do nothing to fix that since a college degree is pretty much a requirement anyway for entry level industry jobs.

There is no real justification for removing the rights that come with the age of majority from the 18-21 year old millennials. You will only remove legal rights from a group that is more than capable of exploiting the technical opportunities, staffing service industries, entering legal contracts, joining the military, and becoming entrepreneurs. True, it's a different workforce climate. Restricting the next gen's legal rights by delaying them 4 years would do far more harm than help.

My stance is to keep the age of majority at 18.

Thank you for the debate and good luck.
Debate Round No. 1


While proficiency in the use of computers does give Millennials an upper hand in white collar positions in America, it does little to help those who are entering the blue collar industries. In those fields, where post-secondary education is not necessarily needed, experience and a deep resume trump youth and a fresh slate. The lack of technological integration in most of the major fields of blue collar jobs reduces the need for technologically apt worker, and thus, technical skill remains the most important skill for said jobs.
Because of the recent recession, many older, skilled laborers who had worked the industry lost their jobs. Desperate to find a job, many of these individuals turned to employment that paid less. Traditionally, these jobs were filled by younger Americans looking to find ingress into workplaces that could turn into careers. The older, but much more experienced and skilled, workers found themselves employed, leaving their younger, less skilled counterparts unemployed, a statistic observable in the Bureau of Labor Statistics, where the numbers show that people between the ages of 18-22 are at about 150% to 250% unemployment of the national unemployment rate for all age groups.
What we are seeing in America is a widening gap in employment between the educated individuals who had the opportunity to go to and complete college, and unskilled labor. For many jobs, college degrees are required, and that is perfectly acceptable, considering that shows a development in the innovation of American jobs, a major contributor to overall job growth. Young Americans, however, are facing more and more stringent education requirements, as well as a massive spike in cost of attending college.
When the previous generations were younger, a young adult could simply work for the summer and maybe the winter, and could take off work as they studied in college. In today's climate, however, that is nearly impossible. More and more, students in college must work full time just to pay bills and keep up with the costs of living. The increased expectations drives up the stress in college students, who feel at once incapable of keeping up with ever more difficult college courses, as well as feeling inadequate in maintaining financial security. This extra burden not only forces many young adults to leave college to provide for themselves, it also forces many of them into debt, leaving them with gutted credit scores due to absurd monthly payments.
While, yes, these young adults would surrender adulthood in America, losing them the ability to vote among other things, giving them the chance to begin a career or seek higher education while they are still considered children would grant them the opportunity to develop themselves as members of the workforce before financial hardship and overwhelming responsibility set in. With the near universal demand for college degrees in most professions already, giving young Americans extra opportunities would benefit not only the Millennials, but also the job industry as a whole, by providing well educated, motivated, financially stable young adults.
The future of America rests on the children and young adults of today. While the older generations may have as much or more say in the direction of the country today, they have less future to look forward to. Making a better environment for older generations today mortgages the future of their children's generations. If we want to start making America a better place, we begin by offering every opportunity to the youth of today, not by robbing them of a good start.


Here is my bottom line up front:
Raising the age of majority from 18 (in most states) to 22 is a counter-productive solution to the job scarcity problem you have defined.

The age of majority is defined based upon emotional and physical maturity associated with becoming an adult. At that age, most legal rights associated with adulthood are granted. The age of majority is completely independent of (and irrelevant to) the economic conditions facing the workforce.

Have millennials become less mature physically?
Have millennials become less mature emotionally?

Snark and generational jibes aside, the answer is no. An 18 year old millennial is no less mature than an 18 year old Generation Xer, and 18 year old Baby Boomer, or an 18 year old Silent or an 18 year old GI generation. It's what the generations have done SINCE they turned 18 that have defined them.

These are the securities gained by being a minor:
- A minor (juvenile or child) is under the protection of parents for the necessities of food, clothing and shelter.
- Parents are held legally responsible for damage caused by a minor.
- A minor is not responsible for gambling losses.
- The parents are the legal and financial guardians of the juvenile.

These are the rights you will strip from adults aged 18-21 by moving the age:
- You can enter into contracts because they are now legally binding.
- Unrestricted driving privileges (prohibited passengers, restricted to time of day)
- When you turn 18, your juvenile record can be sealed.
- you can legally marry
- you can sign a tax form and employment contract. (Hold a real job, get an apartment, purchase real estate, establish checking/savings and investment account)
- Register for selective service and join the military
- Purchase tobacco products in 46 states.

Many of the rights you strip from someone aged 18-21 will actually hurt their ability to become employed: Restricted driving privileges, juvenile record available for background searches, inability to sign tax and employment contracts, bank accounts and investments, military service. All of these rights significantly INCREASE the employability of the 18-21 year old work force.

Yet you propose to strip these rights to make the parents legally liable. It would be every single parent's nightmare to send their children off to college in some other state knowing that they were still legally liable for the actions of their kid out there drinking and partying. (shudder)

But the reasoning above is that it would benefit millennials who could not find employment, currently.

I take no issue with challenges young adults between 18-22 face in the current job market. No experience, no education, no job. Tales as old as time.

These are the recessions since the Great Depression:

Aug 1929 " Mar 1933
May 1937 " June 1938
Feb 1945 " Oct 1945
Nov 1948 " Oct 1949
Jul 1953 " May 1954
Aug 1957 " Apr 1958
Apr 1960 " Feb 1961
Dec 1969 " Nov 1970
Nov 1973 " Mar 1975
Jan 1980 " Jul 1980
Jul 1981 " Nov 1982
Jul 1990 " Mar 1991
Mar 2001 " Nov 2001
Dec 2007 " Jun 2009

It would be illogical to assert that the age of majority should fluctuate with this much frequency. It is also illogical to propose a change now when nearly every person working, outside of the millennials who lack perspective, have either entered a workforce during a recession or felt the job loss because of one. Yet you propose the age of majority should be moved because the current generation entering the workforce is struggling.

No, no. I don't play into the "Entitled" or "Coddled" stereotype. I won't go there. I think millennials have an opportunity for great changes to the world. But frankly, asking to legally move the age of adulthood and burden parents further because the job market is tough, it plays right into that wheelhouse.
Debate Round No. 2


When the accepted age of adulthood was set at 18, most jobs in America did not require anything more than a high school diploma. In essence, the government provided young adults with the necessary education to succeed in their world by ensuring that they could obtain the education to get them into the careers they need. Colleges, back then, were extras, for overachievers who wanted more. Thus, colleges were attended by those who had the financial means to afford it and the intelligence to perform at a high enough level to obtain a degree and become integral parts of society in its more important positions.
In America today, however, most non-poverty wage jobs require post-secondary education. In today's society, the secondary school diploma is worth as much as a primary school diploma, and a bachelor's degree is worth as much as a secondary school diploma was worth a few generations ago Because of this, most young Americans need to attend college so as to be able to be a part of the middle class. The government, however, does very little if anything at all to help young adults attain college, and therefore, forcing young adults to fend for themselves, causing them to accrue large debts, and forcing college-bound students to work exorbitant hours in jobs where they only can earn poverty wages, because they don't have the degree that would afford them the opportunity to work in jobs that would pay decent wages. In short, the American government does not afford its young citizens the necessary education to succeed in today's world anymore, instead asking them to take the burden of getting their own education by themselves.
The sad truth of the current state of American society is that the Millennial generation constantly gets blamed for acting entitled, when we only act that way because we are the first generation that hasn't had the basics afforded to us by older generations. We have actually had to work and pay to get the bare minimum. While individual parents have been pockets of hope, not everyone has a good set of parents. It is for this reason the free public education exists, and with the age of adulthood being pushed back a few years, free public education could be raised to include underclass post-secondary education.


"If necessity is the mother of invention, laziness is the father."

I had a college professor who used to say this quote attributed to Carl Stoddard ( I don't know which applies to your life, or to the life of the average millennial. But the solution to either problem is "invention", synonymous with "innovation", & "entrepreneurship". How does one achieve those?

"Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration."
- Thomas Edison, 1932
'I know of no genius but the genius of hard work."
- John Ruskin, 1878
"Genius is only a greater aptitude for patience."
- George-Louis Leclerc, 1803

If you would like to argue for affordable educational options, that is a solid suggestion for millennials facing challenges in the workforce. Education is hard work. It's the necessary perspiration that leads to genius.

However, your proposal of extending the age of majority to 22 is a sledgehammer-for-a-flyswatter solution. You propose to not only remove significant legal rights for yourself and place additional financial and legal responsibility on your parents, but propose to make that absolution of individual rights and transfer of liability mandatory across an entire generation, and for all generations that follow. The age of majority has a far greater impact on your rights than free/cheap education because getting a job is hard.

"We are the first generation that hasn't had the basics afforded to us by older generations. We have actually had to work and pay to get the bare minimum," you said.

I laughed. A lot. I mean, really, really hard.

I recommend a book called "The Fourth Turning" by Strauss & Howe, (c) 1997. These historians went back hundreds of years and noticed a generational cycle. Each generation lasts roughly twenty years. Each cycle shows a similar pattern for four generations: High, Awakening, Unraveling, Crisis. Each generation raised in their respective cycle period exhibits similar characteristics.

Guess what? The Millennials are what they call "Heroes".

Heroes are raised in an "Unraveling" era. Heroes, as a generation, handle and solve the "Crisis". You know what the last three crisis faced by your generational archetype?

* the Great Depression and World War II, where 18-22 year olds went off to destroy Hitler, Nazis, and Japanese Imperialism.
* The Civil War, where 18-22 year olds fought for the unification or separation of a nation, and abolishment of slavery.
* The American Revolution, where 18-22 year olds fought for the freedom of a nation.

Today the "Heroes"... when faced with global economic issues, rising temperatures, exponential population growth, terrorism, (and frankly), the worst set of Presidential candidates I've seen in my lifetime... want Mom and Dad forced to assume legal responsibility for an additional four years.

Sorry, I can't sign off on that. At 18, you're an adult. Things are hard. I get it. You know what I tell my kids?

"Level up."

Millennials can dedicate 60 hours in a week to an X box game. When you start as a first-level character, you run around killing easy monsters or completing mundane tasks, and you "level up." No matter how powerless the character starts in whatever game you play, there are opportunities to "level up." Life works exactly the same. Find those opportunities. Innovate. Persperate.

Don't pass a law that strips you of freedoms that enable gainful employment and makes your parents or the Government responsible for you for 4 more years.

Thank you for the debate. I enjoyed it!
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by whiteflame 9 months ago
>Reported vote: SactownBoom// Mod action: Removed<

7 points to Con. Reasons for voting decision: Pro's arguments just don't make any sense. While makes an attempt at critical thought, he doesn't seem to think it all the way out, and merely settles for something that fits his lazy agenda.

[*Reason for removal*] (1) The voter doesn't explain conduct, S&G or sources. (2) The voter needs to directly examine specific arguments made by both sides in the RFD for arguments.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Grandzam 9 months ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro here is lamenting the hardships of the young adults entering college and the job market. He demonstrates that young adults nowadays have a harder time than those of previous generations. Unfortunately for Pro, Pro never does discuss how implementing the resolution will improve this situation. Con said that the resolution is a counterproductive solution to the problem that Pro brings up, but in the final round Pro only expounds apon this situation without refuting any of Con's arguments and still failing to link it to the resolution. BOP is never discussed, but it seems to be on Pro for the change of the status quo. Con gets increasingly irrelevant towards the end of the debate in the final round, but that hardly matters since Pro has not met the BOP.