I am not a UNM student, but I am a regular reader of the New Mexico Daily Lobo. I saw the political cartoon in the Apr. 21 issue and immediately said, ‘Finally someone is asking the right question.’ I have been long asking this question: can the student loan be paid back before the student dies of old age, as well as questions about how today’s students will live in their coming years?

First, a graduate will have to find a job. Good luck there, but let’s say you do find one. Then, after regular/normal deductions (who knows what will be considered normal deductions in the future compared to now) you will have your take-home pay. From this, your first payment must go to Obamacare. Now you can budget in your student loan.

Then you can pay for an apartment and associated living expenses such as food. You will also have to pay for utilities and, with the emphasis on energy from renewable sources, you will be paying more than we pay today. The issue is not whether the use of renewables is a good thing or not, the issue is that the use of renewable sources will cost more.

Then let’s say you buy a car, so that’s another several hundred dollars a month. Oh, and what do you think the price of gas will be in five or 10 years? And if you decide to buy an electric car, they will be more expensive than a gas burning car (much more when subsidies end) and electricity itself will be more expensive as well. That doesn’t leave much for things like entertainment.

Soon, you and that special someone will decide that you both want a “mini-me” to make your life complete. That’s another cost and these little guys, and especially girls, are not cheap.

Now the bad news. This country is $17 trillion-plus in debt and growing. This is money borrowed today, mostly from China, to pay for costs — from wars to bailouts to social programs to medical care for the elderly and the daily running of our government — being incurred today. These services/programs were formerly paid by imposing taxes on ourselves, but this generation decided to borrow and let someone else pay the bills later. So it looks like these will belong to you too.

And I guess you have heard that the infrastructure of New Mexico and the whole U.S. needs updating. So, factor the costs of these tax increases into your take-home pay as well. This doesn’t leave much of your savings to buy a house, which now requires a bigger down payment, and for planning for retirement.

Then you will want to pay for better schools for your kids, more pay and retirement benefits for teachers and other public servants, more money for parks and open spaces and all kinds of local quality of life projects. So you get to vote to raise your own taxes — or more likely someone you elect will raise them for you.

This is what the economic future looks like for today’s high school and college students and essentially for people under 45. This is not a political question. Whether you are conservative or liberal, no matter what you think about energy policies or the environment or supporting the Arab Spring or gay rights or immigration, take time to look at what your economic future might look like. Talk to your fellow students; Have a class discussion.

Ronald G Toya

Daily Lobo reader