Henican is a columnist for Newsday. He also is a political analyst at the Fox News Channel and
Two recent reports from the government weren't connected but ought to be: According to the Census Bureau, more and more 20- and 30-somethings are still living with Mom and Dad on Long Island. And student-loan debt keeps rising every year.
Last year's college graduates came out owing an average of $25,250, up 5 percent from the year before. Some kids who went to private schools and didn't have rich parents are hitting adulthood owing six figures on their student loans.
Factor in low starting salaries, few entry-level jobs, high suburban rents and even a small amount of credit-card debt. No wonder every block on Long Island seems to have grown children living in the basement, although -- let's be honest here -- some of them do enjoy Mom's laundry service and the occasional use of Dad's car.
There is some help coming from Washington. The young and heavily indebted should pay attention here. Starting in January, student-loan payments will be capped at 10 percent of the borrower's disposable income. And for those who've paid responsibly, what's left of the debt will be forgiven after 20 years.
At last, a small dose of good news for all those kids in all those basements, some good news for their loving but exhausted Moms and Dads.
But here's the fuller truth of today's young-adult reality: Lower loan payments won't be enough alone to improve Long Island's score on the Census Bureau's basement index. That'll take something that we're still a long way from getting around here.
Apartments young people can afford to live in. Far more jobs that pay an upwardly mobile, living salary. And parents who can realistically ask their fully grown daughters and sons: "You thinking about moving out any time soon?"
Follow on Twitter @henicanTHE NEWS IN SONG: There comes a time: "Movin' Out" by Billy Joel, tinyurl.com/cantstay.
LONG ISLANDERS OF THE WEEK
Robert and Diane Maresca of West Islip unleashed a torrent of outrage last month for trying to trademark the phrase "Occupy Wall St." That would have given the West Islip couple the right to market coffee mugs, bumper stickers and other tchotchkes bearing the leaderless movement's name. "If I didn't buy it and use it," Robert Maresca said last month to thesmokinggun.com, who broke the story, "someone else will." Well, now the Marescas have thought better of the whole profit-off-movement idea. They told the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last week that they are withdrawing their application.