Monday, March 26, 2012

The War on Youth

The recession didn't gut the prospects of American young people. The baby boomers took care of that. Read it here.


  1. Great article, but don't you foresee a slingshot effect once the boomers finally age out of the workforce en masse? The younger generation "capped" for so long will suddenly find themselves engulfed with explosive rise in opportunities denied for years. Imagine being corporate rank and file then to find whole ladder-fulls of senior management retiring in rapid succession. Someone will have to pay all the new payroll taxes for Social Security II, and eventually....even that generation will become the generation in power.

  2. What in heaven's name are you writing about? There is no war on youth but there certainly is a war on the middle class on the lower class. Have you ever heard of the Koch brothers? ALEC?You start with the supposition that this is a zero sum game. It quite simply isn't. Read Dean Baker or Paul Krugman. To posit this as intergenerational warfare is laughable. The 1% is out to crush us all.

  3. At the age of 51, I have one boomerang child, and another at home attending a local state school. When my husband and I graduated from high school, we married a few years later—no college. We came from economically lower middle class and poverty backgrounds. Our parents could not support post-secondary education or help us financially. We left home at 18, acquired our own separate apartments, and worked two jobs each to support ourselves. When we married, our first apartment was 400 square feet. After a year we saved enough for a down payment on a small home. We worked an average of 60 hours a week, until we had our first child five years into our marriage. My husband acquired an associates degree at the age of 35 and I have just completed my bachelors at the age of 50 ($24,000 of debt by the way and just as unemployed as my 24 year old). We wanted a better life for our children. What did that mean to us? The ability to pursue something they may be passionate about, no matter what that might be. We believe that money is not the end all. However, we recognize that money is power. It gives one the freedom to pursue a passion, or sometimes follow a life's calling. When our oldest was in eighth grade we made him aware of how much a middle class income could help him with college costs — not much. Through his hard work he was able to receive two full scholarship offers to elite schools. Did his education guarantee him a job, no. I believe corporate greed is destroying us. Why is it okay for CEO's to make income that is thousands of times what their least paid employee gets annually? Think medieval — we are the serfs and the CEOs are the kings. He who has has the gold rules. Does this leave the younger generation apathetic — hell yes. Is this acceptable — hell no. At 51 I'm too tired (from working my 60 hour weeks) to fight the good fight anymore. When my husband and I were younger we fought "city hall". It was exhausting. We were able to effect change in our small community after eight years. We are economically middle class and we’ll be working till' we're 80, but our soul’s are intact. Young people must unite and use their energy to create a better life for themselves. Lord knows the corporations won’t. Statistically, my husband and I should have ended up living in poverty and "on the dole”, as author Frank McCourt might say. Early on, we both decided we wanted a better life than what we had in our childhoods, and thankfully somewhat acquired it. We did this through delaying gratification, sacrifice, living way below our means and ball-breaking, honest, hard work. I guess being raised in households were you're given nothing, sometimes not even a meal, you expect nothing. We could only go up economically from where we were. Our children’s generation have been given (or earned) opportunities we never dreamed of. They are left with debt-heavy degrees and no the real education begins. My mommy advice is to use your energy, education and youth to effect change. You're much smarter than I was at 24 — use it! Don't accept that just because things are a certain way, they have to stay that way. If you do nothing, you will get nothing. As I have proven by the length of this post I have way too much time on my hands, and at 51 I need a job, as do many other people in their 20's and 30's. What I don't have is the energy I once had. Little ones, please step up and work to save us from the greed that is swallowing America. Most of you are unemployed anyway, living at home, and looking for jobs that don't exist —you have time on your hands. The corporations are driven to acquire more and more wealth. We are apathetic and holding the door open for them. Please don’t give up, use your world class, expensive educations, and figure it out. Fight the good fight, and don’t back down from the ball breaking, hard work it will take to get there!!! Love, Mommy

  4. The intergenerational transfer of wealth has been completely debunked.

  5. Though seems not to have a comment system, I'm pleased Mr. Marche is using Blogger, where there can be comments. As I mentioned in an email to Mr. Marche (before I knew about these comments), Dean Baker has some interesting criticisms of this article here (

    Summarizing, they seem to be:

    - Focuses on wealth not income, but living standards for seniors largely determined by income, which typically will be just their Social Security benefit (Medicare also is a factor).
    - Ignores pensions, the erosion of which offsets to some degree the gains of older workers.
    - Household wealth for workers under 35 is misleading, since younger people generally have greater career prospects than those over 65.
    - Social Security finances are in much better shape than the article suggests.
    - The article gets a few facts wrong (debt-to-GDP ratios at various times).
    - In any case, the health of the economy and the world we leave our children (e.g., environmental quality) are more important than national debt for determining generational equity.
    - Voting restrictions are less about disenfranchising young people, like the article suggests, and more about disenfranchising minorities of all ages.

  6. This article offers the same tired inter-generational warfare "greedy geezer" mythology so popular among Washington's conservative elites who simply want to destroy our nation's safety net programs in the guise of fiscal discipline. These people do not believe government should be in the business of providing health care or retirement security for middle class Americans, period. The real problem in this nation is growing income inequality across ALL age groups...where's Esquire's outrage about that?

    Without Social Security and Medicare who do you think will end up caring for our nation's aged? The same generation who's already taken the biggest hit in this recession...the sons, daughters, and grandchildren who will ultimately pay the price for the destruction of America's safety net in the name of "shared sacrifice". It's way past time that those who've profited most from billionaire tax cuts and corporate boondoggles do their share -- whatever their age.

  7. " Eighteen percent of young voters don't have current photo IDs. "
    Duh! Maybe they should get them. They could vote, fly in an airplane, enter a government building, apply for food stamps or Medicaid, prove their age, etc, etc, etc.
    I consider Marche's comments on this utterly laughable.