There's a Rec List diary now that has spawned a litany of delusional comments about how bad older Americans have it. That is farcically not true:
The typical U.S. household headed by a person age 65 or older has a net worth 47 times greater than a household headed by someone under 35, according to an analysis of census data released Monday.
While people typically accumulate assets as they age, this wealth gap is now more than double what it was in 2005 and nearly five times the 10-to-1 disparity a quarter-century ago, after adjusting for inflation.
If you guys are going to make economic arguments, try to get your shit straight. In fact, it gets worse than that.
The 47-to-1 wealth gap between old and young is believed by demographers to be the highest ever, even predating government records.
In all, 37% of younger-age households have a net worth of zero or less, nearly double the share in 1984. But among households headed by a person 65 or older, the percentage in that category has been largely unchanged at 8%.
--Young Americans have the highest unemployment rate since WWII.
See that? The unemployment rate is under 8.1% for every age group over 34.
The 20-24 unemployment rate is twice that of the 45-54 age demographic.
In 2010, student debt not only reached a record high of an average $25,000, it increased 5% over the year before. The only reason the average isn't higher is that, with more middle-class people getting pushed out of higher education, there are, again, more wealthy parents who can afford to send their kids without taking on onerous loans.
For the last several years in a row, all of the UC schools increased tuition, often 25% in a single year. Students paying tens of thousands at UC Davis where they get pepper sprayed pay nearly as much as those going to Stanford.
Record student debt is creating serious long-term consequences for the country. Young Americans are not making families or buying homes. That has implications for everyone.
So no, young Americans don't "have time" as someone suggested to me just a few minutes ago.
This whole decade is forecast for subpar growth and a depressed housing market. Do you know what those two have in common with all of our good economic history experienced within living memory? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. If you graduated high school in 2006, you were already experiencing the worst economic period since the Great Depression by the time you were 20. You had absolutely no time to build a resume.
And the 2020s? Going into a time of peak oil, a future slated for ridiculously high commodity and utility prices, (in Honolulu, water prices are slated to increase by 70% over a few years) no access to credit, a frozen job market, catastrophically high student debt, no, there isn't as much time as you think. Don't justify your panic by saying that others have it better than you. It just makes you look selfish or else ignorant.
The confusion seems to stem over a not judiciously blogged survey done on unemployed Americans. One kossack pointed out in the comments that commentators and the diarist were jumping to conclusions by confusing the surveyed people with all Americans.
First off, this is a study that is talking about a small slice of America. The study is only references people who lost jobs during the recession. The study estimates that this segment of the American population is 7 - 10 million people. So, while that's a lot of real people that certainly need help, it's roughly 3% of America, so this survey can't really be used to paint a broader picture of America.
It really sucks to be one of those middle-aged Americans who're out of work. It really does. And all manner of effort should be done to help them. I argue for direct government hiring. I argue for Medicare at 55. I don't argue insanely self-absorbed points that are the rhetorical equivalent of knocking over everyone else in the Black Friday line at Walmart for a $2 waffle iron.