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I have a lot of things on my mind right now--hence my increasingly inconspicuous absence from the diaries and the comments as of late.  Work has been very busy, but I have been actively searching for political jobs since that's the direction I want my career to be moving in.  In addition, the application for the grad school program I'm interested in for next year just became available.  Add to the fact that I'm moving out of my apartment in a couple of weeks and moving in with my girlfriend of nearly 8 months, and you can see a recipe for a lot of concerns.

Especially financial concerns.

In today's diary, I'm going to discuss some of the problems that people of our generation--the Xes and Ys--face in dealing with life issues, and give you a little bit of a reading list.  It'll make your blood boil, but I guarantee you you'll also get some education out of it.

First, a disclaimer:

Kossacks Under 35 is a weekly diary series designed to create a community within DailyKos that focuses on young people. Our overall goals are to work on increasing young voters' Democratic majority, and to raise awareness about issues that particularly affect young people, with a potential eye to policy solutions. Kossacks of all ages are welcome to participate (and do!), but the overall framework of each diary will likely be on or from a younger person's perspective. If you would like more information or want to contribute a diary, please email kath25 at kossacksunder35 (at) gmail dot com

The fact is, our generation is having a miserable time trying to get ahead.  Cost of living soars, our wages don't seem to go up, and before you even get to that point, a whole ton of us are saddled in massive amounts of debt from our student loans.  Buying a house in an area that you'd actually contemplate living in?  With what down payment, given the fact that we would need tens of thousands of dollars in savings to get a down payment, and many of us have exactly the inverse amount in debt?

Oh yeah, and then there's the economic reality of marriage and relationships.  It's bad enough for our generation right now when we're the children of what is perhaps the most prosperous generation in American history.  Imagine what the next generation is going to have to deal with--the children of the X and Y generations.  We're the most debt-ridden generation in history, having children that will only serve to increase out debt load, and usually working such long hours that we can't parent our children adequately and have to spend even more money on childcare that's likely to be low-quality.  If you ask me, it's a recipe for American disaster.

Just dealing with one of these issues is enough to give you a headache.  Dealing with more than one--say, trying to balance work, school, and a family and the same time.

There are a few subjects I'd like to discuss in slightly more detail, using a few books as my guides.

The first one is Strapped, by Tamara Draut.  From the introduction:

Becoming an adult today takes longer, requires taking more risks, and is rife with more stumbling blocks than it was a generation ago.  To get a sense of how much longer the traditional path to adulthood takes, we can compare the percentage of young women and young men meeting a traditional definition of adulthood in the years 1960 and 2000: leaving home, finishing school, becoming financially independent, getting married, and having a child.  Four decades ago, 77 percent of women and 65 percent of men aged 30 had completed all these transitions.  In 2000, only 46 percent of women and 31 percent of men had completed all these transitions by age 30.

Now, I've heard a lot of boomers in my time say that our generation is just too lazy, too morally intransigent, or what have you.  To every generation, the subsequent generation is the worst ever.  Lord knows, I'll probably say that when I'm older.  Sometimes, given what I see on TV, I find myself on the verge of saying it now.  But see, my parents' generation never had to deal with the stuff I'm going to write about here.

Let's talk about college education.  I was one of the ones who got lucky.  My father homeschooled me very well at home, and I was able to get through UCLA on full-ride academic scholarships.  But for those who didn't, the situation is a different story.  Tamara Draut writes that college students today are graduating with close to $20,000 on average in student loan debt.  Grad students will be getting their advanced degrees with about $45,000 in debt.  And why?

Because tuition is skyrocketing:

Thirty years ago, in 1976-77, the average cost of attending a private college was $12,837 annually, in inflation-adjusted dollars.  Today, the average cost of attending a public college is $11,354--which means the burden of affording a state college today is equivalent to that of paying for a prive college in the 1970s.

And what's the current annual average cost of a private college?  Try a nice, even $27,000.

Now let's say you're me.  I'm considering graduate school in energy and environmental policy, because that's the field I want to work in.  How's that going to work out, on average?  Well, these days, a B.A. is the new high school diploma.  Everybody has one.  Time was, a B.A. was your ticket to a good job out of college.  Nowadays, that idea is the realm of fantasy.  Grad school these days isn't about furthering the depth of your education: it's about vocational requirements.

Prior to the mid-1970s, the master's degree was mainly the province of academia.  Most master's degrees were in nonprofessional fields that stresses theory and pure knowledge over practice.  The motivation for getting a master's degree wasn't a better job or better money--it was an intellectual pursuit.  Not anymore.  Most grad students are in school to help advance their careers, not to experience the life of the mind.  Today about 85% of all master's degrees are practice-oriented, as opposed to theoretical.  Business and educatino are the major dominators in the master's degree craze, each representing abuot 25% of all advanced degrees.

In an analysis of all grad school fields, only one had annual average earnings higher than the average loan debt required for the field.  Guess which one that is?  Not hard: business school.  Of course, you'll have a better shot at going to a good grad school and escaping with less debt if your parents were rich and could set aside a college fund of over $100,000 to pay for it all.  And if not, you're just plain out of luck.

So here I am.  I have a B.A. in an academic field (Greek and Latin) that I chose not to pursue for grad school.  I'd like to get a Masters in a field that interests me right now so I can have a job in my chosen field (environment and politics).  But what's the pay looking like?

In 1972, the typical earnings for males 25 to 34 years old wiht a high school diploma was $42,630 (in 2002 dollars).  In 2002, the typical earnings for high school grads ha ddropped to $29,647.  Typical earnings for young males with a bachelor's degree or higher [that's me!] have also declined, from $52,087 in 1972 to $48,955 in 2002.

So basically, education as a whole is ridiculously expensive, and the jobs you can get with your ridiculously expensive degree pay less than they ever used to--unless you go into business, of course!  Ain't being my age grand?

And yeah, how about finding a decent place to live around here?  RunnerAAA and I are moving in together in what will likely be a few weeks' time into an apartment close to my work in the Miracle Mile area of Los Angeles.  And believe me--after apartment hunting around here, you wouldn't believe how little you get for the money you pay.

Not surprising: it's a nationwide trend.  As Tamara writes, between 1995 and 2002, median rents in nearly all the largest metropolitcan areas rose by more than 50 percent.  And it's eating up a substantial portion of our paychecks.  In 2002, the median percentage of income young adults spent on rent was just over 22 percent, up from 17 percent in 1970.

I have been chided by some for not contemplating purchasing a condo or something.  Yeah.  Great plan.  Anyone have an extra several tens of thousands of dollars lying around that they can afford to give me?

Eventually, I'd like to get married and have a family.  Of course, I'll only be able to do that once I can actually afford one.  But there's a massive problem with affording one to begin with.  I believe it's somewhere in the book Generation Debt by Anya Kamenetz that generation X adults--especially young men--place a much higher emphasis on family than did their baby boomer generation counterparts, who were much more focused on work and making money.  It's definitely true that we have more of a community spirit--and I don't think I'm an exception in this regard.  The problem as I see it--unless I get incredibly lucky or something strange happens--is that the only way I'll be able to afford to have children at this point is if both of us are working full-time.  But the idea of having both of us working full-time and leaving my child(ren) in day-care centers or with nannies is absolutely abhorrent to me.  I don't think I'm alone in believing that I should get more time with my children than whatever I happen to be able to squeeze in after work and before they go to bed.

And not to mention, childcare is insanely expensive.  In the 1960s, childcare accounted for 1% of the total expenses a family would put into a child until age 18.  Now, it accounts for 11%.  Please read the chapter in Strapped called "And Baby Makes Broke" for even scarier and more angering stuff.

And this brings me to my last point.  Because of the two-income structure that we have where both parents need to be working full-time to support a family in this day and age, we actually have less flexibility as young families to be able to better manage economic crises.  Back in previous generations, a family with a non-working parent could get a job to support the family in case the working parent got laid off.  But what happens now is that families in our generation count on the incomes of both parents, incur expenses based on what they can afford with both incomes, and then have no backup plan in case of a crisis--especially because our national savings rate is less than zero.  This comes from a book called The Two-Income Trap by Elizabeth Warren & Amelia Warren Tyagi, which I just started reading today:

Today's parents are working harder than ever--far harder than their single-income counterparts of a generation ago--holding down full-time paying jobs and still covering all their obligations at home.  Yet, paradoxically, without the safety net once provided by the stay-at-home mother, they are more vulnerable to financial disaster.  They have little money left to build their own safety nets, and government policies tax most of their efforts to provide for themselves.  They are caught: can't afford to work, can't afford to quit, and can't survive if something goes wrong.

Welcome to our generation.  I'm not going to go into whom to blame for this.  And maybe in a future diary, I'll write about what to do to help set it right.

In the meantime, consider reading the books I've quoted from.  Well worth the time you don't have.

Originally posted to Dante Atkins: the author formerly known as hekebolos on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 06:32 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  tips (124+ / 0-)

    no time to comment since I'm heading to a Young Democrats meeting.  Enjoy!

    oops. I hope the gate wasn't too expensive.

    The Nexus has you.

    by Dante Atkins on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 06:27:49 PM PDT

    •  I thank you sooo much man (34+ / 0-)

      I got a BA in English and have been out of school for two years.  Now I'm considering going back.  Why?  Because my degree isn't worth the damn paper it's printed on.  I know an English degree doesn't exactly attract a ton of job oppertunities, but I am unable to find anything within an English-centered field that accepts anything less than a Masters.  I've noticed also that a lot of jobs postings say "B.A. degree required/prefer".  Notice what is missing in that statement?  What the B.A. is in!  Like you said, it's the new high school diploma.

      In those past two years I've floated from low income job to low income job.  With each job, in order to get more money and a better position, you have to commit.  And I mean commit.  Don't bitch about lack of health-care.  Never refuse overtime when they "offer" it.  Do this for several years and, if a spot opens up, you might be considered for a not-as-low income job.

      Ugh, sorry for that rant.  You just stated everything on my mind about this subject.  I'm glad to see I'm not the only one in this position, though I suppose I shouldn't be glad.

      •  Well -- (8+ / 0-)

        I would argue that the BA, in theory, has taught you how to think critically, and as such you are capable of doing just about any job.

        Or rather, hating just about any menial job you can get.

        •  A little from column A, a little from column B (5+ / 0-)

          I guess I'm able to think critically, which is probably why I hate these jobs.

          Though there is an underlining problem with our culture on this it seems.  Some academic pursuits are valued, some are not, regardless of the degree.

          I had writing professors who were published authors, yet had to teach to pay the bills. (Anyone else see something wrong with that?)  

          Don't even get me started on degrees in philosophy or art.

          •  Seems like the "underlying problem" is with (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            the concept of value, to wit:

            You price everything you own above fair market value. That's why you still own it.
            The economy depends on disagreement over value. You sell when the money is worth more than the thing, and the other guy buys when the thing has more value than the money. A disagreement that produces a profit for both sides!
            The reason you want economic activity is not to keep people busy and off the streets, but that every voluntary trade increases the wealth of both sides, and so increases the standard of living of the nation. The more activity, the higher the standard of living.
            It's magic, and it all comes from a disagreement over value.

            The above came from a discussion of value re real estate, but the concept is just as valid re your own value to an employer.  The task is to make yourself worth the money you want to trade for, and in my experience, grades and degrees have a half life of about 24 months in establishing your value. After that, it's just you and the tasks at hand.

          •  In the 1970s we had the same. (6+ / 0-)

            Published Professors were expected to teach regardless  if they wrote a good seller or an obscure academic journal. Publishing was, and I assume still is, one of the big tickets to tenure.

            I worked many jobs, got scholarships , grants and loans to get it. I also worked two years before I went in and saved money going in so I would minimize taking loans out. It also gave me the maturity to demand the education I was paying for...

            After school I worked construction, I was a bellhop and a had few other jobs that paid well but had nothing to do with my degree. They wouldn't send me my degree until I paid $53.00 in library dues. I paid the fees and then lost the degree 25 years ago. No big loss. I couldn't go to graduation ceremonies with my class. I had $9.00 in my pocket and was headed to a construction job 1000 miles away in a beat up pinto,  four hours after my last exam.

            Be that as it may, most of you have already been through the education that is rightfully the high school diploma of the 1970s. One of the reasons your education isn't doing much for you  is you are paying so much more for so much less.

            Some of it falls on the schools shoulders and some falls on the students parents shoulders who couldn't accept anything less than a high GPA transcript to get the job of the graduate school they wanted. No one could say no. Some of it came down to teaching to the lowest common denominator.

            Just the basic skills of communication fell below standards that were considered minimally acceptable for a high school graduate 30 years ago.
            You got screwed. Getting top grades in college at the expense of education in order to get the best opportunities post college was a recipe for disaster.

            Employers were not happy.

            A degree used to mean a certain level of achievement. The idea that the employer had to do the school's job didn't sit right. Wages went down. opportunities slipped and tuition went up and I have no idea for what. It was like watching a Yugo going up 15% a year as the quality degraded to the point were buyers had to push  them becuase they never could get them to start until they finally abandoned them in total disgust.

            Nevertheless they were stuck with a non-dischargable debt to a private lender backstopped by the govt at an interest rate 2-3x what I paid, for a piece of shit that never turned it's engine over once.

            My advice; Don't buy anything on credit. Do without.  Even a house. Live with your folks or room with friends. Buy a smoker for a car and ride public transportation where possible. Don't use credit cards, even in an emergency. Get public aid before you you pull a visa or mastercard out.

            Beg your parents and your friends. Don't touch em. Swallow your pride. Bring your skill levels up and work the shit jobs, two at a time if you have to ,  and save money like it was water in the desert. That's your ticket out. Cash is king. It always has been and always will be.  

            Make sure you can afford to live where you take your jobs. I have seen people who turn their noses up at lower expense areas but were in hock up to their necks in the nicer places; some due to their own spending habits and some due to the misfortunes of a shitty health care system

            Most people now regret buying a house becuase of the unexpected expenses that arise. In addition, it makes you less flexible if a good opportunity comes your way. The hope of having children will have to be put off or eliminated ( sound rough? I didn't make the rules). Test your education. See if that degree is really what it says. If it isn't, then do what you have to bring yourself up to your speed. I promise you most of your competitors won't.

            I would hate to be in your position. But I'm not living the high life either. I learned through hard experience. If all you take away from this is avoiding the good life promised by visa and
            Mastercard, that you can't afford. You'll be way ahead.

            You'll start to see the pay-off in your late 30s or 40s. There's only so many lottery winners like founders of Google around. I would also consider working overseas and learning one to two foreign languages, preferably Chinese; Mandarin and Cantonese. Learn to read and write the language too. You might find yourself way better off much sooner.

            Just some thoughts from the old fart crowd.

            Support The Troops
            Let them see IMPEACH

            by Dburn on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:03:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  As one who teaches (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              blue jersey mom, Quinton, Jimdotz

              at the college level, it's a hard fight to demand excellence when students openly say they are just there for the degree or go and complain to your dean because you call them out on not completing the assignment (and giving you an assignment from another class that doesn't even TOUCH the topic or expectations of the assignment you gave).

              Granted these students are the minority. I have two undergrad sections this semester who are already blowing my socks off. Only one student complained about the first reading (she didn't want to read 20 pages of graphs--go figure).

              But you should demand a quality education. But you also need to do your part and come to class prepared, committed, and engaged. I can't do all the work, even though I will do everything within my earthly powers to help students really learn.

              The Radical Imagination: Dreaming of the future as it might yet be.

              by Edubabbler on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:25:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Edubabbler-Totally Agree (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sarahnity, truthbeauty

                I was way high up on GPA when I was in school.  I recognized I was paying for it, so I wanted the best I could get out out of it. I don't necessarily think that all higher ed is screwed. I think it's the students responsibility to understand that market forces, lawyers, spoiled kids and a few other factors force them to dig deep into the assets that you offer.

                If they go with the expectation that signing up for x classes and participating in x activities will make their  resume palatable, they are in for a rude awakening becuase thousands of people competing for that job did the same thing.

                The student has the responsibility to not only prepare but to engage his professors in class and with appointments after. Some Professors or associates don't want to teach which is evident when ,I assume ,they call up notes on their laptop that haven't been updated in years. But for everyone like there are people like you who want to teach and make a difference.

                Students need to demand quality or they'll take their business elsewhere. Professors need to demand the right to teach and to tell spoiled brats to take a walk without fear of getting a call from the dept head. They also need to demand to be allowed to teaching at a level that preps the student for the real world with the highest standards. Even a Legacy Student like W (evil grin) should be booted.

                If a Business Prof sees a paper that is full of basic writing errors and the student can't make it coherent. they need to put a big double FF on it. F for English. F for Content.

                It's much better to get your shit together in the relatively protected environment of a place of higher education than have your head handed to you when you go out into the real world.

                I keep recalling that line in GhostBusters when they were discussing going into the private sector with their new invention. He immediately put a thumbs down to it.(paraphrased) "We can't do that, the private sector expects results".

                Boy do they. Everyday you start at zero no matter how well you did the previous day.

                Support The Troops
                Let them see IMPEACH

                by Dburn on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 04:11:53 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Library Fees? (0+ / 0-)

              omg, maybe that's why they haven't sent me my degree yet.
              Thanks for pointing that out  :-)

              Good heavens... This is war not a garden party!--Dr. Meade, "Gone with the Wind"

              by CSPAN Junkie on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 11:58:32 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks Dburn from another O.F. (5+ / 0-)

              I'm a boomer whose parents were the Greatest Generation. They only could afford a house because my grandparents died and they got the house.

              My parents saved (my school lunches were wrapped in Wonder Bread wrappers) so I and my sister could go to college. It was pay it forward - we knew it was our responsibility to pay for our children's college. And we did.

              I'm amused by young folks I work with (yes, I still work despite being on Medicare) who pine for the sixties and seventies when a house and two cars could be had on a single salary and mom stayed home.
              Nonsense! Dream on!

              I took the bus to work. Both my husband and I had to work (at very good BA level jobs) saving for eight years to buy our first house - a fixer upper in a lesser neighborhood. When I had a baby I worked up to the day I went into the hospital and afterward went back to work after my "vacation" was over.

              I'm also amused that today young folks disdain child care. My second child went to "Baby school" so I could work and she's the most well-adjusted of any of us, and we are all very close with no major hangups.

              So that was reality - hard work, sacrifice, and two jobs.

              I agree with Dburn - we attribute a lot of our early savings to there not being any credit cards - if you couldn't afford something you went without.

              We also couldn't have done it without my parents helping with my kids and helping us fix our house (manual labor, not money).

              So We're paying it forward with our kids - just finished refinishing the deck on their fixer house and refinishing their dining furniture. When kids come we'll have to step up there too. It's our duty.

              There's no Leave it to Beaver life - there never was.

              •  Ellen (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sarahnity, truthbeauty

                You had great parents. My Father was a professor of Microbiology at Purdue. My Mother owns ( still does at 80) a real-estate business. They had a nasty divorce and needed to have another court battle to decide who paid for college.

                As I was sitting there seeing and hearing the worst of my parents, I decided I didn't need college right then. I called some friends who got me a job working as a surveyor for NOAA. One catch. I had to hitch to S Carolina from Indiana with $3.00 in my pocket.

                After a few years of working in 130 degree heat in the Mohave, walking down Watts with a orange jacket ( the city supervisor called it a "nice target") and seeing cotton mouths lunge at me on the levees of Mississippi, I decided I had enough time in and got independent student status which qualified me for a smorgasbord of loans, grants and scholarships. I worked cleaning dog crap at a Kennel on the week-ends.

                I had two years of savings to help too plus a wealth of experience in the real world.

                I think kids should spend a few years traveling and taking shit jobs before they go to college. Live in poverty. Then when they do go, they'll make the most of the experience. It's always the kids that go straight from the protected environment of home and high school right to college that are unprepared for what life is like on their own.

                I'm all for two years of mandatory service out of high school or equivalent experience. It doesn't have to be military. But it's great prep for when they go in and leaves them no illusions about what waits for them when they get out.

                Support The Troops
                Let them see IMPEACH

                by Dburn on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 04:25:14 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Of course (0+ / 0-)

          We see that, but the person vetting the resumes doesn't...

          I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

          by eugene on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 06:57:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  One person I know that employs (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Quinton, truthbeauty

          people and requires a Master's in the subject for above entry level jobs told me that the reason he requires a BA as an entry level requirement is that a high school diploma is no longer a guarantee that the applicant can even read, let alone know much of anything. A BA is a guarantee that the applicant can read, unless he went on a sports scholarship, then it's a toss-up. The lowering of educational standards is responsible for the new requirements of advanced degrees for some jobs. If grade schools, middle schools and high schools educated children properly instead of basically just babysitting them for 12 years, a high school diploma would be worth something. It isn't, so the next step is the BA. You can get into a college without having paid attention in high school,  but you can't get out with a degree without actually learning something.

          What happens when Bush takes Viagra? he gets taller. Robin Williams

          by Demfem on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 10:10:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  For enterprising types, starting your own company (6+ / 0-)

        could be an option.

        If your current company isn't going to pay much or give benefits, what difference would it make except that the pay is steady in a regular job?

        I wouldn't recommend it for people who prefer the 'security' (if it exists anymore) of a regular job, but if you have a unique skill or can offer a service, starting your own business is always an option.

        I think starting when you're reasonably young is also better than starting after you have a family.

        American overseas? Register to vote at

        by YoyogiBear on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:51:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was going to say this (5+ / 0-)

          I come from a family full of entrepeneurs.  My parents started a construction business in their 30s and they are still working at it (more or less, the business has morphed some) 30 years later.  My brother drove a cab (owned his own license) for years and then became a professional gambler (well, kind of) for a few years.  My niece runs her in-laws' health food store.  My brother-in-law started his own clothing business when he was in college 20 years ago and is still at it.  Best of all, my mother ran a carnival ride when she was a single mother in graduate school.  I love telling people we were carnies when I was young just to see the look on their faces.  

          If you want to be a stay at home parent, there may be work you can do at home to help augment the income.  One of my coworker's husband is a SAH dad, but he also  runs a photography business out of the home.  

          Frugal Fridays, where the cheap come to chat.

          by sarahnity on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:08:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  How capitalism used feminism for destructive ends (9+ / 0-)

            Back about 100 years ago, when the labor movement was fighting for a "family wage" and/or "living wages" and/or the 40 hour workweek -- the goal of the movement was that a full-time job should pay enough money to support a family.

            Somehow, we have now come to the norm that we expect it should take 80 hours per week, or much more, to support a family.  And, as an active and activist feminist, I am somewhat appalled at how feminism was mis-used to support this devastation to worker's rights and the notion of fair pay.

            After all, just because we wanted to change social norms that said men had to be the "breadwinner" and women were not allowed to hold important jobs -- there was no reason this should also have included a dramatic increase in the number of hours of work required to support a household.

            In other words, the change in gender-role-requirements should not have changed the number of hours per week required to support a family.  Instead, we should have seen families in which each adult could work 20 hours per week (leaving time to actually take care of the kids -- the kids that everyone is **shocked** start acting out -- when they are receiving no parenting).  Or, any couple could freely choose which one of them would hold paid employment, and it should still be 40 hours per week total. Instead we ended up with the worst of both worlds -- most women are now working full time, and trying to also do most of the "mom" & "household" stuff.  And, in total, most families do not have the hours available to take care of their health and well-being.

            Bring back the 40 hour workweek!

            •  increases in productivity (4+ / 0-)

              brought about by the increase in number of (paid) work hours per family which you mention...
              have simply gone to boost ceo pay, stock price, etc.

              we are moving towards something different than the old divisio between blue and white collar...we are moving towards a more feudal economy....

              masters and underlings / expendable labor and non-expendable top management...

              I may be a cynic, but I dont see us going back to a norm of a one-wage earner household.

              personally however, I think that my household could make it on 1.5 salaries just fine. Its just that it is so hard to find part-time employment at a professional level.

              the really serious consequences will happen our grandchildren.If we do too little, they will get what we deserve.-R Strom

              by biscobosco on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 10:26:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  two other things happened (5+ / 0-)

              One, the two-income families could afford to pay more for houses, so they did: they outbid the single-income families and got the houses.  This drove up the price of real estate to the point where a single income can't afford a house.   And it had a follow-on effect for rents to the point where "roommates" are now the norm: "communal living on the small scale" whether you like it or not.

              Two, overpopulation as per my other post:  More people relative to jobs: wages & salaries go down.  More people relative to homes & apartments: rents and home prices go up.  And, ito the bargain, we're overbreeding to the point where it's killing the planet.  

              The "corporate piggies" merely encouraged and then took advantage of two sets of events that the vast mass of people were inadvertantly causing by their own behaviors.  Bidding high on a house, and having more than two kids, are individual choices.  Getting people to stop playing along with those games by which the piggies can take advantage and turn the screws, is more difficult than getting people to give up SUVs.  

              So long as people don't act "in solidarity" for the good of the whole, they will end up screwing themselves and setting up the conditions that allow others to screw them.  

      •  Involuntary blue pencil (0+ / 0-)

        that's opportunities, Y.C.    :^)

      •  What? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sarahnity, Quinton

        What's an "English-centered field"? An English BA has never been considered an occupational degree. Rather it's always been a good background to going out and learning a job, on the job. And yeah, when you get that job you've got to pay your dues. Okay, I'm old, and so's my attitude I guess. But damn it man you are spoiled. You expect it to be handed to you. Because you've got an English B.A.. Who was your academic adviser? You should talk to her before you go back for that M.A. in English. All that's good for is a part time position as an adjunct faculty somewhere, with no job security, no insurance, and pay that won't cover your rent. So go for the Ph.D. Then try to convince somebody to hire you when all those perfectly good M.A.'s are already out there willing to do the work for practically nothing.

        On the other hand, if your idea of an "English-centered field" is some sort of publishing job, keep in mind that most entry-level positions aren't based on degrees, but on connections and having enough independent wealth to afford not to be paid a living wage for the first several years. Then if you stick with it and really have talent maybe you'll get to a real job. But any degree beyond the B.A. you already have would be wasted.

        Journalism? Just find outlets and start writing. It's not hard for talent to rise, as long as you don't mind covering the issues the publications care about - not necessarily what interests you.

        •  So you think he got bad advice? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, NeeshRN

          Funny, we seem to have gotten a lot of bad advice from the generations before us.

          #1 bad piece of advice: "Go to college so you can get a good job."

          Your comment includes several of the same (including the nonsense about journalism: Ask an old journalist and they'll tell you to run like hell).

          Funny that you use the term 'pay your dues'. In case you hadn't noticed, you folks let the unions die so we rarely have the luxury of 'paying dues' in the traditional sense. These days it means "wait until boomers retire so you can have their cushy jobs... if they aren't outsourced or replaced with H1Bs."

    •  Great diary! (5+ / 0-)

      But I think this is a typo:

      the average cost of attending a private college was $128.37 annually

      Frugal Fridays, where the cheap come to chat.

      by sarahnity on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 06:57:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It really is ridiculous... (16+ / 0-)

      ... and I say that as someone who, comparatively, was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

      I had parents who made smart real estate investments, and wanted to share the proceeds with their children, rather than be taxed on it. As a result, I had money for a down payment on a home, and my student loans were paid off.

      Even so, we're still paying off my wife's student loan debt, and I commute an hour every day, because we can't afford a home that's any closer to my office. That hour commute inevitably eats into the time I get to spend with my 16-month old daughter every night.

      Speaking of my daughter, our day-care costs JUST went up.

      Once again, though, I consider us to be incredibly fortunate: my wife's a teacher, so she gets the entire summer to be with our daughter. And, AGAIN, our parents have come to the rescue, offering to watch our daughter twice a week, so we can cut back to part-time day-care.

      At 32, I shouldn't have to continue to rely on my parents, just to attain a fraction of the same benefits they enjoyed at my age. They had three children, a house that cost no more than a year's salary, and my mother was a stay-at-home mom. All of that seems like an unattainable luxury lifestyle to me now, even though it was quite unremarkable at the time.

      We're holding our head above water, even if we're not getting ahead, but it makes me shudder to think about how less fortunate people are faring. And while I know I'll always have the support of my family, they can only do so much for me, should I get laid off from job, and the economy tanks.

      This is Reagan's legacy, right here.

      Corporate Dog

      •  Gens X & Y are probably the first (11+ / 0-)

        at least since the Depression, to be doing WORSE economically than their Baby Boomer parents (even Silent Generation for the older ones)

        •  The sad thing is that many of us boomers (7+ / 0-)

          are worse off than our "greatest generation" parents. Most incomes in this country have stagnated since the early 1970s.

          •  Yes, we're hardly the most prosperous generation! (0+ / 0-)

            Research a tad flawed there.  Sources for that statement, I wonder?  Not what sources I've seen say.

            Part of the problem of the under-35s is that a lot of  boomers won't be able to retire at 65.  Not with the decline in retirement benefits, pensions, etc., for us compared to that generation ahead of us.

            "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

            by Cream City on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 09:40:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe there will be a silver lining: relearning (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          catfish, sarahnity, Quinton

          fiscal responsibility.

          America's savings rate is a disgrace.  it's not all self-inflicted, but I think it's partially self-inflicted by people who are well trained consumers.

          My brother & Dad used to tease me about living my life like I was born in the Great Depression because I'm so tight with money, but a little savings when you're younger can really help you out when you need it.

          If we actually had national health care and offered low cost student loans to Americans I think it would be a great equalizer of opportunity, but that's for another diary.

          American overseas? Register to vote at

          by YoyogiBear on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:57:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Again, I was going to say this (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DMiller, YoyogiBear, Quinton

            I didn't want to seem like I'm passing judgment on the youngins around here, but I wonder how much of their income is taken up with stuff they could actually do without if they tried.  I was sitting in the hair salon yesterday listening to the stylists talk about their new iphones and blackberrys and I thought, "I don't have those things, and I'm certain I make a lot more than you do.  Is this the best use of your income?"  But I didn't say anything because, who asked me?

            Frugal Fridays, where the cheap come to chat.

            by sarahnity on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:13:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  We seem to be on the same wavelength :-) (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              catfish, sarahnity, Quinton

              I haven't owned a car in 12 years.

              I live in Tokyo so it's easier, but I would definitely not be spending a lot of money on an auto even if I was still living in the US.  Cars are money pits and people should avoid wasting their money on them to the extent that they can.

              I lived at home for a year after graduating and entering the work force and while my coworkers thought it was amusing and loser-ish, it helped me start saving (my mom charged me $150/month for rent when I was only making about $1,100/month in '94).  I got paid for overtime and I did overtime when it was an option, as well.

              I didn't own a TV for years; I read books or surfed the web instead.  After getting a TV I didn't get cable.  I ate at home instead of eating out constantly, etc.

              I even used MS Money to track my expenses for several years.  I would enthusiastically recommend personal finance software to anyone.

              Frugality doens't help much when looking for a girlfriend, but it helps you get off to a decent  start in life.

              American overseas? Register to vote at

              by YoyogiBear on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:33:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Another Boomer Story (7+ / 0-)

                I grew up in a petit bourgeosie type of environment in the 50s and 60s. Small suburban house, 7 kids, 4 bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths (yes, 1 bathtub/shower for 9 people). Father worked, mother was mostly stay-at-home. We were not poor--had enough for basics, but not a whole lot else. From that background, I have always worked--since my first paper route at age 12--and I got used to getting by without a lot of frills. (Not to mention learning how to "hold it").

                I attended college from 1972-76. I made the choices I had to make in order to get by. I attended a city university that had an annual tuition of about $2000. I was able to get a job working for an auto company (Ford) during the first 2 summers. The money was great, but it also meant working 70 hours a week with exactly 2 days off between June and September. I also worked 20 hrs a week at a local hospital during the school year.

                I had had enough of my parents house and moved out at 19, so I was living on my own while attending college, but by sharing low-rent apartments I was able to live off of my $150/month income (My $10/wk pocket money came from donating plasma).

                No spring break trips for me. I did go to Europe for 11 weeks in 1974, spending a grand total of $927.00, including airfare (lots of hitchhiking, sleeping on beaches and stealing uneaten food from outdoor cafe tables).

                I went back to graduate school in 1983 at age 30, married, with a 4 yr old daughter. In addition to full-time school, I worked 3 jobs to minimize my debt and left with $15,000 in student loans.

                I guess I am trying to make a couple of points: One is to dispel the notion that somehow boomers had it easy because of low tuition and parental support, and two, to point out that I think it was easier for many of us to live frugally because we never had that much to begin with. My current wife is 9 years younger than me and her attitudes towards money and material "needs" are completely different from mine. (Oy!) We have provided such comfortable surroundings for our children that I think it would be almost impossible for them to live the kind of lifestyle I did in college. You combine that with the substantially higher costs of living and education and I can understand the feelings of frustration that young people feel today.

                I do have mixed feelings when I read some of these posts. Part of me wonders if these young people really understand what it means to start out on your own and if they have the patience and discipline to live within their means and build up their finances. My new son-in-law is a really good kid who is not self-indulgent or irresponsible. However he is 25, still finishing undergraduate school, has never had a job that pays more than $10 per hour, and yet considers it a "necessity" to have an Alienware computer, not to mention, Xbox, PlayStation, and Wii.

                On the other hand I also understand how globalization and republican economic policies over the past 25-30 years are destroying the middle class and eliminating many of the jobs and opportunities we had to grow financially. I personally think that our economic infrastructure is being financed by aging boomers and 30 years of home equity. This is hiding the stench of the  rotting economic underbelly, just as the health care crisis is partially masked by the fact that many/most of the uninsured are relatively young and healthy.

                •  Interesting point you raise... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  sarahnity, Quinton

                  This is where my latent conservatism comes out:

                  My new son-in-law is a really good kid who is not self-indulgent or irresponsible. However he is 25, still finishing undergraduate school, has never had a job that pays more than $10 per hour, and yet considers it a "necessity" to have an Alienware computer, not to mention, Xbox, PlayStation, and Wii.

                  If he can afford to have 3 separate gaming consoles, fine.  if he's still a student, has got student loans and/or personal debt up the wazoo, even one console is pushing it.

                  I agree with you.  I think young people today do get screwed in various ways by our economic system and our government as well as by our lack of nat'l health care, job outsourcing, etc.  

                  But for a lot of us/them, the answer does in fact lie somewhere in the middle.  Many of us also bear some responsiblity.  3 game consoles and a top of the line PC are not 'necessities'.  Same goes for iPods, gas guzzling SUVs, etc.

                  American overseas? Register to vote at

                  by YoyogiBear on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 10:05:10 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  With all due respect... (6+ / 0-)

              ... even if I didn't drop a dime of my income on non-essential items, it still wouldn't make up for the atrocious housing market, child-care costs, and the fact that my salary has just barely increased in the ten-plus years I've worked in the software industry.

              It's the latter issue that's more telling, I think. Inflation has risen steadily since the eighties, and salaries didn't exactly rise with it.

              Corporate Dog

              •  Like I said, I'm not passing judgment (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Progressive Moderate, YoyogiBear

                and it's too late now, but looking back, could you have lived a more frugal lifestyle 10 years ago when you started and built up savings then?  If you could, would you go back and do anything differently?

                Frugal Fridays, where the cheap come to chat.

                by sarahnity on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 09:16:17 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  If I thought it would've made a difference... (3+ / 0-)

                  ... sure. But I can assure you that the credit card debt I unwisely accrued (and then painstakingly paid off) would've otherwise just gone to my student loans (which I was paying at the time), my car payment (which was a necessity, considering where I lived, where I worked, and the distinct lack of reliable public transportation), or ultimately, my future wife's student loans.

                  I'm not discounting what you're saying. I think fiscal responsibility is incredibly important, and I too, tend to balk at the folks who are willing to shell out for an iPhone or lease a tricked out Beamer. But the problems I'm talking about can't really be fixed by clipping coupons.

                  Corporate Dog

              •  Also... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                YoyogiBear, Quinton

                Homes and recreational places are further away from each other. Soccer, baseball, and even martial arts forms of entertainment are COSTING extra and are required that SOMEBODY be home in the evening to take kids to practice and games. So, I think the Nintendo/PS generation (myself and family)are still alternatives to those community programs that often upper middle classes and higher one-income families are more inclined to have available to them to take advantage of.

                My 10 year old has a playstation, He and his father play indoors and outdoors together. He also takes Tae Kwon Do and loves having different activities to look forward to, but my girlfriend whom I work with she's not a nurse like I am, and her pay does not afford the options of activities that cost and the neighborhood is not great either.  I really don't think it's the sole excuse to not having a savings nowadays. It's varying reasons...

    •  My spouse was born during WWII, I right after; (5+ / 0-)

      we bought our first home (a condominium in a well preserved old building in a desirable neighborhood of Cambridge MA) in 1979, for a bit over 40 grand.  We were both in the process of being educated -- one of us, having taught 16 years in inner city high schools,  was taking a doctorate in education; the other was a post-doctoral fellow in the netherworld between physical chemistry and biomedical engineering.

      When I first went shopping for a mortgage, I was mostly laughed at -- but finally I found a loan officer who just liked me, and whom I could see making errors in my favor on the loan application.

      When we closed the deal, I remember thinking to myself --Jesus, we are the last generation of Americans who are going to be able to do this!

      We moved out West in the early 1980's and sold our place at pretty much the break even point.   Now apartments like that are probably worth a million-five.  (I know for a fact that fixer-uppers in Newton MA were going for three quarters of million in 2003.)  If I had to go back to Cambridge as professional, I couldn't afford to live there -- much less as student/post-doc duo.

      All of which is to say: the world of housing has changed radically in 30 years, and altogether for the worse.

      The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

      by magnetics on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 09:06:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  OVERPOPULATION (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sarahnity, denise b, Quinton, truthbeauty

      Incomes down: too many people relative to jobs, wages decline.  

      Housing costs up:  too many people relative to homes and apartments, price of rent and real estate soars.  

      The more people there are, the higher the cost of living, or to put it another way, the lower the value of each individual life relative to the necessities of living.

      Six and one half billion, heading toward nine billion, on a planet that can sustainably support perhaps two or at most three billion.  

      In the 70s we used to hear it said that the value of a human life was priceless.  Today that sounds like quaint sentimentalism in the face of harsh realities such as the health insurance industry's "murder by spreadsheet."    

      Meanwhile, oil production peaks and starts to decline, and the climate crisis accelerates, driving people inland from the coastal regions and disrupting agricultural production.

      Can you say "perfect storm"...?

      The only way out is to reduce population: universal equality for women, universal access to family planning & birth control, and economic incentives to have no more than one child per family by reproduction (and as many as you like by adoption: after all, memes count for more than genes).  

      And if we don't... look up the recent series of diaries on the climate crisis.  If we don't cut back our numbers, and cut back the consumption levels per person, the shit is going to hit the fan: population overshoot leading to collapse, also known as dieoff.  


      BTW, Hekebolos:  Early GenX here, 40-something, me & my peer group graduated from college right into the Reaganomic Depression, 20% unemployment and all.  So if anything, we got screwed even harder because it hit us with no warning.  We grew up with the expectations of the prosperity of the 60s and 70s, that college + hard work = living a satisfactory life.  What we got instead was the proverbial cactus shoved up our butts.  

      (Among my peers, the going joke was that one of the ways you can tell who's a boomer and who's an Xer is, when you say "mortgage," the Xer will laugh and say something like, "you've got to be kidding."  And another way to tell is, the Xers all know what the phrase "does not lead to" means, without even having to mention the context "employment ads."  For example, "Job in progressive company/nonprofit/whatever doing mind-numbing drudgery and making coffee for self-indulgent boomers who think they're the salt of the earth.  Does not lead to any position where you can use your brains or creative talents until after the boomers retire....")

      At least GenY had the advantage of knowing from day one that the entire system is in decline and you have to struggle for everything.  

      But GenX and GenY together may just be able to accomplish what the Boomers did not, which is to create a basis of real social justice.  

      Meanwhile it's a @#$%!! social darwinist nightmare, heading for an ecological catastrophe.  Welcome to the !$%*&! twenty-first century!

  •  Depressing!! (8+ / 0-)

    I'm just a simple hyperchicken from a backwoods asteroid. Relentless!

    by ablington on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 06:29:03 PM PDT

  •  Student Debt. (25+ / 0-)

    I find that many people in their late 40's and 50's and on up -- who do not have children currently seeking higher education -- can totally miss how difficult student debt makes our lives.

    I see this from my own professors even, who went all the way through grad school without incurring tens of thousands of dollars in loans.

    Really, way too many people are giving up on their dreams due to financial hardship. I don't think that's necessarily anything new, but it's really depressing nevertheless.

  •  go to state school (6+ / 0-)

    put up with drunken jockocracy...the debt will be less painful that way

    You guys will do fine, unless I'm lucky with my lack of debt...and not from a rich family either...

    ohhh sweet mystery of life at last i found youuuuu blogroll

    by terrypinder on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 06:39:51 PM PDT

    •  at the time I went to school, fall of 93 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Progressive Moderate, Quinton

      and this may not be representative of many beyond my experience, i had applied to only NY state schools, and one super-liberal, very expensive, experimental liberal arts college.  when the loan amounts tallied up combined with school aid, it turned out I would owe less to the super expensive place overall.  which I was overjoyed about at the time.  but then my mother got a raise, significant but still somewhat modest, and under the rules that amount was just immediately subtracted from my aid from the school, which then upped my loan amounts.

      a full 10 years after graduating, I still owe just barely under the exact same amount I stated out owing.  granted, I'm not the most financially savvy person, but I'm not a complete idiot either.  I just happen to work in Social Services and Education, and have never made quite enough to make payments that went much above my monthly interest level.  so I've paid thousands and thousands in interest, and have effectively paid off about $2000 of the loan, of which I still have $15000 left to pay.  and people I know who entered school 3, 4 years after me, nearly all have loan amounts that are twice that high.  I think the interest rates should still be much lower for student loans, and the whole deal should be more adjusted to your overall income level left over after important life expenses.  I've deliberately avoided going to grad school because I don't want to go even further into debt compared to whatever increased earning power a Masters in my field would give me.

      Mother Earth is pregnant for the third time - for y'all have knocked her up. ~ maggot brain

      by itsbenj on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:18:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Abolishing loans would also help (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        itsbenj, eugene

        But, OMG, that would be socialism!!!

      •  It's awful but be grateful to Clinton who changed (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Progressive Moderate, Quinton

        loans so that at least you can deduct the interest.

        I couldn't do that, with a lot of debt from grad school and graduating in the late '80s.  

        And if Congress messes with Clinton's break, fight to keep it.  It would have made a huge difference for me and my kids.  We couldn't afford decent housing for years, because I got no breaks on that student loan debt.

        "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

        by Cream City on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 09:44:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  yeah, that was good while it lasted (0+ / 0-)

          no longer allowed to, however

          Mother Earth is pregnant for the third time - for y'all have knocked her up. ~ maggot brain

          by itsbenj on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 02:22:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Really? I checked and see it still in place (0+ / 0-)

            so pls send your source that the law was repealed -- before my son takes on more student loans.  Thanks.

            "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

            by Cream City on Sun Sep 16, 2007 at 11:39:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  i don't know if the law was (0+ / 0-)

              repealed or not, i just suddenly started receiving forms from Sallie Mae which stated "interest no longer available for deduction" and failed to produce an amount to use to deduct.  maybe there was some time limit in the first place that I somehow didn't know about?

              Mother Earth is pregnant for the third time - for y'all have knocked her up. ~ maggot brain

              by itsbenj on Sun Sep 16, 2007 at 06:35:01 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  re: Private colleges & financial aid (5+ / 0-)

        I had a similar experience at a similar time:

        Small private college, good financial aid package freshman year that was "whittled away" and converted to loans with my Mom's modest gains in income, according to "the formula."  The first-year package ends up being a real bait-and-switch.

        To all you young Kossacks out there-- here's what I learned (too late for me, a'course): at a private college there is no financial aid "formula."  There might be a general model for how they try to squeeze you, but they can give you aid from zero to 100%, their discretion.  Especially at small colleges, where even a single student who doesn't finish in 5 years is a BAD STAT for their U.S. News ratings, a serious threat to transfer (and permanent moratorium on post-grad donations, from you and your friends) out can get your loans turned into grants, or work-study eligibility, or help from the general-scholarship fund.  Or at least get you back to your more-generous freshman package.  I had friends who did this.  I found out too late that a few calls from beloved profs, enraged parents, or administrators from feeder high schools can make a big difference.

        There's really only one formula:  they will try to get you to pay as much as they can, but everything is negotiable.

  •  I really thought... (9+ / 0-)

    ...this would be a diary about under 35s and handguns.

    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

    by Jay Elias on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 06:40:10 PM PDT

  •  One Quibble. (21+ / 0-)

    Well, these days, a B.A. is the new high school diploma.  Everybody has one.  

    Except everybody doesn't. In fact, I read a statistic today that only 55% of college students nationwide will graduate in SIX YEARS. About 20-24% of freshmen in large public universities don't even survive the first year.

    Add to that all of the people who pursue a 2-year degree, or perhaps can't afford or don't seek college education at all, and the problem is even starker.

    There are tons of people not going to college in our generation, and they're going to have big problems, too.

  •  yeah but it's all gonna get better soon, right? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    opendna, eugene, ChaosMouse



  •  Gee... maybe those Neanderthals who argued (3+ / 0-)

    criticized as ill-advised women going to work years ago weren't so far off.  Sounds like they could have written the Elizabeth Warren & Amelia Warren Tyagi book.

    •  It isn't about sexism. (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      opendna, eugene, dwcal, ChaosMouse, kath25, BrinS

      The two main theme I recall was their theory that the two income family drove up the prices for housing in good school districts and that by depending on two incomes a family has no fall back position (IOW can't make it on one income).

      •  Yeah -- (5+ / 0-)

        that was a big problem, not having an extra income to fall back on. Back when most families were single-earners, if there was a shortfall or an emergency, the other spouse could look for a job to supplement.

        Now, we see partners with 3-4 jobs between them just trying to break even.

      •  and the means-of-production surplus after WWII (4+ / 0-)

        required people to buy more crap and go to two income families (especially since many womens' first experiences at work were in war production jobs).  

        It's just ironic how arguments come back around in totally different forms and by totally different groups.

        •  Nobody Had to Go to 2 Incomes For a Generation (9+ / 0-)

          after the war.

          1968-70 was the high water mark for the middle class. I was housing and putting myself through college working fast food, had a used car and a used sailboat. I crewed sailboat races in the summers for public school teachers.

          Women were struggling to be allowed to work and to be allowed to borrow money etc. at this time and the arguments were mainly freedom- and rights-related.

          I think it was the oil shocks of the early 70's, when the Viet Nam war bills started shaking up the economy and the world, that families really began to feel the financial need to have 2nd income earners.

          The middle and lower classes basically went flat from then onward, and are now going down.

          We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

          by Gooserock on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:19:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Also, there was a real increase in the number of (7+ / 0-)

            divorces in the 1970s, and many older women re-entered the job market. In the 1950s, even folks in bad marriages stuck it out. My folks put the dys in dysfunctional, but they did not finally divorse until the early 70s. By then, my sister and I young adults.

            •  There was a great deal of social pressure (4+ / 0-)

              On women to marry and leave the workplace - to become housewives. This had real consequences - women who wanted to work couldn't get hired, and admissions officers at colleges limited the number of women they accepted. Much of the women's movement in the 1960s and 1970s was about breaking down those 1950s barriers.

              I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

              by eugene on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:29:05 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That is so true. When I entered graduate (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Athena, eugene, Quinton

                school in 1972, I was one of a very few women in archaeology. I think that they admitted us because they were running out of men, since graduate student deferments for Vietnam had ended. My graduate class included a number of men in their late 20 who had either served in Vietnam or done alternative service and a small number of young women right out of college. Now the graduate classes that I teach are predominantly female.

                •  And what is with all the women in grad school? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Quinton, BrinS

                  My motivation to do a Ph.D ran out primarily because after I got my Master's, I couldn't find any men to date that had a similar educational background!  Every grad department I went to was overflowing with women, except for maybe the very hard sciences (and those guys had social problems of their own).  Why are so many women in grad school and so many men not going?  My girlfriends are all dating guys with less education than they have!

                  •  I'm sorry, but, really??? (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Athena, ppluto

                    You lost interest in grad school because the dating pool dried up???  Something tells me you weren't that motivated to begin with.  As for a lack of men in grad school, check out engineering or the hard sciences.  Women are still vastly outnumbered there.  

                    Frugal Fridays, where the cheap come to chat.

                    by sarahnity on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:56:47 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It's possible (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      I may not have been that motivated to begin with-- I graduated undergrad in the year of 9/11.  When that hit and all my job interviews dried up and I realized I was screwed, because by the time people were hiring again, my graduating class had to compete with all the next year's recent grads... and all I had on my resume was Wal-Mart, because it was the ONLY place I could find that was still taking people... Well...  Yeah.  Those circumstances, more than anything, motivated me to go back to grad school.  I didn't want a Ph.D, particularly now that they seem to lead to lame  gypsy-teaching gigs at lousy pay instead of tenure-track.  What I wanted then was a LIFE.  I wanted to find a better job than Wal-Mart, find a great guy, settle down, have kids and a home with a white picket fence.  Go ahead and judge me if you want, but I think plenty of people just want to have a good life and meet a partner with similar background with whom they can share it, so I really don't see what your problem is.

    •  The problem isn't (16+ / 0-)

      and never was, "women going to work."

      The problems are a family can't live on one income, regarless of who's earning it, even if they want to; and parents can't realistically choose to have a more equitable division of work and child care - eg, two people working part-time - because health care is tied to full-time employment; and jobs are more insecure than ever; and debt; and...etc.

      Warren & Tyagi make some very interesting points about the problem with living on two incomes, maxed out, but I wouldn't reduce it to Neanderthal notions.

      It is no worse, because I write of it. It would be no better, if I stopped my most unwilling hand.

      by ChaosMouse on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 06:56:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  it's a direct quote from their book (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        it doesn't matter who the income earner is, and that's something stated in the book.  I guess I should have included other stuff to exonerate them from appearing sexist--it was just a comparison to one good part about the way things used to be.

        oops. I hope the gate wasn't too expensive.

        The Nexus has you.

        by Dante Atkins on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 09:33:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Cost of Children (14+ / 0-)

    I've read The Two Income Trap.  

    The part about having a family is quite resonant for me.  I know MANY couples our age (30s) who don't have children for financial reasons.

    My daughter was unplanned and she is great.  Unfortunately her childcare ate up almost half of my previous salary and pushed me into bankruptcy.  

    I haven't filed yet, but the gist is I was unemployed during the last recession, ran up a few thousand in credit to survive, finally got a steady job and then came up pregnant within 2 months.  It isn't possible for me to pay my creditors AND take care of my child.  My baby will win this one every time.

    The federal government estimates that it costs $15,000 a year to raise a child.  From my experience that's no BS.  Government math is so screwed.  If they know it costs that much per child why is the poverty line so low?

    •  Blue jersey dad and I had children late in life, (7+ / 0-)

      in part, because we both had student debt. Good quality childcare is very expensive, and you can spend a long time on a waiting list to get into a good day care center. We chose to live in a good school district so we could send out kids to public schools. We do, however, live in the worst house in the neighborhood. It is not easy. We were helped by college financial aid. My kids left college with manageable student loans. One borrowed about $700-; the other about $14,000. Some of the most selective college have very good financial aid plans. Do not feel that you most attand a state school. BJ dad and I paid less to send out kids to Penn than we would have paid to send them to Rutgers.

      •  6 Kids here, not far from Rutgers (4+ / 0-)

        My oldest daughter goes to Monmouth. Number 2 is a son and gets his license in 3 weeks. My plan is for at least one of my kids to play for the NY Yankees. Plan B is to hit the lottery.
        I give them everything they need, but cannot always give them everything they want. In a way, is a bit of a blessing. They have learned to do thing for themselves and, the thing that makes me most proud, they look out for each other. Great kids, all in advanced studies, well-rounded, lots of friends. Always around to help Dad around the house.  Their friends are always over my house, and most of them call me "Dad". Although I routinely absorb $100 pizza bills and $125 Chinese food bills, I know I only have them to myself for a few more years, and then they will spread their wings. Right now, I will take every minute I can with them.
        Don't let your time with them pass you by!!!

        We must hang together, gentlemen...else, we shall most assuredly hang separately. Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790)

        by Hobbit78 on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:15:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Kids later in life (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It's not always possible to wait until you are financially comfortable.  I have a medical condition that would have rendered me infertile had I waited longer than I did and at 28 I wasn't all that young when we started trying.  Nobody lies to admit this but for some people it's not a choice as to when we can have kids.

        On the other hand, some people make kids cost more than they really should.  My two boys share a room and love it.  I just read somewhere that sharing a room is an indicator that the parents aren't providing enough or something.  Whatever.  We're not living high off the hog and the grandparents help a lot-they wanted grandchildren so they supported our decision to have kids.

        •  Seriously, about sharing a room? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sarahnity, Quinton, truthbeauty

          I shared a room w/ my sister for most of my childhood, and my girls (11 and 8) have shared a room all their lives -- we're probably mid to upper middle class, and periodically my husband makes noises about giving each girl her own room, but neither of them are clamoring for it, and I just don't see the need.  In fact, just yesterday, my son (who is 5) was complaining that he's the only one in the family who doesn't get to sleep w/ someone else, and it isn't fair!

          Of course, we're obviously doing something wrong, because my daughter turned 11 today, and for weeks we've been asking her what she wanted for her birthday and she couldn't think of a single thing.  My sister gave her a bookstore gift certificate, and we donated money to the nature conservancy in her name, which she was perfectly happy about (and which, come to think of it, was what my 8yo specifically requested for her birthday earlier this year).  So I don't think they want for too much.

          BTW, there is never a good time to have kids.  It will never be convenient.  If you want them, you just have to go ahead and do it -- life will rearrange itself around them somehow because, well, it has to.

          •  I agree totally (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ppluto, truthbeauty

            I think that people who wait for the "perfect" time to have kids are fooling themselves.  You are so right about it never being convenient. After my first was born I kept wondering why we waited so long and actually felt a little cheated that we didn't have him sooner as it means less time here with him.  Nobody could have ever told me that I would feel that before kids.

  •  Great diary (16+ / 0-)

    You've done an excellent job of covering the financial problems we face.

    I would add only this: we're facing the same soaring cost of living that you over 35 are. But we have much, much less in terms of assets and resources with which to do it. And god forbid a job loss - we haven't had time to build up savings, and since so much of our paycheck goes to debt and living costs, we can't save much anyway. Since we can't afford a home, we have no equity to fall back on.

    These are deeply political questions. As we face a looming recession - at best - we need to be looking to government to help the nation make it through the hard times. Student loan forgiveness is an excellent way to do it, to get older generations of Americans to atone for their mistakes in making us pay huge costs so that they could have lower taxes.

    Student loan forgiveness would be a massive economic stimulus, much better than any tax cut - because instead of using a tax cut to pay debt, being freed from debt will free up our entrepreneurial and creative energies. It will help us pump money into the economy, and ultimately, will help us pay your pension and medical costs.

    You scratch our back, we'll scratch yours...

    I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

    by eugene on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 06:43:47 PM PDT

    •  Absolutely. (10+ / 0-)

      And the existing forgiveness programs can do much more. For instance, Teach for America has a loan forgiveness program, but it could be much more aggressive. If you have $20K, $30K, it doesn't eat into it fast enough.

      I would also argue that anyone who is working in a capacity to serve the "public good" should qualify for more expedient loan forgiveness.

      •  Personally (5+ / 0-)

        I think everyone should have their student loans forgiven. I don't like the idea of saying one person's job serves the public good and someone else's doesn't. I teach, so that might seem more of a public good, but I would argue that my 28-year old peer working in a solar energy firm is ALSO working for the public good.

        We need to avoid trying to determine who is deserving and who is not - for everyone is deserving.

        I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

        by eugene on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 06:49:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think that is fair, (5+ / 0-)

          but I also wonder why someone our age who is making $100K a year needs their debt forgiven.

          In Australia, loan repayment is indexed to your income. The more you make, the more you pay back.

          I would think that perhaps the amount owed, and the amount earned, should be taken into account. For instance, a close friend of mine owes over $220K between her BA and her JD, and she is working for Child and Family Services. Yeah, good luck paying all of that back. I wonder if she can even pay the interest.

          •  I could live with that, but (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ladybug53, kath25

            It would also generate more political support if we said everyone gets forgiven. I think that we go down a very bad road when we try and determine who is deserving and who is not.

            I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

            by eugene on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 06:54:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That is an excellent point. (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              eugene, ChaosMouse, ladybug53, StageStop

              I think you make a good argument there. For instance, the Democratic Presidential candidate should really hammer this. Especially if it's someone who doesn't really play well with young people.

              It's about time we got pandered to, dammit!!

              •  As an over-35 person, may I (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Athena, Quinton, College Progressive

                say a tiny bit in defense of the boomers? You all talk as if no one in your parents' or professors' generation ever had any debt. I am currently a college professor (and yes, liberal arts are good for you!), but I, too, had debt when I got my last degree--$65,000 worth, counting student loans, credit cards, and my first car in 11 years. I paid back every penny on one income which, trust me, is not that great for an anthropologist. I do think things are even worse for today's college students so I definitely sympathize, but I get a little cranky at all this talk have having all your debt forgiven. Some of it, maybe, especially if tied to income as suggested above. But all of it? Why should those of us who paid off our loans subsidize the entire debt of the next generation...? Just askin'.  

                "Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There's no better rule." -- Mr. Jaggers in Great Expectations

                by StageStop on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:34:03 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I know what you mean (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  College Progressive, StageStop

                  I had $20,000 in debt after my undergrad when I graduated in 1986 and that was from a public school.  I don't know what that is in today's dollars, but it would be more and I don't think my debt load was that unusual. I didn't incur too much debt as a grad student, since I was in engineering and could get research and teaching jobs.

                  Frugal Fridays, where the cheap come to chat.

                  by sarahnity on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:45:24 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Why get cranky at it? (5+ / 0-)

                  Why should economic opportunity be a zero-sum game?

                  If you're a boomer, I'll assume you entered your career at a time when wages were still rising, when health care was reasonably affordable, and before housing costs went through the roof - even for renters. Conditions have changed in 20 to 30 years, and we are facing an economic downturn worse than anything we've seen since at least 1982, possibly since - gulp - 1933.

                  Further, the kinds of debts you had are now much more common - and as more of us have them, it becomes a macroeconomic problem and not an individual issue.

                  What I'm saying is that for your retirement and health care guarantees to be met, you need us young people to be able to earn a decent living and spend to generate the tax income to pay for Social Security and Medicare. If we're drowning under student loan debt, it's not going to happen.

                  I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

                  by eugene on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:48:23 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Wait a minute (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sarahnity, Quinton

          If everyone gets their loans forgiven think of the implications:

          1. No incentive to limit the amount borrowed (it will be forgiven). Just imagine how money could be wasted.
          1. Someone has to pay. Just because the loan is forgiven doesn't mean no one has to pay.
          1. In order to pay for the forgiven loans, everyone's taxes will have to be higher. So you could end up with blue collar workers subsidizing (paying for) the education of college graduates. Doesn't quite seem fair to me.
          1. If loans are forgiven colleges will be guaranteed to increase rates even more...making the game even more insane than it already is.

          I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

          by taonow on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:58:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It would be paired, of course (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Quinton, College Progressive

            With efforts to make college affordable. It would be pointless and wrong to have a forgiveness in, say, 2010 but screw over students starting college after that date.

            As to costs, of course someone will have to pay for it - but it would be cheaper than Bush's tax cuts. Higher taxes on the wealthy would be a sensible way to pay for it. And it WILL generate a significant economic stimulus, much more than Bush's tax cuts.

            I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

            by eugene on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:01:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I would prefer (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Athena, sarahnity, Quinton

              I'd prefer to keep the onus on the individual and work on those terms. A blanket forgiveness is a recipe for disaster.

              Part of the problem is the expectations of college.

              • You need to go to a good college
              • You need to go away to college
              • You need to go to college right after high school

              When I went to college I had no money so I stayed in my town and went to school there (definitely not my first choice) and lived at home. Four year of buses, bagged lunches, summer jobs, and very limited partying later I graduated debt free. ...and kept an aversion to debt to this day. It has been a chore at times (didn't get my first car until I was 26 and lived in a 4 bedroom apartment with another couple and 2 singles...after we were married), but living with no debt has really paid off in the end. I'm really not sure that having the ability to borrow, even if it would have been forgiven would have been better in the long run.

              I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

              by taonow on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:32:01 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yeah... (3+ / 0-)

                ...I'm not thinking you've read the comments in this diary very closely. To earn a decent wage, advanced degrees are becoming more and more necessary. Without them, with only a high school degree, one's earning power is now greatly reduced.

                My point, again, isn't that we forgive one group's loans and then keep the loan system going. We need to get away from the idea that student loans are what finances education. That notion has only been around for a few decades anyway.

                I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

                by eugene on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 09:01:42 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Unfortunately TFA (0+ / 0-)

        doesn't actually help with anything. People who aren't trained teachers aren't good at teaching especially not when they only do it for a brief period and with less than perfect kids. It's just a nice sounding program and a nice sounding idea. I was out with friends last year and ran into a girl we knew who announced she was graduating and going to be doing TFA in NYC. I wished her well and said it was cool she was willing to devote time out of her life to do it, but it's really not helpful at all.

    •  we may already have unraveled too far (8+ / 0-)

      I've always thought tax policy formerly represented a kind of intergenerational quid pro quo:  your property taxes will pay for public schools to educate us and our children, and our income and social security taxes will provide for your health and retirement.  You can forget about anything like that happening now; education is increasingly the product of economic determinism, health care has been reduced to the profit motive, and I've written before that the baby boom generation will be the last American generation to even think about retirement, which is largely a modern Western phenomenon anyway.  The rest of us will work until we are dead.

      •  Agreed to all of it (0+ / 0-)

        You can see the end of the intergenerational approach to taxation with StageStop's comment a few ones up, where he sees student loan forgiveness as some kind of robbing of his own wallet - without considering how it will help him enjoy retirement.

        I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

        by eugene on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:53:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not a he, I'm a she. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          College Progressive

          Don't get me wrong, some of my best friends are men, but I ain't one of them. And my dear eugene, you grossly mischaracterize my earlier post. I was talking about responsibility, not my wallet. The forgiveness of some people's debt is made possible by the full payment of debt by others, that's all. It isn't necessarily generational, either.  

          "Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There's no better rule." -- Mr. Jaggers in Great Expectations

          by StageStop on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:16:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Right (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Quinton, StageStop

            If student loan forgiveness is paid for by taxes, it's paid for by ALL our taxes. I'd be paying taxes to forgive my own loans. We call that an investment.

            I do not see how there is a lack of responsibility at all in this proposal.

            I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

            by eugene on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:20:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I don't think we'll ever agree on the (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              eugene, sarahnity, Quinton

              responsibility part, but I think we can probably agree on the fact that many people are overburdened by all sorts of debt. How to restructure things so as to deal with this problem is the question. I am more than willing to pay more in taxes at both the state and federal level so that we, the people, have the revenues to provide a good quality life for all, which would include access to good health care, bridges that don't collapse, and as much education as one wishes to acquire. It's how to get there fairly from where we are now that's the tricky part.

              "Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There's no better rule." -- Mr. Jaggers in Great Expectations

              by StageStop on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:51:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Well said (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'm just barely over 35, right in the middle of Gen X, so I had it just a little easier than you 20something whippersnappers. I attended a great private university for undergrad just before tuition completely exploded, and fortunately they were generous with the financial aid too. I barely had 10 grand in student loans.

      I did experience the lousy job market of the early 90's and the whole moving back in with the parents thing. GenX was probably the first to move back en masse with their parents after graduating. Even as late as the 80's, an adults living with the parents was strictly the domain of the Star Trek convention crowd (see "Get a Life" skit by William Shatner on SNL).

      On that note you can add: you scratch our back or we'll move back in and parenting becomes a 35 year commitment. Cheers!

  •  Great post, and a very important issue (10+ / 0-)

    Okay, a little background on myself for context.  I live in the midwest (lower property prices), had a good family (I have an associates degree, parents paid), very good at education, passionate about the technology field.

    I was able to find a job when I got out of school, which is about a 50/50 anymore, good solid above average pay etc.  Got married, had a child, bought a house.

    Now, three years after purchasing our house, we are in limbo.  My raises have been on hold for two years because of budget issues, our costs have skyrocketed, and we will probably be moving our bedrooms downstairs so that we can close off and not heat the rooms upstairs.  Energy costs, which would run 150-200 in the winter, have jumped to 250-350, up to 450 on a very cold month.  That happens to be 30% of my take home pay.  

    We are this close to falling behind on the bills, and don't have any hope for the future at this point.  Our cars are starting to fall apart, we have a relatively minor debt load (compared to most people) but when we do the six month budget, there is only $100-200 available every paycheck.  200 will go to groceries (buying generic food), and the other 200 has to pay gasoline and other necessary expenses.

    We have been 'dealing' with it for 6 months now, and it's really put a stress on our marriage.  Like you, we have agreed that my wife stay home and take care of our daughter, and we are not wanting to compromise on that issue.  

    I understand where you are coming from, and agree wholeheartedly.  I think it's the people on the top of the pile (with a lot of republican help) squeezing everything they can get before the economy really crashes.  

    I wish I knew how to get out of it, but unless we sell the house (and maybe even lose part of the down payment) and go to a small rental there isn't anything in sight that is going to change.

    Life is FUN let me tell ya!

  •  The Fall Semester Just Started For Me..... (14+ / 0-)

    .....A couple of weeks ago, and something that bugs the hell out of me is textbooks costs.

    If you're taking a math, business or science course, you are more than likely looking at least one $80+ book. Get enough classes that require books of that type of cost, you're looking at the equivalent of a month's rent to purchase a textbook. And when the semester is over & you go back to the campus bookstore to sell it back, the school will gladly give you back a fraction of what you paid, if they'll even buy the books back at all.

    I know someone who spent $140 on a cellular biology textbook, and the campus bookstore offered him $15 to buy it back at the end of the semester. What was the bookstore selling that textbook for the very next semester? $140.

    There is also the "we're switching to a new edition" excuse for why they won't buy the books back. I'm pretty sure economic theory hasn't changed that much in the 3 or 4 years since the last edition was published, but my University's economic department seems to think so in their book list.

  •  That's the definition of an adult? (5+ / 0-)

    I guess I'm 40% of an adult, then. Though I guess that's still more than most people will say.

    The problem with the student debt numbers is that they're totally out of context; I mean this in the sense that it's not nearly as bad as it seems with a bit of forethought. You just need to read into the basic economics of it before hand.

    If you want to go to college to screw around for four years, you don't need to go to an expensive private school. If you want to go into a profession where the name on your degree doesn't matter as much as the degree itself (i.e., teaching), you don't need to go to an expensive private school.

    If you want to jump into a good job in tech, business or science, read the average starting salary reports at the universities you're considering and see if it's worth it. Read the reports of what companies are recruiting at each place and what they pay.

    For a vacuous tautology, the status quo basically requires that, unless you're fortunate enough not to have to worry about debt, you HAVE to worry about debt. And you need to do the cost-benefit analysis as part of the decision-making procedure, either for undergrad or grad school.

    People pay $100k for business school because it's can be worth it. People pay $150k for law or med school because, if you actually think you can be a good lawyer/doctor (or just get a good law/medical/etc job), it's worth it. The first thing is being able to recognize your own abilities and ambition. The question no longer is (and probably never should have been), "Can I do this," but "Will I be able to do this and should I do it?"

    But then again, that may just be the snobby academic elitist in me speaking.

    (It looks like the semester is underway again...10pm and I'm still at work!)

  •  Typo? (0+ / 0-)

    In the third blockquote:

    Thirty years ago, in 1976-77, the average cost of attending a private college was $128.37 annually, in inflation-adjusted dollars.

    I think you mean $12,837...

    © sardonyx; all rights reserved

    by sardonyx on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 06:48:54 PM PDT

  •  This is a result of Repub economics (5+ / 0-)

    Cut taxes, and spend a ton on the military and starve the social programs, this is right wing Republican economics at its finest, and gen X and Y are the first two generations to feel the pain.

    I prefer peace Wouldn't have to have one worldly possession But essentially I'm an animal So just what do I do with all the aggression?

    by jbou on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:12:08 PM PDT

    •  Precisely (6+ / 0-)

      And that's one reason why we Millennials (aka Gen Y) are turning out to be the most pro-Democratic generation in a very, very long time. We see the costs, and none of the benefits.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

      by eugene on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:13:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Great, if depressing diary here. (6+ / 0-)

        I'm a boomer, so I am looking more at retirement issues, but this diary fits quite well with one I did a month or so ago entitled, "The Tail End of the Golden Age of Retirement".

        The younger you are, the more crushing the burden of Republican policies (and some corporatist democratic ones) that have been enacted since 1980.

        I believe your generation and the ones who are directly behind you will have some very difficult times ahead of you.  It may seem scant comfort now, but I believe that a few decades from now you will have remedied some of the ills that were bequeathed to you -- and that hopefully the generations after you won't quickly forget.

        "When the going gets tough, the tough get 'too big to fail'."

        by New Deal democrat on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:31:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Looks like it (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eugene, Quinton, College Progressive

        But until we drop our iPods, turn off American Idol, and smell those loans and medical co-pays, we still have yet to entirely grasp what the hell is going on around us. I'm hope that we don't have to wait until 2030 or 2040 (when we're putting our kids through school and control Congress) to get universal healthcare and affordable college tuition.

        •  Yeah (0+ / 0-)

          I would kinda like to have universal health care by 2010, not 2030. But since none of the Democratic candidates want that, looks like we'll be waiting a while.

          I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

          by eugene on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:37:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sadly, I feel like Gen Y will become like the (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Boomers. I have scary feeling that Christian fundamentalism and Reaganesque greed will still be powerful forces once each doey-eyed 20-something gets his or her MBA and JD and gets absorbed into the groupthink of their older employers. By then, it will either mean standing up for your principles or get fired.
            And pretty soon, I'll be hearing shit like "things change once you have children. My life is with Gawd now" from the same women who are dumb enough to post pics of themselves drinking or flashing a camera on Facebook. At least Facebook will ruin plenty of "family values" candidacies in future elections.

            •  Not me but you might as well count on going (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Progressive Moderate

              bankrupt if you practice with any sort of personal progressive integrity . . . can't have it both ways but "rationalizations" are a great salve for the soul of those you mention . . . I'd say sell-out, but it is perceived necessity that seams to drive people to lose conviction.  So many shiny things so little time to buy.

              At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst. Aristotle

              by rrheard on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:53:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'll probably be one of those people (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                eugene, dwcal, rrheard

                But, come on, I'd like to at least see people of my age think rationally and vote to end the War on Drugs, lower the drinking age, reform Intellectual Property laws and net neutrality, and fix healthcare and college costs. My generation has gotten tons of shit on each of these groups(see police/university judicial affairs for pot, RIAA lawsuits, and Cigna/Humana/Blue Cross for healthcare once out of college).

                •  You guys are this country's only hope in my (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  eugene, dwcal

                  opinion.  I'll stand with you till the day I die because that's all I've got left, my word and my integrity (well and a Harley Davidson) and the hope that things can be turned around.  Other than that I can fit every last bit of personal belongs in five large U-haul boxes.  No joke.  Two are clothes, shoes, and suits, two are books, and 1 misc stuff like my fishing pole and golf clubs which I've had for 15 years.  And you know what, I actually like it that way.  I just need a job I can live with the end to be achieved and I'll be fine.

                  At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst. Aristotle

                  by rrheard on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:03:52 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  You think so? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Quinton, Puck Goodfellow

              I don't see that at all - most folks in their 20s I know are very resentful of the boomers.

              More importantly, boomers grew up with prosperity and ease. Few of them ever knew discomfort or struggle, and those that did were able to use the New Deal legacy to overcome it. We, however, have grown up with rising costs and constantly declining services, from the art programs cut in our elementary schools to the soaring cost of tuition and decaying infrastructure.

              No, we're growing up in totally different conditions.

              I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

              by eugene on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:56:36 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                eugene, Janet Strange, Quinton

                "boomers grew up with prosperity and ease"
                Exactly.  America had the world by the b***s and we knew it.

                The turning point actually came in the 1970s, first with the oil shocks.  And then, a couple years before Reagan, came proposition 13 in California.  Look up a man named "Howard Jarvis" who was the spearhead of that referendum, and you may be surprised at the age group which really began to shed the New Deal protections.


                "When the going gets tough, the tough get 'too big to fail'."

                by New Deal democrat on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:02:26 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Then why didn't early-mid Xers become Dems? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  eugene, Marie

                  They grew up with the problems of the '70s, and yet they went for Reagan in droves during their college years. Unfortunately, they're one of the most reliably Republican voting blocks. Gen X seems more libertarian and "angry white male"-like than the Boomers or Gen Y. When I mean that Gen Y will sell out, like the Boomers, some people of our generation will become either like Tom DeLay or Bill Gates. The DeLay-like people will be the former Facebook-using heathens who find religion and parrots the same "family values" bullshit that we already see. The Bill Gates-types will be social liberals and finally act after "waiting on the world to change" and offer philanthropy, but they'll keep corporatism in place and extend draconian labor and Intellectual Property laws, all the while selling us a holographic successor to the iPod or a device that secretly allows for the government to spy on you easier on a newly "secured" and tiered internet.  

                •  Heh (4+ / 0-)

                  I know Howard Jarvis and Prop 13 - I'm studying California history for my PhD, with a focus on the 1960s and 1970s. Jarvis was in his 70s when he got Prop 13 on the ballot - showing not everyone always was on board with the New Deal, even those who lived through it and benefited from it.

                  As a Californian, getting Prop 13 repealed is one of my highest priorities.

                  I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

                  by eugene on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:09:36 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Of course, my sense of the "greatest generation" (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    eugene, Quinton

                    is similar to your sense of the boomers.  I grew up with ww2 movies which may as well have been ancient history to me.

                    There's a great movie from the late 1940s that occasionally plays on Turner Classics (the name escapes me at the moment) that captures how the "greatest generation" felt when the men returned from the war.  They lived through the greatest middle class prosperity that ever existed.  You can get a good sample of it by watching old sitcoms like "Bewitched" on "TV land." on cable.  One wage earner, a car (or two) in the garage, pretty good suburban living.

                    By the late 1970s, with inflation running at 10% a year, they saw their purchasing power slowly being eaten away (and by now they were retiring, so that mattered).  So by Reagan's era they turned into the "greedy geezers" and bought the Reagan economic agenda hook, line, and sinker.

                    Of course I overgeneralize, just as some commenters here are about boomers, but you get the drift.


                    "When the going gets tough, the tough get 'too big to fail'."

                    by New Deal democrat on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:17:46 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Oh absolutely (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      I think the reasons we folks tend to rip on the boomers so much are twofold:

                      1. People expected more of the boomers. The notion that they were all liberals - if not outright hippies and protestors, but at least liberal - is widespread. It's not true, of course, many boomers were quite conservative (hi George Bush!) but the perception is that they're not living up to their promises, that they've selfishly taken the benefits of the society they inherited and kept them all without looking out for folks who came after.
                      1. Boomers are the generation ahead of us, holding the jobs and other significant positions that we aspire to. So some of it is natural resentment of a generation that is perceived as blocking the way.

                      But the truth is more complicated, and as you so rightly note, the "Greatest Generation" wasn't all that great. In the end they proved as greedy as anyone.

                      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

                      by eugene on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:25:02 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  My point is that (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        Gen Y, like the Boomers, see its parent generation as tired and greedy. Unfortunately, the Boomers probably surpassed their parents, and I'm afraid that Gen Yers will do the same. For example, if you look at the polls, my generation is more conservative on abortion and Social Security (although we're much more liberal on gay rights). A lot of us have bought into the RW spin that SS will go belly us, and nobody my age knows of what America was like before Roe.

                        •  You sure about that? (0+ / 0-)

                          I'm 28 and have been watching polls about my generation with regularity, and I haven't seen indications that we're more conservative on abortion and Social Security.

                          I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

                          by eugene on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 11:18:06 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I thought that (0+ / 0-)

                            younger voters were the most susceptible to Bush's privatization plan back in polls taken in '05. As to abortion, I remember reading about a Time Magazine poll three years ago saying that Gen Yers were more conservative on abortion, but more liberal on gay rights and gay marriage. This was during the last Presidential election, and the article in question talked about how College Republicans were making inroads in more traditionally-liberal universities. Of course, in the last three years Bush's popularity has tanked, so the results of the poll probably aren't as relevant.

                        •  I've seen those poll numbers too (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          and I suspect part of that has to do with young people having positive experiences relating to gay people with it being much more common for people to come out earlier nowdays including in highschool and sometimes younger and certainly by college and in positive gay characters on tv. Highschool age kids don't have too much experience with friends having abortions yet so are somewhat more conservative on the issue, but as friends get knocked up and for various reasons some decide to terminate the pregancy I think their viewpoint will likely moderate too.

                      •  On social issues, boomers really did... (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        eugene, sarahnity, dwcal, Quinton

                        ... fulfill their promise.  The greatest generation intellectually gradually and grudgingly knew that racial equality had to be granted.  Boomers believed it in their hearts too, and bequeathed it to their children who probably take it for granted now.  On issues of personal liberty too boomers never forgot their beliefs.

                        Like everyone else, once boomers settled down and started raising famillies, they got much more economically conservative.  I do think boomers took their good economic fortune for granted and were too willing to repeal New Deal protections.  I know it has caused plenty of rows in my family over the winter holidays!

                        "When the going gets tough, the tough get 'too big to fail'."

                        by New Deal democrat on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:30:34 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  See Steve Jobs as an archetype Boomer (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          eugene, Quinton

                          Sure he made Apple into a symbolic paradigm of Boomer counter culture, but he plays by corporate rules that are just as bad as what he hoped to crush when he co-founded Apple (DRM, locking consumers into products, and taking a Stossel-like approach towards education does not help). This is all the while he supports Democrats, and wants to see Gore get into the race. I feel like Gen Yers will become more than Gates or Jobs, than genuinely fulfill change against what they protest.

                          Same goes for the Clintons. Bill, at the very least, DID inhale, and yet he continued the War on Drugs because he feared the votes of the soccer moms. The Boomers claimed that they would fix things like corporate abuse and tear down the Controlled Substances Act, but then they expanded the damn things!

                          •  See, I disagree (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            I think there's more of a sense of economic justice amongst our group - and I get that not just from my own cohort, but from studies like that the NYT did not so long ago.

                            More important is wealth. The middle class in the country - regardless of age - is getting screwed. Since fewer of us will become as wealthy as Jobs or Gates, we're not going to turn into defenders of the economic status quo, as they did.

                            I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

                            by eugene on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:52:26 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Complicated (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            eugene, dwcal, Quinton

                            Steve Jobs is an entrepreneur.  I expect him to do corporate things and hold corporate ideas.

                            The 60s left wing radicals were always a minority.  Yes you could get a million people to march against the Vietnam War (there was a draft, after all) but despite what some of the chic histories might suggest, there was no anti-corporate majority ever among the boomers, who were as split probably as any generation since.  So I don't think there was ever any sort of generational claim to "fix corporate abuse".


                            "When the going gets tough, the tough get 'too big to fail'."

                            by New Deal democrat on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:53:26 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  And don't get me wrong (0+ / 0-)

                            Jobs is one of the best people out there in the business community, and he practically has a Midas touch (except if you're talking about the Lisa or the G4 Cube) but to me, he symbolizes the contradictions of the Baby Boomers. But when he talks about business practices, he isn't that much better than Bill Gates or Jack Welch (although I think that the stock options thing is bullshit...he's not Ken Lay evil!)

                        •  What may be different (3+ / 0-)

                          Is that it's getting harder for us to "settle down and have families" because of cost of living, debts, stagnant wages, lack of health care.

                          And as I stepped away from the computer earlier, I remembered that it's not so much a generational thing, as it is a class thing. The American middle class is disappearing. That's why we young folks feel so anxious - we see our future going away. Whereas folks in previous generations may have seen struggle and tough times, but they also had reason to assume they'd make it to a place of middle-class economic security. We don't. It's the combination of struggling as we start off in life, and not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel because of the gaping class divide.

                          I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

                          by eugene on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:55:53 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  Boomers were still young in the early '80s (0+ / 0-)

                      I really should have included the late Boomers along with the early Xers.
                      ...Late Xers, I'm still not sure where you stand entirely, since the youngest of you are still in your late 20's.

                    •  Do you mean... (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      sarahnity, New Deal democrat

                      "The Best Years of Our Lives"? That movie is terrific.

                  •  BTW, the 1946 movie was (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    eugene, sarahnity

                    "The Best Years of our Lives" which won the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture.  Great film!

                    "When the going gets tough, the tough get 'too big to fail'."

                    by New Deal democrat on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:25:23 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Hopefully you are right (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                eugene, Quinton

                But if it means standing up or selling out, then selling out is more in your financial interest. I'm hopeful that things will get better on the issues that I mentioned in the post above yours (and I should have added GLBT rights as well). At the same time, the older generations will try to brainwash us once we work for them to ensure compliance. At the worst, it will either mean kissing President Pierce Bush's ass, or getting waterboarded.

              •  Wait A Minute (3+ / 0-)

                It's a profound mistake to assume that all boomers were equal in terms of class and opportunity.  They were not.  

              •  You are truly misinformed -- (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                boomers never knew "discomfort or struggle?"  Well, more than 50,000 lost their lives in Vietnam and a couple million more were drafted -- odd that everyone of those drafted that I met never described being in the Army as fun.  You should thank the boomers for being instrumental in getting rid of the draft or today your sorry ass could be sitting in Iraq.

                Few boomers grew up in homes with more than one TV (black and white for the early boomers), one phone, many with one bathroom and two or more siblings and many wore hand-me-down clothes.  Except for the rich kids or those lucky enough to get a steady evening, weekend and summer job, boomers didn't have cars and were lucky if they could occasionally borrow the family car (yeah, only one of those too).

                I'll grant you that the schools were better back then but it was a struggle for most to go to college.  However, it wasn't the boomers that defunded the schools -- Reagan, as Gov of Ca (1966 before all but a handful of boomers were eligible to vote), was the one that got the ball rolling, schools should limit teaching to the three R's and later that ketchup would count as a vegetable in school lunches.  Reagan was very effective at sellig his bs, but it was men and older Americans that elected him.

                I'm sorry your life is difficult, but most lives are.  But your whining about the boomers taking all the goodies and leaving nothing for you is inaccurate and that's not a psychologically healthy place to live.

                What FDR giveth; GWB taketh away.

                by Marie on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 01:14:36 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Does this mean... (4+ / 0-)

    that when I turn 35 on Saturday that I'm no longer a Gen X'er

    Or worse... that I'm old???

    My wife just went back to work after staying home with my son (5) and daughter (2) for the last 3 years.
    We couldn't do it financially any longer without her working. We're hoping we can pay down our debts and start saving again.

    Great diary... hope I can still read it on Sunday ;)

  •  I'm 36 (37 next month) and I'm strapped (3+ / 0-)

    Between the rise in gas prices, food and CT's electric rates (I have electric heat) I can barely keep up.  Oh, and I went back to school 2 years ago and already I'm in debt over $15,000.00.

    My daughter will attend college in 2 years and I can offer her no financial help.  She's really smart though, so I'm hoping for some sort of a scholarship for her.

    Welcome to the Republican's (helped along by some corporatist Democrats) version of America. The rich get richer and everyone else gets poorer.

    When the government fears the people, that is liberty. When the people fear the government, that is tyranny. - Jefferson

    by CTLiberal on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:18:05 PM PDT

  •  I'm 36 and this more or less holds true for me (6+ / 0-)

    But there's also another really important piece of the college tuition puzzle you need to keep in mind here. As the federal gov't has narrowed funding, grants, and student assistance, state have also passed more and more of their overhead costs onto students. NJ state schools are a great example. Because higher ed funding is not considered a fixed or necessary expense, it is a budget line that is first on the chopping block. So, students get a tuition increase AND a fee increase.

    The throw in how university bookstores and textbook publishers bleed students dry, it's worse (which is one of the reasons why I send my students to the net to buy their books--when I can't find them for free).

    The Radical Imagination: Dreaming of the future as it might yet be.

    by Edubabbler on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:21:15 PM PDT

    •  Colleges waste a bunch of $$$. (0+ / 0-)

      Who needs the manicured grounds, elite architecture, golf scholarships, etc.?

      •  Not true for most institutions. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cream City

        Most colleges have no fat to trim from their budgets. And who needs manicured grounds? Try recruiting new students or retaining the ones you have if your campus looks like a dust bowl and has run-down, decrepit buildings. People live and work there, too.

        "Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There's no better rule." -- Mr. Jaggers in Great Expectations

        by StageStop on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:51:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, good point. In some states (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Janet Strange

      the percentage of funding of public college has gone from the state paying about 66 percent of a student's costs to about 25 percent, over the past 20 years or less. Here in Oregon, that's partly the result of our ballot measure process--even when the legislature tries to impose very modest tax increases to better fund higher ed, some yahoo gets an anti-tax measure on the next ballot and it's good-bye revenues. You wouldn't think the general public needs to be educated about education, but it does.

      "Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There's no better rule." -- Mr. Jaggers in Great Expectations

      by StageStop on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:47:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Janet Strange, StageStop

        Our college administration is always talking about increasing enrollments and part of what brings in students in is a campus that is attractive. And unfortunately, older buildings cost more to maintain and upgrade (think about the cost of networking!). Yes,  large institutions can learn to be more efficient, but at some point there is a cost. I teach a grad course that is supposed to have 20 students that can have as many as 33. It's a seminar! As a result of budget cuts, faculty teach larger classes, more classes are passed off to adjuncts, and the ones who get screwed the most are the students.

        For a country that supposedly cares about education, it really needs to think about the message it sends when classes are full, there is no graduate funding, and there are not enough options for in-state students. To be frank, I am one of the lucky ones. I am not saddled with debt (well, except for the huge credit cards debt), but I am feeling the pain between mortgage, taxes, increase in fuel costs, electricity, etc.

        The Radical Imagination: Dreaming of the future as it might yet be.

        by Edubabbler on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:11:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wow! (3+ / 0-)

    How did I miss this series?  Or is it new?  

    Anyway, thanks for writing so eloquently about the challenges facing those of us under 35.

  •  My wife and I (5+ / 0-)

    were living in Phoenix, AZ 5 years ago and were in the dilemma you fear.  We both were working full time, she professionally and myself for a local utility, with 3 children in day care. $1200 a month for day care and about $1000 for mortgage. We decided to get out of the big city, I was born and raised there so it wasn't easy, and moved to La Crosse, WI. Cost of living is lower and while the amount of jobs is not what you will find in the L.A area the idea of a smaller city, 50,000-100,000 was good for the family and raising kids.  When we moved here I stayed at home with the kids for 5 years while I went to a 2 year associate degree program for RN's. If you can, get out of LA and go somewhere smaller, like San Louis Obispo or something.

    •  San Luis Obispo is beautiful (0+ / 0-)

      but I'm biased cause I grew up around there.  And compared to LA or SF, housing is downright affordable.  Not so affordable compared to the midwest though.  

      Frugal Fridays, where the cheap come to chat.

      by sarahnity on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:36:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not so much (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        SLO and Monterey, where I now live, have become quite unaffordable - and worse, because there aren't as many options for work. Median housing costs in SLO County are $669,000 - only 7% of the population can afford to buy at that price.

        I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

        by eugene on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:40:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's true (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          but since the county includes a fair bit of coastline, there is a fair bit of high end real estate, and the lower end places in San Luis Obispo county are much nicer than the lower end places in either the bay area or LA.  I'm guessing the spread of housing prices is much broader down there.  I was visiting recently and drove around looking at open houses (hey, it's what I do for fun sometimes) and saw some very affordable (relatively speaking) places.

          Frugal Fridays, where the cheap come to chat.

          by sarahnity on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:26:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Haha (4+ / 0-)

    I got a degree in Greek and Latin.  Not paying the bills.  But hey, I got to read the Classics in the original languages!

  •  Are things that much different now or (6+ / 0-)

    is my family an anomaly?  I'm a bit older than you guys, but my parents, who raised their kids in the 60's and 70's both worked outside the home and when they were young and starting out, they wouldn't have made it without financial help from extended family.  My mom's parents, who raised their kids in the 20's, 30's and 40's also both worked (my grandmother did piece work sewing at home) and their extended family also helped both financially and with childcare.

    Is it just that we now expect to be able to do this without any help (either financial or work related) that makes the situation seem worse or is it really worse?

    Frugal Fridays, where the cheap come to chat.

    by sarahnity on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:30:18 PM PDT

    •  I dunno (5+ / 0-)

      I think every generation has its challenges - but I think it's fair to say that the expectation we have in this country is for things to get better for each generation, and it just hasn't for the young-uns coming up these days.  With all the resources we have in this country, we ought to be finding a better way for people to thrive instead of just struggling to stay alive.

      'The votes are in, and we won.' - Jim Webb

      by lcork on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:35:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tryptamine, Janet Strange

      The problem we face is rising inflation (which the parents you mention did not face), crushing debt loads (which they also did not face) and stagnant wages.

      Now, I do think you are right that we as a society expect young people to get set in life all on their own - and that's a bad approach. But I do believe the situation we face is different from that which came in the past. None of us believe we're the only ones to face hard times but we also seem to lack faith that we'll ever move past it.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

      by eugene on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:36:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It IS different, and it is worse . . . (5+ / 0-)

        . . . economically that is. (As horrible and evil as the Iraq war is, I think it's hard for your generation to grasp just what it was like when every almost healthy young man in America had to face the choice of being shipped off to Vietnam against his will, going to prison, or into exile.)

        But economically . . . definitely. And it is a change to "expecting young people to get set in life all on their own."

        What has changed is the fundamental view that education benefits us all. That even those who don't have kids benefit from a generation growing up going to good public schools. That even those who don't go to college themselves benefit from having more college-educated Americans in our society as a whole. When I was growing up, people saw America as the best in innovation, technology, and medicine, and moving to mount a serious challenge to Europe in the arts - all of which was seen to flow from higher education becoming available to more and more young people.

        I graduated from high school in 1966. The Great Society was well underway by then. Take a look at the Great Society programs - civil rights laws, elementary and secondary education, higher education, the National Endowment for the Arts, for the Humanities, public broadcasting, Medicare and Medicaid, anti-poverty programs, consumer protection, environmental initiatives . . . I hated LBJ's guts for Vietnam at the time, but man . . . when I look at the other things he managed to get through . . . We really did believe in the fundamentally Democratic, descended from FDR, vision of "we're all in this together."

        Then came Reagan. And it's been "you're on your own" ever since.

        I look at the college students I teach, I think of the debt burden they start their lives with, I remember the support I had that they don't, and it just breaks my heart.

        [Small nit - the 70's saw double-digit inflation - topping out at 14% - and it devastated a whole lot of people and families financially. As Gooserock has pointed out in the comments, that's when a two-earner family became a necessity, and the inflation shocks plus Reaganomics is something we've never recovered from.]

        I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction, of the Constitution. - Barbara Jordan

        by Janet Strange on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 09:13:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Parents didn't face inflation? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sarahnity, Progressive Moderate

        in the 1970s???

    •  Sounds Like Your Parents Were in the Crack (7+ / 0-)

      just past the middle class pinnacle years.

      The peak of the middle class was 68 to maybe 72 or so when the first oil shocks hit. I was raised in the 50's-60's and I only remember the lower middle class families in our rustbelt small midwest town needing to have two wage earners, almost every family had a stay at home mom, and the yards were always full of kids playing outside after school and summers etc.

      I was putting myself through state college at an admittedly modest pace, working fast food and summer jobs. My parents were paying maybe half and eventually none of the cost.

      But they were professionals, dad a gov't engineer and mom a school teacher. Hardly peak private sector jobs but we were upper middle class.

      We started to need 2 wage earners in the 70's and definitely 80's. By the mid 80's, you're up to the Roseanne show, a real economic eye opener for boomers who had the sense to realize what they were seeing.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:47:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  they were professionals at first (0+ / 0-)

        They were college professors and then in 76 they left academia to start a construction business.  Other than me, almost everyone in my family has either been a teacher or started their own business.  

        I honestly don't remember what my friends' moms did.  I think some of them must have worked outside the home, because the fact that my mom did didn't seem that strange.

        Frugal Fridays, where the cheap come to chat.

        by sarahnity on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:59:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  My experience was different (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sarahnity, ppluto

        a little lower down the ladder. My mom always worked, as had my grandmother.

        I don't think most young people would be very impressed by the material standard of living of the 1950s and 60s. A lot of my friends shared bedrooms with siblings when I was a kid. I didn't know any families who had more than one bathroom, one TV and one hi-fi with maybe a dozen records. I think I went to one concert a year and took no trips in high school. Christmas presents from my parents were things like one pair of earrings or an album. My brother went away to college in 1962 on a bus by himself with one suitcase - no electronics, no skis, hardly any clothes.

        This is by no means a complaint. I can look back and say with absolute certainty that having more and better stuff does not increase happiness one whit. But the prosperity of those times has to be seen in context.

    •  Ditto here, so deciding to go on one income (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      is going to require sacrifice.  My parents would have like more time with us, I would have liked more time with my kids -- but there it is.  

      The difference may be that they had to work that hard to raise seven kids, and we had to do it to raise two.

      "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

      by Cream City on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 09:54:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We Boomers See This (7+ / 0-)

    The left half of us are definitely with you on this.

    Those of us who are parents or friends of parents are keenly aware of the outrageous cost of education for the unconscionably limited opportunities available to you.

    We're getting the later portion of this at our end, flushed out of careers and pensions much past mid 40's. There's another lovely fate you may have to prepare for. Though possibly your elders will be old enough that there'll be more need for your labor at that age.

    The only thing I'm not clear on is how you younger generations feel about trade and taxation policy. I have the feeling there is rejection of some of the levels and types of regulation and taxation we had during the only period when society was ever really good to the middle class.

    I hope that's not true.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:40:18 PM PDT

    •  There is some of that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gooserock, tryptamine

      But it's not a majority opinion. Polls show we support universal health care and greater regulation of businesses.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

      by eugene on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:43:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How About 70+% Top Income & Steep Inheritance (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tryptamine, blue jersey mom

        taxes, and a return to tariff system of trading? I rarely hear anything about those apart from screaming lefties.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:49:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It would be interesting to see how those poll (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Orj ozeppi, tryptamine

          I think young folks would look favorably on the income and inheritance taxes, but folks don't know enough about tariffs to have an opinion. Free trade doesn't really do much for us, though, so there's an opening.

          I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

          by eugene on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:51:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I've always felt... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ... just as an inherent sense, more than any deeply thought out position, that nothing should ever be taxed beyond 50%. But of course, a top rate of 50% would still be a huge increase on the rich-friendly rates of today.

    •  I don't mind paying higher taxes (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eugene, Orj ozeppi, tryptamine

      so long as its not for war so I say up the lower eschelons below 80K up 5% and everything above 80K 10% and make capital gains equal to 25% and this country might have a chance to stimulate the economy in an equitable way--Keynes wasn't an idiot he was right.  Universal health care in and of itself would be an incredible boost and equalizing force to the immorality of America's current iteration of neo liberal capitalism.

      At his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst. Aristotle

      by rrheard on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:57:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sure I'll pay more taxes, too. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        As long as none of it goes to the war, we pay for the care of the soldiers who have been maimed in that farce, and that we pay for real quality education, not this crap called NCLB!

        The Radical Imagination: Dreaming of the future as it might yet be.

        by Edubabbler on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:19:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Save your money - don't be chumped. (10+ / 0-)

    What is ramping up insanely is the mindless materialism of our society. Corporations redouble the definition of "necessity" every season.

    How does a society hung up on things fuck you up? Here's one example, and Good Jesus, Mikey, it ain't the only one.

    People grow up being fed a steady line of bullshit about weddings. The modern formal wedding is an imitation of what used to be the weddings of the wealthy. But today, everyone is encouraged to wed as if they were millionaires. The typical formal wedding and honeymoon today is like $40k. Whatthefuck? Why should a young couple making $40k between them, and a father of the bride making $60k be pressured into throwing so much loot at what is basically a free sacrament and a party? That money could be a $5k wedding/honeymoon, and a down payment on a $175k house! But, no, we're told that a wedding day is the day to be king and queen of the universe, fuck the expense.

    If we are willing to sell our selves in order to feed the modern material dream, we will always fall further and further behind.

    This materialism is not the only thing that victimizes us economically, but mindless "stuff worship" is something we can try to control in ourselves.

    I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

    by labradog on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:53:32 PM PDT

    •  Well, well... at last 165 comments later a (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Limelite, GreenGirl

      voice of reason! Thank God Almighty that I found you, labradog!

      I like hekebolos's diary albeit smacks of the usual meme - Hey! It's me!

      You said a mouthful, labradog.

      Now then, without researching my old comments, especially to the commentor known as kath25 whom I read faithfully, does anyone know anything about value?

      If the younger generation would just study and give deliberate thought to value, they could correct a lot of the inequities in their lives.

      It doesn't make any difference whether one is 21, 31, 41, 51, 61,....years of age. All ages have problems. Financial and otherwise.

      If one doesn't have "now" money, bring "future" money back. If one dosn't have anything, use someone elses.

      One has to THINK.

      Single purpose usage belittles the search for true value.

      by 0hio on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:32:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The way I'm going I can afford (8+ / 0-)

    to have kids when I'm 30....maybe.

    I'm tired of hearing our generation is lazy.  I've been working since I was 16, getting good grades in HS and college, buried in debt and am still barely getting by.  It's depressing and every day it feels like it's getting worse.  But who cares?  The rich have yachts and the baby boomers are retiring with their dreams fulfilled.  Yippee.

    Listen, the next revolution is gonna be a revolution of ideas. ~ Bill Hicks

    by Victory Coffee on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 07:58:55 PM PDT

    •  We're "retiring with our dreams fulfilled"? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cream City, DMiller, NeeshRN

      Pardon the fuck out of me, while I dry off my keyboard!  You're reading too much Washington Post Style Section bullshit. Believe me, my boomer cohort is doing many things, and most of them ain't "retiring with their dreams fulfilled".

      Sorry if you don't like hearing that your generation is lazy. This is America-fuckin' everybody is getting lazy!

      Look at the people we lionize with celebrity! What excuses them from the charge of being wasted skin? The only people who are admired for their effort are those who are rewarded with a zillion dollars - and thus the ability to be lazy for life!

      I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

      by labradog on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:43:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  americans are lazy? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ppluto, Progressive Moderate, NeeshRN

        lmao.  Americans are hugely overworked and highly underpaid.  Have you ever been to Europe, by any chance?

        •  Yes, I have. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Numerous times. And one of my parents is from Europe.

          And, yes, Americans are lazy. As I drive to work, I see parents driving their kids down a 150 foot driveway and sitting with them in the A/C until the school bus comes.

          Once away from the city and college campuses, the only people you see on bicycles are middle agers working off their first coronary. Read up on the bicycle industry for some interesting insights into our lazy assed populace.

          When I drive through suburbs, there are hardly any children outside playing, none on bikes. No pick up ball games, nobody shooting hoops. Interestingly, I see much more outdoor activity and socializing in the poor neighborhoods than in the nice 'burbs.

          I went to a club recently, to check out a few bands. The most trim, healthy looking people there were two middle aged women with our bunch (including Mrs. labradog, and she ain't no triathelete) The majority of the crowd was 18-30 year olds, and over 50% of them were flabby, pasty advertisements for fast food and a life lived indoors.

          My friends often bitch about constant requests/demands that they drive their kids here and there, including their friends' homes, within a half mile. And some of my sucker friends do it.

          I see my lard-assed peers getting in their cars to drive from one end of a strip mall to the other!

          Have you ever been to America, by any chance?

          I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

          by labradog on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 11:41:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  oh for goodness' sake (0+ / 0-)

            that's not laziness, that's a lack of physical exercise and an overdependence on car culture--largely due to time savings and convenience for an already time-strapped society.  Add video games and internet to the mix so that kids don't go outside, and that's not laziness.

            Americans are more productive than they ever were, and way overworked.

            •  I beg to differ. (0+ / 0-)

              Eating every meal at Mickey D instead of shopping, and cooking, as millions of people do - is one kind of laziness. It makes dinner fast, and expensive. Then you have to be on the hop to earn more money because the fast food habit is costing you $70 a week, when groceries might only cost you $50.

              The choice to excercise your thumbs on video games for three hours instead of actually, oh, doing with the rest of your body and mind is both physical and mental laziness. And yeah, hand-eye coordination is nice to develop, but once we have all the fighter pilots and surgeons we need, we, as a nation of people in poor physical condition, might consider moving for fun for thirty minutes every day or so.

              Sure, we can be productive - and lazy at the same time. Maybe if one runs a computerized production machine, one can turn out a million widgets and make the corporation happy, but that doesn't mean that one can't also be a dumpy do-nothing.

              I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

              by labradog on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 04:18:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  What will the next generation think? (7+ / 0-)


    I'm turning 30 this year.  My current boyfriend is in no position to marry, which is the case with pretty much every guy I've ever dated.  I don't think guys are even marrying anymore anyway, everyone's just "living together".  By the time any of them are ready for kids, I'll be too old to have any!  And although I am employed full-time and have an M.A. in Sociology, I can't seem to afford to live anywhere but with my father.  To tell the truth, I was never able to pay back my undergrad student loans. As far as I can tell, my credit rating is going to be bad forever from defaulting on that-- since the loans are with the government, they say I can't even declare bankruptcy to get relief from them!  I have looked, but can't find a credit counseling or debt consolidation place that isn't a massive scam.  In conclusion, I don't think there will be any children in my future.  I don't think I have any future, really. :(  I'm angry because I did all the "right" things-- stayed away from drugs, stayed in school, etc.-- and still this happened to me.  I pretty much figure God hates me, but I don't know what I did to deserve it.

    •  It's not God... (0+ / 0-)

      ... it's the government of the last decade or so (and, to be fair, the decade before wasn't a whole lot friendlier).

    •  Don't blame yourself (5+ / 0-)

      Start taking political action. We need forgiveness of student loans - or the ability to make them dischargable in bankruptcy. We need universal health care. We need job creation. We need affordable housing.

      The system has been set up to screw us. Let's fight back.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

      by eugene on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:14:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's hopeless! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eugene, tryptamine, NeeshRN

        We're outnumbered.  The aging Boomers all want their prescription drug benefits and retirement and social security and! and! and!  They're keeping everything for themselves, but they're such a huge voting block that our young-people interests are never going to trump theirs.  We need help, but how do you suggest we "fight back"?  We can't exactly take up arms against the Boomers-- they're our parents, if they get screwed, GUESS WHO'S GONNA END UP HAVING TO TAKE CARE OF THEM!  We can't win either way.

        •  Take comfort (0+ / 0-)

          They will be dead soon. My mother is a boomer and I tell her all the time that the country will be much better the sooner her ilk passes from the Earth. I think I've guilted her into working the rest of her life.

          •  I'm a boomer. (0+ / 0-)

            Please explain to me what it is that you think I did to deserve being told to drop dead.

            •  Baby Boomers (0+ / 0-)

              They are the greediest, most self-absorbed generation of people to live in America.

              Born into incredible prosperity, the self-centered behavior of the 1960s liberal led to the rise of identity politics and fractured the New Deal coalition by alienating the working-class supporters of the Democratic Party and pushing them right into the arms of Ronald Reagan.

              They stood idle while right-to-work states destroyed the manufacturing base of the Great Lakes region, depressed worker wages, threatened job safety, and set the stage for global outsourcing and Wal-Mart America.

              Excessive consumption of just about everything created urban sprawl, water-resource strain, the devouring of land for McMansions, burning off non-renewable fossil fuels creating both pollution and a pending energy crisis. When you think that the 1970s would have taught them a lesson, they did it again with Hummers, Expeditions, and the development of the "Exurb". They became obese and even worse, made their children obese too with their terrible habits.

              The Boomer culture of political correctness led to an emphasis on esteem over performance in our school system, and made children lower performers in math and science. Because they couldn't be bothered with discipline, they shoved Ritalin down kids' throats that didn't need it and drugged children into a stupor.

              Ronald Reagan, the Rust Belt, Medicare Drug Plan, 30% of Federal Government expenditures on entitlements in 2030, global warming, energy shortages, fat and barely literate children, the H2, the McMansion...the Boomers did this to us.

              •  I can see that you're angry (0+ / 0-)

                about many of the same things I am - and have been for 30 years. Of all the things you listed, I'm guilty only of being overweight. I do feel responsible for them in the sense that I was here - by which standard you're just as responsible for GW Bush as I was for Ronald Reagan.

                •  Guilty as charged, and I'll admit it (0+ / 0-)

                  I didn't vote for George Bush, but I'm responsible for his election. I was one of those people that didn't believe that there was any difference between the Republican and Democratic Party, but I ended up voting for Gore because I thought G.W. was a a**hole for what he did to John McCain in South Carolina. My vote for Gore was really a vote for John McCain by proxy. I bought into some Rush's "angry white man" shtick in the mid-90s, and at one time I even thought Bill O'Reilly wasn't a complete tool.

                  Wow, I was a jerk, but have 20 years to repent for my actions. If in 2020, some G.W. clone is in charge and we've continued on this path, I hope my kids will feel about my generation the way I feel about my parents' generation. I'll wish I was dead.

        •  So you think it's easy sledding... (3+ / 0-)

          ...after the Boomers croak?
          You think universal health care only benefits old, sick greedy Boomers?

          You think your life blows now, what'll it be like when your parents who, if they aren't rich, start to suffer from the health effects of living in America and not being rich. When they are needlessly debilitated by our current health system,you'll be pulling duty as their GNA!

          aging Boomers all want their prescription drug benefits and retirement and social security and! and! and!  They're keeping everything for themselves

          Well, does that mean you don't want health care and retirement and social security? Maybe you should go hang out at Redstate or Powerline, or with the Freepers!

          You've got half a clue - our society is fucked. But that means we're all fucked - young and old. And we're  a lot more fucked by Enron and Halliburton and the Republican party, than we are by your greedy assed parents and their friends, with one foot in their graves and their boney old fingers in your wallet.

          The corporatists who want to run the world rub their hands in glee when they see us turn on each other.

          I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

          by labradog on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:57:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So we fight the corporations... how? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Progressive Moderate, NeeshRN

            I would love to see a plan that would actually work.  I haven't seen one yet.  And re-read the last line of my previous comment-- I'm fully aware that the Boomers getting screwed leads to us having to take care of them.  But if we fight the corporations, we end up losing our jobs and what little healthcare we have, because they will always, always ALWAYS find a way to dump their costs back onto us.  Tax them here? They go multinational.  Try to regulate them?  They dump their money into lobbyists and buy politicians.  Fine them for their misdeeds?  Do anything that eats into their profits?  They lay off people by the thousands.  It's absurd-- it's like a Chinese finger trap.  The harder you pull, the more stuck you get.

            •  Educate your peers. (0+ / 0-)

              It's no secret that young demographics have shitty voter turnout.

              Don't be afraid to talk about what matters with your friends. And when people tell you that politics are "polite conversation", ask them how the hell you make a better world without policy, and how do we make policy without "talking politics".

              Most important is don't give up. Your last comment sounds defeated. We don't have to lose our souls and our well being and our justice. This is where I go into  old fart mode, because I think I'm a bit older than you, and I've gotten the overview that comes from time (this isn't about the innate superiority of being old; it's just about time, and trying to pay attention while we're here). Change really does happen, sometimes, and when it does, it's people that make it happen. I remember when the beating of a homosexual wasn't news. I remember when black people had to go to a different window for a friggin' sandwich. I remember when a woman who wanted to go into certain jobs was a "kinda dykey". When I was in high school (major metro east coast suburb), there were no interracial romances, and hardly any real interracial friendships. Humanity progresses, albeit at a crawl sometimes. But humanity ceases to progress when people give up.

              Please don't give up. I hope you won't. I think that's why you are here at dKos, just like me.

              I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

              by labradog on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 09:53:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  The "Millennials" (5+ / 0-)

          Which some of us are part of - the oldest of them are around 28, depending on the definition - are as large a group as the Boomers. If we ally with like-minded boomers, who do exist, then we can have a chance and making some change happen.

          I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

          by eugene on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:58:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  FYI, many of us "aging boomers" are taking care (4+ / 0-)

          of our parents, who are now in their late 80s and 90s.

          •  And still helping kids heading to 30 (5+ / 0-)

            so we can never retire.  My spouse turns 65 this year, but his pension plan went bust, and his professional career of 30 years was heading south -- so he went back to school at 55 and started a new career at 60.  His "kids" in their 40 still get his help, because they didn't get college educations and are getting screwed in their jobs.  But he's helping me try to get mine through college, so at least some of ours make it.

            That's the rosy life of the boomers -- when, yes, we're not trying to figure out how to help our folks. . . .

            "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

            by Cream City on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 09:59:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  ((hug)) (0+ / 0-)
    •  life abounds (0+ / 0-)

      with stories like yours in this generation.

      oops. I hope the gate wasn't too expensive.

      The Nexus has you.

      by Dante Atkins on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 11:32:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've done everything that was expected of me. (8+ / 0-)

    But I made two mistakes.  I did not major in something that made me useful to corporations and I did not immediately head to law school.  These mistakes have been utterly disastrous.

    I have what is an insurmountable amount of debt (I went to one of those private schools.  This, in fact, was the greatest mistake I made.  I went to an actually really good school instead of just treading water at the first university I attended.)  So I work 50 - 60 hour weeks in the hopes that I can scrape together enough money to keep the educational wolves at bay.

    I can't even think of affording a relationship and with my car just recently totaled I dont' know what I am going to do for transportation.  Luckily I have health insurance and only have to spend 10 dollars (1 hour of work after taxes) on copays and 15 dollars (1.5 hours of work after taxes) on X-rays.  My monthly medication is 20 dollars (2 hours of work after taxes) and my rent is very very low.  Of course- our fridge is dead, our disposal just died, our toilet tank leaks, we have a quarter inch gap under and above our front door and an infestation of spiders on our landing.  All told, to live in such splendor costs me a cheap 37 hours of work after taxes.

    Then there is the 450 a month in student and personal debt.

    I don't get it.  I did everything they said I should do and yet this is what I get in return.  Someone lied to me.  A lot of someones lied to me and stole from me.  I just don't know who that someone is.

    I'd rather be unhappy with Hillary than miserable with Giuliani.

    by electricgrendel on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:03:36 PM PDT

    •  I know how you feel (8+ / 0-)

      We're a generation that has been lied to. The boomers told us to go to college, get good grades, and we'd be fine. But they refused to increase taxes for us to have jobs, affordable education, health care, and housing. They kept the profits and benefits of the 20th century for themselves and fucked us over.

      Who lied to us? Democrats and Republicans who supported these low tax, low services, low wage policies. And it's time we fought back.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

      by eugene on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:17:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Perhaps the process of growing up is just to (3+ / 0-)

        realize that everyone who came before you was a liar for their own unique and not all-together nefarious reasons.

        I'd rather be unhappy with Hillary than miserable with Giuliani.

        by electricgrendel on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 09:07:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm a boomer. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        You think I have the profits?

        You're too intelligent to be spouting such nonsense.

        •  I wrote elsewhere, later, (0+ / 0-)

          That this isn't so much a generational issue as it is a class issue. And so I misspoke above. It's not that we need to soak it to all boomers, just those who DID get the profits, those who ARE wealthy.

          The core problem is that the middle class is collapsing. It's hurting us who are young, because that's our future that is going away, and that makes our present hard times that much more difficult to bear. It is also hurting those who are older, in different ways. So there are natural coalitions here.

          I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

          by eugene on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 11:23:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I'm living with my parents after (4+ / 0-)

      I graduate, and hopefully I'll be able to pay off my loans in 1-2 years. Add to the fact that I live near NYC and can just take the train to work, and I'll have very little in the way of living expenses. After that, I plan on going to grad school.
      However, many other people aren't as lucky. If you live in the middle of nowhere, you have the move into an apartment in a large metro area with a few roommates and devote a significant fraction of your money to rent, utilities and driving.

    •  Maybe you made several mistakes. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sarahnity, GreenGirl, NeeshRN

      You could have gone to that cheaper school and asked yourself "Am I here for the cachet, or here to learn as much as I can?" and really worked. Why go lip deep in debt for a fabulous brand name diploma? There are thousands of places to get a good education. Maybe your uncool diploma will only get you 2/3 of the salary- but if you aren't paying off $300k in loans, you don't need as much money! By the time you are established in a career, nobody gives a damn where you got your diploma, except maybe for the social climbing set.

      You could try to realize that a relationship, a real relationship, is not something to be lured and snared by a showy display of income. You'll find that, to paraphrase Freewheelin' Frank, real love gets you through times of no money better than money gets you through times of no love. (Of course, Frank was talking about dope, but you get the idea.) If somebody can't have fun with you for free, they don't deserve to have fun with you you when you're successful. Yeah, it sounds tacky and all, but I've had, and have, a successful personal life without being rich or beautiful. Some of my best "dates" cost nothing. I want the company of a woman who will remember me, not the price of the wine list.

      You also might take a tip, not from those lyin' Boomers, but your depression era grands and great-grands,

      Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without

      Ride a bike. Skate. Walk. Take a bus. Hitchhike. Buy $3 worth of weatherstrip and seal up the fuckin' door. Recycle, compost, and quit worrying about the goddamned disposal. Buy a can of bug spray, or diatomaceous earth, and wax the offending bugs. Or learn that spiders are your friends and quit flipping out over them. Student debt sounds good, but school dosen't have to be now. Mrs. labradog got a degree at 45 - and that's the main reason we even have health insurance)

      Try doing something other than what "they" tell you to do. The happiest people I know are the ones who knew when to ignore the expectations of others.

      Try aspiring to something other than material acquisition - being pleasing to he corporations will be less important.

      The "expectations of others" is often another name for social pressure. The problem may not be lying or stealing by "them". They just hung a big, fat, juicy worm on a hook - and you chomped down on it, big time.

      The biggest, most crippling lies we are told are the ones we tell ourselves.

      I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

      by labradog on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 09:35:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You bastards really are tiresome, you know that? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Go to a cheaper school: I've got nothing on that. I told the US and its student loans to go fuck itself and went to school in a socialist country instead. You know: one of those backward countries that invests in the education of today's youth the same way as it did after World War II.

        Relationships: great, they shouldn't care about "the price of the wine list". Thanks for the gem of wisdom. That never would have occured to any of us.

        Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without: Sheer genius! Never would have occured to me. Say, do you have any tips for which brands of denims won't continue fraying after you patch the holes? A couple rips in either of my remaining work pants and I'll have to go out an get a new pair to satisfy the safety/dress codes at work.

        Ride a bike.

        Get it stolen.


        Get a ticket.


        10 miles to work?!?

        Take a bus.

        No shit. $4 each way.


        Get arrested. Seriously. What decade do you think this is?

        Recycle, compost, and quit worrying about the goddamned disposal.

        After I've composted in an empty coffee can under my sink, what do I do with the mulch? Throw it out the window into the alley? Won't that upset the junkies and prostitutes? (I don't wanna start a fight, you know.)

        Try doing something other than what "they" tell you to do. The happiest people I know are the ones who knew when to ignore the expectations of others.

        The happiest people I know do a lot of drugs. But they don't have jobs because they ignored the expectations of their employers. This particular  piece of advice directly contradicts the criticism of his choice of intellectual pursuits. Groovy.

        Try aspiring to something other than material acquisition.

        Yes! Aspire to start a family, raise your kids and coach their soccer team... from the back of your '86 VW Rabbit with the broken headgasket. What was the diary saying about having kids? Oh yeah: it's an expensive thing. Apparently the little tykes require supervision and food, and clothes and stuff.

        It sounds like you think we're all running out to buy the newest iPod, taking dates to dinner and a movie every week and living in a house in the suburbs.

        •  You bastards really are tiresome, you know that? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Go to a cheaper school: I've got nothing on that. I told the US and its student loans to go fuck itself and went to school in a socialist country instead. You know: one of those backward countries that invests in the education of today's youth the same way as it did after World War II.

          Some people may think your socialist diploma sucks; I think you should have gone to the socialist school before you went someplace you couldn't afford and then reneged on a bunch of loans.

          Relationships: great, they shouldn't care about "the price of the wine list". Thanks for the gem of wisdom. That never would have occured to any of us.

          Amazingly, it doesn't occur to many people, of many ages.

          Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without: Sheer genius! Never would have occured to me. Say, do you have any tips for which brands of denims won't continue fraying after you patch the holes? A couple rips in either of my remaining work pants and I'll have to go out an get a new pair to satisfy the safety/dress codes at work.

          Buy a new pair of cheap jeans; it'll cost the same as three fast food meals. Or learn to sew better.

          Ride a bike.
          Get it stolen.

          Buy a lock.

          Get a ticket.
          10 miles to work?!?
          Take a bus.
          No shit. $4 each way.

          $4 each way, $8/day, $180/month = less than a new car payment. Carpooling is cheaper than that. Live closer to work. Work closer to home. Otherwise, slit wrists.

          Get arrested. Seriously. What decade do you think this is?

          Doesn't matter. I've hitchhiked in the last year. Scary? only if all your common sense comes from Reader's Digest and local TV news.

          Recycle, compost, and quit worrying about the goddamned disposal.
          After I've composted in an empty coffee can under my sink, what do I do with the mulch? Throw it out the window into the alley? Won't that upset the junkies and prostitutes? (I don't wanna start a fight, you know.)

          Then throw it in the trash.

          Try doing something other than what "they" tell you to do. The happiest people I know are the ones who knew when to ignore the expectations of others.

          The happiest people I know do a lot of drugs. But they don't have jobs because they ignored the expectations of their employers. This particular  piece of advice directly contradicts the criticism of his choice of intellectual pursuits. Groovy.

          You hang with uninspiring people, then. Get new friends. And careful reading will reveal that I said when to ignore the expectations of others, not always ignore their expectations.

          Try aspiring to something else than material acquisition.

          Yes! Aspire to start a family, raise your kids and coach their soccer team... from the back of your '86 VW Rabbit with the broken headgasket. What was the diary saying about having kids? Oh yeah: it's an expensive thing. Apparently the little tykes require supervision and food, and clothes and stuff.

          Sure, kids are an expense. But that expense can be partially mitigated when people decide not to be consumerist suckers. There are ways to raise kids that don't require the latest Yuppie Italian strollers, coaching lessons for kids who are about to apply for "the most desirable" kindergartens, and loading up on all the junk that that gets pushed at us by Toys R Us and the TV. I hear parents whining about the cost of catered "party events" for four year olds that include entertainment performers, and friggin' "goodie bags" for every attendee (talk about teaching kids to be materialistic little bastards); they don't need a different economy, they need to turn off the goddamned media that they are substituting for their own good judgement.

          It sounds like you think we're all running out to buy the newest iPod, taking dates to dinner and a movie every week and living in a house in the suburbs.

          I said nothing about all of anybody. But there is a lot bitching scattered through this thread that evinces a lot of lazy, lame, conventional thinking. You didn't mind sticking us all with the cost of your ill-considered education. Is it too much to ask you to pay for the head gasket fix, then go about your diligent business? None of the problems and challenges mentioned in this thread are unique to any age group or social cohort. If our personal choices aren't making us happy and fulfilled, we must consider changing.

          I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

          by labradog on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 11:24:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I'm glad you've gotten the answer through the (0+ / 0-)

        spectrum of experience.  Looking back over nine years, I do in fact realize several things I could have done differently.  Of course, at the age of 19 I thought that brand name education would be worth something.  And I thought that the investment was a sound one.  This is why 19 year olds are not fund managers.

        Furthermore, I beg to differ regarding the difference between some state university opportunities and the privates- particularly for a boy from Alabama.  The difference in an education in English from Vanderbilt University and University of Alabama-Birmingham is the difference between an English class that teaches from novels and one that teaches from readers.  There are not thousands of places to get a good education and one is not always in search of merely "good" or "adequate."

        I do, though, envy your notions of love.  I wish that I could buy into that rose tinted Lennon glasses notion that love is all you need.  It's not.  If you Boomers had realized that, then perhaps so many of our generation would not have grown up in dysfunctional and broken homes.  It is irresponsible to drag another person into a relationship where he or she will have to contribute to your massive student debt.  It's also irresponsible to allow yourself to be drug into such a situation for such transient comforts as affection.  It may be a forgiven transgression on both parts, but it is an irresponsible transgression nonetheless.

        Furthermore, I find your assumption that I have not done those things rather insulting.  I've gone on many a cheap date but never found myself in a position to honorably pursue an actual relationship.  There is a difference between dates and a relationship, as I am sure you are aware.  To skip tracks- what would I do with that compost?  Build a garden in the asphalt waste of my parking lot?  If you've ever had a broken garbage disposal, you would also know the problem is not the loss of utility but the inability to clear out accumulated matter.  Rotting food happens to smell very bad.

        I also find your idea of how no one would give a damn where I got my diploma to be rather telling.  In one breath you mention that there are many places to get a "good education" and then in another you mention how that doesn't matter "when you're established in your career."  You're absolutely right- no one cares where I got my English degree when I go into my 12.80/hr call center job to work with the people who were smart enough not to buy into the notion that formal education matters.

        Perhaps with the acceleration of time we are seeing the Boomers outpaced earlier than they saw their parents outpaced.  Your experience is not timeless and it is not transcendental.  In fact- I find much of the Boomer commenary on current generations to be patronizing and condescending just because your remembrance of yourself at my age necessitates an immersion in an experience so vastly removed from my own.  

        So in closing I would say that the title of most dangerous liars is a toss up between those who are unaware of their own complicity in the lies or who, upon seeing the damages of ther own falsehoods, would rather dole out antiquated wisdom that does little more than aggravate the wound.

        I'd rather be unhappy with Hillary than miserable with Giuliani.

        by electricgrendel on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 01:21:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Then, roll over and die... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sarahnity, NeeshRN

 unimaginative, materialistic loser with all of the answers and none of the blame.

          Physics is physics, English is English, at Vanderbilt or at a community college. This doesn't mean there is never any difference between the comedy college and Yale, but a hell of a lot of people have done a hell of a job with non-boutique diplomas. State U. teaches from readers? You can still go buy the fuckin' book and read it yourself. For that matter you could go to Yale and do as well as George W Bush. But, OK, I'll grant that Vanderbilt may be a better school than State U. Well, guess what? A new BMW is a better car than a used Cavalier; does that mean you should get your folks to cosign a $40k loan so you can drive to your McJob?
          Lots of people have succeeded at life without crucifying themselves with debt. Or are you such a gift to the world, such an intellectual hothouse flower that you should only go to Vanderbilt, like Leona Helmsley's pooch that must only have fois gras in her bowl? (sp? - damn my generic education)

          Nice job (not) with the Lennon straw man. I didn't say "all you need is love". But you sound like you think love isn't possible without money. I guess millions of poor people are fools for thinking they can have love, too. There are more divorced boomers because too many people think a good relationship is something you can buy - "I have the right car, I'm already making $40k, I have the right diploma, what's not to love?" Then they find out that their degree and their money and their willingness to "do what's expected of them by society" doesn't confer common sense or empathy or anything else that really makes a relationship work.

          Furthermore, I find your assumption that I have not done those things rather insulting.

          Does this mean you've already suffered through the dating phase, progressed into a meaningful relationship, only to have it fail because you lack money? That is a more elaborate, extended play version of "I'm broke, therefore I can't have a date." Was it lack of cash that kept you from "honorably" pursuing a relationship?

          I'm sorry that lack of a garbage disposal is such a drag on your life. I've never had a garbage disposal in my friggin' life, and I don't have one now, and I just don't feel ruined by it. Tell the landlord it's broken. If he won't fix it, get on your well educated knees and look at how you can remove that disposal and fix it yourself - or did Vanderbilt make you dumber than a plumber? If you can't fix it, replace it with a straight piece of $5 drain pipe, and throw your waste in the garbage, and put the disposal in the closet, to be reinstalled when you move. God help you the day the toilet stops up; will you shit in the sink for a day and a half until the plumber or Daddy comes with a plunger to fix it?

          In one breath you mention that there are many places to get a "good education" and then in another you mention how that doesn't matter "when you're established in your career."

          When you get a job, everybody forgets that you went to Yale somewhere between ten minutes and a week after you walk out of H.R. with a job. In fact, many times, a degree is just a way the employer can tell that you will stick to a pursuit for a few years - like we do when we get a degree. Just hope your boss doesn't see how you deal with a broken garbage disposal.

          By "outpaced", do you mean money (again)? I earn no more in actual dollars than my middle class Dad did. Of course, my wife has a good job, too. If that is "outpaced", needing two full incomes to provide a tolerable life where one used to do it, I guess I should be singing the blues right along with you. And truly, that situation is in large part created by economic inequality. It's not that I have all of your money; it's that our government has allowed the wealthiest 2% to have all of your and my money!

          There's nothing magical, or transcendant or timeless about living one's own life for oneself, about learning to ignore societal/peer pressure in favor of one's own well being. Maybe you witness condescension because your attitude deserves it.

          Here's a red hot fuckin' flash for you: iPods and Starbucks and a brand new Jetta and whatever is on the radio or podcast does not make you or your peers  vastly different from the rest of us human beings. Your uniqueness comes from within, not when you were born.

          I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

          by labradog on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 05:51:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Unfortunate situation, yes, but (0+ / 0-)

      thsoe 50-60 h a week are what the rest of us are working too, even without that debt situation, and based on personal experience, our colleagues in China and India and Korea and other emergiing countries are working even longer hours because they see the expanding global economy as a gold rush of sorts.

  •  My car just broke! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The gear shift isn't changing the gears.  I don't want to have to buy another car.

    Thanks for the diary!

    •  If it's not an automatic (0+ / 0-)

      It's most likely your clutch. Sometimes they can just regrind the gears. If not, if will run you 800. That happened to me with my old wrangler. If you have an automatic, it is probably the transmission. That's gonna hurt. Sorry.

      By the way, try starting in second gear. First is usually the first (ha ha) to go.

      The Radical Imagination: Dreaming of the future as it might yet be.

      by Edubabbler on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:16:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks, it is automatic (0+ / 0-)

        I am thinking that maybe a pin came loose between the gear shift and the transmission.  The shift will move freely and there is no resistance like it is no longer connected.

        John Edwards 2008

        by jsamuel on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 08:25:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Then Again - (5+ / 0-)

    My roommate at Governor's School of NC told me in 1973 that in segregated elementary schools they only had one or two textbook per class.

    Each generation has its own challenges.

  •  The Plan Has Worked Perfectly.... (7+ / 0-)
    .... the United States has been converted from a prosperous nation, into a nation of debt slaves who will continue to work harder and harder, for less and less.

    -5.75 -4.72 3.14159 2.71828

    by xynz on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:24:17 PM PDT

  •  I note your discussion and references spend a lot (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    labradog, sarahnity, 0hio

    of time discussing the costs of stuff, and very little about discussing the value of the individual to a potential employer.

    I was struck particularly by this passage you quoted:

    In 1972, the typical earnings for males 25 to 34 years old wiht [sic] a high school diploma was $42,630 (in 2002 dollars).  In 2002, the typical earnings for high school grads ha ddropped [sic] to $29,647.  

    In 1972 a 25 year-old has been out of high school for about 7 years, and, assuming they've been in the job market, have 7 years of accrued practical work and life experience. They could easily be worth 40K/year.  A high school grad with 0 years of experience should be happy to start at 29K.  Thus the significance of the disparity eludes me.

  •  One stupid definition (0+ / 0-)

    a traditional definition of adulthood in the years 1960 and 2000: leaving home, finishing school, becoming financially independent, getting married, and having a child.  

    A ridiculous definition in today's world. Let me pull it apart:

    • Leaving home: well, ok.
    • finishing school: Schools like medical and law take a long time to complete and we live in an era of specialization, unless you mean high school.
    • financially independent: if credit cards and student loans are not counted, yeah.
    • getting married: yeah, if you live in repubcity or something. Most people get married later these days, if at all.
    • having a child: huh? What does this have to do with anything?

    Well? Shall we go? Yes, let's go.

    by whenwego on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:42:01 PM PDT

  •  I'm the early gen X poster child... (4+ / 0-)

    I’m actually 39, but you capture my dynamics perfectly in your under 35 diary, though I’m a tad further along.  I had the two kids and a divorce and just went to law school because I found the jobs I could get with my Harvard Ph.D. in biology couldn’t keep me ahead of the childcare.  Yeah, I’d like to do public interest work, but the big bucks at the law firm sure pay a lot of bills.  

    And for my part, I find boomers the whiniest generation.  How can they go from the Summer of Love to handing us Reagan Bush and Bush II just as soon as they take the reins?  Honestly.


    •  How could early Gen Xers vote for Reagan (3+ / 0-)

      in droves and become one of the most conservative voting blocs? (Albeit, combined with late Boomers who were born in the late '50s and early '60s) Sorry, but I don't think that either generation is "pure" on this issue.

      •  Just for the record (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tryptamine, labradog, dwcal

        Only the very earliest Xers could possibly have voted for Reagan. I was born in 1966 -- which is sometimes given as the Xer cutoff, sometimes it is 1964 -- and cast my very-first-ever-just-turned-eighteen vote for Mondale. Well, against Reagan, actually.

        So, only 64-66 Xers could have voted for Reagan, and remember, we were very young at the time. I know some people who voted for Reagan then who are vehemently anti-Bush now.

        •  Thanks for the clarity (0+ / 0-)

          Although I'd also like to know how early Xers voted in 1988. Did they vote for Bush Sr. or Dukakis? I'm betting on Sr., especially considering that polls taken in '04 that showed an age sampling that comprised late Boomers and early Xers was the most Republican age group. I'm thinking that the "security mom" demographic also contributed, as mothers with kids right now are mostly Gen Xers (and late boomers, at least for Moms who had children in the mid-late '90s).

    •  Give me a break. We did not all vote for (5+ / 0-)

      the Rethugs. Certainly the boomers who participate in this site did not. I voted for McGovern, Carter, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Clinton, Clinton, Kerry. BY the time Bush II run in 2004, my two older kids (both Gen Y) were able to vote for Kerry.

      •  Proud Boomer.... (5+ / 0-)

        who has NEVER voted for a Republican in 36 years...

        I am not sure what generation my daughter belongs to (born in 1979), but she hasn't either.

        Doing my part to keep the faith...;-)

      •  BJM, I'm reading this diary (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        about debt and debt service and wondering how many of these gen Xers and gen Yers graduated from college up to their ears in consumer credit card debt?

        My partner and I graduated from grad school with a ton of education debt.  We were way poor.  We ate hamburger helper with no hamburger.

        We consolidated our educational loans, spread them out and eventually paid them off.  

        Economic Left/Right: -7.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.31

        by DMiller on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 10:01:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  About the credit card debt (0+ / 0-)

          That socialist rag, BusinessWeek, explains all about credit cards and college students in this expose':

          The short version: banks give out credit cards to college students like candy. You're 18, away from home for the first time. It's real easy to get caught up in shopping for junk and/or paying regular college bills like $100 textbooks, pizza and car repairs. Combine that with 4 years of minimum payments, and there's your credit card debt.

          I was 18, a freshman in college with no job, and they still gave me a credit card, no questions asked. The limit was ridiculously low at first, a few hundred bucks, but they raised it all the time. Fortunately for me, I'm a real cheapskate and didn't have any unexpected bills, so no credit card debt for me.

          •  I didn't suggest it wasn't a scam, (0+ / 0-)

            just wondered to what extent the debt they were talking about was credit card debt.

            My youngest brother is right in the middle of this demographic. I have a very clear memory of him having a wallet full of credit cards as a college sophomore and having no job.

            He was one of those kids that wanted everything now.  He wanted the cell phone, the ipod, the nice clothes, etc., didn't want to wait for anything.  Thus, he found himself ass over tea kettle in consumer debt on the credit cards.

            He looked to me for a bailout.  I gave him a job and made a condition of the job that he cut up the credit cards.  They don't do anybody any good except the credit card companies.

            Economic Left/Right: -7.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.31

            by DMiller on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 07:13:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  pure self-interest! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      when they were horny teenagers and early 20-somethings, summer of love was the thing to do, so there was a massive "free love" rebellion.  When they started getting higher-paying jobs, it was all about their taxes and the damn "welfare queens" robbing them of their precious tax dollars.  As they had their own teenage children that they wanted to help keep under control, we had the rebirth of the religious right movement and abstinence education.  Now it's all about keeping investment income and the "ownership society."  Pretty soon, it'll all be about protecting retirement and healthcare.

      It's no coincidence that the most major dynamics in American politics have consistently followed the primary concerns of the baby boom generation.

      oops. I hope the gate wasn't too expensive.

      The Nexus has you.

      by Dante Atkins on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 11:29:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  All of those concerns hit each generation (0+ / 0-)

        I've started thinking more about how taxes impact my pay check, as my salary for working during summers has gone up every year since I started working (which was only four years ago, LOL). Unfortunately, I fucked up on my W-4 form last spring when I had to fill one out for a job that I was hired for. I put down a zero on one of the questions instead of "exempt" because some lady in my schools career center told me that I was doing the form correctly. Either she was an idiot, or I might have told her something wrong that made her think that I needed to pay Federal and State income taxes (even though I don't make enough to do so!) Basically, I was getting my first two paychecks withheld, and now I'll have to file TWO separate tax returns to get back...$122!
        Thankfully the experience has made me slightly less illiterate in terms of paying taxes.

  •  Dahling... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lucky Ducky, tryptamine, hekebolos

    these are things I'm just not thinking about right now :-)

    Thinking about them sucks...good diary though, and good discussion. Sorry I'm not up for it.

    I touched the Universe -- And back it slid -- and I alone -- A Speck upon a Ball -- Went out upon Circumference -- Beyond the Dip of Bell --

    by Elise on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 08:54:00 PM PDT

  •  It's bad. (8+ / 0-)

    My husband drives fifty miles a day to drive a tow truck in Indianapolis. His gasoline is one third of each paycheck. My mother in law owns our house and lets us live here. I have fibromyalgia, and bring in what money I can, but you can't work full-time when you have to have an afternoon nap. Part-time manages to pay for my medications.

    Currently our gas is off. We were on budget, you see, and that was fine until the larger bill to settle up the difference between estimated and actual showed up when my husband was off two weeks with a kidney infection. They called and said, "Pay $850 or we shut it off tomorrow."

    So it's been off since May. I miss hot showers, but I'm going to be enduring some cold until we can manage to save the money up over the next few weeks to get it back online. I hope we have a fairly mild autumn.

  •  Cost of Living, Income Earners, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sarahnity, orapaho, 0hio

    and Other Interesting Stuff

    In 1995 $100 bought what $134.97 buys today in goods and services, according to the AIER calculator.  That's a solid 33% inflation over a decade, or about 3.3%/year.

    The number of earners in Generations X Y, compared to Boomer earners shows a decline.

    Age 25-34   39,150,000 (1994)   34,710,000 (2004)   - 12.79%
    Age 35-44   40,517,000 (1994)   37,326,000 (2004)     - 8.55%

    How much income did individuals in the 25-34 age bracket make in 1995 compared to 2005 as an average?  

    Age 25-34 group, which had seen significant declines in number of income earners and total income earned, rose some 8.5% in the per capita income-earner measurement.

    Looking at inflation rates we see that the 20s 50s and 90s (3%), and now (2.85%) were/are the most prosperous decades, while the 70s (when Boomers were in their late twenties and early thirties inflation was at its highest (7.09%) other than WWI (8.70%) in the past 90 or so years.

    Comparing average annual change in Consumer Price Index is more difficult, and even the Wikipedia article is too complicated for me!

    What did the Boomers get with their "C-note" when they were your age?  In 1980, $100 bought what $249.64 buys today.  But inflation was 3+ times higher than now.  Mean income in 1980 was $21,063 (equivalent to $47,263 in 2005 dollars); median income was $17,710 (equivalent to $39,739 in 2005 dollars).  What are you making; how does your income compare?

    They burn our children in their wars and grow rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

    by Limelite on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 09:03:43 PM PDT

  •  Life is difficult. (5+ / 0-)

    I can resonate with much of what is posted here.  Being highly educated doesn't translate into professional class living standards anymore.  Pursuing "the American dream" takes a toll.  Some of us get there, then squander it.  Others realize it's a myth.  But as you run the rat race, don't forget to take care of your emotions and attend to the things in life that really matter.  I got off track.

    But yeah, times are tough.

    At least I have a cell phone, a laptop, and an iPod.

    At least I am not totally blind to love, forgiveness, and grace.

    The Bush Administration: Restoring honor and dignity to the White House since... never.

    by Lucky Ducky on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 09:16:09 PM PDT

  •  Actually, your student debt figures (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine, Progressive Moderate

    seem rather low from what I've heard, and just from estimating what Michigan State University tuition would be for me, if I ever went back.  $20,000?

    It's got to be more than that by now.

  •  Vote at the polls and with a 401-K (0+ / 0-)

    Born in WWII. Save your money and vote your interests. That way you don't end both financially and morally bankrupt when your destiny is controlled by someone like George Bush. The low savings rate in this country is matched only by the low participation at the polls.

  •  Was anyone touched by "Pursuit of Happyness"? (6+ / 0-)

     Something about that film encapsulates the struggle of what many of us are feeling.  True,  we may never have been homeless and forced to find a bed in a subway bathroom, but we can identify with the challenges of trying to get back on your feet.  
        I appreciate this diary, and this is the first comment I have ever posted.  It gives me comfort to know that I am not alone, and there are others out there who feel the pressure of life bearing down on us.   I was lucky enough to have gotten into the health profession with a good job, married and with 2 beautiful and precious kids before I was 30. Then life happened. Through a series of unfortunate events- my life spiraled out of control. Divorce. Depression. Debt.  Almost in that order. and eventually no job.  What made it worse is that all the private loan companies would not honor my requests for forbearance on the loans and they went after my co-signer- my dad.  That is the last thing I wanted.  That ruined his credit and caused alot of unnecessary heartache.  Meanwhile, although the time I spent with my little girls was spent with overflowing joy,  I could not help but think of the things that I dreamed of doing with them... all the planned camping trips,  road trips, the circus, disneyland.  It has been a struggle indeed.  All the while with a heavy feeling that something was broken- that dream.  
      Thank God, Things are finally looking up, though the financial burdens are ever present. I have learned alot..... mostly in the ways of the heart.  I have so much more empathy for others, I love my girls and my family with such depth I had never known, I have a passion to pursue my dream, and I have become interested in politics and the idea that we can change the forces of today so that our small ones wont have the same burdens.  
        There has to be something we can do and awareness is apart of it.  

  •  Reminds me of the old story my grandpa told (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Orj ozeppi, Progressive Moderate

    me about when he was a young pup. His story and dad's were basically the same but old Dad's was worse in scope.

    Now that I tell my kids and grandkids the same story guess how my version compares to my grandpa and dad?

    Yes, my story is worse than theirs,..... we walked to school in snow ten feet deep and that was in June.....

    What is your generation's definition of a good law of self interest?

    Answer that question with honesty and insight and you'll grow.

    Single purpose usage belittles the search for true value.

    by 0hio on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 09:40:37 PM PDT

    •  i fail to understand your meaning. n/t (0+ / 0-)

      oops. I hope the gate wasn't too expensive.

      The Nexus has you.

      by Dante Atkins on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 11:20:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What is your generation's definition of a good (0+ / 0-)

        law of self interest?

        When I was younger I was told a good law of self interest was, if you find yourself standing on the rail road tracks and there is a train speeding at you, step aside.

        Problem was I used that simple bit of advice in a general manner. Hell, I treated just about everything in my life as if it was a speeding train coming at me.

        I changed that law of self interest later in life.

        What is your definition of a good law of self interest?

        Single purpose usage belittles the search for true value.

        by 0hio on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 11:06:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  damn drinking liberally (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hekebolos, KiaRioGrl79, kath25

    them and these kossacks under 35 diaries are on thursday nights!  Great diary, though a little late hekebolos.  see kath im paying attention!

  •  the key is to not have kids (0+ / 0-)

    It's kept me debt-free for my entire adult life. If you really, really want kids, that's great. But if you're one of those folks who's just wanting one to have one, think twice if you really want one (or more). Not having them opens up floodgates of savings opportunities (401K, Roth IRA, and so on).

    "No conceivable threat to this country is worth compromising a single civil liberty for. Not one."

    by DavidHW on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 10:21:38 PM PDT

    •  that's very sad (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      no one should have to choose between the joy of children and a life without strangling debt.

      •  that's my point though (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        If you want the "joy" of children, by all means have them. But if you're like me and have known since you were six years old that you never wanted children, don't be seduced by social pressure to have them.

        "No conceivable threat to this country is worth compromising a single civil liberty for. Not one."

        by DavidHW on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 01:25:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  i was responding to the strange triumphalism (0+ / 0-)

          in your comment.

          If you don't want kids, fine.  But it's bad form to come onto a forum, say, about birth control/STDs and announce gleefully that you avoid all these problems by practicing life-long abstinence.  You're likely to evoke reactions either of anger or pity.

    •  Here's a reason: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      You don't wanna spend your Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hanukkah by yourself or feel like an odd ball at events with more distant relatives. In my case, once I hit my 60's and my parents die (this will be around 2050 or so, and if they hopefully live, they'll be in their late 90's), I'll have to commute half-way across the country just have a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner with my (mostly much younger) cousins and their children that I will rarely see (and possibly with some of my Aunts and Uncles, but with the exception of my Dad's younger sister and her husband, most of them will be in their 90's as well if they're still alive). It will be weird being some once-removed uncle who never started a family. I wanna have a loving group of children and grandchildren with me when I'm old. I don't want to die alone or in pseudo-solitude.

  •  the traditional def'n of adulthood is antique (0+ / 0-)

    40 years ago things were very different.

    traditional definition of adulthood in the years 1960 and 2000: leaving home, finishing school, becoming financially independent, getting married, and having a child.

    There are lots more people who have children first and then go back to school when the kids are school aged themselves. In 1970, 28 percent of all college students were 25 years of age or older. In 1998 the number of adult learners had increased to 41 percent."

    There are lots more people who live together without getting married. More people living as singles. More people are living as same-sex couples, who should certainly be counted as being married to each other (if they choose), but their path to kids is different.

    There are also lots more people who delay having children until later in life. 40 years ago, birth control was not as widely available as it is today. And it wasn't the same, because AIDS did not exist. I think people try to be more careful as a result - it's not just for preventing pregnancy.

    In a democracy, everyone is a politician. ~ Ehren Watada

    by Lefty Mama on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 10:58:19 PM PDT

  •  I'm not sure that I buy this premise (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sarahnity, ppluto

    while I agree that the cost of a starter home, tuition, vehicles and insurance are all much higher than 10 years ago, I believe that it's still possible to live frugally and save money. 10 years ago, several of my friends and I lived on stipends of $15,000-$18,000 per year plus tuition and health insurance for several years of grad school, and several of us were able to save money for retirement and other investments.

    How was this possible?

    1. Suck it up and live with roommates or rent out to roommates if you're fortunate enough to be in a position to have a condo/house. If your parents will let you move back in, consider that as a possibility, but don't be a mooch.
    1. Have kids only when you can afford them.
    1. No one is forcing you to live in or buy property in the most expensive parts of the country. Good jobs can be found in places other than Boston, the Bay Area or NYC.
    1. Major in a degree that has an average annual starting salary significantly higher than what it costs you to get said degree and a profile for demand for jobs in that field in the future.
    1. Do your best to avoid credit card debt and other sorts of creative debt financing schemes.
    1. If you need to own a car, buy used and drive it into the ground.
    1. Boats, bikes, game equipment, extensive vacations, electronic gadgetry, cottages, (fillin the blank) are all luxuries, not entitlements.
    1. Consider 2 year schools for gen ed and 4 year programs to finish a degree. Also justify the value of a private school tuition or out-of-state tuition at the undergrad level.
    1. Shop at goodwill & consignment shops & garage sales.
  •  I'm 24 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and about halfway to a degree in political science. I'd be out of school, but in 2003 I developed hypoglycemia-which wasn't diagnosed until early 2005. So I spent a year feeling like I was dying, which resulted in acute depression, which resulted in me falling behind in school even farther. Honestly, though, I have to ask myself: why am I stressing and panicking and tripping all over myself to become part of a system that is both exploitative and unsustainable? I will finish my degree, but I really don't see where I'm going to go with it. I just feel powerless and ineffectual, and I'm sick of feeling this way. What should I do?

  •  Kossacks over fifty - strapped. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    opendna, hekebolos


  •  Strauss and Howe. (0+ / 0-)


    The Fourth Turning.

    Every question here makes a lot more sense afterwards.

    (Earlier, wittier comment crashed with my computer.)

  •  Art school (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    opendna, hekebolos

    It could be worse, you could be getting an expensive graduate education at art school!!!!
    I'm taking on some absolutely lovely loans for the slim chance of teaching painting at the college level.
    Don't laugh at me.
    I am not insane.

    "Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you." Pericles

    by noveocanes on Thu Sep 13, 2007 at 11:57:03 PM PDT

  •  great diary... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but depressing.  I'm 50, married with a kid under 10, and I have some of the same problems.  Being older isn't necessarily easier... I've got to think about retirement and college for my son... good luck with that!  My husband is under-employed since he was laid off years ago, and we are struggling.  The economy sucks.

    Wake me when it's over. (-Me)

    by marjo on Fri Sep 14, 2007 at 05:06:23 AM PDT

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