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As an occasional contributor to the Ku35 series, I have tried to focus on the economic issues that face us young people. If you want to understand why we are so politicized, why we are so Democratic, I believe we must begin with the truly dire economic conditions our generations faces - the worst in 70 years.

I wrote about this in February - but that was based on a California-specific study. In May Demos published the Economic State of Young America, illustrating on a national level and in stark terms the crisis we face. Tonight I want to give a quick tour of their points, and then explain what it means for generational politics.

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

I like to say that our generation - we who are under 35 - are the Johnny Rotten generation. Not in the sense that we all like punk, but instead in the sense that we all can sympathize with his famous statement. We all have the feeling we've been cheated.

Cheated out of our futures, really. For most of this decade I felt that something wasn't quite right. My friends and I worked hard, studied hard, kept out of trouble. We played by the rules. We did what we were supposed to do. And yet we find ourselves struggling to stay afloat.

Whenever I've mentioned this before, I've had some older Kossacks dismiss my claims, saying that every young generations feels they have it hard, that things are unfair. But the Demos findings should blow that out of the water. I say this not to criticize older Kossacks, but to make the point as clearly as I can - what we young people face is a particularly bad economic future, and to understand our politics and our future, we must understand the hard times we face.

A Generation of Inequality

The Demos study makes clear that our generation faces falling wages and poor job prospects - no matter whether you're a college grad or not. College-grad women are doing the best out of us, but even they have faced stagnant low wages and soaring costs of living.

Median income of 25-34 year olds in 2004 dollars:


  1. $43,416
  1. $35,100


  1. $29,184
  1. $30,300

And as the chart on page 4 shows, virtually ALL of the wage gains that were made were between 1995 and 2000. Since 2001 every subgroup of we under 35 have seen our wages decline. And the picture is worse for young people of color - their wages are almost $10,000 lower than those of white and Asian young people and their unemployment rates are significantly higher.

The amount of "good jobs" - defined as those that pay more than $16/hr or $32,000 a year, that offer health care and a pension, has actually shrank since 1975, while "bad jobs" - which offer none of these - have seen significant growth. That means that, along with the declining wages after 2001, even young people with college degrees are facing problems. College used to be an entrance to a stable middle-class living - but no more.

Some argue that student loans and education are worth it - that these will eventually pay off in higher earning power. The Demos study directly challenges this claim, instead proving what we under 35 always suspected - that student loans consign us to economic insecurity. From page 15:

Households age 18-34 without education debt: 22% are "economically buoyant", but for those with education debt, only 6% are "economically buoyant."

Our generation is a generation mired in debt, and the study shows that we have FAR more credit card debt than other generations. This is often cause for an attack on us young people - the assumption is that we're wasteful spenders who use the credit cards like free money, oblivious to the consequences. But as the above suggests, most of us use them to get by - to pay car insurance, or gas, or groceries, or utility bills. With stagnant wages, bad jobs, and a soaring cost of living, credit cards are for some the only way we can make ends meet.

In fact, the situation is getting so bad that rising numbers of us are having to move in with our parents. For those of us who live out on our own - like me - are are spending more than ever on rent. Some claim this is because we like to live in expensive cities, but remember this is a national study, not a study of young people in Manhattan and San Francisco. US Census data shows the following:

Percentage of people age 25-34 spending more than 30% of their income on rent:

  1. 18%
  1. 30%
  1. 33%
  1. 32%
  1. 43%

The report goes on to examine homeownership and raising a family - needless to say both have become more costly, reinforcing the core point: our generation is having an extremely difficult time finding economic security, whereas those who came before us did not face the same problems.


Demos provides some possible answers, including expand "good jobs" such as green collar jobs, expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, design and implement "career ladders" in health care and education so young people are not stuck in underpaid entry-level positions. They also suggest returning to the policies of the 1960s and 1970s where college was either free or quite affordable (a promise that has been eroded).

I think we need to go much, much further. I have long advocated blanket forgiveness of student loans, with no conditions. This often gets resistance, but it's a common-sense policy that would have FAR more stimulus value than a tax rebate and would liberate young people to innovate, create, and build a 21st century economy. We can either pay back our student loans, or we can have a strong American economy - but we cannot have both.

I also believe we need to emphasize changes in urban living. Young people are, generally if not completely, less wedded to the obsolete 20th century suburban model. We don't mind living in crowded cities, taking the bus or the train, walking or biking to get our errands done. But it's not just a nicer way to live - the ONLY way we will afford to have any economic security is if we can be liberated from oil-based forms of transportation. Urban density done right can be more affordable for young families than living out in the suburbs.

We also need to repatriate our good jobs. Free trade has been a complete disaster for our country, not only destroying the middle class but offshoring the very jobs that previous generations used to enter the middle class when they were our age.

If nothing is done now, then our generation is going to be left behind - for good. I invite you all to give suggestions in the comments

Intergenerational Politics

Whenever issues that affect young people are discussed, generational fault lines tend to emerge. Some older folks take their life experience and see it as universal, instead of a unique set of historical circumstances, and so discount or belittle the economic problems we face, assuming that it's no worse than anything they experienced.

And for our part, some young people believe that older generations cannot possibly understand what we are going through, or that they have no interest in understanding, so screw them we'll just build our own movement.

Diaries like these, I hope, can help bridge these divides. Our generation is large and we are trending Democratic in a BIG way. This is of course because of precisely the issues I described above - contrary to the fears, 30 years of Reaganomics didn't turn us into free market zombies - instead as we bore the brunt of it, we became stark raving New Dealers who know that without progressive government action we are screwed.

And we also recognize that these problems are not unique to us - folks in all generations are suffering from similar problems of rising costs, declining wages, soaring debts, vanishing jobs. These problems won't magically go away like the 1970s crisis did - these problems are here to stay unless we come together and form a common front.

Part of that does require us to admit mistakes. The choices made by the generations that came before us were the wrong ones, and if this country is to survive we must reject Reaganomics in all of its forms and return to a Keynesian, government-centered, public sector model at minimum (I think we actually must go further, toward democratic socialism, but that's a subject for another diary).

And it also requires us young people ready to storm the castle to realize that people in the older generations aren't totally an old guard clinging to a status quo, but that many of them face the same problems, and should be willing to join us in a sustained campaign to end the growing inequality that characterizes American life.

Originally posted to eugene on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 05:56 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  over 35, in a mess (10+ / 0-)

    I'm over 35 by a few years but this all applies to me, too - buried in college debt, economy sucks, can't get health care (OK, just relocated to Massachusetts so maybe that is fixed), and thusly am not working full time.

     This is going to get much, much worse as the banking system comes apart. Tell me again who was involved in the repeal of Glass-Steagall?

    •  I"m with you. 37 and living like I"m in my 20's. (6+ / 0-)

      When I graduated from University in the 1990s, the economy was in the toilet. Most of my Uni friends had jobs working at donut shops and anyplace that would hire them. It was horrible.

    •  I think it cuts across the board (5+ / 0-)

      Just older people had a chance to stash some savings (an example, my older sister) and has weathered the down turn longer.
      But they are running out of cash too. And not getting raises or COLA either.
      I'm just under 40, & haven't seen a cost of living increase in a decade. Increases where negociated (1 instance), and job changes (4 since 2000). One of those job changes was actually a pay cut, since I wound up on contract for 2 years, no bennies no time off.
      The 90's, weren't really much better to me either.
      I wonder if its the under 40 crowd that's gotten really sacked. I've 3 older sisters, over 40, who have a hard time understanding why I can't seem to get ahead or catch a break.
      I don't like forgiving of college loans- I didn't have any. I didn't qualify. I used a trust fund (a lot of it), that became an inheritence. I could be doing considerably better- like going back to school- if I hadn't had to use so much for college.
      OTOH, I really do sympathize with college debt burdens. It might help to consider some sort of reimbursement package for all to help pay the debts and to give a boost to those who used up nest eggs or inheritences for college.

      -7.50/-7.90 Everyone knows I'm out in left field.

      by WiseFerret on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 06:19:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We're about the same age ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tryptamine, Stranded Wind

        And my family does well. But not nearly so well as people of the previous generation seem to think we must.

        Every significant raise my husband (with a Ph.D.) has gotten has been due to a job change. I've been lucky to find jobs in my field that allow me to work from home part time and save on child care. We've been fortunate, but still, we see the funds dwindling when food and gas prices go up the way they have. There isn't that much time between living on one income + stipend, getting doctorate, moving, having kid, buying house and now. Less than 10 years is not a lot of time to build up tidy nest egg to compensate for the rapidly increased costs we face. Hell, we're not turning on the air conditioning this year, which is partly for the environment, but also has a lot to do with lowering energy costs. I guess Earth might thank us for making the economy such a clusterfuck.

      •  agreed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        not fair that you paid for college with your nest egg....but think about those of us who paid on credit.  It is a terrible system all the way around.  

        The funny (not really) thing is I got my master's in education -- i wanted to be a teacher...preferably in an inner city setting.  I can sometimes make rash decisions and I went to a very expensive, and highly renowned school.  Outcome -- DEEPLY in debt, unable to get a job teaching, and stuck in a dead end job.  

        People look at me with blank stares.  Everyone is under the impression that teaching jobs are everywhere-- that there are no barriers to entry -- that there are no layoffs happening.  I get this a lot, "uh..aren't they giving signing bonuses for that??" um. no.

        anyway, it's very late and i'm rambling.  I would like to see a way for people to make a living while doing what they are passionate about, that's all.  Good luck everyone.

    •  You are missing the point. Just about eveyone who (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      came after the leading edge of the "Baby Boom" generation has had to work harder for less.  I am forty-seven years old, hold undergraduate and graduate degrees in computer science, and I earn half of what I did before the dot-com boom. Leading-edge Boomers (a.k.a. Americans born between 1946 and 1954) sucked a massive amount of wealth out of the economy.  They also created an opportunity vacuum for trailing-edge Boomers like Barack and me.  That is why our subset of the Boomer generation has been re-labeled "Generation Jones."

      Obama/Webb 2008 - Change with the muscle to make it happen!

      by ConcernedCitizenYouBet on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 08:09:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is why I am against foreclosure bailouts... (4+ / 0-)

    this would keep houses at a price set by an artificial bubble, which happens to be unaffordible based on cash flow from working-professional people.  In other words if you bought in to the bubble you get to have the asset at the expense of those, many younger, who will not be able to afford the higher prices.

    California even makes it worth with what is called Proposition 13.  If a young person out of college manages to buy a house, they could very easily pay a multiple of what their neighbor pays in property taxes.  

    And this discount remains even if the person is renting it out, perhaps to the new college grad, who will get further in the hole.

    So, yes, the cards are stacked against you.  But I've fought it all down the line.  So, don't take all of my Medicare away.  Please.

  •  Reaganomics was a complete failure. (9+ / 0-)

    As bonddad has shown, tax cuts do not pay for themselves. the generation under 35 has really been cheated, because the fruits of all our increases in productivity have been paid to the richest 1% of the population. Everyoine else has been screwed.

    •  Most Americans still don't believe it (5+ / 0-)

      And this is one area where the right's PR has been devastatingly effective. Most Americans accept the right wing's premises on taxation even though they are wrong.

      •  It does not take a rocket scientist to (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tryptamine, jemjo

        see that the tax on capital gains is ridiculously low when compared to the top rate on ordinary income.  A worker (a.k.a. ordinary income earner) is subject to up to 35% marginal income tax before paying the FICA and Medicare  payroll taxes.  On the other hand, the maximum federal tax rate for capital gains is 15%, and capital gains are free from the payroll taxes. That's right.  The capital class does not contribute one thin dime to help support the Medicare program.  

        Obama/Webb 2008 - Change with the muscle to make it happen!

        by ConcernedCitizenYouBet on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 08:21:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I took note of this study ... (6+ / 0-)

    ...on the FP when it first came out, but only briefly. Glad to see you penetrate deeper into what it says.

    You should realize that many of us older Kossacks are not sanguine about the younger generation's situation. My kids are 28 and 26. They're feeling the squeeze, even though they're far better off than their friends back in Libya where they were raised.

    Like a cyclone, imperialism spins across the globe; militarism crushes peoples and sucks their blood like a vampire. K. Liebknecht

    by Meteor Blades on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 06:05:17 PM PDT

  •  Student Loans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I don't believe in total student loan forgiveness. What I do believe in, however, is bringing back bankruptcy protection for student loans. (Although technically possible, legal changes over the last 20 years have made it all but impossible to discharge student loans in bankruptcy). The other change is that the student loan interest deduction should not phase out at 65K. The maximum should be raised to 100K and the limit to what can be deducted should be raised from $2500 to $5000.

  •  Checking in here. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm one of an increasing number of us staying in school to avoid the (lack of a) job market. It basically means living cheaply, but at least there's the hope of riding out the storm and earning a degree in the meantime. We'll see how it goes.

  •  Your generation is different. It is effed. (11+ / 0-)

    Totally f'd.  I read a different study a couple of months ago, and the level of debt that the millenial generation is burdened by is just staggering.

    Before there was the GI Bill, inexpensive community colleges, relatively inexpensive state universities, and decent student loans.  That has all but vaporized.  Courtesy of outsourcing to asia, competitive jobs are disappearing, and don't justify the amount spent getting degrees.  Courtesy of the housing bubble, housing is still way overpriced.


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

    by New Deal democrat on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 06:12:47 PM PDT

    •  Yep (3+ / 0-)

      So it falls to us to figure out a solution. Hence the high levels of political participation. That's the silver lining here - we're fucked, but we're also going to do something about it.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day
      Neither is California High Speed Rail

      by eugene on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 06:17:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Absolutely right. (9+ / 0-)

      I went to college and then law school in the 80s at a state university in Florida, and in-state tuition cost me next to nothing -- at least by today's standards.  In law school, I worked 30 hours per week and got the max student loan amount of $7,500 per year and when I graduated, I had just over $30K in student loans for my full seven years of college.  (Mind you, it was still a bit tough to pay that much because I went to work in the public sector and started off making $22K per year, but it was the best job I've ever had and I was able to do it.)

      My nephew graduated from high school this week and if he weren't talented and smart enough to get scholarships for academics and playing baseball, I don't know how the heck he would make it.  If he were to get student loans, he would end up with more debt from two years of undergrad than I had for seven years of undergrad and grad school.  

      The state universities have to charge ridiculous amounts for tuition because the states aren't putting tax money into education, and it's one of the worst failures of this country.  We're wasting our kids' brains by forcing them to make the choice of either going deeply into debt to get an education, or foregoing a college education altogether.  It makes me so angry to hear older people say they don't want to pay taxes for things like education because "I put my kids through college, why should I help put someone else's kids through college?"  It's total BS.  I don't have kids at all, but I sure don't (or wouldn't) mind paying more in taxes to help educate the next generation.

    •  Definitely true. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tryptamine, New Deal democrat

      I went to a state college that was a quasi-public school. It wasn't fully state funded, so parts of its records weren't subject to public scrutiny, etc. But still, for in-state students it was affordable 15 or so years ago. My dad could write a tuition check without hyperventilating. From what I've seen, that's not even possible at state schools now. Even kids and parents who are trying to be responsible and modest about college are screwed unless their kids are the tippy top of their class or great athletes.

  •  I can totally relate to the situation (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, jemjo

    I earned a BA and MA degree at private colleges and universities. I took out way too much in student loans and will be paying them back for 30 years. It sucks.

  •  The economy is going to get worse (6+ / 0-)

    Oil prices are going to continue to rise and our infrastructure is an energy inefficient mess.

    Our automobile centric, suburban sprawl, airline loving society is about to get bitten in the ass.  We will soon have to pay for the lousy stupid decisions made.

  •  Adjusting for inflation is BS.... (0+ / 0-)

    because inflation stats are BS. It is literally IMPOSSIBLE to calculate inflation. Read "The Core Rate" by Jim Puplava, then spend some time searching "CPI" or "inflation" at
    Forgiving student loans will effectively put an end to future student loans. Why would anyone loan money if they know they'll never get it back? Bad idea.
    And the government can't create jobs. It can only redistribute jobs. (Caveat -- it CAN increase the total number of current jobs, but only at the expense of future jobs (it can do this through inflation of money supply and/or taxation of "excess" wealth, better known as savings)

    •  Yeah, that's kinda the idea (5+ / 0-)

      There's no need for student loans. Higher ed should be free. That was the promise made in California in 1960 and it helped create one of the nation's most powerful economies.

      Of course, once you start citing I realized I'm dealing with a far-right dude. So I'll just dismiss the rest of your comment.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day
      Neither is California High Speed Rail

      by eugene on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 06:26:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Powerful argument!!! (0+ / 0-)

        Why not have EVERYTHING be "free"?

      •  PS... (0+ / 0-)

        The stock market rose today after record foreclosures.
        In spite of, or because of?
        Prices for computing power fell over the last ten years as the federal reserve increased the money supply massively.
        In spite of, or because of?
        California's economy is powerful (taking your word for it and ignoring massive debts) and CA has free education.
        In spite of, or because of?
        When Ernie put a banana in his ear to keep away the alligators, it worked perfectly, even though Burt protested with his ridiculous far-right logic.

        •  Way to go with the slippery slope (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Jeez. Look at the GI Bill-- it let a generation of people go to college who otherwise couldn't afford it, and yes it was paid for by tax dollars.

          Nothing wrong with that.  Want to know why there are so many Indian programmers coming to the US on H1B visas? It's because their country heavily subsidizes education.  And, India was previously a very poor country...that is now experiencing a rapidly rising standard of living driven guessed it, people with degrees working in IT.

          If it works for India, why can't it work here?

          •  It's not a slippery slope argument ... (0+ / 0-)

            It's a causation/correlation argument. And it's perfectly valid. How do we know that the Fed's increase in the money supply didn't lead to the lower prices for computing power? The fed's job has something to do with prices, right?
            There is also the question of allocation of resources. Money spent on X can not be spent on Y. Money spent on education is money that can't be spent on food, or road safety (kills millions), or cancer research (kills tens of millions), etc. See "calculation debate".
            And there are a host of other problems that arise when the government provides "free" services. I mean, god forbid, what if there should be some corruption when deciding which businesses can provide the "free" goods?

  •  34 1/2 here, kids in daycare, father in assisted (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Magenta, tryptamine, Bronx59

    living, he is a terminal cancer patient w/ major cognitive issues and he is only 64 so no medicare yet.

    So yeah, my economy lately sucks, hard.

    Fortunately I have a very supportive family, a good job that pays pretty well and is very understanding of my personal needs (with the father stuff).

    If it weren't for my job, which I feel lucky to have, and my in-laws (wonderful people), I have no idea what we would do.

  •  What seems to suck is that it is very hard to (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Magenta, eugene, nanobubble, beemerr

    have a middle class lifestyle any more. Young people go to school for four years and end up with significant debt. Those who choose to go for MA, JD, PhD, MBA, MD, and other degrees end up with 100K or more in debt. They then start out with a lot against them.

    What I find outrageous is the cost of higher education. For some reason the cost has grown significantly higher than what it should have been.

  •  I have friends in their early 30s (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, tryptamine, nanobubble

    with degrees and "good" jobs who are living with their parents out of economic need.

    My proposed solution is to get Obama elected then cross my fingers.

  •  You raise some really great points here (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine, waf8868, nanobubble, jemjo

    but, in my opinion, this is less of a generational issue and more of a general issue for all of us.

    However, I have to concede that -- and I speak as someone a decade past 35 -- that things were easier for me just a few years ago than they are for you now.  For one thing, the huge tuition hikes that have created this student loan burden hadn't yet gotten nearly as bad as they are now.  Secondly, the steep rise in urban living costs that hit in the past 10 years hadn't yet taken place.  10 years ago, one could live quite well -- alone -- in a good neighborhood in any of the large US cities without pulling in 150K a year.  That's no longer true.

    What I do know, mainly from my younger friends, is that the lifestyle I took for granted a decade ago is out of reach for them.  Affordable urban housing is a huge issue -- and not just for younger people.

    I think you hit upon the larger issue -- growing inequality.  We're fast on our way to a society in which the income of your parents determines the life you get.  Talent and hard work just aren't enough anymore; you need either parents with deep pockets or a huge amount of luck.  That's not the America I, my parents or my grandparents grew up in.

  •  Almost 70 and doing fairly well, Thank You! (0+ / 0-)

    Wasn't always like that but I corrected most problems in my life through deliberate thought and action.

    I've mentioned a couple of thoughts on the "Kossacks under 35" diaries without much response or inquiry. When the comments did come in they tended to be argumentive in nature.

    Go figure. I'm yet doing pretty decent and you all are yet complaining and seeking answers.

    Rent. We almost all rent at some time in our life but when I revealed the simple fact that my tenants receive their rent back at some agreed upon point of time, no one on daily kos inquires.


    Ever buy a home? Are you going to? Would you like to receive all the PITI expense back?

    Employee Questions: Want a raise? Ever think about creating a recapture of wages for your employer? How about receiving double time for regular hourly work? Would you like to be paid every week of your life even after you retire?

    Employer Questions: Want to reduce payroll expenses but increase wages, eliminate pension expense but increase retirement benefits, pay today’s wages with tomorrow’s money, lock in your labor force long term and get paid if they quit or resign, recapture all of your labor expense, and more?

    Parent/Grandparent Questions: If a parent teaches a child that actions speak louder than words but then only talks but never acts, what does the child learn? Ideally there are four grandparents for a grandchild. Mom and Dad on the father’s side and Mom and Dad on the mother’s side. Additionally, there might be great grandparents yet living.

    Well, what is love? What is caring and support? Is it bunch of new toys from China each Xmas and birthday? Is that really what being a family is all about? As parents we subscribe to conventional wisdom as wanting a better life for those that follow. We broadcast our undying love and concern while doing very little towards such desires.

    If the collective family members would sit down and create a plan for the offspring, does one really think that buying cheap Chinese toys would be a number one priority? Wouldn’t the family be in favor of creating a position of financial well being for the offspring that are produced? Wouldn’t the freedom from work be a priority?

    I'm currently re-writing a book I wrote back in 85/86 but never published. Would you under 35 Kossacks be interested in such?

    Reality is best served in small portions and only to others.

    by 0hio on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 07:12:30 PM PDT

    •  so, how are YOUR kids doing? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      0hio, jemjo

      do you really know? do you have any?

      i'll take my advice from my own, now passed on, grandparents (i'm 40 now.) we are going to HAVE to change the way we think about what a "good" life is, what "success" is.

      there is only one--ONE--time in history when the ideal of success was a stand-alone house out in the burbs with only you, a spouse, and your 2.5 biological kids living there, and that is post-WWII America (and to a lesser extent Western Europe.) before that, even KINGS did not live that way! you have family for a reason...if you stick together, you can save a lot of money, and you can take CARE of each other when someone has a job-loss or illness, or needs child-care, or gets old.

      during the Depression my great-gramma had a revolving door of relatives down on their luck who came to live with her until they found work. she never had a single recipe for anything that didn't serve 12 or more people!

      we are absolutely stupid to try and live the way we do now. i realize that the job-market seems to require it, but that market is crashing anyway. if you can't live with your family, find some friends you can live with--we have so much more stability and safety and power when we have a solid community around us.

      but man, don't rag on these younger types--you have no idea what it is like now for young people. i teach at a university, i see first-hand what they are up against. you want your SS to keep coming in? you might try being a little more sympathetic. it is all too easy to blame when you have not walked in someone else's shoes. that SS is not your money, it is MY money. now, i do NOT mind paying it at all--i consider it "other people's homeless granny insurance" as in, i do not want to worry about other people's homeless grannies dying on my sidewalk and making me cry, so i am HAPPY to pay to let them have a nice old age. when you paid into it, that is what YOU were doing, too, for the promise that WE would return the favor later on.

      my own dad worked his butt off from 14 to 62 (heart trouble) but he at least had a good union job. with a GRADUATE degree, i have YET to ever earn in a year what he made. tell me how THAT happened? and that's in plain dollars, not even adjusted for inflation or cost of living or anything else. that's the economy, and you can't blame it on individuals not planning or not working hard enough.

      éí 'aaníígÓÓ 'áhoot'é

      by Librarian on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 08:53:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I have two, a son and a daughter, both doing (0+ / 0-)

        just fine. Wealthy in matters of money. Educated, productive, etc. My daughter just bought a very nice home to help her friend out.

        As to the rest of your comment, I hesitate to answer. You claim to be educated but write poorly and obviously lack comprehension skils.

        By your own words and I quote, "we are absolutely stupid to try and live the way we do now."

        How can I find common ground with such? Find a better way.

        I have a book coming in a few months and will market it accordingly. Maybe, you can create usage of the ideas broadcast therein.

        Until then, peace.

        PS, the SS problems are yours, not mine. With or without it matters little to me although I do cash the check each month, thank you.

        Also, upon refection, this part, "but man, don't rag on these younger types--you have no idea what it is like now for young people. i teach at a university, i see first-hand what they are up against. you want your SS to keep coming in? you might try being a little more sympathetic. it is all too easy to blame when you have not walked in someone else's shoes."

        I am, by trade and training, a carpenter. I don't know for sure but willing to bet that I've walked in shoes you will never fill. A term in the US Navy, a four year apprenticeship and a life of good decent work.

        I have worked since 1952 when I was 12 years old and yet work part time today doing certain business activity.

        Reality is best served in small portions and only to others.

        by 0hio on Fri Jun 06, 2008 at 05:07:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  i am not trying to disrespect you, (0+ / 0-)

          although i am unsure about that being mutual here...

          and yes, i check back on my comments.

          i lack comprehension? writing skills? i am biting my tongue to hold back any sarcastic jokes here, but this is the internet--it is more like a conversation, casual, spontaneous, and not at all like a formal paper (surely you must realize this?) if you haven't encountered it before, just pretend we're on the telephone!

          i've worked part-time and attended school full-time, or worked full-time and attended school full-time, or worked a full-time position AND a part-time adjunct position from the age of 15, myself. so there is no need to lecture me on the world of work.  i have spent more hours during my 40 years in this world working, than i have in doing anything else.

          when i talked about walking in someone else's shoes, that is a well-known reference to understanding the position of another person (it has nothing to do with their skills or knowledge.) it is about trying to have empathy for someone who may face hardships you perhaps did not. i was not trying to demean your accomplishments or position, but suggesting that sometimes when we judge too quickly, we can be in error. when i see the homeless man on the street, should i assume he is lazy? should i assume he is a criminal? should i assume he WANTS to be homeless? how can i possibly KNOW his story?

          i think carpentry is an awesome path, for making one's way in this world. my great-grandfather was a wonderful maker of furniture. i did not mention my position as university faculty to make any kind of statement about what is a "higher" or "lower" craft or profession, but only to explain that i have constant contact with the young people, the students, about whom you seemed to be making some unfair assumptions.

          i'm glad your own children are doing so well. the children (and grandchildren) of many of your peers, however, are perhaps having a tougher time of it, and i don't think we lose anything by being open to what they say, by listening to them, by trying to understand, and to help.

          as for finding a better way to live, we need only look back a few generations, to our own great-grandparents, and their parents, to see an America that put a very high value on family, on community, on lending a helping hand to those in need, on working TOGETHER to make a better world (rather than competing ruthlessly for ever-shrinking slices of pie, in a Me Against The World, Every Man for Himself, He Who Dies With the Most Toys Wins, mindless rat-race, and blaming every misfortune on the individual as some sort of moral failing--people get sick, they have accidents, their spouses die and leave them alone with young babies, houses burn down, natural disasters strike...should we abandon such victims to cruel fate?)

          i'm happy for you that you don't need the SS...but lots of other older people DO, and in that sense, you, and i, ALSO need that system to keep functioning. they may not be MY grandparents or parents, but i still want them to be taken care of...don't you? if you are "cashing the check" but you don't need it, maybe you could use that money to help your community? maybe even start some kind of youth program to teach the values to which you allude in your comment?

          in any case, i'm fairly sure that replying to you now is a lost cause...your mind is already made up, and shut tight like a steel trap. i'm sorry about that, but there is little i can do to change it.

          peace be with you.

          (oh, and yes, i AM an actual Librarian. we can be somewhat testy, it would seem.)

          éí 'aaníígÓÓ 'áhoot'é

          by Librarian on Fri Jun 06, 2008 at 05:49:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There is a lost cause only if we allow such (0+ / 0-)

            to be.

            I don't have a lot of time so let me pull out this, "maybe even start some kind of youth program to teach the values to which you allude in your comment?"

            The values that I speak of are not taught, they simply are. Everything in life, as we know it to be, contains value. Value is acknowledged by usage. Whenever said usage is singular in purpose value was accorded a one dimensional respect while a stoppage occurred in the search for any additional value.


            peace yourself

            Reality is best served in small portions and only to others.

            by 0hio on Sun Jun 08, 2008 at 11:00:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  ohio (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      i am a bit confused about your post to be honest -- maybe that's why there hasn't been much response.  This is my first time seeing one of these posts, so I am unfamiliar with what you have shared in the past.  

      However, I do take a little offense at the tone.  You seem to suggest that we are whining while you solved all your problems by "deliberate thought and action."

      Well, i just want to assure you that many of us are very frugal, very deliberate, and very thoughtful.  Unfortunately that does not change our financial situations very much.  Can you imagine being in your early 30s and owing 70k in student loans?  Add in a housing market where an 800 sq ft house is going for 700k and then what?  I know -- move to places where it is cheaper to live! Funny, I thought of that too -- but see, they tend to have even less opportunity, jobs pay less, etc etc.  

      So forgive us for wanting to discuss this.  If you have advice I'd be glad to hear it....but not sure you want to give it?

      •  Sorry to confuse you or others. Let's talk... (0+ / 0-)

        "You seem to suggest that we are whining while you solved all your problems by "deliberate thought and action."

        Ok, I'll give you the "whining" part.

        "Well, i just want to assure you that many of us are very frugal, very deliberate, and very thoughtful.  Unfortunately that does not change our financial situations very much."

        If you are very frugal, very deliberate, and very thoughtful why is your financial situation so bleak?

        Take one aspect of your life,.. employment. Have you ever considered that there might be a way to create "free" labor for your employer? Do you think your employer might find or create "free" labor in order to benefit you? Think there might be a method whereby the employer could recapture his expense?

        Regardless your confusion or thoughts you have not succeeded in finding any solutions to your problems.

        Why? Maybe your efforts are directed in the wrong direction? Maybe you are seeking the answers to the wrong questions?

        I wrote one word - complaining - and WOW! I'm accused of calling everyone whiners?

        Remove the offending word and reread the comment. You may discover help.

        I had rentals back in the 80s but discovered that rental problems were part of such investments and I didnt want a full time job of repairs, maintenance, evictions, etc.  So I sat down in my own quiet time and created a method to provide my tenants with rental recapture.

        IOW, they could recover every penny they spent on rent, repairs, etc.

        The concept didn't require trust in me. The collateral was provided by other means. Needless to say, my tenants truly like me. I never hear from them. No problems. No worries. The rent is paid every month exactly on time.

        We both win by sharing.

        I'll have more later when I begin to market my book. Until then, good luck and ignore the "complaining" word if it offends.

        Reality is best served in small portions and only to others.

        by 0hio on Fri Jun 06, 2008 at 04:50:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  You have the right to feel this way (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine, The Interloafer

    There hasn't been real economic growth in this country since the 1960's.  The Nixon era was the beginning of the decline.  There were some improvements in certain sectors during the Clinton years - IT in particular - but now those are being rapidly lost to outsourcing jobs.  A young person's salary should be rapidly growing but with the stagnation we have it's staying still.  Then, there is the crushing cost of college.  All in all, you have the right to feel angry.  No one planned it this way, no one wanted it this way but here we are in a highly globalized economy that keeps salaries stagnant.

  •  i feel for today's graduates (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    it was bad when i got out of college in 1990, bad enough that after about two years of crap jobs and falling behind on the student loan payments, i went into more debt for a graduate degree. things were not much better in 1993 when i hit the job market in earnest for a second time, and it took me 6 years or so to find my feet again.

    and, despite a small bump up here and there in certain fields or some regions, it has only gotten worse for new graduates all along.

    i'm doing okay enough now, still 10K in debt from school, but my total for undergrad AND grad was never much over can't hardly get a decent undergrad ALONE for that now! i've got students on my campus already around 50K in debt and they don't even have their BA's done. and how the hell are they going to pay it back? and we're hardly ivy league.

    do NOT take out loans for school if you can find any way to work your way through--get a job on campus and get part of your tuition covered by the school, do something, anything, but WATCH that debt level! when you are done, see if gramma & grandpap want someone to keep them company in exchange for a place to live while you start your career, live with friends, do whatever you can to keep your expenses tiny--don't fall behind on the loan payments or you are screwed!

    we are entering a Second Great(er?) Depression, i don't care what the pundits on TV say. debt is your mortal enemy. we're all going to have to get creative and learn to live on less income. luckily, we've still got some oldsters around who made it through the FIRST Depression, and i'm sure they have something to contribute still, lessons in being frugal, not wasting what you have. my grandparents are all passed on now, but i remember their stories, and now i'm glad that i listened!

    i think trades and crafts and anything connected to growing small-scale local food, alternative energy, conservation, re-use and fixing and re-purposing of anything--these will be the places where there will be good livings to be made.

    i lost the link, but there was an article this past week or so about cities in Cali designating parking areas as SUV "tent" cities for people who lost their homes...we should call them Bush-Towns, maybe? like the old Hoover-ville tent cities?

    éí 'aaníígÓÓ 'áhoot'é

    by Librarian on Thu Jun 05, 2008 at 08:30:12 PM PDT

  •  I'm getting here late bc I had to go to a dinner (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tryptamine, jemjo

    for work. A woman from our dept is retiring. I'm going to miss her. She's just a treasure, one of those wonderful people whose very presence makes everyone in the room smile.

    Re: the economy, it certainly DOES suck. I'm in a stable, well-paying job and I'm in a line of work that virtually guarantees me the good life from now until retirement, so long as I just show up every day. I'm lucky. But even still, I just wonder like crazy how anyone could ever do something like buy a house or have kids or (god forbid) pay for kids college! I sure as hell couldn't... and I make a good salary! When I did buy a house, it was in Wisconsin, and it still wasn't nearly what my parents bought way back when. And they were paying for 3 people (and soon thereafter, 4 people) on one salary and paying the big mortgage payments. I just can't even imagine. And if a house in WI was expensive, don't even attempt buying one in SoCal. And then if you buy a house... no money leftover for furniture.

    Fortunately, I'm quite content living on yard sale furniture in a little studio with my cats. It's not that I want to buy a house or expensive furniture. It's just that I can't imagine affording it even if I did want it. And I was raised to assume that that's just what people did when they grow up. I wonder how?

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