Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Old Economy Steve

I saw the Old Economy Steve Meme last Friday at work. Spent more time than is reasonable looking at the thread. There were two distinct groups. The first is Generation Y AKA the Millennial generation born from roughly 1980-2000 (though the comments were from the older part) who are bitter about the economy they are coming to age in. The second group were Boomer's of whom most were replying to the Y's using various degrees of sarcasm and the rest were mentioning things haven't gone great for them over the last few years. Both sides have some room to complain.

Generation Y is coming up in a terrible economy. In particular college tuition as compared to wages or inflation or really any other measure has exploded. Finding a job, especially as a recent college grad is very difficult. With the current job market plenty of folks with experience are looking for jobs so why get a Newbie. It is really a terrible time to be young. We do have some very legitimate gripes. The bottom line is we are NOT going to have it as good as our parents. To have similar outcomes we are going to need to work harder, be better educated/ skilled and make wiser financial choices than they did. The American Dream is taking a downturn at best.

At the same time, despite what is happening around us, we cannot be absolved entirely of responsibility for the situations we find ourselves in. Things are hard but plenty of other generations and groups throughout history have had it hard. It sucks but we can do something about it or bitch. Folks who get crazy loans for silly degrees then cannot find a good job who choose to reside in LA or NYC where the cost of living is astronomical are going to have a rough go of it. I talked with a guy about this some years back. To some degree my generation bought into the idea that immediately after college we would have lifestyles equal to or what our parents had in their late 40's-early 50's at the peak of their earning power. Everybody who sold that pack of lies to us, though not with bad intentions, deserves some blame and we deserve a bunch for buying it. So the Soc Major's with massive student loans that cannot afford a sweet new car, a nice house, a fancy vacation every year and to invest like crazy can't really blame everybody else.

As to the Boomers. They did work hard for everything they have. Despite what the Generation Y folks making the memes think many Boomers are not doing very well. As a group they saved like they had defined benefits retirement plans while many do not. Instead of buying a small house and paying it off they moved to larger more expensive houses 2-3 times so close to retirement many have significant mortgages for homes that are under water. Some did very well indeed but many are approaching retirement age and serious problems. Also in the natural cycle of things (with most people) boomers have become fiscally conservative as they aged (well except for social security, medicare, and any other government program/ tax deduction that benefits them;). So sympathy for kids with student loan debt and a hard time finding a job are low on their list of concerns. Seeing a bunch of kids who expect to get everything right away probably grates on them something awful. (Heck I am in the same cohort as these folks and it grates on me)

The boomers did work hard but they had the advantage of coming into the workforce in a much better time. They inherited an awesome economy and on their watch it went down the toilet. Not saying it is entirely the boomer's fault; Europe rebuilding after WWII and being freed from Communism, Asia coming into the modern era, globalization at large and numerous other factors were involved. However the boomers certainly did not help things. Young people are, at least to some degree, reaping what their parents sewed and the picture is not pretty.

This article brought up the valid point that this meme can piss both Millenial's and Boomers off. That might mean it has some truth to it. Anyway I thought this whole thing was pretty interesting. Or maybe I just thought way too much about a funny online thing.




4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm convinced that Social Security benefits will be severely reduced within the next 10 -15 years, if not sooner. It will be hard on Seniors but they've had twice as long to save their past wages for that event.

The ones I truly feel sorry for - the young soon to be adult. How would you like to be just starting out in Life and being handed a 17 trillion dollar deficit (We spent it and don't want to solve it - its your problem now) ? If I were in that situation, I'd probably tell the Boomers (like me, I'm 50) and others of my age we can eat dog food and screw the promised bennies from social services - we did this to ourselves.

I have a 15 year old boy and 12 year old girl and cannot for the life of me figure out where they will be in 15 years. I'm telling (and trying) to teach them skills they can build on now, rather then depend on some university teaching them.

Anonymous said...

The boomers pissed away their inheritance and raised a bunch of pussy children who think they are more entitled than their parents (who'd a thunk that was possible?)

I hope nobody expects the spawn of that lineage to save our society.

We're screwed.

Timmy

Anonymous said...

"...we are NOT going to have it as good as our parents. To have similar outcomes we are going to need to work harder, be better educated/ skilled and make wiser financial choices than they did."

Yet they will continue to insist that every entitlement they've set up for themselves, paid for with borrowed money and continue to defend to this day, is all "for the children".

I suspect if they took an honest look at what they've done (and they're still doing) to their own children & grandchildren, they'd be deeply ashamed of themselves. But, because they're likely not capable of that level of honesty, we'll continue forward on this doomed path, pretending everything is fine.

Snoop-Digity-DANG-Dawg

JAFA Jack said...

Or, the next gen can also arise from the coming depression, enter a world war, destroy the rest of the worlds industry, and the survivors would return to a significant economic recovery that they would enjoy, squander, and raise spoiled children on. Repeat, rinse, repeat...

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