Lynn Parramore: Boomerang Babies – Record Numbers of Young Adults Live with Parents at Terrible Cost

Yves here. Recent media commentary on the state of the housing market has finally picked up on something that shouldn’t be news: that most young people are in lousy financial shape and therefore are in no position to buy a home. Many are burdened by student debt, and even if they’ve managed to dodge that bullet, it’s hard to find decently-paid work. Even comparatively good jobs have much shorter tenures than was the norm 20 years ago.

Lynn Parramore describes the consequences for people in their 20s and 30s

By Lynn Parramore, a senior editor at Alternet. Cross posted from Alternet

America’s young people have been hit so hard by the crappy economy that they can’t even get out the door. A fresh study from Pew Research reveals that 36 percent of Millennials — young adults ages 18 to 31 — are still living under their parents’ roofs (this includes college students who come home for breaks). Not since the 1960s have so many young people resorted to couch surfing with mom and dad, a record 21.6 million young adults last year.

This is a gigantic sign that something is going horribly wrong in our economy—something that will cost everybody.

The Wages of Recession

The U.S. has seen a significant uptick of young people unable to afford to move out on their own since the start of the Great Recession in 2007, when just 32 percent lived with their parents. And if you look beyond college years to the 23-28 range, the number living with parents leapt by more than 25 percent bewteen 2007 and 2011, according to the Census Bureau. Clearly, the ongoing jobs crisis is a major cause: 63 percent of Millennials had jobs in 2012, down from 70 percent in 2007. Young people continue to face a jobs crisis even as the economy improves, as Catherine Ruetschlin and Tamara Draut of the public policy think tank Demos have found. They are facing a deficit of 4 million jobs, with African Americans and Hispanics worst hit.

Interestingly, according to the Pew poll, it’s the young men who are having the hardest time moving out. Forty percent of young men are currently living at home, compared to just 32 percent of young women. Men suffered the biggest job losses in the financial crisis, but they also gained the most post-recession jobs. There may be cultural factors operating in the fact that more young men stay home, including less expectations that they will contribute to chores or face close supervision.

Even if a young person is lucky enough to have a job, the work may be temporary, part-time and/or poorly compensated. Many young people, particularly those eager to pursue careers in journalism, finance and other highly competitive fields, work as unpaid or underpaid interns, as Ross Perlin documents in his book Intern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave New Economy. New research reveals that nearly half of graduating college students have done unpaid internships, and only 37 percent of them end up receiving job offers. The numbers of unpaid and paid internships — many of which offer only small stipends — are rising.

Trying to work and pay back student loans at the same time makes coming up with rent a daunting challenge. Student debt, which we already knew was astronomical, quadrupling from just $240 billion in 2003 to more than $1 trillion today, turns out to be even worse than we thought, according to findings from Demos. Two-thirds of seniors leave college with an average of $26,600 in student loans, and the financial burden holds them back in a number of ways. They have trouble saving, and even when they are able to stash away enough money for a mortgage, young people with debt have to pay a higher interest rate than those without it.

Families Under Stress

Certainly there are cultural differences in the perception of what it means for young adults to be living at home, and some may see extended families living under one roof as a good thing, with individuals sharing resources and support. But the Pew research shows that only 35 percent of Millennials living at home actually pay rent, and 25 percent don’t contribute at all to household expenses.

Parents with little to spare have to put off retirement and dig into savings to support children they hoped would land a decent job after graduation. For all the blather about college not being worth the cost, those with a bachelor’s degrees are still in better shape than those with only a high school diploma, according to the Pew poll. Forty percent of those with a high school education or less live with their parents, versus 18 percent of college grads.

In researching this article, I contacted both young people and parents who have adult children living at home. The challenges of continuing to live at home are heartbreaking, not only to individuals, but to entire families. A health problem, a divorce or a pregnancy can send young people who thought they had made it on their own back to their parents’ homes.

Mitch D. is currently looking for a job while living with his parents. He did two years of community college, taking a break from his education due to a serious health crisis, which was covered by Medicaid. Now that he is healthy, Mitch has been kicked off the Medicaid rolls and does not have any insurance. When I asked him how he felt, he wrote to me that he felt hopeful, but his words betrayed a sense of crimped expectations: “I have good people around me and I’ll eventually go to a 4 yr college. Just trying to find a menial job for now.”

Victor L.’s 18-year-old son has autism, and is living at home. He landed a job on a paper delivery route and is looking for something better, but as his father put it, they’re seeing “lots of applications to jobs but no hiring.” The family is assisted by a good disability program, but finances are still shaky. “We save when we can,” writes Victor, but he is scared about the rising cost of groceries and other expenses.

One young woman told me on Twitter that she is divorced with two kids, and the combination of high rents and low pay has forced her to seek shelter with her parents. Another, Georgette K., explained that she was 25 and just had to move back in with her parents after seven years on her own. The reason? Dead-end minimum wage jobs. Her words capture the pain many young people feel about their situation and the strain on family life:

“I feel hopeless, actually. Our relationship has been strained for many years. Also, I highly value my independence. It’s been 8 months now, & I feel like I’m never going to get out on my own again. It’s like I’m stuck in a time warp. Feels like I’m 16 all over again…except worse.”

When asked about the phenomenon of adult children living at home, one mom quipped, “They’re supposed to leave?” The child in her house just turned 30.

Economic Nightmare

When young people are stuck living with their parents, the entire economy suffers.

The reasons are numerous. To start with, our bad economy is being driven by low demand; that is, the inability of people to pay for goods and services. When young people don’t form households, they aren’t buying microwaves and TVs. This, in turn, affects businesses, which respond by not hiring workers, or getting rid of current employees.

Unemployed or under-employed young people are a terrible waste of human capital and lower the productive capacity of the nation. When they start their careers late, they tend to have lower wages and greater odds of future joblessness than those who don’t. The lost tax revenues that result spell trouble, as does a greater demand for government-provided services such as healthcare and welfare payments. Bloomberg senior economist Joseph Brusuelas estimates that the youth unemployment crisis may cost the U.S. a staggering $18 billion over the next decade. He calls his estimate “conservative.”

A scarred, anxious generation is in dire need of vigorous government intervention. America’s youth unemployment situation is among the worst of large, wealthy economies, yet the response of the Obama administration to this crisis has been utterly inadequate. Of all economic demons, youth unemployment is one of the simplest to slay from a policy perspective — if there is leadership available to make that happen.

For example, the government could introduce broad job-creation measures focused on getting young people back to work. It could adequately support the kinds of spending that will stimulate job growth. It could focus on public spending as investment that pays off tremendous future dividends rather than a waste of money.

But it hasn’t. Why? Part of the problem is the influence of the faulty economy theory promoted in Washington that serves only the wealthy.

For the better part of three decades, the popular — and completely baseless — “skills mismatch” theory has dominated public policy. This is a blame-the-victim argument promoted by conservative economists and corporate chieftains which holds that there are enough jobs if only young people had the right skills or the right education.

This myth has been repeatedly debunked by researchers as the Wharton School of Finance, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the University of California-Berkeley, and others (see Peter Cappelli’s “Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs”). The proof is in the numbers: if businesses faced a skills shortage, we’d expect to see wages in some sectors rising rapidly as employers compete for a limited number of workers, but we certainly haven’t seen that happening. Yet President Obama has repeated the skills-mismatch nonsense many times over the course of his tenure, including in his 2012 State of the Union speech. Telling young people to just “go get some skills!” is sounding increasingly hollow and cruel in the face of a still-growing crisis.

The Obama administration has also been hampered in its response to the youth jobs crisis by austerity policies based on the discredited theory that debt, rather than lack of demand, is the problem driving a bad economy. Such theories have consumed most of the Republican Party, but many in the Democratic leadership have bought into this economic mythology. Policies which focus on slashing government investment, vital services and often jobs only exacerbate the demand problem and worsen the human catastrophe of unemployment.

The folly of austerity has already played out viciously in Europe and ought to provide a cautionary tale. But despite the fact that the favorite academic research of austerity hawks has been exposed as deeply flawed (the infamous work of Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff) the voices of austerity-pushers like Alan Simpson and Erksine Bowles, co-chairmen of the President’s wrong-headed deficit-reduction commission, still echo throughout Washington. The pair recently published an op-ed once again calling for curtailed government investment and cuts to the social safety net — just the sort of thing to drive more young people to desperation.

Eventually, the failure to address the catastrophic situation facing young people leads to social unrest. When young adults have tried hard to get work, but find instead not only a lack of jobs, but an array of useless or bought politicians and greedy bankers set against them, they begin to experience rage. This has been observed all over the world, from the Arab Spring to the Occupy movement. When young people have nothing left to lose, they start to lose it.

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  1. Jim

    $18 billion lost?! Yea, that’s conservative alright, by a factor of a thousand. When you start to count up the houses not bought, the cars not bought, the other services not used, the other big purchases not made by this generation alone, plus add in the losses suffered by a lack of household income and household formation, forcing housing stock to remain empty, creating loss of value for existing homeowners and investors, alike, an $18 trillion loss doesn’t sound far off. (There are houses, maybe millions, that will never be occupied, by anyone, rotting as though they were in China.)

    1. Cocomaan

      Confirmation on houses not bought – every time someone excitedly claims that “House prices are recovering!”, I cringe. Their gain in value is my debt.

      We’re just taking our time looking, hoping something works out. If you are selling a house, please remember the first time you bought and what made it possible for you to buy at all.

  2. Mark P.

    It works the other way around, too. I had my mother on my couch for eight months (in a big one-room loft — yikes!). That said ….

    “When young adults have tried hard to get work, but find …(only) an array of useless or bought politicians and greedy bankers set against them, they begin to experience rage. When young people have nothing left to lose, they start to lose it.”

    I hope so. Because that’s only the beginning of what it’s going to take.

    1. Elizabeth

      I had to laugh, just a tiny bit. This generation is going to get off its butts and “lose it”? Their home privileges are the very reason they’re not doing that. Not to mention, an irrational, religious fervor in supporting Obama that keeps them from holding him accountable for job-stimulating actions rather than austerity measures. Add to that the peculiar, college-learned ideas they spout off at the least provocation: feminist theory, radical Marxism (not exactly helpful if it waits for the full-blown revolt to happen), and know-it-all politics. I think parents send their kids off to (unaffordable/pretentious) colleges to neutralize their natural rebellious tendencies and entrepreneurial recklessness with a lot of idle talk and competitive academics (See “Race to Nowhere”); they got their wish, they got their stagnant society, so now live with that. Literally.

      1. jonboinAR

        That’s it! You’ve cleared everything up. The economy is stagnant and the unemployed can’t find work because… Americans sent their youth to liberal colleges! Nothing to do with American manufacturing having been offshored or lingering household debt affecting consumer demand or anything like that.

      2. jrs

        Actually I’m not sure they really are the strong supporters of Obama, personally whenever I hear good feelings toward Obama it’s boomers expressing it (they really can’t seem to get over the fact a half black man was actually elected – no matter HOW terrible his policies).

        But see how the young poll on things like the security state (strongest opposition of any age group) to see if they are really such Obambots after all. They may not be economically radical though, I don’t know.

  3. Saddam Smith

    There’s so much to say on this topic it’s hard to know where to start. I guess the first thing is that I find the term “human capital” offensive, like “human resources”. There’s more to a human being than his or her potential economic contribution to society, but that’s an assertion which requires some unpacking which I won’t undertake here.

    We don’t need each other economically like we used to. There are at least two reasons for this, but these two are pretty insurmountable one way or the other, and are interdependent in odd ways: The first is the end of growth which has its roots in a multitude of factors, not least of which are planetary carrying capacity and cheap oil, with “peak debt” a consequence of and now contributor to the end of growth. (I suspect population growth in the West (and perhaps globally – 1.4%?) may be too low too, but this factor is deeply linked to many others.) The second is automation, which is increasing in sophistication and reach at an ever-accelerating rate, and driving wages and the demand for human work down and down.

    These drains on society’s need for economic contribution from most people are straining against our institutions, all of which assume, at the “DNA” level, economic growth and economic activity as the central driving forces of civilisation. This assumption was sound for centuries, but it isn’t any more. Nothing lasts forever.

    How do we face up to this as a species? How do we accept, at practical and vision levels, the simple truth that economic activity is not a panacea, that there is no aspect or thing that can or should grow forever, or should be idolised forever?

    It’s probably impossible, but what humanity needs to imagine and bring about now are new (non-economic) ways (measures?) of needing/valuing/respecting each other, news ways of and reasons for creating money that reflect the former, and then build the new institutions that reflect and foster the new paradigm (it couldn’t possibly work out neat and tidy like that, but this is only a comment on a blog). Obviously, almost all of our institutional reflexes urge us away from this profound change of direction; no civilisation has ever been able to change its spots. So this suffering will get worse and worse, our leaders and the broader mainstream will try to deal with it using out-of-date thinking, while refusing to even acknowledge the existence of the “radical” solutions that might actually help. Then the Entropy Games will begin in earnest.

    1. Larry

      I think you’re on to something here. I’ve been influenced quite a bit by Dean Baker’s writing where he states that our increased productivity should lead us to working much less and enjoying more leisure time. Part of why we don’t do this is financial and corporate intests inflate the costs of essentials for living (housing and health care) and wages have not tracked along with producivity.

      1. Hiram "Messypants" Abiff

        David Korten and Michael Hudson and David Graeber will show us the way. Also David Harvey (the Englishman with trenchant critiques of new urbanism, etc.) …

    2. Elizabeth

      Y’know, I kind of commented on this new paradigm stuff above, if only indirectly, in saying this is hardly the generation to do something truly revolutionary. It’s hard to be entrepreneurial and daring when the next task ahead of you is simply to get a job. Those new ideas — oh yeah, those — that’s what they teach in college, but they’re all the new ideas of 1972.

      1. redleg

        Don’t underestimate the potential to create new paradigms out of necessity. Those with nothing to lose will eventually sow the seeds of radical change out of necessity/desparation if for no other reason.
        I’m an X-er, but I see it in my younger friends and kin as a desire to get more local and decentralize. The millenials are very capable of change, and I generally like what I am seeing – an emphasis towards the small which has been completely lacking in my lifetime until recently.

    3. nobody

      Though incidental to the subject of this piece, I’d like to point out that many autistics find the person-first formulation that Lynn Parramore uses here to be offensive (“Victor L.’s 18-year-old son has autism”).

      The classic discussion of the distinction between saying “Victor L’s son has autism” and “Victor L’s son is autistic” is in Jim Sinclair’s “Why I dislike ‘person first’ language”:

      See also “The Significance of Semantics: Person-First Language: Why It Matters” for a further discussion and a collection of links on the topic:

    4. Dan Kervick

      I am greatly skeptical about the vaunted end of growth and/or Great Stagnation. Growth and progress in the economic sense do not require the endless and unsustainable extraction of resources.

      And I’m not buying the idea that automation will put us all out of work and make people less important to one another. Fears and dread about automation have characterized every major downturn in the industrial age. Yet we always manage to figure out new things to do, and new ways of employing one another to do them. Human dreams and ambitions always exceed their grasp, so we never run out of new stuff to do.

      This kind of thinking seems all the rage in the UK these days, where it is used to promote austerity and increased savings and diminished expectations. Frankly I think the whole business reflects the moral exhaustion of the middle aged generations across Europe and the US. The sooner young people ditch this kind of negativity, elbow the whining oldsters aside and get moving, the better off we will all be.

      1. Saddam Smith

        There will always be work, only ‘economic’ or waged work need be minimised by automation. This is a big topic that has to do with pleasure and reward which I won’t get in to, but in short we can and are automating much repetitive and menial work. This process could be accelerated if we so ‘choose’. And my point is that we are becoming less important to each other at that level, not at all levels. Humans need humans; we are social animals by nature. It’s only that money over-values or idolises one type of societal contribution (that which increases GDP) while devaluing (or making more difficult to pursue) other types. This is a value issue, and value measurement in currently dominated by the market/price system. And money is in very real control.

        As for growth, nothing grows forever, whether one is skeptical about it or not. Besides, why should we do more and more economically relevant work, and less and less non-economic work and think that “negative” if:

        1. Consumerism is neither the end of history nor some magical panacea making everyone wonderfully happy;

        2. Humans are not the centre of the universe, do not own planet earth and thus do not need for some divine reason to expand their numbers forever; and

        3. A more balanced approach to economic and non-economic spheres that idolises neither is obviously wiser?

        Why refuse to accept that nothing grows forever? I don’t get it.

        The negativity you perceive need not characterise the end of growth (see 1. above). Humanity is not happier now than it has ever been, so there’s no telling what we might accomplish within a different paradigm. That said, new paradigms cannot be forced on a people, they emerge. Old paradigms/systems don’t make way politely for the new kid on the block. Thus, there will indeed be blood, but not because it’s negative, hip or depressing to point that out, but because that’s how history has unfolded so far. Change hurts.

        Me, I’m an optimist, but that doesn’t mean I choose to overlook that systems die.

        1. Dan Kervick

          I don’t think there is any such thing as economically irrelevant work. If we are creating value with our work, that is an economic effect. The issue is, I think, how much work we do for ourselves in a way that is only compensated by our own personal gain or pleasure from it, and how much we do for others by exchanging the product of our work for the product of other people’s work. I think the natural tendency over time when productivity increases lead to a decline in the amount of traditional and established forms of work would be that people first use their free time to do new and creative things for their own pleasure. But as that process continues, those new things become more specialized and begin to be exchanged at which point they have become integrated into the system of markets, exchange and compensated labor.

          1. Saddam Smith

            That depends on how you define economics. If we go with etymology I guess you’re more or less correct, and I would add that everything we do, including sleeping and aging is ‘work’ (energy exchange producing discerbable differences or outcomes) that has some effect on the ‘economy’. But in my usage I am talking about activity which adds to GDP. In fact, even then, sleep and aging are relevant to the economy for obvious reasons, but we are getting into the realms of pedantry.

            Your position appears to be a variant of the lump of labour fallacy, which states that there is no fixed amount of work for the economy. The amount of work to be done by humans for the economy is not fixed, it can grow or shrink, depennding on our attitude and how we define economy. This is of course true.

            You suggest that we can turn anything we do for each other into market activity. Perhaps. Like this conversation we are having. Or paying people to raise our kids. But why should we insist on doing that? Why is paid work better per se than unpaid work? Where is that written? Why does that type of work have to grow and grow at the cost of other types? Better, why should we part with money or be paid for all inter-human exchange? I think that is the road to hell.

            I srongly agree that this is about value. What I think will be part of the new paradigm is a relaxing of our cultural ‘obsession’ with measuring things precisely, and by extension (or starting with) measuring value. Value is subjective and cannot be measured. Even the neoclassical assertion that the market or price system is an objective measure of the exchange value of goods and services via the Iron Law of Supply and Demand does not square that circle IMO. But again, this gets us into deep water which a blog comment cannot do justice to.

            In closing I repeat that economic activity or paid work or social contribution which adds to GDP is not an absolute good simply because it adds to GDP. Money is not wealth, it is only an adequate (for a while) abstraction/representation of wealth (actually it is a record of power relations but that’s another story again) and should not be idolised as it is in this system. My hope is that society comes up with more varied and subtle ways of keeping tabs (loosely) on societal contribution that are less susceptible to abuse and concentrations of power than is money. This process would require deep changes in other areas too (particulary private property and scarcity/abundance) and is thus in itself no silver bullet, but I believe history is nudging us in that sort of direction. We can refuse to budge and cling to old methods, or adapt and survive.

  4. allcoppedout

    The writing has been on the wall for a very long time. If Lynn will forgive me I’m almost riled when people point this stuff out – so long a voice in the wilderness and such. I’m sure she knows we have known for a very long time and nothing seems to get through.
    Tangentially, I’ve just seen a UKIP spokesman, with whom I should have no sympathy whatsoever, treated appallingly by standard BBC non-verbal, PC ridicule. What UKIP do is tap our frustrations over business-as-usual on immigration, aid, lack of housing -all very dangerous and because the main media cause a lack of debate on how people not with their sinecures feel. This is more grist for UKIP’s mill (and worse in some countries), despite our concerns that it should be about a new economic system.

    In the UK, 500,000 social housing units have gone to fairly recent immigrants. My partner and I picked a house up at the time – in such a disgusting state it took £5K to fix up to a livable standard, much because of the life-style of previous deserving tenants and a lack of control of them. We bought it because another £10K needed spending, much against our principles. Fortunately, we now have Bulgarian neighbours, a vast improvement on the British scum who caused havoc for seven years. There is a darker side we need to consider solutions to as well as the lack of affordable properties and decent wages and ‘welfare’.

    Our current government has introduced a bedroom tax that hits our disabled population hard – often unspeakably cruel and ‘justified’ on the grounds they want to resettle over-crowded families into under-occupied social properties.

    Whilst it is obvious we should be building new homes on an ecological basis, this can’t be done without thought and action on social problems some tenants will cause and sensible action on real incomes from new work and related education schemes. I can point to any number of estate refurbishment schemes ruined by pond life – affordable homes no one could afford to live in. Many of the difficulties were detailed in ‘Farewell to the Working Class’ (60’s?)

    Vicious neo-liberalism and its munter (disreputable police slang) neo-classical economics are to blame – but there is a wider ideology of disempowerment making collective solutions seem impossible – and let’s face it most of us are complicit with gentrification and hardly active citizens prepared to live and act in the situation faced by our own poor. We make sure we are not all in it together on a personal basis.

    Any real answer depends on moving away from the free-market myth of the libertarians (is this based on daft anarchy and belief in a wonderful human nature curing all once free of restrictions once the State withers away?)evading big government through constitutional reform (either as the current shadow politburo or some Sino-Soviet-Religious one) and a proper evaluation of work to do and getting it done with reasonable proportional shares – economics, with transparent accounting, needs to facilitate this instead of the current ‘pulling levers’ claptrap.

    What Lynn points to here is yet another example of what a dismal failure current politics and economics (mainstream) are. We were better able to sort out a much worse situation after chronic imperialist wars with far less resources and technical abilities – now we have misery in plenty as the brutal fact of political and economic incompetence.

    Private debt is clearly a major issue we need to deal with. I admire what Steve Keen and others have done here – but wish we could articulate what debt is better. Like many economic concepts – take inflation which means something very different for household struggling with food, fuel, rent (mortgages are the same)and other basics than those better off – analysis of debt meaning in use reveals the aggregate figures mask such as individual miseries for many.

    The history of debt (as David Graeber)and the resource and financial curses (recent digest by Shaxson) suggest we need a wider way of accounting for what it is to back up a jubilee and levelling. The blood debts of the Lele, where the unborn child of a female relative may be sold into indenture look very similar to what we have been doing to our own children, sold into unemployment to keep inflation down, jobs that never free them of student loans and the indignity of not being able to pay their way – all because we must have the “genius rich” and be in debt to their rents. In UK history, the abolition of slavery paid off the debts incurred by immoral slave owners, and the banks have just received similar settlements for similar parasitic behaviour. In biology, parasitism is the most common life-style, stealing the energy of others.

    There is a potential ‘big data’ solution that could demonstrate the inter-connected real effects of our toleration of neo-liberalism from kids having to live with parents (and the reverse agonies), dire third-world squalor, multi-home-owning professional classes (from the Marxist driving her car to the holiday home in Wales where kids have to live with parents to the plutocrats buying-up whole city-centres) and financial transactions forcing Ponzi bubbles on us all. Instead. we have crackpot economics of aggregate and averages that depersonalise all and claims ‘tough love’ utilitarianism will cure all after decades of failure doing the same thing (probably 5000 years). Of course, ‘big data’ is already in their corrupt hands, and we haven’t done much of a job disseminating the radical intuitions of what control theory and transparent accounting could do in ours.

    The problem I find living on a poor estate (admittedly on the edge) is no way of working your way out. I know decent people who run drugs in the run up to Xmas, folk who do minimum wage stuff living week to week, bright kids with severe learning problems aspiring to be kingpins getting only trivial help in schools and everywhere rejected white, male youth, abandoned by everyone, including the women they briefly form half-relationships with, too problematic to be worth anyone’s time. The espoused solution is more of the education that has already failed them, gone the factories they used to really grow up in. They don’t have the brains to work smarter, though they are the same stuff we once educated into incredible skills beyond my hand and eye.

    The radical changes we need probably don’t mean much change for most of us. We already live in a salary range with the top no more than Plato’s 1 : 6. We own or rent one property to live in – and so on. We just need economic rents off our backs, a very old story. The questions are who owns the debt and how was it acquired? Not knowing plainly the answers, we are indenturing our children, instead of creating social capital.

    1. PrairieRose

      If I may, please accept my thanks to you for such a well-written, thoughtful post. This is a long overdue acknowledgement from one of your (no doubt many) fans.

  5. Ottawan

    The “skills mismatch” meme keeps popping up in Canada’s press and politics, too. Lately it’s been used to justify the imposition of new conditions on those who try to collect unemployment insurance, or as a retort to those who criticize the expansion of the temporary foreign worker program to…pretty much any employer.

    And now “skills mismatch” is being trotted out to justify a ham-handed attempt to transfer training costs from favoured firms to the taxpayer. Its a lovely and useful little catchphrase, isn’t it.

  6. Dave

    Both my daughters live at home, the oldest is 25 and youngest 21. I have no problem with them staying into their 30″s. I actually enjoy having them around. I plan to deed them our house once the wife and I go for our final checkout anyway, a last gift from Mom and Dad.

    My youngest is in college and the oldest has Aspergers and is trying to make her way. The oldest and her friends in the same age group do indeed struggle to find good jobs. It is very sad to see, fortunately my sadness is alleviated by the reports of huge profits for Wall St and fantastic after retirement pay packages for our elected reps(at the firms who lined their pockets while in office)

    Ti the point though…….. I (and the wife) have NO problem with my kids staying with me at all. My only problem is when they leave us as we will miss them terribly.

    1. reslez

      You are blessed. My family is much the same way. My sister lives with me and I am happy to have her. However, I know she would prefer to have financial independence — even if she wouldn’t actually move out once she achieves it. Similarly, my parents are standing by with a spare bedroom or two in case we ever need to return to the nest. I would be happy to live with them and see them more often, though of course it would be personally disappointing to be forced to do this because of financial reasons.

      The trouble is so many people are not in this situation and have no loving family who can help, or who don’t understand the macroeconomic reality. In tough times people come together. And make no mistake, these times are tough.

      The other drawback is that “boomeranging” prevents young people from forming new families of their own. I figure the world has plenty of people as it is, but these are real human needs… and one’s parents can’t be around forever.

      1. reslez

        I’m going to note also that our family is 5+ years older than yours. We’ve been in this situation since the financial collapse. And I don’t see any sign things are going to turn around. Our politicians have evidently decided this is the new normal.

    2. Denise

      As a baby boomer who has lived on her own since age 18, I’ve often wondered why my generation thought it a necessary rite of passage to move out of our parents’ houses as soon as possible. Living with family in multi-generational households now seems much healthier and happier, at least where people like each other. And of course cheaper.

  7. JGordon

    “A scarred, anxious generation is in dire need of vigorous government intervention.”

    Here I am reading about a culture making positive adaptations to society that’s in secular (material) decline, and here some Keynsian is aptly demonstrating why Keynsians are not only misguided, but also dangerous.

    In most places in the world, it’s perfectly normal and expected that multiple generations of a family live either under one roof or very close to each other. There are multiple benefits to this practice which those of us in isolated “nuclear” familes don’t have, such as resource sharing (housing, vehicles, solar panels, ammo, rabbits, etc), resilience, and greater indpendence from a corrupt and failing society.

    Frankly, instead of having more money I wish I could decrease my expenses and “demand” by living with my family around me. Maybe that way my government would view me as a human being and a citizen rather than as a mindless consumer.

    The sooner all these high-minded economists who can only ever think to piss more irreplaceble natural resources down the rathole of economic growth (and ever increasing maintenance costs) the sooner the sooner we all can get on with salvaging what’s left of this planet.

    1. Massinissa

      “and here some Economist is aptly demonstrating why Economists are not only misguided, but also dangerous.”

      Fixed it for you. Singling out Keynesians when pretty much every brand of economics does the same damn thing is disingenuous, not that I myself am Keynesian.

      Everything else though, I agree completely. This ‘one bigass house to one small family’ schtick American Capitalism has been pulling since the 1950s is an extreme outlier in human history, but for some reason everyone feels it is both normal and desirable. America, along with other places in the world, need to rethink some of their values like these.

      1. jonboinAR

        My daughter and her family have moved back in with my wife and I. Fortunately we have a fairly large house that contains all of us fairly comfortably. Let me tell you, it’s a pain in the butt. There are a lot more aggravations on a daily basis. and less privacy than we were used to. It’s also sweet, comforting, and increases a bit all of our senses of security. There ain’t no loneliness amongst all of us. These conflicting descriptions all apply.

        Basically, my daughter and her husband did not earn enough to live at all comfortably with their small family, though they both worked. He especially is a willing provider, though with no particular education his earning power is somewhat limited. Basically, a high school education topped with some kind of certificate from a community college doesn’t seem very tradable nowadays.

        Now she’s back in school. She wasn’t making enough styling hair so she’s trying a new tack. We’re all together able to cover for her as well as get the kids around where they need to go.

        Necessity is the mother of invention. We’re making a go of it, but we have almost no hedge against unforeseen circumstances.

        1. AbyNormal

          The strength of the hedge you’ll need…is in what your build daily, together.

          “It’s also sweet, comforting, and increases a bit all of our senses of security.”

          Keep Trusting Yourself…i’ve read this book before and your in great company!

          1. Jerry

            Well what can I say….I love my son (who has Autism), we’re helping him with a lawn business he started…he earns a little but at least likes his job….he lives at home….and he will never be able to leave no matter what the economy does. We can expect that he will live with others upon our death. (We’re retired) So we look at it this way, families use to live together so we can do it too.
            We just give each other as much room as possible!

    2. Dan Kervick

      That’s because in those other places in the world, multiple generations form an organized economic unit in which all members of the household contribute in some way to the household’s collective business. When instead you have people living in a household out of sheer economic necessity and the absence of opportunities for making their way in the world, it’s a different story.

  8. Pokey

    When it becomes uneconomic to “ship” jobs abroad, through taxing the product by an amount equal to labor saving or simply denying access to the U.S. market, symptoms like this will persist. Our economy is choked by indebted children who cannot possibly buy or build new housing, the prices of which are out of proportion to shrinking middle class income. We need someone to drive the money lenders from the temple, a radical populist like Huey Long.

  9. Arielle

    Imagine being a woman dating a partially-employed man!

    The stereotypical gender roles have been challenged in my relationship. I’m in love with a 29 year old guy who lives at home. He’s finishing up a second, 2-year degree (the 1st one in Graphic Design had little full-time job prospects). He is a late bloomer, which doesn’t help, but it’s jaw-dropping to know that he can make a better hourly wage thru Federal-Work Study than an entry-level position! I’m 34, working full time in a job I hate, to pay off 33k in student loans and a mortgage. In our relationship there’s tension. Biological clocks ticking. Angst. Love. Meltdowns. Laughter. Passion. Stubbornness and sorrow. WE BOTH wish for some kind of drastic, revolutionary change. What sacrafices will I, he, WE make to have a stable life? Is the economy RIGGED to where we can’t?

    1. Carla

      Arielle, I am so sorry to tell you, the economy is indeed RIGGED against you and your sweetie. The only comfort may be, you are certainly not alone.

      An economy built for infinite growth is not going to be sustained on a finite planet. You may want to check out the position statement at Thousands of people from all over the world have signed it.

      One way to perhaps live through hard times with a sense of purpose and even optimism may be to work on self-sufficiency at the very local level. Starting at home, see if there are ways to grow food in your own yard (not just a vegetable garden, but planting berry bushes and fruit trees). Get to know your neighbors and learn to share tools and skills with them. We’re going to need each other.

  10. Hal Roberts

    “Americas young people” ( 54 years old and under) “have been hit hard by the crappy economy”, which was given to us by design with Out Sourcing,Illegal Labor and the Globalist movement brought to you by your local U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Them and theirs were the drivers of this Crap. Theirs your sign “ horribly wrong” is what they busted their ass to get. Now they got their bail out and have the nerve to say something has gone wrong ??? LOL,Give me a break.

    Most of the jobs in America are going to people 55 and older, they take care of their own. How many of those Hispanics are here illegally? They are part of the problem.

    1. Massinissa

      “most of the jobs are going to people 55 and older”

      Are you bloody insane? Its next to impossible to get new employment if you are over 50 and laid off. I dont have a damn clue what in gods green earth youre talking about.

      1. JTFaraday

        Things are far from ideal, but that’s not completely true either. I’m not 50, but I’d much rather be me than some kid with no work experience to even work with, limited perspective, and no money. Maybe that’s just my personal preference.

        That said, if I could be a lucky, connected kid with no work experience, I’d be sorely tempted.

        I think that’s probably an apples and oranges comparison.

      2. hal roberts

        I tried to post a link with the information to verify what I said about the age 55 and up getting record number of jobs far outstripping the 25 to 54 age group for new hires but they will not allow the post.? The age group 18 to 24 got a far off 2nd place according to the source ( Tyler Durden)

    2. cripes

      Seriously? Or are you just too busy lapping up generational warfare propaganda from the one-party duopoly to read–or think?

      Cleveland Plain Dealer
      Older workers suffer from long-term unemployment more than any age group.
      We tracked unemployed workers — who lost their jobs during the recession — for two years, and interviewed them repeatedly. Only about 15 percent got a full-time job. That is horrible. It is a real tragedy because they have a short timeframe to prepare for retirement.”

      Next you’ll be crying to reduce SS benefits or extend working age again. Which just makes it harder for older workers to retire and harder for younger workers to get in the labor force.

      Christ, what an idiot.

      1. Hal Roberts

        I am 53 and a long term unemployed SWM and I stand by all the points I made above. WE 54 down are getting screwed worse than all the rest. I’ll just consider y’all uninformed. You should not call people names it makes you look bad.

        1. Denise

          You must be looking forward to turning 55 then, when all these 55+ers will suddenly recognize you as one of them and be eager to welcome you into the fold with a good job. Hang in there.

    3. Denise

      “They take care of their own”?

      Who over the age of 30 considers their age cohorts to be “their own”?

      I know no one who feels any need to take care of people because they’re roughly the same age as themselves. What an absurd idea.

  11. PQS

    Anecdotes from the Northwest:
    Coworker’s son graduated from college a couple of years ago with no debt because coworker paid for last two years at University and son lived at home and went to CC for the first two….yet son’s first job pays what I was making in 1996 living in the Southwest: low 30s. This in a region where rents are typically in the 800-1000 range for something very modest.

    Other coworker just moved suddenly divorced daughter back home with a passel of small children. Yikes. Good thing they love kids.

    How in the world are young people – the ones with the energy, drive, and hopeful spirit – supposed to get a leg up when the ladder has so obviously been pulled away?

    The Criminal Class thinks they can get away with this forever. They are in for a rude awakening.

    1. Dan Kervick

      Right, as this generation ages, energies that are currently dissipated into pseudo-revolutionary fantasies of anarchic romance and vague countercultural alternatives will eventually be transformed into concrete adult demands by a more canny and empowered group of frustrated realists. At some point this generation is going to take charge of things.

  12. Funonymous

    My whole generation was done in in 2008. I have a four year degree, most of my social circle has at least that. Most of them are still waiting tables at the job they were waiting to leave once they had a degree. I have friends with Masters in physics and biotech who can’t get interviews much less jobs (the one who worked ins physics lab during his Masters just might get a job at a charter school teaching web design) One of the ones with a law degree was told at a seafood resturant that “he wasted their time even coming for the interview.” The few that found full time work in something related to their education seem to last something like a year or two dodging the layoff axe before their departments got outsourced or just plain shut down (two might get laid off this week, publishing is a vortex and less HR staff is needed by the second to administrate to the ever diminishing workforce).
    The few that found ‘good jobs’ mostly did so through priviledge that few have (parents that can write a check for their undergraduate loans, send them to grad school, and then see that they get interviews from their friends in high places)
    Most of us were in high school in the late 90’s/early 00’s and if you were in AP/GT/A level classes our entire high school experience was an advert for a college education, which while extremely personally enriching in many ways, feel like another variation of the mortgage crisis and all the other American Dream Scams that pollute this place (sign on the dotted line at 18 for a shitload of debt you barely understand that has no collateral and no way to discharge in bankruptcy ever, have daisy chain of financial frauds kick off the slow rolling decline of civilization months after graduation). Many of us have ruined credit from pursuing an education, and since FICO is now somehow misapplied far beyond its algorithmic purpose into every aspect of ‘qualifying’ for middle class work and treatment in society that creates a marvelous negative feedback loop, as well as a ton of bitterness and mistrust. A great many of us will never qualify for a home loan (many more who would won’t want one, becoming extremely debt averse in the wake of all this, and not merely as a paranoid overreaction either.) Many will never feel that they can hope to provide stability to a family, partially through their own circumstances, and partially because they know that at any moment in any field that the ground could move out from under them with zero notice, and having people who depend on you in such circumstances are what drive people to madness. As a society and a generation how do you come back from all that?
    How are so many younger people going to find the internal motivation to push forward when they know that their college loan payment plan is stil going to leave them having their Social Security checks garnished in 35 years, a check which will be smaller due to yearly earnings instability and decreases factoring into the average, in a world where every possible human need will most likely cost as much as the market can possibly bear? And that is without factoring in all of those little random events in life that can lead to instant destitution, like any encounter with the medical or legal system.

        1. Stallworth

          Life should have a warning label: may cause all types of suffering, misery, and disease. Will cause eventual destruction and death.

    1. PrairieRose

      I really appreciated reading your post from the trenches. You’ve been sold down the river too, dear. The middle class dream was always a myth.

    2. Dan Kervick

      The generation of the 1930’s was just as despondent and miserable, seeing no clear way forward.

      A decade later, they were kicking Nazi and Japanese empire asses on six continents, and then built a postwar golden age based on massive public investment and policy initiative in homes, highways, schools, educational benefits, and labor security.

      Your generation needs a war effort: not a war effort aimed at killing people in foreign lands, but one aimed at saving the planet and systematically transforming our energy, transportation, environmental, educational and health systems. This can be done; these things can actually happen; the have happened before.

      The generations ahead of you have no model for this. Our generations mostly chose the pursuit of individual happiness and the dismantling of collective power. We build the exploitative, unequal, avaricious neoliberal crud that is standing in your way. Mobilize and take it on. Use solidarity and organization, and formulate concrete agendas for political and economic restructuring.

      1. nobody

        “A decade later, they were kicking Nazi and Japanese empire asses on six continents…”

        Also, incinerating vast numbers of German and Japanese civilians from the air (but avoiding GE factories and railroad tracks to Auschwitz), while letting the Soviets suffer vastly more casualties.

        “…and then built a postwar golden age based on massive public investment and policy initiative in homes, highways, schools, educational benefits, and labor security…”

        In a context where a vast amount of the rest of the world’s productive infrastructure had been bombed into oblivion, and also based on neocolonial wealth extraction.

        “…saving the planet and systematically transforming our energy, transportation, environmental, educational and health systems…”

        If some of the peak oil people are right, and if it turns out that our species has overshot carrying capacity, such a thing really might not be possible.

        1. Dan Kervick

          I don’t think this kind of post-apocalyptic thinking is likely to last. People are restless and the young are always unsatisfied. They will find some way to survive, build and thrive.

          1. A Real Black Person

            “People are restless and the young are always unsatisfied. They will find some way to survive, build and thrive.”
            I think that you have no idea how social revolutions that are spearheaded by social collapse turn out.

            The Great Depression ended after several years of war.The difference between the Great Depression and where we are now is back then,there was enough food to go around in industrialized countries. Most of the poverty and suffering, prior to the war, were the results of a market failure. People were scared of spending their money after recklessly investing it. Apocalyptic situations like “peak oil” presents a situation where millions people will have to starve to death in industrialized countries as fossil fuels become more expensive and scarce. The situation that industrialized countries, especially developed ones, are is entering to is the end of industrialization. The situation will be exacerbated denial that people like you are in. I don’t see anyone under the age of 40, acknowledging our energy problems, yet alone developing a mainstream political movement to address them. When most people realize what the situation is, it will be way too late and many of them will not behave rationally.

            In the meantime, automation has and will put more people out of work or push more people into low-paying jobs* or push them off-grid until fossil fuels become too scarce or expensive to use.

            *People of average or below average cognitive abilities.

    3. Mrs. Bob

      That’s my story. I have a BS in engineering, I had a house. My husband went to law school. We had two kids, I got laid off and my husband could only find part time work after looking for a year and a half. He found a full time job but it was further away and our house was under water. It got foreclosed on and then a year into my husband’s new job he was fired so the guy could hire someone for less money. We now live with my husband’s parents with our two kids. I can’t find a job because after I was laid off I took off some time to take care of my kids. So no one wants to even consider me. My husband is a year into a job search for something in his legal field. We have considered everything , changing careers, going back to college, starting our own company and we can’t do some of things because we owe a large monthly payment for student loans and our in laws want us gone as soon as my husband finds a job and I don’t know if he will be able to find another attorney job. I just cry everyday because we are stuck living here when we know we are a drain on their resources and they resent having us here but we really don’t have anywhere else to go. We also have no idea how or if this will end.

    1. anon y'mouse

      yes, if the built environment were suitable and the power relationships in the family are not based around purely economic imperatives.

      if not, and people are clambering all over each other in poorly planned out spaces, bickering over “no, YOU get a job! and stop drinking 1/2 gallon of milk per day”, then it is hopeless.

      signed, someone who grew up in one of those.

      1. Funonymous

        Spot on. The power relationships and the asymmetries therein are one of the first causes and drivers of lots of our problems in families and in the wider spheres of society. Lots of presumed, ungrented, inferred, uneared authority in all the wrong places.

        1. JTFaraday

          Well, if that’s the problem, then how ever in the world do so many people hypnotize themselves into shacking up together?

          Maybe we should atomize everyone into single cell dormitories.

          It could work.

  13. anon y'mouse

    the linked articles on the so-called Skills Mismatch highlight what one suspects and no one bothers saying. corps want people to become finely tailored machines suiting their highly specialized purposes, and want to rent them temporarily at the lowest possible wages. they fail to take into account that people can and do learn almost anything they need in order to function while ON the job, or they do not want to take the time and money necessary.

    I feel that a lot of this is being driven by the increasing rates of technological and therefore sociological/societal change. because one’s “job” won’t be there due to the entire produce/business not being required beyond the extremely short-term profit-producing period, and this “churn & burn” has been actively planned for by the management & owners (elites, comparatively), and because there are so many damned people out there in the world who could potentially do the job (overpopulation, outsourcing, immigration) the buyers of work feel justified in expecting the lowest cost cog to be ideally suited just for them, in the same just-in-time way that they expect machine parts or inventory.

    who drives this rate of change, and is it really necessary is a question that no one seems to want to ask. every futurist I’ve ever met who desired to drive on to the glorious future of Star Trek was also a winner in the genetic/social lottery, happened to have the ‘right’ interests and skills for the current constantly-changing economy, and looked at those of us who would question the rate of change and “is it really necessary?” as luddites, and future Neanderthals on the evolutionary highway.

  14. kaj

    So much for the elderly sucking out the life-blood from the future of the younger generation via “excessive” social-security and medicare support….Reduce social security and medicare says the O’Bummer. The elderly have nurtured the young, put them through school and college and now when they don’t earn much, they still support the younger generation by housing them free of charge and furnish free baby-sitting.

    The Democrats have selected 2 bastards in a row, deceptive, conniving, thieving liars. What does that say about this party? (Never mind the Republican fascists). This country is in real trouble, the worst I have experienced in my last 55 years.

    1. Dan Kervick

      The Democratic Party sucks. So does the Republican Party. They are both owned and operated by plutocrats who divide young from old, black and latino from white, working poor from jobless poor, suburban middle class from everybody else.

    2. Moneta

      That’s what happens when the Fed promotes helicopter services. You get hovering.

      There is so much anger on this site. The young blaming the old and vice versa. If you start thinking in terms of determinism, the anger does dissipate. When you kick a ball, it goes a certain way but the direction depends on multiple variables.

      We can say the same thing about boomer behavior and that of their kids. The writing was on the wall decades ago… but most people could not see past their nose.

  15. Ready2gonow

    We have 2 minor and 2 “adult” kids – one just graduated Law School and moved back home penniless – doesn’t even have a car and huge amounts of debt trying desperately to get a job can’t even get paralegal or exec asst. jobs. 2nd is subsisting in NY with help from us when we can give it. My inlaws, once wealthy now penniless due to illnesses,moved in last March; she recently died of cancer with no life insurance or savings so we had to have her cremated with our last 1000.00 in savings.My father-in-law now has just his SS check – and now cannot afford his supplemental insurance which shifts the burden for his care and uncovered expenses to us – he lives in our Dinng Room. My husband has been unemployed for 4 years – makes furniture and does carpentry when he can find a willing buyer but since March has been consumed with the burden of his parents care. I lost my well-paying Compliance job 2 years ago (no Irony there) when I was nearly illegally (not in default) foeclosed on and am now blacklisted from all but hourly contract work which pays ok – if I were not supporting 8, make that 7, people. Despite me beating them WITH PREJUDICE they appealed and visit weekly to harrass us, nearly killed our dog and are openly trying to get my oldest blacklisted from taking the bar and we suspect from employment. Put it this way: I called today to see if my (paltry) life insurance pays off if suicide is the cause of death. Maybe thats the plan – starve us all to death and if that doesn’t work drive us to despair and suicide.

    1. Ready2gonow

      Forgot to mention our HVAC went out 2 years ago – we live without heat or air in the Midwest and the plumbing is leaking. My 12 year old car is on its last legs when its gone its gone…I really see no hope for the future. We spent our 401-k on sending first 2 to college and they and we still have student loans; younger 2 probly won’t even get to go. We are college-educated hardworking people who tried to do the right thing…what the hell happened???

      1. Ready2go

        Thanks Guys…if the real world has disappointed, at least I have awesome “virtual” friends…(if you ever want to rid yourself of friends the easy and fast way – be poor. LOL)

  16. James From SoCal

    3 questions:

    1. In other countries multiple generations live together for the social and economic good of all. But here – the economic health of the country depends upon the fragmentation of the family. If people live together and support each other economically and socially and in numerous other ways- that undermines the economy? Does anyone find it odd that American capitalism is so heavily dependent upon the dispersion of families?

    2. Isn’t housing (the general value of which has as much to do with speculation, the use of equity for sustaining lifestyle and tax laws as with any intrinsic measure) a dangerous market upon which to build an economy?

    3. Is the social and economic result of using housing as the basis of an economy an example of what Marx referred to as ‘alienation’?

  17. robnume

    Young Americans have every right these days to “lose It”. I have five sons ages 22 through 36 and only one is not living at home with us. The Obama administration’s response to ANY crisis has not only been inadequate, it’s been downright obscene!

  18. Benoit Essiambre

    As a millennial what I see amongst my peers are people with a high level of education sometimes master’s degrees or PhDs who are in a bad position financially compared to their parents.

    There are three main problems facing millennials.

    The most important one is unemployment or underemployment. That is a lack of good jobs that use our skills and a preponderance of temp work or part time work. This is a cost to a typical educated and smart millennial of 20k to 50k per year compared to what a similarly educated person from the previous generation could get.

    The second most important problem is the cost of securing a retirement. Low expected investment returns (see 10-year T-notes yields) and reduced government and private sector pension plans means that where a baby boomer had to save 10k to 20k a year for retirement, a equivalent millennial has to put away 30k to 40k. That is an additional 10k to 20k a year of costs we have to bear compared to the previous generation.

    The third reason is that housing and rent in regions where there are jobs is still expensive compared to what you could get before.

    If I could add a fourth reason I would say that high student debt is a bit problematic. For some reason, this one gets a lot of press but it isn’t nearly as important as the others.

    In my opinion most of the problems could be solved by central banks being more aggressive and overshooting inflation a bit to solve the liquidity trap while at the same time putting in place policies that cool down the housing market to prevent and deflate bubbles in this sector. Unfortunately, it seems this isn’t a popular solution outside economists and those who understand macroeconomic models.

    1. PrairieRose

      Valid points all, BE. But I must tell you, as a card-carrying middle-class baby boomer, there’s been no possible way during my middle-class working career that I’ve been able to save $10,000 to $20,000 a year. Ever. Even when I was making $50,000 a year gross (which when taxes are taken out nets around $34,500 a year), between the rent and car payments and insurance and food and health care and transportation and other myriad costs of living, I was lucky to save even $5,000 a year. Then I would need a crown or the car needed new tires so I’d have to dip into savings. When you do the actual math, it’s terrifying how many of us have absolutely nothing despite our best efforts. And $50K a year is not even median wage-it’s above median wages. We’re headed for the cliff, people.

    2. Lambert Strether

      Fourth: Self-identification as Millennials. If you’re a 1% “legacy Millennial,” I bet you’re doing just fine. Could there be a reason for that? Can the term “Millennial” ever capture that reason? No? Could there be a reason for that? I see this “Millenial” kudzu growing all over everything, and it’s the flip side of strategic hate management against Boomers. Yeah, you got the lousy T-shirt. So now?

      1. JTFaraday

        If you think about how the babyboom went about birthing babies, it is probably generally true that the much maligned “slacker” gen-X were primarily the children of babyboomers who went to work right out of high school and got married young.

        The highly touted “millenials,” OTOH, include the kids of the well educated professional classes.

        Someone who does demographics should do a study.

    3. Tim

      Deflation in and of itself is a wonderful thing for the average Joe, despite all the scare tacticts the economists try to throw at people. Japan has seen deflation for 20 years. Where is the social unrest? It may be hard to get a great paying job, but everything’s cheaper so it isn’t bad for the “little” people.

      And it is certainly better than the alternative wealth transfer to the financial industry we get with a +2% guaranteed inflationary policy of our current Fed.

      Doesn’t the Fed mandate from congress of stable prices mean 0% inflation, or were they really thinking stable meant low volatility back in 1913?

  19. Waking Up

    Lynn Parramore states, “America’s young people have been hit so hard by the crappy economy that they can’t even get out the door. A fresh study from Pew Research reveals that 36 percent of Millennials — young adults ages 18 to 31 — are still living under their parents’ roofs (this includes college students who come home for breaks). Not since the 1960s have so many young people resorted to couch surfing with mom and dad, a record 21.6 million young adults last year.”

    It seems to me those are actually amongst the “lucky” young adults. At least they have family support. What about all the young adults who lack that family support for various reasons AND are unable to find a job with a “living wage”? There is no doubt in my mind that the homeless population is exponentially increasing…and I have noticed that many are “young adults”.

    Have we passed the point of no return with the levels of corruption from our government, business community, and wealthy? Does endless spying on all Americans (as well as those around the world) and killing with drones somehow make for a better society…if not, then when and who is going to stop it?? Will anyone stop the imperialist madness?

    1. Android 16

      “ … a culture that communicates through image and spectacle is a totalitarian culture. We have created in the words of great political philosopher Sheldon Wolin a system of inverted totalitarianism. Inverted totalitarianism is different he writes, from classical totalitarianism, it does not find its expression in demagogue or charismatic leader but in the anonimity of the corporate state. In inverted totalitarianism you have corporate systems that purport to pay loyalty and fielty to the constitution and electoral politics and the language and iconography of american patriotism and nationalism but have so corrupted the levers of power as to render the citizens impotent … What we have undegone is a coup d’etat. In inverted totalitarianims economics trumps politics which is different from classical totalitarianism where politics trumps economics. And with that inversion comes a different form of ruthlessness. The commodification of american culture, the comodification of human beings whose worth is determined by the market, as well as the commodification of the natural world whose worth is determined by the market, means that each will be exploited by corporate power until exhaustion or collapse. Societies which can not regulate such forces cannibalize themselves until they die.” (Chris Hedges – Death of the Liberal Class excerpts)

  20. jg

    Waking Up; I can tell you right that a bunch of young people are falling off the map of civilization. Have you ever heard of the Rainbow Tribe? Or Rainbow Gathering?

    It’s a mishmash of old hippies and young dropouts and a large swath of in-betweens that basically live off foodstamps, hitch the roads, jump trains, and have semi-regular state, regional, and national gatherings.

    I’ve been to a few. Lots of drugs and fun and stuff like that. But there were also lots of young single moms raising their children out in the woods or as perennial nomads.

    This is one of the most positive outlets for homelessness and vagrancy. The other stuff is being homeless in a certain area. Or a drug addict. Or turning to crime.

    I’m a young millenial myself. I had a daughter in high school. I finished high school, despite a heckling crowd suggesting I should just get a GED. I went to college; took out loans the last two years. I graduated. I found no work worthy of the name. I had to move across the country to where one of my parents lives, starting from scratch, with no connections, contacts, or leads on finding a job.

    This generation is either going to be Greater than the Greatest Generation, or it will go under, and this country will collapse into a neo-feudal morass.

    Hitler described invading Russia as “kicking in the door and the whole structure will collapse.” If this generation wakes up, one swift kick will destroy all the stuff that needs to be destroyed.

    If not, then the Chinese and Russians will be the ones kicking in the door. And then all bets are off.

  21. sierra7

    Welcome to the world of, “Globalization”!
    Where the HE$% did anyone think that global program would lead????

  22. mcgee

    The push for immigration is a reflection of our failed society and the need to bring in outsiders to fill positions for which our country was unable to properly prepare an entire generation; albeit a generation saddled with debt they might forever carry hoping to acheive a better life. Not sure how to square that circle but I can assess who benefited and it isn’t the majority of everday Americans following a path previous generations had followed with some success.

    Remember when the future held promise and not fear?

    1. Waking Up

      The “push for immigration” and to bring in outside workers is a reflection of our corrupt business community which wants cheap labor and reduced wages. We as a country DO have the manpower and knowledge for the jobs…but, the business community and wealthy don’t want to pay “living wages”.

      I knew that we going even deeper into the abyss as a country when the book by Thomas Friedman, “The World is Flat…” became an international bestseller in 2005 and won the “Financial Times and Goldman Sachs business book of the year award for 2005”. If people actually believed his globalization b.s., the only “winners” in the U.S. would be the already wealthy and multinational corporations.

      1. Jim in SC

        As Robert Reich said on NPR in 1993 or so: if you want to see the winners from globalization, go to the mall.

    2. anon y'mouse

      “the need to bring in outsiders to fill positions for which our country was unable to properly prepare an entire generation.”

      bull. the need for corps and farmers to pay less than a fully livable wage, and have full power and justification to treat their employees poorly (and many times defraud them outright, or violate their human rights) through racial prejudice, illegal status or H1B “at the pleasure of your majesty” power imbalance.

      the corps and such don’t like empowered citizens who might bother to talk back, or gum up the works with safety and health considerations. they want slaves, without having to pay those slaves enough to keep housed and clothed. what better than to import a bunch of people who are suffering from poor econ policy in their home countries, that believe that being a slave in the rich man’s house is better than where they came from.

  23. Jerry

    I think ours was one of the last group who was able to make it before the beginning of the downward spiral. Both my wife and I both graduated from college in the early 70’s. We earned about $25,000 combined. Our first house was a small starter in a small town cost $25,000. Our car a VW cost $2000.00 So we were able to buy things at a reasonable price and save some. My sister who is 6 years younger could not do the same. The houses and cars’ prices had escalated much faster than wages. After awhile people were not buying cars they seemed to be leasing them because they cost $25,000+ My guess is that, like water, the world economies are seeking their own level. Unless we want to balance our standard of living with third world countries we will have to do something about jobs going to other countries. And at the same time, we may yet still live like the young people’s grand parents….one car per family, renting for some time before buying a small starter home.etc. But I do think things are going to improve. We’re living thru an adjustment due to governments allowing the 1% to take almost all. But life is more than things…like someone who loves you and you love in return. And for me, God who loves me and I love. Best to all!

    1. anon y'mouse

      love is vital. far be it for me to denigrate it.

      but love is sorely tested by conditions in which two people struggle with employment that only provides for 1.5 people.

      isn’t the leading cause of divorce due to finances?

    2. F. Beard

      Unless we want to balance our standard of living with third world countries we will have to do something about jobs going to other countries. Jerry

      Wrong answer. The problem is not outsourcing per se but that the profits produced thereby are not justly shared as they would be except for the wicked government-backed counterfeiting cartel, the banks.

      Hint: When it comes to justice, the victims deserve restitution, not punishment. That’s in the Old Testament, btw.

  24. edmondo

    “….the voices of austerity-pushers like Alan Simpson and Erksine Bowles, still echo throughout Washington. The pair recently published an op-ed once again calling for curtailed government investment and cuts to the social safety net.”

    I guess we know which president will be first in line to support those call, don’t we?

  25. Viola R. Golden

    In 2012, 36% of the nation’s young adults ages 18 to 31—the so-called Millennial generation—were living in their parents’ home, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. This is the highest share in at least four decades and represents a slow but steady increase over the 32% of their same-aged counterparts who were living at home prior to the Great Recession in 2007 and the 34% doing so when it officially ended in 2009.

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