The 2nd Great Depression
"As a result, Draut and Kamenetz take the brunt of Boomer criticism from elders who dismiss their claims and only hear what they believe to be whining. But all these authors are doing is telling the story of their generation, pointing out how times have changed, and just how difficult it is to be young, broke, in debt and with little hope for the future. To me, it is the story of a second great depression. "
Exactly. My reaction is to just give up and have a good time. Nothing else to do except wait it out. I know not a single person doing better than their parents. I know they are out there, but they seem like a fairytale to me. I haven't experienced it yet.
There's a bunch of old bastards out there clinging to every last drop of power and wealth their greedy little hands can grip. They're just starting to die off, and the world will be a much better place when they finally do.
April 27th, 2007 4:51pm
Depends on your definition of "better" is.
Most Americans are doing better than their parents, if the definition is "you own more stuff."
If the definition is "Dad works, Mom takes care of the kids", then no.
April 27th, 2007 4:52pm
Almost without exception, humans today enjoy a greater quality of health and overall life than their parents due to the advances in science, medicine, and technology that all these debt ridden college graduates have brought to the table.
Progress requires sacrifice. This is a global race, and the US has been resting on it's laurels for far too long. We have gotten fat and lazy, complacent and in danger of becoming irrelevant. And the author appears to be a proponent of continuing this trend.
Most frustratingly for me, the article abstracts away all elements of personal choice and responsability and places the blame on some vague concept of "society":
Student Personal Credit Card debt- That is the fault of Universities charging tuition and the social/professional pressures to attend! Certainly not weekends at the bars and trips to Banana Republic!!!
Student Loan Debt- Why think long term? We need to stress short term outcomes and what is best for today! Lets forget that extra average $1M income over your lifetime because $40k in debt now is not worth it! And hey, you might not even end up in the career field you majored in!
Basic Financial Responsability: Late payments make interest rates rise!!! The injustice of it all!
There is nothing magical about the Dow hitting 13,000. This has all been happening gradually and has been the status quo for 2 generations now.
I was amazed at the low national high school graduation rate though...
April 27th, 2007 5:50pm
"Lets forget that extra average $1M income over your lifetime because $40k in debt now is not worth it! "
Data? There is a 1M average diff between a state school and a private college?
April 27th, 2007 6:39pm
high school grad / college grad
April 27th, 2007 6:42pm
oh of course, but no need to go into student loan debt to get a college degree.
April 27th, 2007 6:50pm
yeah... I agree... but that is one of the major assumptions of the article.
April 27th, 2007 7:05pm
If you've been tracking the sunday times rich list it has been totally transformed over the last few years. The landowners have been largely displaced by the entrepreneurs. Not that the landowners have got any poorer, it's just not that efficient an earner these days
April 27th, 2007 7:13pm
Everything in that article is true. But almost nobody in this generation cares enough to do anything about it, do you guys?
Have you written a letter or published an article? Participated in a march or demonstration? Worked to change things? Spoken face to face with your representatives?
April 27th, 2007 7:23pm
"Everything in that article is true"
you mean like... inflation? Increasing competition on a global scale? The US losing jobs overseas for lower costs?
write letters/articles? talk to representatives? WTF man??? What do you want to say... "The rest of the world is suddenly competing with us and you find that objectionable"...
Good luck with that.
April 27th, 2007 7:30pm
the real solution lies in exactly what the article rallies against:
getting knee deep in debt (because college is the new "high school degree") and work hard to eventually pay it down and make a good life for yourself in the "knowledge based economy".
Unless you don't end up in a career that involves your specific major, in which case the whole college degree is evidently a total waste according to the author...
April 27th, 2007 7:35pm
You're advocating getting deep in debt as a path to success? Am I understanding you right there?
April 27th, 2007 9:23pm
Excessive debt is stupid, usually. Debt from buying too much shit, anyway. Maybe debt from medical school is an investment, I don't know.
It never ceases to amaze me how some people can dig themselves such a deep hole and then wonder why. You point to their big car, fancy vacations and houseful of stuff, but they don't make the connection.
April 27th, 2007 9:29pm
>There's a bunch of old bastards out there clinging to every last drop of power and wealth their greedy little hands can grip. They're just starting to die off, and the world will be a much better place when they finally do.<
If you think their greedy little kids will be any better when their boomer parents' power and wealth are handed on undiminished then you're pissing upwind.
April 27th, 2007 9:42pm
Me ole Dad should be counted amongst the 'old bastards'. I think my little sister (the likely beneficiary of his riches upon his demise) will do more for humanity and critters both.
April 27th, 2007 9:53pm
"You're advocating getting deep in debt as a path to success?"
I said "knee deep"... i.e. "managable debt".
It takes money to make money. If you don't have it starting out, a college loan is a fantastic investment in your future earnings potential that will in almost all cases pay for itself over time.
April 28th, 2007 3:35am
Only for careers where you are required to have a degree to buy a job ticket.
For development jobs as an example, you're better off skipping college if you are already talented.
April 28th, 2007 11:14am
A college degree is widely required for many types of career advancement. You will very likely earn less over the course of your lifetime without one.
If you start as a developer at 18, by the time you are 26, without a college degree, you will find your career at a sudden all-stop. You will not generally be regarded as qualified for management. Transferring your skills from company to company will be much more problematic, as you will be competing against (mostly) college grads who are younger than you yet have more intensive formal training.
My dad worked the steel mills when he was young. Starting pay was 1.5 times the starting salary of a college grad. The problem is- he realized that is pretty much where your salary will stay for the rest of your life there, and you are much more likely to be injured or die on the job.
College educations have been undervalued for a VERY long time... for example- up until Ronald Reagan became mayor, you could go to community college in California for FREE.
April 28th, 2007 6:18pm
(hey I'm from Washington D.C. we dont have such things :)
April 28th, 2007 6:25pm
"You will very likely earn less over the course of your lifetime without one."
Not if you take the $150,000 that a college education typically costs and stuff it in a indexed fund and leave it there, plus start working 5 years earlier than you would have otherwise.
College graduates make more salary because smarter people go to college. If you are good enough to do well in college, you can do just as well by skipping it, unless a degree is actually required for your career due to legislation.
April 28th, 2007 9:37pm
You are being neither practical, nor an economist.
First, $150k is a ridiculous figure. You can get a college degree with 2 years community college living with parents and working part time, then 2 years state school working part time and get out with a fraction of that debt. It is all about personal choices, which the original article completely ignores.
Second, you don't HAVE the "$150k" to start with- it is BORROWED in the form of a LOAN, hence the whole point of the original article. If you stuffed it in an index fund, you would also be paying back interest on the loan and barely making much profits after inflation- possibly even a loss. Which leads back to my original arguement in favor of assuming moderate debt for the future earnings potential of a college degree, in this "knowledge based economy".
Either way, my beef isn't with [college/no college] degree, it is with the author of the article abstracting away personal choice, common sence, and responsability from the financial situation that many young people find themselves in.
April 29th, 2007 6:08am