GenY Is Beyond Screwed

In a 3.26 Esquire piece called “War Against Youth,” David Marche explains how the degree to which Boomers (and, to some extent, older GenXers) have stuck it to GenY is really without historical precdent. No generation has ever robbed and undermined another generation quite like this. In fact, when has an American generation ever made things worse for a younger one?

“Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, human potential has been consistently growing, generating greater material wealth, more education, wider opportunities — a vast and glorious liberation of human potential,” Marche begins. “In all that time, everyone, even followers of the most corrupt or most evil of ideologies, believed they were working for a better tomorrow. Not now. The angel of progress has suddenly vanished from the scene. Or rather, the angel of progress has been sent away.

“Nobody ever talks about generational conflict. Who wants to bring up that the old are eating the young at the dinner table? How are you going to mention that to your boss? If you’re a politician, how are you going to tell your donors? Even the Occupy Wall Street crowd, while rejecting the modes and rhetoric and institutional support of Boomer progressives, shied away from articulating the fundamental distinction that fills their spaces with crowds: young against old.

David Frum, former George W. Bush speechwriter, had the guts to acknowledge that the Tea Party’s combination of expensive entitlement programs and tax cuts is something entirely different from a traditional political program: “This isn’t conservatism: It’s a going-out-of-business sale for the Baby Boom generation.” The economic motive is growing ever more naked, and has nothing to do with any principle that could be articulated by Goldwater or Reagan, or indeed with any principle at all. The political imperative is to preserve the economic cloak of unreality that the Boomers have wrapped themselves in.”

  • Jesse Crall

    Awesome. Now I have an excuse for being a pissed-off, childless son of a bitch!

  • Edward

    I’ve been lucky, have a good retirement, state and SS. I really worry about my kids. But I’m not flush, I’m almost check to check making it.

  • Kakihara

    Don’t blame Gen X’ers. We warned Gen Y’ers first.

  • Storm Serge

    Born in 1982. Nobody I know uses GenY X or anything else. This shit is not in the vernacular. Give it a rest.

  • Jeffrey Wells

    You give it a fucking rest. Boomers were born from ’46 to ’64. GenX started in ’64 and came to a close in…I don’t know, sometime in the early ’80s. GenY (a.k.a., “the Millenials”) started up right after that…maybe ’84 or ’85. That’s how it is.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_Boomers

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_X

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_Y

  • SaveFarris

    And what better way to close that divide then by requiring Gen X/Y to buy expensive insurance they don’t need in order to subsidize Boomers’ Medicare.

  • Ray

    “”David Frum, former George W. Bush speechwriter, had the guts to acknowledge that the Tea Party’s combination of expensive entitlement programs and tax cuts is something entirely different from a traditional political program:”

    Oh OF COURSE it’s Bush’s fault.

    FUCK THAT. Jeff’s vote put more debt on the backs of the younger generation in three years than Bush did in the previous eight. Worse, with NO SIGNS of stopping- indeed, accelerating- and the President and his party has NO DESIRE AT ALL to stop it, ever. Spend, spend, spend, until we’re Spain with shittier beaches.

    YOU screwed over GenY, Wells. Your kids and grandkids will be paying off the shit YOU voted for. Apres vous, le deluge.

  • Jeffrey Wells

    Wells to Ray: It’s never been that simplistic and it never will be that simplistic. You’re a Republican talking-points bullshit artist. The Obama team was handed this mess on a silver platter and gradually pulled this country out of a terrible hole. Reagan set the stage with his deregulation moves, Clinton pushed the bad tendencies along and then Bush ’43 made it all much worse. Try pushing your rightwing rhetorical slop elsewhere.

  • Pjm

    The die was cast in 1978 with Proposition 13. That was the moment when those who had arrived said “I got what I want, the hell with the rest of you.” A quintessentially American thought. It has just taken 30 years for the bathtub to drain… It’s probably a good thing, all in all, because the insane consumerism and greed of America circa 1945-1978 was morally and economically unsustainable. Time to invent a new dream!

  • ojtoronto

    Ray – if you think our major deficit problems and just plain fucked up political problems are due to obama you are too fucking stupid to be reasoned with. Our taxes are too fucking low and have been for 30 years. And why didn’t this Esquire article mention the fucking environment? I guess climate change is Obama’s fault too – or it would be if clueless fucks like you believed it. Seriously, I would love to see a young, charismatic leader say the things all young people with brains believe: we are fucked and the boomers pissed our future away.

  • Super Soul

    Aw, fuck. I was hoping to finish off my basement, but I guess I’ll only be able to do it in reality and not in demographic theory.

  • BobbyLupo

    “Jeff’s vote put more debt on the backs of the younger generation in three years than Bush did in the previous eight.”

    That isn’t true. The numbers have to be bent in order to show that — giving Bush credit for 2001 (which was Clinton’s) and Obama credit for 2009 (which was Bush’s). I know, I know, wah wah, liberals blame Bush, but, yeah, Bush was president in October of 2008 when the budget for 2009 was passed, that was all his spending.

  • http://darkimbecile.com DarkImbecile

    “It’s never been that simplistic and it never will be that simplistic.”

    Exactly, Wells. Trying to affix blame for this situation on one political party or the other is a childish dodge. Conservatives didn’t do this, and neither did liberals.

    Americans did.

    And we’ll reap what we continue to sow as long as we keep distracting ourselves by getting into pissing contests with the other tribe.

  • Kakihara

    Ray: “Jeff’s vote put more debt on the backs of the younger generation in three years than Bush did in the previous eight. ”

    Yeah, because our endless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq which will cost billions in PTSD and rehabilitation therapy for our vets alone are so much cheaper than insuring more Americans.

  • dangovich
  • The Thing

    The problem is that they’re using old numbers. 2009 was an economic wash. Young people, who were buying homes at the time, lost them because they couldn’t afford to keep them/it wasn’t worth it to keep them. Which means that they didn’t have much net worth, seeing as they don’t have a home, and probably had to sell their car or take a serious downgrade. And the old people generally have most of their homes paid off, or they at least didn’t give a shit if their house lost value, seeing as they’ll sell it when they die.

    I’ll agree that old people are destroying this nation, but use 2007/2008 numbers, or even 2011 numbers to prove it.

  • EricGilde

    As another GenY-er (agree, I have never heard a single person my age of any profession, social class, race, or creed refer to themselves or anyone else with that term), the little chart posted above is HIGHLY dubious.

    1 in 3 Americans have postponed marrying? Really? A third of my generation wants to marry but doesn’t, and it’s because of the economy? What a load of crap.

  • Bob Violence

    uh large swathes of the world were in worse shape in 1900 and even 1950 than they were in 1800, thanks in large part to the imperialism that fueled the industrial revolution in the west

    but hey at least our grandparents were able to buy radios

  • Stewart Kline

    H’mm sounds like a good time for someone to remake Wild in the Streets

  • Kakihara
  • Floyd Thursby

    In the 60s and 70s I never heard anyone refer to himself as a hippie.

    Our only hope for the future is Kakihara becoming a presidential advisor.

  • bents75

    I could see questioning the actual statistics in the chart for whatever reason, but as someone else born in early 80’s… I don’t get people seemingly dismissing it simply just because they or their friends never use GenX/GenY terms….what fucking difference does it make what you call yourself?

    How does that in any way discredit the point?

    And Ray’s post is just nonsensical. If you were to put the blame for this on Obama than it was essentially generation X/Y that screwed over generation X/Y because it was their/our proportionate turnout for him that got him elected in the first place.

    It doesn’t add up to me that our economy is so fickle that 3 years and only 3 years of any amount of government spending somehow singlehandedly dislodged the financial standing of two entire generations. What about the private sector that actually pays most of these people? I wonder if maybe, just maybe, that has something to do with it. Hmmm…

  • EricGilde

    That’ article is hilarious. C-Sections increased by 11.9 percent between 1996 and 2009, well… just because, I guess, because the article doesn’t want to get into it.

    Then it drops 0.1 percent…

    IT HAS TO BE THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN!!!

  • SaveFarris

    yeah, Bush was president in October of 2008 when the budget for 2009 was passed

    The 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act was signed on March 11, 2009. I had no idea Bush was still in office at that point. The things you learn…

    It doesn’t add up to me that our economy is so fickle that 3 years and only 3 years of any amount of government spending somehow singlehandedly dislodged the financial standing of two entire generations.

    You would think so, until you realize the a**load of spending we’ve been doing in the past 3 years. In his first year, Obama quadrupled the deficit to $1.6 trillion, and he hasn’t had a deficit under $1 trillion yet. And that doesn’t even count Obamacare, who’s costs have doubled in 2 years.

    Not even Democratics are supporting the crazy train Obama’s putting us on. His budget yesterday got voted down 414-0.

  • Nanook

    SaveFarris: At what point do will you acknowledge that the economy was going into apocalyptic freefall and we had to do something about it or our country would have gone bankrupt? And when will the GOP allow the budget to be balanced with a reasonable tax increase?

    Oh right, never.

    Oh, and who was in office when the recession started?

  • raygo

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  • Nick

    To those who blame Obama for the deficit, how much did Bush’s wars cost this country?

    I notice when you point fingers you never ever seem to address this issue.

    I would love for one of you conservative talking point parrots to legitimately explain how it’s ok to spend money on war but not on healthcare.

  • http://www.cinemafunk.com Aaron Weiss

    As a GenYer myself, just finishing up my Master’s degree, I do not see this current “attack on youth” lasting long, but I do see the deficit increasingly no matter who is in office. Baby Boomers will be leaving the job market in droves with jobs left vacant, and even new opportunities to capitalize on a new market of retirees. This economy has only given a generation a slight hesitation that almost seems like its going to be left behind. But I do think that things will change. Trust me, no one is going to want to live with their parents for long, and those debts will have to be paid off sometime or another.

  • Edward Havens

    There are so many layers to the problems facing our country and the world, you can’t just break it down in to factoids and talking points. You can’t just blame Proposition 13. You can’t just blame one President and his policies.

    In fact, that’s one of the major problems facing us today. Rather than having our realities force us in to a new way of thinking and doing, we allow ourselves to get caught up in the blame game. We keep voting the same assholes back to Washington time and time again (95.17% of House incumbents and 86.98% of Senatorial incumbents who sought reelection were successful between 1982 and 2006) and then wonder why nothing seems to get done.

    I don’t give a crap what you call yourself. Just do something that is going to make a change for the better for most if not all of your fellow countrymen, not just a small portion.

  • Floyd Thursby
  • Krillian

    How much does old people owning everything have to do with them living so much longer than they used to?

  • http://moviebob.blogspot.com THE MovieBob

    Innevitable, no matter who was in office. Postwar population explosion plus Cold War prosperity = disproportionately large/costly population 60-70 years later. Simple math.

    What I’d like to know it’s why the left-side of the ledger up there is presented as though it’s a BAD thing – if anything, it suggests that GenX/Y is responding rather responsibly: Don’t Marry, don’t stick yourself in a mortgage, don’t procreate, etc. until you can COMFORTABLY do any of those things… EXACTLY the right response to the current and forseeable economy.

    Part of what got us in this hole in the first place is that we kept on giving in to bullshit societal pressures to marry/settle-down/procreate like a society that still needed those conditions to produce a massive surplus human labor force when we haven’t required anything of the sort in decades. It’ll be rough going for awhile, but the endpoint – smaller population, greater mechanization/automation of service, more resources to go around – will put them in a good place. The kids have it right.

    Wanna fix the planet? Fuck MORE, reproduce LESS.

  • BobbyLupo

    “The 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act was signed on March 11, 2009. I had no idea Bush was still in office at that point. The things you learn…”

    Oh, good, I wasn’t sure you’d gotten the talking points memo of what lie to bring up to be able to blame Obama for spending that was already in place in October of 2008. How dare he not get into office and immediately start wrecklessly cutting everything! You guys have the strangest views of how these things work but, no, the budgets for all the offices are made by October of 2008, and even if the Congress doesn’t formally approve the federal budget (which has been an ongoing thing and is a separate issue), the spending is locked in for the next fiscal year by then. Yes, Obama said “We will meet our obligations” by signing the law to which you refer, but that’s because suddenly gutting those budgets would have been essentially impossible (not to mention increasing unemployment). I commend your attempt at obfuscation, though. Now you can explain how Obama did the bailout that Bush did and started the war and how he actually knew on September 10th that the country was going to be attacked but didn’t tell anybody. Oh, that Barry!

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