Man, that discussion on sex was fun. So was my Valentine's Day post, but we're now back to my favorite topic of discussion, me! And what's better than talking about me? Me talking about my fears then relating them to other people my age who are possibly just as screwed as I am. That said, I still want to just movie west and say 'fuck you too, Virginia' maybe next year, I really want to go to SPX this September, I'll move away after SPX..
So, my fear! This was originally written on my cell phone, it ended up a lot longer than I anticipated it being and I change my title to better reflect what I think I was taking about. --
Are millennials, Gen Y, or whatever the fuck the 20-35 age group is called, going to be like our Depression Era great/grandparents when we’re older or will that be the children born in the last 15 years?
I mean, many of us “came of age” during an economic depression where compared to 50 years ago minimum wage is proportionally less when inflation is taken into account. The cost of living has sky rocketed and it’s now a life time effort to pay of college loans as opposed to a few years because low and middle class Americans are not being paid as much when compared with our counterparts from a few decades ago.
In America I've seen between 200-350% wage difference between the worker and their bosses who take bonuses even as the companies fold (here’s looking at you, Hostess) and the employees barely have the money to support themselves. Skilled labor education is lowering, and every year universities turn out graduates who are over qualified for the few competitive jobs there are.
It’s a mad house and we’ve all been blind to it as we buy technologies we don’t need (up high iPad! (and other tablets)) and can barely afford (down low iPhone 4, 4.5, 5) that cost an arm and a leg and offer little more than cosmetic changes to their predecessors.
So, I was wondering if the current generation of young adults who distract themselves from reality with more technology (I’m guilty of this in my own way, even with my Apple hating habits) but are still living through a depression, going on ebt/food stamps and are working in restaurants and retail, jobs previously left to high schoolers, will end up the way people who lived through the 1929 such market crash did and start hoarding everything. Money will be stuffed into mattresses, the banks haven’t been that well trusted in a long time going, anyway, and will we end up deadening like a generation if penny pinchers and misers when the economy turns and is robust again. Will the American economy turn around like that, again? It was aided in a global war that put all able-bodied hands to use fighting and in manufacturing that to some extent is now done overseas where labor is less picky and cheaper. The economy turned around in the 40s because military technology was now used to improve and cheapen the cost of living so more people could afford 2.5 children, a tract house and a yard (and a mean green mother from outer space hiding in said yard) and people had the money to spend on frivolities as technology replaced the need for skilled labor.
What is going to turn the modern economy around so that people like me, who have bachelor’s degrees and spend their days doing little can become effectual members of society? What is going to upset American classicism and put more money into the hands of the workers and create more jobs? What happened to the American Dream, the idea that anyone could work their way from nothing, with a little help maybe, and make a living wage? I love what Hunter S Thompson had to say with his myopic view of the future from the mid 70s
--"And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. . . .
So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back."
Fear and Loathing in Las Vega
America peaked and he couldn't see it’s salvation or it’s return to societal power. I believe we peaked and since we've been falling but it’s not impossible for us to reach some sort of glory again.
I do wonder what becoming an adult in America’s turbulent recent history as the idea of success and normal change, will play on us.
Fun Fact portion!
Wall Street Journal - Firms Resist New Pay- Equity Rules - June 2012
AlterNet - Wage Gap Between CEOs and Workers Continues to Grow - June 2012
OpEd News - Corporate America's CEO Pay Heist - ~2003
AFL-CIO - CEO to Worker Pay Gap - some time after 2011
AFL-CIO - 100 Highest Paid CEOs - 2011
Hunter S. Thompson Quotes
I used the pertinant part of that quote for what I wanted to say here but the entire thing is beautiful, it's from the Wave Speech in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. That entire quote, and other, can be read on my old blog here -