Meet 'Generation Screwed'

Past generations have made things hard for millennials: Joel Kotkin
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2012 1:56 PM CDT

(Newser) – Today's youth is known as the Millennial Generation, but they may as well be called Generation Screwed. In the Daily Beast, Joel Kotkin runs down depressing statistic after depressing statistic showing that "their parents' fiscal profligacy and economic mismanagement" has doomed young people:

  • The median net worth of Americans under 35 fell 37% between 2005 and 2010, and the wealth gap between the young and the old in America is wider than it's ever been.
  • The percentage of the workforce under age 25 has dropped 13.2% since 2008, and the US unemployment rate is 12% for those aged 18 to 29. Why? Millennials' struggling parents aren't vacating their jobs.
  • Millennials have to deal with "a mountain of boomer- and senior-incurred" public debt (think $50,000 per person), which they will have to pay off "through higher taxes, less infrastructure, and social spending."
  • Plus, there's private debt—the average student has $12,700 in credit card and other types of debt already, and student loans are at an average of $27,000 each … despite the more than 43% of recent grads working a job that doesn't require a college degree.

The future is not looking good for these young people, many of whom have put off marriage or babies—which could lead to a "demographic disaster"—or moved back in with their parents and may never be able to own their own home. Indeed, economists are warning millennials to lower their expectations. What can they do? They must force both political parties "to cater to them and play hard to get," Kotkin writes. Right now, both Republicans and Democrats aren't considering this generation—but they should, since "this year they will comprise 24% of voting-age adults." And if they continue to suffer, the rest of "America will be screwed, too." Click for Kotkin's full column.

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