THERE’S A reason that women’s rights, marriage equality, and legalization of weed is embraced by a majority of American voters. The culture war is over, especially for younger generations. What’s not over is their economic troubles, with young adults now pocketed in a no way up or out corner that foreshadows they won’t have better lives than their parents. That’s something they can’t do anything about without help.
On Tuesday, Young Invincibles, a group that advocates for young adults, issued a bracing report that noted the unemployment rate for millennials (which it defined as workers 18-34) has remained stuck in double-digits for 70 consecutive months. Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce has likewise found young workers today losing ground compared with previous generations in wages, workforce participation, and net worth, with the losses deepest for younger men. Add in mounting student debt, as well as delays in family formation and homeownership, and phrases like “lost generation” don’t seem excessive. [National Journal]
It’s also why there are more independents, a voting block that will continue to grow. The culture war ending also means that the canard that our country is a center-right nation has been proved wrong. We are a progressive nation, with the one thing we haven’t made progress on is how to employ a populace after the manufacturing age has been replaced by the global technological age. It’s a challenge we haven’t made much progress in over the last 20 years, as long as I’ve been writing about politics and culture.
We live in an era where we are all living longer. A time when pensions, 401Ks and profit sharing are the exception, not the norm. Where job competition makes security elusive, because people are often not staying at the same job for life.
It’s the era of calling, not simply employment, of courage and risk taking instead of long-term stability.
When the younger generations are being presented with less opportunity, it’s a very dangerous sign for a culture, a country and society. America isn’t Spain, but our economic future continues in a very precarious position today.