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Millennials Ended the Culture War as Economic Battle Hits Home

Millennials helped end the culture war, but they need real assistance to battle the economic challenges they face.

Millennials helped end the culture war, but they need real assistance to battle the economic challenges they face.

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.

From Ron Brownstein:

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nation, with the one thing we haven’t made progress on is how to employ a populace after the manufacturing age has been replaced by the global technological age.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.

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3 Responses to Millennials Ended the Culture War as Economic Battle Hits Home

  1. sunlight January 10, 2014 at 5:54 pm #

    To fix this you have to fix policy on trade. As long as outsourcing remains the policy du jour, US companies will build factories and boost employment in other countries not here. Even the best educated — engineers, etc., have trouble getting well paying jobs here, as says, because US companies simply won’t hire them.

    In addition, as economist Richard Duncan ( says in his book “The New Depression,” heavy government investment in solar energy –in his words, spending a trillion dollars to blanket Nevada with solar panels”– would be the kind of bold strategy that would have us lead the way in fighting environmental degradation, re-establish us as a technological leader, and create “good” jobs here. Too bad any kind of stimulus is off the table. So for the last several years, as private sector jobs (mostly low paying) have increased, government employment has been falling.

    And need I mention how US universities are blowing themselves up as a source of innovation? Universities are simply paying grad students minimum wage to teach as “adjunct professors” rather than hire them for tenure track positions. There is no incentive for a bright kid to get a Ph.D. if there are no jobs that will help a student pay off the debt needed to get that degree.

    Everywhere you look — academia, business, government — US job creation is dead, dead, dead.

    • Taylor Marsh January 11, 2014 at 8:48 am #

      Tell it, sunlight.

      Last spring, this article really drove home one issue you raise.

      Thesis Hatement
      Getting a literature Ph.D. will turn you into an emotional trainwreck, not a professor.

  2. secularhumanizinevoluter January 11, 2014 at 7:01 am #

    Just because the rightwingnuts and UBERChristofascists have lost the culture war doesn’t mean the killing will stop.

.... a writer is someone who takes the universal whore of language
and turns her into a virgin again.  ~ erica jong