When you look at the data, it would seem that society hates the Millennial generation. Some could even argue that Baby Boomers are standing in the way of Millennial progress in the labor force. Generation X sure hasn’t done much to provide anything resembling a secure future for the 18-30 crowd.
Full disclosure: I am from Generation X, and the never-talked-about secret of my generation is that we have NOT done better than the previous generation (Baby Boomers).
The male adults in my family that were from the Boomer generation mostly worked in Steel Mills, earning $20 per hour on average (1978 dollars), with full union benefits, without having to politick or grovel. They also did it without a college education. In 1978, that was $52,000 per year on an average of 50 hours per week.
To put that into perspective, $52,000 in 1978 would be worth $188,000 in 2014 dollars. I have 20 years experience in Human Resource Management, along with a Master’s Degree, and have never come close to that level of salary. Certainly others I know have, but it was often with politics, or being in the right place at the right time.
That being said, my generation has laid the seeds of waste and labor destruction for Millennials. The first thing we did, was cut education grants to the point where we have saddled 20-somethings with $1.3 Trillion of Student Loan Debt, a 160% increase since just 2006.
Then we took away their hopes of finding a job with that expensive University education.
Then, we made sure that our parents had to work longer after their social security and union benefits were either cut, or obliterated, displacing jobs for Millennials.
And it was Generation X; my generation that allowed that to happen. When Ronald Regan destroyed unions in the 1980s, us X-ers said nothing. When the sham 401(k) was introduced as the retirement plan of the future (no one has ever been able to retire comfortably on a 401(k)), we said nothing. When minimum wage couldn’t keep up with inflation, we said nothing. When a law was passed stating that Student Loans could no longer be discharged in bankruptcy, we said nothing. When bankers told us that we could have everything we wanted if we just had enough credit, we said “okay,” despite the fact that our parents simply saved money for the things that they wanted.
It almost seems as though us X-ers hated Millennials before they were ever born.
I’m not suggesting that Generation X actually hates Generation Y. What I am suggesting however, is us Gen-Xers have had it worse than our Baby Boomer parents, and in turn, have made the economy worse for the next generation through our complacency. The actions of us Gen-Xers certainly has the tinge of multi-generational resentment.