Millennials—those born between 1980 and the end of 1994—regularly take a beating in the media. They’re accused of being lazy, self-absorbed, politically apathetic narcissists, who aren’t able to function without a smartphone and who live in a state of perpetual adolescence, incapable of commitment.
The members of Generation Y also hold a much more favorable view of socialism than any other generation (according to this YouGov [pdf] poll).*
What’s going on?
According to a new study by the Guardian, it’s clear that economically Millennials are falling further and further behind previous generations.
For example, in the United States, a person age 20 to 24 is much poorer than the national average (by over 30 percent) compared to people of that age in the past (10 percent in 1979). So, are those 25-29 (7 percent less than the average, compared to the same as the average in 1979), while the difference for those 30-34 are basically the same as in the past (more or less equal to the average).
There’s also a growing gap between their incomes and those of older generations. For example, the incomes of the 60-64 age group are now almost 30 percent higher than the national average (compared to only 15 percent higher in 1979), while those of Millennials are 32 percent lower than the national average.
As you can see, Millennials are worse off than all other age groups, except for those over 70—and even their incomes have improved in recent years compared to those of Generation Y.
And this is not just a problem in the United States. Generation Y is falling further and further behind in lots of other countries—the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Canada—except Australia.
To be clear, this is not some matter of generational warfare. Generation Y is not being left behind and preyed upon by other generations. Those who are currently retiring deserve their Social Security and Medicare programs. No, Millennials are being left behind by the current economic system that has saddled it with high debt and low-paying jobs and is cancelling their dreams.
As pseudonym76 recent explained,**
Generation Screwed has been getting screwed over by the American plutocracy all of our lives. We have not had a five year stretch in adulthood without an economic catastrophe, at least not if we lived outside of certain boom cities, and Generation Screwed is completely fucking feed up. Generation Screwed is going to vote for Bernie because what he is proposing is the only thing that might, just might put this country back on track to give the next generation a chance at a life better than the one we have all had. Of course what he is proposing is just a starting point to setting things right. We all know that. We know it in our marrow. What Bernie is proposing doesn’t go nearly far enough! Yeah, that’s right, I said it, what he is proposing doesn’t go nearly far enough. Bernie is our half-measure, our opening salvo at fixing the fucking mess that the Boomer’s post-Watergate apathy, post-Kennedy and King assassination apathy gave us. That’s right, I get it, I know why you folks didn’t continue the struggle, your leaders were slaughtered. Guess what, it happens, you pick up where they left off and you keep pushing. You have to pick up where they left off and keep pushing. Bernie did that, and its why we respect him. The man kept up the fight. While you fuckers gave up and went home, he kept up the fight.
*The survey, taken at the end of January, found that 43 percent of Americans under 30 had a favorable view of socialism. Less than a third of millennials had a favorable view of capitalism. No other age or ethnic demographic preferred socialism over capitalism.
It’s also interesting that even younger people seem to be following the Millennials’ lead. First-year college students are more politically engaged than they’ve been in decades. And, at the University of Kentucky, no hot bed of radical thinking or activity, Bernie Sanders won the Democratic support in a landslide (85.2 percent to Hillary Clinton’s 14.8 percent).
**Technically, pseudonym76 is not a Millennial: “I am part of Generation Screwed, its the much larger generation of Americans whose future was stolen away from them by Boomers who didn’t get involved and didn’t prevent the dismantling of the American middle class. Generation Screwed includes Generation Kevin Arnold. It includes Generation X. To a degree it includes President Obama’s micro generation of Jonesers. It definitely includes the Millennials, and it even includes Generation 9/11, some of whom are going to be eligible to vote this year—you know those kids born at the tail end of the Clinton Administration and the beginning of the second Bush Administration.”