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Old 10-06-2011, 10:20 AM   #61
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The NYPD appears to be cracking heads regardless of whether or not they get rough.

A couple things--

I think a large portion of the people on this board came of age in an economic golden age, and have no idea how difficult it is going to be for this next generation to secure any kind of economic security.

These kids aren't interested in retirement, they are interested in having something to retire from. If you are under 30, its increasingly rare to have a path to a job that pays more than $10/hr and includes healthcare.

The cost of college has skyrocketed to an insane level compared to 20-30 years ago. Twenty years ago you could pay for college with student/summer jobs if you were cheap and hardworking.
That's pretty much impossible now. They've been encouraged to take on 10s of thousands in debt for college degrees that don't really open up the job market like they used to. That debt is now about the only thing that can't be discharged in bankruptcy.

So a large portion of this generation have no real job prospects, massive debt, no healthcare, and no real expectations that any of that is going to change. I'd whine a little too.

Globalization is great for people who make a good income. It's also great for the rising mass of Indians and Chinese that are leaving abject poverty behind. It sucks for this generation of Americans though.

We're quickly reaching a point where a large portion of the population feels they have nothing to lose if the system burns. So far things have remained relatively peaceful. If our path doesn't change, I don't think that will remain true.
As a Gen Xer, I haven't seen any golden age in my adult lifetime. Yet most of the people my age have sucked it up and dealt with it. the echo boomers need to pull up their pants and get over themselves.
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:09 AM   #62
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I'm a Gen Xer as well, and I think that things have gotten way worse than anything we faced. We never faced a job market like this. There were recessions where the job market was bad for a year or two, but unemployment was generally low and job availability was reasonably high. This has been way worse than anything I faced already, and it doesn't look like its going to get better anytime real soon.

I was able to go to a good state college (U of Minn) for about $3k in 1990. That same college is now charging about $12k tuition.

Entry level wages have not moved up very much since 1990. A job that paid $6/hr then might pay $8/hr now. That makes paying for college without debt or your parents' money pretty much impossible. It's starting to reach the point where people need to start questioning whether college is a good investment at current rates. Of course, if you don't make that investment, you will probably be lucky to ever make more than $10/hr.

The deal facing this next generation is much worse than ours or the boomers.

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As a Gen Xer, I haven't seen any golden age in my adult lifetime. Yet most of the people my age have sucked it up and dealt with it. the echo boomers need to pull up their pants and get over themselves.
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:14 AM   #63
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As a Gen Xer, I haven't seen any golden age in my adult lifetime. Yet most of the people my age have sucked it up and dealt with it. the echo boomers need to pull up their pants and get over themselves.
I'm not sure what generation I belong to (I'm in my early 30's), but my working career certainly hasn't been during an economic golden age either. Most of it has been spent working through periods of low economic growth, busts, prolonged wage freezes and cuts, benefits being eliminated, etc.

But here I am, seven years after finishing college, with a huge portfolio and probably 2/3 the way to retirement. Musta been dumb luck, not focusing on a goal and applying myself!

My advice to those loitering on Wall St. would be to go take a shower, fix their hair, get some decent clothes, and walk in to some of those banks and businesses and see if they need some help. Work their way up and make something of themselves instead of saying "oh woe is me, the world is not fair". Nobody is going to pay you anything for being a baby whiner.

I noticed on the CNN comments for news stories related to Occupy Wall St that there seems to be a lot of populist backlash against these protesters. Good to see that the general population isn't being bamboozled by these protesters without a message. Claiming to represent the "other 99%" is ridiculous. More like the "other 10%" who don't have jobs, don't want jobs, and don't care and who hope that the government will be there with a silver spoon filled with dole money ready to hand out to all mendicants who come knocking. I feel like marching on Wall St to represent the "other 90%" who is tired of the louts and beggars whining.
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:16 AM   #64
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Entry level wages have not moved up very much since 1990. A job that paid $6/hr then might pay $8/hr now. That makes paying for college without debt or your parents' money pretty much impossible. It's starting to reach the point where people need to start questioning whether college is a good investment at current rates. Of course, if you don't make that investment, you will probably be lucky to ever make more than $10/hr.

.
Lucky to ever make more than $10 an hour?
I'd call that a bit extreme..
If a person in this country can't pull themselves above $10 an hour over the course of a few years something is really unique about that person.
But, I'm open to examples.
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:30 AM   #65
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The BLS reports median weekly wage for all workers over age 25 by education:

No high school diploma $458
High school diploma $643
Some college $743
BA $1043
Advanced degree $1344

Total workforce $794

Data: July 2011
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:30 AM   #66
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My advice to those loitering on Wall St. would be to go take a shower, fix their hair, get some decent clothes, and walk in to some of those banks and businesses and see if they need some help. Work their way up and make something of themselves instead of saying "oh woe is me, the world is not fair". Nobody is going to pay you anything for being a baby whiner.
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:34 AM   #67
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The deal facing this next generation is much worse than ours or the boomers.
There's no doubt that the US faces more competition today than it did immediately after WWII. The lush environment has changed--it's not likely a person with a HS diploma can be the sole breadwinner fr a family and achieve a middle class lifestyle. We did that for awhile, it was an oddity and we probably won't see it again. The deals--in both private and public employment--are now less generous. Okay, that's the way it is. These protesters are like spoiled children throwing a temper tantrum at the ocean for knocking down their sandcastle.

The CEO pay thing is just a red herring. If they all got paid 1/10th of what they now make and the rest was redistributed to "the masses" it would hardly change the pay of the average worker. And as far as the rich getting richer relative to the lower end of the pay scale--it's just a manifestation of this world competition dynamic. Unskilled/low-skill labor in the US just doesn't command the price it used to.

Here in the Dayton area businesses are having trouble hiring/keeping machinists. These are good paying jobs, who would have thought this would be a problem given the present unemployment rate? The business owners complain that younger machinists they hire (straight out of tech school, or from union apprenticeship programs) have the necessary CNC skills, but often fail to show up for work, come in late, can't be bothered to stay on task, etc. They've gone to hiring back older workers and training them to use the new equipment. I remember one owner commenting that teaching new skills was relatively easy, whereas modifying attitudes toward work was nearly impossible.

Protesters: Get a new attitude, get a haircut, go find work.
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:36 AM   #68
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My advice to those loitering on Wall St. would be to go take a shower, fix their hair, get some decent clothes, and walk in to some of those banks and businesses and see if they need some help. Work their way up and make something of themselves instead of saying "oh woe is me, the world is not fair". Nobody is going to pay you anything for being a baby whiner.

.
That's pretty radical,, but I'll give it a +1 anyway..
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:44 AM   #69
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No matter what any of us think, it is hard to discount our collective "elephant in the living room." I have family members who are struggling due to bad decisions, illness, etc. I have friends - nice people - who have lost their homes. It matters to me not who is at fault, but what is my response. Right now, I can certainly lend an ear.
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Old 10-06-2011, 11:53 AM   #70
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No matter what any of us think, it is hard to discount our collective "elephant in the living room." I have family members who are struggling due to bad decisions, illness, etc. I have friends - nice people - who have lost their homes. It matters to me not who is at fault, but what is my response. Right now, I can certainly lend an ear.
Lending an ear is nice, but I think that what the so-called Wall Street protestors are asking for is that you give them some money. This should preferably be some kind of financial arrangement that persists over time.

I listened to several "protestors" being interviewed on public radio while driving home from a camping trip in north central Wis Sunday. One, a senior at DePaul University and an Advertising major, wanted the gov't to arrange for his student loans to be excused and for some sort of guaranteed income after graduation until he can secure a job. The next was a person who had exhausted his 99 weeks of unemployment compensation and he wanted the 99 weeks extended indefinitely or until he could secure a position which met his standards.
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Old 10-06-2011, 12:13 PM   #71
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I don't consider myself in the 1% but I worry about the 99% revolting. Sort of a "peasant" revolt against their 1% "aristocracy."

There just seems to be such hatred against the "Rich" lately. I hope we don't see mobs attacking well to do homes or expensive cars.

I don't know what I would do starting out now. Probably what I did in the late 80s early 90s: work 3 jobs. But my skill set in IT and there are still jobs out there.
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Old 10-06-2011, 12:29 PM   #72
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I don't know what I would do starting out now. Probably what I did in the late 80s early 90s: work 3 jobs. But my skill set in IT and there are still jobs out there.
There's no doubt the size of the pot we're all eating from is shrinking while there are more and more of us wishing to share. That's making the distribution of wealth a very sensitive subject likely to get more and more attention as we go forward.

Like you, I did whatever it took to earn a living including years of dangerous, night shift factory work, etc. I'm not naive enough to think that today's youth can simply put their collective noses to the grindstone and do OK. As a group, they will have less. Fighting over wealth distribution (through unions, protests, political action, etc.) will be the norm.

In the meantime, I just wish our "leaders" (I say that tongue in cheek) would begin to educate the masses that things are changing and we're going to have to work very hard and very smart to survive. Protesting for help through political action isn't going to cut it alone.

Perhaps they'll be able to watch the situation in Greece and see how that goes. I'm guessing that no amount of protesting over there is going to allow them to maintain their current standard of living without working harder.
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Old 10-06-2011, 12:34 PM   #73
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My two brothers are twins about 10 years younger than me (making them 29).

One of them went to college, got a degree in marketing, and now is the general manager of a Burger King. He works 60+ hours a week for about $32k/year. That's with a college degree, albeit a bad major. He works harder than I ever did, and should be more successful than average, but I suspect that unless something dramatic changes, he'll never make anything close to what I make.

My other brother never finished college. He's been very lucky to get his job at Quik Trip that pays $9/hr (after several years) and actual benefits. I don't see a lot of upside for him. Granted, he's not the most ambitious guy in the world, but he's dependable and does what he his told.

People are looking back at their experiences and thinking things are the same.

They aren't.



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Lucky to ever make more than $10 an hour?
I'd call that a bit extreme..
If a person in this country can't pull themselves above $10 an hour over the course of a few years something is really unique about that person.
But, I'm open to examples.
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Old 10-06-2011, 01:00 PM   #74
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The pie isn't actually shrinking. If you are in the top 20%, you are probably living better than you ever have. The share of the pie that the bottom 80% are getting has been shrinking, and the share of the pie that the bottom 50% is getting is falling off a cliff.

Some of that is an inevitable part of globalization, but some of it being caused by changes in the rules that favor the wealthy and powerful over the rest of the population.


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There's no doubt the size of the pot we're all eating from is shrinking while there are more and more of us wishing to share. That's making the distribution of wealth a very sensitive subject likely to get more and more attention as we go forward.
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Old 10-06-2011, 01:08 PM   #75
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It's starting to reach the point where people need to start questioning whether college is a good investment at current rates. Of course, if you don't make that investment, you will probably be lucky to ever make more than $10/hr.
Let's see - A recent college grad that I know is making > $50K/year. Bachelor's Degree from a State school (Radiation Therapist). So I think your two sentences contradict themselves - it appears the college degree in a good field (choose wisely) is certainly a good investment, else she would be 'lucky to make more than $10/hr'.


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...
One of them went to college, got a degree in marketing, and now is the general manager of a Burger King. ... but I suspect that unless something dramatic changes, he'll never make anything close to what I make.
I suspect you are right. I don't know what BK managers can expect, but I suppose his $32K is about it.

So, what is he doing about it?

Quote:
My other brother never finished college. He's been very lucky to get his job at Quik Trip that pays $9/hr (after several years) and actual benefits. I don't see a lot of upside for him. Granted, he's not the most ambitious guy in the world, but he's dependable and does what he his told.
I guess we should pass a law - people who didn't finish college, and are not very ambitious should be guaranteed to get some multiple of the current minimum wage, plus benefits.

Again, what is he doing about it?




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... Perhaps they'll be able to watch the situation in Greece and see how that goes. I'm guessing that no amount of protesting over there is going to allow them to maintain their current standard of living without working harder.
Now that sums it up very nicely. Well said.

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Old 10-06-2011, 01:11 PM   #76
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The pie isn't actually shrinking. If you are in the top 20%, you are probably living better than you ever have. The share of the pie that the bottom 80% are getting has been shrinking, and the share of the pie that the bottom 50% is getting is falling off a cliff.

Some of that is an inevitable part of globalization, but some of it being caused by changes in the rules that favor the wealthy and powerful over the rest of the population.
Which rules are those?

Hopefully - we keep this train of thought FIRE-related, as in how those rules could affect the economy or our ER status, not just a rant (though I'd enjoy that ).

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Old 10-06-2011, 01:12 PM   #77
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My two brothers are twins about 10 years younger than me (making them 29).

One of them went to college, got a degree in marketing, and now is the general manager of a Burger King. He works 60+ hours a week for about $32k/year. That's with a college degree, albeit a bad major. He works harder than I ever did, and should be more successful than average, but I suspect that unless something dramatic changes, he'll never make anything close to what I make.

My other brother never finished college. He's been very lucky to get his job at Quik Trip that pays $9/hr (after several years) and actual benefits. I don't see a lot of upside for him. Granted, he's not the most ambitious guy in the world, but he's dependable and does what he his told.

People are looking back at their experiences and thinking things are the same.

They aren't.
I guess you are throwing that back to me as examples of your point.
Your Burger King brother sounds like he has a useful degree, and excellent managerial talent along with no fear of work. If he likes the food service industry he should be able to find something else that has some room for growth. A move to Micky D's would probably even be worthwhile. Lots of managers move up there if they pursue it.
You said your other brother was not very ambitious which takes the shine off his other good habit of apparently being a excellent employee and limits what he may find in the future, I suspect.
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Old 10-06-2011, 01:25 PM   #78
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Sure, there are people that are getting good jobs out of college, but they are getting to be fewer and fewer, and the price of college is getting higher and higher.

Your recent college grad is in a great field and has an in-demand skillset. I bet they graduated a lot closer to the top of their class than the bottom as well.

I didn't say that it was impossible to succeed, just that it is much harder than it used to be.

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Let's see - A recent college grad that I know is making > $50K/year. Bachelor's Degree from a State school (Radiation Therapist). So I think your two sentences contradict themselves - it appears the college degree in a good field (choose wisely) is certainly a good investment, else she would be 'lucky to make more than $10/hr'.
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Old 10-06-2011, 01:26 PM   #79
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The pie isn't actually shrinking.
You may be confusing size of the total pie with share of the pie.
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Some of that is an inevitable part of globalization, but some of it being caused by changes in the rules that favor the wealthy and powerful over the rest of the population.
Can you mention any changes in the rules that favor the wealthy and powerful?
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Old 10-06-2011, 01:40 PM   #80
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He's worked hard to find better opportunities, but without much success. There are more smart, hard-working young people than there are decent paying jobs. That appears to be the new normal.

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So, what is he doing about it?
-ERD50

Nice strawman. The majority of the population does not have a college degree. For older people already doing well in the workforce, it is an inconvience. For people starting out, it means they will probably not get anything but a dead-end job. There will be exceptions of course, but as a group the bottom 80% of the next generation is going to do much worse than the bottom 80% of the two previous generations, IMO.

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I guess we should pass a law - people who didn't finish college, and are not very ambitious should be guaranteed to get some multiple of the current minimum wage, plus benefits.

Again, what is he doing about it?
-ERD50
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