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Old 02-13-2017, 12:19 AM   #21
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This letter was posted in my hometown newspaper in south central Minnesota.
I’m as far from a socialist as one can be, but it sure made me re-think things.

...

We’ve made the trade off as a society that we’d rather pay higher taxes to fund welfare benefits than pay an extra few pennies for our Big Macs so salaries would allow workers to live without help. My guess is that most people who are working at minimum wage would prefer making enough to take care of their own living expenses rather than being on the dole. Who really wants to see themselves as a charity case?

By raising the minimum wage we are also raising people’s self-sufficiency — a genuinely American value.
There's a lot of libertarian blood in me, yet at the recent election I voted to increase Arizona's minimum wage. I could see now that instead of paying welfare to people to do nothing, it's far better to pay them a living wage and to put people to work.

That proposition did pass, approved by 58% of the voters.
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Old 02-13-2017, 01:21 AM   #22
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There's a lot of libertarian blood in me, yet at the recent election I voted to increase Arizona's minimum wage. I could see now that instead of paying welfare to people to do nothing, it's far better to pay them a living wage and to put people to work.



That proposition did pass, approved by 58% of the voters.


+1
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Old 02-13-2017, 02:36 AM   #23
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I dunno about the hard luck millennials............have lost two small businesses to recessions: one a service business that required driving a 10 MPG truck, destroyed when gas doubled in 1973-74 and businesses cut outside labor costs. The other wiped out by recent recession & "recovery". Meanwhile, hustled to buy a house when mortgage rates were 17% in early 80's.

Grandpa was laid off 4 different factory jobs during the great recession, and relocated from the deep south to the north to say employed. Only Dad seemed to escape the really hard economic times (home was owned mortgage free in 73-74).

It seems like most are hit with a hard time or two during their working years. All the more reason to teach financial survival skills in late H.S. and college years.

This forum seems to be a pretty good place to start on an advanced degree for Millennials....
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Old 02-13-2017, 06:02 AM   #24
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This letter was posted in my hometown newspaper in south central Minnesota.
I’m as far from a socialist as one can be, but it sure made me re-think things.


Increasing minimum wage makes a difference
Posted: 04/18/2014 6:14 AM


I was a beneficiary of the minimum wage laws.
When I was earning my undergraduate degree from 1972 to 1976, I was earning a minimum wage of $1.75 an hour as a laundry worker. In addition to taking 12-14 hours of college classes, I worked from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. six days a week either driving a van that picked up dirty linen from nursing homes — or stuffing that laundry in 400-pound capacity washing machines.

For a year, I was also the assistant manager of an apartment complex, vacuuming hallways on the weekends, getting my apartment rent-free.
My after-tax take home pay 40 years ago was about $75 a week. Not only did my wife, who was a stay-at-home mom, & I live on it, we paid my full tuition, books, & fees; paid off the doctor ($600) and hospital ($600) bills for my daughter’s Caesarean birth, & even had about $1,000 in savings when I graduated.


We took no food stamps, no student grants or loans, & no money from relatives. And while it was at times tempting, we robbed no banks.
Yes, we were very frugal. Our apartments were small, uncarpeted, & un-air conditioned. We drove a $400 used car. The only time we saw the inside of a restaurant was when a relative took us out for supper. There were no cellphone, Internet, or cable bills. But we did not starve, go naked, or feel deprived — at least that I remember.


Why? Apartment rent was $80 a month, including utilities. Groceries ran about $15 a week. Full tuition was $140 a quarter.
In the 1970s a new car could be had for $3000 & house for $10,000. Gas was 30 cents a gallon. We had no health insurance, but could afford to pay for doctor & dentist appointments upfront. Chewing gum, candy bars & small bags of potato chips were all about a dime. I bought a new B&W 19” TV for $80 & a stereo for $300 (Big fight over that one, but boy, did Maria Muldaur singing “Midnight at the Oasis” sound good!)


So here is my point: I estimate that the cost of living has gone up by 1,000 percent since my days in college. Today’s apartment rents are $800, cars $30,000, & candy bars $1.00. Yet the minimum wage, even with this last increase, is nowhere close to $17.50 an hour. One cannot live, even modestly, on today’s minimum wage. This makes it necessary for the government to step in & provide food stamps, free-&-reduced hot lunches, & subsidized health care, child care, & housing for the working poor.

We’ve made the trade off as a society that we’d rather pay higher taxes to fund welfare benefits than pay an extra few pennies for our Big Macs so salaries would allow workers to live without help. My guess is that most people who are working at minimum wage would prefer making enough to take care of their own living expenses rather than being on the dole. Who really wants to see themselves as a charity case?

By raising the minimum wage we are also raising people’s self-sufficiency — a genuinely American value.

Thank you, Minnesota legislators, for nudging us in the right direction on this important issue.
I'm not necessarily against raising the minimum wage, but the idea that you're supposed to be able to live off it is silly. Minimum wage jobs are a stepping stone to better jobs. If working at a fast food joint is all you intend to do in life, you have other problems.
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Old 02-13-2017, 06:36 AM   #25
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In a seminar on generational differences, they discussed the fact that the millenials (in general) are not ideal employees. They tend to be job hoppers, have poor work ethic, need lots of feedback on their job, not deal with conflict or criticism well (the trophy for showing up generation) and think that there is a job out there that they will love every aspect of. I have told more than one millenial that the job they are dreaming of is called a HOBBY. The reason an employer pays you to go to work is that its not always fun.
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Old 02-13-2017, 06:38 AM   #26
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Re: minimum wage and college costs- college cost has risen faster than nearly everything else- its not surprising that wages haven't kept up to that.
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Old 02-13-2017, 06:42 AM   #27
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The reason an employer pays you to go to work is that its not always fun.
If it was fun you'd have to pay them in order for them to 'let' you work there.
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Old 02-13-2017, 07:16 AM   #28
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On the positive side ... Millenials are much better spenders than their parents ...

Goldman Sachs Millennials spending habits - Business Insider
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Old 02-13-2017, 07:39 AM   #29
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Old 02-13-2017, 07:56 AM   #30
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Millenials vs Boomers is an endless topic of media - probably because it's such low hanging fruit, the media and so many readers seem to be math and statistics challenged.

What makes this a valid comparison? Even of the conclusion is correct, that boomers at the same age had greater financial achievements, why is that relevant? They're still doing better than every other previous generation in the short history of the US. They are being judged based on our boomer achievements.

Even if millennials are lagging, that says nothing about how well they will do in the future.

I think the bigger story is how the boomers did so well but still managed to be woefully unprepared for retirement.
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Old 02-13-2017, 08:01 AM   #31
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I find this an interesting subject. I am certainly no expert, but some thoughts on the differences between 1977 America and 2017 America:
  • college is much more expensive today -> more difficult to complete without loans
  • in 1977, it was easier to obtain a middle class lifestyle without a college degree
  • a bifurcation is occurring in wages - those without skills/training (ie college degree) are not seeing wage growth in real dollars, primarily due to automation
I don't see the situation getting better anytime soon.
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Old 02-13-2017, 09:41 AM   #32
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Speaking in terms of generations, boomers' parents (I'm a boomer) made it easy for their children to get educated through low-cost community colleges. We've failed to pass along that favor. I'm more than a little ashamed at my generation.
On the other hand, consider this article: The Bank of Mom and Dad: confessions of a propped-up generation.
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Millenials vs Boomers is an endless topic of media.
And in almost all such articles, Generation X doesn't merit even a passing mention ...
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But the world is bigger than America
Old 02-13-2017, 09:55 AM   #33
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But the world is bigger than America

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I find this an interesting subject. I am certainly no expert, but some thoughts on the differences between 1977 America and 2017 America:
  • college is much more expensive today -> more difficult to complete without loans
  • in 1977, it was easier to obtain a middle class lifestyle without a college degree
  • a bifurcation is occurring in wages - those without skills/training (ie college degree) are not seeing wage growth in real dollars, primarily due to automation
I don't see the situation getting better anytime soon.
But for much, perhaps most, of the developing world, the reverse holds true: the past four decades have seen substantial increases in accessibility to education and economic opportunities (employment, decent wages). Standards of living (consumption) have improved significantly under globalization.

While Americans may be nostalgic for the 'good old days' of 1945-1975, that was an artificial, unsustainable era that saw the USA benefiting at the expense of most other countries. Things are more equitable ("better") now.
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Old 02-13-2017, 10:04 AM   #34
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But for much, perhaps most, of the developing world, the reverse holds true: the past four decades have seen substantial increases in accessibility to education and economic opportunities (employment, decent wages). Standards of living (consumption) have improved significantly under globalization.

While Americans may be nostalgic for the 'good old days' of 1945-1975, that was an artificial, unsustainable era that saw the USA benefiting at the expense of most other countries. Things are more equitable ("better") now.
Yes, I agree.

However, I wonder if advances in technology/automation will deprive other nations of the golden age the US saw post WWII.
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Old 02-13-2017, 10:13 AM   #35
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I think it is tougher for millenials than for us boomers. I can see this with my daughter and her friends. Most have student loans because tuition is so high, and have had difficulty getting that first career type job. Buying a house in many of the hotter markets is very difficult. A mitigating factor is that many millenials are getting or will get financial assistance from their parents.

As well, based on my personal experience, I believe the future is in very good hands with the millenials. I am not as confident with the current cohort of boomers.
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Old 02-13-2017, 10:24 AM   #36
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I find this an interesting subject. I am certainly no expert, but some thoughts on the differences between 1977 America and 2017 America:
  • college is much more expensive today -> more difficult to complete without loans
,
I don't see the situation getting better anytime soon.
I paid most of my own way through college by working in high school, in college, and during the summers. My folks paid only 3 years of room & board, not including weekend meals. I worked in a restaurant in high school, so my folks didn't pay for my dinners for a year of high school, maybe that's why they gave me a break and paid some of my meals in college.

I have a child who graduated from college and a child now in college. I can write that college is relatively inexpensive and a student can pay for it by working summers, and part-time during college with help from Federal tax credits. Of course, if a student doesn't work, then college seems enormously expensive.

The idea that college is expensive seems to come from the NorthEast media where all the journalists want to send their kids to elite private universities. A public university in Texas is about $10,000 a year (not semester!) for tuition, fees, and books. Sure, room & board adds more to the cost, but one can live pretty cheaply either at home or with lots of roommates. Life is not meant to be a cake walk.
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Old 02-13-2017, 10:33 AM   #37
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The idea that college is expensive seems to come from the NorthEast media where all the journalists want to send their kids to elite private universities.
No, I believe the idea that college is much more expensive now comes from data.

Run a web search to see graphs of how the cost of college has risen over the last 4 decades compared to inflation. Here are the first 3 hits I get; the table in the first link is quite telling:

https://trends.collegeboard.org/coll...selected-years
Why college costs are so high and rising
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Old 02-13-2017, 01:38 PM   #38
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It's only one data point, but here's my experience with college. I went to the University of Maryland in College Park. I got a bachelor's degree, but was on the "five year plan".

Anyway, in fall of 1988, my first semester, tuition was around $900. I think books were around $100-150. My final semester, spring of 1993, tuition was up to around $1500. I forget what books were. Regardless though, tuition went up roughly 67% in just five short years. I know inflation was worse in those days, but it wasn't *that* bad! FWIW, we were complaining about how fast it was going up, even then.

Nowadays, I think tuition is around $5000 per semester. I have no idea what books cost. And of course, if you stay on campus, there's room and board on top of that. I was a commuter student.

Incidentally, minimum wage was $3.35/hr in 1988, $4.25/hr when I graduated in 1993. It's $7.25/hr today. So it hasn't quite doubled since 1993. Yet tuition has gone up around 3.3x.
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Old 02-13-2017, 01:53 PM   #39
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In a seminar on generational differences, they discussed the fact that the millenials (in general) are not ideal employees. They tend to be job hoppers, have poor work ethic, need lots of feedback on their job, not deal with conflict or criticism well (the trophy for showing up generation) and think that there is a job out there that they will love every aspect of. I have told more than one millenial that the job they are dreaming of is called a HOBBY. The reason an employer pays you to go to work is that its not always fun.
I'm neither defending nor knocking millenials, but many employers can't be "loyal" to employees in same way they were when Boomers were 20-somethings. Lifetime employment and relatively generous benefits were far more common in the 70's than they are these days. Though necessary, the change in corporate culture led to much more job hopping.

It seems the broader point, missed by the author linked in the OP, has to do with the health of the "American dream." When Boomers started their careers, they and several generations before them had a reasonable expectation their children would do better than they would. It seems that sentiment is no longer as broadly held, many people are convinced their children will have a lower standard of living than Boomers did...

While we're knocking millenials, I can think of plenty of shortcomings our (Boomer) generation bestowed on the country/world.
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Old 02-13-2017, 02:04 PM   #40
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Electronic social media help perpetuate ideas about "who had it better."

I remember grousing about not being able to find jobs, and certainly people were unhappy about double-digit inflation and interest rates, but it was mostly water-cooler talk and dinner-table chat. We weren't constantly reinforcing each other's unhappiness via facile memes (e.g."Old Economy Steve") on social media platforms.
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