Generation Y Wakes Up From The American Dream, Faces An American Nightmare

Tyler Durden's picture


Three and a half years after the worst recession since the Great Depression, the earnings and employment gap between those in the under-35 population and their parents and grandparents threatens to unravel the American dream of each generation doing better than the last. We have noted a number of times that these divides are growing and warned of the social tension this could create and, as Bloomberg notes, it does not appear to be getting any better, Generation Y professionals entering the workforce are finding careers that once were gateways to high pay and upwardly mobile lives turning into detours and dead ends. "This generation will be permanently depressed and will be on a lower path of income for probably all of their life - and at least the next 10 years," as middle-income jobs are disappearing. A 2009 law school graduate sums it up rather succinctly: "I had a lot of faith in the system, the mythology that if you work really hard you can achieve anything, and the stock market always goes up. It was pretty naïve on my part."


Via Bloomberg:

Generation Y professionals entering the workforce are finding careers that once were gateways to high pay and upwardly mobile lives turning into detours and dead ends. Average incomes for individuals ages 25 to 34 have fallen 8 percent, double the adult population’s total drop, since the recession began in December 2007. Their unemployment rate remains stuck one-half to 1 percentage point above the national figure.


Three and a half years after the worst recession since the Great Depression, the earnings and employment gap between those in the under-35 population and their parents and grandparents threatens to unravel the American dream of each generation doing better than the last. The nation’s younger workers have benefited least from an economic recovery that has been the most uneven in recent history.

which is leading to an increasingly disenfranchised generation:

“This generation will be permanently depressed and will be on a lower path of income for probably all of their life -- and at least the next 10 years,” says Rutgers professor Cliff Zukin, a senior research fellow at the university’s John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development. Professionals who start out in jobs other than their first choice tend to stay on the alternative path, earning less than they would have otherwise while becoming less likely to start over again later in preferred fields, Zukin says.




Only one-fifth of those who graduated college since 2006 expect greater success than their parents, a Rutgers survey found earlier this year. Little more than half were working full time. Just one in five said their job put them on a career path.

As the dream fades:

“I had a lot of faith in the system, the mythology that if you work really hard you can achieve anything, and the stock market always goes up,” says 2009 law school graduate Elizabeth Hallock, 33. “It was pretty naïve on my part.

And fingers are pointed:

Hallock is the named plaintiff in one of 14 lawsuits against some of the nation’s best-known law schools, including her alma mater, the University of San Francisco School of Law. The civil complaints, filed in 2011 and 2012, accuse the institutions of overstating graduates’ job-placement results and incomes.


Young Americans are struggling to reconcile their lack of economic rewards with their relatively privileged upbringings by Baby Boomer parents and the material success of their older peers, Generation X, born in the late 1960s and 1970s...

But whose fault is it?

“It’s a generation that had really high expectations, in some part driven by the way they were raised by their boomer parents,” she says. “Yet in the past five years they have had reality slammed in their face by the employment situation.”


The same housing crash that hammered young architects and loan officers also slammed lawyers. Law schools are turning out about 45,000 degree holders a year for about 25,000 full-time positions available to them, according to the National Association for Law Placement Inc. in Washington. The class of 2011 had the lowest placement with law firms, 49.5 percent, in 36 years.


“It is not the perfect path to wealth and success that people may have envisioned,” says Robin Sparkman, editor in chief of The American Lawyer magazine in New York.

Which is leading to lawsuits - by the new lawyers against their schools...

“It’s hard to look at the information the schools were putting out and say it’s not misleading,” says Derek Tokaz, research director of the nonprofit Law School Transparency initiative. It published research showing that the chance of recent graduates getting permanent full-time work in law was far lower than the 80-95 percent total employment rates the schools typically boasted.

But for some - a new different life is peeking through...

“As it is, all of my possessions still fit in the back of my truck,” she says. “I can pack it in a couple hours, pick up the trailer and horses and move anywhere the gas tank will take me at the drop of a hat. What can the system take away from you when you have that kind of freedom?

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Wed, 12/26/2012 - 12:51 | 3096341 TruthInSunshine
TruthInSunshine's picture

When a majority or even significant plurality of the sheople realize that multi-colored fiat paper (and its electronic equivalent) has a real worth that actually relates to its inherent value & the actual (endless/bottomless) volume of supply, it will be as interesting as it always has been, historically speaking.

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 12:50 | 3096406 Magically Delicious
Magically Delicious's picture

Well said.  The boomers didn't create the welfare-warfare state we have now, the "greatest generation" did.

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 12:51 | 3096407 ElvisDog
ElvisDog's picture

I know enough of a sample size to say that the only concern of the "greatest generation" with regards to the fiscal cliff is that no one touches their medical benefits. Any comments that 9% growth in federal medical expenditures is unsustainable falls on deaf ears. They don't give a shit for any generation after them if that jeopardizes their $400 monthly prescription drug bill and that hip replacement they have scheduled for next year.

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 13:41 | 3096543 flattrader
flattrader's picture

Tea Party fucks wrecked a very good opportunity to cut Medicare costs and give people an opportunity to decide just how much pointless health care they wanted at the end of life.

>>>The town's biggest hospital, Gundersen Lutheran, has long been a pioneer in ensuring that the care provided to patients in their final months complies with their wishes. More recently, it has taken the lead in seeking to have Medicare compensate physicians for advising patients on end-of-life planning.

The hospital got its wish this spring when House Democrats inserted that provision into their health-care reform bill -- only to see former Alaska governor Sarah Palin seize on it as she warned about "death panels" that would deny care to the elderly and the disabled. Despite widespread debunking, those warnings have led lawmakers to say they will drop the provision.<<<

Initially it was propsed by a Republican.

“We dropped end-of-life provisions from consideration entirely because of the way they could be misinterpreted and implemented incorrectly,’’ Grassley said. “Maybe others can defend a bill like the [House] bill that leaves major issues open to interpretation, but I can’t.’’

However, other Republicans, including Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Johnny Isakson of Georgia - who sponsored similar legislation - have said Palin’s claim was hurting the party’s attempts to influence the bill.

Portions of the Democratic health care bills “are bad enough that we don’t need to be making things up,’’ Murkowski said, repeating a phrase Palin used last month when announcing her resignation as Alaska’s governor, when she asked the news media to “quit making things up.’’

Isakson said it was “nuts’’ to claim the bill encourages euthanasia.

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 14:04 | 3096605 AynRandFan
AynRandFan's picture

How much health care do you want at your end of life?  Counseling people to give up on life is wrong.

Most states have a law that makes it illegal for counselors to advise in favor of divorce.  But, you want a law that encourages people to die.

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 14:18 | 3096620 flattrader
flattrader's picture

You are an idiot.

Advising and assisting patients to fill out an advanced directive/health care POA when they are well and in full control of their faculties was the point of the new provision.

Tea Party fucks painted it just like you did...pulling the plug on Granny.

>>>How much health care do you want at your end of life?  Counseling people to give up on life is wrong.<<<

The issue is how much pointless care do you want at the end of life?  And if you haven't thought it through and left legally binding instructions, others may make the decisions for being hooked up to tubes in an IC Unit and tortured to get a few extra weeks, days or hours when pallative hospice care would have been less intrusive, more humane and preferable...had you only been presented with the option while you were well.

>>>Counseling people to give up on life is wrong.<<<

Go pedal your religious crap somewhere else.

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 14:38 | 3096673 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture

ARF, ARF is just another who thinks they'll get outta here alive. 

Had a friend who's mother died just b4 Xmas. I was edumacated on another lock you in twist in our beloved health care industrial complex. 

If her mother refused to be admitted to the hospital against the directing physicians orders, insurance would not pay. You'd think they'd clamor to save a buck. Once you're in the system, it's like a prison & you'd be well advised to have your HIPPA in order. 

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 16:30 | 3096699 flattrader
flattrader's picture

>>>If her mother refused to be admitted to the hospital against the directing physicians orders, insurance would not pay.<<<

You mean they would not allow her to opt for hospice care in home or some other location?

I would like some details on where this happened, what hospital, which insurer etc...

There are some time limits regarding re-enrollment in hospice care, if you had previously enrolled in hospice and then withdrew for some reason.

I have never heard of anyone being prevented from enrolling or being forced to persue medical care versus hospice care at end of life.


She may not have been in one of the 44 states and DC where hospice is covered under Medicaid? Or had lousy insurance?

Myth: A patient needs Medicare or Medicaid to afford hospice services.
Although insurance coverage for hospice is available through Medicare and in 44 states and the District of Columbia under Medicaid, most private insurance plans, HMOs, and other managed care organizations include hospice care as a benefit. In addition, through community contributions, memorial donations, and foundation gifts, many hospices are able to provide patients who lack sufficient payment with free services. Other programs charge patients in accordance with their ability to pay.


Wed, 12/26/2012 - 23:26 | 3098090 WillyGroper
WillyGroper's picture

IMO, she should have been in hospice. But it was her decision to try any & all treatment afforded her. A very strong will to live. Therein lies the catch. This was with HIPPA & durable power of atty papers in order. 

Thu, 12/27/2012 - 09:26 | 3098568 flattrader
flattrader's picture

Wow.  Usually people who bother with HIPPA and a durable POA have a more realistic view of active or agressive medical treatment if they are terminally or chronically ill.

Some people can't face death...On a long enough time...

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 16:26 | 3097032 SilverDOG
SilverDOG's picture



The boomers were led to there choices, as those before. To think or state otherwise is

hilarious. Once a sheep, always a sheep.

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 11:46 | 3096217 Snakeeyes
Snakeeyes's picture

My father-in-law, an alleged Republican, voted for Obama because he beleived that Romney would cut Medicare (although Obama already had). He was a WWII vet but all of his family votes for unafforable safety nets. Why? Because Paul Krugman said it isn't an issue!!!!!

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 12:15 | 3096295 Freddie
Freddie's picture

A distant in-law relative voted for mullah too.  He was union and dumb as dirt.  If the union told him white people were evil and he is white, he would believe it.   Stupid robot and he is proud of being union ignorant.

The Dems, TV and Hollywood are on the evil white sh*t 24x7.  I stopped watching their sh*t years ago.

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 12:58 | 3096435 ElvisDog
ElvisDog's picture

Smithsonian magazine has a cover story this month on whether people are genetically pre-disposed to be "evil". The baby on the cover is a white boy. Can you imagine the outrage if their cover baby had been black/latino/asian? Enough said.

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 13:06 | 3096453 Ralph Spoilsport
Ralph Spoilsport's picture

Another good read in this issue of Smithsonian is the interview with Jaron Lanier.

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 14:21 | 3096627 Freddie
Freddie's picture

This is why, years ago, I cut out TV, Hollywood, magazines, newspapers or any other media plus the sports crap like NFL.  I will pay zero for any of their sh*t and avoid all of it. 

This is really big with the Madison Ave ad agencies.   The TV commercials are the worst offenders.  Advertisers like Fed Ex and many others especially anything in a corporate environment.

The dumb person is always the white guy.  Always.  Once in a blue moon it might be an asian guy.  Never ever will it be a woman of color looking like the fool in the ads.  The criminal breaking in the house in the alarm ad or AllState commercials - white guy.   It is all full on propaganda.  Ditto in movies.  I watch nothing but did see a sci fi movie at a friends house.  The bad or weak guys were white.  

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 14:46 | 3096690 Slightly Insane
Slightly Insane's picture

I love to be the target of "propaganda", as it is proof that not only am I interesting, but that "I'm right", and of course "blanco"

Thu, 12/27/2012 - 00:48 | 3098193 mkkby
mkkby's picture

You haven't watched TV in years, yet you always know all about it.

Your comments are repetitive and stupid unless you are 12.  It used to be all the criminals and idiots were played by black actors.  Just watch a few older movies and TV shows.   Just for research.  Starting in the 60s black groups started protesting and boycotting.  That's why it's white actors now.  It's non-offensive to minorities. 

But you stick with your tin foil conspiracies because you have neither the history nor the intelligence to understand.

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 16:32 | 3097052 SilverDOG
SilverDOG's picture



A gesture of truth.

How many serial killers were NOT crackers?

We the whiteys, kill kill kill.


Wed, 12/26/2012 - 13:28 | 3096508 Shell Game
Shell Game's picture

I have relatives and close friends who are highly intelligent and voted for 'Oh'.  Two observations - a highly complex monetary system can fool anyone, independent of IQ, and, participation in the 'two party' sham and the support of perceived lesser evils is also independent of IQ.


It is the rebelious spirit that questions authority who is the revealer of truth and the breaker of chains....

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 14:24 | 3096632 Freddie
Freddie's picture

Define highly intelligent?  They are clueless f***tards. 


Wed, 12/26/2012 - 16:36 | 3097067 SilverDOG
SilverDOG's picture

Highly programmed, not "clueless f***tards" is the result.


Wed, 12/26/2012 - 12:04 | 3096263 Freddie
Freddie's picture

Hope & Change bitchez!   You voted for it kiddies. 

Not that the RINO Rove/Bush/Romney/NWO alternative is much better.  Sort of like voting for Dante's Inferno Hell or voting to live in New Jersey.  The kiddies love their hipster Allah. 

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 12:44 | 3096390 AgAu_man
AgAu_man's picture

I agree. But what does that say about the "greatest" generation?

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 12:53 | 3096415 ToNYC
ToNYC's picture

Gen-Y just had the misfortune of getting to the beggar-thy-neighbor buffet when the check came due. 

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 14:42 | 3096683 Slightly Insane
Slightly Insane's picture

You may be correct .... then I also suppose that when the dust settles, there will inevitably be fewer members of that generation (Boomers)

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 22:53 | 3098031 Tommy Gunner
Tommy Gunner's picture

Go out and buy a Glock at the 711 then waste your parents and grandparents.  These greedy bastards are responsible for what awaits you - dumpster diving out back of Burger King.

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 22:58 | 3098038 akak
akak's picture

Hey, it seems to work well enough for the gulls and ravens right now ...

Thu, 12/27/2012 - 11:26 | 3098871 happycrow
happycrow's picture

Irony is, all us cynical Gen-X bastards actually more or less managed okay for ourselves.  Not in comparison to people who got to earn REAL money, mind you, but enough that clawing our way into the middle class where one layoff wouldn't destroy our families was still a possibility given effort and patience.

I don't know WHAT to tell Y and the Milennials; it's too late for anything we could say to make a difference.

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 11:21 | 3096144 ultraticum
ultraticum's picture

The last paragraph says it all.

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 11:24 | 3096152 SafelyGraze
SafelyGraze's picture

all-your-possessions-in-the-back-of-your-truck = shadow housing inventory

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 11:58 | 3096247 Chaos_Theory
Chaos_Theory's picture

New revenue stream for the vampires...add a property tax bill to that truck!

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 12:52 | 3096413 wisefool
wisefool's picture

This will be the path of the GenY'ers. As mentioned before, the boomers tried to rebel from the naivete of the greatest generation, and adopted free love and credit. (they work well together, all those 2nd,3rd, 4th Marriage McMansion wedding gifts)

GenY is going to rebel by inventing even more complex taxation models. What else can you do with a worthless degree? Its the other half of the money spiggot the similarly educated banksters run.

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 13:06 | 3096449 ElvisDog
ElvisDog's picture

The problem with the living-in-the-back-of-truck lifestyle is that might work when you're in your 20's, but it's not going to work so well when you reach your 40's, 50's, 60's.

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 15:48 | 3096884 SafelyGraze
SafelyGraze's picture

40s 50s 60s = second-hand trailer

don't knock it. we've been glad to have something that keeps the rain out (mostly).

and would it kill you to stop by once in a while? my, you've grown!


Wed, 12/26/2012 - 16:48 | 3097103 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

moving from place to space repeatedly also benefits the land-lords, who charge you for "credit checks" as well as demand large up front "deposits" that they can whittle down over time. . . locking one into "leases" that, when broken due to needing to move towards the next income source, default the agreement into claiming the deposit, irrespective of circumstances - rinse, repeat, NEXT!  more money made. . .

always a leech on the ass of every supposed "solution" out there, rentier class parasites.

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 11:56 | 3096243 pashley1411
pashley1411's picture

I think the 21st century will be a time of great mobility.   With an international business culture and language, the opportunity cost of not taking your skill set to business-friendly ethernet jack will be too glaring to ignore.  

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 12:57 | 3096434 Magically Delicious
Magically Delicious's picture

Well said.  Millennials might actually benefit from being unable to afford houses and traditional careers.

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 16:50 | 3097114 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

. . . and children, families.

no loyalties except to yer own income stream. . .

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 11:22 | 3096145 SmoothCoolSmoke
SmoothCoolSmoke's picture

My favorite BS line is from Corporate America:  "We need more (hard) science graduates so we can compete globally"

Tell that to all the (hard) science grads, with great grades, of 2012 still looking work....they ain't hard to find.

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 12:00 | 3096255 Shizzmoney
Shizzmoney's picture

I think when "Corporate America" goes on the news and to the press and say, "We have a skills gap", I think that is Corporatese for "We need to find a way for these American engineers, manufacturer laborers, and scientists to accept Chinese niggard wages."

I can't wait for when the US is taken over by a Private Equity Group.

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 12:51 | 3096409 Go Tribe
Go Tribe's picture

I can't wait for the Corporates and Politicians to lose their personal bodyguards so we can have at 'em. It'll be cool watching mansions burn.

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 13:09 | 3096465 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

"I can't wait for when the US is taken over by a Private Equity Group."


Federal Reserve.

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 12:19 | 3096308 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

I never knew steamed milk was a hard science.

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 14:57 | 3096714 Guy Fawkes Mulder
Guy Fawkes Mulder's picture

I had to look up "steamed milk" to figure out the joke.

(Believe me or not.)

Davey Jones I think I've given you the most +1's or (don't-junk-hims) of any ZHer in my time.

(Not a long-long time, but it's a lot of +1's and non-junks.)

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 22:36 | 3097967 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

thanks, it's just my pathetic therapy. The jester, expressing disgust and distrust

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 13:09 | 3096368 Ricky Bobby
Ricky Bobby's picture

Any consistent message from corporate amerika is straight up propaganda. They are an integral component of the Krony Kapatalist MIC. I worked in a few with teams of H1-b's. There is no doubt they are used because they are indentured. Can't change jobs without being sponsored by the new company where as a citizen could move to a higher bidder. Management does not like that. So when I hear the fucker Bill Gates spouting his BS makes me wanna puke.


Wed, 12/26/2012 - 16:53 | 3097133 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

Gate's an embed. . . as in parasitical tick.

his gig is to re-purpose the fiat funneled his way into foundations doing the work of the "elites" who tolerate him.

Wed, 12/26/2012 - 22:29 | 3097984 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

Dead on. I live in Gatesland and like the other amusement park with the same last name, most of it is fantasy, constantly seeking low wage workers from all over the world to keep the monopolies going. Microsoft had less to do with his computer abilities and a lot to do with his dad's big lawfirm approach to buying and controlling the market.   

Thu, 12/27/2012 - 00:52 | 3098198 geekgrrl
geekgrrl's picture

This is an old joke for EEs.

I remember seeing a reader comment back in the mid '90s in the trade mag EE Times. The person argued (persuasively) that ALL the H1B visa jobs were a direct attack against American scientists and engineers, and the aim was to deliberately drive down wages. The subsequent data would seem to substantiate that claim.

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