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Did this happen? If it did, then it's the Gen X Smoking Gun.

This from Susie's blog stuck in my mind:

Mo on 15 Oct 2009 at 6:54 am

I blame the collapse of health care reform in the 90s with the Brittney/Christina/N’Sync/etc. wave of music a few years later. Day jobs that artists generally take stopped paying for health insurance, and parents stopped supporting their twenty-somethings trying for a creative career. Probably is also a big chunk of the reason for the collapse of the indie film scene in the US.

I know we take now that lack of support for anything non-MBA for granted, and the era of grunge soon turned into another bubble. But the early 90s were different.

Beyond what happened to the Clinton Administration, could we look back and discuss what we lost, and how Generation X wasn't disposed at first to hate Boomers, until the Village, self-loathing Boomers themselves, showed them how? I think that's the key to ending the "let's you and him fight" nonsense that's the Obama Administration's own form of triangulation -- market to the young, dismiss the old, and screw both.

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Submitted by lambert on

See this post here.

* * *

That said, that is a very smart connection to make -- the destruction of creative [truly creative, not "creative class,"] career paths in favor of corporate schlock. I'd like to hear a lot more about this.

Submitted by cg.eye on

because they sounded accusatory.

And do you mean me, or Chicago Dyke?

In any case, thanks for the Sideshow article. I read that one, but it doesn't really get into what was done specifically to Gen Xers' lives, along with the general dismantling of government they're living through.

It's one thing to be raised to think government never works; it's another to think government's gunning for your group personally.

jjmtacoma's picture
Submitted by jjmtacoma on

I can say (since I am one and I was there) that this is true!

The early gen-X group left high school during a recession and we also attended school during the Reagan years while the deficit was ramped up.

Every news report said we could NEVER expect to be as "well off" as our parents. I have my suspicions that the current high school and college students will be cynical too - not the "happy happy joy joy, oh, and can I have my dog's birthday off?" type of young person

Our parents couldn't all afford the mom & pop scholarships and certainly wouldn't entertain paying for college while we "found ourselves" - with the recession and all. Many of our parents were paying 13% interest on home loans at the time. Many of us scraped by paying for college on minimum wage and minimum savings.

All parents gave the same advice - MBA's are still getting hired/promoted. Go get one of those...

My favorite quote from my mom: "You know, they don't call them STARVING artists for nothing!" I wanted to major in Music, I became a computer programmer. Not such a bad trade, but at the same time it does fit CG's point.

I think the boomer/gen-x strife started when:
1) We were all told in highschool: Social security would be bankrupt by the time we wanted to retire. We (gen-x) would have to pay double contributions and work until we are 85 years old and then it would be bankrupt by the boomer generation because supporting them would take considerably more out of social securty than they ever put in - or something like that.
2) We were also told in highschool that we'd be paying more for social security AND we'd have to pay the deficit from the Reagan years while we weren't "as well off as our parents" even with two jobs!
3) There were NO jobs when we left highschool and college because only people with "experience" were getting jobs that paid anything. Many of us were paid less than newhires in the mid '90s. We had to start "job hopping" to get our pay fixed.

Submitted by lambert on

I have to run, but I like this perspective. We are all suffering the pain in a different way, according to demographics... Remember, that I heard the same thing. So, when I hear "entitlement reform" I get very, very paranoid.

It would be nice to see how the timeline goes for the various generations.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

I'm early-mid Gen-X and when I was a kid my hometown had an unemployment rate of 25% (among the highest in the nation). Hard not to be shaped by that. And, yeah, I was constantly told Social Security wouldn't be there for me and believed it for a long time.

One of the articles about the Gen-X generation, back when I believed generations mattered more than I do now, pointed out that a lot of things that had been stable or good during the Baby Boom years* were pretty much trashed for us - the high divorce rate, the degrading public schools, the move of government money from the young to the old, the taxation uprisings that undermined public infrastructure and support, the increased drug use, etc. We benefitted from a lot of good things (the Civil Rights movement, the women's movement, the gay rights movement), but a lot of social changes in the 1970s and 1980s were not good ones for kids. And it's crazy to think that didn't affect people. I still basically think people are people no matter the generation, but people react to circumstances and sometimes your times affect your circumstances.

* Stable or good in broad senses of the words, meaning for middle class Americans, not for poor Americans who struggle every generation.