Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Early Leader for This Year's WoMee Award Is:

Well, there's a new book out, and it's sure to be a dandy:

Strapped: Why America's 20- and 30-Somethings Can't Get Ahead

You can also check out this review / article at SFGate.com:

"Deferred futures: Why Young Adults Can't Hang on to What They Earn"

I've already ordered the book from Amazon (hey, I had a Christmas gift card to use). I'll reserve final judgement until I've plowed through Draut's offering. But I can tell you now that with preview commentary like this (from the SFGate article above), I can just about hand Draut the Annual "Oh, Woe is Me" ("WoMee" for short) award right now.

Draut mainly blames government, and her solutions center on government offering the young a bigger piece of the pie. But her argument comes with a rallying cry: Young people should bang their spoons on the table until they are served. Half of Congress, she notes, went to college for free on the GI bill. Rescinding the latest Bush tax cut could raise the $30 billion needed to ease students' pain by providing more outright grants that would lighten post-college debts. She can't understand why young people seem to silently accept such crushing burdens. "It's hard to believe we haven't taken to the streets to protest the economic injustice," she says.

...She chides young adults for checking out of politics "while the politicians have all but stolen our future." In a chapter that grimly analyzes this political retreat, she makes a frustrated demand: "My challenge to all [young people] is this: read a major newspaper regularly for one month." The young expect too little from society, she says, and too much from themselves.

Like most touchy topics, I suspect there's a measure of truth in Draut's argument. But not a big measure. I mean, come on:

Young people expect too little from society, and too much from themselves?

They should take to the streets to protest the economic injustice?

Is she serious?

Anyway, you can read more of her work in the publishings of Demos.org. Most of them are pretty readable — if you're looking for anecdotes and statistics, at least.

As for sound policy ideas . . . well, not so much.

Related Links

AlterNet:   "Strapped for Adulthood" (w/reader comments)

— Posted by Michael @ 7:44 AM


I don't like the way she sounds, she acts like people should not be blamed for how they act or the way they are but blame the government, the way she puts it young people are not at fault, every one is at fault for their own actions, rapist are at fault for what they do and so are murders so why should the young people be taught that their own bills and problems that they caused them selves financially are not their fault that is wrong thinking and that thinking put these young people in this problem anyway, I should know my sister has that problem financially she blames everyone else's but can't see that she caused all those bills.


She too can get her education paid for by the GI Bill by joining the military and serving as little as four years. This was how half the congressmen she cites in her example did it. No...she'd rather just have the Gov't give it to her and other "slackers" rather than her earning it...pathetic in my eyes or is she too good to join the military. As a 22 year Army vet it disgiusts me.

Anonymous Anonymous
, at 1:14 PM, January 19, 2006  

Has anyone bothered to look at how 20-somethings are spending their money (or their future money) these days? Have you seen the kinds of cars these kids lease? Have you seen the clothes, the furniture and the tv's these college students have?
I graduated college a mere 5 years ago, and I lived on very little because I was a POOR STUDENT! I graduated without student loans because I chased scholarships and drove an old beater car and rented a cheap apartment. The problem is these young people get out of college and think they deserve to make as much as their parents make, and to own all of the things that their parents own. Ambition is great, but it takes YEARS to accumulate the wealth and possessions of a 50 year old. Chill out kids, and enjoy the challenge of being young poor professionals so that you can have (and enjoy) a positive networth in your 30's. Going into debt for a fancy degree (am I the only one that thinks master's degrees are over-rated?) and for an out-of-reach lifestyle is just not worth it.
I get so sick of people blaming others' for their lack of responsibility. Welcome to the new age of "it's not my fault I'm a whiny brat."


I'm glad I ordered the book, because after reading all the pathetic, entitlement-mentality yabbling going on about "how tough" the world is to 20- and 30-somethings, I must be missing the boat entirely.

I have tons of college hours, but no degree. I had $20k+ in student loans, another $10k+ in credit cards, and all the other usual bills to go along with it.

I admit that I've been somewhat fortunate over the last ten years. I started with my current employer at the usual spot -- the bottom -- making less than $12k per year. My wife never made much more than that, either.

Yet SOMEHOW, over time, I managed to make myself into an employee who this past year was worth more than $61,000 to that same company.

Overtime? When necessary, you bet.

Performance bonuses? Absolutely. If there's anyone better at doing what I do, I'd love to see them. Really.

But I worked unbelievably hard to make myself into the very-well-paid-for-this-part-of-the-country guy that I am today. And you know what? I'm not done yet. And to hear all my peers lament their "poor me" statuses makes me nauseous. And embarrassed.

For all the current "impossibility" for someone without an advanced degree to have children, a stay-at-home spouse, and all the while maintain a pretty good lifestyle at the same time, I suppose I must be just a notch below Superman.

I just don't have much patience for self-pity, I guess.


I think its kinda funny. I'm in my early 40s, and exactly the same things were written about us 10 and 20 yrs ago. You can't have everything in life. If you're young, you have your future and in most cases your health and strength - you just don't always have the bucks. You get older, your future narrows, but financial affairs tend to sort themselves out.

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Thoughts on my personal finances, goals, experiences, motivations, and accomplishments (or lack thereof).

My financial life began turning around when I took responsibility for it.
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