These Debt & Rent Slaves Get Blamed for the Lousy Economy

The Millennials, the Bitter Irony!

Over the past few days, the Diamond Producers Association launched its first new ad campaign in five years after watching retail sales of diamond jewelry slow down, as Millennials built on the habit pioneered by prior generations of delaying or not even thinking about marriage, and thus not being sufficiently enthusiastic about buying diamond engagement rings.

The campaign, according to Adweek, is designed to motivate Millennials “to commemorate their ‘real,’ honest relationships with diamonds, even if marriage isn’t part of the equation.”

Mother New York, the agency behind the campaign, spent months interviewing millennials, according to Quartz, and learned that they associated diamonds with a “fairytale love story that wasn’t relevant to them.” So the premium jewelry industry, seeing future profits at risk, needs to do something about that.

A year ago, it was Wall Street – specifically Goldman Sachs – that did a lot of hand-wringing about millennials. “They don’t trust the stock market,” Goldman Sachs determined in a survey. Only 18% thought that the stock market was “the best way to save for the future.”

It’s a big deal for Wall Street because millennials are now the largest US generation. There are 75 million of them. They’re supposed to be the future source of big bonuses. Wall Street needs to figure out how to get to their money.

The older ones have seen the market soar, collapse, re-soar, re-collapse, re-soar…. They’ve seen the Fed’s gyrations to re-inflate stocks. They grew up with scandals and manipulations, high-frequency trading, dark pools, and spoofing. They’ve seen hard-working people get wiped out and wealthy people get bailed out. Maybe they’d rather not mess with that infernal machine.

And today, the Los Angeles Times added more fuel. “They’re known for bouncing around jobs, delaying marriage, and holing up in their parents’ basements,” it mused.

Everyone wants to know why millennials don’t follow the script. Brick-and-mortar retailers have been complaining about them for years, with increasing intensity, and a slew of specialty chains have gone bankrupt, a true fiasco for the industry, even as online retailers are laughing all the way to the bank.

“For starters, millennials are not big spenders, at least not in the traditional sense,” the Times said. Yet most of them spend every dime they earn, those that have decent jobs. But much of that spending goes toward their student-loan burden and housing.

Everybody somehow agrees that millennials as a group prefer “experiences” – eating out, traveling, etc. – over buying merchandise, such as jewelry, clothing, furniture, and cars, though they buy gadgets and services galore. But that “experiences” theory too is running into trouble because restaurants are slithering into a recession as sales have hit the skids recently.

So these spending habits of millennials “may not be great for a U.S. economy driven by consumer spending,” the Times points out.

But I wonder: Consumer spending includes a meal from a taco truck along with a craft brew, all made in America, same as a piece of clothing made in Bangladesh. Why would splurging on an “experience” near a taco truck be worse for the economy than buying some imported piece of merchandise? I don’t get it.

And travels? Granted, foreign travel is not good for the US economy. But other generations, too, liked and still like to travel – a lot. Some of us were gone for years. I doubt millennials are more damaging to the US economy in that department than we are.

Domestic travel is good for the economy, though it may be less good for the environment. Every dime they spend getting there and staying there or having fun – all these “experiences” add to GDP.

But millennials have two problems prior generations didn’t have – at least not to that crazy extent:

  1. They’re bogged down in student loans, the result of rapacious price increases in higher education. The New York Fed estimates that total student debt from federal and private lenders has reached a record $1.3 trillion. An increasingly large part of that debt sits on top of millennials, turning them into debt slaves.
  2. They’re facing confiscatory rents and home prices in many cities, thanks to Fed’s effort to inflate the greatest asset bubbles the US has ever seen, though few millennials make that connection.

So they rent or stay with their parents or they bunk down together, four or five of them in an apartment in places like San Francisco. Homeownership has plunged to 62.9% in the second quarter, the lowest level since the Census Bureau started tracking it in 1965:


For millennials, the homeownership rate fell to 34%, from around 40% for young adults in prior decades, according to the Times. Given the rents they face, saving up for a down payment has become a herculean task. So forget it. But now the real estate industry is complaining about the millennials. Everyone needs new homebuyers to keep the market propped up and the commissions flowing.

And they’re risk averse and not into starting new businesses, according to the Times, which would corroborate Goldman’s lament about millennials not digging the stock market:

The rate of new start-ups is higher today than 10 or 20 years ago for every major age group — except those between 20 and 34 years old, according to the Kauffman Foundation’s latest annual study of entrepreneurship.

Two decades ago, a little more than 34% of all new entrepreneurs in the U.S. were younger than 34 years old. Today it’s just 25%.

That’s bad news. But it’s logical: burdened by student loans and confronted with confiscatory housing costs, fewer of them have any courage or means left to deal with the extraordinary uncertainties and risks of starting a business in this environment. Given how important small and young businesses are to the economy, to jobs, to invention, to business renewal, and to the middle class, any major reluctance millennials have in starting businesses will have an impact – or already has an impact.

Over the past three decades, the US averaged nearly 120,000 more business births than deaths per year. But between 2008 and 2011, on average 30,000 more businesses died than were born, according to the Census Bureau. That the core of the US job creation machine has been faltering is not a sign of a healthy or even a “recovering” economy. Read…  “Or We’ll Lose the Whole Middle Class”: Gallup CEO

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  167 comments for “These Debt & Rent Slaves Get Blamed for the Lousy Economy

  1. Justme says:

    And who now owns all the homes corresponding to that 6% drop in home ownership rates? Wall St, the top 0.1% and the occasional wealthy Baby Boomer. As they say, what’s not to like?

    • Gregg Armstrong says:

      The Feral Reserve System owns more residential real estate, via ownership of Residential Mortgage Backed Securities, than any other entity on the planet.

      • wratfink says:

        Is that how it works? I actually don’t know and am curious. I asked that question back on the subprime auto article, but was late to the comments.

        Who actually holds the title to these autos and houses on the ABS and MBS paper?

        • bead says:

          The Fed, pension funds, and insurance companies. An impossible choice. Screw the millenials and help the pensions? Vice versa?

  2. Ptb says:

    I was listening to an interview with a VP of Zillow last week and he sited student loan debt as a major obstacle for growth in the real estate market.

    Large student loan debt, crappy employment opportunities and fear of financial risk has created a kind of perfect storm for the economy as so much of it relies on consumers borrowing large amounts of money for big ticket purchases.

    • IanCad says:

      Even more important than what you cite is the surplus of labour, and the attendant loss of bargaining power that should – in a truly capitalist system – be the possession of every sector of society.
      Until the citizenry demands its share of this deposit of right the beggaring of millions will continue.
      To advocate for more immigration, to continue in welcoming the poor, huddled masses, promotes a warm glow inside the economically illiterate, and depresses the wealth of those nations so inclined to continue in such foolishness.

      • chuck says:

        You cannot be building cars and wash machines in Mexico and some how expect US employment to increase. Thank you Bill Clinton for destroying the middle class

      • Lots of real estate brokers and investors we know aren’t worried one bit, sure that well heeled immigrants will rescue them from Millennials who buried in student debt and chained to low paying jobs.

    • nhz says:

      If the student loans were really a problem they could do the same as the Dutch, and just totally ignore student loans when taking out a mortgage. The banks and the government really don’t want to know, please sign for that heavily subsidized 103% mortgage.

      We even have new legislation coming for those below 24 which effectively means that if they have other huge debts (usually from excessive consumption), you cannot take any money from them. Just rack up the debt and you will be fine!

      • Meme Imfurst says:

        You are in Europe, what in Netherland? good luck with all that.

        In the good old USA, student debt is treated differently then any other debt thanks to Wall Street and our ‘looking out for Americans’ administrations and congress. You don’t ignore them, they own you, and they can not be discharged (with rare exception).

        Everyone knows what is wrong, but no one seem to know how to fix it or change it. Or maybe to lazy and or indifferent to do so.

        I think the young are smart and seem to have a better memory about NOT getting screwed again than older folks.

        • Ptb says:

          US student loans are GSL. Garaunteed Student Loans. As in , the US federal government backs them. And they won’t let you default on it. Like owing the IRS.

    • i1 says:

      Nothing an adjustment in duration won’t fix.

  3. Lance says:

    I am a millennial, right at the top of the age bracket, 32 years old. I’m a mechanical engineer and my wife is a nurse, she is 3 years older than me. We got married 2 years ago. The cost of a wedding is incredibly high, though we were on the lower end and spent about $5,000 on it and $2000 on her diamond ring. We live in North Idaho, where employment prospects are not great, but people flood from California, Washington, and Oregon with housing bubble wealth and bid up all the property to crazy levels.
    We are putting together our 20% down payment for a home, but it kills me to save in a 0% environment, only to have to spend that on overpriced housing. How many more years can this last before the economy rolls over again and housing prices crash? Or will the fed use negative interest rates and will that work to salvage the housing market?

    Wolf- I read your articles about rents finally tipping negative in certain parts of the country so I’m waiting for that to spill over here. So far, I don’t see an effect.

    • CrazyCooter says:

      You don’t know me s**t from shinola – but I would talk to the old lady about New Zealand. Visit there – do a nice two week tour of the place – top to bottom – and realize you have vastly better opportunity there (long run) than in the US. If you dig Idaho, I suspect you will love it there as well – unless you have family roots in the area and want to stay as a consequence.

      I almost moved to New Zealand after my first marriage of ten years went tits up (engineering degree as well – and I married fairly young). I ended up in Alaska due to a job opportunity that panned out first. Packed it all in a car, drove 3k miles, another 1k on a ferry – and offloaded in a snowstorm with a rearwheel drive vehicle and worn out tires. Up and down since then, but truth be told, I love it here, have some roots going down – but its a mess all the same.

      Things are going bad here – if you think you can game it and come out ahead – best of luck! Do your own homework, mind your own biscuits, and I hope the gravy ain’t too thin!



      • Jerry says:

        A million New Zealanders live in Oz for a reason.

        I am one of the 100k that live in the UK.

        House prices in New Zealand are worse than the UK at the moment and the same in Oz. If the bond bubble bursts and interest rates spike Oz banks are over and NZ goes with it.

        Very risky snfu

  4. Jay says:

    Repeat after me: Millenials aren’t paid enough to ………

    Buy a diamond ring
    Get married
    Have children
    Pay off student loans
    Start a business
    Invest in the stock market
    Buy a house
    and most importantly, Listen to baby boomers whine about anything, let alone, “doesn’t the customer always come first? Isn’t the customer always right?”

    If you want millenials to do any of these things, you’d better give them jobs. All those millionaire “job creators” have been falling down on the job. And no, more tax breaks than the millionaires already gotten in the past forty years isn’t going to make any more jobs.

    These jobs have to *pay*a*living*wage that allows people to *pay rent*. This economy is the result of decisions made from the top down *for decades.* Millenials not only won’t do these things and buy products, they can’t! CEOs, ThinkTank lickspittles, politicians, and economists have shat where they eat, and nothing is going to save this economy until we raise the minimum wage, tax the rich, and disavow the disastrous trade deals that have killed manufacturing. Millenials are wise to trust no one. No one.

    • d says:

      You were doing well until you came out with the leftist TAX THE RICH.

      The rich are not the problem, they are a normal part of capitalism. A system that has weoked well with leftist interruptions for tens of thousands of years.

      The problem is the corrupt leftist administrations and their muppets screaming “TAX THE RICH”.

      • E says:

        TAX THE RICH, but specially the finance sector. They dont’t produce any sh**, they only speculate with others people money or they create it with more money coming from fairy tale place.

      • kitten lopez says:

        how about “EAT THE RICH,” then?

        • night-train says:

          I understand they are well marbled. Perhaps with a Chianti and fava beans.

      • night-train says:

        OK. No taxing the rich. How about off with their heads and take their stuff. Revolutionary thinking don’t you think? Maybe that is a little harsh. Let’s revamp the tax code in a way that really encourages those “job creators” to get back into the business of creating jobs here in the US of A.

        • d says:

          “OK. No taxing the rich. How about off with their heads and take their stuff. Revolutionary thinking don’t you think?”

          240 + years ago The taker mob’s did that in france, and now the descendants of those taker’s, who operated the guillotines, are running a much more corrupt, and indebted france, than it was 240 years ago, with bigger problems, and the Masses are against them. It was not the first time taker mob’s had done such.

          To brake the “Taker Mob’s” cycle, DO NOT, rinse and repeat.

          The US tax code is a place to start, but not to use against those persons who have (the inheritance tax, for beginners needs, to go as it drives investment out of teh US). But against the Globalised Vampire Corporates that shift, Profit, Manufacturing, and Job’s offshore. Whilst milking the American economy.

          Since 1945, the corporate share of taxes paid, as a % of the total take, has dropped to its lowest level ever, and is still dropping. Wolf has presented charts that show this in the past.

          Corporates, should things owned by some people of the society, operated for the benefit ultimately of those people, and the society, not the corporate, and those who operate it..

          Corporates should be faced with the choice of returning profits to shareholders (Where it gets taxed, so benefiting the society) or paying serious US taxes on that profit. No matter Where it is held. We know which the shareholders would want, especially in a flat tax system.

          American company’s that manufacture or manufacture sub assemblies offshore. Then sell in America using transfer pricing to shift profit, should be heavily penalized, to the point where it becomes a false economy, to operate in that way. The same with the license fee double-Irish games, Enough all ready.

          When corporate America is paying the sort of % of the total tax take it paid in the 40’S and 50’S. Before it started to decline, if the tax take is then not big enough, perhaps other rates or types of taxes, may need to be looked at.

          A national sales tax would be more effective than rate rises.

          A fair personal tax system, is a flat tax system, in which every citicen gets x $ tax free per annum. Which gives relief at the bottom at what ever $ value you chose to put X.

          The only thing to do with the American tax code, as it applies to private citicens, is throw it out, and start again. Done by writing a new one and telling the electorate. This will be the private code from X point in the future.

          As for US individual state/municipality, income tax, capital gains tax, and high property taxes, OUT.

          Property taxes should be set nationally, its the only way to control runaway spending (frequently corrupt) individual state budgets. There should be a option for a small individual state sales tax, if the state chooses to apply it.

          Then you can deal with the corporate code as you have split the exercise.

          A small percentage of very wealthy people, is natural and normal, in any healthy economy. Its been going on since we started using shells, and stone tools, as stores of wealth.

          What is not normal and natural, is this collection of “Corporate Entity’s” (The Globalised Vampire Corporate’s), controlling vast Global Wealth, and parts of the industrial and political system, paying effectively no tax, and milking the wealthy western Welfare/Semi Welfare States/Nation’s, with the aid of some other Nation’s.

          Corporate Japan also has this “Corporate Entity” above the control of its Shareholders/People problem. To the extent that Japanese Corporates, routinely employ gangsters, to suppress shareholder questions and dissent, at annual shareholder meeting’s.

          The people you call, the rich, the 1 %, are not the problem.

          The Globalised Vampire Corporate’s. ARE.

          Their media tells you, to blame, the rich people, the 1 %, and you are doing, what their media, tells you to.

        • Thor's Hammer says:

          62 individuals own as much wealth as the lower 50% of the entire rest of the world. That does suggest a solution, does it not?

          Don’t you think that wealth would be more beneficial to humanity in the hands of potential Einsteins that live in abject poverty and the billions of others who struggle for existence instead of horded by 62 worthless eaters?

        • Petunia says:

          Not only do I agree with you but I think it’s coming.

        • John Galt says:

          Didn’t work in bolshevik Russia. Didn’t work anywhere else. Why do you think it will work in US? Getting rid of creators is countrperproductive

        • casamurphy says:

          @d and @JohnGalt

          Just spouting off received opinions does not make something true. France did not become more corrupt after their revolution and Bolshevic Russia made great strides in the development of the country compared to the Czar.

      • Jspider says:

        Capitalism for thousands of years? Which country you talking about again?

        Most of human wealth and growth came with the industrial revolution. Prior to that wealth for the working class was cyclical with war and famine were after massive loss of life the poor briefly enjoyed wealth until population rose.

        Back then economics was known as the dismal science try reading a book by Malthus. Modern capitalism is often credited towards Adam Smith and the book Wealth if Nations which came out in 1776 so maybe you mean hundreds of years…

        You’ll also need to consider the fastest period of American growth was following the new deal when taxes on the wealthy were the highest and banks had large regulations placed on them. We entered the neoliberal tax period with Reagan were we cut taxes and removed regulations with every president since. So far that has lead to wages growing stagnant and being uncoupled from growth in productivity (due to loss of union’s and trade market protectionism) as well as the return of the boom bust cycle.

        Yes Reagan ended the market slowdown of his time though some speculate this was a temporary relief afforded by him running many programs off foreign debt as he was the first president to start allowing outside Nations to lend the US money.

        The US at present has a high nominal rate but is actually the lowest effective tax rate of the industrialized world. We citizens struggle to realize this because as the corporate tax burden dropped our personal tax burden has risen.

        • d says:

          Agreed what we have at the moment is not capitalism it is a bastardized form of it based in untenable consumerism

        • d says:

          Further”Capitalism for thousands of years? Which country you talking about again?”

          The oldest profession is prostitution or gambling as all early prostitutes were gamblers. They were also capitalists.

          Chimpanzees also engage in prostitution for personal gain. Capitalism in is most basic form.

          Humans have been gather wealth through Capitalism. And saving in something, since we started using and making tools.

      • walter map says:

        “The rich are not the problem”

        On the contrary, the facts clearly say the rich are to blame for every major problem in the world. The evidence is overwhelming. Apologists for the rapacious rentier oligarchy naturally spin it and deny it, but ultimately reality cannot be gainsaid.

        That the rich are destroying the planet is a phenomenon that is very well understood.

        • Dora&Goliath says:

          Really? Looking at the influence the likes of George Soros has on political decisions I would suggest the 1% are a very big part of the problem. It is no more, ‘Lefty’ to suggest multi millionaires and billionaires stop avoiding paying income tax than it is, ‘Righty’ to suggest un-controlled immigration ruins the social cohesion of a country while also putting intolerable strain on its public services. There is such a thing as, ‘common sense’ and fortunately most of us posses it to some extent or other. Sadly the people who end up running the world lose all common sense due to their power and wealth.

        • d says:

          “Sadly the people who end up running the world lose all common sense due to their power and wealth.”

          Most of those people wernt particularly rich when they got those job’s .

          However by the time they left them or very soon after they become richer than the average rich person, EG Tony Blair.

        • d says:

          Thwhen you use the term “rich” you refer to the oil company’s and other Globalised Vampire Corporates you support, and everything you say about what your your rich corporates, have done, particularly oil company’s, is true.

          Only the insane and teh biased would contemplate blaming simple wealthy people for what the Globalised Vampire Corporates, Particularly oil companys, have done to the planet and its occupants since 1900.

      • interesting says:

        “they are a normal part of capitalism”

        STOP CALLING WHAT WE HAVE CAPITALISM!!!! sorry I’m shouting again…..BUT, there are no bailouts in capitalism and zero bound interest rates isn’t capitalism either. I’m getting sick of the “that’s capitalism” excuse when what’s going on isn’t even close to capitalism.

        lets face it, the exportation of all the well paying jobs broke the system……the USA has eaten it’s seed corn.

        • kitten lopez says:

          “STOP CALLING WHAT WE HAVE CAPITALISM!!!! ….there are no bailouts in capitalism and zero bound interest rates isn’t capitalism either. I’m getting sick of the ‘that’s capitalism’ excuse when what’s going on isn’t even close to capitalism.”

          –you know what? you’re absolutely correct. i call it “capitalism” with the adjustment for the inevitable power imbalances and corruption that happens whenever humans get a hold of any idea–politics, sex, religion. the things you’re not supposed to talk about as “polite” conversation.

          and i, too, get caught up in blunt screams, forgetting theory vs. practice and the words get muddy again. we must be ever vigilant and refuse to be vague, assume, or think sloppily in this era of bullshit.

          thanks for calling us out on that. i still might yell THAT’S CAPITALISM for ya, but i’ll have a footnote from now on.

      • A Johnson says:

        as Warren Buffet said, he pays less taxes than his secretary, so why don’t we first make taxes fair? don’t get caught up in the “us vs them” game, “left vs right”, the same people created both ideologies, and they mean to keep us a house divided. so lighten up. And where exactly did you get the 10s of thousands of years?

        • d says:

          ” And where exactly did you get the 10s of thousands of years?”

          Humans have been in Australia, for over 40,000 Years.

          They had stone, and other tools.

          The earliest stores of wealth were tools, as they wore out, and had to be replaced.

          Not all tool users, were tool makers.

          The Basics of capitalistic trade, were further developed, by toolmakers, and tool users.

          Who copied females, who swapped non child producing sex, for food and protection, the oldest capitalistic trade. Far older than tools. Far older than 40,000 years.

      • sharonsj says:

        If you bothered to research how much tax the rich and corporations used to pay, versus what they pay now, you’d shut up. They ARE the problem because the less they pay, the more YOU (and the rest of us) pay. For example, corporations used to pay 70% and the economy was great. Now corporations complain they have to pay 35% when in reality they pay nothing like that ( the top 65 companies pay 8-10%, if they pay anything at all) and the economy is in the crapper.

        • d says:

          “corporations used to pay 70% and the economy was great. Now corporations complain they have to pay 35% when in reality they pay nothing like that ( the top 65 companies pay 8-10%, if they pay anything at all) and the economy is in the crapper.”

          I already wrote that and labeled it as THE PROBLEM,

          As opposed to a few wealthy peopel the corporations and democrats along with sanders Etal have taught everbody to blame.

      • JerryBear says:

        Who are you trying to kid? The ultra rich are at the core of our probems and inless we reverse their vampiric habits of draining all wealth into their hands, there is no hope. Our world will collapse into ruin. D, you are blinded by your ideology. Nothing is ever “theoretically” true, truth is pragmatic. Open your eyes and take a look at the reality around you.

        • d says:

          The reality around is that the Descendants of takers who caused the upheaval in the 1700’s are running the place today and they are more corrupt than anybody before them. They have made a huge mess. nobody is better off for their meddling except them, in the 2-300 year cycle.

          Rich people are not the problem. Rich people who do not work at remaining rich cease to be so.

          Globalised Vampire Corporations, allied with whoever suits them at the time, and Leftist/Socialist/Communist takers are the problem.

          The two groups have combined, to create a huge mess, which they blame on the rich people, and like a fool you believe them.

          These Globalised Vampire Corporations, have developed cultures and agendas of their own, They have bigger incomes than many country’s. Much like central planned national administration’s. They can carry them out as they can maintain them Multi-generationaly.

          Nobody rises to the top in any central planning entity, unless they follow the culture, and the plan.

          Now the mob of which you are a member, is demanding pitchfork’s and the head’s of rich people again. Along the way, you will again add lots of Jew’s.

          Beginning the new 2-300 year cycle, after transferring the wealth from the victim rich, to the new taker political elites, who murdered the victim rich. Who will proceed to make a bigger mess than what is now, unless you make the planet uninhabitable for human’s first, which is a serious probability this time round..

          You taker idiots blaming a few rich people, dont learn, you probably cant even read a history book. Then Ask, wait a minute havent we been here before, several times. Perhaps tear it all down is not the way forward after all, what if we try a different approach.

          NO, you will simply do what the Takers and the Vampires demand. Murder the innocent rich, and steal their goods, again.

          “Those who do not study (Real ) History, are fated to repeat it”.

          Repeat it, is what you take from the rich, taker idiots, are doing.

          This planet would be a much nicer place, without modern humans.

          Modern humans are probably about to make it uninhabitable for themselves, which is a good thing, why would you want to let the ignorant violent taker beast, that is the majority of Modern Humanity, loose in the solar system.

          There might be another nice planet out there, without a humanity, that modern humans would also destroy, if they found it.

          Like the alien said Die taker human, Die.

        • JIM says:

          Here is the problem Jerry Bear and others who want to blame the rich don’t want to recognize. The middle and lower class in the US ARE the rich compared to the countries that “stole” all of the good jobs. The US per capita GDP is $58K which is 16th in the world. China’s is $14.1K (113th), Vietnam’s (161st), Cambodia’s $3.5K (180th) just to name a few that make stuff people in the US use and wear. A US couple working a combined 2,000 hours at McDonalds still earn way more than a worker in one of those countries and consume more gas, food, clothing, etc. than those workers.

          Plus, remember when cars were made by Chevy, Ford and Chrysler in a protectionist environment by union workers? Those were crappy cars. Japanese and German cars were/are much better and forced the US manufacturers to step up their game. So robots took over for those union employees and technology research was implemented and US made cars became better.

          I was at Safeway yesterday. The lines were 10 people long at each register with a cashier. The only registers without a huge line were those with automatic checkout which lines moved briskly. Are you angry at the machines that perform efficient checkout at the grocery store? Those machines provide manufacturing and computer science and engineering jobs. Should we go back to a team of less efficient human cashiers and pay more for groceries and wait in longer lines?

        • Wolf Richter says:

          Jim, just some thoughts on those machines at the Safeway checkout – I use them all the time: they’re a labor transfer and thus a cost transfer, from company to customers, not a sign of efficiency.

          Safeway can pay an employee to do this, and they do it much faster than you or I can since we don’t do it all day.

          If I have a choice of going to a cashier without line or a self-checkout without line, the cashier is many times faster and easier for me, the customer. While they ring up my stuff, I pack it and prepare my payment method. They know the sku numbers on the fruit by heart and don’t have to look them up or put on their reading glasses to read the little stickers when available. etc.

          We now have to do it ourselves without getting paid for it. It’s just extra profit for the store.

          So these machines are more efficient only for the store because they transfer the labor to the customer. The machines are less efficient for the customer.

          Also, if the store employed enough cashiers, there would be no line. It’s called under-staffing.

        • JIM says:

          Not my experience, but opinions differ. That’s why GM makes Chevy, Buick, Pontiac, Oldsmobile and GMC. Oh, wait….

    • Dan Romig says:

      This is so simple, it could never work in the land of lawyers, accountants and the IRS, but here’s what we need in the USA: A modified flat tax.

      A) Citizens have a tax free ‘living wage’. The first $2,000 per month of income of any type is not subject to federal tax. Yes, $24,000 is the starting point for calculating tax liability.

      B) Every dollar earned above the ‘living wage’ is taxed at a flat rate; say 16% or 20%. It should not matter if the income is from wages, capital gains, dividends or carried interest. It should not matter if a citizen has $10,000 above a living wage or $10,000,000 above in taxable income; the tax rate is the same!

      This nation has a ‘progressive’ tax rate that punishes success by imposing higher tax rates on those with higher income. That is not “One nation with justice for all.” No, it is unjust and unequal to have an unequal percentage taken by Uncle Sam from the people of this land.

      How did we get to the point where hedge fund billionaires pay a lower rate than a public school superintendent (for example)? Answer: by putting in loopholes for the people who have bought our Congress and President.

      Of course, if this modified flat tax was implemented, we’d have quite a few thousand people out of work.

      • Petunia says:

        At this point the tax system is not going to fix the inequality because the middle class has been stripped of its earning capacity and its savings. For those working your plan helps but the money will only go to more excessive gouging by the corporatists. For those unemployed the tax system doesn’t matter.

        • kitten lopez says:

          i agree. it makes my stomach clench for the scary ricochets that’re bound to happen when things finally snap, but cute “tax” systems and anything short of a revolution at this point would be like showing up to the recent hurricanes with a swiffer mop.

      • P Walker says:

        Flat tax isn’t even needed or a requirement to bring back sensible spending. What’s lacking is a political system that allows through anyone with a conscience.

        What we really need to do is bring progressivism to corporate and capital gains in conjunction with outlawing these insane deductions and loopholes.

        Won’t happen because Washington is banker-occupied territory and they have the most to lose.

    • deering24 says:

      Jay–the “job creators” figured back in the 80’s that India and China would be bigger consumer markets than the US ever was…if they could raise those huge populations to a middle-class level. So–with Wall Street’s enthusiastic approval, they off-shored jobs to there and waited for the megabucks to start rolling in. Unfortunately, that change didn’t happen as fast as they thought it would. And now the job creators are trying to hedge their bets by luring you guys back–but your generation has learned just how much “stuff” really costs…and have fashioned lives that don’t really need that much. As a late baby-boomer, I salute you all for your perspacity. :)

      • Jay says:

        I am not a millenial. I believe the word you are looking for is perspicacity. Sadly, your generation’s superficial doctrinaire soundbites and dogmatic adherence to certain economic ideologies rings hollow with the new generation. The results are in. Fifty years of supply-side economics, tax cuts, deregulation, multilateral trade pacts, inflationary fearmongering, anti-consumer legislation, corrupt campaign finance laws, and gutting of labor unions has not only failed, but has discredited our system of governance. What looms before us is a crisis of legitimacy for not only our government, but our banks, our stock market, the corporations listed therein, our system of higher education, the courts, and even our churches. There is too much to list here, but after seeing scandal after scandal after scandal, all having the common thread of the pursuit of money, people are saying enough is enough. And not only young people.

        • deering24 says:

          No need to be snotty. And “my generation” being at fault is a very sloppy inaccurate generalization, to put it mildly. The supply-side Milton Friedman types (aided by that moron Reagan) launched all the economic conditions you mention above that led to the current bad-news situation–and a good many of them were “Greatest Generation” folks. As well, half of my generation came late to the party–if one was born after ’58, you found job opportunities slim amid the 70’s recession; raises not happening unless you job-hopped, which meant a lack of stability; and career ladders cut short by two downturns and ageism. In short, late-boomers, Gen-Xers, and millennials all got screwed by trickle-down policies and quarterly-profit thinking.

  5. Lisa says:

    I’m 37, so the end of Gen X, and I think my favorite (in an amused way) part of all of this is that business people are basically saying that Millennials’ life and spending choices are inconvenient for their financial results.

    Last I checked, if people aren’t buying your product or service, that meant you weren’t serving their wants and/or needs. Sure, maybe some people will go for this “commemorating their real, honest relationships with a diamond” stuff, but if that’s your strategy, I wish you luck. You’re gonna need it!

    • RD Blakeslee says:

      Agree. A diamond is a useless bauble to some of us (though I’m far beyond the millennial age).

      If your worried about your “image”, zirconium will fool your erstwhile critics.

    • Petunia says:

      When the SHTF for us I sold the diamond ring to buy a car. After over twenty years of marriage we got back half the money it cost. A terrible investment, if you look at it that way. After 21 years of marriage we both sold our wedding rings to pay the utilities and buy groceries. This is the state of what was the middle class in America.

      Our millennial son witnessed this, and he has it better than some of his friends, who were kicked out of their homes because their parents couldn’t afford to house and feed them anymore. The millennials don’t trust the system because they have lived with the consequences and failures of it for most of their lives.

      • Mary says:

        Just saw a great film about that drop out millenial generation. It’s called American Honey and depicts a feral group of 15 to 20 year olds who’ve walked away from horribly dysfunctional home situations and are travelling around in a van selling (get this) magazine subscriptions.

        It shows kids on the knife edge of despair and delusional hope, but at the same time makes a case for the American dream. Sounds like a bummer, yet is actually very uplifting.

        • Petunia says:

          Those kids selling those subscriptions are actually victims of a cult. This was a very big story in Florida some years back and I actually had some knock on my door. They want to get your real name and will send you magazines you didn’t order, for the commissions. It is a scam, but the kids are victims as well.

        • kitten lopez says:

          you both are reminding me of Jim Jones and how he started out being for the down-and-out and broken hearted in the Fillmore.

          i expect we’ll be seeing more of this because down-and-out kids have nothing much to believe in these days. i feel oddly nostalgic for the days when we’d fear a nuclear holocaust in high school. it was something outside of us, beyond our control.

          but when you see how infested our own house is…it’s existentially daunting.

  6. 2GeekRnot2Geek says:

    Not only Student Loan debt, but the inability to find a decent paying job.
    Among my friends and family, I know multiple college graduates in the last 8-10 years who have been unable to find jobs that pay decent starting salaries, and have taken jobs doing whatever they can find to pay off student loan debt and have some funds.

    The offshoring and H1B replacement of entire professions is also a culprit for the millennials lack of funds. When entire job sectors have been replaced by indentured servitude (H1B) or lowest cost (offshoring,) in the name of Shareholder Value, the inevitable result of a two decades of this behavior has come home to roost.

    When everything is driven to the lowest common denominator, sooner or later you run out of paying customers. This applies to everything from homes to t-shirts. The millennials are the first generation of US customers in this new business model that did not have a job until after the new Global Trade model was in full swing.

    The irony of this is that all the businesses complaining about their dwindling customer base, are the very businesses that helped create this problem.

    This is the first generation I’ve seen in my lifetime that I truly believe will not do as well or better than their parents. Not because they aren’t working hard and trying like hell, but because everything is stacked against them. Today, getting an education requires a home mortgage sized commitment, and a job market that is increasingly populated by citizens of other countries.

    Welcome to the “Global Economy”

    And apropos of nothing, but an interesting look back, in the early 1990’s when NAFTA was ratified, I asked my father what these people were thinking, because eventually moving so many jobs to other countries would leave no one to buy their products. He told me that they knew that, but they really didn’t care because right now they would be making more money. I guess they’re starting to care now.

    • kitten lopez says:

      “when NAFTA was ratified, I asked my father what these people were thinking, because eventually moving so many jobs to other countries would leave no one to buy their products. He told me that they knew that, but they really didn’t care because right now they would be making more money. I guess they’re starting to care now.”

      –no, don’t kid yourself. they don’t care. the thinking in america is only ever perpetually short-term thinking regarding everything, simply for “more money.” except there is a lot of stunning long term thinking when it comes to privatization, monopolizing, or militarization.

      • Chicken says:

        If I may suggest, the long term thinking is required to avoid public disclosure.

    • nhz says:

      “This is the first generation I’ve seen in my lifetime that I truly believe will not do as well or better than their parents. ”

      IMHO this already started with Generation-X, certainly in Europe. Most of Gen-X are worse off than their parents, many don’t have a solid job or career or are working way below their capabilities. Student debt was not a problem, but we always had the boomer generation above us bleeding us dry through housing bubbles, lack of jobs (all good jobs occupied by the boomers), mandatory pension payments that in the end will pay nothing etc.

      Everywhere in Europe you can see these typical boomers, often ordinary government workers who retired at 53 or so, who have houses worth over a million, gold plated pensions (often 2-3x times the income of current workers) and countless other benefits, living the good life every day on vacation abroad or at the golf course and still they can’t stop complaining about how more they want from the government; the most spoiled generation ever. Of course, not every boomer in Europe or the US is rich (some have a lot of debt in addition to capital) and not every Generation-X member is poor, but the average difference is staggering – all the statistics show it.

      I don’t think Gen-X has any chance to recover given their age, but the Millenials still have a chance to do well if the current system crashes and we can start over with more sensible economic/financial policies.

      • c smith says:

        “…but the Millenials still have a chance to do well if the current system crashes and we can start over…” Not necessary for all of them. Some (fairly large) fraction of the millennial cohort will do quite well as they will INHERIT baby boomer wealth. In fact, the gatekeepers for this process (estate attorneys) are positioned to thrive over the next 30 years.

        • nhz says:

          agree, this is already happening in my country.

          Wealthy boomers can pass 100K euro per year to each child (defined as someone below 40, so roughly Millennials), totally tax-free on the condition that the money is used to buy a home in the Netherlands, or for studying. This is great for the elites who can avoid future inheritance taxes, but for the average home buyer it is hardly relevant and it doesn’t seem to have any influence on the number of (starter) homes that gets sold – it just means that some starters are buying a much more expensive home right away.

          The big question is how much of the boomer wealth will be left to pass to the children after the current financial bubble bursts. Parents who are less wealthy (within the 99%) will probably get very cautious with this kind of tax evasion tricks when their pensions are getting cut and home valuations drop for real. In many cases the debt might outweigh the equity.

      • deering24 says:

        nhz–Ahem. Those boomers you speak of are the early boomers–the ones born between 1946-1955. They are the ones who benefited from a still-booming job market and were able to climb the ladder before the likes of Reagan sawed it away. They were able to build wealth–the last generation to do so. The rest of us born later struggled to get jobs in the late 70s recession; had to job-hop like crazy just to get raises (which was bad news in terms of health insurance coverage, among other things); and were the first to be let go when the economy crashed in 2000 and 2008. And our chances of getting hired permanently again are doomed thanks to age. So us, Gen-X, and millennials are pretty much all in the same sinking economic boat.

        • d says:

          You left out the most important thing for the Post 55 boomers, that everybody ignores they are the most ripped off of all generations and groups.

          As they have been forced to pay through high taxation all their lives for everybody, and when their turn comes. The age to enter the cupboard which has already been raised, or soon will be raised, and raised, to keep them out.

          For those few who finally get in, there will be NOTHING, but more bills to pay.


    • TheJudge says:

      “I guess they’re starting to care now.”

      Don’t try to fool yourself. The intellectually challenged folks that pushed through NAFTA and other legalized looting efforts will NEVER “care” about you or anyone with a smaller wallet. Think Wells Fargo – the problem with them is they were pushing looting efforts to line their pockets that was not legal.

      The ONLY thing that this type of person will care about is their pocket. Until they are personally responsible (in corp, finance and gov) for decisions they made or supported (by their lofty rank in an organization) which has measurable negative impact on others, they will continue the same old tactics – just call it something else.

      The best penalty for this type of person is the 90:10 rule. That is, 90% of all of assets that may be linked to them – should they be found responsible for wreaking havoc and negatively impacting the lives of others – is seized and placed in gov coffers. Out of compassion the remaining 10% is theirs to “live” on.

    • John M says:

      2 Geek or Not 2 Geek

      You’ve nailed the problem. The liberal Charlie Rose interviewed a British / French billionaire James Goldsmith in 1994 You couldn’t get a smarter guy in a boardroom. Goldsmith said that NAFTA would be a disaster. Its taken 22 years for that prediction of Sir James to come right and now it is coming home to roost as you put it. If you offshore production ad infinitum who’s going eventually to be able to buy the $969 iPhone 7 (8’s & 9’s)?

      Look at Mylan in 2007 CEO was earning $2.5million. Now her salary is $19million, and the Epipens are $600/ pair. What home or luxury is that that a $2,500,000 salary could not afford? I mean seriously the CEO’s & 1 percenters have lost the plot. The Apples of this world choose to manufacture in China for the billions of extra profits that these Ultra-National corporations create ( & then don’t pay taxes anywhere). . There has never been a time such as we are in at the moment where the globalists have had such a large grip on the game and their NAFTA / FOXCONN / WTO game plan is imploding. The games these 1 percenters have had aren’t working nearly as well as the early adopters had it. The diminishing marginal returns of putting the Rust belt out of work along with everyone else signal a change of game plans will soon be afoot..

    • Petunia says:

      NAFTA is the single most evil thing to ever happen to working people in America. Thanks, Bill & Hillary Clinton.

      • junior_kai says:

        And as the millennials cant afford to have kids (or go to school, or buy a house, or start a business, etc.) the elites will just import more from the third world to take their places in the schools, jobs, etc. And the argument will be – who will pay for their social security? Destroying everything we have in this country to keep a ponzi scheme going.

    • Ivy says:

      Millennials may be called the no BS generation. That is what our millennial kids and their friends tell us. They and their peers see through the employer and marketer BS and do not want any part of that. They are sick of being lied to by the media shills about all those great jobs after great educations, accessible with the right great electronic devices.

      Millennials and other groupings are portrayed as owing some loyalty to businesses that have demonstrated time and again that they have zero loyalty to anyone but their owners. Staff, customers and communities are fair game. Respect is earned, not demanded. Reputations for honesty and fair dealing are built over lifetimes and destroyed in seconds. What makes diamond sellers or stock brokers think that they are immune to that?

      • kitten lopez says:

        oh my god, millennials to me are nothing BUT the bullshit generation! they may not BELIEVE IN ANYTHING or BELIEVE ANYTHING, but they’ve completely mastered the art of bullshit double triple speak to artistic highs. they can curate a bio that levitates above anyone, and yet they don’t see how actions connect.

        they’ve imbibed the bullshit to horrifying levels that end up costing them their cynical souls.

        my heart breaks to hear of anyone proudly claiming to buy silicone rubbery wedding rings from amazon’s mordor. oh my god! that is cynicism incarnate, as a symbol of modern love.

        a free flaky plastic cracker jack ring would be infinitely more romantic. a ring twisted out of bread ties would be more romantic than a silicone ring from evil amazon.

        whoever that was– i know times is hard hard hard… but not ever hard enough to order on amazon. i hope you two update that into something a little more personal, creative, and inherently sweet one day. you could have a collection of crazy cheap and homemade rings each year you were married. update ’em for how you feel and where you’re going.

        • Smingles says:

          I have no idea what the heck you are talking about other than some people who bought a silicone ring off Amazon. Seriously, wtf?

  7. Earl Smith says:

    I read in a history of the diamond industry that the only nations that have a diamond as a symbol of engagement are the US and post war Japan which caught the disease from the occupation. And that disease is only since the 1920s in the US.

    Diamonds are NOT forever. As a chemist I BURNED a 1 ct blue white flawless diamond (donated by DeBeers) in fluorine just to determine the heat of combustion. (and it is a tale almost guaranteed to disrupt any party with women attending). Feel the surface of a diamond. That greasy feel is the diamond turning into graphite.

    The wild part is that the diamond merchants were the cause of ww2 not ending in 1943/1944. The Germans were expecting to run out of industrial diamonds needed in the manufacture of all modern weapons in 1942 until the industry supplied them with diamonds smuggled from the Congo (at 35 times the world price). In addition the London merchants decided in a fit of anger to reduce the supply of diamonds to America. They had been furious at the threat to their monopoly if they were compelled to move the diamonds across the Atlantic in case of a British invasion.

    One of the amusing tales was that of a major embezzlement that converted the money into diamonds. When caught the recovered diamonds had a wholesale value of only a pittance. The price of diamonds is all in the advertising. Just another bubble – though this one has been going on for 90 years.

    • CrazyCooter says:

      Truth be told – they aren’t really rare at all.



    • night-train says:

      I like a nice garnet. Sure, I gave the wife a diamond engagement ring back in the day. But, there are much prettier gem stones, in my opinion.

    • Thor's Hammer says:

      Objectively diamonds are less beautiful than colored glass. Just proves the extent to which “value” is yet another delusion.

    • Chicken says:

      Nothing comes close to a good fluorine fire other than a spectacular debt implosion. Considering both are predictable and neither can be extinguished.

      • Earl Smith says:

        I remember the time we panicked the Houston Fire Department. We had a Fluorine cylinder that had a slight valve leak and one of the researchers called the fire department for their recommendations. Garbled transmission resulted in the Fire Department rushing to respond to a FLUORINE FIRE at Rice University.

        For those not familiar with this reactive chemical, let me give you an idea of what the standard fire extinguishers do:
        Water — reacts to form hydrogen fluoride and oxygen difluoride
        CO2 — reacts to form Carbon tetrafluoride and Oxygen difluoride
        Sand — reacts to form Silicon tetra fluoride and Oxygen difluride
        Carbon tetrachloride — reacts to form Carbon tetrafluoride and Chlorine heptafluoride

        (oh by the way, the OF2 and ClF7 are excellent oxidizers on their own)

        The oxygen in air burns (as does the nitrogen, water vapor and CO2))

        Yep it is nasty stuff, it only comes in giant steel pressure tanks that only have 50 pounds of the stuff at 400 psi in cylinders that contain 3000 psi nitrogen or oxygen.

        The only way to handle it is to back up about 100 yards and watch it burn.

  8. Millenials, THRIFT is the enemy of the tycoons, who borrow their fortunes then expect YOU to repay the debts (by overspending for useless junk like diamonds and automobiles).

    They hooked you with Obamacare premiums and student debt but that does not mean they can hook you with other ‘expenditures’. Hold onto whatever money you can, by doing so money becomes valuable, Thrift denies that value to the tycoons who are ruined by way of their own greed.

    • TheJudge says:

      Doesn’t Ocare, with the extortion “clause”, demonstrate that the “tycoons” can effectively institute any future “lawful” legislation to further squeeze the millennials (or anyone else) so they might fatten their wallets…whether or not millennials willingly want to participate?

  9. Happyfamily says:

    I just turned 30. Been married to my beautiful wife for 8 years, 6 mo old child who means more to me than anything. Wife a D.V.M grad from UC Davis. Im a young professional who went to community college then state school and now make 90k/ yr. Worked everyday I could growing up and saved 50k by the time i got into college. Paid for both mine and my wifes college. We did as much as we could correct.

    By the time my wife went to vet school it was 3x the price than 10 years earlier with 20% increases each year she was there. Its a good thing we bought a home in woodland in 2011 and sold in 2014 for a profit, and paid off debt from tuition. We now drive cars 11, and 15 years old, (Japanese of course) live with family because rent would be $2500/ mo. We purchased equipment to start a veterinary practice and are building it. We pay $1,600 for x ray/ ultrasound etc. And pay $1,000/mo to pay off student loans, and save $1,000/mo plus every dime my wife makes.

    We won’t buy a home (or diamonds ever) until the market crashes the next time because I bring home 26 checks a year of 2,650 a home would consume a paycheck every month, debt payment of 1,000 if not more. So we would be eating cheerios (the generic brand) for dinner if we moved out of the tiny apartment we are living in with our family. We are trying to get ahead, and start a business and i’m so sick of the bullshit consumer culture blaming everything on millenials. We wont get social security, our health care expenses go up every month. So no, we dont want to waste any money on hardened sugar crystals or an audi. What matters to us is spending time together, and the more we spend, the more money we have to make and the less time we have together.

    My parents paid all expenses with one weekly paycheck, and my father was a drywaller in the bay area. Different times.

    The homes for sale for 600-$700k are piece of shit stucco monuments, that couldnt stand up to the big badwolfs grandma with enphasema with no yard and wont be worth shit in 25 years or 3 after the bubble deflates.

    Keep blaming shit on millennials :)

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Glad to hear that you’re planning to start a business!!

    • Raymond C. Rogers says:

      Well you are certainly better off than your peers. And it is certainly wise to wait for a deal. There are deals out there if your willing to look or move.

      If your chained to a metro area good luck, you will be a wage slave. Otherwise there are wonderful homes out there in the 100-200 range, but you have to be willing to move. I see these houses in San Francisco and am astounded. If someone told me they wanted to sell me a house for 700k, I’d ask them if it had 40 rooms, 44 bathrooms, and a 20 car garage. People are out of their minds for what they are willing to pay.

    • CrazyCooter says:

      See my comment up thread about moving to New Zealand. It is a big farm, most of it is rural, 50% energy is renewable (geo-thermal and hydro – the stuff where economics actually works and scales), and its southern latitude is on par with Alaska’s northern latitude.

      I probably won’t do the major urban centers – which do have housing issues – but there are plenty of other places to hang your hat.

      Just an amazing place. And, they are small, and tend to have trouble finding educated young workers – medical, engineering, etc – and their immigration policy is amazingly common sense. Gun rights aren’t as open as the US, but aren’t banned either. Health care is actually tiered and seems reasonable.

      If I didn’t have an amazing job, I would have moved there by now.



      • d says:

        Rural NZ has some of the best and most beautiful place to live in the world.

        With free hold 3 and 4 bedroom homes available under 40 K USA.

        You will be fine healthy and happy there.


        As for the average non wealthy person NZ is a very difficult place to make real money.

        • nhz says:

          Of course compared to Europe the immigration policies of NZ and Oz are clever, at least they try to let the right people in (those who want to work and are qualified) instead of letting the worst ones in (those who come here for the free-everything and don’t plan to ever work or adapt to the new culture). It’s so difficult over here to hire a qualified worker from outside the EU and get through all the immigration BS that most companies don’t even try.

          I’m just pointing out that in reality things are less rosy, in NZ at least. Don’t know about Oz really, but I have I pretty good idea about NZ immigration policy except for the last 2 years or so. I think many NZ immigration officials would agree with my point of view, they have been changing the policy many times because it didn’t work out too well in practice …

        • d says:

          “(those who come here for the free-everything and don’t plan to ever work or adapt to the new culture)”

          Sadly that is not true although most of the no hoper’s/takers come from the pacific Islands. As that reigon has lower immigration restriction applied to it.

          There are more Samoan’s in auckland than Samoa.

      • nhz says:

        I planned on emigrating from Netherlands (Old Zealand) to new Zealand over a decade ago. It’s an amazing country indeed, but I think you have some rose-colored glasses on.

        It may be easy to get work permission if you are an engineer with all the required paperwork for a certain profession, or if you work for a company that has offices in NZ and your home country. But in general it isn’t easy at all. Many people who have experienced their immigration policy first hand confirm it is far less sensible than it looks on paper. If you are a rich Asian ‘investor’ with plenty of drug money, or someone with family ties, no problem. But if you have a university education, plenty of business experience but just not the right paperwork for their bureaucrats (and not a few million $ to hand to the government) it can be really difficult. And if you have plenty of experience in e.g. healthcare, you are welcome but you have to do the full education all over again which means years of almost no income.

        They also have a very serious housing bubble. When I was looking around there in 2004 one of the main topics the natives were talking about was retiring early from housing bubble gains (of course it wasn’t a ‘bubble’), or the envy this was causing with the less priviliged citizens. Everyone dreamed of selling their $10K beach shack or crappy apartment to a foreigner for loads of money, or they had family that already got rich beyond their dreams from RE or land sales. Since then the bubble has gotten much worse especially around Auckland where most of the jobs are.

        Of course, further away in the country there are still good places to live with prices that are much lower than in much of Europe. But this usually also means lower incomes and few job opportunities (mechanical engineers are probably one of the exceptions).

        • d says:

          The ANZAC States, play the game with qualifications that Europe, and almost the whole Northern Hemisphere, plays with them.

          Dont like the fact that your qualifications are not recognized, start with the Protectionist Regime in Brussels.

    • MaxDakota says:

      This is us as well! Early 30s,
      -Refuse to buy a house because they are ridiculously overpriced – keep thinking prices can’t keep rising but they do.
      -Don’t invest in the stock market because I think valuations are literally off the charts crazy – keep thinking this also can’t continue and yet up and up it goes!
      -My parents buy a new car like clockwork every 5 years, I buy their used cars and will never ever buy a new car.
      -We have been together 11 years and planning a small civil ceremony, no engagement ring, both agree diamonds are pointless and have seen too many friends get divorced already after lavish weddings.
      -We also stopped eating out in 2016 – restaurants have been cutting portion sizes while increasing prices, so no thanks.

      We do work for ourselves, and are keeping a close eye on the propositions on the CA ballot this year – I don’t understand why anyone would vote for MORE taxes in CA. If some of these pass, and they probably will, we will discuss more seriously leaving CA. We have thus far been willing to pay a premium for living here, but it’s getting to be too much. And don’t even get me started on the mountains of regulatory BS we deal with! That’s not specific to CA, that seems to be a thing everywhere. Taxes and regulations will stifle small businesses every time.

      What feels the most dystopian to me is the claim that there is no/low inflation – houses have doubled in price within 5 yrs, stocks too. A parking lot nearby bumped its fee from $5 to $10 recently. Milk and eggs aside, food has gotten more expensive. I look around and I see rampant inflation! The CPI is clearly broken and/or obsolete.

      So this millenial is being frugal and hoarding cash because I suspect we will need it!

      • nhz says:

        I’m a Gen-X member from Europe (Netherlands has many policies that are similar to CA …) and I see much of the same here.

        Home prices have been rising for nearly 30 years here, and prices are now 10-15x higher then when I purchased my first home in the early nineties (I had to sell in 2001 due to some crazy new financial legislation). While rents keep increasing at feverish pace, mortgage payments are next to nothing and no money down is required to buy a home here. If you can fog a mirror you can get a home in Netherlands – but of course, you are on the hook then for the ridiculous transaction price. People fall for the low ‘monthly cost’ and count on housing prices rising forever (given the experience of the last 25 years, I can understand that …).

        If I didn’t have any capital I would probably buy a home too now, because there is no way you can lose unless the whole system breaks down (and in that case good luck collecting the debt from millions of angry ‘homeowners’).

        Stock market similar story, savers are punished with ZIRP/NIRP plus wealth taxes while the stock market or ‘investment’ in RE promises easy gains (if you believe the media, it always goes up), although many EU stock markets are still far below their values from 2000 or 2008. And I see the same rampant inflation in almost everything you need or cannot otherwise avoid while incomes have been stagnant for many over the last 10-15 years (not for government workers though, they again got huge pay increases this year – even +4.5% for teachers despite already very high incomes and ‘no inflation’ according to the government.).

      • Happyfamily says:

        Glad im not the only one!

    • Dave says:

      Thanks for posting. Things will workout well for you and your family. I’m not sure everyone is blaming the “millenials” . It was tough for me to type “millenials”. I hate being categorised or categoriisong others.

      The big problem we have right now is that our system is corrupt, fraudulent and decieptful from the very top to the bottom. Bad poisonous food, subpar health care, currupt capital markets, watered down overpriced school system, too many corrupt politicians and business people,…..

  10. Chicken says:

    Welcome to globalism.

  11. Happyfamily says:

    I forgot to mention our rings are silicone $10 from amazon.


    i am a manufacturer.

    the millenialls know nothing, so sad to say.

    it is probably the fault of the american vocational educational system.

    the don’t even know what cnc machine tools are. let alone the antecedents, multi-spindle automatics.

    i could run an apprentice program, but they consider that beneath them.

    it is as if they refuse to recognize that there is still a blacksmith amerika.

    that will pay for workers with knowledge and talent.

    question is, where will they acquire the knowledge?

    and don’t even ask my plumber, my electrician if there any of those kids coming up in those ranks. they don’t see them.

    so, eventually, these essential services will really constrain homeowners and industry.

    need a licensed plumber? wait a few years for a house call.

    need a licensed electrician? wait a few years.

    after the vietnam war, amerika got caught up in promoting only white collar jobs. i think there is a real deficiency in the skilled laboring segment of the economy.

    yes, those jobs are not as congenial as going to an office wearing a tie and a suit. but, that is where the money in the future will be.

    i think.

  13. Marty says:

    We have two millennial childrens. Both of them say that the financial markets are rigged and they won’t go near them.

    Both my millennials worked in small manufacturing companies. Their co-workers barely worked. I’m not kidding. In my daughter’s case, there were three other people in her area, and two of them played on their cell phones all day long, including in meetings with the boss. !!! I can’t tell you how discouraged and fed up she was.

    In my son’s case, he worked in a company with mostly blue collar workers. He said they spent more of their time and effort avoiding work than actually working. There were people who produced 1/10 of what he did, every single day.

    Neither company would fire anyone. They would hardly reprimand them. If these companies had offered a better wage, maybe they would have attracted better employees and would have had better profit margins. But they didn’t, just paid minimum wage, and let these slugs do nothing.

    Also, you might not be aware of this, but the government schools discourage entrepreneurship and teach the kids to look for government work. That’s part of why the millennials don’t start their own businesses.

    On the social front, my son says that American millennial women are completely toxic and that any man who gets involved with one is crazy. All his co-workers were divorced, with the ex sucking them dry. Also, none of the men at his company would talk to or even around any of the women because they were afraid that whatever they said would lead to a sexual harassment charge, and with good reason because they had seen it first hand.

    The social scene in American universities is so sick, I don’t know how our culture can survive it. For example, my daughter had a housemate who had a different sex partner every weekend.

    So, besides the crushing debt, the lack of decent jobs having been off-shored due to false economics, and the 12-16 year socialist brainwashing from government prisons, oops, I mean schools, the social environment is hardly conducive to family formation, either.

    Those quaint middle class values are long gone. That means there is no middle class. There can’t be a middle class without the values that create it.

    And whose fault is all this? Charlotte Twight wrote a book years ago called America’s Emerging Fascist Economy. There’s your culprit, and all of the ignorant and self absorbed ww11 and baby boom generations who drank beer and watched the NFL while it was all going on under their noses.

    And as for taxing the rich, don’t get me started. The tax code and the millions of government regulations are aimed squarely at successful small to mid size business owners, to stop these entrepreneurs and execs from becoming the ultra rich. We don’t need more taxes, we need less spending and less regulation. And we need these multinationals to be busted up. The only reason they are so huge and powerful is because of government policies that support them. Take away the bail-outs, the corporate welfare, the fake-free-trade agreements and their “personhood.”

    As you probably can tell, I’m mad as hell about all this. I’m genuinely afraid for my beautiful children who don’t fit in anywhere they go. Their future looks bleak, as does ours.

    • kitten lopez says:

      “On the social front, my son says that American millennial women are completely toxic and that any man who gets involved with one is crazy. All his co-workers were divorced, with the ex sucking them dry.”

      YES! YES! YES! after growing up in the midst of men-hating feminists, I’M HORRIFIED AT HOW BAD IT’S GOTTEN FOR MEN and everyone’s afraid to call it out because you come off as misogynist or “slut shaming.” i’ve seen my best friend, James, and so many of his male friends get slaughtered or financially and emotionally raped by women with NO SHAME.

      i keep wondering, “WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED???”

      when i was young, there was this teaching among the older women who taught me how to love and prepare for a man, that “if things don’t work out, you must remember to end things with honor and leave him better off than when he met you… for your sisters who come after you.”

      these ruthless GIRLS wreck their men and leave them “uninhabitable.”

      my private art is to write love letters to the men who’ve tried to be with me but snapped out of terror because they hadn’t a clue what to do or how to KNOW me or talk to me because everyone in town has sex right away. (i take MONTHS now… and it’s been five years since i’ve actually had intercourse, even though i’ll lightly play around and keep it SWEET. but even that terrifies men because…WHAT DO YOU TALK ABOUT? they don’t know how to PACE anything anymore)

      so i write love letters and am sweet even when i’m irritated, because i see THAT’s what’s necessary; men need to be courted, listened to, adored.

      even though i’m done planning on fucking ’em, i try to remind them of their own romantic ideals/ideas, for the woman who comes AFTER ME.

      it’s an art project that is scarier than any motorcycle adventure or derring do i’ve EVER done. another human’s heart is plenty adventure to me NOW.. whew.

      anyhow. i agree with you and have no idea how this happened. my boiler plate answer is that feminism was only ever built on “i want MINE, too!” and to hell with colored folks, po’ folks, men, anyone…

      it became more about WHAT CAN I GET for ME to MAKE ME FEEL WHOLE? (nothing… it’s endless when that’s your desire instead of making others feel whole)

      p.s. sorry, Wolf, if you hate me talking about SEX, here! Marty opened the line of thought… i just went with it!


      but i feel like this is a HUGE issue, because when you no longer WANT the proverbial “girl” (love), because she’s likely to not work hard to work it out and rape you for her own alimony gains, then what’s life (and thus, work) all about? what are you fighting FOR? more amazon crap to be delivered to you???

      there’s no SOUL in this new vision without love.


      • Edward E says:

        ‘these ruthless GIRLS wreck their men and leave them “uninhabitable.”
        been there, and even worse… the bat crazy showed up and took a while attempting to finish me off. I’m just as incredibly stupid as when seventeen years old

        “fairytale love story that wasn’t relevant to them.”
        Has anybody here ever lost someone by accident and you weren’t there but you instantly felt it? Like a blast of wind and you instantly knew something just happened and you called out their name…?

        Hang in there Millennials, deep spiritual love does exist. It is the easiest thing in the world, nothing to fear, wildly exciting and communication is effortless. It’s extremely hard to get past losing it though. Unless the Higher Ups allow someone to take care of…

        • kitten lopez says:

          WOW…and WOW AGAIN…thank you sooo much for saying this, Mr Edward E. and yes! i am at this place, too!!!:

          “deep spiritual love does exist. It is the easiest thing in the world, nothing to fear, wildly exciting and communication is effortless.”

          i think you have to be absolutely force-stripped of all that you assumed you were/were about, and have to claw yourself back from the bring of that existential abyss.

          this is why i think people like yourself, Petunia, and myself, are here to HELP shepherd the way past the abyss (black dogs, black vultures, whatever you wanna call it), without numbing yourself to whistle past your own graveyard.

          you’ve gotta experience that…gutteral HOWL to not fear someone else’s “abyss” and keep eye contact and be quiet.

          yes. the more the layers of phones and b.s. take over, people like you MUST be heard. humans need stories and something bigger to live for. it is that SCREAM i wait to hear from a seemingly dead and zombie-like humanity.

          and i guess that a lot of people here get this more than we’d realize. it’s kinda WHY they’re here at this site in the first place: something’s seriously WRONG and we can’t hack the small talk anymore without ranting angrily and stomping out at parties.

          courage is courage. whether you’re using it to start a business during the worst time, or staring back at someone who says they won’t leave you while you sob crazily.

          i’ve gotta ruminate on your post some more. and now i’ll be looking for YOUR name, too. so don’t change it here!

          thank you so much for that. and on a money site.

          told you, Wolf. it’s all related!


          but i just ADORE the intensity here. it’s more dramatic than any artsy fartsy site. ugh… i shudder at those.


        • kitten lopez says:


          “I’m just as incredibly stupid as when seventeen years old”

          but Mr Edward E–
          that’s kind of the point and the magic of it, right? i stumble with trying NOT to know “too much” because that’s the beginnings of cynicism and true aging, yes???

          i struggle at 49 to not know much of anything because i DON’T. and when i’m cluelessly OPEN, that’s when the MAGIC stuff happens.

          James called it: “being defiantly NAIVE!” –perfect. so flip the story of you being “incredibly stupid,” as open and willing to love like when it was NEW and you were untouched by so much hurt and dared to believe in santa claus again.

          i’d rather live no other way. i actually struggle to maintain that junior high glow of new crushes and love.

          i’ve learned like you that the more vulnerable i am, the stronger i am with naked swagger. nothing like it. it’s freeing even without anyone approving or “loving me back.” it’s almost religious.

          but i had to lose everything i thought i was here for, and make it past years of wishing i was free to wander off and die under an overpass with a dozen heroin needles stuck in my arms, to get to that place.

    • Realist says:

      I think if you look on the bright side, your children will stand head and shoulders above all those slackers and likely succeed well above their peers. There will always be a need for hard working, responsible people. At least, that’s what I am telling my children.

    • junior_kai says:

      Very powerful stuff. I’m gen X – most of my peers got destroyed in marriage, I’ve been lucky to dodge it due to a variety of factors (religious upbringing, lots of reading, asking my elders whats up). It will be worse for millenials unless some of the laws that treat men so poorly get repealed AND an emphasis on improving the culture happens. Judeo christian values – maybe not religion – but the values need to be spread that teaches a mutual respect for the differences men and women have and where they can help each other, because otherwise if this continues the alienation that men and women will have towards one another will only worsen.

  14. night-train says:

    Slightly off topic, but I am interested in the community’s thoughts. How do the TV shopping channels play into overall retail? My cable system has 4 or 5, with one that is all jewelry all the time. I know some elderly people who are addicted to these outfits. My late mother-in-law had to take out a sizable home equity loan on her long since paid-for home to pay off her credit cards, resulting from ordering junk. If the younger folks aren’t interested in buying crap for the sake of buying it, are these home shopping networks living on borrowed time?

    • Quade says:

      I think you’re 2 gens back. Even cable TV is on the way out much less the shopping channels. I’ve been trying fairly hard to wean my family off the satellite TV feed. Netflix and their ilk + high speed internet means we don’t need satellite TV anymore. We’re getting pretty close. I think we’re down to a couple channels and local news we can’t yet get from the internet.

      I imagine the millennials are also ahead of this curve too.

      I’m relatively old, remember collecting records and CD’s. DVD’s, BR disks and books. All of this is going away too. I have 1000 books on my phone but I can simply read on the internet these days without hauling them around with me. Why own music or video when I can just stream it off the internet or on my phone?

      Just like the diamond merchants, the cable TV companies are due for a rude awakening.

    • Lotz says:

      For a good laugh at the industry take a look at this video

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I’m surprised they still have shopping channels. We don’t even have a TV anymore. We’re among the millions of cable cutters. Just broadband and cell.

      But it’s great that they still offer shopping channels for those who like them. It’s like print newspapers.

      • bead says:

        Print newspapers still serve a local function. I don’t see the web replacement for that anywhere. Can’t say I ever understood shopping channels, though. I figured those were for home bound elderly.

    • Petunia says:

      I actually spent a lot of time at one point watching them, especially the ugly jewelry ones. I never bought anything, but they are a hoot. There is one in my area that sells the ugliest jewelry at auction for ridiculous prices. I could fly to Europe and buy designer items for less.

      I haven’t watched the others as much, but they seem to cater to people who don’t have good retail in their area.

    • kitten lopez says:

      yeah, i heard the same thing from an older woman i know who had to take care of this dying family member here in california. she spent all her money on QVC jewelry, leaving lots of crap and debt behind. /it’s the other side of lonely hoarding or something.

      i see it as a symptom of broken community and loneliness because they “tell” themselves they’re buying it for other people. they get the hit of love in the buying and forget the giving because no one really cares about tv crap, really.

      • night-train says:

        When we cleaned out my mother-in-law’s home we had to get rid of a room full of junk still in original boxes. We had the neighbors come in and take what they wanted.

  15. Gregg Armstrong says:

    Everyone on Con Street is a swindler. They all fail to acknowledge that growth is dead. Perpetual growth is predicated on cheap, infinite petroleum resources. Unfortunately, this is a finite world and cheap petroleum resources are gone. On average all that remains are petroleum reserves that require ever increasing energy to extract.

    When 100% of the extracted petroleum is used to extract, process and transport the petroleum the game will be up. We’ve already passed the 50% point. The energy gained from petroleum is a fast diminishing return. [See for details.]

    No growth means no more wealth gains. In fact, the economy is probably already contracting though that’s hidden in the deeply flawed GDP calculations. GDP shows that government spending to dig and fill holes is a gain to GDP. How insane is that?

    So, good luck and all that!

  16. Oxycon says:

    Hi Wolf, i have been an avid follower of your columns and i am very glad to say that it is like the Red pill in the Matrix, it gave me a jolt and see the reality from the chaff of MSM.

    Anyways im a 33 year old based in Singapore married my wife 3 years ago and just got a home and a toddler in tow. I too face pressures from society at home and the government locally to spend, spend and spend. I consider myself to be fortunate as i have cut back alot on discretionary spending and now am just focused on paying the mortgage, my car and saving what i have left for a rainy day.

    To give you an idea of what my commitments since marriage are:
    – Wedding dinner + Photography + Rings + cultural customary gift (money pit) – $30,000
    – Honeymoon to Maldives full board (Gotta make missus happy) – $5,000
    – My apartment (Gov owned 80 years lease) – $400k (130 sqM)
    – Renovations for apartmt – $40k
    – Car (tiny 1600cc Jap) – $20k (2 years left on its paper life, google COE Singapore)

    All in all i am still able to keep $50k cash on hand, all because i used to work in Oil and Gas and believe in deferred gratification. But since i have changed industries due to the bust i took a large pay cut and i am no longer compelled to think about taking any risks and starting a business.

    I consider myself a unique case as many of my other friends in similar situations as me are teetering on the brink of brankruptcy or living from pay cheque. I am not really sure what the future holds for me and my family but if the big one comes soon (which i suspect in 2017) i know many of my peers will be underwater.

    I am not sure how we can spend anymore, with low wages from underemployment and increasing cost of living, the sandwich class is getting more squeezed.

    I am taking on Cooter’s suggestion for NZ, any other suggestions will be appreciated :)

  17. James says:

    Harry Dent speaks volume about generations cycles….he’s worth watching on YouTube. Peak personal expenditure usually happens when people turn 40ish, and buy their single largest asset…ie their house. Baby boomers did exactly this by 2007, and it won’t be until 2030 when Millennials do….ok, forget the Gen X….

    Lisa, good point on what matters…..what one generation prizes, and what the retailers expect…yes, expectations….its not the price of the ring, or what caret the stone is. Or if it is a stone at all.

    Earl Smith, what a fascinating tale….sounds like the Diamond dealers of London allegiance to the Home country as The Chosen People….was about as strong as that asshole named Soros…google how he made money in the 1940s…

    Cooter, I wish I could say Move to NZ….but Australia has more jobs. As I grew up in Oregon, and had 2 ski coaches from NZ….they are a funny breed. I moved to Australia when I turned 30, and Haven’t looked back. Beyond the society based on beer and testosterone, people are just nice here. No society dramas…health care is free, low taxes, also next to no pollution……and….and…its sitting on top of a gold mine…a literal gold mine of everything.

  18. Roddy Pfeiffer says:

    Millennials also are responsible for the Kennedy assassination and Dutch Elm Disease.

  19. hidflect says:

    Maybe Millenials are more informed than their parents.

  20. c smith says:

    “They’re bogged down in student loans, the result of rapacious price increases in higher education.” You’ve got it bass ackwards. Tens of $ billions in Federal lending have ALLOWED colleges to raise prices. If the debt had never been ENCOURAGED by the government, the price increases never could’ve happened.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Agree. I’ve written about that before. I called the government the “ultimate enabler.” This one, I wrote back in 2012, during the student protests here…

      • John says:

        Part of the evil plan was to prevent student loans from ever being discharged in bankruptcy…thank Bush boy, Republicans and Dem enablers.

        • Ivy says:

          Joe Biden (D-DE) had a role in that to prop up his home state credit card companies and financial services constituents, er, contributors, er, minders.

        • marty says:

          This is unconstitutional. Quaint notion, I know, but I don’t understand why some do-gooder legal org doesn’t challenge it.

      • polecat says:

        I would also like to state that ‘vocational education’, as one commentor up thread mentioned, is severely lacking …. EVERYTHING is College Driven ……. to the detriment to a great many citizens, young and older…. !! But for Washington D.C.’s Perennial Shortsightedness T.M. …. we as a society would be in better shape to weather the peaks n valleys of the economic cycle …

        ….At the very least the public would have a better handle on how to maitain, fix/repair … and even create things of value that they do currently ……

  21. walter map says:

    What goes around, comes around. Or not, as the case may be.

    Cheap-labor conservatives wanted to make U.S. labor cheap by offshoring jobs, importing cheap labor, and ruining labor unions, and they succeeded. But as worker pay goes, so does consumer spending. A direct cause-and-effect relationship. Ratcheting up college, medical, and housing costs skywards naturally makes it that much worse.

    The 2000 recession never ended. and underpaid debt slaves can’t realistically be expected to have any purchasing power.

    It’s going to be really hard for corporatists to swindle millenials out of their money with overpriced luxuries and stock market crashes when they have already been swindled in advance by underemploying, disemploying, unemploying, and indebting them.

    As for diamonds, DeBeers made it illegal to pick them up off the ground so as to maintain their lucrative market in overpriced gravel. The envy of corporatists everywhere.

  22. walter map says:

    “These Debt & Rent Slaves Get Blamed for the Lousy Economy”

    Blaming the victims. Maybe insulting them will help.

    • bead says:

      All these kids in their parents’ basements, what do they know? As a famous politician once intoned.

      • polecat says:

        I’m sorry … but there just aren’t that many basements in existence !!

        That’s the E. Bernaysianism speaking ……

  23. unit472 says:

    First of all, there is no longer ‘continuity’ between American generations. Millenials are not the children or grandchildren of baby boomers. That they are the ‘largest generation’ is strictly the result of immigration. That they do not follow ‘in their parents footsteps’ is a natural outgrowth of this fact. If dad lives in a hut in the Congo or a shack in Honduras it stands to reason that buying an engagement ring from Kay jewelers is probably not part of their priorities!

  24. wratfink says:

    The “high “wages since WWII were based on the fact that the US was the only major industrial base left intact and also was the world’s largest producer of crude oil. Both of these combined to make it a powerhouse exporter of energy and goods. Labor had the upper hand in negotiations.

    Those times are gone. US oil production peaked in the early seventies and is now a net importer of crude. The cheap oil is gone in the US. The rest of the world now can compete on a labor only basis.

    Without the advantage of cheap domestic energy and the only intact manufacturing base, the playing field has now levelled and production has found cheaper digs elsewhere.

    I believe it’s called capitalism…

    • Chicken says:

      Every disease that occurred as a result of your bad habits has a name, what’s the name for the living beyond your means disease?

      • bead says:

        The Consumer Economy. Let us all praise consumers.

      • robt says:

        The Micawber syndrome. Even though he advised against it, viz irresponsible money management, he didn’t follow his own advice.
        Another famous purveyor of good advice and general wisdom who didn’t practice it was Francis Bacon.

    • Mike G says:

      By the 1970s many other western countries wrecked by WW2 eventually caught up and surpassed the US in wages, and have maintained higher levels of workforce pay and living standards.

      You can’t blame all the decline on the evaporation of a temporary post-WW2 advantage. There were deliberate cheap-labor government policies to smash down wages and crush unions in US.

  25. Winston says:

    “Diamond Producers Association launched its first new ad campaign in five years after watching retail sales of diamond jewelry slow down”

    Diamonds, one of the most successful scams in history.

  26. bead says:

    So what is the political impact? Is there a millenial political movement worth the name? They’re getting completely screwed by the asset inflation but seem to be drugged. Interesting times as we watch the Republican party implosion. Do we end up with one party for the rich and two culture warring parties for the rest?

    • Petunia says:

      The political impact is the rise of Bernie Sanders’ campaign. Most of his millennial followers will stay home, go third party, or vote Trump.

      • bead says:

        I don’t see them voting for Trump. Most of the ones I’ve spoken with despise Trump AND his voters, the deplorables. They will try to swallow Hillary’s “inclusive” narrative; I think that finally has legs.

        • Petunia says:

          My son likes the fact that the establishment hates Trump. He considers that a plus for Trump.

          There is a group of millennials that go for the Clinton “No Perversion Left Behind” but they will probably be to FU to vote.

        • Graham says:

          Ha, they won’t vote for her if they read any site that looks at her emails or the deletion of said after the subpeona. Contempt of congress may seem cool but looking at the content – it’s a serious crime.

          The millennials that don’t read at least zerohedge probably aren’t really interested in politics either – but after Trump outlined some of the Clinton’s crimes in debate 2 (45 minutes in – to a BIG audience) rather more will now be digging further – and quite a few of them will be seriously shocked at what they find out about the criminal activities of the family they were going to vote for.

          I suspect the phrase ‘you’ll be in jail’ was a moment for many when their fuzzy ignorance slumped to disbelief and then to mild horror. Her last hope now is the Diebold machines, but to flip them you need the results and the polls to be close, and even the poll rigging has many scratching their heads when simply comparing Trump stadium rallies to the rare Hillary school room rallies… it’s like Bernie vs Hillary+DNC all over again.

      • robt says:

        Bernie Sanders said that ‘Bread lines are a good thing, because it means the rich don’t get all the food’.
        There’s a Bernie Sanders every generation.
        Socialism is the preference of the immature who refuse to understand why everything can’t be free, just like when they were kids.
        It’s hard to imagine them voting for Trump. Maybe Johnson, who seems to be a crypto-endorser of the Democrats, or they’ll probably just vote Democrat if they don’t want to throw away a vote.

        • Petunia says:

          The millennials consider third party voting a dissenting vote. Many will vote third party.

      • polecat says:

        ….the lessor of two ‘weevils’ …… ;’)

      • Smingles says:

        “Most of his millennial followers will stay home, go third party, or vote Trump.”

        While they are not particularly enthusiastic about either candidate, Hillary is crushing Donald among millennials in head to head counts.

        You are on the internet… you can look these things up, Petunia. The world is bigger than your neighborhood.

        • MaxDakota says:

          I’ve always found it counter-intuitive that the millenial vote seems to be going toward Clinton – maybe it’s one of those things where the sampling is deeply flawed so the results are wonky, because it would be much more intuitive if we were 1) not voting, 2) voting third party or 3) voting Trump as a FU to the establishment. I wonder if there are a lot of people who are in fact planning not to vote, so they don’t get counted in the polls as those are usually among likely voters?

          I also don’t trust the polls because I cannot for the life of me figure out how “college educated” can be for Clinton while “$75k+” are for Trump – isn’t there a big overlap between the college educated and 75k groups? I’ve debated this with my father who is a statistician, and he says the best explanations are violation of random sampling and/or insufficient sample size.

  27. sfz says:

    I also agree that the problems didn’t start with the millennial generation. I’m genX and have seen some severe problems since at least 2000 among me and my peers–many have been un/under employed for many years. I guess many of my generation had a few good years in the late 1990s tech bubble, but that fantasy didn’t last long. The current tech delusions seem to be lasting much longer than the original dot com bubble which only lasted 5 years or so. VCs seem to be dumping money on many unproductive pile of sh*t companies for 5 to 10 years or longer in hopes of creating the next blockbuster internet company that will corner the market and create the next profitable monopoly.

    For the millenials who are doing well sucking down the money of the VCs in the bay area, I think they’re in for a rude awakening sooner or later when the VCs finally wake up and decide they can’t/won’t give money forever for a company with no income or no prospect of making any profit for decades, if ever.

    I also think many boomers have been having problems for the past 15 years or longer. Having few opportunities isn’t necessarily a generational thing except that today’s generation gets the sad privilege of starting out in debt and debt slavery more than ever before.

    I’ve met some bratty and spoiled millenials, especially in a place like the bay area where kids making more useless startups is all the rage, but I think a lot of the media complaints about millenials have been at least somewhat true for most generations when they were just out of college and the age millenials are now. I know me and my peers had idealistic and unrealistic expectations at that age, thought we knew a lot more and were more experienced than we actually were and weren’t really the hot sh*t many of us thought we were as an arrogant 25-year-old.

    Just give it 10 or 20 years and the millenials will be writing whining op ed pieces about the next generation, too. Boomers said the same things about gen X in the 90s.

  28. dave says:

    i am a few years out of the millennial generation, i think what people are misunderstanding is that they have transcended the idea of a consumer driven life style. they are smarter than prior generations and realize that stuff is cool but brings little happiness. hence the existential life style. it is more about experience than owning stuff and owing money for the stuff. they read the internet and probably understand more than we did in our time. they see the futility of mass consumerism and the dilemma of our current economic situation. they looked behind the curtain of the great and powerful oz, and reject it more than any other generation.

  29. Graham says:

    “Wall Street needs to figure out how to get to their money.”

    As expressed later in the article;- they have no money. The bankers got their first and drained them of both wealth and therefore any wealth creating ability too.

    A number of factors helped Bill Gates, but one often overlooked is the wealth of his parents, which allowed him to mess about in their garage creating a business and honing his business skills.
    Modern man is potless and this scenario is therefore almost impossible. When they bump into the billions of Patents they’ll find out that it is actually impossible too…

    The time of the successful new generation has alas, passed, all the remaining wealth is hoovered up by the entrenched establishment and sent away safely offshore, away from those grubby aspirationals.

    They are still lucky mind, despite the best efforts of certain parities in the US it’s not a nuclear winter yet so my advice for them would be to get out and enjoy the free things in life while they can.

    • Chicken says:

      “The time of the successful new generation has alas, passed, all the remaining wealth is hoovered up by the entrenched establishment and sent away safely offshore, away from those grubby aspirationals.”

      Millenials and their children will be made to pay for the continual improvement of beachfront properties of the entrenched establishment, in some other name. The reason for the some other name is truth doesn’t exist in any form other than a controlled one.

  30. Bobcat says:

    The college educated millenials bear watching. They are what Cal State prof James Anderson refers to as “déclassé intellectuals.” Anderson defines this as, “They are the excess of educated persons unable to find meaningful and decent paying work once commensurate with their level of learning.”

    These are the people who start revolutions. It doesn’t take many, just a core group. One is being cultivated.

    While many millennials are derided as a spoiled, vacuous lot of lazy crybabies, they aren’t all like that. They have come of age in a time when ladders of upward mobility have been dismantled, when college costs and predatory loans have essentially left them with a mortgage but no house. 3/4s of them live with their boomer parents. The purchase of luxury items like diamonds is not on their radar. The pundits talk about them but rarely to them. Lot of millenials have opted out.

    History repeats itself. Socialism may be a bankrupt idea to people of some means but it appeals to millennial have-nots. Subsequent posters need not respond with angry, power driven refutations of socialism. As a former libertarian evangelist, I’ve not only heard them all, I’ve delivered them with zeal. The millenials aren’t listening.

    And just as sure as such a revolution gains traction, another group with different, more opportunistic ideas will be waiting in the wings to hijack it. I could see some group like the Jacobins taking hold here. Don’t think so? Just look at all the neo-Maoist stuff happening on campuses today.

    • Chicken says:

      I’m not convinced they’re capable of starting a true revolution although it makes for a great sound bite. They’ll be hoodwinked into embracing the philosophies of the elite class and become “model citizens” in their own right.

  31. c smith says:

    “History repeats itself. Socialism may be a bankrupt idea to people of some means but it appeals to millennial have-nots.”

    How can socialism appeal to the young when we have a real-time example of Socialist failure and collapse right next door in Venezuela? Can’t we just point to the mess there and ask: “Still interested?” Of course, their response would likely be: “Canada/Denmark/Sweden (name your homogeneous northern democracy) does just fine, thank you.”

  32. Thomas Malthus says:

    Nah, this is what is to blame for the poor economy…. I refer you to the latest article from the best analyst on the planet….

    We have been hearing a great deal about IMF concerns recently, after the release of its October 2016 World Economic Outlook and its Annual Meeting October 7-9. The concerns mentioned include the following:

    Too much growth in debt, with China particularly mentioned as a problem

    World economic growth seems to have slowed on a long-term basis

    Central bank intervention required to produce artificially low interest rates, to produce even this low growth

    Global international trade is no longer growing rapidly

    Economic stagnation could lead to protectionist calls

    These issues are very much related to issues that I have been writing about:

    It takes energy to make goods and services.

    It takes an increasing amount of energy consumption to create a growing amount of goods and services–in other words, growing GDP.

    This energy must be inexpensive, if it is to operate in the historical way: the economy produces good productivity growth; this productivity growth translates to wage growth; and debt levels can stay within reasonable bounds as growth occurs.

    We can’t keep producing cheap energy because what “runs out” is cheap-to-extract energy. We extract this cheap-to-extract energy first, forcing us to move on to expensive-to-extract energy.

    Eventually, we run into the problem of energy prices falling below the cost of production because of affordability issues. The wages of non-elite workers don’t keep up with the rising cost of extraction.

    Governments can try to cover up the problem with more debt at ever-lower interest rates, but eventually this doesn’t work either.

    Instead of producing higher commodity prices, the system tends to produce asset bubbles.

    Eventually, the system must collapse due to growing inefficiencies of the system. The result is likely to look much like a “Minsky Moment,” with a collapse in asset prices.

    The collapse in assets prices will lead to debt defaults, bank failures, and a lack of new loans. With fewer new loans, there will be a further decrease in demand. As a result, energy and other commodity prices can be expected to fall to new lows.

    Let me explain a few of these issues:

    (you may want to be sitting before you read the rest… perhaps pop a Xanax…)

    If you find yourself disagreeing with this but are unable to come up with any facts to support your position… i suggest you read this\

    Oh … and btw:

    Big oil companies are no longer trying to replace all their production through conventional exploration, the energy consulting company said in a report published Tuesday.


  33. interesting says:

    “Everyone wants to know why millennials don’t follow the script”


    it sure does seem like the government eliminated the draft and then created an economy where the only real option is the military. Way to many of my kids friends took that option after graduation.

    • Chicken says:

      Corporations in many cases are controlled by the elite.

      “Your margin is my opportunity” Jeff Bezos

    • walter map says:

      “the only real option is the military.”

      On the plus side, the military will subsidize your college education. On the minus side there aren’t any jobs, which was the reason for signing up in the first place.

      But they’d better sign up quick before the drones take over. Nobody cares if drones get blown up and they don’t want college educations, and besides, drones are profitable. Once military imperialism has been automated there will be far fewer opportunities, either in global conquest or in subjugation of defeated populations.

      Be the first one on your block to make it home in a box. Or with psychiatric disorders, or with various bits missing.

      • bead says:

        reminds me of a Dylan favorite:

        They said, “Listen boy, you’re just a pup”
        They sent him to a napalm health spa to shape up

        They gave him dope to smoke, drinks and pills
        A jeep to drive, blood to spill

        They said “Congratulations, you got what it takes”
        They sent him back into the rat race without any brakes

        He was a clean-cut kid
        But they made a killer out of him
        That’s what they did

        He bought the American dream but it put him in debt
        The only game he could play was Russian roulette

        He drank Coca-Cola, he was eating Wonder Bread
        Ate Burger Kings, he was well fed

        He went to Hollywood to see Peter O’Toole
        He stole a Rolls-Royce and drove it in a swimming pool

        Peter O’Toole, an inspired choice

  34. Jungle Jim says:

    Wolf, are you still worried that people aren’t reading the comments ?

  35. TulsaTime says:

    Gee, we don’t suppose it’s because everybody is broke and nobody can find two good jobs, do we? All the advertising worked, so everybody has a car loan for 7 years at 25% APR, so kinda hard to afford a house too.

  36. Chris from Dallas says:

    Unfortunately, I know student loan rates well. For the 2010-2014 school years, US government backed student loans ranged from 3.4% – 4.5% while the larger UNSUBSIDIZED loans were at 6.8% and accrued interest until 6 months after graduation.

    So ignoring consolidation which allows up to 30 YEAR TERMS, here are some numbers to consider:

    $1.3 Trillion at 5% for 10 years = $165 Billion per year in student loan payments!

    If used instead as 3.5% down payments on FHA mortgages this would yield $4.7 TRILLION OF NEW MORTGAGES PER YEAR *FOR* *TEN* *REPEAT* *TEN* *YEARS*!

    At the “recommended” 20% down it would generate $827 Billion in mortgages and create 14,565,335 owners of NEW HOMES (at the August Median New Home Price of $284,000).

    Total mortgage debt in U.S. is only $8.37 Trillion.

  37. JIM says:

    Student debt is effectively borrowed from the government which in turn borrows from savers. Savers are (1) pension funds (2) sovereign wealth funds (3) insurance companies (4) individuals with assets. At the ultimate point, students would default on their debt. The government would in turn defaults on its debt and savers Would lose. Alternatively, the government can monatize its debt (print new money) and deflate the currency. Either way, savers lose a large portion ($1T) of their savings. This “wealth” transfer is effectively a “tax” on the rich. Now student loan borrowers are still poor but the previously wealthy are less so. Then housing loans, all guaranteed by the government, would default because everyone is now poor and the government would need to monatize these guarantees by printing more money. Now everyone is even poorer but no one has any debt. Except corporations who have lots of debt but can’t sell anything to all of these poor people so they default on their debts making savers even poorer. Unless the government steps in to save the corporations by printing more money making everyone equally poorer.

    The ECB, Japan and the US governments are all on this trajectory – as are emerging economies propped up by government entities such as the IMF. We just don’t admit it because we all pretend that the piling debt at low interest rates can actually be paid back at some point. The “wealth” accumulated by the rich in terms of stocks, bonds and real estate are illusorily propped up by debt issued/purchased by the government. Cash in pocket has deflated as well so there is no safe haven.

    Increasing taxes on the “rich” just puts more money in the hands of government which spends that cash, in large part, on paying interest on it debts and providing cushy retirement packages to its retirees which are, in many cases, far above reasonable levels. Prop 30 in California was a “temporary” 30% increase in tax on incomes above $250k to pay pension obligations to state employees. That tax is becoming permanent in Prop 55 this year. Many of the government retirees, not most but many, earn salaries approaching this $250k income threshold. Increasing taxes is not the answer.

    There is no politician, living, dead or yet to come, who dreamt of a tax scheme sufficient to repay all of the US governments obligations in the near or long term similar to what would/needs to happen in the default scenario above. Not even Bernie Sanders.

    The only option is for the citizenry to enact a referendum, a direct vote by the people and not made through their elected representatives, to enact campaign finance reform.

    This, and only this, would change the political landscape in the US taking the power to hire and fire “elected” officials from the hands of corporate and wealthy donors into the hands of the people. Citizens United, Koch Brothers, CalPERS, Goldman, etc. would stop presenting you with their choice of candidates from which to choose. It would be a mess but so will the eventual toppling of the financial system if students decide NOT to repay their debts.

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