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The Most Entitled Generation Isn’t Millennials

The Most Entitled Generation Isn’t Millennials

“For the first time in America’s history, an entire generation of her citizens are poorer, more indebted, and less employed than the preceding generations.

That generation is the millennials – our generation.

The culprit, say some social commenters, are millennials themselves. In this telling, we are a lazy cohort of entitled and narcissistic brats — the proverbial Generation Me. But this is a classic case of blaming the victim.

The true cause of this unfortunate situation is clear: It’s the economy. The Great Recession stymied economic growth, halted job creation, kept older Americans in the workforce longer, and encouraged younger Americans to continue debt-financed schooling.

Moreover, the Great Recession was not merely a one-off calamity — it was a symptom of economic ills long perpetuated and ignored. And the criticism and labels that have been heaped upon millennials bear much more resemblance to the type of intergenerational stereotyping that has always existed (“darn kids these days”) than to any measurable reality.

The truth: The economic tragedy of the Millennial generation was written before many of us had even learned to read — Baby Boomer parents and grandparents who, at once, genuinely love and care for us, but have also created or perpetuated institutions, policies, and economic realities that have now hobbled us.

Our generation has been called “entitled.” We beg to differ. If any generation is entitled, it’s our parents’ and grandparents’ generation: the baby boomers.

True entitlement is tripling the national debt since the 1980s and using the proceeds to spend lavishly on tax cuts and government programs that primarily provided short-term economic boosts, while refusing to raise the Social Security age of retirement or to reduce benefits, even as the gluttonous program careens toward unsustainability.

australia2AAP Image/NEWZULU/ZOEA protester at recent Australia climate-change rallies in the lead up to the UN climate summit in New York.

True entitlement is allowing the reasonable minimum wage that Baby Boomers enjoyed when they were our age to deteriorate while opting to cut taxes on the gains from stocks and bonds that they accrued during periods of debt-driven economic and stock-market surges — creating an economy where wage earners at all income levels, as of 2012, receive a smaller portion of economic output at any time since 1929.

True entitlement is, for decades, enjoying the benefits of the lowest energy costs in the world while refusing to price-in the external costs of carbon emissions, exacerbating the real changes to our planet that pose profound risks to the environment and economy for which millennials will soon be the primary stewards.

These grave consequences were entirely foreseeable — but they happened. Young Americans have been fleeced in order to fund the transient excesses of the old — and yet millennials are labeled “entitled” because we were given “participation trophies” and “personal tutors” before we were old enough to vote … ?

Give us a break. Millennials are not entitled. But we are frustrated.

We’re frustrated, because the same baby-boomer bloc that created or tacitly perpetuated the policies that have hamstrung millennials now makes up almost a third of the American voting-aged population and holds nearly two-thirds of the seats of the US House of Representatives and Senate. This, during a decade-long span when incumbent House and Senate members are richly rewarded for being the most unproductive legislators in US history, respectively winning reelection 94% and 87% of the time.

millennials, workplaceITU/Rowan Farrell

Granted, many members of our generation need to learn how to vote every two years, not just every four. And we need to begin to fulfill the civic-minded label — “The Next Great Generation” — which social scientists have bestowed upon us. When we do begin to regularly share our opinions in the voting booth, not just on Twitter, you can be assured that we’ll act to keep this country great. We’ll make the “hard” choices the baby boomers have refused to make.

Already, we’ve learned how to be fiscally responsible — with the most student debt of any generation in history, we’ve had to. More than any other generation, we eschew expensive possessions like cars and large houses, opting instead for bikes and shared living spaces. Sure, we would like to own all that fancy stuff someday, but we realize that we can’t have everything we want.

We know that our government would be better off spending more of our tax dollars on jobs and education, and not just on Social Security and defense. We overwhelmingly recognize that the war on drugs has been an embarrassing waste of money and lives, and that anyone should be able to marry whomever they love.

Perhaps we millennials are entitled: We seemed to think that baby-boomer politicians would enact much-needed changes while we fiddled with our smartphones. We were definitely wrong on that one.”

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“Since 1988, members of Congress have had their pay…”

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What Happened When 3 Politicians Tried a Minimum Wage Budget

What Happened When 3 Politicians Tried a Minimum Wage Budget

By Scott Wilson

Jul 28, 2014 2:35pm

 

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(Getty Images)

“Have you ever seen a congressman snacking on a measly tin of sardines? Or maybe a governor ordering a McChicken off the dollar menu?

In Washington this week that scene was reality for three Democratic politicians who are taking the Live the Wage challenge.

Reps. Tim Ryan and Jan Schakowsky joined former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland in taking the challenge–and are each living on a budget of $77 for the week–the same amount that a minimum wage worker typically has to spend on food, transportation and day-to-day expenses–after factoring out major costs such as rent and utilities.

A $77-a-week budget certainly doesn’t allow for luxuries.

“I basically had a couple bags of peanuts in the cloakroom–and there was a little fruit in the office that I ate yesterday,” Rep. Ryan told ABC News. “I spent about seven bucks last night on a couple cans of sardines and a bag of crackers from the convenience store up the street.”

The congressman began the “Live the Wage” challenge last week with hopes of bringing attention to the hardships facing minimum wage workers around the nation.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky also began the challenge Thursday–telling ABC News, “It totally changes your perspective. Even the shopping experience–I make a shopping list when I go to the store usually. I think about what I need–what I want–and I put it in the cart. I truthfully rarely think about how much it costs.”

“I’ll walk down the aisle and I’ll see something–you know, that would be great and I throw it in the cart. There’s just none of that when you’re on that kind of budget. There’s no spontaneity whatsoever,” Schakowsky added.

Strickland even took a trip to McDonald’s to try out the fast food chain’s dollar menu. Strickland posted a photograph of his $2.20 meal on Twitter noting that the workers at McDonald’s–(a company known for paying the legal minimum)–”deserve a raise.”

In a Politico op-ed, Strickland explained that he was unable to complete the week-long challenge with a budget of just $77. One particularly difficult aspect the governor discussed was eating a healthy diet while living on a $7.25 hourly wage.

“Because fresh fruits and vegetables are hard to find at a price within a minimum wage budget, I turned to bread, peanut butter, bananas and bologna more than anything else. That was what I could find when I took this budget to the grocery story last Sunday. And that’s why I ate lunch from the McDonald’s dollar menu.”

Schakowsky and Ryan have also taken to social media in recent days to share their message about the challenges facing minimum wage workers.

“There are a lot of people out there who do this for extended periods of time–years–so the idea is to get the message out and raise awareness about some of the difficulties that can happen to you,” Ryan told ABC News.

“We realize it’s not going to be exactly like the challenges that a minimum wage family faces, but the country is talking about the minimum wage right now. And I think that’s exactly what we want to do.”

Schakowsky echoed Rep. Ryan’s sentiments.

“I’m not going to pretend that now I understand what it’s like to live on the minimum wage. I think it’s a taste of it. But for anyone who thinks it’s a gimmick, my suggestion would be–try it,” Schakowsky said.

“You will get a small sense of what it’s like to be constantly thinking about how much you’re spending.”

Ryan and Schakowsky were co-sponsors of the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013. Their goal is to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10.

The push to increase the national minimum has steadily intensified in the past year–as the minimum wage has remained unchanged since 2009.

Last week marked the five-year anniversary since Congress last passed an increase to the national minimum, while the wage for tipped workers has remained at $2.13 an hour since 1991.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the minimum wage doesn’t get you very far. “On average, a single-parent household (One parent, at least one child under 18) will spend $5,457 per year on food, or about $105 per week.”

That’s $28 above what a minimum wage worker has to live on for a week.

When asked about plans for reintroducing minimum wage legislation, Schakowsky was optimistic, but expressed concerns over whether Speaker of the House John Boehner would bring the bill to a vote.

“We’re hoping that we’re going to see another vote on it in the Senate and that there will be more pressure,” Schakowsky said.

“I fully believe that if Speaker Boehner were to call an increase on the minimum wage–that it would pass. It’s a matter of making sure that we just get more Republicans over this recess to ask the speaker to just call the bill.”

Ryan, however, was not as optimistic about the bill’s prospects before the midterm elections.

“I doubt it. The speaker’s holding the line on this. And I hope it’s a rallying call for the 65,000 minimum wage workers in my district–and the million and a half across the country,” Ryan said.

“Let’s increase the minimum wage and get people to work and make sure work pays. That’s ultimately the conversation we want to have.””

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Ex-governor tries to live on a minimum wage budget — and fails

Ex-governor tries to live on a minimum wage budget — and fails

“I had $77 to spend on food, transportation, activities and other personal expenses for the week,” the Ohio Democrat and current president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund wrote in Politico magazine. “I didn’t make it.”

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President Obama Has the Perfect Rebuttal to All the People Who Want to Impeach Him

President Obama Has the Perfect Rebuttal to All the People Who Want to Impeach Him

The news: “I’m the guy doing my job. You must be the other guy.”

It may not have been the exact quote from The Departed, but for President Barack Obama, this line perfectly encapsulated his ongoing standoff with House Republicans. Like a scene straight out of an SNL parody, the president took the stage at an Austin rally on Thursday and openly mocked GOP threats to sue and impeach him.

“‘Sue him! Impeach him!’ Really? For what? You’re going to sue me for doing my job?” Obama asked with sarcastic bewilderment as the crowd cheered. “I mean think about that — you’re going to use taxpayer money to sue me for doing my job while you don’t do your job? Huh.”

It’s been an unhappy union. Obama’s give-no-damn speech follows the Republicans’ decision to officially draft a suit, accusing the president of abusing his authority in implementing his health care law. “What we’re talking about here are places where the president is basically rewriting law to make it fit his own needs,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in an announcement.

The White House has called the suit a “political stunt,” but the president may end up getting a better deal than he thought: Boehner’s suit is expected to quell calls for impeachment from the more outspoken wing of his party. 

Obama may be on an executive kick, but it’s not abnormal. During his State of the Union address this year, Obama promised a “year of action,” with or without congressional backing, and so far, he has been delivering. After unilaterally easing student loanscapping carbon emissions, strengthening federal background checks for gun purchases and increasing minimum wage for federal workers to $10.10 an hour, the president announced recently that he will also enact new immigration policies.

For Boehner and his ilk, this has all proved Obama’s abuse of executive privilege. But as Obama himself has noted, he has been issuing executive orders at a far lower rate than any president in the past century. As of last month, Obama has issued 182 such orders and will likely issue less than George W. Bush (291), Bill Clinton (364) and Ronald Reagan (381).

Image Credit: Brookings Institute

“Republicans didn’t seem to mind when President Bush took more executive actions than I did,” Obama said at the rally. “Maybe it’s just me they don’t like. I don’t know.”

Obama really doesn’t seem to care anymore. As Obama admitted on Thursday, “I don’t have to run for office again so I can just let her rip.” Going into midterms for his second term, the president really hasn’t been holding back any punches when it comes to blaming Republicans for Congress’ historically unproductive year.

“It’s lonely just me doing stuff. I’d love if the Republicans did stuff too,” Obama added, tongue firmly in cheek. With just over two years left to go, he seems ready to hang up his presidential hat and become the sasser-in-chief.”

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President Obama to Congress: “So Sue Me”

President Obama to Congress: “So Sue Me”
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President Obama to Congress: “So Sue Me”
Image Credit: AP

“”Middle class families can’t wait for a Republican Congress to do stuff,” Obama said in a speech on Tuesday, criticizing the legislature for failing to address the United States’ infrastructure problems. “So sue me. As long as they’re doing nothing, I’m not going to apologize for trying to do something.”

The comment follows House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)’s threat last week to sue Obama over alleged abuse of executive power. Republicans have been angry about the president’s reliance on executive actions to bypass Congress, while Obama has countered by saying, “If Congress will not do their job, at least we can do ours.”

The gaping hole in infrastructure: If Obama’s goal is to light a fire under Congress’ ass, he has a good reason for doing so. The Highway Trust Fund is scheduled to run out in 57 days, which means that 877,000 jobs and $28 billion in U.S. exports are at risk. Obama would like to eliminate corporate tax breaks to replenish the coffers; Republicans would rather end Saturday U.S. Postal Service deliveries or raise state online sales taxes.

Congress remains in a partisan deadlock over the issue and Obama is threatening to step in if they can’t resolve it soon. “It’s not crazy; it’s not socialism. It’s not the imperial presidency. No laws are broken, it’s just building roads and bridges like we’ve been doing,” he emphasized.

And just to make it clear who he blames, he added, “House Republicans have refused to act on this idea. I haven’t heard a good reason why they haven’t acted, it’s not like they’ve been busy with other stuff. No, seriously. They’re not doing anything. Why don’t they do this?”

Obama is on an executive kick right now. During his State of the Union address this year, Obama promised a “year of action,” with or without congressional backing, and so far, he has been delivering. After unilaterally easing student loans, capping carbon emissions, strengthening federal background checks for gun purchases and increasing minimum wage for federal workers to $10.10 an hour, the president announced on Monday that he will also enact new immigration policies.

But while Boehner might see these actions as evidence of Obama’s “king-like authority,” the president has actually issued the fewest executive actions of any U.S. president in the past century. And as midterm elections approach, it’s clear that Obama wants to tick off agenda items that he promised voters, even if it means going it alone — and that might mean even more no-fucks-given moves in the future.”

 

To provide some context on executive orders, Franklin Roosevelt is the president with the most executive orders at 3,522 during his presidency. In the last couple presidencies, Ronald Reagan had 381, George HW Bush had 166, Bill Clinton had 364, George W Bush had 291, and Obama has 182 so far.

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No, President Obama Did Not Break the Middle East

It’s so important to put into perspective what Obama has done during his presidency. Many people criticize him for not doing what he promised during his campaigns, but it’s important to note the context within which he’s working.

Congress is at an all time historical low for passing bills, they block everything the president wants to do (even shutting down the government in the process). Obama first came into office right at the beginning of the Great Recession and during a war between Israel and the Gaza-based Hamas in the Middle East.

Gun restrictions had been slowly loosened over the course of the past couple decades thanks to NRA-like lobbying. Inflation since the 70s and productivity since the 80s have been increasing without match, thereby plummeting their correlation to minimum wage. Meanwhile, corporations are finding more and more loopholes so that they can continue to increase their profit margins while simultaneously not allowing the profits to “trickle down” (instead all the excess profit is going into off-shore, non-taxed accts).

Manufacturing jobs have been gradually outsourced to other countries over the past couple decades, effectively slashing the averagely-skilled, middle-class workforce in the US. And the oil and rubber lobbyists have pretty much monopolized the entire energy economy in the US, making it near impossible to move beyond our out-dated, limited-resource-based energy systems.

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June 23, 2014 · 4:38 pm