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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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Locavorism vs. Globavorism

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The Holidays Are Right Around the Corner!

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What’s with being a locavore anyway?

What’s with being a locavore anyway?

By Morgan Dolan

We have all heard of vegetarians, vegans, and those who only eat fruit that falls off of a tree. There is always a “why” behind their food choices – indeed, it seems that the decisions we make about our diets are inherently linked to beliefs that we have about food and the world we live in.

So where do so-called locavores fit into all that?

A locavore is typically someone who either exclusively or primarily eats foods from their own local or regional foodshed (traditionally within a 100-150 mile radius of home).

As a movement, locavorism advocates a preference for local products for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Local products travel a much less distance to the consumer, therefore using less fuel and generating less pollution
  • The shorter distribution chains also allow for less product wasted during distribution, storage, and merchandising
  • Local products are fresher, healthier, and use easy-to-recognize ingredients
  • Local products encourage diversification of local agriculture and recirculation of monetary capital within local economies
  • Local products also encourage the consumption of organic, GMO-free, and lab-manufactured chemical-free products

The good news is that you don’t need to “be” a locavore (or “be” anything) to acknowledge the benefits of a locavore lifestyle. You don’t need to give up imported cheese, wine, or start fanatically hunting down the origins of every product or consumable in your household.

To acknowledge the benefits of purchasing food and goods from your region or foodshed means that you think about how, prior to WWII, nearly two out of five Americans lived on farms. Food was much more locally grown and marketed. Rarely was food transported further than a day’s distance. After WWII our infrastructure expanded greatly, transportation costs decreased and refrigeration became more accessible. These changes allowed meats, produce, and other commercial products to be transported greater distances at competitive prices.

To think about how food lands on our tables, in our pantries, or how products come to be in our houses, means that we need to look at where we choose to shop. Recent trends in areas that were once vibrant and productive farmlands show that consumers are more and more often heading to supercenters like Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, and Meijer’s for shopping. Convenience and low prices are the draw but this trend starves the local demand for local food and products. Products in these big box stores are primarily imported from countries with low production costs – and the current business model specifically strives to keep them low.

You don’t need to “be” a locavore to conscious of where your dollars are going and what you are choosing to pay for. Furthermore you wouldn’t be alone: Nearly 80% of respondents in a 2006 national survey said they occasionally to always purchased fresh produce directly from growers.

This increased demand is creating opportunities for farmers and growers to expand their marketing channels. Local foods are being sold through farmer’s markets, roadside stands, winter markets, food co-ops, CSAs (community supported agricultural groups), supermarkets, specialty stores, restaurants, hospitals, schools, and more. CSAs increased from 60 in 1990 to 1150 in 2007. In a similar period, farmers markets went from 1500 to over 4500.

We at the General Store want you to be yourself. Rather than asking you to “be” a locavore, we would rather you just take a minute to think about where your money goes and what it supports. We are trying to bring more and more people’s daily needs under one roof so that you will be able to shop at one place, to get everything you need, and support the Pacific Northwest at the same time.

Sources:

“The Growing Locavore Movement: A Ripe Opportunity.” 2012. 4 Nov. 2014 <http://geometrx.com/2012/05/the-growing-locavore-movement-a-ripe-opportunity/>

Martinez, Steve. Local food systems; concepts, impacts, and issues. Diane Publishing, 2010.

“Plenty Magazine – Environmental News and Commentary.” 2009. 4 Nov. 2014 <http://www.plentymag.com/blogs/ecoeats/2009/01/some_interesting_locavore_stat_print.php>

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Did you know…??

Did you know…??

“Under the current global system, 73 cents of every dollar spent on food goes to production, distribution and advertisement. The farmer pockets seven cents.”

“Local Foods Rebuild Health and Economies.” 2012. 26 Oct. 2014 <http://greenhomeauthority.com/local-food-rebuilds-health-economies/>

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Support local businesses by supporting The General Store Seattle and our lovely, all-local suppliers!

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Source: https://m.facebook.com/mix94.5perth

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A Theory on Long-Term Economic Trends and a Sudden Crash

A Theory on Long-Term Economic Trends and a Sudden Crash

AUG. 22, 2014

 

“Employment losses during the Great Recession may have had more to do with factors like the rise of Walmart than with the recession itself, two economists say in a new academic paper.

The paper, presented Friday morning at the annual gathering of economists and central bankers at Jackson Hole, Wyo., argues that the share of Americans with jobs has declined because the labor market has stagnated in recent decades — fewer people losing or leaving jobs, fewer people landing new ones. This dearth of creative destruction, the authors argue, is the result of long-term trends including a slowdown in small business creation and the rise of occupational licensing.

“These results,” wrote the economists Stephen J. Davis, of the University of Chicago, and John Haltiwanger, of the University of Maryland, “suggest the U.S. economy faced serious impediments to high employment rates well before the Great Recession, and that sustained high employment is unlikely to return without restoring labor market fluidity.”

Photo
 
A Walmart employee in Pico Rivera, Calif., last year. Walmart offers relatively stable employment, contributing to reduced labor market churn. CreditKevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Their findings contribute to the growing genre of papers that purport to show that the weakness of the American economy is caused largely by problems that predate the recession — and that the Federal Reserve can’t remedy them with low interest rates.

One of the clearest measures of the economic malaise is that the share of American adults with jobs fell from 62.7 percent at the end of 2007 to 58.3 percent at the end of 2009, and that it has since rebounded only slightly to 59 percent as of July.

At the same time, those who do have jobs are more likely to stay put. The high-profile change in the number of jobs that the government reports each month is a tally of the larger numbers of jobs created and eliminated. In recent decades, that churn has steadily declined. So has movement by workers among existing positions. The net effect is that the share of workers either leaving a job or taking a new one has steadily declined from about a third of the total number of workers in the 1990s to about a quarter of workers last year.

The basic idea at the heart of the paper is that the lack of churn in the labor market is making it harder for younger people to find jobs, and those who don’t are more likely to remain outside the labor force

“Those who seek work are likely to find a suitable job in a fluid labor market,” the authors write. “They then travel a path that involves human capital accumulation, strengthening their attachment to employment. In contrast, some marginal workers fail to find suitable employment quickly in a labor market characterized by reduced fluidity. So their market-relevant human capital depreciates, and their attachment to work weakens. These effects are likely to operate with particular force for younger worker, for whom labor market experience or its absence can powerfully influence whether they follow a path characterized by ‘specialization’ in market work or alternative nonmarket uses of time.”

Or more pithily, “Joblessness today begets joblessness in the future.”

The paper says that a 1 percentage point decline in the churning of the labor market lowers the employment rate by 0.77 of a percentage point, a huge effect. For the most vulnerable workers — young men who don’t complete high school — the employment rate drops by 1.44 points.

Mr. Davis and Mr. Haltiwanger attribute some of this decline to the aging of the work force; as people get older, they tend to change jobs less frequently. The decline in the creation of new companies is also playing a role. In effect, companies are getting older, too. This has been particularly pronounced in the retail sector, where giants like Walmart and McDonald’s offer relatively stable employment.

The paper argues that economic policy also plays an important role. The cost of training workers has increased, partly because the share of all workers who require government licenses has grown by one estimate from about 5 percent in the 1950s to 29 percent in 2008. This discourages hiring. So do legal changes that have made it more difficult to fire employees, the paper says. It also mentions health insurance as a reason that employees may stay put.

In the view of Mr. Davis and Mr. Haltiwanger, the recession just made a bad situation worse.

The economy clearly had problems before the crisis. Indeed, those problems contributed to the crisis.

But economists and policy makers will have to reconcile the assertion that these trends were the dominant factors with the reality that the employment rate rose in the years before the recession, then dropped sharply during the recession.

The new paper, like others of its genre, basically requires belief in a big coincidence: that a short-term catastrophe happened to coincide with the intensification of long-term trends — that the economy crashed at the moment that it was already beginning a gradual descent.”

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