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James Quinn has held financial positions with a retailer, homebuilder and university in his 29 year career. Those positions included treasurer, controller, and head of strategic planning. He is married with three boys and is writing these articles because he cares about their future. He earned a... More
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TheBurningPlatform.com
  • MILLENIALS ARE GETTING ANGRY 31 comments
    Jul 28, 2010 12:29 PM

    The Millenial generation, according to Strauss & Howe are between the ages of 8 years old and 28 years old. Those in their 20’s are pretty pissed off. Their parents have ruined the US economy. There are no jobs for these kids. The unemployment levels for Millenials is at Depression era levels. They have a right to be angry. The question is how they channel this anger. The last Hero Generation came of age during the Great Depression. Their fate was to die by the hundreds of thousands in a World War. What will be the fate of the current Hero Generation? Will the government try to channel their anger in another world war? Will their anger spill into the streets in a civil war in the US? All I know is that there are alot of pissed off people in this country today. Based on past 4th Turnings, we are likely to see great bloodshed in the next 10 years. That is on no one’s radar screen. Below is an article from Casey Research about this issue.

    Is This Dad’s or Grandpa’s Recession?

    The past is a great aide for any thinker, but it can also be a pitfall. Our thought process analyzes past experiences and compares them to the present. However, the past can also mislead us into thinking that the current situation is rosier than it really is. Could one have predicted a 15-year world recession on Black Tuesday 1929 with past experience as a guide? Probably not. Or what about the carnage of World War I at the onset? Highly unlikely. Relying only on past personal experiences would have been a mistake. 

    Plenty of smart people fall into this trap. In the fall of 2008, I remember discussing the market crash with an economics professor. He believed the market would rebound quickly, and we’d be out of a recession in no time. This wasn’t a Keynesian professor but instead an Austrian free-market guy. I brought up the concerning indicators, the stimulus plans, and the bank bailouts. But it didn’t convince him. He pointed out that every recession had stimulus and regulations. We’ve come through all those other recessions easily – hence, this one should be nothing to worry about.

    By now, it’s safe to say that the professor was wrong.

    Of course, he isn’t the only one to make mistakes like that. People see a tough labor market and naturally assume that the current market is the same as previous difficult labor markets in their lifetimes. Unfortunately, the data shows that the youth labor market hasn’t been this bad since the Great Depression.

    Rather than reflecting on our personal experiences, let’s take a look at the data:

     

     

    As the chart shows, the 2010 20-24 age group has the highest unemployment rate at 15.8%. The rate would be even higher without the Census. Prior to major Census hiring, the April rate peaked at 17.2%. 

    During the last 50 years, only 1975 at 13.6% and 1982 at 14.9% unemployment came close to this high level. These labor markets do seem comparable, but only without considering labor participation. Graduate school is a recession escape route for many young people. A student receives a useless undergraduate degree and then hopes to improve his lot by acquiring a useless masters or doctorate.

    Though these students don’t appear in the unemployment statistics, they are captured within the labor participation rate:

     

     

    In the past decade, there is a very noticeable decline in the age 20-24 labor participation rates, with a cliff in recent years. (The early ‘70s had a lower participation rate too. But this is partially explained by other factors, such as lower female participation in the workforce.) The peak participation rates were in 1986 and 1987 at 78.9%.

    These students are basically unemployed, and a chart including them would get us closer to the real unemployment rate. To do this, I added the unemployment rate and the difference between each year’s participation rate and the 1986-1987 peak rate:

     

     

    Now we can see a dramatic difference between today’s adjusted unemployment rate and the past 40 years. The current recession’s adjusted unemployment is a full five percentage points higher than the second highest peak in 1975. While many would like to compare this youth labor market to their personal experiences, today’s situation is significantly worse. This year’s college graduates will pray nightly that their labor market begins to resemble 1982 or 1975 by the graduation ceremony. 

    Graduates in 1982 and 1975 received a taste of modern-day unemployment. But kids today face a youth labor market closer resembling Grandma and Grandpa’s depression experience than Mom and Dad’s downturns.  

    There could be a ray of hope in all of this. After all, the Great Depression permanently changed the people who experienced it. My own grandparents still maintain thrifty habits such as saving every penny and growing their own vegetables. They really don’t need to do this anymore, but their psyche has been forever altered by hardship. Perhaps a few years of struggle could invoke a similar shift in the American youth away from the constant cycle of overspending.

    So far, the future doesn’t look good. The younger generation fell head over heels for Obama in 2008. But how will they vote in 2012 after years of unemployment? If they once again choose him, even worse times are ahead. However, there is a real chance that this could be a turnaround generation. Right now, it’s hard to gauge the feeling of the whole age group – only a general anger seems to unify it. Anger at government, anger at capitalism, anger at anything. This angst properly directed could be a positive vehicle for change – though it may be a destructive force as well.

     
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Comments (30)
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  • Tom Au, CFA
    , contributor
    Comments (6788) | Send Message
     
    We call the Millennials "the new World War II generation."

     

    For a reason.

     

    And it would not surprise us if there were a 15 year global recession following the 2008 crash.

     

    (But we may be looking up the answers in the back of the book.)
    28 Jul 2010, 12:32 PM Reply Like
  • Michael Clark
    , contributor
    Comments (10059) | Send Message
     
    2001 Crash. That's when it all started. The Fed 'fixed' it by making it worse, as they generally do.

     

    World War? Some form of it. Blood in the streets? Most assuredly. No easy way out of this mess. Taking on more debt won't fix it. Raising rates and confronting the debts we've taken on is a first step, but that is pretty certain to bring everything to the head.

     

    Banks will fail in Europe first, I think. But America, Japan, and England will not be far behind.

     

    What was the great mistake? When deflation hits, don't fight it, follow it, and learn to benefit from it. Deflation hit in 2001.
    28 Jul 2010, 03:20 PM Reply Like
  • Tom Au, CFA
    , contributor
    Comments (6788) | Send Message
     
    I say that it was 9/11/2001 that separated the Millennials from the later-born Homeland Security generation.
    28 Jul 2010, 04:40 PM Reply Like
  • Michael Clark
    , contributor
    Comments (10059) | Send Message
     
    I agree totally. It was a symbolic assassination of the Male Principle ruling the world and a literal marking of the change.
    29 Jul 2010, 02:36 AM Reply Like
  • cribbooky
    , contributor
    Comments (60) | Send Message
     
    From what I've seen, the Milennials suffer from apathy, not anger. Facebook, Americal Idol, other assorted reality TV, Twittering, games, text messaging, and dating defines their realities. If they are unemployed, they don't seem to care. They just leech off of their parents, file for government assistance and keep playing. There are so many ways to distract oneself from reality today, and our new socialism eases the pain at the expense of the taxpayer suckers. It's a different world now. The biggest anger event that I have seen is against Simon Cowell's number one Christmas tune (not a riot inspiring issue).
    29 Jul 2010, 07:39 AM Reply Like
  • TeresaE
    , contributor
    Comments (3041) | Send Message
     
    Apathy + Entitlement + Unemployment = ????

     

    My guess is rebellion.

     

    But, sadly, this generation was not raised to pull themselves up by their bootstraps - they have been raised to go crying to the government to "fix" everything.

     

    I get the feeling they will not be rebelling against the powers that be, they are going to rebel against us older generations.

     

    Which will mean horrible, horrible times for us all, as we older ones are persecuted for the fraud and excess of the few, while the government grows larger and more heavy-handed.

     

    I see it in all the interactions I have with kids in this group, their solution to EVERYTHING is another law, another layer of government.

     

    Which will only compound our problems, not solve any of them.
    29 Jul 2010, 09:40 AM Reply Like
  • Tom Au, CFA
    , contributor
    Comments (6788) | Send Message
     
    The World War II generation was also a GI (government issue) generation.

     

    Until they became the World War II generation, and found out what "government" was all about.

     

    This generation may have the same experience.
    29 Jul 2010, 09:44 AM Reply Like
  • TeresaE
    , contributor
    Comments (3041) | Send Message
     
    I see it a little different G&D.

     

    WWII generation was raised nearly from BIRTH in a depression. They watched their parents go without food, jobs and housing.

     

    The exact opposite of many of the "Millenials." Whom were born into an age of excess, fake wealth and debt-fueled entertainment.

     

    My dad's generation felt "entitled" to NOTHING. They felt blessed to have an opportunity to work hard and pull themselves up.

     

    My son's generation, the Millenials, are 180 degrees the opposite of that.

     

    I just don't think we can look to WWII generations experience and compare to the obese, instant gratification generation.

     

    Maybe I'm missing something, or I'm wrong, but, I'd just as soon hire an older American than the shirking Millenials.
    29 Jul 2010, 09:57 AM Reply Like
  • Tom Au, CFA
    , contributor
    Comments (6788) | Send Message
     
    Here are some relevant statistics:

     

    The World War II generation was born 1901-1924, relative to the crash of 1929, and the 1930s.

     

    The Millennial generation was born 1981-2001, relative to the crash of 2008, and the modern 1930s (about now).

     

    Early World War II generational cohorts grew up spoiled during the 1920s, an era of "excess, fake wealth and debt-fueled entertainment."

     

    But the Depression and war "made" the later cohorts, who transmitted their experiences backward.

     

    It was a miracle that happened once. It may happen again.

     

    But it may need a world war.
    29 Jul 2010, 10:16 AM Reply Like
  • James Quinn
    , contributor
    Comments (1016) | Send Message
     
    Author’s reply » Theresa

     

    The GI Generation was born between 1901 and 1924 according to Strass & Howe. Most of them came of age during the Roaring 20's. They were thought to be a slacker generation too. They didn't experience hard times until they were in their 20's.

     

    I think we are on the exact path now. The Millenials are just starting to experience hard times. Our future is dependent on how they react over the next 10 to 15 years.
    29 Jul 2010, 11:09 AM Reply Like
  • Albertarocks
    , contributor
    Comments (2233) | Send Message
     
    Uh, Al Capone? You bet! He was one of those very GI generation that James is talking about. He did experience tough times mainly because his parents had to feed 8 other siblings and they were far from wealthy - a barber and a seamstress. But Capone took care of himself and the rest is history. His generation spawned an entire world of underground crime aimed at taking care of one's self at a time when the country was still immature and entitlements were almost unheard of. When the entitlements run out in the modern era, I have little doubt we'll be seeing a fully blown steroid version of that type of society emerge once again, but with one difference... it'll be 100 times as financially broke as back then.

     

    How did Capone get those 3 scars on his face? One night working the door at a nightclub, he insulted a woman. His mistake? The woman's brother Frank Gallucio was with her.
    29 Jul 2010, 06:25 PM Reply Like
  • Tom Au, CFA
    , contributor
    Comments (6788) | Send Message
     
    Born in 1899, Al Capone was a member of the LOST generation (of FitzGerald, Hemingway, and yes, Graham and Dodd.) That generation was to the World War II generation what X is to Y.
    29 Jul 2010, 06:51 PM Reply Like
  • Albertarocks
    , contributor
    Comments (2233) | Send Message
     
    Ok, I take it all back. It must have been that half of his brothers and sisters who were born in 1901 and later that I was thinking about. The generation that James was talking about were born between 1901 and 1924. I think Capone was born close enough to that to make my point. The gist of my comment remains the same.
    29 Jul 2010, 07:00 PM Reply Like
  • Tom Au, CFA
    , contributor
    Comments (6788) | Send Message
     
    "Close enough to 1901" doesn't really cut it here.

     

    The core of the World War II generation was 1915-1924, the ones that (mostly) fought World War II. They, and not earlier members, define the generation.

     

    The earlier cohorts are included almost "on sufferance." You could argue that the 1901 cohort, all the way out to at least 1905, were Lost birth years. Except that S&H do not.

     

    BTW, one definition of "World War II generation" is, who was military age on the day that Pearl Harbor was bombed (December 7, 1941). Defining a 40-ish 1901 cohort member as such is stretching things just a bit.
    29 Jul 2010, 07:27 PM Reply Like
  • Michael Clark
    , contributor
    Comments (10059) | Send Message
     
    I think the numbers I've been working with fit pretty nicely with your ideas also, G_D.

     

    Night Cycle: 1929-1947
    Day Cycle: 1911-1929

     

    GI Generation born as previous Day-Cycle = around 1911. My father was born 1913. He fought in George Patton's army: landings in Southern France, Anzio, North Africa, Sicily...I may be missing one or two. I think his unit freed Bergen-Belsen. We had snapshots in his archives of box-cars of bodies of Jews and emaciated faces (men, women and children) they liberated, as well as a classic (and heavy) Germany army helmet.

     

    So 1911-1920 would be my call for the WW II generation -- using the dates of Day-Cycles and Night-Cycles I've been working with. A 9-month gestation on a smaller scale; a 9-year gestation on a larger and more abstract scale.

     

    Dante loved the number 9 because he understood how important is was in the manifestation of historical events.
    30 Jul 2010, 10:56 AM Reply Like
  • Michael Clark
    , contributor
    Comments (10059) | Send Message
     
    The World War II generation was born in a pretty good cycle in American history. 1920-1929 was a Golden Age, the Roaring Twenties. They inherited a depression which triggered their rebirth as warrior angels. Their destiny did not remain a private destiny, since the 'privacy' of the individual quest was taken away by the depression and replaced by the group quest of a society in a death-struggle. Not much room for the 'me' ethic in the new context they inherited.
    29 Jul 2010, 10:41 AM Reply Like
  • Wyatt Junker
    , contributor
    Comments (4501) | Send Message
     
    They should be pissed, but they're not, even though they're the generation that will go bankrupt.

     

    Most of them on the top age bracket were smiling, hopeychangey O'hole voters. The ones I encounter really like the Magic Negro. They like entitlements. They think entitlements appear in the same way David Copperfield makes a dove fly out of a hankerchief.

     

    Several that I know will take a cut in pay willingly if it means they can qualify for food stamps or Sec. 8 housing. Get knocked up, get on the Wick. Get state assistance. Its part of the grand plan. They call these things 'financial planning'.

     

    I call it national bankruptcy in 3 to 5 years.

     

    So no. I don't call them the 'hero generation', they are the Zero generation. Herr leader is The One they were waiting for and they will march like the Obots they are over the cliff.
    29 Jul 2010, 12:02 PM Reply Like
  • Danny Furman
    , contributor
    Comments (1018) | Send Message
     
    I think it's very easy to split the "Millenials" into 2. Being 26 and having worked with kids throughout college and afterward, this is sadly my area of expertise. I think apathy is a good word to describe how the 1981-1993ish group relates to real world issues, but they are generally very content with their lives and believe their parasitic existence is sustainable (or don't fathom the concept). This is the most intoxicated generation in the history of the United States. Instead of rebellious hippies of the 60s we have "functional addicts." While many don't need to function currently as they collect extended unemployment, there has never been such easy access to drugs and alcohol for kids and "adults." In California a "medical" marijuana card now costs $40 and has never required any sort of examination, only a doctor's signature. Liters of generic vodka and rum sell for $10, unchanged for years. Prescription pills for "mood disorders" are our nations most competitive industry. I don't even have a problem with the concept of mild recreational drug use, I just don't believe most humans are wired to use intoxicants in a way that makes them more productive.

     

    I believe the crackhead generation ends with the kids born in the mid-90s, many of whom have genuinely amazed me with attitudes, work ethic and insights. They may be our saviors ten years from now, but getting there won't be fun.
    29 Jul 2010, 12:43 PM Reply Like
  • Tom Au, CFA
    , contributor
    Comments (6788) | Send Message
     
    It was the kids born in the mid 1910s (and shortly thereafter) that "amazed [older people] with attitudes, work ethic and insights" and were our saviors 25-30 years hence. But they took their immediate predecessors with them for the ride, thereby forming the World War II generation. "Getting there [wasn't] fun " for them either.
    29 Jul 2010, 02:36 PM Reply Like
  • Michael Clark
    , contributor
    Comments (10059) | Send Message
     
    Humanity has a pretty amazing capacity to endure hell and enjoy heaven and experience all the places in between -- and keep on ticking. So far at least.
    29 Jul 2010, 02:48 PM Reply Like
  • papijar
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
     
    I'm 26 and am trying to prepare myself for what I think is to come. I have watched the older generations blow chance after chance. I don't know if my generation is paying attention though and agree with Danny that our generation is split in 2. I believe the older ones like us are going to have to lead very well to fix this.
    29 Jul 2010, 03:05 PM Reply Like
  • Danny Furman
    , contributor
    Comments (1018) | Send Message
     
    One thing's obvious, Mr. Quinn is right as usual about us being pissed off. The problem I see is the closing of avenues for people our age to attain leadership roles in society.
    29 Jul 2010, 03:15 PM Reply Like
  • Michael Clark
    , contributor
    Comments (10059) | Send Message
     
    Leadership roles come with age, although unemployment certainly closes many of those conventional doors to power. The only place to earn leadership roles if you are unemployed are as writers, philosophers, stock market traders or as leaders of political resistance on the streets.

     

    If it is any consolation to the Millennials, there was no grand conspiracy to slam the doors of power in your faces, just plain old greed like it almost always is.
    29 Jul 2010, 03:22 PM Reply Like
  • Danny Furman
    , contributor
    Comments (1018) | Send Message
     
    I never thought otherwise and rarely do I push the little green button as I did below. I agree that we can change things through congress but doubt the voting population will wake up for another cycle or two.
    29 Jul 2010, 03:29 PM Reply Like
  • Michael Clark
    , contributor
    Comments (10059) | Send Message
     
    Fix this? Too much Day is fixed by Night; too much Night is fixed by Day. Too much Individualism is fixed by Socialism; too much Socialism is fixed by Individualism. Too much Egoism is fixed by Modesty; too much Modesty is fixed by Egoism.

     

    Nature fixes everything. Too much of Nature's blessings are fixed by Nature's curses; too much of Nature's curses are fixed by Nature's blessings.
    29 Jul 2010, 03:12 PM Reply Like
  • TeresaE
    , contributor
    Comments (3041) | Send Message
     
    Michael, is this your original thought?

     

    May I steal it, if I appropriately give you props for it?

     

    I love this, nicely said.
    29 Jul 2010, 03:33 PM Reply Like
  • Michael Clark
    , contributor
    Comments (10059) | Send Message
     
    It's my language but not my idea. The idea is as old as the Earth; as old as Day and Night.

     

    Use it anywhere you like. We're all borrowing and rearranging.
    30 Jul 2010, 10:47 AM Reply Like
  • papijar
    , contributor
    Comments (2) | Send Message
     
    Why can't we have young leaders in office? That to me seems the best way to insure that our current leaders can't mortgage our future.

     

    It would be much harder to defer the deficit if we had people our age to stand up for us. That's why it is always kicked down the road.
    29 Jul 2010, 04:09 PM Reply Like
  • Danny Furman
    , contributor
    Comments (1018) | Send Message
     
    Don't discount experience, in non-physical work I'll take it over energy any day. The problem is intent.... that's all
    29 Jul 2010, 04:12 PM Reply Like
  • ebworthen
    , contributor
    Comments (2811) | Send Message
     
    Never underestimate the ability of anyone of any age to willingly sell out for the right motivator(s) while becoming a disciple of the art of Sophistry and equivocation.

     

    Exhibit A: 98% of Congress (both sides of the aisle).
    29 Jul 2010, 06:57 PM Reply Like
  • Michael Clark
    , contributor
    Comments (10059) | Send Message
     
    Yes. Youth is no guarantee of morality, clearly.

     

    Experience and wisdom are often preferential to impatience and TOO MUCH clarity.
    31 Jul 2010, 09:50 AM Reply Like
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