No Minister

Posts Tagged ‘Millennials

Generational Toxicity

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Over on the Bowalley Road blog Chris Trotter has really been letting the words flow wildly in relation to the news of the AUKUS pact that has been announced, with two articles in one week on the subject.

They’re the usual combination of themes one would expect from his Lefty age group: pro-China, anti-US, anti-nuclear, fears of a new Cold War, fears of NZ getting sucked back into another “Anglo Saxon Imperialist” world and so forth.

But it was actually this passage that intrigued me:

It is also quite possible that, by 2023, the United States will be embroiled in domestic strife bordering on civil-war. 

Followed by a lot of ignorant guff about the USA and the Republican Party. Now I’m not averse to the arguments about a possible second Civil War in the USA: it’s increasingly being discussed in non-fringe circles on both the American Left and Right. Even in popular culture I saw the “comedian” Sarah Silverman talking the other day about the nation splitting up because Democrat and Republican voters increasingly cannot stand dealing with eachother.

But there’s another aspect of this that should be taken account of: the growing war between the generations. Specifically between the Baby Boomers and … every other generation: Gen-X, Millennials and Gen-Z. Admittedly this more of a US thing than elsewhere: I don’t think NZ Baby Boomers ever fitted the label of being the “Me Generation” after Tom Wolfe’s famous 1976 article.

I’ve already covered some of this in two posts, Ok Boomer and Hand over the $35 trillion, you old fart, but a recent article by a Baby Boomer in the New York Post should be more of an eye-opener for Boomers, Millennials’ extreme hatred for Baby Boomers is totally unjustified:

Baby boomers who cried “Don’t Trust Anyone Over 30” during the Vietnam War should be scared to death of millennials. Because, at least among the Twitterati, they hate us — they really, really hate us.

Last week I took a beating from younger readers over an essay I wrote lamenting the decline of the “power lunch.” Although it only partly blamed the phenomenon on millennial habits — e.g., preferring avocado and kale to beef and baked potatoes — hundreds of thousands on Twitter either posted or retweeted such insults as “Old man yells at lunch table” (I’m 69), “What’s it like to be an antique?” and “We’re the ones doing the actual lunches while you’re having three-martini lunches.”

Millennials (and to some extent their Gen-X and Gen-Z brethren) hate their elders with a ferocity never before seen in our culture.

Generation gaps will always be with us. Historian Marc Wortman found a generational split over sending young men off to war way back in 1941. But unlike those of us who came of age in the 1960s-early 1970s, who merely disapproved of our elders’ “colonialist” wars and shag rugs, millennials (born between 1980-1994) can’t stand the air we boomers breathe.

Young hippies outdoors.

To some extent? This guy should go to some of the chat areas of Reddit and other non-FaceTwit Social Media.

He’ll quickly discover that Gen-Z are right up there on bringing the hate and Gen-X even more so given their proximity in time. Few things piss off X’rs more than being pegged as Boomers by being born in the 1960’s, as if we remember Woodstock and “Free Love”.

Unfortunately the article then delves into the reasons why and thus demonstrates even more how Boomers just don’t get it.

But if they spent more time studying actual history, which can’t easily be found on iPhones, they’d know that boomers were, and remain, the most socially and environmentally conscious generation America ever has ever known.

FFS. He thinks this is because of Greta Thunderhead and her influence on 16 year olds re Climate Charge.

Oh no, dear fellow, there’s a lot more to it than that. There’s only one sentence where he alludes to just one thing stemming from that wonderful “socially conscious” generation:

Maybe too much so — our universities’ overwhelmingly “progressive” agendas originated in the 1960s and have become more dominant ever since.

That’s because the Boomers who were the radical students of the late 60’s/early 70’s now dominate those universities as professors and administrators, and are hard at work teaching the next generations the same stuff, without any opposing arguments or ideas.

Being “the most socially and environmentally conscious generation America ever has ever known” isn’t an excuse or a defense, it’s an unwitting confession of guilt.

What this guy and the millions of Boomers like him miss is that this shite has now spread into every other part of the USA: the MSM, entertainment, government, bureaucracies and even corporates and the military.

I know of no American member of the younger generations who thinks that Social Security or Medicare/Medicaid will be there for them in their dotage of the late 21st century. Or a military that can actually win a war either. Not to mention housing costs, energy costs, career progression, jobs in general or the chance of getting married and raising a family because it’s so bloody expensive in more ways than just dollars.

What he also misses is that these younger generations, or at least a good chunk of them, might be objecting to having had these institutions trashed by the ideas of a generation that aggressively devalued the traditional things on which they rested, even as there are members of Gen-X/Millennial that have learned from their forebears and joined in with the trashing, as this guy points out:

As a college professor for over 35 years, I’ve gotten to know three generations of students: Gen X (born between 1965 and 1980), the Millennials (1981-1996), and now Gen Z (1997-2012). And because I teach rhetoric, I’ve read thousands of their papers, providing substantial insight into the way they think.

In general, however, I found that Millennials presented unique challenges. They were, as a group, the most entitled, judgmental, and arrogant of all the students I’ve taught, often basing an inflated sense of self-importance on scanty evidence.

Essentially, they are the “participation trophy” generation, the unwitting victims of countless artificial “self-esteem building” experiments by the education establishment, not to mention their own parents.

Ouch. But there is hope:

There is another generation of bright young people — Gen Z — following right on their heels and therein may lie our temporal salvation.

In comparison to their Millennial predecessors, my Gen Z students tend to be more open-minded, more interested in facts and logic, more inclined to question the status quo…

That partially explains the Fuck Joe Biden chants that have swept across college football stadiums in the last few weeks and even spread to the Yankees-Mets game in NYC of all places.

They also take a more nuanced view of history and are inherently distrustful of ideologues on either side. 

Let’s hope so, and that inheritances will add up to avoiding a different type of American Civil War.

Written by Tom Hunter

September 21, 2021 at 1:09 pm

Hand over the $35 trillion, you old farts

It would be an understatement to say that the latest Generations, Millennials and Gen Z, are increasingly a bunch of unhappy campers here in Western societies.

The main reason for their unhappiness is a growing feeling of falling behind and never being able to catch up as their forebears did after WWII. The target of their wrath are the Baby Boomers who, in their view, inherited a rapidly developing economy of plentiful, well-paid jobs – many of which did not require great education – as well as plentiful and cheap housing.

Obviously those are broad and crude generalisations. Many a Boomer will gladly tell you about mortgage rates of 20%+ in the 1970’s as they struggled to get their families together.

But the generations are often scathing about their predecessors; look at what Boomers had to say about their parent’s generation, they of Great Depression and WWII experience.

Strangely my Gen X group seems to have escaped the abuse, despite the fact that we got pretty good economies in the 1980’s and 1990’s, at least if you went overseas back then, something that Boomer Chris Trotter is still bitter about:

People like Bernard bade their country farewell at the first opportunity. All that free education and health care, all that social security: the tens-of-thousands of dollars invested in him by his fellow citizens; it all went to foreigners. If all the Bernards and Bernadettes of the 1980s and 90s had thrown in their lot with Anderton and his followers, the tragic failures detailed in Hickey’s Spinoff post might have been avoided. But Bernard and his ilk sneered at Anderton and the Alliance. The Left were economic Neanderthals. Losers.

The Mill / Gen Z groups do have legitimate complaints. With Western economies not exactly booming in the last twenty years as they did after WWII and with wage and salary earnings having stagnated as a proportion of the economy, plus ridiculous housing inflation that has actually got worse as the 21st century has developed. They’re just not building wealth as the Boomers did for the same age range.

However, that graph actually contains the answer, and it’s analysed in a WSJ article, Older Americans Stockpiled A Record $35 Trillion. The Time Has Come To Give It Away. It starts with what everybody knows – or suspects even if they haven’t looked at the data:

At the end of this year’s first quarter, Americans age 70 and above had a net worth of nearly $35 trillion, according to Federal Reserve data. That amounts to 27% of all U.S. wealth, up from 20% three decades ago. Their wealth is equal to 157% of U.S. gross domestic product, more than double the proportion 30 years ago, federal data show.

But nobody lives forever:

Older generations will hand down some $70 trillion between 2018 and 2042, according to research and consulting firm Cerulli Associates. Roughly $61 trillion will go to heirs—increasingly millennials and Generation Xers—with the balance going to philanthropy.

To which Mill / Gen Z might say, “So what. I need the money sooner than that”. Well the good news is that it’s already started.

The average inheritance in 2019 was $212,854, up 45% from an inflation-adjusted $146,844 in 1998, according to an analysis of Fed data by economists at a unit of Capital One Financial Corp.

And people aren’t waiting until they die. Annual gifts taxpayers reported to the Internal Revenue Service—a fraction of the gifts that flow outside the tax system—rose to $75 billion in 2016, from an inflation-adjusted $45 billion in 2010. Over that period, the amount that people could give away without paying taxes on gifts rose from $1 million to more than $5 million for individuals, and from $2 million to more than $10 million for couples.

Because of indexiing in the US system, those latter figures are adjusting up every year. There’s just one fly in the ointment:

The pending wealth transfers have caught the attention of the Biden administration, which recently proposed reducing a $40 billion annual tax break that has been the cornerstone of estate planning for generations of Americans. Today, people who inherit assets that have risen in value, such as stock held outside retirement accounts, a family home or a three-generation manufacturing company, don’t pay capital-gains taxes unless they sell. If they sell, they can exclude gains that occurred during the prior owner’s lifetime.

Under the Biden proposal, the owner’s unrealized gains would become taxable in the year of his or her death

Our Beloved And Kind Socialists here in NZ are obviously also thinking along the same lines: Is Labour going to introduce a death tax?

Oh I think they will, if they can get away with it, because they “know” that governments are better at distributing wealth across generations than families, just like they’re better at spreading the wealth around in the here and now.

I wonder what that will do to the youth vote in both nations?

Written by Tom Hunter

July 19, 2021 at 10:13 am

Your First Car

Can you remember your first car? I certainly remember mine. A pristine, electric blue, 1975 Ford Escort. Seatbelts (barely). No airbags. No crush zones. No radio – though I quickly borrowed my brother-in-law’s discarded Euro model, which played tape cassettes and had FM, though that was little use in most of 80’s NZ!. Heating? Barely. A/C? That’s what the manual windows are for. The massive 4 cylinder, 1300cc engine could squeeze out the speed limit of 80km/h – if you were willing to put up with the shaking!

I threw whatever money I had into the pot and my parents did the rest. Dad grinned and informed me that it was “payment for five years unpaid farm work”! The idea was that I’d be able to see them once a month by driving the 100km or so from varsity, and for the next three years I pretty much kept to that bargain.

Here it is during my first South Island trip, a couple of klicks north of Hampden, North Otago, looking across at the foothills of the Horse Range and the Kakanui Mountains.

There were’nt many kids with cars at varsity, certainly not First Year students, so it was in this year that I first heard the term, “rich prick”: one still applied during our Old Boy reunions. As the year wore on, the number of old bombs in the car park steadily increased, together with mechanical knowledge forced upon people if they wanted to use the damned things. More motorcycles too, this being the age when any car less than five years old was not cheap. I’ve often wondered how many lives have been saved since 1984 by Rogernomics ending car tariffs, import duties and import licences, thereby making cars more affordable and steadily reducing motorcycle use?

And all of this was simply an extension of the near-mania for getting a drivers licence when we turned 15. We wanted to be independent and even borrowing the parent’s car did not dent that feeling. Several of my mates got their licence on their actual birthdays. In my case it happened a couple of months later, delayed for reasons I cannot recall.

None of us had cars at that point of course but some families were lucky enough to have two so you got the oldest. I have vivid memories of a 4th Form party where my mate Albert and I did a night race in his parent’s tiny, aging Fiat, pushing towards 100mph down a long straight beside other nutters from our class, including a couple on motorbikes. Within two years I’d hit “The Ton” while driving back from some tennis tournament. For that I could thank my parent’s 1973 Ford Falcon, as well as another long straight road out in the countryside, and the cloak of darkness. Traffic cops were rarely seen or heard of there. Whenever I think of kids doing stupid shit I have to remember what I was like at age 16, although frankly I was a much safer driver then than in my mid-20’s when I’d gained “confidence”. Living far out in the boonies with the family’s only car forced responsibility, so no drinking and driving and being pretty careful – aside from that tempting 5km straight.

There were also practical reasons for getting a licence. Many kids would leave school at 15 and their jobs pretty much demanded they be able to drive. A lot of farmers were grateful for having a kid who could shoot into town for some spare machinery part or some other item while they continued to work. And of course sporting events became a lot easier for parents when they no longer had to drive the spawn to them.

These memories have been sparked by two things. First, my eldest son just got his first car. Second was this recent article: US Love Affair With Cars Nearly Finished. It points out a problem with new car sales:

J.D. Power estimates that Gen Zers will purchase about 120,000 fewer new vehicles this year compared with millennials in 2004, when they were the new generation of drivers—or 488,198 vehicles versus 607,329 then.

Cost is having an impact, mainly because car companies in the US seem to be focusing on SUV’s, targeted at Boomers and others enjoying the wealth of the stock market and pensions. SUV prices are over $US 30,000 and insurance costs are also rising.

Of course I have to laugh a bit at all that. As I described earlier – and I’m sure NZ reader’s experiences will be the same – getting a new car in NZ used to be something that might happen to you in Middle Age. In fact I did not get my first new car until I landed in the USA, where the combination of low deposit and low interest financing made it an easy choice.

Millennials and Generation Z saw what happened in the the Great Financial crisis and the first few years of the rebound. They saw their parents arguing over debt in fear of losing their house. They do not want to fall into the same trap.

Used cars? The horror! Bah humbug and “wah” for US Millennials and Gen Z’s: they can live as we did for a decade or two.

In my son’s case he got a 2008 Toyota Camry with 120,000k on the clock. Six cylinders to easily push it to 160km/h, if desired. Smooth to drive. Cruise control. Radio. Heating – and A/C!!! Crush zones. Airbags. And unlike my Escort, it’s pretty much certain to get to 200,000 or even 300,000 klicks before needing any serious work. It also cost about 1/4 of what my old Escort did in inflation-adjusted dollars. Free enterprise at its best. I would not want my Ford Escort back.

But while the car side has progressed in all ways, getting the licence to use it has become far more painful. You have to be 16 now to sit the written test. Then there’s a year of “Learner” driving, with me or Beloved Wife in the passenger seat. A second driving test finally passed has then meant a year of “Restricted” driving, which means passengers can be carried only if there is another licenced driver in the car, and they still have to be in the front passenger seat. Comments in that US article point to similar issues there.

But there are other factors too. My son did not even bother sitting the written test until he was 18, then stretched the learners stage by almost two years through sheer inertia/laziness, and this too seems to be what’s happening in the USA:

Whereas a driver’s license once was a symbol of freedom, teenagers are reaching their driving age at a time when most have access to ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft to shuttle them around town. At the same time, social media and video chat let them hang out with friends without actually leaving the house.

“That freedom of getting your own wheels and a license—and that being the most important thing in life—is gone,” said Brent Wall, owner of All Star Driver Education in Michigan, a chain of drivers’-ed schools. He said the average age of students in his class is rising. “It used to be the day they turned 14 years and eight months, everybody was lining up at the door. Now I’m starting to see more 15- and 16-year-olds in class.” He frequently hears from parents that they’re the ones pushing their children to enroll.

Yep! All of that certainly was our experience with No. 1 son, and it’s even worse with the younger siblings. At this rate they’ll be in their early 20’s before they’re driving as I was when I was 15. And it is a pain when it comes to family logistics.

The article finishes on a typical Boomer gloom note:

When they reach their 20s, more are moving to big cities with mass transit, where owning a car is neither necessary nor practical.

The auto industry will soon not look like what it does today. Cars will be smaller, lighter, electric, and self-driving. Boomers will be gone. Those living in big cities will not need to own a car at all, and most won’t.

Boomers are the primary force keeping the current auto trends alive. Demographically-speaking, it won’t last.

We’ll see about that. There’s always been a bit of a hatefest against cars by “city planners” because they can’t be controlled the way trains and buses can be, and I’ve been hearing this stuff about the “youf” moving to big cities with mass transit for two decades now: the usual poorly researched MSM crap. Turns out that the opposite is the case::

In fact, as a new Brookings study shows, millennials are not moving en masse to metros with dense big cities, but away from them. According to demographer Bill Frey, the 2013–2017 American Community Survey shows that New York now suffers the largest net annual outmigration of post-college millennials (ages 25–34) of any metro area—some 38,000 annually—followed by Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Diego. New York’s losses are 75 percent higher than during the previous five-year period.

By contrast, the biggest winner is Houston, a metro area that many planners and urban theorists regard with contempt. The Bayou City gained nearly 15,000 millennials net last year, while other big gainers included Dallas–Fort Worth and Austin, which gained 12,700 and 9,000, respectively.

I hear the same crap about Millennials and Gen Z with regard to detached suburban homes: that they love living in downtown apartments. More grist to city planners naturally, but again the stats don’t support that:.

Perhaps even more significant has been the geographic shift within metro areas. The media frequently has exaggerated millennial growth in the urban cores. In reality, nearly 80 percent of millennial population growth since 2010 has been in the suburbs.

As they can afford to, these generations move to detached housing. As they can afford to, they’ll take up cars more, including new cars.

Considering what a pain city driving is, I’d be more than happy to hand over to a self-driving car now. But that doesn’t help trains and buses much. We’d still be better to plan for cars than mass transit.

And on the open road, which will still be necessary for travelling, will humans dump that feeling of freedom? I suspect they’ll tell the AI to take a break and then grab the controls to have some fun.

Written by Tom Hunter

April 28, 2019 at 8:50 pm

Posted in New Zealand

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