Nest Full of Freeloaders


shutterstock_133642829If you’ve got a son or daughter who just graduated from college, this may not be news to you. From CNBC:

Half of recent graduates ages 23 to 26 rely on financial support from their families to meet their current needs, according to new data from the Arizona Pathways to Life Success study.

Okay, so here’s the question: is this generation genuinely plagued by a different kind of economy, or are they just lazy and entitled?  It would be nice to think, in a way, that it’s the latter. A little dose of reality can jump-start a lazybones. But the study suggests that it’s systemic:

In April, the unemployment rate for people ages 20 to 24 was 10.6 percent, and for those ages 25 to 34, 6.6 percent—higher than the overall unemployment rate of 5.8 percent for all adults age 20-plus. In addition, the average student loan debt for 2012 grads was $29,400, according to the Project on Student Debt.

And there’s this:

“Our data clearly showed that many young adults today may not be earning enough to make it on their own, even when working full time,” the study said. Benefits offered may be lackluster, too. In a webinar on the study, principal investigator Joyce Serido said much of the support is parents helping out with health insurance.

“This is a group that has really gotten whipsawed,” said Ted Beck, president and chief executive of the endowment. “Many of them started off college in the fall before the market crashed.” Their family finances were further affected graduating into a soft market. “They are getting their feet under them, but it’s taking longer than they might have otherwise,” he said.

Worse news, it seems like there’s a major shift in the expectations young people have about the future. They’re more pessimistic. And that’s a new thing for Americans.

91 percent said financial independence is an important goal, down from 95 percent who thought so in 2011. Meanwhile, the percentage of students who said they think they’ll never be self-sufficient more than tripled, from 0.6 to 2 percent. Grads also said that annual salary was less important when job-hunting, compared to two years ago.

That can’t be good. But here’s the question: how do you change it? How do you reach a population that A) votes reliably liberal and B) doesn’t believe that economic growth is possible?

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  1. EJHill Podcaster

    Rob, you need to get state legislatures to rethink how they fund education. Funds need to be earmarked for programs that produce useful degrees.

    If you want to teach Urban or Feminist Studies, fine. But those must be privately endowed.

    • #1
  2. Misthiocracy Member

    Rob Long: Half of recent graduates ages 23 to 26 rely on financial support from their families to meet their current needs, according to new data from the Arizona Pathways to Life Success study.

    I lived with my parents until I was 25 …

    … and then I bought a condo  …

    … whose mortgage I paid off completely quite a few years early …

    … and where I still live to this day.

    The statistic is meaningless without context.

    • #2
  3. Black Prince Inactive
    Black Prince

    Rob Long:

    How do you reach a population that A) votes reliably liberal…

    You can’t (see Yuri Bezmenov).

    This reminds me (somewhat tangentially) of the end (35:36) of a Thomas Sowell interview with Peter Robinson—just replace the phrase “the cabinet assembled around President Obama” with “a population that votes reliably liberal”:

    Peter Robinson: If you had a sentence or two to say to the cabinet assembled around President Obama…if you could beseech them to conduct themselves in one particular way…what would you say? Thomas Sowell: Actually, I would say only one word—goodbye—because I know there’s no point in talking to them.


    • #3
  4. Guruforhire Inactive

    Why would anybody believe that there is growth right around the corner.  There is no future, its already been liquidated.

    • #4
  5. user_199279 Coolidge

    The good news is that Barry’s going to make it possible to defer your student loans off past the 20-year payback cutoff now, and then you’re free of the debt you incurred while majoring in genital studies.

    The culture needs to change so we can stop producing coddled idiots who vote for things that no one can pay for, there aren’t enough people on the planet to pay for, just so they can fit in with what happens to be prevalent on campus for the past 20 years, in terms of political ideology.

    That ideology could more aptly be titled “madness”, but try arguing that with a subsidized perfessor on a kollege kampus and you’ll get an earful from a person who has not lived in the real world for several decades, and has no plans to visit it.

    • #5
  6. user_199279 Coolidge

    Although I have to admit that today’s freeloaders are kind of hot, Rob.

    • #6
  7. Steve in Richmond Member
    Steve in Richmond

    My daughter just graduated and started her first job. She is making $1500 more a year than I did when I graduated college.  In 1982.  And it was tough for me to swing an apartment, car payment, and student loan then.  No way can she support herself.  I’m just glad she has a job and benefits.   It is going to be a long slow haul,  but she is taking it seriously and is quite motivated to achieve financial independence.   And I doubt she will be voting liberal. 

    I think part of the fix is simple reality.

    • #7
  8. Richard O'Shea Coolidge
    Richard O'Shea

    Son O’Shea just moved home after college.  His prospects for a good job look pretty promising.
    On a related note, I keep running out of beer.

    • #8
  9. profdlp Inactive

    Skin in the game.

    • #9
  10. Pony Convertible Inactive
    Pony Convertible

    At some point, students have to consider return on investment.   I have had discussions with youth who have stated that whether or not they can get a job when they graduate is the last thing to be considered.  They go to college to learn what interests them.

    • #10
  11. Seawriter Contributor

    I blame parents on this one.  Many do not raise their kids with the goal of having the children become autonomous.  If they were, young adults would enter the adult world understanding the concept of return on investment.  They would also understand that until you can live independently (without significant parental or government assistance) you are neither free nor an adult (except chronologically).  You are an infantilized serf.

    At some point when their kids are either 15 or 16 parents need to sit down with them and have “the talk.”  No, not about sex – about becoming an adult.  About how you get from a room in the parents house to your own place and a self-supporting life (preferably with a spouse and kids) over the next ten years.  Because that is how long it can take.

    Quilter and I did that with our three. So far, two are on their own (engineers) and the third is finishing up college (engineering). They did not go to college to “find themselves,” but with a purpose in mind, a purpose that included college.  (That purpose does not have to view college as a trade school.  It must exist, however.)


    • #11
  12. Mr. Dart Inactive
    Mr. Dart

    I have three male college grads in the house.  Looking for separate cooler for beer that has a lock and only one key.

    • #12
  13. MarciN Member

    Being a volunteer in high schools ten years ago (my kids are all through college now) was very frustrating for me.  We’ve put the wrong people in charge of our kids.  

    The people teaching and interacting with the kids in middle and high schools have achieved independent, life-long wealth from the education system.  These are not well-organized, highly motivated people.  These are people who went there for one purpose: job security.  Once they have it, they have nothing else on their minds.  They frankly don’t care what happens to the kids, but they interfere in their lives anyway.  I could forgive them for not caring about kids’ futures if they made a big point to the kids to listen to their parents–that is, if they were honest: “We are here just to correct your tests and to evaluate you.  We don’t care about your future.  Listen to your parents, or we’ll help you find an adviser.”   The kids step out the school door and there’s nothing on the other side for them.  They were living in an alternate reality, one in which people pretended to care about them.

    • #13
  14. user_989419 Inactive

    Rob Long:

    But here’s the question: how do you change it? How do you reach a population that A) votes reliably liberal and B) doesn’t believe that economic growth is possible?

    Well, you can’t really send conservative speakers to campuses, because they’ll be shouted down and/or uninvited.  I think you have to treat college campuses as basically hostile states under tyranny.  Therefore a pamphlet approach might work best.  Produce a little booklet entitled, “The Top Ten Lies You Will Be Taught While You Are Here.”  Conservative student organizations such as the Young Republicans can distribute the book to incoming freshman.  Inoculate them with the truth before they binge drink the Kool-Aid.

    Which are the top ten lies?  I would include everything from the political to the personally practical — Women are the same as men / America is a negative force in the world / Sex has no consequences / Republicans are racist / Study whatever you find interesting, without regard for payback.

    Make sure it’s funny.  Consult P.J. O’Rourke and Ann Coulter.  And pictures are nice.

    • #14
  15. NYC Supporter Inactive
    NYC Supporter

    I live among these kids in NYC.  My experience here tells me that many (perhaps most) of them here are simply unwilling to make sacrifices in their personal lives to live in an area or in a house/apartment that they can afford because they were never prepared by their parents for this.  Now NYC is definetely not the norm, so just reporting what I see in my life. 

    I really do think that a lot of this would disappear if kids were graduating from college and moving to smaller cities and towns and looking for a life there.  But they just refuse to do that.

    It’s as if they only options they would entertain require a lifestyle that is more expensive than prior generations would require.  The economy is bad, no doubt.  But not so bad that a relocation to a lower-cost location with jobs wouldn’t solve their problems.  They just won’t do it in the same way prior generations would and that is because culturally, these kids are different.

    • #15
  16. neutral observer Thatcher
    neutral observer

    I question the implications of the way the poll was worded.  I graduated from college and took the first job I was offered ($400 a month!).  I could get by as long as I didn’t actually eat, so every few months I’d tell my parents I couldn’t make my car payment ($75) and they’d give me enough to cover 3 or 4 months.  But I kept working, built a solid career, and now am the sole support of my much ballyhooed Business Administration Major brother (I majored in Art History).    So you could say I fall into this statistic, because I couldn’t technically support myself for the first couple of years.

    • #16
  17. No Caesar Thatcher
    No Caesar

    For the near term you need blunt, emotional, clear arguments that illustrate why the Dems & attempted socialism are to blame for their problems.  None of this policy parsing.  Clear, emotional arguments got them to vote liberal, and at this point in life they respond to this type of argument more than to the tribe making it. 

    There are villains aplenty, use them:  greedy college administrators, propagandizing press corps, corrupt and incompetent bureaucrats, double-talking Democrat politicians.  It’s not hard to find the targets.  It’s also not hard to make a rational argument that emotionally resonates.   

    Populism is going to determine political victory for a while.  If you don’t accept that reality you will lose.  The Right and the Left both have populous arguments to make.  But during elections only the Left is making them full-throatedly. 

    Policy follows after victory.  You can write all the learned, carefully-wrought policy papers you want, but if you don’t win elections, they are a complete waste of time and money, just a form of entertainment and mental self-gratification.

    • #17
  18. Asquared Inactive

    Rob Long: But here’s the question: how do you change it? How do you reach a population that A) votes reliably liberal and B) doesn’t believe that economic growth is possible?

     I think you hire Sarah Jessica Parker to date your son.

    Tangent, whenever I see SJP I think of Jeremy Clarkson’s description of Keira Knightley

    • #18
  19. Misthiocracy Member

    Living with one’ parents, and grandparents, used to be the norm. Multiple generations of families would all live under the same roof. One could easily argue that this is merely a return to a previous paradigm.

    The difference is that in the past everybody contributed financially to the household, and the younger workers supported the older non-workers, rather than the other way around.

    • #19
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