There oughta be a law.
How often have you heard someone say that?
Personally, I think there are already way too many laws and regulatory agencies. However, there’s one poisonous area of American society which has somehow escaped the suffocating regulation it so richly deserves, and that is the news industry’s reflexive economic cheerleading.
Marginal journalists, who would never attempt a story about medicine or sports, seem to have no qualms whatsoever about generating misleading financial propaganda these days. They reached a new low this month with an absurd story claiming debt-ridden Millennials were actually without homes and cars by choice, rather than poverty.
Apparently, the unnamed author thinks the first generation to confront the painful reality that the American Dream is no longer achievable is not poor. They’re evolved.
That’s the ridiculous premise behind the article published by the folks at the Mystical Raven and BrightSide websites, which is called “Why Young People Don’t Buy Cars or Houses in Modern Society.” The fact that the pseudo-journalists who pass for editors at these upbeat websites actually gave it a green light means they have no idea what the hell they’re doing.
Why is this significant?
It’s significant because marginal journalists historically have pursued other types of low-hanging fruit when filling the space between their ads with harmless drivel. Stories about celebrity gossip, jewelry, and the like.
However, the folks at Mystical Raven and BrightSide are apparently under the impression that there is no accountability whatsoever for overly positive economic reporting. They probably got that erroneous idea from the kind of criminally optimistic economic stories now being produced by big news organizations like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
Why should any of this matter to you?
It matters because millions of struggling Americans have taken their own lives the past decade either via outright suicide or substance abuse. Often because the poor schmucks thought the rest of us were balling.
Enter the silver spoons and sonderkommandos at the Mystical Raven and BrightSide websites. They’d like to get in on this economic journalism gravy train too.
You’ll be happy to know that in their “informed” opinion the reason Millennials aren’t buying houses and cars with the same frequency as prior generations has nothing to do with money. Or predatory lending, The Great Recession, falling job security, foreclosure fraud, wage stagnation, automation, widespread unemployment, productivity growth, habitual violation of U.S. Wage and Hour law, unpaid internships, or surging healthcare costs.
Mystical Raven and BrightSide claim Millennials have evolved beyond mere material possessions, like cars and homes. Especially those of modest means.
Raven Fon, the founder of Mystical Raven, describes herself as “a freelance writer and a globetrotting journalist.” That must be nice.
In my twenty-some years in journalism the only real globetrotting I’ve ever seen by a freelancer occurred the year after I graduated from Columbia J-School in 1990, when the trust-fund babies in my class lit out for Eastern Europe. The rest of us, not so much.
Those rich kids thought they were Joe and Jane Everyman, too.
BrightSide appears to be an advertising enterprise from The Russian Federation. Meaning that every so often the idiots who sell advertising in this world decide they don’t need real journalists anymore, who might antagonize wealthy clients like Wells Fargo with painful truths. So, they replace them with people who report the world as they think it should be, rather than as it is.
The resulting “news” organizations usually don’t meet with a happy ending.
Try to remember that when you’re in Goodwill buying a used crib for your first baby because you can’t afford a new one while paying off your worthless master’s degree. Or when you have to rush back to work after the delivery because you don’t have the sick days to stay home until the stitches are removed.
The author of this elitist article was so proud of it they didn’t even bother to put their byline on it.
Mystical Raven and BrightSide are 100 Percent sure Millennials have chosen a less materialistic life because they’re on a plane above the more fortunate generations which preceded them. They also love to take expensive trips overseas.
“Research shows that the so-called millennial generation, who are now 30-35 years old, rarely buy houses and even more rarely — cars,” the article says. “In fact, they don’t buy super expensive things at all. In the USA, people under the age of 35 are called ’the generation of renters.”
A decent journalist would have followed this statement up with a sentence of evidence culled from the studies they cited and a definition of some sort for “super expensive.” Not the folks at Mystical Ravens and Bright Side. They followed it up with this drec instead:
“The youth today has reconsidered the concept of success, which means:
- “Successful people don’t buy property — they rent.
- “If you want to be considered successful, invest in experiences: travel, do extreme sports, build startups.”
They couldn’t be more wrong.
First of all, the wannabe who wrote this article doesn’t even know what a Millennial is. So let’s straighten that out.
The term refers to the 75 million Americans born between 1981 and 1997, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Not just those those born between 1980 and 1985, who are 30-35.
Millennials are the generation of Americans who got to see their parents and grandparents struggle with mortgage and foreclosure fraud, predatory lending, huge layoffs, car repossessions and annual double digit increases in healthcare costs. Most of them don’t have the means to buy much of anything because they graduated with crushing loads of college financial debt. Afterward, they found themselves in an unforgiving labor market where only a handful could secure employment in their chosen career.
A small percentage of middle class Millennials are no doubt doing OK and voluntarily opting for a minimalist lifestyle. However Mystical Ravens and BrightSide insist that Millennials as a whole fit that description.
What elitist bullshit.
Millennials have been screwed over by our society. Big time.
The reason they’re not buying expensive stuff is because they’re buried in debt, receive crappy pay, and have no job security. That’s not a choice. It’s a calamity.
The chart at right is from a Business Insider article on Millennial Pay. Guess what?
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton acknowledged as much in a private February speech to big political donors. Wall Street’s preferred candidate described the Millennials flocking to her opponents as “children of the Great Recession” who are “living in their parents’ basement.”
“The jobs that are available to them are not at all what they envisioned for themselves, and they don’t see much of a future,” she said. “If you’re feeling like you’re consigned to, you know, being a barista, or you know, some other job that doesn’t pay a lot, and doesn’t have some other ladder of opportunity attached to it, then the idea that maybe, just maybe, you could be part of a political revolution is pretty appealing.”
Most mainstream politicians don’t voice these kinds of painful truths publicly. However, it’s also the kind of thing a legitimate journalist should not need to have explained to them. Because they presumably exist in the same world as their readers.
The folks at Mystical Raven and Bright Side should know Millennials have a pronounced fear of bank fraud. It’s completely justified given the financial scandals and poor regulation of the past 20 years.
They should know most Millennials can’t afford a house. Those with the resources to do so are often afraid of tying themselves into a 30-year mortgage loan in a society where they may need to relocate on short notice after a sudden firing or layoff.
They should also know that most Millennials also cannot afford a new car. Those who can often are afraid of tying themselves into five years of auto payments in a society where they can be laid off by employers looking to trim labor costs to create the illusion of profit growth.
It’s comical to hear the large financial organizations of the world lament the refusal of Millennials to get caught up in the housing market. Especially those like Wells Fargo which played such a prominent role in undermining home-buyer confidence. Same goes for the Wal-Marts and Targets which have paid their people crap and undermined job security by engaging in mass layoffs on a whim.
From an economic standpoint, Millennial purchasing patterns are purely a self-inflicted wound for the Fortune 500. Big publicly traded corporations have been so focused on efficiency and profit growth that they’ve destroyed their own customer base to secure those short-term corporate sugar highs. It’s akin to burning your furniture to stay warm in the winter.
The painful truth is that the American Dream is over for the 99 Percent. It died when The Great Recession began In December 2007.
Millennials were the first generation which never even had a taste of it. An entire generation still waiting to launch.
None of it is their fault.
You don’t have to be a genius to figure out what that means for a $18 trillion U.S. economy, in which 70 percent of the goods and services it measures are connected with consumer spending.
My favorite part of “Why Young People Don’t Buy Cars or Houses in Modern Society” is the author’s ridiculous allusion to all the mythical trips abroad Millennials are making. Mystical Raven and Bright Side never explain how the relatively small percentage with jobs make these trips at a time when so many U.S. employers no longer offer vacation time to their younger workers.
That’s one of the reasons it’s so obvious that this horrendous article was written by some kind of trust-fund baby.
The civilians who do the most traveling in their youth in our society are predominantly those who received large amounts of money without working. They’re the rich kids who have not been impacted by parental house, car and job losses.
The people who write this kind of clueless trash typically live in the DC and NYC privilege bubbles and erroneously assume they’re Joe and Jane Everyman. They have no idea how desperate life in America has become for many of their peers outside the bubbles.
The United States’ shift from a nation of home-owners to a nation of renters was not a voluntary one. However, this garbage story presents it as a positive development for the faltering middle class.
More elitist bullshit.
More than 5 million people lost their homes in the U.S. after the housing bust in 2008, according to the Hope Now housing relief organization. That’s slightly more than the population of Ireland.
The housing bust triggered an economic downturn in which some 9 million jobs were lost, which is roughly equivalent to the population of Sweden.
Abusive behavior by the U.S. mortgage industry was so commonplace from 2001 to 2015 that it agreed to a $51 billion national mortgage settlement with 49 state attorneys general in 2012. That figure does not include more than $20 billion in additional bank settlements, like the $5 billion JP Morgan agreed to pay in 2016.
Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest bank, is facing a fine of up to $14 billion from U.S. authorities for inflating the value of its mortgage-backed securities before the financial crisis.
The U.S. housing and labor markets still have not recovered from the 2008 housing bust, which precipitated the Great Recession that began in December 2007 and lasted through June 2009.
The employment-to-population ratio (chart below left) – the most reliable measure of joblessness in the U.S. labor market – was a dismal 59.6 percent in August. That measure of the percentage of all Americans with jobs compares with a robust reading of 64.7 percent in April 2000.
A report released earlier this year by Princeton University researchers Angus Deaton and Anne Case found that mortality rates for less-educated, middle-aged whites surged 22 percent between 1999 and 2013. This occurred as U.S. factories were off-shored and older workers were laid off in huge numbers by companies seeking to reduce their employee health insurance costs.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Defense is telling us that 22 military veterans killed themselves every day from 1999 to 2010. That compares with a rate of just under one combat-related death per day in Iraq and Afghanistan since Oct. 7, 2001.
No word on why those suicides didn’t just take some money out of their trust funds and travel
My biggest problem with this garbage story is that the unnamed author assumes everything is fine for the rest of us because it’s fine for them. Chief Economist William Hudson of WH Economics explains why it’s not in a brief video you can view here.
“Maybe you haven’t been keeping up with current events,” says Hudson (right), but we just got our asses kicked pal.”
Touche Monsieur Pussycat.
To summarize, everything is pretty far from fucking fine for the the faltering middle class and the Millennials who belong to it.
The global economy is getting worse with each passing year as automation and offshoring continue to destroy U.S. jobs.
That’s why Millennials aren’t buying cars and houses. That’s why they rent, why those with jobs are under-employed, and why they live in their parents’ basements when that option is available to them.
Meanwhile, the big banks continue to reduce the value of our dollars by printing their own via synthetic investment vehicles. We’ve got a global debt of more than $230 trillion on a planet with just $78 trillion worth of goods and service to borrow against right now.
What’s the true state of the global economy for those of us who weren’t born with a silver spoon wedged way up our ass?
Once again, Hudson (right) delivers the painful truth about The American Dream’s failed promise of prosperity and success for Millennials who work hard and treat their fellow Americans decently. The ideals of representative democracy, rights, liberty, opportunity, and equality and upward social mobility seem pretty far fetched right now in a society crumbling beneath the crushing weight of forever profit growth and class warfare globalization.
I hate to burden the clueless folks at Mystical Raven and Bright Side with painful truths, but let’s take a minute to look at some telling housing data. Just to illustrate how suspect many economic indicators really are for the “all is well” crowd of journalism swells.
Not only are new home sales down, but they’re down by a lot more than the knowing liars at places like the New York Times and Bloomberg News are telling you.
When these news organizations cover this crucial economic indicator they like to pretend that the size of the U.S. population is irrelevant.
That’s knowing garbage.
Take the 50,000 new homes sold in the U.S. in August 2016. That number compares with 56,000 for the same month in 1963, when this data series began. The gap represents an official drop of just 11 percent.
However, the true decline is 47 percent once the data is adjusted for population. Which is the kind of simple adjustment the economic cheerleaders never seem to have time for.
Do the math yourself. It’s not hard.
The U.S. had 323 million people in August 2016, when it recorded 50,000 home sales. That translates into a sales rate of 155 homes for every million Americans.
The 189 million people we had in August 1963, when 56,000 new homes were sold, yields a sales rate of 296 per million.
Figure it out yet?
Did a light suddenly go off over your head?
Still think everything’s fucking great?
Tell ’em Hudson.
Ain’t that the truth.
It’s only going to get worse as automation and offshoring destroy more jobs in the so-called First World of a global economic village with no fair labor standards and no government regulation.
Globalization is leveling U.S. workers with those in low-wage nations like China, India and Mexico.
Because treasonous elites like Michael Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch like it like that.
Letting economic royalists get away with such bullshit is a helluva shitty thing to do to our kids.
What would John Wayne do (WWJWD) if he were a Millennial?
He’d probably be living in his parent’s basement in tiny Winterset, Iowa, and working at Arby’s; he’d probably be trying to repay the student loans he took out to pay for a worthless master’s degree from some for-profit college run by Wall Street’s private equity sonsabitches; and he’d probably be killing himself slowly with meth or crack to dull the pain of a failure to launch he erroneously thinks is solely his own.
The painful truth is that our kids haven’t failed America and there isn’t a damn thing wrong with them.
This dysfunctional society failed them.