Monday, November 7, 2011

Young Americans Suffering Disproportionately

This morning I found an article which discusses the record "wealth gap" between the young and the old in this country.  I have no problem with older Americans having wealth.  I have a problem with the youth of this country suffering like this.  

The following article from this morning's Associated Press:

"WASHINGTON (AP) — The wealth gap between younger and older Americans has stretched to the widest on record, worsened by a prolonged economic downturn that has wiped out job opportunities for young adults and saddled them with housing and college debt.

The typical U.S. household headed by a person age 65 or older has a net worth 47 times greater than a household headed by someone under 35, according to an analysis of census data released Monday.

While people typically accumulate assets as they age, this gap is now more than double what it was in 2005 and nearly five times the 10-to-1 disparity a quarter-century ago, after adjusting for inflation."
 First of all, lets not call it a "wealth gap".  Young people in this country are poor.  I have no shame saying it. 

It's the kind of poor where you can barely get a minimum wage job that forces you to live paycheck to paycheck. 

It's the kind of poor where you have to get two, maybe three jobs just so that you can pay rent, bills, and buy food because you don't want the internal shame of being on public assistance.

It's the kind of poor where you can't save for your future, because every cent is going to student loans that got you that college education that you were told would make your future.

It's the kind of poor that doesn't allow you to have any health insurance.  Hospital visits are out of the question.

It's the kind of poor that forces a young couple with a new kid to sell their home, thinking they were secure in their jobs until Wall St. destroyed the economy and any sense of your future with it.

Meanwhile, the old are being forced to stay in their jobs longer just so that they can keep their health insurance while politicians talk of raising the social security and medicare ages.  They are forced to delay a well deserved retirement just so they can remain in their homes for fear of foreclosure. 


The current state of affairs is no good.  High unemployment is crippling young people.  Student loans are making them slaves to the system.  Poverty is creeping in to their lives across the board at an alarming rate.  Meanwhile the government cuts education programs, public assistance programs, food stamps, child health insurance, and more.  They are coming for social security and medicare as well.  People are suffering and their suffering is increasing.  If you are young and experiencing this, it is frustrating, angering, but often just damn depressing.  If you are old, you are watching your life's work whittled away at while your children and grandchildren suffer needlessly. 

We're not leeches.  We don't expect much.  We just want a fair chance at achieving our dreams (you know, that "American Dream").  We want to have that chance without being saddled by crippling debt, whether student or medical.  We want to have that chance without having the corporate owned government putting obstacles in our way.  We want to have that chance without the corporate owned media belittling us at every turn.

We want a FAIR chance.  We deserve the same opportunity as the 1% is given.  The same opportunity to try, to succeed, and to fail without fear of death.  The same fair playing ground for everybody, not just the 1% or even just the 99%, but for ALL.

Isn't that what we used to say everyday to start the school day?  "Liberty and Justice for All"!