Just read it - and yes
I'm a Millennial - having been born during the 1980s. I got to hear, quite a lot, from my parents (Boomers) and from my grandparents (Greatest) how good/bad life was. But I was told, ALWAYS told, the same thing from both of them: "Reiji, be dedicated to your work, work hard, and always be willing to learn, and you'll be fine." (Not really sure why they said the first AND second thing, but I digress.)
I had the most unfortunate luck to graduate right as the 2008 financial crisis was happening (which I still can't believe to this day, what sort of IDIOT thinks that pieces of wood and brick and plastic NEVER go down in value?), and companies were starting to institute hiring freezes. I went out and looked for jobs for a YEAR while I lived in a tiny efficiency apartment, subsidized by my parents. And my parents were far worse than any government authority about said subsidization - I was told about every 'Help Wanted' sign they ran across; was excoriated (primarily by my father) for not applying to a job, even though I had applied for six IDENTICAL to it and was told every time "You have a degree, you're overqualified"; and was always offered the opportunity to 'come back home' and work around the house to earn money.
I FINALLY got a job, working as a substitute at a local middle school, which called me about twice a week, to work full days when a science or math teacher was unavailable (I told the people at the school I would also do Social Studies, but that never went anywhere). It was enough to pay my monthly bills, mainly because I didn't need to pay for my own health insurance - but I could never really go out and do anything, my idea of a 'fun' evening was going over to the apartment of a couple of my college mates and chucking $5 in the bucket for a burger and beer, while we played video games or watched movies ala MST3K.
I did that for a year after I graduated, and as the school year (and thus my substitute's income) began to draw to a close, my parents and I made a conscious decision for me to move out to the NE - I had gotten married to a girl from the area about nine months previously, and we decided that things might be better out there than around here.
So I moved, and the apartment we found is where I still live to this day, almost six whole years later. For almost two whole years, I was out of work - the one job I got was working for the Census Bureau during the 2010 Census for about six weeks - until I got a job working the sunrise shift at FedEx as a QA clerk. In that time, I went back to school and earned my teacher's license - paying for it out of my own pocket by cashing in the savings bonds I had gotten growing up as a kid, and using a tuition reimbursement program.
Finished the program almost three years ago now - and all I've ever really been able to get out of it were various substitute teacher positions (long-term or day to day). Not a single full-time job application I made went anywhere substantial.
I'm over 30 now, in what I'm told are my prime career building years, where I should be working to rank up in whatever job I'm doing...and I'm no better off than I was when I graduated 7 years ago. No job, no real prospects, and most importantly, no idea
what it is I should be doing with my life. My wife works two jobs - one at the local town library, where she's been for the last 5 years, with naught but the yearly pay raise to show for it; the other at the local supermarket, which used to be an incredible union job that paid for her health insurance out of her paycheck deductions. No more, as of last year. It's funny, they still take out those deductions (they haven't changed a penny), but now they only reimburse her for 40% of her insurance costs rather than pay for them outright.
In short? Life blows.
Yet all I
can hear about is how lucky my generation's got it - there's no Evil Empire, there's smartphones, we're living in the most enlightened and progressive time ever (even if that stupid gender pay gap still exists, even though it was made illegal during the JFK administration). That is B. S.
The problem we're facing today is not one of inefficient government policies, or rising costs of operating in the modern world. The problem we're facing today is one of ethical deficiency. That's as much true for the corporation that makes billions of dollars in profit and yet insists if wages go up, it will hire fewer people as it is for that person who actually does game the welfare system. (I'm not ignorant to say that they don't exist, but the truth is that more and more people on government aid are just folks trying to live their lives.) A problem that's really only made worse by the fact that there are people who insist either that there is no problem, or the problem is laid at the feet of people who have no power to address it, or people who had nothing to do with it.
Bernie is more than willing to admit there is a problem, and he's calling out the people who currently have the power to fix the problem.