We know that we’ve been screwed. There isn’t much denying it at this point. But how, exactly, were we bent over and told to take one (at a time) for the team? It’s important to know how you’re being reamed.
Let’s get one thing out of the way: we aren’t the worst off. Other generations have been blown to bits during wars they were sent off to when they were barely old enough to drink. That’s clearly worse than the crushing economic and existential despair we’re forced to live with. So count your blessings, dear millennials, you’ve got it better than people who were gunned down by the thousands.
With that out of the way, come with me on a magical journey of discovery and despair.
Wages. Y’know those good ol’ days when one partially literate man could afford a house, car, and regular vacations for his family on a factory wage? Yeah, they’re gone. Thanks to the power of Stagnant Wages and it’s evil cousin Inflation Dick, you can enjoy getting paid the same for years on end and not being able to buy nearly as much with it. In fact, wages haven’t increased significantly since the 1980’s while the cost of living has spiraled out of control. I mean your wages though, not your CEO’s. His salary has increased about 800% since you were born.
Housing. Tired of living with your parents and their ongoing alcohol problems clashing with your own? That’s bad news because the cost of housing has skyrocketed during our lifetime. Whereas a worker could purchase a home that cost two or three years’ worth of their annual salary, you can now enjoy bidding on a 1200 sq ft townhouse for over $950,000 with your stagnant wage. And if you aren’t a fan of slavery, you can enjoy living a few hours north of Twiddlydick, Idaho where a home is affordable so long as you can consistently bring in pelts for their booming fur trade.
Debt. Not yours, that’s a lost cause. Your government’s inability to control itself mixed with a gigantic, vocal voting bloc known as the Boomers have ensured that the money is gone. I mean all of it. Income tax breaks and endless handouts have led to empty coffers and a generation (that isn’t yours) living very comfortably and passing the bill on to you. Politicians can pay for things to make people happy now (read: vote for them) with your money tomorrow. When the bill comes due, they’re out of office and you’re stuck with crumbling infrastructure, unreliable and overburdened healthcare, and a pension that’s still slated to dole out $700 a month in 2055. Those ramen noodles you’re living off of? Learn to spice them right.
Sex. Millennials are hooking up at incredibly low rates compared to previous generations and we’re counting that time AIDS was all the rage. Young people just ain’t fuckin’ all that much. And in a world of meaningless hookups arranged through your phone while you’re taking a dump, is it any wonder that the romance is gone? People are commodified and you can swipe till you drop like you’re looking for a new bath mat on Amazon. There’s no need to get to know someone when you can find the smallest flaw from their profile picture. Just keep swiping, you’ll find the perfect mate that has everything you want right out of the box. No assembly or relationship building required. And if that doesn’t work out and you find yourself alone, staring down the barrel of 40, you can always get something cheap made in China.
The environment. It’s falling apart and you get to be buried in it. Melting ice caps and hellfire ripping the land apart have seen a new frost queen beginning her horrifying reign in Texas of all places. The world you’re floundering in will look just a little more dismal as time goes on. Not to worry though, we’re totally on it. Governments are mobilizing massive amounts of funds and resources to combat climate changes and reinvigorate the planet, even in the face of catastrophic quarterly reports for some of the world’s largest corporations. Their priorities are straight and there’s no way they’re going to waver from their promise to not let the planet implode rather than die in a pile of money.
Politics. Everyone wants to kill each other and we don’t really know why. There may be some correlation between overboiling political tensions and decades of politicians gaining power and influence by vilifying their ideological opponents and convincing you that your deteriorating quality of life is a direct result of a slightly lower sales tax or the gays getting married. Not the wildly disproportionate amount of wealth getting more and more highly concentrated in the hands of just a few people or the downward trajectory of your mental health and life expectancy. All the while your political teeth (your ability to enact any real change) have been slowly pulled by gerrymandering, limitless campaign advertising through super PACs, and outright vote buying.
But you’re young. You have so many years ahead of you and lots of time to turn this ship around. Unless some kind of pandemic sweeps across the planet and steals a few key career development and earning years from you. Odds are low though and the government is ready.
On the plus side, endless hours of mind-numbing programming and hardcore pornography are available on your phone for $37 a month.