Millennials have it tougher

Please stand by while baby boomers completely lose it over NPR Weekend Edition Sunday host Lulu Garcia-Navarro’s interview with Michael Hobbes, who insists that millennials aren’t “entitled,” they just have it harder than anyone else.

Hobbes says there’s a “mountain of evidence” to justify the assertion.

“Healthcare, housing and education are more than five times more expensive than they were for our parents. There are fewer steady jobs. Wages have stagnated since the 1970s,” he said. “I mean, I can go on and on and on. And so its weird that we’re constantly talking about how millennials should do this differently, and millennials should do that differently. But we don’t talk that much about, hey, the country around us can do some things differently, too.”

He acknowledges that millennials — white millennials anyway — are doing fine and they’re about to come into big money as their parents die off and leave their wealth behind.


“Forty-five percent of millennials are non-white. That’s going to exacerbate inequality within the millennial generation,” he said.

Stand by…

  • Gary F

    Just think how many of the baby boom generation or their parents were drafted by the military, lost their lives or came back physically or mentally wounded, and their loved ones that had to deal with that.

  • “You are exactly the reason why Baby Boomers find Millennials so annoying.” – Steph

    Wow, who pissed in her Wheaties?

    This is what I see in my mind’s eye when I hear Boomers bitching about the younger generations:

    • jon

      Really? when I hear boomers complaining about millenials, I simply find an industry/company the boomers once held dear and strangle the life out of it…

      But that’s how it is with us millennials… we just can’t stop killing things.

  • KariBemidji

    I’m a 42 year old Gen Xer and I always feel like an old codger when I tell people that when we had a our son 18 years ago, we had a $100 deductible. One hundred dollars and 100% of maternity care was covered. I don’t know how people afford to have babies right now.

    • lusophone

      Same. We have 3 kids, 1st was $100 deductible, 2nd was a bit higher deductible and the 3rd was 10 percent of the entire hospital bill. All 3 were c-sections. So the 3rd one was a doozy.

    • asiljoy

      omg. just…. I didn’t realize ours was that bad.

      I had my first 4 years ago with what I thought was decent insurance provided by a large employer. The exact numbers escape me, but I want to say delivery and hospital stay with epidural/no major issues was 3500 for my part of the tab, and then the baby’s was another 1500 ish. I believe we were in and out in under 48 hours, but when you think about all of the people involved in making our stay as lovely as it could be 5,000 didn’t seem out of whack. But, man, comparing it to $100 for everything!?!?!!?!

      Whatever the total numbers, we had saved for a year and then emptied the HSA and topped off with credit cards. Good times, good times…. :: sigh ::

      • jon

        They charge the baby separately?

        Welp I concede the millennial title of having it the toughest, it now goes to whatever generation your child is…
        sure we millennials might have outrageous student loans and such… at least we didn’t start $1,500 behind at birth…

        • asiljoy

          For his care yes. So any tests for his health, make sure he was growing, for his uh, special surgery, etc; basically anything after delivery we were treated as separate patients which made sense to me at the time.

      • KariBemidji

        At some point it’s going to be a population control issue. If a generation can’t afford to have and raise children what does that mean for the future of our country?

  • Rob

    Wow. I’m a Boomer, but I bear no grudge against the Millenials; my heart goes out to them. The benighted clusterf^>ks of our economic, social and political systems are landing hardest on them, and probably won’t ease up any time soon.

    • jon

      We are all looking forward to paying down a $1.5 Trillion dollar debt that we needed to fix the ailing economy of 2018 (record high dow, and economists arguing if we are at full employment, it’s terrible out there.)

  • Gary F

    I was born in 1964, I don’t fall fully in either the boomer or Gen X generation.

  • Jeff

    Real wages haven’t grown much since the 1970’s. The only thing that saved the middle class was women joining the workforce. Meanwhile as everyone knows health care has gone through the roof. I don’t think us baby boomers have had it that great.

    • X.A. Smith

      You probably had it better than any other generation of Americans.

      • Jeff

        I didn’t mean to whine, but what I read it’s my parent’s generation who lived through an era of almost continuous wage expansion.

        • Jerry

          To be fair, they started at a really low point.

        • jon

          uh huh…. so the worst points on that graph for boomers is the point where millenials started.

          Boomers worst day (economically) is millenials best day so far.

          You might not have had it great (better than any generation before you, economically at least)… meanwhile the jury is still out on if millenials will be better off than the generation before them (speculation is they might not be, which is unheard of even for speculation).

          • Jeff

            I’m saying that there’s an assumption boomers had it good economically, but instead I’d say we’re all in the same boat regardless of generation. It used to be productivity was coupled with wage growth, but that changed about the time most of us bb’s got to the job market. Globalization? Greedy corporate overlords? Barney?

          • Jeff
          • Jeff

            I think a huge difference though is the cost of college education and college debt. I had help from my parents when college was still relatively cheap, but a lot of millenials didn’t get much help.

      • Jeff
  • Interviews like this one are reminiscent of those weather reporter standing in a snowbank stories. While the statements may have credibility, framing them in generational context seems problematic to me, amounting to stagecraft that could actually take away from a serious discussion of the structural problems this country needs to address.

    For example, take the jobs situation. It’s true that job security and benefits were better and more predictable in the past, and that many of today’s retirees did well, often enjoying a single career with affordable health care that allowed them to build up equity in a family home and raise their kids in a stable environment. Today’s young workers do face a much different employment future, one which will reward them less and require more moves and compromises. However, to suggest by this story’s framing that only Millennials bear this cross is to ignore the sad situations of everyone else who struggles with chronic underemployment, including a generation of Boomer women who had to settle for a lifetime of subpar wages as a consequence of staying home to care for their children. Then there are those who were laid off in middle age, cut loose to fend for themselves and sentenced to finish their working lives in minimum wage jobs when no one else would have them.

    Rather than yet another “us vs. them” framework, perhaps it is time to reboot the conversation to one of “we are all in this together”. Let’s see what we can do to help each other. Please.

  • Barton

    Well, here is one Gen Xer who is glad to be left out of this argument (also slightly annoyed that the discussion again goes right past us like we don’t even exist). sarcasm intended.

    • Jerry
    • babyrabies

      We’re like the unloved, middle kid.

      • Jerry

        These are like the perfect Gen-X attitudes. Maybe we should deal with it by listening to The Cure and watching Reality Bites.

    • Kassie

      Let’s talk about our generation then. For me, if I wouldn’t of gone to graduate school, I had totally reasonable student loan debt. I left work and was able to find a job quickly that lead to a great career. Housing prices out of college were reasonable too, so I found rent I could afford with the pay from my entry level job without a roommate. I personally made some bad choices (huge grad school debt, divorce that lead to a foreclosure) so I really feel for Millennials and share some of their issues, but overall, I did not get the bad break they are getting. I see this with everyone my age. We got pretty damn lucky.

      • QuietBlue

        Experiences vary. Millennials weren’t the first generation to graduate into a bad job market — the early 2000’s recession may not have been as bad as the next one was, but it was no picnic, either. Also, a lot of my Gen-X peers and I got pretty worked over by the housing crash and are still dealing with the effects of it. Plus, there’s the skyrocketing costs of child care, as was mentioned upthread (it doesn’t affect me personally, but it sure is a factor for a lot of other Gen-Xers, as well as Millennials).

        • Kassie

          I’m on the young end of the Gen-Xers, and so I entered the workforce in 2001. Those entering after, are mostly Millennials. It wasn’t that bad of a recession and lasted one year. It wasn’t even close to comparable for what the Millennials experienced.

          Yeah, there were some bad parts for us, and everyone, but we got so lucky, all things considered. I see my Millennial co-workers struggling and I know they are doing sooooo much better than their friends who are working gig economy jobs. At least they get health care and a dependable pay check.

  • LDCornell

    I think it is the obligation of every person to be critical of all later generations. Just an observation from a guy in his late 60s ….