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American Men in Their 30s Worse Off Financially Than Their Fathers

Wall St. Journal story:

American men in their 30s today are worse off than their fathers' generation, a reversal from just a decade ago, when sons generally were better off than their fathers, a new study finds.

The study, the first in a series on economic mobility undertaken by several prominent think tanks, also says the typical American family's income has lagged far behind productivity growth since 2000, a departure from most of the post-World War II period.

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Comments (5)


interesting. i guess all my hard work has paid off. i'm far better off then my folks were. from my own experience and observation, i think we(as the 30's generation) aren't doing as well because on the whole we are a bunch of whiney bastards who expect life to be handed to us.

i learned at an early age that this is not so and have worked long and hard to make some thing of my life. i don't consider myself particularly above average.

i know a lot of people who aren't doing as well as their folks did. for the most part it's their own damn fault and i don't really pity them. they whine and they bitch and they expect things to just go their way without putting any work into it.

that's not to say i'm a totally heartless bastard. there are indeed people that are in a place (physically, mentally, or what have you) where they really don't have a way out. those people we(as a nation) should help.

but i've seen far fewer of those people than i have people who would do better if they'd put in the effort.

/gets off my soapbox

Paul Hamilton:

There should be a connection between a person's ambition and their reward, no doubt about it.

But I live in a town which is a perfect example of the American dream gone bad. For the better part of a century, Delco-Remy made electronic components for GM and other manufacturers. At one time, 40,000 people worked in the plants here in town. You didn't need a great education to work on the assembly line, but it paid enough to support a family, and when you retired, you could count on the pension being there for the rest of your life. And if you did have the desire, you could learn the things needed for a job in skilled trades to earn more.

But in the 80s, the globalization fever hit and all those jobs were swept out of town to Mexico and the far east. And the funny thing about it is, they used the excuse that in order to remain profitable, they HAD to move the jobs elsewhere. But when the jobs were here, GM was the biggest corporation in the world and the profits were always there. It was only after they shipped the jobs away that ruinous deficits and further spiraling job cuts were the result.

Now all the jobs are gone and nothing came in to take their place. The offices where my mom worked and the factories where my grandparents worked from the late 20s to the late 60s and where I worked through the 70s until I was laid off and never called back.

That's opportunity, and it's the missing factor in today's job market. It doesn't matter how much you WANT a job, if there aren't any jobs, you're still out of work. And most folks who are in poverty can't just pick up and move either -- that's a very expensive proposition.

So while a lot of my liberal friends -- as well as the free-traders on the right -- don't like it much, I'm all in favor of protecting American workers because I can see the results of unfettered capitalism right before my eyes.

The article cites the statistic showing that while the income of the 30-year-old men in the study had declined, the families of those 30-year-old men had increased, suggesting an income shift or rebalancing towards working women.

View image

That could explain some of the shift, but there is no question that the shift towards a service economy has had an effect on incomes for the up and coming.

KE - what type of work do you do?


currently, i'm working as an IT professional for an online retailer.

paul, that does suck. situations like that definately fall into the out of your control.

how, exactly, do you propose to "protect american jobs"? usually i've seen that used to advocate protectionist policies like tariffs, which are worse, overall, for all the economies involved.

if there is a way to protect american jobs without resorting to tariffs, i'd like to hear it.

Paul Hamilton:

In situations like the one we're in now, where blue-collar jobs are evaporating before our eyes and our trade deficit with China has QUADRUPLED since Bush took office, I think tariffs have a place.


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