December 22, 2004
In this week's Village Voice there is a pair of interesting and self-indulgent pity pieces entitled "Generation Debt: The New Economics of Being Young", about how much it sucks to be:
a) a young woman, with changing expectations regarding the balance of career, personal development, marriage, and family, especially when we still make 76 cents to the male dollar, goddammit. And going to college was fun, but it didn't help us get a good job and now we're in massive debt and if we get ever divorced we'll end up in poverty. And,
b) a young man, with all that debt from college when we idiotically signed up for credit cards and blew all the money we didn't have on CDs and beer, and now we don't know if we'll ever be able to pay it all back, let alone buy a house, and HELL no we have no plans to get married because debt is emasculating. And man, college sure was a waste of time and money.
There is also a good but depressing follow-up about parents, who look on their children's financial situations with horror and despair. And offer a few brief comments along the lines of "Do you have any idea how hard we worked to save money to pay for college for you?!"
Yes, we're pretty much all poor and indebted, which is determining our major life choices. If you're going to a household for Christmas this week at which you will be asked about your future/job/marriage/children/declining ability to buy any presents for your family members at all, you might want to read these pieces and get your cultural and economic explanations ready.
And if you are at the stage of your life where you are considering where to attend college, and if you will be paying for most of it yourself, may I suggest selecting a public university.
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