|Source: Flickr: Carolyn|
The Baby Boomer Generation
The Baby Boomers never saw the cruel hand of the war, or the depravity of the Depression. Instead, they were born into a booming economy. Public Universities sprang up across the country, cookie-cutter suburbs spread like spider webs across the plains and valleys, televisions entered every home, and luxury goods became cheap in comparison to the mighty gold-backed dollar.
However, all was not well in paradise, those born in the late 40's or early 50's were draft age when Nixon played his Vietnam war game. Despite a few small recessions and an ill executed end to communism in Asia, the Boomers lapped in pleasure and luxury. Consumer goods made the daily grind of life easy, allowing them to spend more time taking vacations to Disneyland, working on their golf swing, and keeping up with the Brady Bunch.
|Source: Flickr: Daniel Lobo|
The Recession Generation
For those growing up in 80's and 90's, life was awesome! Within a decade, the whole world changed: Personal computers were in every house, cell phone towers connected us as never before, the stock market made penny stock holders overnight millionaires, MTV and Nickelodeon created a media obsessed generation. Housing prices sky rocketed, and the Boomers were busy buying new 4000 square foot homes, cabins in the mountains, gym memberships, speed boats, and German imported cars. All of the women's rights movements had culminated in a majority of mothers working outside the home, and doubling the family income. $4000 a week trips to Hawaii, private flute lessons, and traveling soccer clubs became the sign of middle class affluence.
The recession generation enjoyed all of the perks of technology, but wasn't old enough to invest in it. Lucky for them, their allowance wouldn't have bought enough shares of the dot com bubble to bankrupt a brokerage account. Most hadn't graduated college before Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Apple, and Intel sent us on on our current roller coaster ride.
What defines this generation is September 11th. There is a stark difference between the generation
that was old enough to understand September 11th, and those born after 2001, with absolutely no idea of how drastically it changed our nation. What ensued is a seemingly endless war against an elusive enemy, and right or wrong, it took us from the surplus days of the Clinton Administration, to so much debt that our great, great, great, great, great grandchildren will still be paying for our mistakes.
Source: Flickr: Bob Jagendorf
Enter in, the Great Recession. The recession generation grew up in the abundance of the dot com bubble, the get rich quick housing bubble, and the technology boom, but all hopes of a comfortable middle class life left in 2008, when the stock market went down faster than the Titanic.
The stock market crash revealed a weakness in our economic structure that had been there all along. Greed caused banks to issue faulty loans, and for home buyers to buy more than they could afford. Top that with the Federal Reserve printing money out of thin air and a few trillion dollar endless war, and it soon became the perfect storm that would topple the American economy and send the world economy into a tailspin.
It is now 2014, six years after the market plunge and we are still trying to pick up the pieces. The media loves to tell us that the unemployment rate has gone down, that savings are up, and the market has recovered, but all I see when I look around is fragility.