May 28th, 2009

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Young Adults Living with Parents

Today I found this post about young adults living with parents instead of moving out. It really bothers me that society treats such people as failures, without taking into account some major changes that have made this a rapidly expanding condition.

I think people are overlooking some crucial points.

1) Over the last several decades, expenses (housing, health care, food, transportation, etc.) have increased radically beyond average inflation. Meanwhile wages have stagnated or dropped. This leaves people, especially the young and the old, unable to make ends meet even if they can find work. In many cases, young people cannot move out because no place will rent to them or grant them a mortgage, and/or they cannot find health insurance on their own but can still piggyback on their parents' policy for a few more years.

2) College tuition has increased to crushing levels and loan terms are often usurious. It used to be possible for a reasonably diligent person to work part-time and put themselves through college. Not now. Graduates usually leave college many thousands of dollars in debt, and no guarantee of getting a job that will let them pay it off.

3) A college degree used to be an option, mainly for highly skilled positions. Now it is a requirement for almost every position above menial labor, even if the degree is not relevant to the work -- and comparable experience no longer counts. This forces more people into college even if they don't want to go and wouldn't really need it to do the work, just because of that artificial requirement.

4) The American family structure continues to fragment. Several decades ago, the extended family had shrunk to the nuclear family. Now it is down to single parents and their offspring, in many cases. This shattered support network is often not enough to help people through hard times. This means that people often lack the skills to live together comfortably, especially after children become adults. But it also means that repairing family bonds is a good thing.

Judging today's young adults by the same standards that applied to their parents is not fair, because society has rather methodically taken most of the bottom rungs off the ladder. It is much harder today for people to break into the job market, the housing market, etc. and support themselves or a family. As a society, we need to find ways of either fixing those problems, or adapting to multigenerational living again.
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Green Rednecks

I found the blog Green Rednecks today. It is full of ideas, mostly do-it-yourself or otherwise inexpensive and practical stuff, for environmentally friendly projects.

This is also about the third or fourth blog I've found that's "[unexpected topic] Redneck(s)." I am pleased to see so many folks coming out of the woodwork to demonstrate that not everyone who identifies as a redneck is a backwards, destructive moron.