Millenials, Entitlement, and the Living Wage

Judging my the number of responses, this is my most viewed article yet on It also includes the requisite number of responses from the Trumposphere angered over my subtle dig at him. (The AT editors actually removed the other one so they didn’t even get the full effect!)  

By now, most people are probably aware of the latest stupidity trending on social media. If not, to briefly recap, on Friday a spoiled brat named Talia Jane told her boss to f-off via an open letter on and, surprise of surprises, got the ax. This is the kind of thing that should just be ignored (like most of the idiocy hogging the blogosphere and the twittersphere and the Trumposphere) but, then, what would we talk about? (John Locke? Rene Descarte? Heck, I’d even settle for some Robspierre at this point.)

Unfortunately, the idiocy in this nation has reached such a fever pitch that one must address it, and address it daily, before we all wake up one day to find a reality TV star in the White House. (Crap! What’s the date today?)

Talia Jane’s letters are so full of irony, if this wasn’t the year 2016 and millennials weren’t sucking up half the air in this country and supporting, rather unironically, someone who was the 60’s answer to Millennialism that I’d think it was ripped from the pages of the Onion. (Or maybe Talia Jane really is that good and we’ve all been had.)

I won’t even touch on her name being Talia Jane or that her avatar is a crass attempt at being artsy. Those things are pretty much par for the course these days and a sad indication on just how far we’ve come. I will start with her description though. Talia Jane is into “comedy – writing – better at thinking about things than actually doing them.” Mmm. Doesn’t that last bit just encapsulate the millennial generation perfectly. No more honest a phrase has ever been written by anyone. And guess what, Talia Jane, I completely #feelya. See, I love to write too, and writers, by nature, are thinkers, not doers. But one need not look any further than Ernest Hemingway or Ian Fleming to realize that even writers need to “do” if for no other reason than to have something to write about. If not, then they end up like Lenin (or Lennon for that matter) writing about struggles they only think they know, as is the case with our dear Talia Jane.

Talia Jane’s tragic story was doomed almost from the beginning. Firstly, she was using hashtags way back in the 90’s. Secondly, at that impressionable age of eight, she somehow got the notion that “having a car and a credit and my own apartment” were “what it means to be an adult.” Maybe on Friends or Seinfeld, but not in real life.

Let me tell you about being an adult, Talia Jane; it’s not all it’s cracked up to be; except when it is and those are the times they never told you about when you were eight years old, listening to “Spice Girls and owning a pager.” (As an aside, I think the real tragedy in all this is that the poor young Talia Jane only dreamed of owning a pager; her mother clearly being too much of an ogre to give her a cell phone. #QuelleHorreur!)

But I don’t blame Talia Jane so much as I blame her Gen-X parents. And I don’t blame her Gen-X parents so much as I blame their Baby-Boomer parents. And I don’t blame their Baby-Boomer parents so much as I blame the Baby-Boomers’ Greatest Generation parents.

It seems, sadly, that since the end of the Second World War, every generation, in an effort to give their children everything they wanted, gave them everything except what they needed. And who wouldn’t want the very best for their kids? Talia Jane doesn’t know this yet, but none of us take joy in telling our three-year-old that he can’t have a treat because he didn’t have his dinner, or that five minutes (which was probably five minutes more than we should have given in the first place) really means five minutes. But we do it nonetheless because we know, if we don’t, the child will grow up without any respect for himself or anyone else and join the masses of folks “feeling the Bern” or worse, setting fire to their own cities as a way to air their grievances.

You see, Talia Jane was brought up to dream big dreams but not to do the hard work that goes in to achieving them or to realize that some dreams are actually nightmares once reached. (San Francisco isn’t all that hip and trendy when it’s Oakland, is it, Talia Jane?) It’s unfortunate that Talia Jane had to learn the hard way that “a car and a credit card and an apartment would all be symbols of stress, not success” but it’s even more unfortunate that she hasn’t learned that her stress is of her own making. What Talia Jane doesn’t realize yet, is that she can take her grandfather’s beater car and that 10 pound bag of rice and make for somewhere her dollar goes farther (and the government takes less of it in taxes, ironically). Of course, she might have to talk to some Republicans (#QuelleHorreur!), but such is the price of freedom.

Talia Jane also doesn’t realize that the so-called “working poor” of today live better than the middle class of her grandparents’ generation and oftentimes better than some of the middle class in nations most of us would consider first-world.

Talia Jane, before she bit the hand that fed her, had a car, an apartment, a college degree, a job, and all the free coconut water, pistachio nuts, and bread she could eat while at work. Heck, at my job, all we get is coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. And Talia Jane’s job involved sitting on her privileged rear-end answering phone calls from other privileged rear-ends who apparently had to wait more than 30-minutes for their lamb vindaloo. Clean the fryers at the Bombay Grill at midnight then get back to me, Talia Jane.

Now free from her corporate overloards, Talia Jane’s decided she wants to do something constructive with her new found fame (this at the urging of her Rotarian grandfather;” good on ya, pops,” although action without knowledge can be a very dangerous thing, so maybe I should hold off on the praise). Her new raison d’etre? You might have guessed it by now; a “living wage” for all! (Can’t she just get a realty show on E?)

She writes “call me entitled [really, can I?!] but I don’t think you should be barred from growing and exploring and taking risks because your income isn’t in proportion with the cost of living in your area.”

Oh, Talia Jane, I really hate to break this to you, but if life were all unicorns and lollipops then it wouldn’t be a risk. I’ll leave you with this, you want to help the working poor? Get a new job, work your way up in the ranks to a point where you have a little disposable income, then join Rotary like your grandfather and give of your own time and treasure; my guess is Jeremy Stoppelman is already contributing more than his fair share.

Cross posted at

4 thoughts on “Millenials, Entitlement, and the Living Wage

  1. I’m sure that I am one of the younger readers of American Thinker at 34. I’m on the leading edge of millennials and your essay gave me pause. I took the time to read the entire letter posted by Ms. Jane. I don’t think that you really understand the grave reality that most millennials face.

    There are 4 distinct external problems with my generation:

    1. Griggs versus Duke Power Company 401 US 424 (1971)
    This court case essentially outlawed IQ based aptitude testing for jobs. It made the only arbitrator of “skill” any group that offers a “degree”. The result is a college structure that holds keys (degrees) which can be priced at any rate. They are not regulated by the free market in any meaningful sense and this court case makes them essentially the only neutral party which government protects from legal action in the realm of proficiency judgement. Currently colleges function much like a guild. The ability to take a chance on a gifted individual (IQ or aptitude test) is essentially illegal.

    This means for most millennials that a “degree” is mandatory. The accompanying debt also becomes mandatory.

    I don’t think many people really understand the true power this case gave the educational system. I don’t think even a fraction of the population has ever heard of it. These restrictions caused a huge gap for those that are employable (i.e. apprenticeship). I’m sure Ms. Jane has never read this case but she could see that she needed a degree (I see all these job listings as requiring a degree). She also didn’t look at it in the light of this court case.

    The current system reminds me of guilds (college) protected by a monarch (government). You must get your guild letter to make swords.

    2. Mandatory Spending
    The levels of mandatory spending required of millennials are factors greater than previous generations. Last year working for a major company I made 26K. Of that I paid 5k in taxes and FICA. With Obamacare in place my company paid an additional 12.8k on their side for my health insurance. So my total compensation of 37.8K I got to take home 21k. A little over 54%. Factor in local tax(sales, property, fees) and maybe I get 50% of every dollar that could be paid to me. Our system has those that live frugal and healthy lifestyles being yoked to the sick, fools and dying. Short of joining the shadow economy there is nothing I can do (theoretical maximum tax rate is 66%).

    Most of those that see millennials as complainers now didn’t have daddy government eating up so much of their paycheck. Car and health insurance weren’t mandatory when I was a child. Most I assume have moved onto a mature job or career which during their younger years had a much lower mandatory spending per capita. At this point self-interest kicks in.

    Years ago I worked with a guy named Bobby. It was hard for the moving company to find drivers that would stay so they couldn’t really get rid of him. During most days he would disappear at a certain point. He would just go to the truck and read a newspaper while everyone else continued to work. Eventually I realized that he understood the system, he wouldn’t be terminated, and took the next logical step to let others do his work. At the time I was furious as I viewed the act as stealing, theft of time. Eventually when I noticed him missing I would go sit in the truck with him and read a book. When he went back to work I went back to work. He taught me the important lesson that you shouldn’t earn another man’s paycheck for him.

    The current tax burden being carefully obfuscated is no different. The company I work for is burdened by laws that each year increases the overall cost per hour that I generate. They can’t pay me a wage equal to the value I produce and let me decide what to spend it on.

    I would say maybe 1 in a hundred millennials actually understand the sheer tax burden (mandatory spending) they are currently trying to grow up through. The effect though is that the real cost of employment is so huge that paying a “living wage” is impossible for most companies (larger than 49 employees). Ms. Jane probably has no clue about the actual economic cost of employment and the razor margin her company operates at but she sees the effect on the quality of her lifestyle.

    3. Inflation + Labor Expansion + Capital Accumulation

    Until an economic collapse the untenable accumulation of social programs will continue. Let’s next look at the remaining 50% or so of wages that are available for consumption.

    Nixon decoupled the dollar from gold in August 1971. The resulting inflation in the past 45 years is staggering. I look at it as a simple function of gold. Even as a scarce resource the climb of gold from
    $35 to $1239 (as high as 1800, bottom at 350) a troy ounce is frightening. This means the dollars real buying power currently is about 3% of that in 1971. There is a secondary chilling effect, in the fact that with such high inflation, only individuals in “good” jobs have enough free wages to participate in a meaningful way in government. Fiat currency and fractional reserve banking…I love inflation…(sarcasm).

    The sexual revolution in the long term has also devastated “real wages”. I don’t begrudge anyone that wants to enter the labor force but the sheer number of women (in western countries) in the labor pool degrades the minimum wage you need to pay. The devaluation of mothering and raising children has reached a point where many on the leading edge of millennials will never breed. Again faced with an ever expanding net cost of wages (mandatory spending) the importation of labor (or export of jobs) becomes a “do we stay in business” problem. The problem is that with a large enough labor pool and high mandatory spending certain jobs only become viable in the shadow economy (take lawn care).

    Most people that complain about millennials didn’t face the same job market pressures. Ms. Jane did make a terrible choice of moving to a high cost of living area but the fact that they can get employees at that wage shows just how desperate people are for any income.

    The last problem is the inability to accumulate capital under those conditions. Even though I don’t have a degree I spent nearly a decade paying on student loans (100 semester hours and no engineering degree). I consider myself and my wife lucky that we work enough and live frugally enough to contribute to a 401k (about 64k total in our mid 30’s). My brother and his wife on the other hand have nearly 60k in student debt and he’s 3 years younger than me. They have 30k in pension/401k but with degrees. The ability for millennials (with a giant bag of student debt) to start a business (other than internet based) is fundamentally nil.

    Capital accumulation has been replaced by debt accumulation for many millennials. Without any substantial capital accumulation among millennials eventually Social Security deficits will crescendo and crash. Baby Boomers essentially mortgaged their children. I also honestly believe at some point we will have an Argentina style 401k confiscation by the government to cover Social Security.

    4. Replacement Rate > 2.1

    It is politically incorrect to talk about replacement rate. The real effect that is never mentioned is what the combination of high mandatory spending, high inflation, and student debt is that semi-intelligent people don’t have children. They understand that they can’t afford another mouth to feed. I know several 110+ IQ people that aren’t going to have children (either economically or for selfish reasons). The ones that seem to be having the kids can’t afford them and the government is paying for them (Free Shit Army go).

    From my assorted reading I believe that IQ is 70% genetic and 30% nurture (you may strongly disagree but for arguments sake accept it temporarily). The long term problem is that under the current status the number of high midrange IQ breeders will decrease. The very high IQ will still get great jobs and will be able to afford any number of children they desire. The mid high range though will have to fight through a swamp of fools to attain a job that can economically support them. I know that I waited until I thought that my job would provide enough income. I would like a third child but economically that isn’t possible.

    This is also coupled with the fact that having children later in life increases the rate of birth defects (you can look up the accumulation rate of de novu mutations in men’s sperm). As millennials have children later in life the rate of one child families will skyrocket. My opinion is that you need a minimum IQ to do certain tasks. Without enough future time orientation certain things become impossible (I suggest reading up about maintenance of power plants in South Africa). If you start to drastically lower the average IQ certain key professions where 120+ IQ is essentially they will become strained. Take the doctor/patient ratio in many African countries.

    I foresee in two or three decades massive doctor, lawyer, and engineer shortages because millennials just didn’t breed enough. I can see Brazil style enclaves with armed guards in the United States at that point.

    Ms. Jane with an English degree likely has at least a 100 IQ. In her current situation having children is likely not even on her mind. Again there is a strong childrearing devaluation occurring with nefarious effects decades down the road.


    I can see myself as Ms. Jane a decade ago. I didn’t come across any of these concepts in school or college (maybe you have previously come across them in passing). The more I read, the more I understood, and the more I saw a complete picture. You complain that Ms. Jane should work harder, she should bust her ass, but in reality she likely doesn’t fundamentally understand what she is up against. You really have to want to understand why American society has evolved to its precarious perch it now rests upon. Once you realize it’s a debt time bomb slowly ticking down it can make it really hard to get up and work another day. All you have to do is join the Free Shit Army and vote D in November. Eventually the party (American welfare state) will end but the interim will be fun.

    Both sets of my grandparents divorced in the 1960’s, my parent divorced, I spent some time living in public housing as a teenager, I went to a high school that was 7% white so I know well what happens when you start economically/educationally disadvantaged. Maybe your childhood was worse. I won’t disagree that many millennials weren’t properly taught how to cope with stress but the underlying socio-economic problems are far more serious. Add in loaded family courts, extravagant dalliances, free porn, political disinterest, and it’s a wonderful world out there for millennials.

    You really think she needs another punch in the face?

    This is why so many of my generation like Bernie Sanders. They see the effects in limited income (income potential) but fail to understand(want to understand) what has caused them. (Full disclosure: I like both Trump and Cruz.)

    Bernie says, “I’ll rape Wall Street!” Do many millennials understand that the Wall Street Bankers use HFT’s to shift fiat currency at blinding speeds causing melt-ups? Nope. Do they see private yachts costing $50 million and think that’s not fair? Yep.

    Bernie says, “Free College!” Do millennials understand that the Supreme Court essentially forced them into college? Nope. Do they see 60k in loans absolved? Yep.

    Bernie says, “Living Wages for all!” Do millennials understand the hidden cost economics for those businesses? Nope. Do they dream of not working 2 or 3 jobs just to pay rent? Yep.

    Just remember hard work doesn’t matter in a Kleptocracy.
    Publius Popular.

    1. You are wise and well deserved of the moniker you have chosen, Ben. I don’t disagree with really anything you’ve said. The problem with Talia Jane, as is the problem with much of the Millennial/Occupy crowd, is that they wish to “occupy” the wrong villain. Yes, rent in SF is much too high, but that’s no fault of Yelp; it’s the fault of the socialist policies Talia advocates for, and for that reason I show her no sympathy. In the end, thankfully, she still has a choice. We are not yet living under soviet style communism where our right to free movement is restricted. I do wish her well, but like I closed the article, the best thing she could do now is move somewhere she can afford to live. There are still millions of 24 year olds with the same status as Talia making it (and some of them making it big) in this country. She can either be part of the solution and find a job that pays her enough to survive (maybe by moving to a more tax friendly state) or she can gripe about how unfair life is.

      I do get it. There are many things our generation (I’m just 36, technically a Gen Xer but only by a year or so) but, overall, despite the somewhat economically oppressive government regime we live under, life is still better overall than it was for our parents. Heck, at least we don’t have 18% interest rates! For what Talia is paying in rent outside SF she could pay my mortgage on my house almost twice!

  2. A bit off topic but a concern nonetheless,As a former Marine and combat veteran I have been told by others many things of relation to my service.
    Mainly, “you volunteered”, “It was your choice”, “The war is over, take a few pills and your ptsd will go away”, “Its not that bad, you are only missing one arm/leg””sure the pills for your pain/ptsd/diarhea etc, make you sleep, get a job and contribute”, “if you can’t work, you made a stupid decision so deal with it, and many, many more.

    My wife and I volunteered at the local towns library, one day I attempted to get a young child to smile by making a funny face, when we arrived home there was a message that said my help was no longer needed.

    I told a young lady once that being in the military was the worst decision of my life, letting anyone find out I was in there was the second.

    1. Thank you for your service. I’m very sorry for all those things that happened to you, especially the awful things people have said. I hope you’ve found some joy in your life. It sounds like you have if you are still trying to make young people laugh. God bless.

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