As usual, my Foolish colleague Alyce Lomax got it right back in August, when she called the "80 Million Strong" movement a confederacy of wusses. Basically, 80 Million Strong is a group of recent college grads who, feeling "overburdened" by unemployment, credit cards, and looming student loan repayments, are looking for their own bailout from Washington.
According to the group's website, the mission of 80 Million Strong is to unite "young Americans to own and direct their economic reality. … To do this, we convene stakeholders who propose legislation that creates new jobs for the new economy."
Let me get this straight: You want to bring twentysomethings together to own their economic reality … by asking the government for help. So much for the spirit of entrepreneurship and individual empowerment that made this country great.
Am I taking crazy pills?
Matthew Segal, the co-leader of 80 Million Strong, was on Capitol Hill (no, I'm not kidding) last week with some prepared remarks for the House Education and Labor Committee. According to The Wall Street Journal, Segal said that the recession has helped in "digging a hole that will place a long-term burden on our generation as we attempt to build a stronger future workforce. … Among the many national and global challenges today's 20-somethings face, we are the first generation likely to be less better off than our parents."
As a member of this generation myself, I can't help but feel ashamed that this is what we've come to. You know what? Tough noogies, kid. Our parents may have wanted us to be better off than they were, but it was never a foregone conclusion. And in the end, we may actually be better off for wanting less than our parents did and being happier with what we have.
Rooted in cultural change
To me, this is just one more piece of evidence that our culture of entitlement has truly run amok. It seems that today's college grads expect to live a life like what they see on The Hills, Entourage, or Sex in the City, complete with Manhattan penthouse apartments and dream jobs that pay six-figure salaries without any real effort. That's fantasy. That's television.
There are jobs to be had for twentysomethings. Maybe not the jobs they had in mind, per se, but jobs nonetheless. This past spring, for instance, tighter restrictions on H2B visas meant that Maryland crab houses couldn't find enough immigrant workers to pick out crab meat. It's dirty work, for sure, but $7 an hour plus all the delicious crab you can eat is certainly something to consider if you've got nothing better to do.
And if picking crab meat isn't your thing, check out your neighborhood Starbucks
At the very least, by doing tough work out of college, you'll have a great story to tell your kids about your first job. Who knows? They may even learn to take your demonstrated work ethic as an example of humility and industry for themselves.
So to my fellow 80 million "strong" out there, I have this advice: Stop whining to Washington like some Wall Street banker from Bank of America
What do you think? Have I sold out my generation, or am I on to something? Sound off in the comment box below.