Let’s start out the new year with the fortunes of the so-called 13th generation, the decried Generation X (born 1961 to 1979): you are totally screwed.
Here are some interesting facts about this most despised generation, using data for the United States:
Test scores for the class born in 1961 include 10% less A’s and 10% more C’s than that born just a year earlier.
Abortion rates started sky-rocketing in the early 1960s in America and legalized abortion came about in 1973 in a rather remarkably bad court decision. Abortion foes did not get traction until after 1980, since aborting you was fine (it eliminated an “undesirable element”) where aborting Millenials was “murder” and had to be fought. We had problems with sex, too: teenage pregnancy peaked in 1990 and had a 28% decline by 2000. You’ll note the rise in fertility services.
You are the first downwardly mobile American generation, having less than your parents, since the 1870s. You even have heavier tax burdens than the last two generations, at the same ages.
In the late 1970s, even President Carter was talking about legalizing marijuana, but by the 1980s it was unthinkable, even though marijuana use amongst high school students plummeted (see Figure 1). The drop happens just as the Boomers leave high school, and continues until the early 90s, as Millenials started getting into middle school.
During GenX’s childhood, more minors were in the workforce than any time since the early 1900s. One of the problems that employers had with Millenials is that the kid workforce dried up. More of them got their money from allowances than from work. You probably had friends who were working for pay when they were 10.
Not that this money-focus has served you very well. The early 90s recession was borne disproportionately by GenX. (Okay: it was borne almost entirely by GenX.) Tax cuts have tended to miss you or be much lower for you, especially when you count overall tax burden, which includes things like taxes for government-provided elderly benefits.
Even the criminal rules are different for you. Take terrorists for your example. There are well known, self-confessed mass killers and agents of terror in the Boomer generation who got off entirely scott free. One who built bombs that killed several people and is unapologetic for any of her actions is now a law professor in the Chicago metro area. Her husband is a political bigwig, and while an advocate of terrorism and murder, never did much more than talk. Can you imagine any Generation X murderer being treated the same way? You would have been strung up and damn the Constitution and it’s interfering rights.
It’s also true that we were killers par excellence, amoral men and women who knew the value of our own lives. The buck we earned was worth more than we were. We murdered at alarming rates. Rate of young murderers climbs from 1985 then descends as GenX ages out. (See 1999’s “Homicide Trends in the United States Crime Data Brief [PDF].)
I don’t care how much your parents wanted to be good parents, the fact is that if you were born ~1961-1979, you were raised in a kid-hating society. (Although most of your parents, if they were judged by today’s standards, were borderline abusive. Except for those that just were.) Apartments started being “adults only”. Schools lost funding. Proposition 13 starts the tax revolution immediately after Boomers get out of high school. Teachers quit rather than teach such lazy, undeserving ingrates.
You have always gotten the shaft and, I hate to tell you this, you’re always going to get the shaft.
Next time, I’ll tell you why.
Typical traction lift design, © 2011 Harrihealey02 (CC BY-SA 2.0).