Boomers Can't Conceptualize


I got out of college in 1973. Height of stagflation. My parents did not tolerate whining. But I did complain a bit about difficulty on finding that first job. Their response was “put a sock in it” & “suck it up” “what’s your plan to surmount that problem”. Of course they had experienced the depression. LOL


Oh to still be young enough to know it all.


I graduated college in '89. My first year income was approximately 75% the cost of college, and I went to a private non-profit college. That same college, today, has average starting salaries of 2X but a cost of 4X of what it was for me.

So yes, today, things are worse for young kids just getting out of college.


That same college, today, has average starting salaries of 2X but a cost of 4X of what it was for me.

So yes, today, things are worse for young kids just getting out of college.

A mere bag o’ shells. As if that is the only thing that could be a problem for a person. College expenses. Every age has it’s problems. Yawn. Every age manages to solve them or adapt to them. Maybe there’s not enough of that going on.


We are reaping the rewards of 40+ years of destroying public education.


OK, I went back and read the article. This bit jumped out at me:

Cat says her mother made $36,000 a year as an entry-level bank teller in 1980. Meanwhile, the average entry-level worker in America now makes $55,260 a year, according to her calculations. However, when adjusted for inflation the entry-level salary in 1982 — about $33,700 — was closer to $102,200 in today’s dollars.

$36k for a bank teller in 80 is utter nonsense. That is probably what a teller made in 80, expressed in 2023 Shiny-bux.

In 1980, I grossed $15,600 at the pump seal company, as a “Project Coordinator”, which is a fancy way of saying inside sales support, which used both my college level b-school and engineering training. According to the BLS calculator, that works out to $54,837 in April 2023. I didn’t feel rich in 80. Maybe part of the issue was the $15K income put me in a 30% marginal rate bracket, while mid $50s today puts a person in a 22% bracket. (for those scoring at home, the top marginal rate in 80 was 70% for a single person, while the top rate on earned income now is 37%, a 33 percentage point cut, vs an 8 percentage point cut for the working stiff)

The roughly $28K I made as a store manager at Radio shack in 88 (before the company made big, across the board, pay cuts for managers) works out to $70,490 now. Being a store manager, unlike the pump seal company job, did not require any sort of college education, though, when RS did attract a college graduate, they had tried to retain him. (marginal rate on $28K in 88 was 28%, marginal rate on $70K now is 35%.)

Do the young’uns now like to complain? Everyone likes to complain today. Entire political empires are built on complaints and hurt feelings.

Here’s a song written by a group of boomers.


Depends on the part of the country…etc…

I would meet in the early 80s long time cashiers in grocery stores who with the union’s help and raises in the 1960s and 70s were making $26 per hour.

It is not like the major businesses can not afford it. Profits will elicit any excuse to cut people off.

While male construction laborers in 1980 in this area were making $20 hour dropping out of high school to work.

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I love data. Found some data: Dept of Labor survey of wages in banking, Feb 1980.

Teller, full time: Chicago: $4.36, Detroit $4.74, Kansas City: $4.13. LA:$4.26, NYC $4.99. The average teller in NYC worked 35.5 hrs/week, for a princely $177/wk, or, assuming 52 weeks of work/vacation/holiday pay: $9200/year (about what I started at, at the pump seal company in 78). The BLS calculator says that $9200 Carterbux works out to $35,373.13 today. As I intuitively figured, the $36K the author claimed her mother made in 80 was NOT what she was actually making, but the inflation adjusted number, today.


Entry level bank teller? Nope. In 1980 the median family income was only $21K, and for people aged 20-24 the average income was $8.5K. If you were a female between the ages of 18 and 24 with a high school education your average income was $5.5K. A college degree bumped that up to $7.7K



I agree. The data points the author of the article in the OP cites are utter nonsense, which somewhat undermines her argument.




For some of the grocery workers who were long term there was a difference prior to 1981. They were not going to get laid off. There were automatic raises at times above Cola. There were still some older folks on the registers in 1980 who had put in 25 or more years working the job. Their union had some power.

What was the average wage increase for union workers in 1970?

Hourly wage rates for union building-trades workers, in cities with 100,000 inhabitants or more, averaged $6.18 on July 1, 1970— up 64 cents, or 11.6 percent, over the previous year.Jul 1, 1970

What was the highest inflation rate in the 1970s?

In the winters of 1972 and 1973, Burns began to worry about inflation. In 1973, inflation more than doubled to 8.8%. Later in the decade, it would go to 12%. By 1980, inflation was at 14%.

This was possible in the 50s 60s and even much of the 70s because we were a much greater industrial power in relative terms. In 1981 we went to a capital policy as we needed to at that point. Only later did we fail to get back to an industrial policy with economies of scale.

Some union workers have continued to keep pace with things since 1980, however, union members were not the majority of the workforce then, and account for even less of the workforce now. For the rest of us, there is little choice but take what the “JC” offers, or give back what the “JC” demands.