Why Some Millennials Think The Economy Sucks

Why Some Millennials Think The Economy Sucks


The CEO pay stats are only taking the top few hundred firms, maybe S&P500 if you’re lucky. The average (vs the median) is also skewed heavily by outliers in this group, and performance based pay via stock or options can explode if the stock price does well. Which stocks go into the top 300-500? Why the ones with the best performing stock price of course. You can see there’s a lot of selection bias (as well as class warfare mongering) in these stats.

As of a few years ago, the average CEO made about $200k and earned 5x the typical worker’s pay. Most companies are small and most CEO’s therefore work at small companies that certainly can’t pay them 350x even a low $20k annual workers salary (which would be $7M). Some of these are lucky to have $7M in revenues, let alone available for CEO compensation after expenses and wages.



What does CEO pay have to do with median worker/household income and their buying power? Are you trying to argue the median family today is worse off than a few decades ago, or are you trying to argue that income inequality is really bad? Or both? I’m glad to talk about both, but lets separate the two because they are two different points.


Wow! We could have a whole thread devoted to this quote…

  • Government supported monopoly
  • Significant research leading to some new things back in the day…
  • Not a huge free market drive to improve things since they were a monopoly
  • Extremely “siloed” due to various reasons including union contracts
  • Growing financial burden due to defined benefit retirement plans
  • UNBELIEVABLE benefit to the US economy for unrivaled service compared to many countries
  • Somehow made the transition from old school to tech stock
  • Amazing improvement in productivity after the breakup

On that last note, a lot of the comments above refer to loss of jobs, loss of higher paying jobs, etc due to offshoring, automation, etc. These are all improvements in “productivity”. Generally, we all are better off when productivity improves. Yes, some are hurt very badly – the former GM brake drum caster, for instance. But we now all drive disc brake cars which stop much better… and the discs were cast in China where the caster gets a cup of rice, not a life-long job guaranty and pension.

The cup of rice thing in China is a topic that interests me. Why should the US brake drum caster get more money than the Chinese guy? A huge part of the change we’ve gone through has resulted in AMAZING increases in the standard of living of people outside of the US! So if you have a near sighted focus, things can look really bad. If you look at the world as a whole, many many people are WAY better off in China and India as a result of US off-shoring. Are they not deserving of a better life?


Have we seen data saying its right?
… other than one persons anecdotes?

edit: OK what are you asking? sorry I may have misread you. Are you asking for data to show that millenials think the economy sucks or not? OR are you asking for data that says the economy sucks or not?


OK yeah my first read on your question was wrong. I mistook what you were asking.

How do we measure if the economy “sucks” or not? GDP? Unemployment? Both? Other?

Here are a couple dashboards with a variety of measures :

If you look at just GDP then the economy is doing “average” not “sucks”. If you look at unemployment then the economy is doing great.


What federal reserve data do you have that says standard of living has gone down? What time period are you talking about here? I challenge you to find where it says standard of living has gone down over a long period of time (longer than 10 years).


The OP for this topic was that the overall economy was doing better, but due to increased supply of qualified workers, the the relative pay for workers is down. The point was that it isn’t a matter of the economy being “bad” or “ruined” but simple supply and demand economics and with the increased supply (greater population, more collage degrees), the lower the price point for the demand.

The data you provide doesn’t contradict the the OP’s assertion. The question is, why those results? Is it because of lower demand (bad economy) or higher supply?


The data you posted upthread had nothing to do with standard of living over time. I skimmed the whole wikipedia article (are you really quoting wikipedia as your source? lol) and I did not see anything compelling that says that the standard of living in the US has gone down over a long period of time (longer than 10 years). Challenge is still on the table.



You are now citing things that are saying that our standard of living declined relative to the rest of the world. That is completely different than saying that our standard of living has declined over time - in absolute terms.


@meed18 but isn’t everything “over time” inherently? You can’t say something declined without inherently implying it’s over some period of time. Otherwise, what did it decline from? You can’t decline in an instantaneous fashion. You can only be at one level at any given point in time, not multiple.


@jaytrader Correct, that’s why I specifically said over a long period of time (10+ years). Standard of living can fluctuate dramatically short term, especially right around an economic recession. I don’t think pointing out that the standard of living declined from 2005 to 2010 is a useful indicator of the health of the overall economy long term since we had just gotten out of a recession. If the standard of living actually declined from 2007 to 2017 (and the recession officially ended in 2009), then I would be more inclined to agree with the sentiment that the economy “sucks.” If @jcohen73 wants to claim that our standard of living in 2017 is worse than 2007, or 1997, or 1987, etc. then I’d like to see his data.


You said it in your first post.

You said we’re worse off than we were 40 years ago. You said we’re making less money than our parents 40 years ago. Those are two different claims. While our paycheck MAY be smaller (your citation is needed for this), that isn’t the only measure of economic improvement. We are not, BY A LONG SHOT, worse off generally speaking. When you say “worse off,” I interpret that as synonymous with “standard of living.” Are you changing your tune now? Are we not worse off than 40 years ago - in absolute terms? Are we only worse off than 40 years ago in comparison to other countries? If that’s what you are saying, then I agree with you.

I’m not sure why you are bringing holocaust denial into this. People can have differing opinions about the economy and have a good discussion about those opinions without comparing the people they disagree with to holocaust deniers. Well, most people can. That statement says everything I need to know about how you handle debate. Rather than make a point and try to convince someone you are correct, you just attack their character.


You haven’t provided any federal reserve data claiming that “For the white male, the median is making less (inflation adjusted) then their parents made 40 years ago.” Go back and read your posts. Unless it’s somewhere deep in the wikipedia article, you didn’t post it. If it’s somewhere in the wikipedia article, post it. Honestly, I think this stat is probably true, but like I tried to point out, it presents a very incomplete picture for several reasons.

  1. We are not an economy of white males. There are a lot of females and non-white males too. With a stat so narrow, I would think that if you included everyone, it would show we do make more.
  2. It likely doesn’t include benefits, such as health insurance, which we all know costs a lot more than it did 40 years ago.
  3. It doesn’t factor in what we can get for that money. If you made $3.73/hr in 1977, that’s $15/hr today. How long would you have to work in 1977 to buy a 25" TV (which cost $530)? 142 hours. How long would you have to work to buy a 32" TV ($150) today? 10 hours.

I never said you claimed anything contradictory. I said you claimed that we are worse off than we were 40 years ago. I claimed that you when you said our “standard of living is worse,” you were referring to it in absolute terms. When I pressed you on that, you said you claimed you were referring to our standard of living relative to other countries. I am simply asking you to clarify.

Are you claiming that our standard of living has declined (in absolute terms - not compared to other countries) over a long period of time (10+ years)?

Are you claiming the average american is worse off now than they were 40 years ago?

If so, what data do you have to support those claims? Data that says some people simply “make less” is not comprehensive enough to support such general claims (as I explained above).


Your post 98 was about how someone working at mcdonalds is being propped up by chinese monetary policy. I don’t disagree with you, but predicting a crash because of our foreign debt and that our standard of living will go down when that happens is very different than claiming that our standard of living has actually gone down.

Is our standard of living propped up because of globalization and will that come back to haunt us eventually? The answer to that could very likely be “yes.” But I am talking about what has actually happened, not what could eventually happen.

So since you are not providing any data that our standard of living has actually decreased in absolute terms, only relative to other countries, am I to take it that you are retracting your original claim from post 87:

I don’t understand your obsession with “proving me wrong.” I’m simply asking for clarification on your claims. I may have misunderstood some of them. I have only disagreed with you on a couple things and neither of us has proven each other wrong on those, so I’m not even sure what you are referring to. We actually agree more than you realize.


I’m confused, isn’t that sort what you said?


Sorry, you’re right. I was looking at post 98 which was Bend3r’s post. Your post was 99.
Disregard my analysis of post 98 as a reply to you.

Your post 99 is all about our standard of living in comparison to other countries. I realize now that is what you meant every time you brought up the phrase “standard of living.” You never actually meant our standard of living went down in absolute terms over time. On that we agree.

Just to be clear, in post 87, your very first post in this thread, you said, “A lot of data says the average american is worse off now then they were 40 years ago.” Forgive me if I read that post and then read you say in post 120 that, “Federal Reserve data for…standard of living…support the ‘economy sucks’ narrative,” and thought you were trying to say that our standard of living today is worse than our standard of living some time in the past. I realize now that isn’t what you meant. Your first post was just hyperbole.

Now that you see that we can actually have a real conversation about this, do you also see how silly it is to compare someone on the internet you think you disagree with (but in reality you two just misunderstood each other) to a holocaust denier?


In all fairness, I don’t think your character was attacked here. Don’t take it so personally.


I don’t take internet comments from someone I don’t know personally, even if it was meant as a personal attack. If I did, I would have quit using public forums long ago. But I will point out an ad hominem argumentative strategy when it is used against me. If you don’t see his argument as ad hominem, then we respectfully disagree.


@meed18 I meant that I didn’t see any attacks on your character in jcohen’s statements. I think that is just an incorrect accusation on your part. I do see both your, and jcohen’s, posts as becoming ad hominem without a single doubt in my mind. It’s a two-way street.

I was just trying to give third party perspective on jcohen’s response to you, where you accused him of attacking your character, and trying to put your mind at ease that I didn’t think that was the case at all. I think perhaps you began to take it personally, otherwise why would you have made such an accusation?

Regardless, that’s not what this thread is about. I apologize for derailing. I just wanted to hopefully lend a reassuring remark that it didn’t seem like your character was being attacked, and you shouldn’t view it as such, in hopes to help keep the conversation civil. Perhaps that was out of turn for me, and I apologize for that as well.


He was compared to a holocaust denier.

I think that would be considered ad hominem.