PhillyInc: Happy ending for 'GenHexed'?

 At long last: the happy ending for Generation Hexed.

As our super-mini mini-series concludes, we send you not to Hulu for a rehash, but to http://go.philly.com/crash, where smart comes fast.

Bottom line: If you’re in your 30s or early 40s, you’ve got problems. Money problems, pension problems, housing problems — a trifecta of trouble. In some ways, you’re worse off than dad. (But, we hope, you’ve got lots of love.)

How to solve this jam? Step One is identify the group (Gen Xers) and the problem (getting stiffed). Next comes why.

As Xers bounced into delivery rooms in the late 1960s and 1970s, the economy cooled. Manufacturing jobs went overseas, unions shrank, worker productivity rose, and wages did not keep pace.

Income diminished for most everyone but the wealthy, who became even richer. Gen Xers hit their prime earning years as the economy slowed again. Their fortunes are slipping.

Particularly troubling: Xers born to middle-income African American families in the 1970s have a 45 percent chance of falling out of the middle class, said John E. Morton of the Pew Charitable Trusts, which did a 2007 study on this. Given that Social Security may need to be rescued for Baby Boomers by younger workers, Xers would do well to start speaking up.

But wait, what’s this I see on my desk? A Congressional Research Service report. It says the average age of members of Congress is 57, among the oldest of any in U.S. history. (Boomers. They’re everywhere.)

Way over in Munich, an editorial in a leading German newspaper griped about legislative myopia toward policies affecting younger citizens. Marc Widmann complained in September that the reigning political parties there had done little to address issues affecting voters like him. Things like debt and health care.

The title of his piece: “The Coalition of the Old.”

For every Xer in the United States, there are four Baby Boomers and their kids. Perhaps the 45 million Xers should cozy up with the 88 million Boomer kids to form Coalition Up-a-Creek.

Until then, let’s put that happy ending on hold.



Mike Armstrong is away. Contact Maria Panaritis at 215-854-2431 or mpanaritis@phillynews.com

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