A suggestive essay in demographics and political trends.

THE THEFT OF A DECADE

HOW THE BABY BOOMERS STOLE THE MILLENNIALS' ECONOMIC FUTURE

Of spendthrift elders and strapped youth, their respective lots accidents of birth mixed with a hefty dose of politics.

Born in 1982, Wall Street Journal editorial board member Sternberg immediately indicates his thesis in the subtitle: The economic habits of the baby boomer generation, born “between the end of World War II and the introduction of the birth control pill,” will weigh forever on later generations. In 2020, millennials will be more numerous than boomers, but boomers will nevertheless be a burden for decades to come, draining social welfare funds even as their younger counterparts struggle to foot the bill. For the last decade, writes the author, “the main entitlement trend has been that Millennials are losing the ability to pay for these benefits. The evaporation of a political willingness to pay won’t be far behind.” Numerous trends contribute to this situation, foremost the fact that many millennials are outside the normal job track, having come of age during the Great Recession and never having been able to catch up. Sternberg’s account opens with the rather frivolous example of the price of avocado toast, but it builds on more substantial turf, including the elusiveness of the dream of owning a home, finding a meaningful way to participate in the workforce, and saving money for future needs. As it is, he writes, millennials have been staying in school (and in their parents’ homes), at great cost not just to themselves, but to the larger economy. Sternberg’s argument is made without rancor, but parts of it seem misplaced: The chief enemies of the millennials would seem to be structural and predate the earlier birth cohort. However, he also makes the good point that people born into times of plenty behave economically differently from those born into times of want, with the result that members of the younger group "appear to be the most financially cautious generation since the cohort who grew up in the middle of the Great Depression.”

A suggestive essay in demographics and political trends.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5417-4236-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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