Making Less Money Than Your Dad Did

A new study finds that men in the 30s are making less than their fathers did. Since this age group is somewhat representative of what the generation is likely to earn for the rest of their lives. While the reasons for this have not been determined at this point, they will be studied later.

Using past Census Bureau data and adjusting for inflation, the study found that men in their 30s in 2004 had a median income of about $35,000 per year while the same age group in 1974 had an income of $40,000 per year. This is a 12% drop in income for the newer generation.

Since one of the pillars of “the American Dream” is the thought that kids will be better off than their parents, this assu


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4 Responses to Making Less Money Than Your Dad Did

  1. Alfred says:

    Lots of reasons for this.
    – Some parents/groups not stressing education.
    – Bad results for money spent in public education. More competition would help.
    – Overall burden of nonproductive spending on war, pork barrel projects, and goverment spending.
    – Extra costs in private sector on things like security and meeting government regulations (Granted business brings many of this on themselves by bad behavior.).
    – Illegal and legal immigration putting pressure on low-skilled workers.
    – H1-B visas putting pressure on high-skilled workers.
    – Companies concentrating on costs and neglecting training thus favoring cheap overseas labor over other concerns such as theft, privacy, and long-term viability.
    – Debasement of dollar and manipulation of economy by Fed and government by credit-based economy, government spending, and sweetheart deals rather than sound monetary and fiscal policies.
    – We are in a more global economy and more countries and companies can compete.
    – Decline of labor unions. Growth in power of upper management. Loss of power of grunts.
    – More women in work force means more competition against men.
    – Out-of-control tort system where people view lawsuits as lotto tickets.
    – Parents have voted many benefits for themselves which kids have to pay. Bluntly it’s intergenerational theft.

  2. Joey says:

    Alfred…I think you listed just about all of it, right on.

    I can’t say I happen to be one of them. My father had a second grade education before his parents took him out of school. He made $23k at 30, he is making $42k at 59. At 25 I was making $30k. At 32 I was at $80k for just the 9-5 job, not including side work. But I look at all of my brothers and sisters, they are ALL making well under $30k a year.

    For my family, I know what the problem was; ZERO focus on education after high school. All my parents ever cared about was making sure we got our high school diploma. After that, who cares.

    In our case, its easy to point at my folks and know what went wrong. But I see so many friends in this exact scenario. Not even adjusting for inflation!

  3. Alfred says:

    Good for you Joey! What’s your career? Here’s a few more points.

    – Many seem more interested in pop culture and athletics than more academic pursuits such as reading and studying.
    – There’s a greater lack of respect for science and a higher belief in faith and pseudoscience in U.S. vs. many other countries. Witness attacks on teaching subjects such as biology, evolution, and sex education and 3 Republican presidential candidates not believing in evolution.
    – National book buying decisions often rely on few big states such as California and Texas, so many school systems get watered-down censored books when these leading states buckle to pressure from special interests.
    – Adults have shortchanged students by expecting less than students can do.
    – Political correctness, prejudice, and ignorance cause stupidity like banning/censoring books and forcing libraries to stop patron internet surfing.
    – U.S. is very parochial because of its economic size and being between two oceans. We know much less of world’s peoples, cultures, and opinions than other countries.
    – Too many revel in being ignorant in areas such as literacy, general knowledge, and geography. This isn’t just embarassing it has economic repercussions.

  4. Harm says:

    My Dad had a very good job as
    a university professor, and though
    I’m not a slacker, I’m simply not
    as academically ambitious as he
    was. I’m ok with making a bit less
    than he did, and understand the
    reasons….one BIG reason I’ll be
    “poorer” than he was (in our
    respective later years) is that I
    have to put more resources towards
    providing for my retirement health
    care….and retirement, for that
    matter. I’ve chosen a different
    path than he did, and recognize that
    the benefits will be a bit less.

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