Strapped: Why America’s 20-And-30 Somethings Can’t Get Ahead Tamara Draut Strapped: Why America’s 20 and 30 Somethings can’t get Ahead. She is a part of generation X, which gives her firsthand experience about the subjects covered in the book. Her studies and writings focus on the growing economic insecurity, rising debt among citizens and declining opportunity that now characterize American society. The book consists of seven chapters. In which Draut focuses on young adults and the problems they face, once they enter the “real world. Chapter one: Higher and Higher Education, Draut gives several examples of how the cost of education has change over the generations from the baby boomers to generation X. Chapter two: Paycheck Paralysis, Draut says that generation Xers are living paycheck to paycheck. Many of those who are qualified for many jobs are not able to find work because they truly are not qualified. Chapter three: Generation Debt, the author explains the debt students occur during college. Chapter four: The high cost of putting a rough over your head, Draut explains that the high cost of college catches up with former students.
It is like a football pile up, the more loans the student has in college the less one will be able to afford in future life goals, such as owning a home and starting a family. Chapter five: And baby makes broke, the cost of growing a family, is becoming highly unlikely for generation Xers. She explains the high cost of childcare and having a child. Chapter six: Without a fight, Explaining Young Adults’ Political Retreat, Draut explains why young adults are not voting and why young adults are not as active in politics as their older counterparts.
Chapter seven: Changing Course: An Agenda for Reform, the author gives a detailed antidote to the problem of generation Xers. The governments “I don’t care attitude” towards young adults causes them to reject some of the politics, which causes them to lose their voice. Most of the generation Xers were taught self-reliance growing up. Draut calls the concept, self- responsibility. This idea makes accepting help from the government hard. “If this generation is more distrustful of government, then it would make sense that they wouldn’t view government as a way to solve their problem (pg. 183). Also, Generations, prior to generation X, were informed voters. They read and educated themselves on the issues of the day and politics. “The conventional wisdom about young adults is that we are uninformed. Unlike a lot of the insult and condescension heaped on us, this is one charged that is fully merited. We are derelict in keeping up with current events, government, and politics—we are a grossly uniformed sliver to the electorate. We are the” derelectorate,” It is an irony that our generation can especially appreciate: as the first adults to come of age in the information society, we are remarkably tuned out of the world around us. Generation X is simply not active in the process, they aren’t voting and they aren’t signing petitions, participating in debates or protest. In short, generation Xers aren’t exercising their first amendment rights. “The trends are undeniable: young people aren’t voting and they aren’t keeping up with news and current events. Thankfully, voting is the only one way of getting involved in our democracy, although I would argue it’s both the easiest and most important responsibility of citizenship…”
Student loans are killing Generation Xers; their parents could make it through college and have something to show it. Generation Xers do not have that opportunity, they are being choked” by debt from college. In the 1990s students who borrowed dramatically increased. Students are accepting student loans like wildfire in addition to financial aid. However she adds by saying“In the 1992-93 school year (the year I graduated from college), just over 49 percent of graduates from four-year states universities had taken out federal student loans.
By the end of the decade, nearly 65 percent of college grads had taken out such loans. ”(pg. 94) . She adds by concluding that supporting legislation makes it easy for students to drown deeper into debt, with loans and credit card. Even though some student work to pay for college the money they earn just is not enough. To survive they take out loan which the government makes them so easy to obtain She elaborates further by saying“the growth in student loan debt occurred after 1992, when congress established a new unsubsidized federal loan program open to all students, regardless of their income.
This legislation was triggered by the growing squeeze on the middle class, whose incomes had stagnated and weren’t keeping up with rising college cost. The new loan program allowed middle-and-upper income students to relieve some of their parents’ financial burden by taking some of their own. (pg. 95)”She also explains that credit companies are cashing on students and new growing family. The government has adopted a laissez-faire approach to these companies and has chosen not to regulate them. Because of this, students and families suffer. “ ..
Although our mailboxes get stuffed with offers for low rates like 5. 9 percent for one year, the credit card companies have gotten very creative in finding ways to raise that “teaser” rate once you’ve gotten the card. Thanks to the new “gotcha” tactics such as tripling the interest rate for a late payment of 29 to 24 percent—a rate of return that the old neighborhood loan sharks wouldn’t dare charge. And “late” means being merely one minute past 1 P. M. or 2 P. M. on the specified due date. If a payment arrives a minute late, the credit card company will also charge a late fee. (pg. 101)”
Paycheck Paralysis is affecting just about all of generation Xers. With each generation it becomes more difficult to be a successful adult. It is difficult to get a job and to keep one. The parents of generation Xers where prosperous. They easily afford college and get a job and support a family on a single paycheck. She writes“Much of the earnings made by today’s college graduates is earmarked for paying back student loans, exorbitant rents and expensive health-care coverage—expenses that were kept in check until the 1980s, and have grown faster than inflation, particularly in the 1990’s. pg. 79)” Similarly,The “American dream” is harder to achieve than it used to be. Unless one is a field that is growing, such a computer engineers and medical field jobs, it is quite hard for one to have a “rags to riches” experience + “The fastest growth versus those with the largest growth becomes clear when you look at the raw number of jobs. The fastest growing occupation between 2000 and 2010 will be for computer software engineers. The number of job openings is expected double, to 760,000.
The average salary of a computer engineer in 2003 was over $75,000. (pg. 88)” Also Draut explains that living paycheck to paycheck is normal. It does not matter if one has a college degree or not, financial insecurity is still inevitable for generation Xers. “Today’s paycheck paralysis makes it almost impossible for most young adults to get ahead. Dwindling salaries and rising cost mean less left-over money to put into savings, less contribute to a 401 K and less to put into their own kid’s college funds. ”(pg. 90)
As a student apart of the millennial generation, I believed we are “strapped just as well as the students in generation X. One can only conclude, that the way things are will only get worse before the get better. I am only 23, a mother and student, and have acquired a bit of debt from school and various other ventures such as providing a roof over my head, and getting married. As I get older I find paying for college is not as affordable as it was 6 years ago when I graduated from high school. This book really hit home for me because I identify with much, almost of the book.