Generation Debt

Topics: Debt, Anya Kamenetz, Credit card Pages: 5 (1706 words) Published: February 23, 2010
Reviews of Generation Debt
Generation Debt argues that student loans, credit card debt, the changing job market, and fiscal irresponsibility imperil the future economic prospects of the current generation, which is the first American generation not to do better financially than their parents.[2] Some critics of Generation Debt have held that Kamenetz is not critical enough of her own perspective. A writer at Slate wrote, "it's not that the author misdiagnose[s] ills that affect our society. It's just that [she] lack[s] the perspective to add any great insight."[3] Other critics praise the book. A reviewer at Index Credit Cards wrote, "It is well-researched, well-reasoned, and interesting enough that I didn't feel like putting the book down despite the battering ram of depressing news it offers. While one book won't change the underlying causes that threaten young people's prosperity, Generation Debt may help older generations understand the young, and help the young realize they're not alone."[4]

About This Book
Twenty-four-year-old Anya Kamenetz started out as a journalist asking hard questions about her generation for which no one seemed to have good answers. Why were college students nationwide graduating with an average of more than $20,000 in student loans? Why were her friends thousands of dollars in credit-card debt? Why did so many jobs for people under 35 involve a plastic name badge, last only for the short-term, and not include benefits? With record deficits and threats to Social Security, what kind of future are young people facing? Kamenetz was one of the youngest columnists ever hired by The Village Voice, the New York City alternative newspaper where she earned a Pulitzer Prize nomination for her reporting on the new economics of being young. In Generation Debt, she talks to experts in economics, labor markets, the health-care industry, and education. Contrary to popular stereotypes, Kamenetz says, the reason young people are moving back in with their parents, aren’t landing career-path jobs and are taking longer to graduate from college and settle down isn’t a widespread generational laziness or some other pervasive psychological flaw. The reason, she argues, is “overwhelmingly economic.” In Generation Debt, she presents evidence that building a secure life, let alone surviving, is harder for young people today than it was for the same age group 30 years ago.

Review: Generation Debt: Why Now Is A Terrible Time To Be Young Things are tough all over, but Anya Kamenetz, author of Generation Debt, thinks they may be toughest for young people. So much so that Generation Debt carries the ominous subtitle "Why Now Is A Terrible Time To Be Young." In writing this book, Kamenetz understands that others may perceive her (or her generation) as children who whine "not fair" when things don't go their way. While she occasionally slips into this voice ("those of us between eighteen and thirty-five have somehow been cheated out of our inheritance" "it's not too dramatic to say that the nation is abandoning its children"), Kamenetz overcomes this perception by systematically detailing just how tough things are, and how her generation really could be worse off than that of its parents. Kamenetz discusses many problems facing young people, including the trend toward jobs without pensions or health care coverage, the use of temps and freelancers over full-time employees, rising government deficits and the potential for future cuts in Medicare and Social Security. Many of these issues cut across all age groups, however. Kamenetz is most convincing, and most compelling, when she outlines the problems unique to young people. One of their biggest problems is paying for college. While conventional wisdom says that a college degree is almost a requirement for substantial career prospects, skyrocketing tuitions are pricing potential students out of the market. Financial supports that have helped students in the past are...
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