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Hillary, in High Curmudgeon:

As quoted in the New York Post — "Kids, for whatever reason, think they're entitled to go right to the top with $50,000 or $75,000 jobs when they have not done anything to earn their way up .... A lot of kids don't know what work is. They think work is a four-letter word.... We've got to send a different message to our young people. America didn't happen by accident. A lot of people worked really hard. They've got to do their part, too."

Kids these days! Why, when I was a kid — walk to school — snow, six feet deep — both ways — shoveled manure for the pennies that I could find in it — grumble grumble grumble — o tempora, o mores . . . .

(By the way, I agree with the sentiment starting with "America didn't," and for all I know she's right about kids' attitudes these days — I just thought it was funny.)

UPDATE: Commenter Riskable writes:

I'd just like to point out a simple fact that everyone else seems to have missed: One has only to point a finger at the preceding generation to find exactly who is to blame for "kids these days."

LG:
I was going to comment that I recall Chelsea getting a $100k gig at McKinsey, and then realized the Post story caught that. I think this is an even bigger indictment of Hillary's silliness than the "kids these days" theme highlighted by Prof. Volokh. Apparently only Stanford/Oxford-educated children of privilege have done anything to "earn their way up". By the way, I'm a Harvard grad, and my first job 8 years ago was "only" $40k... not that I'm bitter or anything...
5.12.2006 2:36pm
Rational Actor (mail):
Because hyperbole should largely be used for humor, I offer the following (from Monty Python's "Four Yorkshiremen" sketch):

"We used to have to get out of the lake at three o'clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of hot gravel, go to work at the mill every day for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would beat us around the head and neck with a broken bottle, if we were LUCKY!"

Frankly, today's kids are impoverished relative to those who graduated from school ten years ago, got options in dot-coms that traded to the moon and had the luck or foresight to sell their stock before their employers went bankrupt.
5.12.2006 2:40pm
Bill White (mail):
Not trying to be nitpicky...but what the heck is "high curmudgeon"? Should be high dudgeon, no? Or perhaps there is some semiotic cleverness that I am missing...
5.12.2006 2:43pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Kids these days: Products of a welfare state attitude and the perpetual victimhood policies of Hillary and the lefties. Products of government schools indoctrinating all who will listen into the politics of greed, envy, and entitlement programs. Products of several generations sacrificed on the alter of social experimentation.

Its amazing we turn out as many good kids as we do.

My first job was mowing grass at a local cemetery for 0.75 cents per hour (with a gas powered push mower). I'm since gotten all the way up to a $1.50 per hour since college.

Says the "Dog"
5.12.2006 2:48pm
Jeek:
My first job was mowing grass at a local cemetery for 0.75 cents per hour

That sounds like a Job Americans Won't Do...
5.12.2006 2:50pm
Splunge (mail):
Kids those days, too, apparently.
5.12.2006 2:51pm
logicnazi (mail) (www):
I just don't understand these sort of sentiments. Isn't the entire point of improving society and making progress to make life easier to people. Isn't the reason we want economic growth and government efficency so that people can having rewarding lives with less struggle?

I mean of course no one wants spoiled brats running around but the idea that all kids who end up getting 50-100k straight from college are spoiled is absurd (well at least any more spoiled than americans in general are spoiled). Just because one isn't doing physical labor doesn't mean one isn't investing energy and effort in studying or some other activity.

This entire line of thought disgusts me. Where are the people complaining that the current generation is spolied because they grew up with indoor plumbing and didn't have to do manual labor in the fields? This sort of whining is always relative to the generation doing the whining and it seems to me nothing but sublimated jealousy. I mean if you had to work when you were a kid it makes one feel better to transform this into a virtue rather than being jealous of the next generation who has it better (in some ways) than you did. You can see the same thing in attitudes toward sex, people see the next generation having more sex than they did (exagerated of course) and would rather transform their lack of opportunity into a virtue than admit they missed out on something.

I used to like Hillary but slowly I am getting more and more annoyed with her as she adopts stupid sentiments in an attempt to move right.
5.12.2006 2:52pm
JosephSlater (mail):
And people here talk about "Bush Derangement Syndrome." Good lord, Hillary drives some folks nuts, doesn't she?
5.12.2006 2:53pm
Rational Actor (mail):
Actually, kids who learned their lessons from Hillary would be playing the commodities market, n'est ce pas?
5.12.2006 2:53pm
Hoosier:
Rational--

You beat me to it!

Great minds . . .
5.12.2006 2:58pm
Chris S (www):
Why do I think that Hillary thinks this sense of entitlement should be solved by providing more entitlements to youth? More free health-care, higher wages regardless of skills, guaranteed raises, on and on and on.

At the very least her sentiment seems disingenuous.
5.12.2006 3:02pm
JohnAnnArbor:
My first year of college was in 1990. All the dorm cafeteria jobs were taken within days of the first move-in day.

Several years later, I noticed that the notices posted near dorm cafeterias for student jobs stayed up the entire year. One student a few years below me said she was short of cash, but when I pointed out the cafeteria was hiring, she was disdainful; she wouldn't lower herself to work in food service.

Some sort of generational break happened there. Was it that the early 1990s were the first time children of baby boomers saturated the undergraduate population?
5.12.2006 3:07pm
Uh huh:
Bill White:

I think you're right, it should be "high dudgeon" -- EV made a mistake. Unless, he's referring to "Lord High Crumudgeon" (gets a single hit on Google).
5.12.2006 3:09pm
M. Python:
Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid, work twenty-nine hours a day down mill, and pay mill owner for permission to come to work, and when we got home, our Dad and our mother would kill us and dance about on our graves singing Hallelujah. And you try and tell the young people of today that ..... they won't believe you.
5.12.2006 3:09pm
Rational Actor (mail):
Chris S - I don't know, why do you think that is what Hillary thinks? For starters, "free health care" ain't such a big deal for the young, other than the chronically ill - they don't use much of it. Free (or lower cost) health care is an issue for the elderly.
I am sure she supports a minimum wage, but I have not seen her call for higher wages regardless of skills and guaranteed wages and so on and so on.
5.12.2006 3:10pm
PersonFromPorlock:
Should be high dudgeon, no?

No,no,no; "High Dudgeon" is the name of my retirement home.
5.12.2006 3:11pm
Shangui (mail):
Why do I think that Hillary thinks this sense of entitlement should be solved by providing more entitlements to youth? More free health-care, higher wages regardless of skills, guaranteed raises, on and on and on.

I don't particularly like her and would never vote for her, but clearly the type of people HC would want to get gov't benefits are not the type of people who think they are "going right to the top." She's complaining about middle or upper-middle class college grads, not people on welfare. My personal experience with the type of kids she's talking about here is that they BOTH expect to do well quickly AND work hard. There is a sense of entitlement but most can't actually get jobs paying 70K right out of college without ability and work. And let's not forget that even if HC herself came from at least some money, her husband, for all his many faults, is a truly self-made man. Would EV have written this column if Bush had said these same words? Probably not.
5.12.2006 3:15pm
Eh Nonymous (mail) (www):
"Should be" high dudgeon? Doesn't anyone read, as EV writes, with a hint of levity in their soul? High dudgeon is the expression. Curmudgeon is a word that comes to mind. The post title was a felicitous fusion. Also, assume it's not a mistake unless it looks like a typo. Assume it's artistic.

In other words, get a sense of humor!
5.12.2006 3:17pm
agog:
Rational: What type of commodities did Clinton trade?
5.12.2006 3:20pm
DJ (mail):
Not a very attractive personality, this Hillary.
5.12.2006 3:22pm
Rational Actor (mail):
Cattle futures
5.12.2006 3:27pm
Hemingway:
If those kids were'nt getting $50-75k right out of college, how would they ever pay enough taxes to finance HillaryCare?
5.12.2006 3:29pm
That's it:
Eh,
Yup, that's it. EV could've put some quotations around "curmudgeon" for those of us who are without a "hint of levity" in our soles, though.

(wink wink!)
5.12.2006 3:31pm
TallDave (mail) (www):
Kids, for whatever reason, think they're entitled to go right to the top with $50,000 or $75,000 jobs

That is totally inaccurate. I demanded $77,000 when I graduated. And now I'm commenting here instead of working.

Anyway, the whole point of America is to eliminate work. That's we invent labor-saving devices.

God I love this country.
5.12.2006 3:33pm
Rational Actor (mail):
Actually, as another aside, why does Hillary bring up the fact that kids think "work" is a four-letter word -- isn't it? Isn't this an indication that NCLB is working?
5.12.2006 3:37pm
Fishbane (mail):
Amusing. But keep in mind that there's a difference between expectation and desire. It is good to want to make a lot of money. It is bad to expect it.

$75k isn't that much, for a smart person, by mid-twenties, assuming one is optimizing for wealth. I was well above that when I was 27. I've since discovered that money isn't everything, and make less now. I'm also capable of having a relationship now, which is well worth the opportunity cost.

Desire vs. sense of entitlement. Gee, I wonder where Hillary v. Dubya would fall on that scale? Nothing flattering to anyone, I'm sure.
5.12.2006 3:41pm
Nick (www):
Actually... some kids, if they demanded $77,000, are short changing themselves a lot. Look at what 1st round draft picks in the NBA or NFL can demand.
5.12.2006 3:47pm
RandomUCLASudent:
I don't think what she is saying is that funny. When I look around at my peers, many of them are willing to work hard, but they are also obsessed with the idea that they are entitled to amazing jobs with stratospheric pay. And they are disappointed when they fall short of those goals.

Many of them also think hard work means longer PowerPoint presentations.

On the other hand, I think the Baby Boomers are generally an extremely greedy group who have transformed CEO and partner pay into the pay of Kings and Queens, and now they are working their children like slaves (eg, 1st yr accounting -- 45k/yr, 55+ hr/week) to keep the payout coming.

But then, maybe this is no different than the relationship between previous generations?

I wouldn't know.
5.12.2006 3:53pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Eh Nonymous: Very glad someone got it! Not that it's always a good bet to "assume that it's artistic" when it comes to my posts, but this time I was indeed deliberately going for the very fusion that you observed.
5.12.2006 3:56pm
Cheburashka (mail):
It just shows you how out of touch she is with the country that she thinks $50,000 is a lot of money. This is why she keeps trying to raise my taxes - she mistakenly believes that I'm rich.
5.12.2006 3:58pm
Houston Lawyer:
I started my first job, at my dad's direction, the day after I finished the 8th grade. It was at the full service gas station that I learned, among other things, how to cuss properly.

These days it is difficult to find teenage babysitters in my former subdivision. The kids' allowances are so high they have no perceived need to work.

The real issue here is that we, as a nation, are so much wealthier than we were just a generation before. Parents can afford to provide so much more to their children.
5.12.2006 4:05pm
Rational Actor (mail):
Cheburashka -
Most politicians are relatively out of touch with the issues facing their constituents. What are the big issues facing most Americans?

Health care - taken care of for our elected reps
Gas prices - taken care of for our elected reps
Competition from [undocumented][illegal] immigrants -
none running for office in my district
National security - dunno - are those black SUVs bulletproof?

As it relates to tax policy, no one wants to have their taxes raised. Unfortunately, the situation right now is one of deferral, and the ones whose taxes are being implicitly raised are those who have no vote -- our children.

Se
5.12.2006 4:19pm
NYU 1L:
Wait a second...people are expected to pay $40K/year on college, a total of $160K over 4 years, and then work at crap wages? Why spend $160K on college if you're not going to get a better paying job out of it? And, for the gratuitous Hillary-specific jab, doesn't she know something about trying to increase the probability of successful investments? Given the actual job market, an undergrad education (in liberal arts) is a very poor short term investment, but it's pretty good in the long term. This is in contrast to law school, which is a great short and long term investment if you're at a good enough school.

Now, if she's referring to mere high school graduates who expect high paying jobs their first year after graduation, she's right. But I haven't heard about too many high school graduates who expect jobs paying $50K-$75K.
5.12.2006 4:47pm
DustyR (mail) (www):
Instant gratification is a learned behavior. And who taught them that?

If Hillary wants to complain about the effects of cable tv, Internet, cell phones, iPods (and I'll add the ubiquitous ATM cards) on child/teen attitudinal development she may be talking to the right crowd but, as is usual, she's got the wrong target in her sights. On that score, however, it is a rare day when you see a politician actually criticize his audience ala Bill Cosby; I love to see her give the same spiel at the next high school event she schedules.

But if the kids actually paid/contributed to the cost of all those instant gratification vehicles themselves (and fund the accounts the ATM cards are attached to), then who is she to criticize?

All in all, whether her intention is to veer right or left, Hillary can't seem to shake wanting to run other people's lives for them.
5.12.2006 4:52pm
Dan Palmer:
I work in banking in a position where I manage a group of individuals made up primarily of recent college grads (1-4 years).

Over the past 5 years that I have been doing this type of job I have had a very positive experience with the young people that have worked for me.

They are more concerned with a balanced work/personal life then I remember being at their age (I am 41)and so they generally avoid working late hours, but they want to do a good job and care about the quality of their work and, when necessary, will stay late and/or come in early.

As far as salary goes, $50,000 sounds like a lot when I consider that I made about $17,000 when I graduated in 1987. But it costs a lot to live in a major city like Chicago. Almost all of the people that work for me have at least one roommate. Many of them have substantial student loans to pay for.

The fact is it's not that they feel entitled to $50,000 per year, it's that they need it to support themselves in a world of $3+ gas, $800+ 1-bedroom apartments, and $4 beers. If you live in New York or San Franciso it's even worse.
5.12.2006 5:05pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
I'm amazed that no one has commented on Sen. Clinton's "[T]hey think 'work' is a four-letter word." I was brought up to believe so, and evidently so was her editor. How exactly was she spelling it?
5.12.2006 5:12pm
Blue:
"Wait a second...people are expected to pay $40K/year on college, a total of $160K over 4 years, and then work at crap wages? Why spend $160K on college if you're not going to get a better paying job out of it? And, for the gratuitous Hillary-specific jab, doesn't she know something about trying to increase the probability of successful investments? Given the actual job market, an undergrad education (in liberal arts) is a very poor short term investment, but it's pretty good in the long term. This is in contrast to law school, which is a great short and long term investment if you're at a good enough school.

"Now, if she's referring to mere high school graduates who expect high paying jobs their first year after graduation, she's right. But I haven't heard about too many high school graduates who expect jobs paying $50K-$75K."

WHOA there, Nelly! Do you have any idea how few college students pay $40K a year for four years? Pretty darn few, that's how many. The vast majority of folks go to a modest school at a modest price.

You trustifarians and your expensive private universities are in no way illustrative of the general higher education experience of Americans.
5.12.2006 5:12pm
Rational Actor (mail):
Michelle - At 2:37pm some schmuck made that point.
5.12.2006 5:20pm
Jim Rhoads (mail):
Kids, what's the matter with kids today! Sounds like a good title for a song. I bet Paul Lynde would have sung it well. With Ann-Margret looking on.

Oh, it's been done
5.12.2006 5:28pm
Raw_Data (mail):
I walked through snow TEN feet deep.
5.12.2006 5:32pm
Oris (mail) (www):
I'm with NYU 1L. I'm currently paying for my six-figure education. Funny, now that I've graduated, the banks have this crazy notion that I ought to be able to pay them back. But quite apart from it being entirely reasonable to expect to make enough money to both keep up with student loan payments and eat, it's quite the assumption to claim that college graduates don't know anything about work. Sure, plenty of people coast through their college years and then wonder why they don't have good jobs waiting for them, but just as many, if not more, worked hard in college and are wondering why they don't have good jobs waiting for them. A bachelor or a graduate degree represents a certain amount of work, and it's very disillusioning to find out that that's not enough. The whole point of going to college, and putting our earnings on hold for several years, barely scraping by or going into debt, is to increase our future earning potential. Not to mention the wild promises that college recruiters make regarding placement rates. So yeah, I think I'm entitled. Because I've earned it.
5.12.2006 5:46pm
Volvodriver (mail):
Who'd have thought we'd all be sitting here drinking Chateau Neuf du Pape?
5.12.2006 5:52pm
Stryker:
Ahhh Hillary. She hs been around by whole political life.... (I was 11 in '92).
As for expectations, the average graduate in my field was making 48k when I started school. Being better than average in H.S, of course I expected to be making 50-75k a year. Especially when people I know WERE making those sums on graduation. Expectations are not made in a vacuum. The real problem is the Laise Faire attitude (SP?)I've seen is in those who CHOOSE not to go to college.
5.12.2006 5:55pm
DK:
This really just sounds like a justification for taxes, right? No one earning 75K out of college could possibly deserve it, and therefore we should raise their taxes. Rubbish.

I went to an ivy league school in the early 90's, and the ONLY people getting 50-75K out of college were the ones who had worked hard all their lives to excel in school, AND had chosen the 70-100 hours/week jobs. Salaries were not being handed out like candy. Plus, most of the people with the $50K + salaries were living in expensive cities. I had a salary in that range and I had difficulty affording life in NYC; I improved my standard of living dramatically by going back to grad school with a $15K/yr stipend in a cheaper city.

I understand salaries have gotten higher, but, IMHO, today's college graduates in major cities are going to have a much harder time and longer delays in buying their first houses than was true 10,20, or 30 years ago.
5.12.2006 5:59pm
Dave L (mail) (www):
In any case it seems like a problem with a built in solution. If 'kids' don't merit that kind of pay they won't get it and will have to change their expectations. Not to mention your performance in college and what kind of degree you earn can probably make a big difference in your earnings.
5.12.2006 6:07pm
Michelle Dulak Thomson (mail):
Rational Actor,

Oops! My apologies; priority ceded ;-)
5.12.2006 6:10pm
Confused:
My reaction is mixed (and is based on a fairly narrow, top-college swath, to whom I think Hillary's comment was addressed regardless). On the one hand, she's absolutely right that most top college graduates are expecting to make more than $40k a year and are disappointed when that doesn't happen. Likely as a result of the dotcom boom, my generation had perhaps unreasonably high salary expectations. (I distinctly recall telling my then girlfriend, now wife, that it would be easy to get a $70k a year job if one wanted it after graduation.) A lot of that is driven by the sense that we've already worked very hard -- particularly to get into college, but also to perform well at college -- although I'll concede that college isn't particularly much work. There's a sense of entitlement, I suppose, that having done well in school, one ought to do well in the job market. Given that essentially unskilled jobs (or jobs that require no formal education) pay respectably, especially when unionized, I think there's an expectation that with a fancy college degree, one should be paid significantly more than those positions.

As other posters note, that may be in part because said degree costs, in tuition and lost opportunity, in the $200k range.

Among those I know from high school (particuarly those who came from affluent backgrounds), there's often a sense of disappointment at the prospects available upon graduation, and a surprisingly high percentage take sales jobs (insurance, mortgage, real estate particularly) because of the (usually false) promise of quick riches. When that fails, they often become disillusioned. Those who have family wealth to fall back on often stop working entirely. I have no idea what will ultimately become of them (many end up applying to law school).

So I think she's right that something's going on with the psyche of much of America's "elite" youth. But I don't think it's aversion to *work* per se. After all, my generation is putting in extraordinary hours in a variety of capacities (from getting into college to working at firms), and by and large I don't think we work less than prior generations did. (Although, watching Survivor, it often seems that young people don't want to work at all.) I think it's more a despair that sets in when our high expectations are proved false and we've got few interesting options.

I suspect that a big part of this is the increasing gap between what is taught in college and what is sought in the workplace. Science / engineering and econ types fared quite well. But those who buy into the notion that we should be seeking a liberal arts education find employment harder to secure. The law remains perhaps the best avenue (and I've done more than well for myself there), and I suspect that that may explain some of the unhappiness among lawyers as well: many wind up at law school because it's the only way to do well for oneself with a degree in the humanities.

Ah well.
5.12.2006 6:10pm
Rational Actor (mail):
One point that I, personally, find troubling (and others may not) is the perception amongst large swaths of society that we can all "get rich quick." In my neck of the woods, people have made vast sums by speculating on real estate, rather than "hard work". There is an increased obsession (or fascination) with gambling. And, the amount of risk people are taking in the financial markets, based on what I see on a daily basis, is crazy.

That, combined with the realization that many knowledge and intelligence-based jobs can be provided by lower-cost workers overseas, helps to erode the motivation of highly educated workers. The industry I work in (financial services) is increasingly outsourcing "entry level" jobs to India; a number of lawyers I know tell me that their firms are also outsourcing many functions to providers in India.

I am not decrying this trend, nor suggesting that it can or should be reversed, but I think that it is somewhat demoralizing for people who have busted their ass for 17 years of school to graduate and find a crappy, dull job market when they see people who have rolled the dice and made out like bandits.... Of course, you never see the ones who rolled the dice and came up craps.
5.12.2006 6:56pm
Dan Simon (www):
To paraphrase Larry Miller: Could it be that our grandchildren will be even lazier than us? Will we be telling them, "you know, when we were kids, we didn't have these 'jet packs'--no, we drove to school...."?
5.12.2006 7:14pm
SLS 1L:
You forgot to mention "uphill both ways."
5.12.2006 7:39pm
Riskable (mail) (www):
I'd just like to point out a simple fact that everyone else seems to have missed:

One has only to point a finger at the preceding generation to find exactly who is to blame for "kids these days".

-Riskable
http://riskable.com
"I have a license to kill -9"
5.12.2006 7:56pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
One wonders if she had Dire Straits playing in the background. Or perhaps Strouse and Adams.
5.12.2006 8:21pm
SLS 1L:
NYU 1L: 40k/year is not "crap wages." It's not that far below the median household income, and many households include two earners. That's pretty good for an entry-level position. And keep in mind that these $40k jobs are going to be feeders to better-paying or otherwise more desirable positions. Someone making $40k without a college degree probably is in a job that doesn't have that potential for advancement.

The bubble commenters on this blog live in amazes me. In posts about judicial salaries we are regularly told that $170k is not enough to support a family. Now $40k is "crap."
5.12.2006 8:32pm
SLS 1L:
Never mind; I don't know where I got the $40k figure from. Somehow I took the tuition number and turned it into an entry-level salary NYU 1L was commenting on.

Brain farts are strange things.
5.12.2006 8:38pm
Kevin L. Connors (mail) (www):
Oh - Brain farts! At first, I thought it was Brian farts. And I was going to ask if that had something to do with Family Guy.

Nevermind.
5.12.2006 9:32pm
Riskable (mail) (www):
Wow, seeing myself quoted on the front page--I wrote... Wisdom? I'm torn whether I should expect a high-paying job from this or if I should continue to work hard at writing short, witty comments for nothing.

-Riskable (Age 28)
http://riskable.com
"I have a license to kill -9"
5.12.2006 10:24pm
Ascetic (Acc-hhemmm):
"The whole point of going to college, and putting our earnings on hold for several years, barely scraping by or going into debt, is to increase our future earning potential."

Has anyone else noticed that this sort of sentiment seems prevalent, both in this thread an in the world at large? Excuse a starry-eyed student for thinking there might be more to this whole eduction thing than 'future earning potential'.
5.12.2006 11:00pm
Riskable (mail) (www):
Ascetic wrote, "Excuse a starry-eyed student for thinking there might be more to this whole eduction thing than 'future earning potential'."

When employers require a degree for thoughtless jobs, thoughtless people will seek degrees. This creates a market for thoughtless collegiate programs and forces the thoughtful colleges to adapt to the growing desire for thoughtless degrees. Thoughtless people who already swirled down this brain drain will then try to justify their expenditure by saying things like, "it increases your future earnings potential" so the next round of young victims can enter the system and subsidize their health care plans.

An education is what you make of it, but college graduates would have you believe that an education is what makes you.

-Riskable
http://riskable.com
"I have a license to kill -9"
5.12.2006 11:58pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
When I was a child, we were so poor we couldn't even pay attention.
5.13.2006 9:49am
Mr L (mail):
An education is what you make of it, but college graduates would have you believe that an education is what makes you.

Sadly, often these days it does. Most of the entry-level positions I've looked at require specific technical skills or knowledge of some arcane processes which, while not difficult to acquire (often in less than a day), cannot be 'proven' without a degree, some expensive certification, or previous experience.
5.13.2006 1:33pm