“Basement Dwellers”

January 27, 2017

An audio recording appeared this past weekend of Hillary Clinton speaking with donors, back in February. This was at a time when she was battling Bernie Sanders to be the Democratic presidential nominee. This audio clip came from an email that was hacked and then appeared on a website that experts believe is controlled by Russian hackers.

In that clip Secretary Clinton says that many Millennials live in their parents’ basement. Maybe it was her tone that people didn’t like or maybe it was the fact that Millennials were overwhelmingly supporting Senator Sanders, but it seemed to have created a bit of a news story. Now, to be fair, Sanders said he agrees with her, and, hey, statistics show that about 1/3 of Millennials are in fact living at home. So what’s the deal?

The deal is we are in the middle of a presidential election and the Millennial vote is really, really important. Currently about 50% are supporting Clinton, 25% are supporting Trump and 25% are supporting Johnson. They all want this very important segment of the electorate and that’s why Trump jumped in and attacked, claiming Hillary disparaged Millennials by calling them “Basement Dwellers,” which she didn’t.

What I would have loved to hear is why each candidate believes that so many Millennials are living at home, and what policy can empower them to jump start their careers, incomes and lives. Millennials are larger, in numbers, than Generation X, and it is this group that will have to take care of the Baby Boomers, by paying taxes and building the economy. Without them, things get very tight and uncomfortable, both for GenX and for Baby Boomers alike. So yeah, take a bow Millennials, because you really are that important.

Wage stagnation, technology, Artificial intelligence, globalization and outsourcing are all contributing factors to the issues Millennials are facing and issues that need immediate attention. Millennials are not one uniform block. These men and women come from urban, suburban and rural areas across the nation. They are multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and of varying educational backgrounds, who care deeply about climate change and income equality.

“Millennials feel entitled to a great life without wanting to put in the work or effort.” I can’t assign this statement to any one person because it’s part of our culture now. It’s repeated often and, like most sayings, there is a kernel of truth in it. Having been born at the beginning of the internet and the first generation growing up online, it’s no wonder Millennials felt the world was theirs. It was literally at their finger tips. This American technology age, with its heart in Silicon Valley, would almost certainly benefit the young Americans that ate, breathed and slept all things tech. Here’s the thing though, being a consumer is very different than being a stake holder, and perhaps that is what stings so much.

In the next few articles we’ll be deep diving into the issues this group faces, what can be done and what can these “Basement Dwellers” step up, own their place in history and help the country grow. Stay tuned and hope you enjoy…

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