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Contemporary Youth and the Postmodern Adventure - page 15 / 16





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spent 11 times more on each senior citizen than it did on each child under 18 and warned of generational warfare if the budget deficit and high tax burdens on the young are not dealt with; in Swing (September 1996): 53f. Obviously, as we note here, the Bush administration is created staggering deficits that will constitute a daunting challenge to future generations.

7 Elizabeth Bumiller, “Bush’s $2.2 Trillion Budget Proposes Record Deficits,” New York Times (February 4, 2003). Although the U.S. economy has gone into decline since the 1970s, this skid has hit the young generation the hardest, and they remain the poorest and most exploited. According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, only 0.3 million Americans over age 65 lacked health insurance in 1990, while 14.8 million between ages 18 to 34 did, as did 8.4 million under age 18 (Howe and Strauss 1993: 108). As Nelson and Cowan warn, "unless America dramatically shifts our budget priorities over the next 10 to 15 years to create new policies that are fair to all generations, we will confront an unprecedented battle between the baby boomers and everyone born after 1960" (1994: 58). The U.S. Bureau of the Census found that childhood poverty rates rose from 15 percent in 1970 to over 20 percent in 1990, as poverty rates for the elderly plummeted from 25 percent to 12 percent during the same period (Howe and Strauss 1993: 35). In the United States today, more than one out of every five people under the age of 18 lives in poverty, a number a Tufts University study predicts will rise to more than one out of four by 2021 (Nelson and Cowan 1994: 40). The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 1960, only 20 percent of mothers with children under the age of 6 worked, a number that tripled by 1990. For mothers with children ages 6-17, these numbers rose from 43 to 76 percent during the same years (Howe and Strauss 1993: 58). Children born in 1968 faced three times the risk of parental break-up as children born in 1948 and fewer than half of busters reach their mid teens with two once-married biological parents (ibid.: 59, 61). Other relevant statistics can be found in Howe and Strauss 1993; Nelson and Cowan 1994; Holtz 1995; and Giroux 2003a and 2003b who traces out the growing impoverishment of youth and expanding class divisions in the Bush administration.

8 See the statistics on these issues in Howe and Strauss, 1993; Holtz, 1995, Hammer, 2002, and Giroux, 2003a.

9 By the age of five, boomers had seen little or no TV, compared to the 5,000 hours of viewing by their post-boomer children (Howe and Strauss 1993). According to some statistics, "the average 14 year old watches on average three hours of television a day, and does one hour of homework" (Howe and Strauss 1993). Data on time spent by teenagers on TV is available Robinson, 1992; Robinson and Godbey, 1997; Robinson, Kestnbaum, Neustadtl, and Alvarez, 2000; Larson, and Verma, 1999; and Larson, Richards, et al.,

2001. On youth Internet use, see Fox, and Rainie, 2001 and Jones, 2000. For a variety of studies of contemporary youth culture, see the works collected in Epstein, 1998. 10

11See Jones, 2002 and Kahn and Kellner, forthcoming. Some good sites that exhibit youth voices, participation, and response include http://www.moveon.org; http://www. raisethefist.com;


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