About the Book
Bypassed: GenX’s Vanishing American Dream
As a parallel to the economic rug being pulled out from under a small town in the wake of the development of an Interstate highway (or being sideswiped by a Covid Pandemic); Bypassed reveals the silent effects changes in the socio-economic environment have had on GenX as compared to the life of their parents, the Lucky Few.
Born 1961-1981, GenX has been finding it more difficult to experience upward social mobility than did their parents - the Lucky Few, a generational cohort born 1925-1945. While less numerous than the Baby Boomers and Millennials which they sit between, GenX is desperately struggling to keep their economic head above water as they take care of aging parents, work to get kids through college, and now….get slammed by Covid.
An experiential and analytical study of the differences in the environments that shaped them, Bypassed: GenX’s Vanishing American Dream exposes the harsh reality facing GenX - the first generation not benefiting from the American Dream.
In the wake of the breakdown of the gold standard in the 1970’s, long-term Secular Stagnation (which is a gradual decline of economic growth) set in. The economic life the Lucky Few experienced has vanished before GenX like a mirage on the horizon. Outside of economics, changes in cultural norms, the rise of socialism, and watering down of Christian morals (all in favor of secular ease) has dramatically changed the landscape.
Through data-based examples, research, personal and popular stories, Bypassed shows how the Lucky Few enjoyed a wonderful period of motherhood and American-pie. The Lucky Few were fortunate beneficiaries of the extremely positive Keynesian stimulated economic boom coming out of WWII. Their experience shaped their innately positive attitude with an internal belief system suggesting: “half of success in life is just showing up” – Woody Allen, born in the Lucky Cohort.
On the other hand, GenX has experienced slower moving economic tides, faster moving socio currents, and been bombarded with morally suspect values. Life is better now. There is less poverty and more stuff. That is clear. But, amid increasing competition and mounting economic stratification, the rising standards and changed socio-economic environment has washed particularly hard against GenX - making the rowing to economic prosperity far more difficult, overall and as compared to their Lucky Parents.
Some are experiencing fabulous wealth, yes! Some of the Lucky Few did not fare well. True. But, in general, on average, GenX is not seeing the happy ever-mounting economic prosperity they envisioned or what their Lucky Parents laid out for them as a virtual certitude. As it stands, neither they nor their Lucky Parents can seem to understand why GenXers can’t seem to “get their act together.”
Though having started with little and worked hard along the way, a rising tide lifted the boats of the Lucky Few through the glorious years from 1945 to 1975 – the prime of the Lucky earning years. A perpetual “bountiful harvest,” diligent efforts the Lucky Few put forward benefited from nearly 2.5 times greater growth in GDP during the prime of their life than what GenX has experienced so far. And now, enter Covid!
In many senses, the Lucky Few experienced the “Great America” which many from GenX now desire to re-create.
Bypassed: GenX’s Vanishing American Dream sheds some light on the tides which shaped GenX and compares that to the currents in which the Lucky Few swam. It offers a review of the “BRAVE Principals” which the Luck Few applied through life and which GenX might now apply in a mid-life adjustment as they seek to grab a hold of their economic future.
After setting out into life with an economics degree, Eric Nies found himself living in a “rental only” housing market - contrary to the ownership mentality with which he was raised. Soon, he realized economic prosperity was not reassured to GenX the way it was for prior generations.
He researched and found that seismic shifts in monetary policy invalidated the paths to socio-economic improvement that had played so well for the lower and middle class of the past generations. A good job, working hard, buying a house, and saving were not going to secure financial freedom the way it had in the past.
The American Dream is no longer inextricably linked to solid employment and stable appreciation in house value.