Here's my theory:
1) Republican/conservative policy makes aid, basic life stuff harder to get through legislation. Talkin' healthcare, tuition grants, all of it. Thriving becomes more difficult, requires a lot more improvisation and the ability to adapt.
2) Socially/financially successful parents of both camps, when faced with the clusterfuck created for their children, "help" them because holy shit things have gotten complicated to navigate.
3) "helped" children inherit a world where their parents do too much for them, in which the solution to any problem is "ask your parents".
It's no one's fault. Theoretically you should be able to look up whatever you need on Youtube but the more you do that, the more you discover that Youtube is a place that buries the first 30 seconds in flashy graphics to make you think you're not going to waste your time so that they get credit for the pageview and beyond that, nothing fucking matters. The #1 video on Youtube when you look up how to use a Grobet casting machine is one that may kill you with an explosion of hot metal, will clog your pipes with cement and shows you how to get a ruined casting anyway but the algorithm doesn't care. We won't even talk about cooking, baking, tying your fucking shoes, you name it.
But what you get is young people utterly incapable of improvising or learning and the parents trying to shelter them. We've been trying to hire for an entry-level reception position for like six weeks now. We ask for a cover letter. We've gotten two. But then Indeed gives you your own magic phone number that rings through to your cell (which you never answer because your friends know not to call you), tries to leave a voicemail in an inbox that is full (because you never answer it so it's full of spam and you don't know how to clear it anyway), sends you emails that you don't know how to respond to because you can't get gmail working on your iphone, and gives you notifications that you turn off because everything gives you notifications so you're just constantly awash in shit. Meanwhile you've learned from social media that the way you respond to something you don't like is to ignore it and because kids are used to ignoring each other you get upset when you un-ignore an adult after six weeks and somehow they don't want to hire you anymore! WTF!
Most promising candidate we've interviewed lately? Yeah, abundantly clear we were talking to her mom. Right up to the job interview. Cover letter was great, email responses were great, actual human interacting with actual humans was a deer in the goddamn headlight who let the silence over "what's something you've done in your past that required multitasking" stretch for 45 seconds (we timed it).
But I mean, the world is burning and adults aren't doing shit. You spend your life in halls telling you how to maybe survive an active shooter and adults aren't doing shit. You couldn't afford a car if you wanted one and none of your friends would be allowed to drive with you anyway. The news is telling you COVID is killing everyone and they get you vaccines dead last but that's okay because your parents' Facebook feeds have told them it's all useless anyway, and for the past two years of your life you've sat in your room watching everyone else sit in their room while you all pretend to learn about Vasco de Gama or some shit.
One of our interview questions has long been "we understand this is an entry level position and you've got a brighter future ahead of you than this - where do you see yourself after this job and what could we do to help you get there?" Early on, that got us bright young things who could improvise and solve problems. Now? Now those bright young things are not working. They don't have to. They're side-hustling out of their parents' houses and reaping undeclared income. The ones applying for work are the ones who look at you stunned and go "uhhh, no man, this is it. This is my future. Please pay me."
When we first hunkered down in 2020 I knew we were witnessing the death of the middle class. I mourned it. I actually cried. Because the future belongs to the ones who can figure out their own solutions to any problem that is thrown at them because holy shit y'all it's now easier to win Fortnite than it is to fucking vote in some places.
Three of the people we hired after "what could we do to help you get there" own their own businesses now. They call to consult about hard stuff. We miss them but they're where they need to be, not answering our phones and dealing with our shitty patients. The people we're interviewing now can't even grasp a future beyond "I show up and you pay me." Can you imagine? Can you imagine going through life where "adulting" is a stretch goal? Where there is no future in which the apron strings are ever cut, because you will sink into the sea without their tether? How fucking depressed would you be?
And I mean, even the ones who have it good don't have it good. My daughter's got a friend. She's nine. She just had her first friend over (my daughter) last week. She is incapable of peeling a banana, let alone cooking. She eats chicken nuggets and spends a lot of time on the toilet because all she eats is chicken nuggets. But her family owns a couple dozen IHOPs, she got a race horse for her birthday and there is definitely a future in which she can eat chicken nuggets the rest of her life and never have to peel a banana.
how fucking bleak it is tho