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Gen X mother goes viral for attack on ‘tired’ American Dream: “the world has ******* changed”

‘I am so tired of feeling helpless as a parent,’ Jessica McCabe says

Olivia Hebert
Los Angeles
Tuesday 08 August 2023 21:17 BST

Related: Journalist argues that millennials lack essential skills

Gen X mom Jessica McCabe recently posted a video on TikTok expressing her frustration with the way the current state of the US economy has made it nearly impossible for young adults to strike out on their own.

With rent and insurance rates rising, the 51-year-old retiree argued that the system in place has made it difficult for her adult children to stay afloat financially.

“I am so tired of feeling helpless as a parent,” McCabe started off the video. She acknowledged that her son was 25 and her daughter was 28 and explained: “I thought by teaching them what I learned, which is you work hard, you get a good job, you’re gonna get the things in life that you need, right? Worked for me, why wouldn’t it work for them? Because it doesn’t, because the world has f***ing changed."

McCabe, who once served in the US Air Force, noticed that the struggle her children were going through to land on their feet was more intense than that of her peers when she was the same age.

She continued: “I see them struggling, and before my generation comes at me, yes, I understand struggling as a part of life. We all struggle, but there’s a difference between struggling and drowning. So we struggled, and it was tough. But you know what, we made it. We knew there was a light at the end of the tunnel with our struggle. It seems like kids today, no matter how much they struggle, they just get further and further down."

To illustrate their plight, the retiree shared a story of her son: “I told my son, all you have to do is work hard, go to college or join the military like I did.”

Her son got his degree, and upon moving back in, he promised his mom that he planned on moving out within two months. But despite being a college graduate, in the 10 months since graduation, McCabe’s son could barely scrape together enough money to afford a one-bedroom studio apartment due to the exorbitant price hikes that have brought even small spaces like a studio up to $2,000 a month.

McCabe tried to find a silver lining for his situation: "I told him, ‘Hey, when you turn 25, at least your car insurance will go down.” McCabe and her son were in for a rude awakening, however, when they found out that instead when her son turned 25 his car insurance “went up to $150.” 

She also mentioned that despite having insurance, “He had to go to the emergency room because he couldn’t get anybody to see him with the health insurance that he has.” She concluded: “Now, he’s out money for that, too. It seems like you can never get ahead."

Her story resonated with a lot of parents who commented that the economic future their children faced was “insane” and that the current economy had turned into a twisted game of Monopoly in which “85 people have all the wealth and it just funnels all to them."

According to the New York Times, many college graduates, along with low-wage workers, are being priced out of big cities, the latest pitfall of post-pandemic inflation. Because of this, the economic landscape has shifted dramatically for college graduates like McCabe’s son, who in the past may have been able to afford things like a studio apartment.

In an interview with BuzzFeed, McCabe said, “I understand inflation, but usually, the wages go up when the price of everything else does, and it’s just not keeping up.”

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