Young people struggling amid inflation are entitled, says CEO worth about $400m | Arwa Mahdawi
Young people too entitled, says CEO worth $400m
Robert Kapito, the president of asset management behemoth BlackRock, earns about $20m a year and is worth in the region of $400m. You can buy a lot of fancy trinkets with that kind of money but, alas, it doesn’t seem to purchase much self-awareness. We are in the middle of a cost of living crisis, with low-income households disproportionately affected by the highest inflation in 40 years. People are struggling to heat their homes thanks to surging energy prices and worrying about feeding their families thanks to rocketing food prices. Kapito’s reaction to all this? To complain to a bunch of energy executives about how entitled young people are and how it’s about time they learned a thing or two about how tough life is.
“For the first time, this generation is going to go into a store and not be able to get what they want,” Kapito recently said at an energy conference in Texas in reference to inflation. “And we have a very entitled generation that has never had to sacrifice.”
It’s not clear which generation 65-year-old Kapito is referring to. But I’d bet all the avocado toast in the world he’s not sneering about his fellow boomers. No, one imagines he means millennials: the generation who famously can’t afford housing because they fritter away all their income on takeaway coffee. The generation who earn 20% less than baby boomers did at the same stage of life despite being better educated. The generation that entered the workforce during a giant recession caused by corporate greed, can’t afford to have kids because it’s too damn expensive, and will be paying off student loans for the rest of their lives. On the one hand, millennials have grown up being able choose from around 45 different types of sugary cereals in a grocery store. On the other hand most millennials will never be able to retire. What’s the word to describe that? Ah, yes, “entitled”.
Perhaps I’m being unfair here. Perhaps I misunderstood the reporting on Kapito’s speech. Perhaps his comments about an entitled generation that has never had to sacrifice anything referred to his fellow multimillionaire and billionaire boomers. After all, the obscenely rich never seem to have to sacrifice anything, do they? Inflation certainly won’t keep them up at night worrying about how to keep the lights on: Wall Street bonuses jumped 20% last year with bankers getting an average bonus of $275,500 in 2021. They can afford higher heating bills. The federal minimum wage on the other hand? That stayed at $7.25 an hour, just as it has since 2009. If it rose at the same pace as Wall Street bonuses then it would be $61.75 an hour.
If Kapito wants to talk about sacrifice he could do with explaining exactly what he, and people like him, plan to sacrifice. The 1% and corporations don’t seem to be hurting at all right now. Rather, they’ve been boasting about their record profits. Kapito is right about the entitlement problem in the US: we have a very entitled generation of executives who seem to think sacrifice is just for poor people.
Rumours of cocaine-fueled orgies in the US government may have been somewhat ‘exaggerated’
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Would you wear breastmilk around your neck?
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Academia has a sexism problem
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The week in paw-triarchy
A team of researchers have said they are very close to creating hypoallergenic cats via the gene-editing technology Crispr. (I found this story on April Fool’s Day and I had to go hunting around the internet for a while to make sure it wasn’t a joke.) I’m not entirely sure why we need to start creating genetically modified cats instead of just, say, making better antihistamines. Still, I’m glad to see some of the best minds of our generation are working on the really tough questions.