During the Great Depression, my grandfather, a native of Missouri, traveled from state to state for work. In 1937 he drove himself and his family from Kansas to California to get a job, which he did. He made it to California with Kansas air in the tires. This is significant for two reasons. One, tires rarely lasted that long back then. And two, it was the highlight of the entire venture because that's how low expectations were.
Similarly low expectations are commonplace among the millions now looking for any job and any place to live. Unlike those who worked diligently to survive the Great Depression, the under- and unemployed today have also to contend with forking over an ever greater percentage of meager incomes to taxes while those few who incurred all this trouble in the first place cry foul at the idea of having to pay any taxes at all, much less as much as corporations paid just a couple of decades ago.
There is a reason there are a record number of college dropouts and graduates with a record amount of debt; there's a reason for the record number of home foreclosures; there's a reason why so many people are out of work - and none of it is because they did anything different than their parents and grandparents. It's because the system in place now is not the system that was in place when their elders went to school, bought homes, secured work, or even opened a bank account.
Well-to-do politicians and corporate leaders over age 40 love to tout their hard work, college degrees (or their success sans degree), home ownership, and having held multiple jobs to get where they are today. What they don't tout is how much easier it was, rather, how much less constraining it was for them to get all of that done. Many didn't graduate with debt because tuitions weren't through the roof and/or their parents could afford to pay their tuitions. Those who did borrow didn't graduate with more interest on the debt than the debt itself, and the majority were able to pay off those loans in a timely manner because there were jobs available. Home ownership did not include the massive and convoluted debacle of fine print that has come to define the now-common predatory contracts. Holding three jobs was actually doable when today's corporate leaders and hopeful/incumbent politicians were working their way up. To get those jobs they did not have to endure credit checks and "personality" tests (for which there are cheat codes), nor did they already have to have a job to get one. Even the banks, forever regarded as a necessary evil, were legally confined and could not bilk millions out of billions.