The Weekender by Strategic Elements

The Weekender: Who’s Feeling Young?

The Weekender by Strategic Elements


  • 78%: The percentage of U.S. workers that don’t use all their PTO days
  • $167 B: The total amount of student debt forgiven since President Biden took office
  • 36: The number of Caitlin Clark’s 40 Indiana fever games that will be nationally televised
  • 52%: The percentage of Gen Z and Millennials that say they are living paycheck to paycheck
  • 43.8 M: The projected number of travelers who will travel 50 miles or more for Memorial Day
  • 13: The number of students who were declined their degrees at Harvard due to their participation in on-campus protests

The Big 5

Biden Administration Goes Pedal to the Metal

The Biden Administration this week announced it will release 1 million barrels of gasoline from the 367-million-barrel Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Why? To reduce at-the-pump costs for Americans during the busiest driving season of the year. Pulling crude oil rations from the reserve is one of the few actions the President can take to reduce gas price inflation, and he is following a mandate from Congress to sell off the 10-year-old Northeast reserve before closing it entirely. This provision was a part of the larger spending deal Congress passed in March to avert a government shutdown.

If the move has any impact on gas prices, it will be well-timed for President Biden, who is ramping up for an expected rematch against former President Donald Trump this fall. Curbing inflation is a difficult task for the Oval Office, given the Executive branch doesn’t have many tools to do so. However, voters increasingly care about the rising price of goods. Gallup polling found that for the third year in a row, inflation is the number one financial issue voters care about. This year, 41% of voters place it as the most important issue hitting their checkbooks, up from 35% a year ago and 32% in 2022.

Read More at the Associated Press

A Divide for the Generations

Struggling to understand the younger generation? Can’t quite connect with your grandparents? As it turns out, Americans are divided by generations on important issues. Members of Gen Z are less than half as likely as Baby Boomers to say patriotism, belief in God, or having children are “very important.” Gen Z increasingly disbelieves that America is the “best place to live” and is more likely to be atheist or agnostic. Younger Americans also have a more positive impression of socialism than capitalism, while less than one-third of seniors have a favorable view of socialism.

Millennials and Gen Z are far more likely to consider themselves political independents. Gallup polling found that 52% of Gen Z identify as independents versus 44% of Gen X and 33% of Boomers. Americans under 30 are also twice as likely to sympathize with Palestinians than the rest of the U.S. population.

Regardless of which age camp you fall under, don’t hoist the red flags yet; the plurality of the United States is one of its strengths, and difference in opinion is a founding tenet of the country. For those who don’t “get” the other generation, spend time trying to understand their point of view rather than bringing them onto your side. If that fails, just play some Led Zeppelin; the adoration of classic rock is one thing that binds Americans of all ages together.

Read More at Axios

Fentanyl Strikes Fear into Families

If you ever heard an older person say something along the lines of, “The weed people have today is nothing like the stuff we had growing up,” the same goes for harder substances. Fentanyl, in particular, is fueling terror for families nationwide. It has directly led to a doubling of overdose deaths among children between 12 and 17 since the beginning of COVID-19. Hospitals report a rise in youth arriving in emergency rooms for opiates. It’s the intersection between teenagers’ natural urge to experiment, a stark decline in teen mental health, and the increase of counterfeit prescription drugs appearing across the country. Pills that appear to be Percocet or oxycodone are easily laced with fentanyl and can be bought on the street for just a few dollars.

What’s worse is that pediatricians report feeling underprepared to counsel youth patients on opioid use. Clinics that typically treat youth for marijuana and alcohol use are now focused primarily on curbing opioid abuse disorders. This phenomenon began as students returned to normal life at the pandemic quarantines. Schools are working to stock overdose reversal medication and teaching students and parents alike on the dangers of drug use.

Raising children and being a teenager can be a terrifying experience. If you or others need help, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration free, confidential, 24/7 hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Read More at The Washington Post

Do You Yearn for Your Flip Phone?

In the era of being ever-connected to screens through email-based careers, social media, video gaming, endless streaming entertainment, and so much more, “touch grass” marketing campaigns are calling to an era when we weren’t so desperately attached to our tech. Given the rise of smart phones, it’s harder to stay in the moment, strike up conversations with strangers, and experience the subtle grace of the world around us. If you miss the days when your phone texted, called, and not much else, then something like Heineken’s Boring Phone may be just the thing for you. This issue goes beyond marketing campaigns – they are just calling it out for what it is in 30 seconds or less. Our immersive interconnectivity to the world around us is, in perspective, brand-spanking-new, and we’re just now seeing the effects.

Since the beginning of civilization, mankind has had a propensity to look at the sky and embrace the world around them. For the past 20-odd years, though, humans seem to only look down at their technology (something, the argument could be made, that we are not made to do). So how does the Digital Revolution impact human beings? It’s a mixed bag of pros and cons, where pros are often double-edged swords.

We can connect with anyone, anytime, anywhere, granting us the never-before-seen ability to stay in touch with loved ones, but in-person connection takes a hit as soon as someone’s pocket buzzes. We retrieve information about the world around us at a moment’s notice, but studies show our devices are incredibly addicting. We can have successful careers from wherever we have Wi-Fi, but the inability to disconnect from work can be a stress riser. Social media enables people of all ages to interact with their friends in a new way, but it can also make it difficult to set mental and emotional boundaries (especially for youths). This list can go on for as long as the average person doom scrolls before bed.

Read More at the Wall Street Journal

The Skinny on the Housing Market

The housing market inventory rose 9% in the last month and 16% year-over-year, but home sales are falling. Sales dropped 1.9% from April to March, which is 1.9% lower than April 2023. While homebuyers are still looking for their home sweet home, prices still prove to be a barrier to entry.

Although homes listed under $100,000 had prices fall 7.1%, those priced over $1 million jumped 40%. Homes around the median price point of $407,600 saw an average increase of 5.7% year-over-year – setting a record high price for April. Strong demand and multiple offers per home are leading to 27% of homes being sold above their original list price.

Read more at CNBC

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