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Posted at 12:01 PM ET, 08/ 7/2009

Return to the Nest

By editors

By Maura Pennington

As more and more new college graduates fly back to the nurtured nests of their childhoods, it seems the homes we should have outgrown have adapted to fit our adult needs in a way our parents couldn’t have predicted.

My brother and I, despite living for years far from our home turf in Northern Virginia, have found ourselves back in our old house, back in our old beds, back with Mom and Dad. At first, when I reconnected with high school friends who had returned to the area (or never left it), I talked about my living situation with a dose of self-deprecation. It was not so long ago that the sentence “I live with my parents” would evoke recoiling disdain. It suggested immaturity, incompetence and a lack of initiative. Today, however, the response I usually get is: “Hey, me, too!”

My peers and I are back at home for the low cost of living, but it’s about more than that. Admittedly the perks are numerous. In my house, we enjoy HBO, DVR, a fridge stocked with beer and Diet Coke, a laundry room, showers with perfect water pressure, a top-of-the-line grill and well-furnished deck, a tuned piano, free parking and wireless Internet — not to mention parents who help us out when we have car trouble, computer issues and cooking needs. We are far better taken care of than our friends on their own in the city, friends who consciously chose Washington as their place to live and work.

For us, home was simply the default location. It may seem as though we are doing ourselves a disservice, that we are reverting to a second childhood: We are living in a world sculpted by our parents when we should be living in one of our own making. But we defy the stereotype of parental basement dwellers. We are well-adapted, fully functioning, ambitious young people, and we have given ourselves a special opportunity. Much is gained from having to adjust to new, adult relationships within a family. By restructuring those most innate connections with others, we are able to shed some of the stubborn issues of adolescence. Had we not come home, our youthful conflicts with our parents might have been suspended forever with last words amounting to: “I hate you. You don’t understand me.” Every Thanksgiving or Christmas could be cause for an eruption of that old frustration. Instead, we have learned to talk to each other as adults.

There are certainly irritations that come with living under Mom and Dad’s roof. Yes, the fact that their job as parents predisposes them to wait up whenever we go out at night can cramp our style, but they let us get away with a lot. For them, our return to the nest is a strange blessing. They can watch us thrive firsthand and never have to worry about what suffering we might be going through in some distant city.

One reason this arrangement works is that all parties know the situation isn’t permanent. It will only take a year or so for everyone to be ready to move on and apart.

It would be easy to credit today’s uncertain financial climate for the time my friends and I are spending back home, but the truth is, we’d probably being doing it anyway. Many of us are musicians, artists and writers. We are looking for the liberty to exploit our creativity while we are still young.

So, though we may be subject to our parents’ occasional passive-aggressive hints — couldn’t we get a consulting job like their friends’ children did? — we are simply snatching a little slice of time before the real world bears down on us without respite. Gratitude goes to our parents for their generosity and for the suburban lifestyle we were raised on. For anyone unsatisfactorily angsting it out on his or her own post-graduation: Return to the nest and make the most of it. The anxieties of independence can wait.

By editors  | August 7, 2009; 12:01 PM ET
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When a company falls on difficult times, one of the things that seems to happen is they reduce their staff and workers. The remaining workers must find ways to continue to do a good job or risk that their job would be eliminated as well.

Wall street, and the media normally congratulate the CEO for making this type of "tough decision", and his board of directors gives him a big bonus.

Our government should not be immune from similar risks.


Reduce the House of Representatives from the current 435 members to 218 members..

Reduce Senate members from 100 to 50 (one per State). Then, reduce their staff by 25%.

Accomplish this over the next 8 years

(two steps/two elections) and of course this would require some redistricting.

Some Yearly Monetary Gains Include:

$44,108,400 for elimination of base pay for congress. (267 members X $165,200 pay/member/ yr.)

$97,175,000 for elimination of their staff. (estimate $1.3 Million in staff per each member of the House, and $3 Million in staff per each member of the Senate every year)

$240,294 for the reduction in remaining staff by 25%.

$7,500,000,000 reduction in pork barrel ear-marks each year. (those members whose jobs are gone. Current estimates for total government pork earmarks are at $15 Billion/yr).

The remaining representatives would need to work smarter and improve efficiencies. It might even be in their best interests to work together for the good of our country!

We may also expect that smaller committees might lead to a more efficient resolution of issues as well. It might even be easier to keep track of what your representative is doing.

Congress has more tools available to do their jobs than it had back in 1911 when the current number of representatives was established. (telephone, computers, cell phones to name a few)

Congress did not hesitate to head home when it was a holiday, when the nation needed a real fix to the economic problems. Also, we had 3 senators that were not doing their jobs for the 18+ months (on the campaign trail) and still they all have accepted full pay. These facts alone support a reduction in senators & congress.

Summary of opportunity:

$ 44,108,400 reduction of congress members.

$282,100, 000 for elimination of the reduced house member staff.

$150,000,000 for elimination of reduced senate member staff.

$59,675,000 for 25% reduction of staff for remaining house members.

$37,500,000 for 25% reduction of staff for remaining senate members.

$7,500,000,000 reduction in pork added to bills by the reduction of congress members.

$8,073,383,400 per year, estimated total savings. (that's 8-BILLION just to start!)

Big business does these types of cuts all the time.

If Congresspersons were required to serve 20, 25 or 30 years (like everyone else) in order to collect retirement benefits, tax payers could save a bundle.

Now they get full retirement after serving only ONE term.

Posted by: louden1 | August 9, 2009 8:03 AM | Report abuse

How the hell do kids in their early 20s get consulting gigs? From what experience have they earned that qualifies them to consult on anything beyond sexual escapades, drinking games and not having to earn a living?

Posted by: MACCHAMPS04 | August 9, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

To paraphrase Juvenal, The youth have abdicated their duties for HBO and Diet Coke.

It is a non sequitur to claim ambitious adults looking for liberty live at home with their parents.

Posted by: AreYouPeopleCrazy | August 12, 2009 4:53 AM | Report abuse

To paraphrase Juvenal, The youth have abdicated their duties for HBO and Diet Coke.

It is a non sequitur to claim Ambitious adults looking for liberty live at home with their parents.

Posted by: AreYouPeopleCrazy | August 12, 2009 5:01 AM | Report abuse

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