Whoopi Goldberg Insults Millennials By Saying Younger Generations ‘Only Want To Work Four Hours’

Goldberg's arrogant comments aren't just bombastic and incendiary — they're also completely divorced from the facts.

Whoopi Goldberg with millennials in background rblfmr | Shutterstock, View Apart | Canva

It doesn't seem to matter how many studies and economic reports make it clear that earning a reasonable living is becoming increasingly impossible in America. Meanwhile, older generations continue blaming younger people's inability to have any kind of stability in life on "laziness."

Hollywood icon and "The View" moderator Whoopi Goldberg is the latest to jump on this bandwagon, even though someone in her position should really know better by now.


A video in which Whoopi Goldberg insults Millennials and Gen Z as lazy has people furious. 

This kind of hackneyed rhetoric has been going on for so long that it's honestly astonishing it's had such staying power, especially given all that we know about the way prices for everything from a college education to a studio apartment to a carton of eggs are out of control. 

But Goldberg's comments are especially absurd, given that they came after a lengthy introduction in which she herself acknowledged the astonishingly uphill battle Millennials and Gen Zers face.

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"Apparently Millennials and Gen Z have a different view of the American Dream than past generations," Whoopi said in the segment's opening. (That subtly sarcastic "apparently" is a nice touch.)

"Data shows that soaring inflation, student debt and limited room for advancement in the workplace has made them feel like milestones like affording a home and starting a family are out of reach." Given that very clear preamble, where Goldberg took the conversation is honestly kind of shocking. 

Goldberg blamed Millennials' and Gen Zers' struggles on the fact that they 'only want to work four hours.'

That sound you hear is every Millennial and Gen Zer on the face of the Earth — and a fair number of Gen Xers too — simultaneously rolling their eyes so hard they're shooting out the backs of their skulls. 

"My generation is the generation of the housing crisis, financial crisis, 9/11. We've been in war my entire generation. 49% of people are living with their parents," Goldberg's 34-year-old Millennial co-host Alyssa Farah said. "Our American Dream is different." 


Gen X co-hosts Sunny Hostin and Sara Haines quickly agreed, talking about how differently younger generations have approached milestones like becoming a parent because of these obstacles. But Goldberg had a different — and, I'm sorry, this is no time not to be blunt — deeply stupid and counterfactual take in response.



"You know, listen," Goldberg huffily began, "every generation comes and wants to do better than their parents did. Every generation," as if that somehow explains anything. "I'm sorry," she continued, "if you only want to work four hours, it's only going to be harder for you to get a house… I feel for everybody that feels this, but I'm sorry. We busted our behinds."

When Alyssa Farah countered this absurd take by mentioning that Millennials actually are the first generation in history to do worse in life than their parents, Goldberg was unmoved. "Every generation is told you're going to do worse than your parents!" she spat.


Okay, but I repeat, Ms. Goldberg: Millennials actually have! What is so hard to understand about this?

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Goldberg's ridiculous take on Millennials and Gen Z is completely at odds with the documented facts.

It is a mathematical fact, not an opinion, a literal, documented, heavily studied, expertly calculated fact, that younger generations face economic headwinds today that were totally unknown to the Boomers of Goldberg's generation.

Housing costs have soared 132% since 1972. Cars? 85%. The college education you absolutely must acquire in order to have a white-collar job? 164%.


The median home price in the US as of this writing is $416,000. That's roughly double the inflation-adjusted median home price that it was when Baby Boomers like Goldberg were in their 20s and 30s.



Meanwhile, wages have stagnated for decades. The minimum wage, which was designed in the 1930s to ensure every single-income household in America could afford the average house, hasn't been raised in 14 years. 

When adjusted for inflation, the minimum wage has actually fallen 26% in that time. And while wages have begun to rise in recent years, they have not remotely kept pace with the sharp rise in inflation we've seen in recent years.


And as for laziness? There are actual studies that show that Millennials are "workaholics" compared to the generations that preceded them. Millennials and Gen Zers also have second jobs, multiple jobs, or "side hustles" at unprecedented rates. A 2023 survey by accounting firm Deloitte found that 46% of Gen Zers and 37% of Millennials have more than one job because they're so worried about their finances.

That survey also found that 51% of Gen Zers and 52% of Millennials live paycheck to paycheck, which is part of why they want to have a different relationship with work than previous generations. Not because they're lazy and don't want to work, but because working your tail off doesn't provide an adequate income anymore.



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I don't have all these facts and figures because I'm an economist, I'm a person with two art degrees who knows how to use Google. With all due respect to a legend who is truly a self-made icon who came from nothing, Goldberg's attitude is one we see all too frequently from people who claw their way to the 1%, as well as many rank-and-file Boomers who were able to attain a comfortably middle-class life.

Somehow, their success seems to erode their empathy, close their ears to reason, and convince them they know better than literal, objective math. And they do all this while even dyed-in-the-wool conservative entities like the American Enterprise Institute place the blame squarely on Baby Boomers themselves.

What a shame that Goldberg has chosen to use her platform to join in the gaslighting chorus instead of using her enormous influence to call for change. Perhaps the enormous backlash to her comments will open her mind. 


But as a Xennial who knows all too well the slings and arrows Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Zers have had to dodge, as well as the deaf Boomer ears our calls for help have fallen on from the very beginning, I'm not at all confident that will happen.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice, and human interest topics.