The Italians have a slang term for adult children who refuse to leave the nest: bamboccioni, roughly translated as “stay-at-home big babies.”
So widespread is this culture of perpetual adolescence and stunted independence that an Italian court recently ordered a man to pay a monthly allowance to his 32-year-old daughter.
In the Bergamo case, 60-year-old Mr Casagranda, who left his wife and daughter in 1997 and formed another relationship, continued to pay for Martina’s upkeep until two years ago, when he stopped payments on the grounds that she was employed as a part-time dancing instructor and at 32 could look after herself.
His ex-wife, however — also called Marina — took him to court after losing her job as a hairdresser. Judges in Bergamo found against Mr Casagranda, ordering him not only to resume monthly payments, but also to pay arrears amounting to €12,000. They cited a Supreme Court ruling that parents, even if separated or divorced, were obliged to pay for their children’s upkeep “until they are self-sufficient”.
Papà Casagranda is now expected to pay his precious bamboccione €350 a month until she decides to fend for herself. And he’s not alone in his role as family Pez dispenser. An estimated 59 per cent of Italian adults between 18 and 34 still live with their parents.
Sheesh, all I get from my dad are lectures on the lies and deception of the Bush/Cheney cabal.
Eager to reverse the bamboccioni trend, a senior government minister (who lived with his mom until age 30) has taken to the Italian airwaves with a semi-modest proposal: a legal ban on adults over the age of 18 continuing to live with their parents.
“We need this debate,” Mr Brunetta told The Independent. “In a sense I’m being provocative. However, all these young people think they’re living in a free hotel, and actually there’s a price they pay. It allows their parents to keep control of them, emotionally, socially and financially – and deny them their freedom and the chance to mature.”
Sound familiar? The Obama administration and Democrat-controlled congress are meting out entitlements faster than an Italian jury, turning America into a nation of bamboccioni under the social and financial control of Papa Fed. Adults of all ages are lining up to pull the lever on the entitlement slot machine, asking, “Where’s my Obama house? Where’s my Obama car?”
Minister Brunetta’s idea to toss adult children out on the street is extreme, but philosophically he’s on target. There’s a price to pay for freebies, and that price is freedom.