The Left’s Lost Generation

Arnold Ahlert is a former NY Post op-ed columnist currently contributing to JewishWorldReview.com, HumanEvents.com and CanadaFreePress.com. He may be reached at atahlert@comcast.net.


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The near future doesn’t look much brighter, either. The government projects that only three of the 30 occupations with the largest number of anticipated job openings by 2020 will require a bachelor’s degree or higher to fill the position–teachers, college professors and accountants. Technological advances will also continue to eliminate mid-level jobs that can or soon will be replaced by computer. “Simply put, we’re failing kids coming out of college,” the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern’s Andrew Sum told the AP. “We’re going to need a lot better job growth and connections to the labor market, otherwise college debt will grow.” Or perhaps, as more and more young Americans become discouraged by the grim combination of high tuition costs and low job prospects, many will stop pursuing a college education altogether. Or as the OWS movement advocated, purposely default on their loans as “payback to the fat cats” on Wall Street.

In a daunting column for PJ Media, historian Victor David Hanson reveals where all of this is leading, noting that “in four years we have become Europeanized: young people with no jobs who are living at home and putting off marriage and child raising…They may have a car, borrow their parents’ nicer car for special occasions, watch their parents’ big screen TV, and have pocket change for a cell phone and laptop by enjoying free rent, food, and laundry, but beneath that thinning technological veneer there is really little hope that they will ever be able to maintain that lifestyle on their own in this present day and age.” The parents of these children? According to Hanson, aging Baby Boomers, who have seen their own retirements become less than they imagined, are “madly trying to save money, buy an extra house, get a good used car–all for their children who may not otherwise ever have a savings account, a home, or reliable transportation.”

Yet perhaps the most depressing aspect of Hanson’s “new normal” regarding employment for younger Americans has to do with what is now considered a “plum job”–as in working for the government, “in one of those federal or state regulatorships, inspectorships, or clerkships, which are paid for with borrowed money, produce little, and grow as those they audit and fine shrink.”

Such an assessment dovetails quite nicely with a video played Tuesday night at the Democrat convention that proclaimed “government is the only thing that we all belong to.” The Obama campaign quickly disavowed involvement in its production. “The video in question was produced and paid for by the host committee of the city of Charlotte. It’s neither an OFA nor a DNC video, despite what the Romney campaign is claiming. It’s time for them to find a new target for their faux outrage,” wrote an Obama aide to Buzzfeed, which broke the story.

Note that there was no disavowal of the message in the video. Furthermore, it would strain credulity to believe the Obama campaign was unaware of its inclusion in the convention’s overall presentation. Thus, one is left to conclude that Obama and his fellow Democrats continue to believe ever-expanding government programs–and entitlements–are the solution to the nation’s problems. Even the reality of the slowest recovery on record, 42 months of unemployment officially above 8 percent, and staggering levels of deficit spending that did nothing to alleviate any of our economic woes fail to disabuse them of that odious notion.

As First Lady Michelle Obama contended in her speech Tuesday night all Democrats and the president need is more time. “He reminds me that we are playing a long game here..and that change is hard, and change is slow and it never happens all at once,” she told the audience. “But eventually, we get there, we always do.” For millions of college graduates flipping burgers and waiting on tables, one suspects “eventually” doesn’t cut it.

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  • Bob

    serves the bastards right for being stupid enough to vote for him in the first place. i hope they've learned their lesson. i sincerely doubt it.

    • Jim_C

      Serves who right? College students? College costs weren't high under Bush?

  • Rifleman

    Anything the government becomes involved with, like health car and, education, soon becomes prohibitively expensive and then politicians use the problems they caused as an excuse to take over that sector of the economy.

    • dmw

      Remember when Congresswoman Maxine Waters let slip her desire to (eventually) "socialize", whoops, "nationalize" the oil companies. A lot of people forget that the vast majority of the world's oil reserves (I believe 90%) are owned by sovereign governments; therefore, only one tenth by those evil corporations making their exorbitant profits of perhaps 10 cents on the dollar at best ($10B on $100B of sales revenue. That's why it's called "Big Business" with its economies of scale). For instance: Exxon Mobil net profit for 2011 = 8.79%, 2010 = 8.23%. Compare that to Coca-Cola net profit in 2011 of 18.42% and in 2010 of 33.63%.

  • cynthia curran

    Well, I lived with my parents to a later age but I agree particulary for young males living with parents past 25 years old will not only delay married but will sometimes lead to guys having affairs and not wanting to marry. This has happen in Italy where guys stay home almost all of their lives to have mother's good cooking.

  • cynthia curran

    Well, in some states college grads can't even flip burgers since those jobs go to immigrants and many illegal.

  • cynthia curran

    What I don't like about victor hansen is he makes generalities. He stated that Fresno doesn't support Obama while Orange County did because it was on the coast. In fact Fresno voted for Obama and Orange County voted for McCain.

  • cynthia curran

    Well, Obama's bad economy isn't the only blame for the increase of entitlements. Both Clinton and Bush increase legal and illegal immigration that lead to people on the dole since Immigrants in the US have a higher poverty rate and Center for immigration studies found that after 20 years immigrants still are poor and use welfare..

  • cynthia curran

    This generation by nature tends to be more into envy, hence why Obama does well with the younger voters even if they have job problems.

  • Schlomotion

    Isn't it amazing that the entire college education system has degenerated in just four years? College wasn't expensive before Obama took office. Jobs weren't moving overseas until Obama chased them away. Baby Boomers' retirement funds weren't in jeopardy before Obama was elected. (snicker)

  • http://quark1912.wordpress.com/ quark1912

    Perhaps so many university graduates are unemployed or under employed is that they graduated with useless degrees. I doubt a graduate with a degee in petroleum or mining engineering is waiting tables or tending a bar. Holding a degree in queer & transgendered studies or perhaps puppetry may be suitable to be a barresta at Starbucks.

  • J. Clark

    Barry Hussein Soetoro, the Marxist/Muslim, wants everyone poor, except the elite who will rule the fed. government. Then we will all be like his native Kenya. This perfumed potentate will be gone soon.

  • http://speedyloansearch.com/ richy fan

    The long term answer is to reduce college costs, including a radical re-vamp of the college experience. People should go to college part time. It should never have been a full time gig. That way they can gain work experience and make college more relevant.

    Having said that, we are burying our head in the sand about the current problem, which can only be resolved realistically through Chapter 7, and by changing the law to let the current crop of students go bankrupt. There are too many people who paid way too much for college and most of them did it with good intentions. Only a very small minority went to get a degree to waste money.