Here’s a pretty famous old quote that just doesn’t apply anymore: “If you’re not a liberal at 25 you have no heart; if you’re not a conservative at 35 you have no brain.”
Now if you’re liberal at any age (particularly 25), you have no brain.
Well, that is if you consider a figure called the Youth Misery Index, a gauge of how youth are faring in America, economically speaking. The misery index factors three things:
- Youth unemployment
- Student loan debt (I wrote about this particular problem here.)
- National debt
The YMI started collecting data in 1993, and 2014 marked a record misery high of 106.5.
The higher the number, the more miserable youth in this country are. Here’s the breakdown for 2014:
- Youth unemployment was 18.1 percent
- Student loan debt was $30,000
- National debt per capita (how much is attributable to each citizen) was $58,437
So 18.1 + 30.0 + 58.4 = 106.5
Young people can’t get jobs, so they can’t pay off their student loans. This mean they often move back home with their parents, and for many people, that’s the stuff of nightmares and well … misery.
This youth misery index number has increased by 50 percent since the election of President Obama.
But what does this have to do with President Obama you might ask?
For one, 20-somethings were falling all over themselves to sing his praises back in 2008 — and even again in 2012. He represented hope and change. Well, change happened all right. But not for the good.
The National Debt
President Obama’s massive government programs contributed to the national debt figure, which keeps rising. And this is debt that young people need to deal with. You will pay for it as a taxpayer — when you do get a job — for many, many years.
Minimum Wage Hurts You
Raising the minimum wage, a policy President Obama supports, makes it even more difficult for inexperienced workers (young people) to get jobs. If employers need to pay more, they are less willing to train someone with no work experience. This leads to even more young people being unemployed.
It always happens that way. Read some stats here.
The people already employed make more money when minimum wage goes up, but fewer jobs will be available, and that means fewer job experience opportunities for young people who need it. This is called an “experience trap.” Or a catch-22: employers look for people with experience when they have to pay more, but there are fewer opportunities for young people to get experience.
President Obama boosted the federal government’s student loan program, which caused tuition costs to rise. With the abundance of money colleges get because of student loans, colleges continue to raise tuition, knowing that student loans will pay for it.
And Obamacare. Insurance premiums were supposed to go down. They instead went up. Obamacare’s design is to bring in young people who typically need less healthcare to pay for the healthcare for older people who do.
I’ve heard the millennial generation called (besides Generation Y), Generation Debt and Generation Jobless. Are you over being liberal yet?