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    By Ron Meyer, Young America's Foundation 

    Today, National Center for Education Statistics released some ugly numbers for young people looking for work this summer. At some point, the Obama administration needs to take some responsibility.

    High school employment has reached a 20-year low. 32 percent of high school students held jobs in 1990. Today, that number has dropped to a whopping 16 percent.

    For college students, it’s not much prettier. 40 percent of full-time college students hold jobs—23 percent less than the 52 percent of students who worked in 2000.

    Pew Research Center reports that college-aged employment rates are at an all-time low (since records started in 1948). For recent grads, 53 percent are either unemployed or underemployed. As Young America’s Foundation reported last December, the Youth Misery Index is at an all-time high.

    Are young people just lazy and stupid or is this economy anti-youth?

    Let me tell you: Young people hate mooching off their parents. Some might be fine with this life style, but many of us want financial freedom. Those who blame young people miss the true culprit.

    The Obama administration's economic policies have failed America’s youth.

    Government spending has deprived the private sector of capital, and new government regulations—like those in ObamaCare—have made it exponentially more expensive to hire young people.

    The Left deflects the blame for high youth unemployment by painting this crisis as a broad effect of a weak economy. Yes, young people take the brunt of a bad economy, but it’s important to remember that leftist policies were responsible for the recession in the first place. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mack, and the Federal Reserve created the “compassionate” easy lending policies which led to the recession.

    Now, more Washington policies are keeping young people from working. As government stimulus efforts fail, it snowballs on the nation’s youth. The threat of higher taxes and a debt crisis further damages economic certainty, leaving employers afraid to invest in younger employees.

    Generation Y is far from perfect, but Washington shouldn’t blame the victim. Washington should blame itself and get to work establishing policies which enable private employers to hire young people.

    Need a model? Follow Ronald Reagan. In a bad economy, he slashed taxes and regulations, and youth unemployment dropped 5 percent. This summer, young people could use that relief.

    Ron Meyer is a program officer with Young America’s Foundation. Email him at

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