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  • New Guard Inner
  • By Brendan Pringle

    Fiscal Cliff
    While the mainstream media and the academic world have been buzzing about how the fiscal cliff deal benefits students, the narrative about college graduates has been noticeably absent.

    Yet if the Obama administration is really trying to break a trend of youth unemployment and improve career prospects for graduates, its "solution" is an obvious step in the wrong direction.

    Economic growth has remained painstakingly slow throughout the years of the Obama administration. Last year, half of young college graduates found themselves either jobless or underemployed, and nothing suggests that this trend is turning around.

    Despite all the backslapping, the deal is a disaster for this vulnerable demographic.

    After its passage, Utah Senator Mike Lee commented: "Everything about this bill was a failure…what Congress did, how Congress did it and what Congress didn't do."

    Indeed, The Economist notes, "the bill does nothing to control the unsustainable path of "entitlement" spending on pensions and health care (the latter is on track to double as a share of GDP over the next 25 years); nothing to rationalize America's hideously complex and distorting tax code, which includes more than $1 trillion of deductions; and virtually nothing to close America's big structural budget deficit."

    In other words, the deal sustains an unstable economy that leaves most employers hesitant about increasing their hiring despite the qualifications of applicants. With an uncertain market and the added financial obligations of Obamacare, why take the risk?

    The deal also directly impacts those graduates who have actually found a place in the workforce by ending the payroll tax break, allowing it to shoot back up to 6.2 percent, from 4.2 percent, as a provision of the deal.

    The end result: Those who find jobs after college will ultimately receive smaller checks.

    President Obama's boasted that the deal cuts $737 billion from the deficit over the coming decade, but this hardly combats the $10 trillion in deficits set to accumulate during the same amount of time.

    Meanwhile, college grads' share of the national debt currently hovers around $50,000-a figure that is constantly growing due to the administration's failure to balance the budget.

    Of course, we can't simply blame the Obama administration for the outcome of this last-minute legislation. Many conservatives on Capitol Hill compromised on their own principles, allowing President Obama to get what he wanted without making any major concessions.

    Between this bill and the impending debt ceiling debate, college graduates are caught between Obama's unwillingness to compromise and the general lack of political courage in Congress-a combination that is not pretty.

    Brendan Pringle is a Development Officer at Young America's Foundation's Reagan Ranch Center. 

    • Readers' Comments

    • While liberalism's high-tax economy offers little or no incentive to college grads or their prospective employers, conservatism offers opportunity for all.
      Posted by Spicy Mexican Salsa on 01/05/2013
    • Great article. It also seems that much of public education these days is becoming private; college students face the challenge of paying a higher percentage of their education each year. Can' t wait until the big fall in March.
      Posted by Anthony Richards on 01/07/2013
    • Brendan, outstanding article!! Im so very proud of you. looking forward to watching your fantastic career get gigantic.
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