While the mainstream media and our leaders in Washington want
you to believe that the economy is getting better, thanks to more
spending, higher taxes, and more regulation, six million people
have dropped out of the work force since the recession began in
2008. Young Americans, especially, have it bad.
About 45 percent of 18 to 34-year olds are unemployed according
to a recent poll by Demos, a public policy firm. I still know of
college classmates who have yet to find meaningful jobs or are
severely underemployed almost four years after graduation. However,
a recent poll on young people's views of limited government, free
markets, and economic liberty suggests some may be waking up to the
conclusion that government, over-regulation, and more spending will
not turn our futures around.
In a survey launched by Young America's Foundation and conducted
by the polling company, inc., more than 60 percent of college-age
students feel that government should not take an active role in
their day-to-day-lives, and half of respondents believe that the
federal government is mostly hurting economic recovery.
President Ronald Reagan said, "Entrepreneurs and their small
enterprises are responsible for almost all the economic growth in
the United States." And, as the poll suggests, young people share
this belief: 66 percent of the students polled had a positive
opinion of "entrepreneurship," 44 percent found "free markets"
positive, and 42 percent believe the federal government is an
opponent rather than a partner in the pursuit of the American
It seems every time we turn on the TV or visit our favorite news
site, the media is telling us what issues should matter to us, such
as gun control and abortion. However, in YAF's study, neither of
those issues rank in the top five for the respondents, who cited
the economy (21 percent), jobs (16 percent), education (16
percent), and the national debt (14 percent). We went to college or
received an advanced degree in hopes of bettering our situation and
having a productive and fruitful life. Isn't that the goal of every
The poll seems to indicate that our leaders in Washington are
keeping us from doing that. Six-in-ten young people are displeased
with the way that their public officials represent young people.
That shouldn't surprise many, judging by the approval rating for
Congress. The respondents felt that our leaders have bungled the
recovery and are out to score points on each other, rather than
solve the problem.
Many in Congress use scare tactics to call for more government
spending, higher taxes, and more regulations to "even the playing
field." That doesn't sit well with my generation. Seventy-six
percent of respondents feel that government spending has to
decrease if we are to have any hope of improving our economic
situation, nearly 40 percent want less regulation, and nearly 60
percent want lower taxes.
If history teaches us anything, a lower tax rate, less spending,
and less regulation is the recipe for success. When President
Reagan signed the Economic Recovery Tax Act in 1981, 20 million
jobs were created, inflation plummeted, and net worth of families
earning between $20,000 and $50,000 increased by nearly 30 percent.
Right now, our government seems content with the unemployment rate
hovering around 8% and a drastically reduced work force. That's
unsustainable and unacceptable.
As Milton Friedman said, "Governments never learn. Only people