Rarely has American youth been so enthralled and supportive of a presidential candidate than as they were with Barack Obama. Some estimates put their support of him at 70% or more. Numbers aside, the empirical evidence at hand is indisputable: all across college campuses, students rallied for Obama, spoke about him as a messianic figure and adoringly plastered his campaign signs in their dorm rooms and anywhere else that approving schools would permit.
But while the President enjoyed overwhelming support from this particular group, it is a bit ironic that his policies are and will be effecting American youth more so than any other–and not for the better.
Remember back to last January when the President argued that if his stimulus packages were passed (including the most recent multi-billion dollar jobs stimulus package) that unemployment would not reach more than 8%? The imperative was convincing, and so not only did a majority of Congress support these actions, but presumably a majority of youth did as well. But despite unprecedented spending, unemployment now stands at 10%, a staggering number on its own, but nothing when one considers how many people have stopped looking for a job, are underemployed or are unaccounted for in other regards. However, the situation is much worse for young people between the ages of 16 and 24 as the unemployment rate has reached 19% meaning that a much greater percentage are of course are underemployed or have just stopped looking.
And yet no number will show this fact: that the current job market is the worst for people just graduating college. Take my roommate for example, who not only has an impeccable GPA and experience in real estate development that Donald Trump likely didn’t have at our age, but has been turned down for internships (internships, mind you- not full-time jobs) always for the same reason: the company has a long list of unemployed Wall Street veterans with MBA’s and years of experience who are willing to work for the pay of a recent college graduate.
These people have families, homes and other obligations to support, and not taking them on would be just silly for any sensible business. The opportunity to drastically expand the amount of experience a company’s employees has is too great an opportunity to take risk on largely inexperienced and untested college graduates.
Beyond unemployment though, which is the most immediate negative effect that the President’s policies are having on our generation, is the staggering and unimaginable amount of debt that we have built up. While one can consider a number of factors when talking about debt, reasonable estimates put us at 12.3 trillion dollars. This will fall almost squarely on our generation’s shoulders, either through reduced services, higher taxes, or some combination of the two. And yet it is we who have received the least from the Obama economy and stimuli so far!
Hopefully, America’s young people will keep in mind just exactly what Obama did- and did not- accomplish for us.
Chadwick Ciocci is a conservative student activist at Fordham University.