Young Americans are facing their own deficit — of over 4 million jobs.
Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger wonders who will get the blame for the sky-high joblessness among these potential voters.
In Campaign 2012, Barack Obama promised the youth vote a rose garden. What they’ve got instead, as far as the eye can see, is an employment wasteland. With the right encouragement, this voting bloc could turn against the happy faces that made so many empty promises to them. The progressives are taking note.
The left-wing think tank, the Center for American Progress, published a study last month called “The High Cost of Youth Unemployment.” This past Sunday, the New York Times carried a deconstruction of the youth unemployment nightmare, and the Huffington Post built its own piece around the Times’s analysis.
After nurturing this voting bloc, the left can see that the millennials and their debt-laden parents will start looking for someone to blame for their off-the-charts joblessness. But while the left tries to defuse this time bomb, as far as one can tell, the GOP’s attention to it is virtually nonexistent. Gotta get America’s version of the Berlin Wall built along the Rio Grande to keep Mexicans out of our fish-cleaning factories and grass-cutting jobs.
The Center for American Progress study is a straight-ahead description of the grim employment status and diminished earnings prospects of whites, Hispanic and especially younger blacks. The official unemployment rate for people in their late teens and post-college years is around 16%, but add in those who’ve given up looking or taken jobs flipping hamburgers (underemployment) and their home-alone status moves past 25%. For young blacks—the most politically misled people in America—the out-of-work number is between 40% and 50%…
…On Sunday, Barack Obama stood before the graduates of Ohio State and exhorted them to pour their energies and new knowledge into . . . politics. His speech referred once to salaried work: The job market, he said, is “steadily healing.” An adverb fronting a gerund; talk doesn’t get any weaker than that.
For an alert opposition, openings exist. The Young America’s Foundation just did a deep polling dive into the attitudes of these voters, and one answer stands out. Asked if the “free market is mostly unfair and requires government intervention to correct,” 33% agreed and 45% disagreed. And a November analysis by Civicyouth.org at Tufts University noted that younger black males (age 18-24) have never been as excited about Barack Obama as women are. Not having a job could chill enthusiasm for any president.
None of these voting blocs will default to the GOP in two years or four years. Denunciations of “government” won’t win them over. How the jobs catastrophe has happened to this generation requires extended Economy 101 tutorials from smart conservative candidates, if they know how.