"The young bloods of the South; sons of planters, lawyers about towns, good billiard players and sportsmen, men who never did any work and never will. War suits them. They are splendid riders, first rate shots and utterly reckless. These men must all be killed or employed by us before we can hope for peace."
- General Sherman (HT:Rootsweb.com)
The GOP not only has an opportunity to pull more of the youth vote in coming elections; we have a patriotic duty to do so. The Wall Street Journal tells us something we would probably rather not know about the future of the American workforce. It’s hard to continue calling it a workforce, if its younger cohorts are unable to find themselves gainful employment. Details follow below.
The unemployment rate for males between 25 and 34 years old with high-school diplomas is 14.4%—up from 6.1% before the downturn four years ago and far above today's 9% national rate. The picture is even more bleak for slightly younger men: 22.4% for high-school graduates 20 to 24 years old. That's up from 10.4% four years ago.
This crisis is severely exacerbated by the fact that these unemployed people have been out of work for so long, that they no longer qualify for unemployment benefits. Less than 50% of the currently unemployed receive checks and nearly 5 million of the 14 million unemployed Americans have been jobless one year or longer.
Contrast this to the older generation of unionized workers. They are people who have engineered generous pensions at the expense of the public treasury. They are people who will never lose their current jobs unless they die or commit a felony. They bankrupt their states and localities, but could truly care less.
When anyone rises to face the challenges posed by overgenerous pensions, these grandfathered workers conspire in armor. Labor Unions all over Rhode Island are rallying against the proposed Raimondo-Chafee pension overhaul plan. This plan would reduce the pension benefits that currently are underfunded. Rhode Island’s liabilities double every twelve years. In response to these unflinching realities, the unions offer up blustering ad hominem.
Paul Valletta, president of the Cranston firefighters union, said Treasurer Gina Raimondo "cooked the books," while Paul Reed, the statewide fire union's president, declared it "an attack on collective bargaining."
On the national level, things get no better. In FY 2010, the US spent $1.4 Trillion on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. In stark contrast, the US spent $553 Billion on benefits aimed at struggling workers such as unemployment insurance and food stamps. Thus, the younger workers bear the brunt of the current dysfunctional economy, yet our nation spent three times the money on people who are older, wealthier and more secure.
All of this is badly misdirected. Much of the economic burden and insecurity afflicting the elderly comes from not having emerging family members who are successful enough to support and help them out in the twilight years of their lives. Imagine how many welfare checks it would be worth to the families with twenty-four year-old “house guests” if these children were earning even $12/ hour? This becomes a challenge, an opportunity and a moral imperative all in one to whomever opposes the failed Obama Agenda in 2012.
America has a generation of younger people who are so disconnected from work and responsibility that they are forgetting what it is like to get up in the morning with a purpose in life. The GOP candidate that can connect with these younger people and convince them that the ladder of opportunity can once again begin at their level, will change what young people want out of the world. Give people an opportunity, and they will explore that in preference to existing on handouts in some relative’s basement.
If reference to the General Sherman quote atop the post, we won’t be killing these young people and hopefully would never want to. Our choice is to create the sort of economy that will employ them before they seek to destroy us. The GOP candidate that can create the jobs and make young people believe those jobs will exist will eat Barack Obama’s lunch after all the failed promises he made to this voting demographic.