The Disastrous Vicissitudes of Youth

It is not religion, as Karl Marx once claimed, but rather the free bread and circuses of Roman empire infamy, that have become the opiate of the American masses.  And as in the Roman empire, they will be our undoing, unless we change course dramatically and soon.

As the French say, plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.  The Book of Ecclesiastes asserts that there is nothing new under the sun….even over the long sweep of thousands of years of history….even in our unparalleled constitutional republic, which lived for 236 years until its untimely death at the hands of social democracy on November 6, 2012.

As the nation fiddles while Rome burns, we sort through the wreckage of a disastrous election and find most inexplicable in Barack Obama’s decisive victory not the fact that young people (ages 18-29) who were one out of five voters in this election represented an even higher percentage of the vote than in the heady days of 2008, but that they supported Obama by almost two to one (60%-36%).

I know, I know – young people have almost always been more liberal. But it is these young voters who have suffered the most under the Obama economy, who will continue to suffer disproportionately, and who will be most vulnerable in the entirely predictable fiscal crisis that awaits the new America.  

Estimates are that half of young college graduates are unable to find work commensurate with their skill sets. Youth unemployment is at 12% overall, with young Hispanics jobless at a rate of 13%, and young blacks at a whopping 21%.  And of course these figures do not even take into account underemployment and the millions of discouraged youngsters who have quit looking for work.  They are now, in the words of Paul Ryan, left to stare up at fading posters of the hope and change Obama of 2008 in the restored teenaged bedrooms of their parents’ homes.

So much for people voting their own pocketbooks.  That is part of the conventional wisdom that went by the wayside in this election, along with the decisive nature of the independent vote (which went for Romney by 5% – and by 10% in Ohio), the assertion that late-deciding voters always break for the challenger, and judgments about the state of an election based on “energy” and the size of crowds at campaign events.

And then there was in-your-face class warfare.  It has rarely even been tried, not to mention succeeded, in presidential campaigns of the past, but was the very basis for Obama’s victory, with young people embracing the only specific policy proposal of the president’s entire campaign – raising taxes on the rich.  Evidently there was nary a thought that such a policy, even taken to its most confiscatory extreme, can not possibly generate anywhere near enough revenue to close the gaping hole in our now-annual trillion dollar budget deficits – it probably won’t cover more than about 5% of the deficit – not to mention the cost in private sector jobs which will be lost or not created.

But the youth, and minority youth, unemployment rates don’t even begin to state the full burden that will be carried by America’s future generations.  The national debt – which may soon be referred to as “the D word” because its peril will be so unspeakable – increases by $3,880,000,000 every day and will reach $17,000,000,000,000 by years end, with trillions more as far as the eye can see.  This is a roaring tiger looking to devour all in its path.

Young voters have eyes, but do not see, will not project, are unwilling to think through what they, among others, have wrought.  The goal of the left has always been to create a permanent dependent class from which they can consistently draw a winning electoral hand, and given one last chance to put the brakes on this runaway entitlement society, the young chose instead to hit the gas and move “forward” toward the cliff.  So we can all go over that cliff together, just like the granny in the left’s viscious attack ad against Paul Ryan.

Those of us who have less time ahead than behind us in this life may be able to ride out the building storm in some fashion, as politicians of both parties inevitably and scandalously continue to do what they do best – kick the can down the road and leave an increasingly catastrophic fiscal crisis for future officeholders to fix.

But the young can not take similar cold comfort.  While those over 50 may not see a wrenching interruption in their cherished benefits in the near future, the long term outlook for the youth of America is dismal.  During my campaign for the US Senate, I asked more than one gathering of the young to raise their hands if they believed Medicare and Social Security, which account for about half of our dramatically imbalanced federal budget, will still be alive when it comes time for them to take out what they’ve put in.  Not a single hand was raised.  Not one.

They continue to be forced to pour their money into this bottomless pit of entitlements…..and continue to vote for politicians who pretend there is nothing wrong with these programs that a few tweaks here and there can’t fix.  And it’s not as if Republicans writ large have promised to attack the crisis with much more fervor than Obama and the Democrats – no less than Paul Ryan promised to save Medicare by maintaining the status quo.  And the whole lot of them have now been validated in their assertion that government should serve first and foremost as a dispensary for various goodies that are enough to sooth the savage beast that is their electoral base.

Many states are not much better off. California, New York and Illinois, arguably the three most leftist states in the nation, are also the three state economies closest to the brink of crisis or even default.  All because of breathtakingly incompetent and cowardly management driven by the same leftist ideology that has long since been discredited….and which we just voted to uphold.

We can only hope millenials will one of these days look in the mirror and understand that they have seen the enemy, and it is staring back at them.  

Fool us once, shame on you.  Fool us twice, shame on us.