I apologize in advance if this turns into a thesis rather than a post. I have a lot of things to say that all go together well and make a good point in my head, but there’s no evidence available in advance that I can get it into pixels without a massive failure.
First, young adults today are paying a terrible price in terms of employment during this recession.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Call it the recession’s lost generation.
In record-setting numbers, young adults struggling to find work are shunning long-distance moves to live with Mom and Dad, delaying marriage and buying fewer homes, often raising kids out of wedlock. They suffer from the highest unemployment since World War II and risk living in poverty more than others – nearly 1 in 5.
“We have a monster jobs problem, and young people are the biggest losers,” said Andrew Sum, an economist and director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University. He noted that for recent college grads now getting by with waitressing, bartending and odd jobs, they will have to compete with new graduates for entry-level career positions when the job market eventually does improve.
“Their really high levels of underemployment and unemployment will haunt young people for at least another decade,” Sum said.
Why? Well, partly because experience matters, of course, but also partly because of certain societal trends. Since the Great Depression, each successive generation has increased the amount of coddling offered our offspring, and I’m as guilty of this as anyone. I do my best to protect my little lambs from anything that might bring them discomfort, difficulty or detract from their constant joy. I’m sure I’m not alone in this and I know my parents did the same for me, though they didn’t have the resources I have.
My grandparents, on the other hand, were not so inclined as they raised my parents (both 1932 models). They were primarily interested in ensuring that there was at least some kind of bean on the table to keep their stomachs from chewing through their backbones. In my mom’s family, there were nine children beginning production in 1926 and they were not mollycoddled in any sense. They worked like rented mules to try to increase the odds there would be sufficient beans on the table that night.
Those kids were tougher than shoe leather. They didn’t have electricity or running water; they grew virtually everything they ate and they grew it the hard way, with no tiller or watering hose; they had a nail for a closet; they shared a bed with a litter of children; they were happier than clams and wildly successful in their lives.
Every one of them married and stayed married for life. Every one of them remembers a very happy childhood (which certainly eliminates wealth as a factor of happiness.) Every one of them worked (or raised children while hubby worked) and retired to a paid-off home, car and decent amount of savings. Every one of the men went to war when war called and fought like men. They lived, and most of them are still living, happy successful lives.
Tough times don’t make failures, they make tough people. Hopefully these tough times will make this generation tough as well, but I’ve got to tell you, I’m skeptical. My grandparents married young and started their family right away. It *never* would have occurred to my grandpa to move back into his parent’s house, though they were relatively prosperous. Never. He was a carpenter, which was not a great occupation in the Great Depression, but when he couldn’t get work building, he cut wood. They raised and sold eggs or anything else they could to make a bit of money. But they did not move back in with mom and dad or get a check from Uncle Sugar.
But everyone had a tough time in the Great Depression, while today it’s hitting the young especially hard. Why? Well, I blame government to a large extent. They have taken up the job of educating our children and failed in a massive and impressive manner. Half of the kids we send into the school system coast through for ten to 13 years and never learn how to read, write or do basic math, regardless of whether or not they manage to snare a diploma.
Yes, my grandpa didn’t have any great education, but he had skills that were necessary for the age in which he lived. He could build a house and build it square with the rustic implements of the day. He could grow a garden and my grandma could put the food up so it didn’t rot. He could grow livestock and chickens so they had protein.
We are raising kids who have no useful skills of any kind unless you count loading tunes on an iPod, and sending them out into the world to make a living. We are turning them over to a bunch of bureaucrats for their education even though we know the failure statistics and doing nothing to change the statistics or hold the bureaucrats to account. It is evil of us, as parents, to do this to them.
Furthermore, most of these kids are trainable. They have functioning brains and are capable of learning the tasks they need. Having lost their chance at a good education, they at least need a chance at apprenticeships. They need to take their unskilled, uneducated little bodies to someone who is willing to put some effort into their future and give themselves to them in exchange for learning a trade or a talent or a skill. But once again the government destroys their chances. Under current employment law, unless the employer is willing to pay them nearly $100 per day, they can’t take them on. Well, that would be great except these kids aren’t worth $5 a day, let alone a hundred. So we put them in our basements and raise their children for them and teach them that they are hopeless and weak. Great job there, America. Great job.
Others go onto college but when they leave with their brand new degree in hand and a load of student loan debt, they can’t get a job either, or if they find one, it’s as a waitress or clerk somewhere. Rather than settle into a job that won’t pay their student debt, they go on for a master’s degree (And you know the degree steps don’t you? BS – bull$h!t, MS – more of the same, PhD – piled higher and deeper) but then they graduate in their mid twenties with a bucketload of debt to terrible job market. We call this “adding insult to injury” in the real world.
Our country, our youth, our economy won’t recover and thrive until we begin at the very roots of the problem. K-12 education needs to be stripped from the government automatons and unions and the parents need to be given a vast amount of power over the system in which their kids are educated. We, as parents, need to kick the little blighters right in the seat of the pants and show them what a day’s work looks like. We need to get them out of the hot house and into the sun and wind or we’ll grow spindly little sad excuses for offspring.
The bureaucrats that encourage this culture of dependency need an application of tar and feathers and then we need to kick them in their little backsides and show them what a day’s work looks like. No bureaucrat ever should be allowed to write any regulation or bill about any business or its functions unless at least half of their working careers has been in private enterprise, making or selling themselves or something else in the free market. We have altogether too many community organizers in positions of power who think businesses are a blight on the public good.
I know we all get weary of the Democrats using the old trope of “It’s for the chillrun!” but this is not just for the children, it’s for the future of our country. We’ll either raise these successive generations up right, or we will have failed in our determination to keep this country free.