Millions upon millions of young Americans have completely lost faith in the U.S. economy and are mad as hell that their economic futures have been destroyed. The recent economic downturn has hit those under the age of 30 the hardest. Today, there are hordes of young people that should be entering their most productive years that are sitting home with nothing to do. Many of them have worked incredibly hard throughout high school and college. Many of them have stayed out of trouble and have done everything that “the system” asked them to do. But once they got finished with school, the promised “rewards” simply were not there. Instead, millions of young Americans are faced with crushing student loan debt loads in an economy where they can’t find good jobs. When you are in your twenties, it can be absolutely soul-crushing to send out hundreds (or even thousands) of resumes and not get a single interview. Most of us grew up believing that we would “be something” when we got older, and millions of young Americans are having those dreams brutally crushed right now. Americans under the age of 30 voted for Barack Obama in droves back in 2008 because they believed that he would make things better. Instead, Barack Obama has made things even worse. Significant numbers of young Americans are starting to wake up and realize that neither political party is providing any real answers, and they are starting to get mad as hell about it.
Americans under the age of 30 don’t want to hear that they are not going to be able to do better than their parents. They don’t want to hear that they are going to have to “pay the price” because of the mistakes of previous generations. They don’t want to hear that the “good jobs” that have been held out as a “carrot” for them all these years have disappeared and are not coming back.
Millions of young Americans want what was promised to them. They want good jobs that will enable them to enjoy the “American Dream”. They want things to go back to the way that things used to work in America.
If you spend much time around those in their twenties, you know that many of them have a look of hopelessness in their eyes. Large numbers of them have moved back in with their parents. Large numbers of them are flipping burgers or working retail jobs part-time because that is all they can find. There are even a growing number of them that have given up entirely and have completely checked out.
So are we in the process of creating a “lost generation”?
The following are 20 reasons why millions of Americans under the age of 30 are giving up on the U.S. economy….
#1 Only 55.3% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 were employed last year. That was the lowest level that we have seen since World War II.
#2 Today, there are 5.9 million Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 that are living with their parents.
#3 The economic downturn has been particularly tough on men. According to Census data, men are twice as likely to live with their parents as women are.
#4 Amazingly, less than 30 percent of all U.S. teens had a job this summer.
#5 Approximately one out of every five Americans under the age of 30 is currently living in poverty.
#6 According to one recent survey, only 14 percent of all Americans that are 28 or 29 years old are optimistic about their financial futures.
#7 Since the year 2000, incomes for U.S. households led by someone between the ages of 25 and 34 have fallen by about 12 percent after you adjust for inflation.
#8 The cost of “getting an education” has become increasingly burdensome in recent years. Average yearly tuition at U.S. private universities is now up to $27,293. That figure has increased by 29% in just the past five years.
#9 In America today, approximately two-thirds of all college students graduate with student loans.
#10 Millions of young Americans are absolutely being financially strangled by horrific student loan debt loads. Sadly, the total amount of student loan debt in the United States now exceeds the total amount of credit card debt in the United States.
#11 In 2010, the average college graduate had accumulated approximately $25,000 in student loan debt by graduation day.
#12 One-third of all college graduates end up taking jobs that don’t even require college degrees.
#13 In the United States today, there are more than 100,000 janitors that have college degrees.
#14 In the United States today, 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees.
#15 In the United States today, approximately 365,000 cashiers have college degrees.
#16 In the United States today, 24.5 percent of all retail salespersons have a college degree.
#17 As the economy has crumbled, fewer young Americans have been getting married. Today, an all-time low 44.2% of Americans between the ages of 25 and 34 are married.
#18 Young Americans are becoming increasingly frustrated as our politicians stand by and do nothing while our economy is being hollowed out. The sad truth is that United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs a month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, and top politicians in both major political parties keep pushing for even more job-killing “free trade” agreements.
#19 Young Americans are becoming increasingly frustrated that pretty much the only jobs that seem to be available are low paying jobs. Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs. Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.
#20 Young Americans are becoming increasingly frustrated that previous generations have saddled them with a 14 trillion dollar national debt that they are expected to make payments on for the rest of their lives.
A lot of young Americans swing back and forth between anger and despair. Many of them worked like crazy for years because of the promise of a better life, and now they are being bitterly disappointed. Just consider the following testimonial that was recently posted on The Atlantic….
I am in my mid-20s. I have a university education. I started working when I was 14. I have chemical burns and scars over my hands from dealing with caustic cleaning chemicals. I did not want that to be my life like my uncles. I had to get out. I worked very hard in high school and volunteered and was the member of clubs and all of that great stuff. I got into a good university and worked hard. I took a language course, took things that I loved. I worked through my degree – I was even a janitor in a building that I lived in, because I needed the cut in rent. I did that for no pay.
After these months of unemployment I have fallen into a pretty major depression. I live at home, I do chores, I look for work. As much as I want to get my life together, I have some great mental health issues to deal with – but have neither the money to purchase medication that may help me, nor the ability to pay for psychological or psychiatric help.
So what can be done?
Well, someone could wave a magic wand and fix the U.S. economy, but we all know that is not going to happen.
In fact, there is all kinds of evidence that the U.S. economy is about to get even worse.
So should we just tell our young people that they might as well just give up and start making rap videos about using food stamp cards like this one? (*Warning* The video contains some very strong language.)
The number of Americans on food stamps has increased by 74 percent since 2007. Millions of young people are learning that the only way to survive is to be dependent on the government.
It certainly does not help that our entire education system is deeply broken. For example, did you know that the verbal scores on the SAT for the class of 2011 were the lowest ever recorded?
Our students have become so “dumbed down” that large numbers of them can barely even function in society once they graduate.
That is not their fault.
That is our fault.
We have failed young Americans in so many ways that it would take a series of books to detail them all.
We can say that we are sorry, but that just isn’t going to cut it.
Millions of young Americans want what was promised to them, but we no longer have it to give to them.
Anger in this nation is already starting to boil over in strange and unpredictable ways. If the economy gets even worse, we are going to have tens of millions of young Americans that are mad as hell and that are ready to riot in the streets.
What are we going to do then?
According to a recent Gallup poll, 81 percent of Americans are “dissatisfied with the way the nation is being governed”.
That is not a sign of a healthy nation.
The sad truth is that the foundations of America are crumbling and we have millions upon millions of young people that are incredibly angry and incredibly frustrated.
It does not take a genius to figure out that is a recipe for disaster.
So please pray for America.
We are going to need it.