Monday, August 6, 2012

Don't Cry For America's Young People

As the father of three twenty-something young adults Robert Samuelson is especially concerned about their future.

Many parents share his disquiet.

Young people have not fared well under the Obama administration. Neither, for that matter, have members of minority groups or inhabitants of blue states.

Speaking of the young Samuelson highlights their passionate embrace of candidate Obama.

In his words:

Younger voters seem clueless about advancing their economic interests. In 2008, 18-to-29-year-olds supported Barack Obama by 34 percentage points. They love his pseudo-youthfulness. Or his positions on other issues (immigration, gay rights) trump economics. As president, Obama has done nothing to improve generational fairness.

Such cluelessness is shared by other groups that will again vote for Obama, their own declining circumstances notwithstanding.

As a good father Samuelson starts thinking about how he can help the clueless young.

He writes:

If the young won't help themselves, their parents and grandparents might. They might champion revising retirement programs. Dream on. Parents and grandparents may be worried about their offspring's prospects, but they're not so worried as to sacrifice their own. There are real conflicts between the young and old; so far, the young are losing.

Then again, their parents and grandparents might not. The reason has less to do with generational self-interest than with moral education.

Perhaps it’s time for the young people who voted in such overwhelming numbers for Obama to take responsibility for their votes.

The same applies to the minority group members and other denizens of the blue states.

Voting does not just give you a choice. It gives you a responsibility for the consequences. If you vote for a candidate whose policies deprive you of a future then you ought to be able to understand that you bear responsibility for the outcome.  

If you are young and unemployed, camped out in your parents’ home, then perhaps you ought to stop blaming other people for your fate.

And you ought to stop waiting for your elders to bail you out. Try thinking about how you managed to allow yourself to be manipulated into voting away your future.

Obama was like a Pied Piper who seduced America’s clueless youth. He is still offering the same tired tag lines in order to seduce the same group again.

Republicans can do better than to try to compete with Obama over who is going to provide more food stamps and more free health care for unemployed Obama voters.

They should help young people to take responsibility for the error of their past votes. 


Dennis said...

My son sent me this link:, and asked me to comment on it. I thought it was fairly well done, but sometimes in a rather simplistic manner with a little stretching to make a point. What it really does is absolve those all through history for their own greed, lack of forethought, and responsibility for their own actions.
It is hard to feel sorry for the young for the same reasons. Granted the education system is not providing them with the tools to make informed decisions, but they have a responsibility to live for more than just today. Becoming an adult means something more than going out getting drunk, having sex and playing video games.
I remember the toughest decision I had to make was telling my son that he had two weeks to find something to do with his life or he was going to do it else where. It hurt my soul to do it, but it was one of the good thing I did as a parent. He has really made me proud.
At some point it is not the job of a parent to keep saving their children from growing up and taking responsibility.

Tom said...

Do you really believe this?
"They [Republicans] should help young people to take responsibility for the error of their past votes."

If the Republicans want to tell the young people the "error of their past votes", the only message that would be honest would "Don't vote for Obama, Don't vote for Romney, they'll both sell you out to keep your Boomer parents retirement delusions. Don't worry about them. Just stop voting. Let the worst candidate take control the the virtue of the most pandered and greedy voters, and let them take the system down on its own timing."

I like Dennis's linked video, even if it falsely conspiratorial. It's just not needed, to pay out banker conspiracies. Even if they are true in a sense, they are a distraction, because it suggests armed rebellion can fix things and we can go back to the American Dream, while in fact that dream itself may be the problem.

But anyway, what you should take from the video is that debt is not your friend (in a contracting economy), so let the government take on all the (soverign) debt it likes since it doesn't have to repay it, but your debt is your slavery, and should be avoided at all costs.

Stewart, you may not be impressed by the Occupy movement, but for me its a sign we don't need to cry for youth. Life is a teacher, and stepping out of consumer society teaches very quickly. Law and order and freedom have a complex relationship you don't learn until you play different sides, see others acting badly, and then find yourself later doing the same thing, just because you can. So I worry about young people fighting for the American Dream in consumerism and economic freedom, but have great hope for youth who see the most important things in life are free (from money), and only direct experience in wider relationships and power circles will get you there.

But Romney? You have to be joking. Gary Johnson is a better role model, even if he doesn't have a chance, you know he's not pandering to what people want to hear.