As a generation, the young people who are now entering or have recently graduated from college are suffering more than any other in this poor economy.
In April 2012, USA Today reported that more than half of those with bachelor’s degrees under the age of 25 were jobless or underemployed last year. This was the highest number in the last 11 years.
Instead of getting good jobs in the fields they prepared for, these young college grads are working in jobs that need only a high school diploma or less. This means that it’s going to be some time before they’re able to start paying off their share of the $1 trillion in student loans that are now outstanding.
Many are working in food service jobs or have taken on work in offices or retail. Their dreams of starting their careers in business or getting a job as an engineer or computer professional are on hold—as are their dreams of starting a family or even living independently of their parents.
The nation’s overall underemployment figure, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is 17 percent. But among 18 to 29-year-olds, 32 percent are underemployed. And, compared to the national unemployment rate of 8.3 percent, Gallup says the rate for recent grads is 13.6 percent.
However, Ron Meyer, of Young America’s Foundation (YAF), told Truth That Transforms television that the rate for youth is actually 17.4 percent—one of the highest levels since World War II. “Young people are taking an economic shellacking,” says Meyer.
Unlike older Americans who have lost their jobs in the poor economy, recent college grads don’t have the experience and knowledge to start a business or self-employ. According to Meyer, that has meant that “Youth participation in the job force is at an all-time low. Young people are either going back to college, moving home with their parents, [or] trying to travel some place, because there is simply no work for them. The way this recession worked and the way the government has tried to fix the economy hasn’t worked out well for young people and no one is talking about it.”
As a recent college grad himself, Meyer works as a journalist and spokesman for YAF. Part of his job is to reach out to his peers and encouraging them to speak up and get involved—not with Occupy Wall Street, but as “the catalyst for entitlement reform, the catalyst for tax reform,” because that, says Meyer, “affects us the most.”
Meyer says that young people in America are “indentured to the government” through debt and through the present employment crisis. Therefore, he’s urging youth to stand up and say, “Hey, enough big government, enough big spending and enough high taxes. I want employment and I want the government to do its proper role, its proper Constitutional role.”
There is no other option, in Meyer’s view. “It has to happen. Otherwise I think our future is lost…. The future taxes from the National Debt alone will consume our economy just with interest payments.”
Proverbs 13:22 speaks of the wise man who leaves an inheritance to his children’s children. Yet unless something is done about our nation’s staggering debt—now at $16 trillion—today’s children and grandchildren are going to be, as Meyer says, “indentured servants.” They will have to spend their lives working to pay for a debt that will sap all of their energies and deny them the opportunities they desire to achieve their goals, aspirations, and chosen vocations.
As Dr. D. James Kennedy said in 1989 in a sermon entitled, “Christianity and the Federal Deficit,” “The Bible says that inheritances should go from the fathers unto the sons, but we have reversed that concept. We are taking from our sons and our grandsons and are wasting it on our own immediate wants…. What we are doing to our grandchildren is so criminal that I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the younger generation today says, when it reaches maturity, ‘Phooey on the whole bunch of you!’ and just cuts us all off.”
Ron Meyer isn’t saying “Phooey on the whole bunch of you.” He has a vision for changing our nation that shows a wisdom beyond his years. “I think we can keep the American dream and save the American dream from destruction by doing things like entitlement reform, shrinking the size of government, giving more power back to the states, federalizing these massive programs and massive bureaucracies that are trying to solve problems from the top down.”
Let’s hope he persuades not only his peers, but also those in the older generations who are more inclined to vote. For unless such changes are made very soon, when today’s younger generations gain political power they may very well say, “Phooey on the whole bunch of you” and stop paying taxes to cover Social Security and Medicare payments to their elders.
In Isaiah 51:8 the Lord says, “My righteousness will be forever and my salvation from generation to generation.” And in her song of praise, Jesus’ mother Mary rejoiced that “His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation” (Luke 1:10).
God thinks “generationally,” and so should we—not just in church, but also at the polling booth.
When we vote this November, let us think of the coming generations—our children and grandchildren and even our great-grandchildren. How will our vote make a difference in their lives?
May the coming generations not have cause to say “Phooey on you,” but rather, may they rise up and call us “blessed.”