September 12, 2011
What Awaits Young AmericansBy George Scaggs
It is becoming increasingly difficult to figure out what America's younger generation is thinking. Perhaps they are too distracted by the fast-paced blur of modern existence to notice that the freedom and prosperity Americans have enjoyed for generations is quickly evaporating, and that such qualities are not merely arbitrary characteristics of the national landscape guaranteed for time eternal.
Given what our education system has been teaching (or not teaching) for the last several decades, perhaps they do not understand that freedom and prosperity are inextricably intertwined. Maybe they genuinely believe that government exists to provide for them and that government's ability to do so could never possibly be threatened.
Because they have lived only in a time of quickly accelerating technological advancement, perhaps they have confused those leaps forward with the advancement of mankind itself, assuming that whatever life their parents enjoyed, their own could only be better.
Maybe they do not understand that the definitive expression of liberty, and the only means of maintaining it, is personal responsibility. Perhaps some truly believe that an endless array of piercings and tattoos, the exploration of sexual deviancy, and other personal pleasures are the ultimate measures of articulating freedom.
Maybe they are blinded by idealism, unable to see that the concept of "big government" is a failed notion -- that every time it has been tried, in any and all manners, at any place on earth during any time in history, it has resulted in widespread misery and brought once-great nations to their knees.
Perhaps they do not recognize that the current era we live in epitomizes that failure -- that those painful lessons are being learned once again as the social experimentations inherent in big government crumble throughout America and Western Europe.
Not only has the current American version of big government failed, but it is dying a horribly dramatic death. In doing so, that failure has finally culminated in an extended economic downturn which is stripping an ever-growing number of Americans of a stable future.
With each passing day, the scope of our nation's debt dilemma is growing, and the probability of painless solutions is quickly dissolving. No doubt, the difficulties America is currently facing are daunting, but when combined with major demographic shifts, the significant development of other countries, and a U.S. government so bloated that it may collapse under its own weight, today's challenges will likely pale in comparison to what awaits younger Americans.
A confluence of change is underway. Due to the combination of global evolution and the acceleration of long-emerging social trends here at home, the assumptions and norms of yesterday are quickly melting away.
Unfortunately, many among today's younger generation are oblivious to these realities, seemingly determined to learn the hard way that you cannot eat freedom of expression. It won't pay the bills nor provide future opportunity for your children.
The evidence is right before our eyes. We now know that massive federal entitlement programs (as they are designed) have a shelf-life and that their inevitable collapse is drawing uncomfortably near.
On the positive front, young Americans seem to be developing a healthy skepticism about Social Security and Medicare providing for them in their later years. Albeit, to a 25-year-old, this is an issue to be dealt with in the distant future, a threat much too remote to stir the passions of youth.
Meanwhile, the young are being cheated in their formative years. Unchecked illegal immigration and minimum wage laws have increasingly forced them out of the workplace. As a result, many have not had the benefit of the basic lessons of responsibility one acquires while working as a teenager.
On the front end of adulthood, they face considerably heavier burdens than did their elders: total student loan debt has recently surpassed credit-card debt at a cool $1 trillion, most of the nation's manufacturing has moved overseas and millions of good paying lower-skilled jobs are gone, programs built upon notions of "social justice" have not resulted in the panacea that government promised, and the quality of education that the children of today's young adults will receive has been seriously degraded.
Politically, the left's only "solutions" are more of the same bitter tonic, made palatable by wrapping it in the guise of providing something for nothing. ObamaCare, if not ruled unconstitutional or outright repealed, may prove to be the pinnacle of this charade, forcing healthy young people to purchase health insurance.
With government mandates that defy the marketplace, such as coverage for pre-existing conditions, the insurance premiums for young adults can only be pushed higher and higher, placing additional weight on the class of youthful Americans who are actually willing to produce and make their own way in the world.
The federal government is out of money. It is broke. Actually, currently borrowing 43 cents of every dollar it spends, it is beyond broke. Though political spin may temporarily obscure this fact, it cannot prevent the unfortunate results that eventually flow from reality.
It stands to reason that at some point, out of sheer necessity, citizens will have to learn to make due with significantly less government than the last few generations of Americans have become accustomed to.
It is only a matter of time before the struggling permanent underclass which has long propped itself up on the backs of taxpayers will find that they must do more for themselves or suffer for it. The horror of so many unnecessary deaths witnessed during Hurricane Katrina may serve as a precursor, a perfect microcosm of what the socio-economic future may hold.
Similarly, the latest lunatic ravings of Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), telling the Tea Party to "go straight to hell," symbolize this struggle. Unable to provide any real solutions to her suffering constituency, in an attempt to diffuse the painful truth that the jig is up, Waters could muster nothing more than lashing out at her political opponents.
On the heels of decades of unprecedented prosperity, many among older generations could not foresee the calamity ahead. They merely presumed that what once was would always be. In the process, they pampered the younger generation, largely insulating them from the cruel realities of human existence.
Ah, but reality beckons. Soon, its uncomfortable consequences will be in full bloom. If twenty-somethings ever figure out what government has set them up for, the counter-culture unrest of the 1960s may look a picnic.
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