Young Voters are Waking up to Reality

Harvard's Institute of Politics released a report on Thursday titled "Survey of Young Americans' Attitudes Toward Politics and Public Service: 20th Edition."  According to Alana Goodman, the report's conclusions should "alarm" President Obama.  She said,

"In 2008, voters under the age of 30 helped catapult Obama into the White House. Three years later, Obama's approval rating is underwater with the demographic, which is becoming increasingly confident he'll lose reelection."

At this moment, only 46% of young Americans approve of the president's performance while 51% of them disapprove, and Obama's numbers are heading south quickly among that demographic.  Why?  Bill Clinton understood the problem, and he coined a phrase to explain it: "It's the economy, stupid." 

Twenty years later, it's still the economy, and young Americans aren't so stupid that they don't get it.  Thankfully, they are finally waking up to reality because they will be the ones called upon to pay the bills that President Obama and his Democratic colleagues in Congress seem determined to run up despite mounting opposition from all sectors of the voting population. 

There is a connection between mounting debt and deficits and Gross Domestic Product, and we've passed the point as a nation where printing dollars and increasing spending produce positive results.  In fact, we don't even know what the price will be for our largess.  There are interest rate and inflation effects associated with runaway spending.  Thanks to the global economic slowdown, we haven't experienced them yet, but we will.  It's as certain as night following day.  When inflation rears its ugly head and interest rates shoot through the roof, everybody loses, but young people stand to lose more than others because they are just entering the workforce.  They can look forward to a lifetime of struggling to pay off debt that we should not have incurred.

Goodman is correct.  President Obama should be alarmed and so should every member of Congress, Democrat or Republican.  Little by little, the entire nation is beginning to pay attention, and voters don't like what they see.  Our nation's debt and deficit problems are totally out of control, and the president doesn't grasp the enormity of the problems that he has created.  Neither do many members of Congress who insist that we still aren't doing enough for this group or that. 

The party's over.  November 2012 is less than a year away.  Hopefully, everyone in America will get the message then.

Neil Snyder is a chaired professor emeritus at the University of Virginia.  His blog,, is posted daily.  His latest book is titled If You Voted for Obama in 2008 to Prove You're Not a Racist, You Need to Vote for Someone Else in 2012 to Prove You're Not an Idiot.

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