Young Americans extra-miserable under Obama

Buyer's remorse among America's Obama-supporting youth?  One would hope so.

Young America's Foundation released its latest Youth Misery Index – a compilation of what the organization considers the three most important statistics to determine how young people in the United States are doing.  Those stats are youth unemployment (18.1%), average graduating debt ($30,000), and national debt per capita ($58,400).  YAF calls these numbers, respectively, "one of the highest levels since World War II," "record-breaking," and "the highest ever."

Put them all together, and you get a Youth Misery Index of 106.5.

I corresponded with YAF's Ashley Pratte on the significance of the numbers.  Per Pratte, "this isn't the hope and change that America wanted – especially its young people."  When I asked her about the youth's stereotypical support of Democratic policies, she suggested that Millennials are starting to turn around, at least on the current government: "today, Millennials are disenchanted with the Obama administration and are jaded in regard to the federal government.  Young America's Foundation polling shows that 60% of young people disagree with federal government intrusion in our daily lives."

Pratte was unequivocal about where America's youth's woes are coming from.  "We attribute the disproportionate amount of unemployed Millennials to Obama's massive expansion of the federal government.  This administration has tried to create a permanent dependent class out of this generation – hoping they will seek the government as the solution to their problems."

As a Millennial myself, I'll drop a personal anecdote here.  Shortly after I graduated from college in New York City, I met a man ("a guy" seems more appropriate) my age who was between jobs.  Though he had found enough part-time work to support himself, he decided to apply for federal benefits anyway.  He figured that as long as he qualified, he might as well seek out the extra cash, hipsters on food stamps-style.  He knew as well as I did that taxes from my paycheck would bankroll his new income stream. 

"Clearly," Pratte says, "we are a very pro-limited government generation, and that message is resonating loud and clear."  Hopefully she's right, and the guy I knew can now be considered an outlier.  Hopefully most of America's young people have Paul Ryan's image of the unemployed twenty-something moving back to his childhood bedroom, complete with Obama poster on the wall, stuck powerfully in their heads.  Hopefully all the Obama bumper stickers I see in the city where I now live were plastered on those bumpers by non-Millennials – or perhaps by Millennials who've been meaning to scrape them off but haven't found the time, because they're too busy looking for work.

A popular quotation often attributed to Winston Churchill reads that if you're conservative at twenty, you have no heart, and if you're liberal at forty, you have no brain.  With the economic reality shown by YAF's new data dragging them down, plus the Democratic Party's decidedly heartless continuing campaign against children in the womb, maybe America's youth will finally make the quotation obsolete.

Drew Belsky is American Thinker's deputy editor.  Contact him at, and follow him on Twitter @DJB627.

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