Graduation speeches and reality

Graduations and college move-in-days are upon us again, and many are busy attending ceremonies, listening to poignant speeches, and bestowing wishes of success and happiness to newly minted graduates.  Some have already started gathering supplies for upcoming college move-in day.  Others still are entering the workforce or the military.

We read sentimental articles about children leaving home, and our eyes well up.  Our hearts and minds are heavy with a combination of sadness and jubilation as we reminisce all too much.  Some will become empty nesters, and others have more graduations to attend.

Regardless, at one point or another in our lives, most of us have heard graduation speeches that fill us to the brim with anticipation.  I recall a speech wherein the valedictorian kept repeating the phrase, “It’s up to us.”  It’s a powerful pronouncement.  And being that we live in the greatest country on Earth, regardless of what the left tells us, this should be absolutely true.

Sadly, I don’t believe that it is true any longer, because the left is on a mission to take it away.  Our educational system continues to churn out students who have no idea what their own constitution guarantees them: freedom from tyranny.  High school and university students have been inculcated with the left’s socialist agenda of equality and wealth redistribution and utter hatred for American exceptionalism.  Many have been told from their first history lesson to their last that America is an evil, racist place.

These same students were not told that America is exceptional because it is the only place on Earth that was born of an idea that every individual, regardless of race, gender, or religion, has inherent and inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (not a guarantee of outcomes, which is what the left wants).  Except for America, the default government of all other countries throughout history was one of tyranny, whereby a ruler granted the people’s rights.  Most places in the world today, tyranny still rules.  This is why America is exceptional, not because we create the best computers, or the best films, even if we do create the best computers and the best films, among other things.

Consider a sampling of the American landscape that awaits our graduates and those entering school this fall:

1. After working in retail for several months, a recent graduate decides she will start her own women’s clothing retail business and eventually expand it to include a children’s line.  Most will applaud her entrepreneurial resolve and determine her decision a cause for celebration.  

But wait… not so fast.  We consider the landscape of her particular area of interest.

A closer look at what she will actually be dealing with is summed up in the May 2016 National Retail Federation Report, in which business retailers believe that government regulations diminish the appeal of business ownership.  About 75 percent said regulations have increased significantly in the past several years, as has the cost of compliance.  The same number also said federal government regulatory uncertainty makes it difficult to plan to expand businesses and makes it unappealing for companies to invest in businesses.  Without investment, economic growth is stymied.

Recent minimum wage increase mandates, overtime mandates, tax code complexities, and the Affordable Care Act have also added to the burdens of doing business.  While those in the current administration who design these mandates purport to do so to help the average worker, they are actually punishing those who employ the average worker.  The NRF states in its report that most retailers across the industry generally have profit margins of about three percent.  Such drastic labor cost surges would send many of them packing, especially those with fewer than 50 employees.  The NRF strongly encourages policymakers to allow businesses to make decisions that are best for them individually instead of being driven by a universal policy that ends up hurting those who can least afford it.  Basically, leave small business alone.  It’s the driver of the American economic engine, and it’s under assault.

2. A highly skilled biomedical engineering student is searching for his first full-time job and is unable to find one.  Consider his particular scenario: the current administration continues to allow companies to import foreign workers for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) jobs in droves by issuing H-2 visas to foreign workers.  According to the NumbersUSA Education & Research Foundation, the U.S. government continues to grow the guest worker program even though there are plenty of Americans to fill those jobs.  The untold truth of the H-2 visa program is that its primary objective isn’t to address labor shortages, but to suppress wages for workers in these fields.  In fact, wages in these industries have generally been flat since the late 1990s.

In his latest book, Plunder and Deceit, Mark Levin, bestselling author and radio talk show host, writes extensively in his chapter on immigration about how current immigration policies are so detrimental to younger people.  He writes that, according to the Census Bureau, 74 percent of Americans graduating with a STEM degree are not employed in a STEM job.  Employers like Disney and Intel continue their practices of laying off Americans in order to replace them with cheaper foreign workers, yet we continue to spend thousands of dollars to educate students who will likely be unable to find work in their expertise because of their own government’s policies!

The issue of importing cheap foreign labor isn’t limited to H-2 visas, either.  Low-skilled H-1B visas are also being issued to replace American workers.  We now have many low-skilled younger workers also competing with immigrants for jobs.

3. The national debt now stands at $19.3 trillion, up from $10.6 trillion when Obama took office.  Yawn, right?  Not so fast, at least not for those graduates on the hook, thanks to our generation.  You see, debts must be paid back.

The problem with government debt is that it’s faceless.  It doesn’t come knocking at your front door at 2 a.m., so we assume that all is forgiven. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.  We will pay, and our younger workers will pay heartily.

We all know that high debt ratios always lead to slow growth in the economy. A high interest rate resulting from rising debt levels means there’s less capital to go around.  This amounts to decreased wage growth and less growth in the overall economy for all those new workers.  The future growth in entitlements brought on additionally with all the new waves of immigrants will exacerbate the nation’s debt problem.  Ever increasing government debt portends a huge tax burden and a weakened economy for younger workers.

We are all too busy, and unfortunately, in the flurry of nonstop activity like planning graduations, attending celebrations, visiting colleges, helping with move-in day, working jobs to pay for it all, and trying to squeeze in all the other stuff of the daily grind, we are missing the point.  The point is that if we don’t keep fighting to stay a free people and work to keep our free-market economy, we will lose it to those who never stop fighting to take it away.  When our free society is gone and the central planners the left loves install themselves, freedom as we know will be gone and may take generations to get back.

If we really want to heed the words of those sappy, wonderful graduation speeches about how we can do anything we put our minds to, we need to first ensure that our exceptional American landscape stays that way so we can be the great people only a country such as ours can produce.  If the landscape is all wrong, what we want won’t matter anymore.  The planners will decide for us. 

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