Crossposted from Hillbilly Report.
We have been detailing at some length of the diminishing opportunities faces the young in this country. Not only the diary just linked, but an earlier one here.Now, as if young Americans needed it even more disturbing news is coming out about how the policies of the last several decades, some supported by both parties are killing opportunity for young workers and threatening to make them the first "Lost Generation" in our history who actually will make less and be worse off than their parents or grandparents.
The numbers bear out that young workers nowadays face a much tougher environment than even ten years ago and in fact since the end of WWII:
If you’re under age 25 and looking for a job, you’re going to have a much tougher time than your older brother or sister did in 1999. Then, 60 percent of 16-24-year-olds had a job. Today, just 48 percent do, the lowest rate of young worker employment since World War II.
Rep. George Miller (D-California) recently outlined the disasterous effects this has not only on young workers but on the future of our country as a whole:
It is clear that the drop in employment is not just the result of a sudden shock to the system, but is part of a larger trend. You cannot ignore the fact that 20 percent fewer young workers are participating in the labor market.
The consequences of reduced work opportunities among young Americans mean fewer long-term employment prospects, less earnings and decreased productivity....If these dramatic trends are not reversed, our nation faces the potential of a generation of youth disconnected from the job market.
To add to this very dismal outlook for these workers, many of them have recieved college educations, still cannot find work and now face the prospect of paying back huge debts while still be forced to work low paying service-type jobs with no benefits:
Two-thirds of students holding a bachelor’s degree graduate with more than $20,000 in debt, twice as much as a decade ago. Law and medical school graduates have it even worse, with roughly $76,000 and $155,000 of debt respectively. Approximately 23 percent of freshman borrowers drop out of school because of debt.
The average earnings of full-time workers ages 25 to 34 are lower today than they were a generation ago, except among women with college degrees. And young men without a college education are earning 29 percent less than they did in 1975....Nearly 18 percent of 18-24-year-olds are living below the official poverty line.
The reversing of this disturbing trend must start early at the high school level with planning for students that both seek higher education, and those that do not wish to go further than High School. This includes informing them on finding good jobs that do not require a college education and giving better advice on college selection and majoring in fields that will be in demand.
Some other ideas that I myself can come up with is enacting severe penalties for companies that outsource our middle-class jobs to virtual slave labor countries who pay workers pennies a day and even exploit child labor to save money. We simply must enact tariffs and taxes that makes it just as expensive for the Benedict Arnold corporations to ship their slave-made goods and products that are lower quality into our country to sell to our consumers. The days of making the American worker compete with virtual slaves in oppressed, often Communist countries simply must come to an end to create middle-class jobs for our young.
Another ideas is the immediate enacting of the Employee Free Choice Act to make it easier for workers to organize and bargain for higher wages and benefits in the service-type jobs they are now forced to work who are not hurting at all making profit, yet refuse to share the fruits of their labors with the workers who make those profits possible. We simply must change the policies that allow greed to run rampant over our young and our workers in general or our young will be faced with debt and poverty for the rest of their lives. In short, it is far past time that work is rewarded as much as wealth in this country and all Americans who work hard are rewarded with a job, and a chance to make the middle-class.
Here is some vid from the conference: