The generation of young people who are now entering college or have recently graduated are suffering more than any other in this poor economy. And their story is one of the most overlooked and underreported.
As USA Today reported in April 2012, more than half of those with bachelor's degrees under the age of 25 were jobless or underemployed last year. This was the highest number in the last 11 years.
Instead of getting good jobs in the fields they prepared for, these young college grads are working in jobs that require a high school diploma or less. This means that it's going to be some time before they can start paying off their share of the $1 trillion in student loans that are now outstanding
Many are working in food service jobs or have taken on work in offices or retail. Their dreams of starting on their career paths as engineers, physicists, chemists, mathematicians or computer professionals are on hold, as are their dreams of starting a family or living independently of their parents.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the overall underemployment figure is 17 percent. But among 18 to 29-year-olds, 32 percent are underemployed. Not only are recent grads underemployed, according to Gallup the percentage of those who are not working is 13.6 percent-considerably higher than the national unemployment rate 8.3 percent.
However, just as many say that the true unemployment rate is closer to 10-15 percent, Ron Meyer of Young America's Foundation, who spoke on the Truth That Transforms television program, says the rate for youth is actually 17.4 percent-one of the highest levels since World War II. "Young people are taking an economic shellacking," he says.
Unlike older Americans who have lost their jobs in the poor economy, recent college grads don't have the experience and knowledge to start a business or self-employ. As Meyer points out, that has meant that "Youth participation in the job force is at an all-time low. Young people are either going back to college, moving home with their parents, [or] trying to travel some place, because there is simply no work for them. The way this recession worked and the way the government has tried to fix the economy hasn't worked out well for young people and no one is talking about it."
A recent college grad, who is now working as a journalist and spokesman for the Young American's Foundation, Meyer is reaching out to his peers and encouraging them to speak up and get involved-not with Occupy Wall Street, but as "the catalyst for entitlement reform, the catalyst for tax reform," because that, says Meyer, "affects us the most."
Meyer says that young people in America are "indentured to the government" through debt and through the present employment crisis. Therefore, he's urging youth to "stand up and say, "Hey, enough big government, enough big spending and enough high taxes. I want employment and I want the government to do its proper role, its proper Constitutional role."
There is no other option according to Meyer. "It has to happen. Otherwise I think our future is lost…. The future taxes from the National Debt alone will consume our economy just with interest payments."
Proverbs 13:22 speaks of the wise man who leaves an inheritance to his children's children. Yet unless something is done about our nations staggering debt-now at $16 trillion-today's boomer and elder generations are going to leave their children and grandchildren saddled with a debt that will sap all of their energies and deny them the opportunities they desire to achieve their goals, aspirations, and chosen vocations.
As Dr. D. James Kennedy said in 1989 in a sermon entitled, "Christianity and the Federal Deficit," "The Bible says that inheritances should go from the fathers unto the sons, but we have reversed that concept. We are taking from our sons and our grandsons and are wasting it on our own immediate wants…. We want our grandchildren to pay for the high standard of living that we are enjoying today. What we are doing to our grandchildren is so criminal that I wouldn't be at all surprised if the younger generation today says, when it reaches maturity, 'Phooey on the whole bunch of you!' and just cuts us all off."
Ron Meyer isn't saying "Phooey on the whole bunch of you." He has a vision for changing our nation that shows a wisdom beyond his years. "I think we can keep the American dream and save the American dream from destruction by doing things like entitlement reform, shrinking the size of government, giving more power back to the states, federalizing these massive programs and massive bureaucracies that are trying to solve problems from the top down."
Let's hope he persuades not only his peers, but also those in the older generations who are more inclined to vote. For unless such changes are made today, when today's younger generations gain political power they may very well say, "Phooey on the whole bunch of you" and stop paying taxes to cover our Social Security and Medicare.
In Isaiah 51:8 the Lord says, "My righteousness will be forever and my salvation from generation to generation." And in her song of praise, Jesus' mother Mary rejoiced that "His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation" (Luke 1:10).
God thinks "generationally," and so should we-not just in church, but at the polling booth as well.
When we vote this November, let us think of the coming generations-our children and grandchildren and even our great-grandchildren. How will our vote make a difference in their lives?
May the coming generations not have cause to say "Phooey on you," but rather, may they rise up and call us "blessed."