What’s wrong with kids these days? Not much we couldn’t fix.

KidsI’d be more inclined to believe those people who clamor for us to think of the children and grandchildren, if they weren’t doing such a bang up job of bashing them.

They’re Lazy Loafers?

A couple of years ago, a New York Times writer published an article about the problems enunciated by young college graduates in the job market.  Here’s the reaction:

“While the messages from young people almost uniformly expressed frustration at the job market they’d been thrust into, some of the e-mails from older readers argued that today’s college graduates were having trouble finding jobs because they hadn’t worked hard enough.” [NYT]

Really?  OK, I know that those of us who are charter members of the Over The Hill Gang resolutely maintain we walked to and from school up hill both ways in blizzards … but aren’t we supposed to be concerned about those kids and grandkids whom we are “burdening with debt and regulations?”  If we were really concerned we might want to consider helping them find employment so tax revenue collected from them could pay off that debt — OR — how about some of the more affluent among us ponying up to pay a more equitable share of the debt we’re racking up now?

Unemployment by ageYes, youth unemployment is a serious problem.  [Demos]  And, as the article containing this graph suggests, if we’re going to lambaste kids for not working what are we saying about the other age groups?  They’re all lazy?  No, that argument doesn’t track.

Go To School!

They are.   College costs leveling off a bit but student aid still isn’t keeping up with the expenses.  [CBS]

“The average published cost for tuition and fees at a private college for the 2013-14 academic year was $30,094 – up $1,105. An out-of-state student at a public college or university faced an annual average price tag of $22,203, which is up $670. The average price tag to for an in-state student to attend a two-year institution was much less at $3,264 – up $110.
… in the two years leading up to the 2012-2013 school year, the federal aid per full-time equivalent undergraduate student declined 9 percent, or about $325.”

So, their expenses keep going up and the support keeps going down, but Gee Whiz we wouldn’t want to burden them with our “national debt.”  It seems just fine to too many people to burden them with student debt, thus rendering it difficult for them to rent apartments and buy automobiles, etc.

If they don’t like it they should do something about it…

OK, what would we suggest they do? Vote?  We aren’t making it any easier for them to do that either.  How do we expect them to take up their civic duties — to keep the flame alive we pass along the old Democracy Trail — if we don’t encourage them to vote?

There’s the infamous case of North Carolina — home to Duke, NC, NC State, Elon, Appalachian State, East Carolina, Western Carolina, Davidson, Wake Forest and others —  so what did the solons of the south do about young people voting in that state?

“The law requires a government-issued photo ID card to vote, but doesn’t allow student IDs, public-employee IDs, or photo IDs issued by public assistance agencies. It shortens the early voting window, bans same-day registration during early voting and prohibits paid voter registration drives. Counties will not be able to extend voting hours in cases of long lines, or allow provisional voting if someone arrives at the wrong precinct. Poll “observers” are encouraged to challenge people who show up to vote, and are given new powers to do so.

None of this has anything to do with fraud. Out of 7 million ballots cast in the state in 2012, there were 121 allegations of voter fraud, a rate of .00174 percent. Republicans aren’t even claiming the measure will reduce fraud — only that it will provide reassurance to those who worry about it [NYT] (emphasis added)

Oh, so now those fogeys who walked up hill both ways to and from school in blizzards will FEEL better about voting?  Here’s a thought, how about bequeathing a healthy vibrant democracy to the kiddies? How about making them feel as though their votes are important, and thereby informing them we really do think they are important, at least significant enough to be trusted with the government we’re going to hand over to them.

And, we’re going to be handing it over to all of them, not just the white ones.  However, in Wisconsin that could be a problem for some scions of ethnic minority families.

#  78% of African-American men in Wisconsin between the ages of 18 and 24 did not have a driver’s license
#  66% of young African-American women in the same age range lacked a driver’s license
#  57% of young Latino men aged 18 to 24, and 63% of young Latinas lack driver’s licenses  [Demos]

I’m definitely getting the message that these kids are “good enough” to grow up and pay off our national indebtedness, but not good enough to have a voice in how we incur that debt.

Here’s a thought for the Thanksgiving season as we gather with those offspring — IF we really are concerned, legitimately concerned, about the welfare of our children and grandchildren how about we give more than lip service to their needs — we actively seek ways to improve their chances of getting an education, a job, and holding their rightful place our American society?

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