Jim's Blog

Rep. Bridenstine: It's time to end this war on youth

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Washington D.C., July 30, 2014 | comments

President Obama easily motivated young people across the nation to vote in 2012. He captured roughly 67 percent of the youth vote, according to the Center for Research and Information on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University. Yet a recent study from Harvard reported that millennials only trust the government to do the right thing 20 percent of the time.

To understand the frustration of the "unemployed generation," just look at where millennials are right now compared to where they were two years ago. Since the 2012 election, young people have been disillusioned by questionable government agency data collection programs, the failed implementation of Obamacare, continually rising unemployment, the rising cost of living, and of course, student debt. Many college students who voted for Obama in 2008 have graduated and are now stuck in a stagnant economy. Too many of them have had to move back in with their parents. They are making less money than expected, and this is affecting life decisions, including marriage and children.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate for 16-24 year olds in June of 2014 was 35.2 percent. This unemployed generation is competing with more experienced, older workers for entry level jobs. BLS figures do not take into account under-employment, where a millennial is overqualified for their job. A Pew Research Survey indicated that one third of the 26-33 demographic have college degrees, constituting one of the most educated generations in American history.

Our sputtering recovery and crippled economy are directly linked to the failed policies of this administration. The employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act has incentivized employers to avoid hiring more employees and to move their employees to part time. The Federal ReserveÍs Quantitative Easing policy, an attempt to print our way to prosperity, is out of control, artificially driving up the prices of groceries and other essentials. If the economy ever heats up, inflation will skyrocket. Our over-subsidized higher education system is causing the costs of a college education to explode, adding more and more debt.

Thankfully, the mindset of America's youth is changing. A recent survey from Wells Fargo showed that millennials have a rather conservative view on saving. They are less likely to rack up personal credit card debt, and they see the pitfalls of not having a long term savings plan. These financial trends are spilling into their changing worldview on the role government should play in intervening in the market. They understand, perhaps better than anyone else, that a nation 17 trillion dollars in debt is negatively affecting the America they are inheriting.

Young people want the government out of their business, from their emails to their bank accounts. Only 6 percent of millennials surveyed in the Pew Research poll believed that Social Security would offer the same level of benefits currently available to retirees by the time they reach retirement age.

These trends should encourage fiscal conservatives. Large segments of politically active youth are growing more and more dissatisfied with an overreaching government. They have some of the answers, and they vote.

The U.S. must get our fiscal house in order. Republicans have to be the party that stands up to control spending and reduce our debt. We have to repeal over-burdensome regulations that are stifling business. We have to restore the Fourth Amendment and protect the privacy of all American citizens. And we must maintain a strong national defense in an increasingly dangerous world.

We owe the young people of America a better future than the one we are currently giving them. It is time to end the war on youth and achieve real economic prosperity through fiscally conservative policies.

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