Obama’s Youth Misery Index
Justin Bieber is amazing, truly. As a red-blooded, truck driving, Bruce Willis-watching, steak eating, gun-shooting American man, I have to give the lovable little guy and his serendipitous career serious respect. But more remarkable than Bieber himself are his Beliebers. They represent an irrational, piercing and intensely loyal devotion to a persona that transcends than any individual person and their true attributes.
Bee-bopping 12-year-olds (and slightly more sheepish 18-year-olds) are not the only ones to succumb to the weight of personalities. Four years ago, somewhere between watching Slumdog Millionaire and bragging about the iPhone 3G they preordered, college students fell in love with their own personality cult.
It was something about the seas stemming their rise and the planet beginning to heal. It was a landslide election for President Barack Obama. Sixty-eight percent of voters in our age bracket backed Obama at the polls, and they gave him almost four times as many Facebook Fans as McCain.
So what did their investment in Team Obama yield? Ron Meyer at the Young America’s Foundation created a metric to measure just that, called the “Youth Misery Index.” By simply adding youth unemployment, federal debt per-capita, and average student indebtedness at graduation, it’s a quantitative picture of exactly how those voters are fairing under the Administration’s policies.
Under President Obama, the Youth Misery Index has reached a record high. The President doesn’t magically run the economy, but it is influenced by his policy response to the recession. The first step was borrowing $826 billion to bail out state governments, hire public sector workers, keep key constituencies happy and try to stimulate the economy.
Did it work? Even if Team Obama was 100 percent correct and they optimistically “saved or created” 2.4 million jobs, that’s a price of more than a $270,000 per job.
What all that spending did accomplish was ramping up the national debt. Funding programs with T-Notes is free money to politicians who see only low interest rates, but it costs a fortune to young people who will spend a lifetime paying for record deficits.
PolitiFact confirmed that by the end of Obama’s first term his administration will have added more national debt than the previous 43 presidents combined.
Democrats love to blame debt on the Bush tax cuts, but even after Bush tax cuts had been in effect for years, the annual deficit stood at less than $200 billion. It exploded after falling revenues in the recession and sweeping bailouts, social programs and a new health care entitlement that had to rig the books to pass Congressional Budget Office scoring.
College students realize all of this, and reality came crashing through the façade. The most recent numbers in a Harvard poll show that, for the first time, more college-aged voters disapprove than approve of Obama’s performance.
We have a jobless recovery where businesses are slow to hire, investors are reluctant to roll out new capital, and there’s uncertainty about taxes and a quirky regulatory system. What’s the Administration’s reaction?
Promising us that if we could only tax the rich more, then it’s nothing a few green jobs, infrastructure projects, broccoli in school lunches, and a high-speed rail to Disney World couldn’t fix.
The president should to stop punishing businesses with the second highest corporate tax rate in the developed world, and might as well simplify and flatten the whole code while he’s at it. Young people can’t afford to finance more stimulus experiments that attempt to create wealth by dipping it out of one side of the bucket and pouring it into the other side.
Young people, in their demonstrable misery, are losing faith that Barack Obama is the man for that job.
Will Simpson is an economics and finance major, and a columnist for The Arkansas Traveler.
His column runs bi-weekly on Wednesdays.