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The President’s Poster Children

BY ASHTON ELLIS

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18 2012

Currently, 53 percent of college graduates under 25 are unemployed or underemployed. Because of this, 42 percent of college graduates under 30 are living with their parents.

In 2008, 66 percent of voters ages 18 to 29 helped put Barack Obama in the White House.  Four years later, they are suffering the consequences.

Anyone in or familiar with the 20-something cohort knows about the group’s depressing economic prospects.  Currently, 53 percent of college graduates under 25 are unemployed or underemployed.  Because of this, 42 percent of college graduates under 30 are living with their parents.  Moreover, the price of college is rising thanks to state budget cuts and a weak recovery.  The result is more debt to go with less job opportunities.

It gets worse when President Obama’s signature health care policy is added to the mix.  ObamaCare not only “covers” 31 million uninsured people by mandating they purchase health insurance, it also requires health insurance plans to be exponentially more expensive.  Starting in 2014, ObamaCare prohibits capping insurance payouts, which are a common feature of low-cost, low-benefit plans attractive to college students and young professionals.

Some colleges are opting to drop coverage altogether instead of paying premium increases of up to 1,000 percent.  Similar price hikes will hit low-cost, low-benefit plans popular with young independent contractors and entrepreneurs.  Students and young workers unable to shoulder the increased financial burden are saved for a short time, but only through burden shifting: ObamaCare requires a parent’s insurance provider to cover a child until age 26.  After that, every unemployed, college-debt-ridden, still-living-at-home 27-year-old and above should be wondering where all the hope and change went.

Paul Ryan, the GOP vice presidential candidate, captured the angst perfectly in his acceptance speech to the Republican National Convention:

“The issue is not the economy as Barack Obama inherited it, not the economy as he envisions it, but this economy we are living.  College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.”

The theme was picked up and extended in a heavily watched web ad by Crossroads Generations, a conservative super PAC.  The ad depicts the metamorphosis of a bedroom from a crib in 1990 to a wall adorned with a pro-Obama poster in 2008.  As the room empties then fills again with the belongings of an unemployed college graduate in 2012, the young man tears the poster from the wall while telling a friend, “There’s just no jobs anywhere.  I’ve been doing this since graduation and I can’t do it for four more years.”

The ad is meant to speak for people like Danielle Low, a 22 year-old preschool teacher in Lebanon, Ohio, who voted for Obama in 2008, but now is supporting Mitt Romney.  Speaking with reporter Byron York at a Romney campaign rally, Low explained why, as a married mother struggling to make mortgage payments, she’s had enough.  “I think President Obama tricked me into voting for him.  I feel like he lied to me.  He made promises he couldn’t keep.  He played on my young emotions.  He played on me because I was young and naïve.  I didn’t know anything about the world.  I believed he was going to give us change.  I just feel like he made a lot of promises – there’s no way he followed through with them.  I haven’t seen any change.  I’ve seen change for the worse, not change for the better.”

Low is not alone.  Millions of young Americans are suffering the consequences of Barack Obama’s failed presidency.  But like her they need to do more than tear down their posters.  They need to replace failed economic policies for ones designed to stimulate opportunity and growth – the sooner, the better.

 

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