Hey, kids: Tonight, you are young; tomorrow, you are unemployed
Yet the lyrics to “We Are Young” actually make the case for something else. “If by the time the bar closes/And you feel like falling down/I’ll carry you home” croons the singer to a lost or near-lost love. He hints at real or psychic scars and adds, “Now I know that I’m not/All that you got.”
As a generational cri de guerre, this is about as inspiring as the French military effort in the first few weeks of World War II. But it somehow seems perfectly pitched to a generation whose prospects have been fragged by parents and grandparents who have smothered them from birth. Where’s the ire, the anger, and, most important of all, the symbolic middle finger to mom and dad that has long powered pop music and youth culture like Three Mile Island during a meltdown? Was anyone surprised when a band member for fun. thanked his parents for letting him live at home “for a very long time”? …
Today’s youth is being turned out into a world where they face an unemployment rate of 13 percent – five points higher than the overall figure – and in which they will be forced for the first time buy health insurance plans they may not want or need to subsidize the premiums of older Americans. It’s a feature, not a bug, of Obamacare that premiums for those under 30 will increase by as much as 50 percent while those over 60 will pay 10 percent less. If the economists Carmen Reinhart, Vincent Reinhart, and Kenneth Rogoff are correct in their “debt overhang” theory, the massive levels of sustained debt the U.S. has racked up over the past decade may substantially reduce economic growth by something like 24 percent over the next twenty years or more.