Article XXIX [of the Constitution]: Every adult who needs it shall be given meaningful work to do, at a living wage.
If you’re young and voted for Obama, then you deserve to be unemployed. That’s more or less the phrase Mr. Limbaugh used on his last show of 2010. But, like most things Mr. Limbaugh says, one must take it with some salt and recognize his show is about advertisement and entertainment, so this is for his devout audience.
Mr. Limbaugh’s point, I suppose, rests on the premise that an “elite” degree should not entitle young college graduates to a good job. Rather, they must accept the tough times and take jobs they view as “beneath them.” His words not mine.
To an extent he makes a valid assertion that everyone is scrambling for work, and they have years of experience as compared to the young. Hence children, take what you can get and swallow your pride.
His conclusion, though, like most his conclusions, transcends his logic. To assert that young graduates who voted for Obama should be without jobs indicts the young as the cause of the recession-an utterly bizarre assertion. First, this mess started under Bush’s watch and came to head under Obama. Secondly, many of these young unemployed people were taking Econ 101 while Countrywide, Bear Sterns, Lehman, AIG, and, of course, Goldman Sachs destroyed modern finance and the mortgage market. How are the young, who were in college, deserving of unemployment?
I get the flip side too. How are they deserving of a job? Answer: working hard through K-12 and matriculating to college, where presumably we gained the skills and knowledge to earn a living wage or better. Clearly we were wrong. But it doesn’t mean we’re to blame.
But no, Mr. Limbaugh says voting for Obama is why my peers should be unemployed. Seriously? Look at the choices from the election. McCain lost the integrity that made him the Maverick. Adding Palin to the ticket confirmed his Faustian bargain with the extreme right. But unlike Faust, there was no redemption.
Sure, plenty of young folks bought into hope and change, but many more voted against a continuation of policies that lead to the recession on the eve of their graduation. We really enjoyed graduating into a depressed economy. Living back home was our dream job.
While we’ve adjusted to our new circumstance, it doesn’t mean we can get work. I know people who partake in free internship in hopes of a securing a job; I know others who can’t even get that because there simply isn’t enough work to go around. In part the problem is, as Mr. Limbaugh said, taking a job “beneath” us. Unfortunately, most employers refuse to hire overqualified applicants because they are scared the employee will leave as soon as things turn around.
False fears. Andrew O’Connell reported in the Harvard Business Review recently that “overqualified workers tend to perform better than other employees, and they don’t quit any sooner.” That’s great news, but until employers actually start hiring, Mr. Limbaugh, don’t expect the young to throw their hands in the air and celebrate.
We’re industrious too. In Boise, I have one friend who recently purchased the Hyde Park Book Store and another opening a brewery and tap house called Payette Brewing Company. In Chicago, a friend opened a delicious bakery called Cheap Tart Bakery, and in New York another friend transports fresh organic food from upstate into New York City.
We, the young, fight our way through this recession just as much as anyone else. Although it’s funny, so many on the far right worry about the tax burden our grand-children will bear, yet they had no problem with the banking practices that led to the recession my generation gets to inherit. Even now, as I write this column, these same people are being sworn in on Capitol Hill. Pardon my lack of enthusiasm.
I don’t think anyone is entitled to nothing; that’s different from being entitled to something, but an inalienable rights discussion is something to talk about later.