by Lee Habeeb and Mike Leven –
Last month, the unemployment rate dropped to 7.3 percent. But it dropped only because 312,000 Americans dropped out of the labor force — because 312,000 Americans gave up on their future.
The numbers are worst for young people. Fifty percent of recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed. Many are taking jobs they could have landed without going to college in the first place. Some are hiding out in grad school. And a record number are huddled in their parent’s basements, waiting for the economy to pick up.
At a stage in life when they should be excited about what they’re doing, this generation of graduates is known for what they’re not doing. They’re not entering the workforce. They’re not moving into their own homes.
African Americans have been hurt the most by this economy; their unemployment rate is 12.6 percent. It’s a staggering 40 percent for young African Americans.
This is the tragic price Americans of all races and ages are paying for too much government and regulation. These numbers are a grim reminder that too much government wrecks economies and lives. The way it wrecked Detroit.
And that too much government sucks the life out of life. The way it did in Detroit.
These are stories conservatives must tell, the stories of Detroit and Texas. We must talk about why people — and businesses — are voting with their feet and moving from some states to others.
We must start talking about the human costs of all this government. About the real-life victims of all this government.
We must tell the story of the EPA, and how this one bureaucracy is hampering our ability to create a revolution in energy production in America — a revolution that could transform our economy. And transform lives by creating millions of good- paying new jobs. And transform America’s balance sheet by creating hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue to our nation’s treasury — all while making us less dependent on oil from countries intent on doing us harm.
Our government stands in the way. And our energy revolution remains unborn.
We must tell the story of how jobs are created — and destroyed. And we must name names, point out the good guys and the bad guys.
It wasn’t conservatives who betrayed the people of Detroit; it was that city’s liberal leaders, who made false promises to their own people; and the UAW, which drove auto plants south; and the public-employee unions, which treated that once-great city like an ATM, and kept withdrawing money until there was no more money left to withdraw.
It is people like us who think about how to fill ATMs. And as anyone with an iota of common sense knows, it is harder to fill ATMs than empty them. Filling them takes patience, sacrifice, hard work, and — dare I say the word? — love.
It is the people who believe in big government — and the big bureaucracies that go with it — who endlessly ponder how to spend that money. Most of them have never met a payroll, or even run a hotdog stand.
It is the poor, the vulnerable, and the young who suffer the most when economies stop working. But increasingly, it is also ordinary middle-class Americans who could never have imagined they’d be out of work for months, let alone years.
It’s time to start talking about Detroit and about the other catastrophes to come if this nation doesn’t address our $17 trillion debt, our stratospheric unfunded liabilities, and bureaucracies that only seem to grow in scale and scope. And if local leaders don’t honestly address their own unfunded pension liabilities, which at last count came to a whopping $574 billion for all U.S. cities and counties.
It’s time to start talking about how all this debt and all this government create static lives. Our economy is stalled. So are the lives of the majority of Americans. And the lives of young people — and recent college graduates especially — aren’t starting.
These tragedies are the consequence of government, not business. Our nation is stuck not because government is doing too little, but because it is doing too much.
Maybe we should lead with this impassioned plea to our leaders on Capitol Hill: “Washington, D.C.: Please, don’t Detroit America.”