It’s graduation season, and prominent political and media figures are making the rounds to give commencement speeches at colleges across the country. The president, administration officials, progressive members of Congress, left-wing television talking heads, liberal columnists, etc., are spewing so many feel-good platitudes that you’d think doing so was an Olympic event and they were training for the gold in London.
The one thing missing from these speeches is reality.
As such, and since not even an online college has asked me to deliver a commencement address, I’ll give mine here.
Graduates, congratulations on successfully completing college. Since I was able to do it, it can’t be that hard. But it’s a feat worthy of celebration nonetheless. Kudos on a job well done.
Now comes the bad part.
After the hangovers from your graduation parties fade away, the hangover of reality will set in. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you rely on the mainstream media for your information, you probably haven’t heard this – you’re screwed.
In addition to the tens of thousands of dollars in student loans you now owe, your share of the national debt as a citizen is more than $50,000. Once you find a job and become one of the elite 53 percent of Americans who pay taxes, your share will jump to $138,000.
But don’t think about that number just yet; it won’t apply to about half of you for some time. You see, in President Obama’s economy about half of you won’t find full-time employment – or any job – for quite some time.
Sure, you’ve been hearing for months about the dropping unemployment rate and are probably thinking your prospects are looking up. Well, I’m the pin here to burst your bubble, because someone has to.
The rate hasn’t fallen because jobs have been created. It’s fallen because hundreds of thousands of people have given up looking for work. In the government’s dishonest way of calculating labor statistics, these people no longer exist. In fact, not only do they exist, but the more they give up looking for work, the fewer workers we actually need. That’s an even bigger problem for you, and it’s one unlikely to be solved by the people who consider spending more than last year, but less than planned, to constitute a “draconian cut” in spending.
To those who went into practical fields of study, such as physical and computer sciences, you’ll probably be all right. Those jobs are always in demand and I can’t really tell you anything you either don’t already know or won’t be better off discovering on your own.
Those of you with a degree in Caribbean Pygmy, Eskimo Gender or theater studies…Yeah, that wasn’t a smart move. On the bright side, you can learn early decisions have consequences, and you might as well own it because you bought it.
For the record, when we run into each other in the future, to make that interaction less awkward – yes, I would like fries with that.
Some of you will go on to accomplish great things, live amazing lives and enjoy tremendous success. With a little luck and a lot of hard work, you may even become successful enough to become the type of people many of your fellow students, professors and even our president demonize on a daily basis. It’s the new American Dream, so to speak – to become successful enough your government attempts to turn your fellow Americans against you.
On the other hand, if government keeps spending the way it is, it’s unlikely you’ll ever obtain the level of success government would like to deny you.
But I’m not talking about the end of the world here – only the end of the civilized world. That’s because, just as much of our past comes from Greece, our future lies there too – unless we start to take fiscal responsibility seriously.
We’ll know if we are at least interested in avoiding a trip off the financial cliff on November 6. Neither candidate for president offers the sort of sanity we need. But hopefully, if we can defeat President Obama, we at least can start to get our government used to the idea of taking its medicine.
I know that thought isn’t popular here on college campuses, but then neither is independent thought in general, so…
Since we now live in a culture that rewards stupidity with reality shows and everyone gets a participation ribbon, maybe the key to our economic future is to be the world’s cautionary tale. I hope not.
Ultimately that’s up to each of you. Do we pull up from our current nosedive and continue moving down the road to greatness or do we get distracted by shiny plastic objects and keep the focus on who is Kim Kardashian’s husband of the week? Are we a beacon of hope for the world or people who obsess over who advanced on American Idol and fall for the false promise of candy land where birth control grows on trees, health care is magically free and where personal choices and responsibilities become rights and freebees?
The path paved with freebees is always the most alluring because who doesn’t like free stuff? But remember – Democrats have promised you that path your whole life. And now that you’ve graduated college, many of you will realize it’s only led you into debt and back to your parent’s basement. If that’s your version of Utopia…you misread the book.
I hate to end this speech on a down note, but as so many of your fellow graduates have joined the “Occupy movement,” mostly the philosophy majors and those getting their Ph.D. in disciplines like gender and race privilege studies, and, as such, haven’t showered since Republicans took back the House of Representatives, my eyes are burning and I must stop.
Good luck to you, good luck to us all. We’re gonna need it.