Enthusiastic young people paved the way for an Obama victory in 2008. From the viral “Crush on Obama” YouTube video featuring a bikini-clad young woman to the popular Obama-inspired rap videos, the Internet was buzzing with excitement over Obama’s message of “hope and change.” Fast-forward four years, and Obama has lost much his rock star appeal to millennials.
Obama won 66 percent of the youth vote in 2008. But many of these young voters are now experiencing buyer’s remorse. A poll from Harvard University’s Institute of Politics reveals that among college-aged youth, only 50 percent approve of Obama’s overall performance and 39 percent approve of his handling of the economy. Even the Obama Girl says her crush on Obama has faded and she declined to endorse him in 2012.
Everyone makes mistakes in their youth, but making the same mistake twice is unforgivable.
Obama’s 2008 young voters are finding little hope and change in this fragile economy. According to National Journal, an overwhelming 58 percent of young voters list “jobs and the economy” as the most important issue for them in this election. That’s bad news for Obama’s re-election chances, since he has presided over the highest youth unemployment rate in recent history.
The youth unemployment rate for July 2012 is 12.7 percent, according to the Department of Labor. This already high percentage doesn’t even include the 1.715 million young adults who have lost all hope and stopped looking for work altogether. If all the out of work college grads stuck in mom and dad’s basement surviving on Ramen noodles were factored in, the youth unemployment rate would be over 16 percent.
Hope and change? More like desperate and broke.
But this is so much more than young people becoming disillusioned with Obama. He’s just one man. More importantly, young people are turning away from Obama’s statist ideology. And it’s about time.
Generation Y is the first generation to grow up with the Internet, providing a seemingly infinite amount of options for songs, books, YouTube videos, social networks, and blogs. Young people love being free to choose in the marketplace.
That is why Generation Y is decidedly less liberal than four years ago. But don’t expect them to rally behind Mitt Romney. As the Students for Liberty President Alexander McCobin says, “This is the most libertarian generation that’s ever existed.”
Libertarian student groups are thriving on college campuses like never before. The Fifth Annual International Students for Liberty Conference attracted more than 1,000 students to Washington from around the world last February. There are currently more than 325 Young Americans for Liberty chapters nationwide dedicated to individual liberty, free markets, and peace. And Ron Paul knows how to fill an auditorium to maximum capacity at a college campus.
College-aged people are now experiencing the failures of Keynesian economics championed by liberal professors. Excessive taxation and regulations kill jobs, and increased government spending always hurts economic growth.
It shouldn’t take a college degree to figure out that every dime the government spends must first be taken from someone else. And politicians can’t spend your money better than you can. That should be Common Sense 101.
More and more young people realize that Social Security is a rip off. With Social Security facing more than $20 trillion in unfunded liabilities, young people are right to be pessimistic about the future of the entitlement program. Despite being forced to pay into the mandatory Ponzi scheme, three-fourths of young workers do not expect to see a dime out of Social Security once they retire. More young adults in their 20’s believe they are more likely to see a UFO in their lifetime than a Social Security check.
Why should young workers who are just beginning their careers —well, those lucky enough to find a job—be forced to pay for the Social Security benefits of elderly millionaires and billionaires?
Young people don’t love being forced into terrible mismanaged government programs. More young people want the freedom to invest in their retirement as they see fit. Perhaps this is why auditoriums full of college students loudly cheer when Ron Paul proposes that young people be allowed to opt out of Social Security.
Through no fault of their own, our nation’s youth will inherit the nearly $16 trillion national debt—closer to $100 trillion with unfunded liabilities factored in. No wonder so many young people are fed up with big spending Republicans and Democrats.
But let’s not panic yet. The kids are alright, after all. It looks like the increasingly libertarian millennial generation might finally be able to get this nation back on track.
Julie Borowski is a Policy Analyst at FreedomWorks, an organization dedicated to lower taxes, less government, and more freedom. Her writings on economic policy have appeared in numerous newspapers and online outlets. She is on the Board of Advisors for the Coalition to Reduce Spending and she launched an independent YouTube channel called TokenLibertarianGirl in June 2011.
She was previously selected to be a Charles G. Koch Summer Fellow with the Institute for Humane Studies where she worked at the Center for Competitive Politics. Most recently, she was a government affairs associate at Americans for Tax Reform.
Julie has volunteered for political candidates in Kentucky and in her home state of Maryland. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Frostburg State University in May 2010 where she studied political science, economics and international studies. She is now located in Washington, D.C.