American college student activists, long seen as a bellwether for populist outrage, are missing in action. They are not staging protests concerning political, social and financial issues which affect them more directly and more profoundly than another other generation of Americans. Current college student passivity is both surprising and disappointing.
Last week, more than a million French students and workers rioted in protest of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s recommendation to increase the retirement age by two years from 60 to 62. From Lyons to Marseilles to Paris, French student anger over decisions about their futures dominated French news. Raising the retirement age from 60 to 62 in a country that only has a 35 hour work week seems hardly dire, yet French students took to the streets.
American students, by comparison, have staged only lukewarm protests over the changes to state university education loan policies, to the plight of the treatment of farm workers in Florida, and outrage over cancellation of sign language classes. Students have evenprotested oversexed apparel advertisements, but on the critical issues of the day, where a misguided Congress and the Obama Administration have enacted flawed policies that will shackle American youth to a future of burdensome debt and a lower standard of living, students have been silent. The question is why?
Are American students too uninformed to understand that extremists in Congress have mortgaged their futures? Could students have been brainwashed by the teachings of left-leaning, Keynesian academics that are reflexively knee-jerk pro-Obama, regardless of the policy? The Obama Administration has implemented a series of long-term, economically destructive policies that will affect the ability of current college students to have a better standard of living than their parents. In September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that unemployment among college age students was up dramatically from 2009 reaching at a national high of 9.1%. And, with national unemployment remaining high at 9.6%, and expected to continue that way for some time, given the Obama's Administration's anti-business bias, newly minted college graduates face a grim employment future.
Healthcare reform, which many college students supported, will almost certainly turn out to be one of the greatest of curses. Students will be forced to spend hard-earned cash on medical plans that benefit them little but do much to subsidize the medical costs of older citizens and illegal immigrants currently in the system. Even the benefits of remaining of mommy's and daddy's medical plan for a year or two after college whilst entering their new, adult-worker lives, is a decision that will cost a person between the ages of 21 to 26 approximately $21,000.00.
With the economic downturn, still unimproved despite over a trillion dollar spent on fictitious "critical infrastructure projects" that were allegedly going to generate or save 3.5 million jobs, older American workers have less ability to retire, so they remain in their jobs, which has the unintended consequence of reducing upward mobility in the younger work force. This decision, coupled with all the other financial mismanagement by government will cost each American $44,200.
In addition, Obama's financial reform legislation made it more difficult for middle-class students to obtain family backed collateralized loans from banks while, college costs have been rising at two times inflation. Despite some increase in the amount of funding for federal PELL grants, because of the economic downturn, that funding must now cover more students, so the amount of the average Pell grant actually decreases.
These so-called "enhancements" from the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009
American college students seem oblivious to the Administration's plans that enslave them with dependency and burdensome taxes. You'd think there'd be some anger; you'd think there'd be some outrage; you'd think, like the French, they'd be rioting in the streets. For now, at least, it seems that American student outrage is MIA, and our country will be the worse for it.
The poet Kahlil Gibran, told us that our children " souls dwell in the House of Tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams." We may all be glad of that since the Obama Administration has ensured that the House of Tomorrow for the young people of today is the stuff of nightmares.