How has Obama paid back the Millennial generation, which provided almost all his margin of victory? With what American Interest superblogger Walter Russell Mead calls "Obama's war on the young."
Mead is not a tea party crazy or Ayn Rand zealot. He is a history professor at Bard College and an expert on American foreign policy. He voted for Obama in 2008, and he's not wild about Mitt Romney this year.
Nevertheless, he argues persuasively that America is undergoing a "transformation from a late-stage industrial society to an early-stage information society (that) is disruptive and painful but ultimately liberating and benign."
Post-World War II America was a nation of big units: the leaders of big government, big business and big labor made decisions and provided security for those in their organizations.
If you went to college, you could go into management or a profession and expect a lifetime of good earnings and a comfy pension. If you got a factory job, it was for life, and unions bargained for ever-higher wages and benefits.
That's not the America we live in anymore. Government has grown bigger. But big business doesn't generate jobs; most are created by small businesses and startup. Unions have shrunk, and most union members are public employees.
Meanwhile, public policies have remained in place. Every year government transfers increasing amounts from working-age taxpayers to the elderly through Social Security and Medicare. Obamacare amplifies this by requiring young workers to buy expensive insurance far beyond their needs.
In the meantime, the collective impact of Obamacare, Dodd-Frank and the fiscal cliff we are headed toward -- all Obama policies -- has cut job growth below the rate of population increase. Why?
"If you are a small business," Dallas Fed head Richard Fisher says, "you are stymied by not knowing what your tax rate will be in future years, or how you should cost out the social overhead of your employees, or how you should budget from the proliferation of regulations flowing from Washington."
At the same time, Obama vows to resist any changes in Medicare, which is on a trajectory to welsh on its obligations well before the first Millennial turns 65.
For the young, Obama promises to expand college loans. But just as housing policies created a housing bubble, college loan policies have created a higher education bubble. The flood of money has been captured by colleges and universities through above-inflation tuition increases and administrative bloat.