A lot has been made recently of the "Pajama Boy" advertisements released by Obama's former campaign arm, “Organizing for Action”. Upon viewing the image I immediately mocked it and made fun of it. However, upon further reflection I soon realized that young people are quite literally living in a "pajama economy." We are experiencing hard economic realities where the new norm is sitting at home with our parents drinking hot chocolate and wearing pajamas well into the afternoon. Job prospects are so bad for recent graduates, and for young people in general, that we can aptly coin the term “Pajama Economy” to describe the macroeconomic climate.
Perhaps the great irony of our evolution (or devolution) to a "Pajama Economy" is the fact that most Millennials voted and campaigned for the very policies creating the present economic problems. It is widely known that young people campaigned aggressively to advance the big government doctrine and agenda in both 2008 and 2012. Ironically, the very same people that were blinded by the Obama machine in both major elections are now paying the price for big government through higher health premiums, loss of job opportunities, and crippling student loan debt.
I like to label it as the "boomerang" affect. Younger voters wholeheartedly supported President Obama because they believed they would see greater access to healthcare, increase job opportunities, and lower college tuition rates. Now young people are seeing the "boomerang" come back full speed and hitting them in the face. Millennials now have to pay for the very same big government policies they voted for. Never before in modern political history has a segment of the population been so negatively impacted by its own vote so quickly.
This past year has seen a true "awakening" for the youth of America. Almost a year ago today young Americans had an overwhelmingly positive view of President Obama and his policies. They painstakingly worked to get him a second term in office. Fast-forward to today and a majority of young Americans now want to recall President Obama from office! What happened? What caused such a sudden turnaround in the opinions of our nation's youth? Quite frankly, young people are beginning to wake up from the government-induced coma they have been in for the past 5 years. And most importantly, younger Americans are realizing they have to pay for the policies from which they thought they could only benefit.
Throughout the year, the President's favorability dropped amongst all sorts of voters. However, there were a few key events that led to the erosion of support for the President. It was perhaps the NSA scandal, back in May, which truly started this decline in support. Millennials did not appreciate the fact that their cell phones and emails were being monitored. At the same time, an influx of college graduates flooded the job market only to discover work was nearly impossible find. This past summer was abysmal for young people trying to find substantive, long-lasting employment. The coup de grace for the youth’s disenchantment with Obamatopia was the actual implementation of Obamacare and the higher premiums facing younger Americans. Almost overnight Millennials had their health plans change rates and deductibles (not for the better) and were faced with having to pay new fines if they didn’t get on board and participate in Obamacare’s new fair and just healthcare system. These events created a "perfect storm" because the youngest portion of the electorate could clearly see their lifestyle and future prospects being adversely impacted.
2013 was a pivotal year for young people because, for the first time, in many of my colleagues and friends lives, they are experiencing the misery that progressive policies create. For years people in my generation saw central planning and increased government from a theoretical standpoint. The moral arguments for Socialism, central planning, and increased government seemed to make intuitive sense in lecture halls and classrooms. Young Americans are now living through the realities these “liberal” or “progressive” policies create when put into practice.
Will 2014 lift young people off the couch and out of their pajamas? Or will it be more hot chocolate sipping and more living at home with parents? When Barack Obama said, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America,” on October 30, 2008 he was implying that that is what he was counting on. He was counting on the newest and youngest generation of voters, people around 18 years who would be voting for another 50-60 years to stay with, believe in, and support the cause. He counted on them being in for the long game. Fundamental transformation doesn’t take place in one or two election cycles. It requires the support of the people who started it and the recruitment of new members who are taught to buy into it.
2014 is a real chance for redemption amongst our nation's youth and not only in the midterm elections. It will be a chance for them to stand up and announce that they will not become part of the team that forges a path to big government, centralized decision making and loss of individual freedom. Historically it is the youth that rebel against the prescriptions and proscriptions of the generation above them and cry enough! Let’s see what cries come from the youth of America as we head into 2014.