Paul Mason of the BBC called them “the graduates with no future.” They’ve been at the center of protest movements around the world, from Tunisia to Wisconsin.
GRITtv contributor Gary Younge reported on Spain’s unemployment for the Guardian recently —64 percent of youth under 19 are out of work, and the total youth unemployment rate is 43 percent—higher than Egypt and Tunisia, both. Don Tapscott noted in the same paper that in the UK, 40 percent of the unemployed are aged 16 to 24, and here in the US, 21 percent of young people are unemployed.
For years people have bemoaned Europe’s lost generations; the dead-end, lay-about Europeans with no place to go. But given US hiring patterns–all abroad, not at home–the US is looking to the very same thing.
And what’s in store in the budget? More cuts to PELL program grants for the students who are already struggling. Other countries’ kids can get scholarships from their countries to study here. They go home with all that dandy intellectual capital and make things.
Just what are young people here supposed to do? See if they can get a visa to work in China in an iPhone factory?
Obama harped over and over on “winning the future” in his State of the Union, but then caved in on cuts for the young people who will have to do that winning. What’s left for them to do but hit the streets and lead the protests here as they’ve been doing around the world?
The last time they got active it was to get Obama elected. It’s unlikely they’ll do that again.
The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv and editor of At The Tea Party, out now from OR Books. GRITtv broadcasts weekdays on DISH Network and DIRECTv, on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter and be our friend on