Mitt Romney and George Bush the Elder share at least one characteristic. As former governor Anne Richards used to say, each "was born with a silver foot in his mouth." Last week, Romney advised the young to “take a shot, go for it, take a risk, get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business.”
It's nice to be able to borrow money from your folks. After all, Mitt entered the job market knowing that another George could serve as his banker. But, these days, an education does not necessarily lead to a job. The Guardian reports that, since 2008, youth unemployment in Europe has skyrocketed-- a direct consequence of the austerity prescription. That would be the same prescription Paul Ryan and Mr. Romney advocate for Americans.
"You’ve probably heard lots," writes Paul Krugman, "about how workers with college degrees are faring better in this slump than those with only a high school education, which is true.
But the story is far less encouraging if you focus not on middle-aged Americans with degrees but on recent graduates. Unemployment among recent graduates has soared; so has part-time work, presumably reflecting the inability of graduates to find full-time jobs. Perhaps most telling, earnings have plunged even among those graduates working full time — a sign that many have been forced to take jobs that make no use of their education.
Europe has served as a laboratory for the Ryan-Romney solution. Last week, Britain went back into recession. The evidence is irrefutable:
As you look at the economic devastation in Europe, you should bear in mind that some of the countries experiencing the worst devastation have been doing everything American conservatives say we should do here. Not long ago, conservatives gushed over Ireland’s economic policies, especially its low corporate tax rate; the Heritage Foundation used to give it higher marks for “economic freedom” than any other Western nation. When things went bad, Ireland once again received lavish praise, this time for its harsh spending cuts, which were supposed to inspire confidence and lead to quick recovery.
Throughout the Western World, the young are drowning in the economic wreckage of the last thirty years. They are a lost generation. Mitt Romney may have finally secured the Republican nomination for president. But putting him in the White House would merely compound the disaster.
This entry is cross posted at The Moderate Voice.