Millions of young Americans have graduated from college during the Obama presidency … Half of them can’t find the work they studied for, or any work at all,” Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan said.
Of all the depressing facts presented at the Republican National Convention (RNC), this is the one UR students should find most distressing. Four million youth are unemployed, college costs are at an all-time high and outstanding student loan debt has surpassed $1 trillion. Yet, democrats keep chanting “four more years.”
“Four more years” of disappointing jobs reports and broken promises?
Obama promised that his February 2009 stimulus bill — which Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) called “an $800 billion stimulus that created more debt than jobs” — would keep unemployment from rising above eight percent. Unemployment has now been over eight percent for over three and a half years.
In 2008, Obama made a promise that no one “making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase.” I don’t see a lot of college students making more than $250,000 a year, but I do see them paying more for over-the-counter drugs because of the Medicine Cabinet Tax as part of Obamacare.
One of the main pillars of the RNC was asking voters, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” Four years ago we were in high school, and now we go to UR. That transition alone may be enough to make one think “I’m way better off now than I was in 2008!” Obama may say, “You didn’t build that; somebody else made that happen” and try to take credit for your achievement, but he didn’t stay up late doing homework and studying for SATs. Regardless, we must look ahead to where we want to be in 2016, once our undergraduate career ends and real life beckons.
There is a clear choice for America’s next four years between a freer republican economy and a bureaucratic, politician-run democratic economy. The America that republicans believe in is one in which we “work for an open, global economy, and pursue free and fair trade, to grow our exports and our influence abroad,” as Condoleezza Rice said in her superb RNC speech. Growth in economic freedom leads to the advancement of all people and a socially equitable society. However, democrats evidently believe in expanding policies and rules that keep our nation from its full potential.
During his convention speech, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney recalled the optimism people had after election day in 2008 and remarked, “Every new college graduate thought they’d have a good job by now. A place of their own. They could start paying back some of their loans and build for the future.” Sadly, the facts show college graduates are the exception, not the norm.
Instead of reducing ourselves to that fate, we can aspire to more: a freer America with a prosperous future. A nation where no one has to struggle to find a job after earning a degree. A future that begins the moment a graduate walks across the stage and gets his or her diploma. A life where we choose a career instead of whatever job we can get.
That America is within our grasp – if we choose the party of freedom and liberty on Nov. 6.
Russell is a member of the class of 2013.