We all have friends that have graduated in the last couple years, but how many of these friends have actually found a full-time job or career? Most likely, the answer is “not many.”
According to the Economic Policy Institute, “the size of the labor force for young adults fell 6.3 percent between December 2007 and January 2010,” and “less than half of college graduates under 25 were working at jobs that required a college degree” during the first four months of 2009.
Those of us who are juniors, seniors, and super seniors can recall how Obamamania swept through our campus only 24 months ago. As the “big day” approaches, I challenge my fellow Cal Poly students to think about how far we have come over the past two years. Barack Obama most effectively appealed to our demographic by promising jobs and prosperity; in other words, “Change.” But really, what has changed?
In this two-year period, our expectations of “change” have withered. It seems as though it’s business as usual once again in the White House with one difference — stubborn persistence against the minority party.
The Obama Administration has been an era where one is condemned for being a fiscal conservative and where Chicago-style political tactics reign free. Obama referred to the ever-growing tea party movement as “folks waving tea bags around” and quietly excluded Republicans from the final discussions of health care (MSNBC). Also, back in June, he offered Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff a job in return for quitting his run for office — Chicago politics at its finest.
At the same time, unemployment still hovers at 9.6 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and our deficit has flown past the trillion-dollar mark. Where are all the new jobs promised by Obama’s failed stimulus plan?
Add universal health care, which became the Obama Administration’s number one priority above creating jobs, and you have a financial disaster (BBC). The side effects of healthcare reform will simply deliver another blow to employment. This will not only increase the cost of premiums for most of us when the law fully goes into effect, but it will also add an undue burden on businesses who ultimately can’t afford it. According to US News & World Report, a coalition led by the National Federation of Independent Businesses has even fought against the legislation in response to this costly “side effect.” But then again, what do a bunch of successful business owners know about creating jobs?
National politics often seem distant and confusing, but the very same kind of reckless spending is occurring throughout California and in our very own backyard.
The New Times reported San Luis Obispo is in such a critical situation it can not afford its own employees. City documents “estimate the city will face a $3 million annual shortfall for the 2011-13 fiscal years,” which could even rise to “$11 million by 2015.” Why? Because the city of San Luis Obispo’s system of binding arbitration in union negotiations means that the threat of negotiation usually turns out favorable for the city employees and not for taxpayers. Due to outrageous city employee compensation rates and consuming pension plans, the city is literally running on empty, and may soon have to cut back on some of its most basic services. Ironically, amidst these critical times, the city has continued to pour money into improvements.
Beyond our little community, cities all over are encountering the results of public sector waste. Entire cities like Vallejo are falling into bankruptcy woes due to expensive, publicly funded pensions (CalPensions).
Meanwhile, a recent Stanford study showed that California’s three largest public pension funds face a budget shortfall of $500 billion, which will ultimately be recovered through cuts in important programs (i.e. schools, parks, health care) and of course, more taxes. Thanks to the lobbyists of greedy unions and the Assembly that succumbed to them, we are in the middle of a nightmare.
Our state government likewise continues to spend money it doesn’t have; the budget proposal for the 2010-11 year included methods to fill in a $20 billion deficit (Office of the Governor). The California government has ultimately scared away our potential employers through ridiculous taxes and regulations. As Joe Vranich, a Business Relocation Coach, reports, “For every three new businesses that move into California, a hundred move out” (CalWatchDog).
Where do we draw the line? Democrat or Republican, we need to keep our government in check at all levels if we want to be employed upon graduation. Why would we want to re-elect the same individuals that have only worsened our economy and poisoned the job market throughout the past two years?
This Nov. 2, you have the opportunity to stand up against those in power and take your job back. Graduation is just around the corner. Your vote can make the difference between a management position at McDonald’s and an actual career after leaving Cal Poly.
Just as we impacted the 2008 elections, we impact this critical midterm election at all levels. This time, let’s vote for some real change and bring prosperity back into the picture.
Brendan Pringle is an English junior and former Mustang Daily conservative columnist.