Unemployment rates of those 16-24 are now officially over 50%. Even the cohort between 16 and 29 suffers from 45% unemployment. In short, in four years we have become Europeanized: young people with no jobs who are living at home and putting off marriage and child raising — a “lost” generation in “limbo,” etc. etc. They may have a car, borrow their parents’ nicer car for special occasions, watch their parents’ big screen TV, and have pocket change for a cell phone and laptop by enjoying free rent, food, and laundry, but beneath that thinning technological veneer there is really little hope that they will ever be able to maintain that lifestyle on their own in this present day and age. Meanwhile, just like some Middle East tribal society, “contacts,” “networking,” and “pull” are the new gospel, as parents rely on quid pro quos to offer their indebted, unemployed (and aging) children some sort of inside one-upmanship in the cutthroat job market . . . .
In other words, we are seeing the proverbial chickens coming home to roost in an economy that has run up $16 trillion in debt, regulated its way into paralysis, hounded the private sector, and demonized profit-making. The strange thing about the 2008 disaster was not just that hand-in-glove with Wall Street banks Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae created a huge real estate bubble and then watched it pop (one inflated through private speculation and government-backed sub-prime loans), but that the blame went not to the intrusive, incompetent federal government or even to a Goldman-Sachs-like bundler (a firm from whom Obama got more campaign money than did any other prior presidential candidate), but to the vague “private sector” — as if the well-driller or timber man had somehow collapsed the economy. The result was that Obama’s medicine from 2009 onward was worse than the original disease.