Now that Weiner is out of the way, let’s get back to a more pressing issue: jobs. It’s something that Obama and the Democrats haven’t been doing well on (though I’m not convinced the Republicans have the silver bullet, either.) The most recent unemployment figure rolled out has it back up at 9.1%. But that’s not really a big problem. The real big problem is here is what unemployment is doing to our youth, those aged 16-19. Looking at Table A-16 and doing a little math to combine enrolled and unenrolled, it’s 24%.
And that’s only today’s problem. Like most things political, it’s an even bigger and more disastrous issue for our country down the road. That’s why just tinkering at the edges isn’t going to help; we need to do drastic things. My solution: totally overhaul how minimum wage works, with an eye towards helping youngsters find employment.
You need a combination of two things to land a job: education and experience. As a teenager, you really don’t have experience, and whatever you’re getting out of school, its not an education. An employer could hire you, at at least $7.25 an hour, but when there are older, more experienced workers jostling for any job in this economy, why? You have no skills, no record, and who knows if you’ll be at work on time. It’s a vicious Catch-22, where you need skills and experience to get a job, and a job to get skills and experience. The only role the minimum wage law plays in this is keeping these kids unemployed and unemployable.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who gave one of the most anticipated speeches at CPAC, has won a plurality of the gathering’s annual presidential straw poll, finishing just ahead of his colleague, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).
According to CPAC, 52% of those who participated in the straw poll were between the age of 18 to 25, which highlights the growth of the youth participation. One would surmise that the liberty movement had a lot to do with this. Also, the poll found that 68% prefer targeted spending cuts to across-the-board cuts and an “overwhelming majority” oppose use of drones for strikes or spying.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is giving the keynote speech at this moment, which will close out CPAC for 2013. You can view the full results of the straw poll, including the survey questions asked of attendees, in the embed below. The takeaway is that there is a shift coming and it’s undeniable.
Much hash is being made over a viral video of US Marines urinating on corpses. Two of them have already been identified, and government figures including Defense Secretary Panetta and Secretary of State Clinton are already labeling this as “deplorable” and demanding there be some sort of corrective action. Harmid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, is naturally outraged over this and is thumping his chest.
Personally, I find the actions of these Marines to be disgusting, degrading, and a stain on the United States. They definitely should be punished, and I hope that happens. Little wonder people in other countries don’t like us when we do things like this.
But I’m not going to rant on about that. I have a somewhat different argument.
James Joyner of Outside the Beltway has already written an insightful post on the situation. I really could not add more to it. Instead, I want to focus on a comment made by a commentator who goes by the name “Ben Wolf.” The interesting part is thus:
You can’t take an 18 year old who just got out of high school, give him a gun and then expect him to be a paragon of nobility, virtue and cultural sensitivity.
Perhaps not be a paragon, per se, but I do think that this is wrong. Or, at least, it should be. Our eighteen year olds should be more mature and more developed, but they’re not. The reason why we can’t train and equip eighteen years old in the military and expect more dignified behavior is, I believe, a result of two generations of infantilizing teenagers in our schools and homes, because we think they are incapable of doing anything. This, I believe, is a grand mistake.
Hello. My name is Jeremy, and I’m a libertarian.
But let’s not make this sound like a twelve-step group here. That’s for everybody else.
I want to thank editor Jason Pye for bringing me on here with this wonderful group of liberty activists, bloggers, and people who are starting to reclaim the word “pundit.” I hope to live up their standards and yours.
A little about myself. I’m a young writer in the DC metro area, and a former Cato intern. You may have seen me on Twitter (@jdkolassa) or on my new blog, Quantum Matrix Scribe. Some of you may have seen my opinion piece in the Daily Caller on how entitlement programs are going to harm the country’s youth. As a youngin’ myself—I just graduated last year from SUNY Albany, or as I call it, “Scooby-Doo U”—one of my great concerns is that the last half-century of failed public policy is going to doom my generation and those who follow me to a life of poverty, as we try to pay back our outrageous debt yet are hamstrung at every turn.
I’m also a science fiction writer, so you can expect a few pieces on liberty in literature and culture here as well. Pop culture has an amazing influence on our society, and you can readily pick up political philosophies and how they relate to public policy. Very subliminal, quite sublime. (And if you want a taste of my science fiction, here’s a quirky piece I wrote while still in high school.)
Again, thanks to Jason Pye, and of course, you readers, for having me here. Now that the prologue is over, let’s move on to chapter one.
Conservatives are at their most eloquent when they espouse critiques of modern popular culture. National Review writer Mark Steyn did this well in a recent column called “Hang on to Your Hats,” which starts off with a quote by electro musician Rob Dougan:
“In Sinatra’s time it was really cool to be 50, to be a man. You put on a hat and a suit and you keep on going until you die. Now you get 50-year-old guys in sleeveless T-shirts, going to the gym and desperately trying to fix their hair, and you think: ‘Whatever happened to real men?’”