Obama’s America: Youth, middle class living lives of quiet desperation

Paris

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You could see it in their faces; the look was unmistakable. I noticed it throughout our trip but it was confirmed by Mario on our final day in Europe.

My wife and I were staying in Paris and took a hotel shuttle to the airport. We were the only two passengers on the shuttle van for the 30-minute ride and immediately struck up a conversation with our driver.

Mario, 33, was trilingual and personable. We soon learned he was from Italy, where he had completed his schooling but moved to France because there were no jobs in Italy. His job driving the shuttle van had zero possibility for upward mobility, and he expected to remain in the same menial, monotonous position his entire working life.

He was living with his girlfriend, but said he had no intention ever to marry; he was adamant about never having children. He had already begun to think about his pension, which was at least a quarter-century in the future.

Contemplate Mario’s situation. He left his native country and family for a low-paying, dead-end job in another country where he never would totally belong. He already had driven the van for 14 years and was facing another 29 years — a total of 60,000 hotel/airport round trips.

He would subsist perpetually on the economic fringe of society, eschewing wife and children. Yet, according to his calculus, this hardscrabble existence was better than the life he left behind in Italy.

Multiply Mario by tens of millions of others in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece and elsewhere, and you will begin to understand the magnitude of the quiet desperation I witnessed.

Take Carlos from Madrid, who was quoted in a recent Bloomberg report. He graduated from university but faced Spain’s 52 percent unemployment rate for those under age 25. He now washes and chops vegetables for a salad bar in London. Of the 17 employees, 13 are from Spain, including three from Carlos’ university. “We are a lost generation for sure,” Carlos said.

As bad as the situation is, it is certain to get far worse, as governments and central banks impose anti-growth policies like massive tax hikes and pile on ever more onerous regulations.

Even the courts add to the perdition. The European Court of Justice just ruled workers who don’t feel well during vacations are entitled to a paid makeup vacation day for every day they were ill. Meanwhile, thanks to many millions like Mario and Carlos, Europe’s demographics are imploding. Unfortunately, Europe’s problems have reached the USA.

America is Becoming More Like Europe

More and more Americans are working part-time and in low-wage jobs. Our unemployment rate is 15 percent, which includes involuntary part-time workers. Unemployment for those under age 25 is higher, 16 percent, and that number is set to soar as Obamacare kicks in and the cost of insuring full-time workers skyrockets. America gradually is descending into a low-wage, part-time economy with stagnant growth accompanied by decreasing social mobility.

Obama’s policies will mean those trends won’t improve for at least the next five years – four more years of Obama and at least one year to change course. The high rate of government spending, massive debt, huge deficits and higher taxes are certain to result in tepid economic growth. We will be  lucky to average 2 percent growth per year and avoid recession and/or an  existential debt crisis.

In short, the youth (and increasingly, the middle class) of America are becoming more like Mario and Carlos. They will be part of a lost generation, and it is just a matter of time until we will begin to see the unmistakable looks of quiet desperation in our children’s faces.

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About George Noga

George Noga has BS and MBA degrees in finance from Florida State University and is the founder of More Liberty – Less Government Foundation. He currently serves as Chairman Emeritus of Children First Florida and Co-Chair for the Central Florida Center Right Coalition and is on the Central Florida Advisory Board of the James Madison Institute.
The opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views of BizPac Review.

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  • MS P

    the libtarded dumbocrap sheeple elections / voter frauded for this pop culture "Hopey Changey Forward" in 2006-2008 & 2012 … in Portugal Italy Greece Spain PIGS now in America . They don't get it that they don't get it…. they will vote for more of Obamas America in http://www.2016TheMovie.com

  • Rich

    Most people really think there are two parties in Washington. The truth is there is only one party and the American people are not invited to it but we are paying the bill. Special interests run Washington DC. If you vote that is the first level of participation but you are voting for brand R or brand D both produced by the same corporate greed.

    The second level of participation is getting involved in local campaigns which could be much more fruitful in getting a candidate elected who is less dependent on campaign finance and more dependent on grass roots participation. The third level which I have done myself is running for office. This can be accomplished only with the help of level 2 people. I would suggest if we are going to turn this country around that we concentrate on getting more people involved from our communities and drop the finger pointing.

    Time is running out for America. Congress has a 10% approval rating and it is time for term limits, campaign finance reform and laws against lobbying after serving public office. Our state legislature in the Senate passed a bill for ethics reform and that is a good start. I hope it passes. God Bless and have a great week.