Abby Alger of the Leadership Institute participated on a Conservative Youth panel at CPAC. Video courtesy C-SPAN. This is Part 2 of our discussion (Part 1 here), in which we spoke further about the problems facing young adults. Here is her CPAC panel talk (starting at about the 2:08 mark):
LH: How long have you been out of school?
AA: I graduated in May, 2009, so 2 ½, almost 3 years. I took over online communication for the Leadership Institute in January of 2011.
LH: And what do you think about the people who haven’t actually found their first job out of school yet? How is that going to hurt them in the long run? What’s their life like now, and what’s it going to be in the future?
AA: It’s tough all around. It think from day to day it’s very frustrating, especially if you face a large amount of student loan debt. So your day to day is kind of like continually job hunting, feeling like it’s hopeless, and you’ve got this specter looming out there of the debt that you have to pay back that you can’t get out from under. It’s just there. It’s going to follow you for the rest of your life as a ball and chain. So hopefully it’s small, but there are people who owe five or six figures, which is just a staggering amount of money when you have no money coming in.
AA: And so it’s a lot of people living at home. And the longer you stay unemployed, the longer you’re likely to remain unemployed. As the economy starts picking up again, and people starting hiring and creating new jobs, it’s going to be graduates from the class of 2008 and 2009 who were the worst hit by the recession, now competing with the class of 2013 and 2014. And guess who gets the jobs? The class of 2013 and the class of 2014. They’re younger, cheaper, and have “more relevant skills”.
AA: It’s just tough. There’s talk that we’re creating a lost generation, which I don’t think is too far from the truth. Right now while you’re young and your costs are low and you can still live at home hopefully — you don’t have any kids, you aren’t married yet, most people are delaying the issue because of it — it’s OK. But 10, 20, 30, 40 years from now, this actually affects the entire trajectory of your life. Which is terrifying to think about when you’re 22, and all you want to get is a job and all you’re doing is waitressing with your Political Science degree.