Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Economic Opportunities Down Among College Grads

Here are more reasons for twenty-somethings to get involved in politics and it dovetails pretty well with what Kevin Drum has been blogging about lately (here and here). According to the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal think-tank, real hourly wages, employer-provided health insurance, and employment have decreased among college grads. As you'll notice when you view the graphs accompanying the text is that the downturn has occurred underneath the Bush Administration.

Real hourly wages have declined for three consecutive years from $23.04 an hour in 2001 to $22.41 in 2004. Also the tendency of employers to provide health insurance to their young employees has dropped as well from 87.3% to 84.2% from 2000 to 2003. To top it all off, employment's down as well for college grads.

While the Bush Administration shouldn't receive all the blame, their obsession with gaming the economic system for the rich has economic repercussions. Tax cuts for the rich combined with the expenditures for war have hurt the government's ability to prime the pump to increase aggregate demand (which leads to employment gains) while our ever-increasing deficits are being financed by foreign lenders such as China and India which are keeping the dollar artificially high thereby making their exports cheap and ours priced out of most foreign markets. Whether or not the jobs created would be craved by recent college grads is another matter altogether. Globalization will persist and if foreign workers can do the job better and cheaper then they deserve the increased opportunities globalization has presented. The thing for progressives and other concerned parties is to ensure the competition is fair and not a race to the bottom.

Nevertheless, twenty-somethings need to take note, because it's going to be our responsibility to clean this mess of fiscal irresponsibility up.