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Government hurdles await new college grads

| Saturday, May 23, 2015, 9:00 p.m.

If you've just graduated from college — mazel tov! You've completed your studies and, degree in hand, are ready to enter the adult workforce. Sadly, as Diana Furchtgott-Roth and Jared Meyer explain in their new book “Disinherited” (Encounter Books), you don't have a lot to look forward to since “this is the first generation of young Americans that our government systematically disfavors.”

Finding a good job is going to be tough. As they report, new jobs created are going to Americans ages 55 and older while more and more young people are working part time. In 25 years we've moved from 21 percent of 20- to 24-year-olds working part time (in the mid-1980s) to 36 percent in 2014.

The authors note that “young people have been hit the hardest by the recession and slow economic recovery” and point out that the labor-force participation rate among teens and young people “is at the lowest level since the government began keeping records on this in 1948.”

The trouble securing a full-time job is then exacerbated by the debt millennials have likely incurred in order to be employable. “[Millennials] are told that 21st-century jobs require a college education and that if they do not attend college, they will be unemployable. To get to college, they need loans — loans that they can pay off only if they have jobs. And some graduate with the college loans and are still unemployable. What to do? Go to a four-year college and risk being unemployed with a debt load of $29,400 (the average amount)?” ask Furchtgott-Roth and Meyer.

One more challenge, now that you've taken off your cap and gown, is the network of rules and regulations working against you starting a business or entering an existing industry. While “the unemployment level remains elevated in the United States ... occupational licensing restricts entry into numerous professions,” write Mercatus Center scholars Edward J. Timmons and Anna Mills in their new study on occupational licensing.

Meyer and Furchtgott-Roth agree and explain how the number of jobs that require government permission has exploded from one in 20 to one in three. Think of manicurists, tree trimmers, tour guides, interior designers, craft brewers. In nearly every state some or all of these jobs require government-run schooling, testing and permission. And that takes time and money.

Of course, the young are disadvantaged because they also are paying for older Americans through funding Social Security and Medicare and especially through ObamaCare.

The authors do offer a solution — legislative and regulatory reform — which, when it is enacted, will lead those 30 and under to the brighter future they deserve. All it will take is political will — and pressure from the very generation that is being robbed of the American Dream.

Abby W. Schachter of Regent Square is writing her first book, “Captain Mommy vs. Nanny State: Taking the Government out of Parenting” (Encounter).

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