Obama's war on young voters who elected him

White House/Pete Souza

President Barack Obama greets graduating Joplin High School seniors before their commencement ceremony at Missouri Southern State University's Leggett & Platt Athletic Center in Joplin, Mo., May 21, 2012.

Article Highlights

  • How has President Obama paid back the Millennial generation, which provided almost all of his margin of victory?

    Tweet This

  • The impact of Obamacare, Dodd-Frank and the fiscal cliff has cut job growth below the rate of population increase.

    Tweet This

  • Just as housing policies created a housing bubble, college loan policies have created a higher education bubble.

    Tweet This

In 2008, voters under 30 preferred Barack Obama over John McCain by a 66 to 32 percent margin. Among older voters, Obama led McCain by 50 to 49 percent.

How has Obama paid back the Millennial generation, which provided almost all his margin of victory? With what American Interest superblogger Walter Russell Mead calls "Obama's war on the young."

Mead is not a Tea Party crazy or Ayn Rand zealot. He is a history professor at Bard College and an expert on American foreign policy. He voted for Obama in 2008, and he's not wild about Mitt Romney this year.

Nevertheless, he argues persuasively that America is undergoing a "transformation from [a[ late-stage industrial society to [an] early-stage information society [that] is disruptive and painful but ultimately liberating and benign."

Post-World War II America was a nation of big units: The leaders of big government, big business and big labor made decisions and provided security for those in their organizations.

If you went to college, you could go into management or a profession and expect a lifetime of good earnings and a comfy pension. If you got a factory job, it was for life, and unions bargained for ever higher wages and benefits.

That's not the America we live in anymore. Government has grown bigger. But big business doesn't generate jobs; most are created by small businesses and startups. Unions have shrunk, and most union members are public employees.

Meanwhile, public policies have remained in place. Every year, government transfers increasing amounts from working-age taxpayers to the elderly through Social Security and Medicare. Obamacare amplifies this by requiring young workers to buy expensive insurance far beyond their needs.

"In the meantime, the collective impact of Obamacare, Dodd-Frank and the fiscal cliff we are headed toward -- all Obama policies -- has cut job growth below the rate of population increase." -Michael BaroneIn the meantime, the collective impact of Obamacare, Dodd-Frank and the fiscal cliff we are headed toward -- all Obama policies -- has cut job growth below the rate of population increase. Why?

"If you are a small business," Dallas Fed head Richard Fisher says, "... you are stymied by not knowing what your tax rate will be in future years, or how you should cost out the social overhead of your employees, or how you should budget from the proliferation of regulations flowing from Washington."

At the same time, Obama vows to resist any changes in Medicare, which is on a trajectory to welsh on its obligations well before the first Millennial turns 65.

For the young, Obama promises to expand college loans. But just as housing policies created a housing bubble, college loan policies have created a higher education bubble. The flood of money has been captured by colleges and universities through above-inflation tuition increases and administrative bloat.

But the Obama administration does not crack down on them, but on graduates or dropouts with thousands in college loan debt, which they can't escape through bankruptcy.

Overall, Obama stands for maintaining and expanding the welfare state that operated tolerably well in the big unit America of half a century ago but is coming apart in our early-stage information society today.

His green energy programs have fizzled out as solar panel companies go bankrupt. Meanwhile, the private sector has developed bounteous supplies of oil and natural gas through fracking.

His favorite high-tech project is to build enormously expensive high-speed rail lines like the one Jerry Brown is pushing in California.

Meanwhile, Google is developing self-driving cars that will be able to move faster and more efficiently than current cars because their 21st-century technology, like the 19th-century technology of fixed rails, effectively prevents cars from colliding.

Nineteenth-century fixed rails take you where the railroad, or its government subsidizer, wants you to go. Self-driving cars will take you where you want to go, with as many stops as you like along the way.

That's in line with the way Millennials lead their lives. The iPod/Facebook generation fashions its own playlists and friends lists rather than let central decision-makers choose for them.

Obama's policies, from Obamacare to high-speed rail, treat people as identical cogs in a very large machine, part of a mindless mass who would not be able to get along without government guidance.

In the information age, these industrial-age policies have prevented the vibrant economic growth, which gives young people the opportunity to find work and community service that maximizes their own special talents and interests -- to shape their own world and choose their own future.

Michael Barone,The Examiner's senior political analyst, can be contacted at mbarone@washingtonexaminer.com. His column appears Wednesday and Sunday, and his stories and blog posts appear on washingtonexaminer.com.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Michael
Barone
  • Michael Barone, a political analyst and journalist, studies politics, American government, and campaigns and elections. The principal coauthor of the annual Almanac of American Politics (National Journal Group), he has written many books on American politics and history. Barone is also a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner.

    Follow Michael Barone on Twitter.


  • Phone: 202-862-7174
    Email: michael.barone@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Andrew Rugg
    Phone: 202-862-5917
    Email: andrew.rugg@aei.org

What's new on AEI

image The Census Bureau and Obamacare: Dumb decision? Yes. Conspiracy? No.
image A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
image Give the CBO long-range tools
image The coming collapse of India's communists
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 21
    MON
  • 22
    TUE
  • 23
    WED
  • 24
    THU
  • 25
    FRI
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Graduation day: How dads’ involvement impacts higher education success

Join a diverse group of panelists — including sociologists, education experts, and students — for a discussion of how public policy and culture can help families lay a firmer foundation for their children’s educational success, and of how the effects of paternal involvement vary by socioeconomic background.

Thursday, April 24, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Getting it right: A better strategy to defeat al Qaeda

This event will coincide with the release of a new report by AEI’s Mary Habeck, which analyzes why current national security policy is failing to stop the advancement of al Qaeda and its affiliates and what the US can do to develop a successful strategy to defeat this enemy.

Friday, April 25, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Obamacare’s rocky start and uncertain future

During this event, experts with many different views on the ACA will offer their predictions for the future.   

No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.