Tag Archives: naval aviation

The Tom Wesley and John Weston Review: September 24, 2011

Leave a comment

Filed under Essay, uStream

On Daydreaming About the American Dream: Radio Essay for September 24, 2011

I read a very disturbing article this week about a “Lost Generation” of American children. It sounds quite chilling, as if some macabre science fiction movie were being released about alien abductions and zombies gone wild. The reality is actually much scarier than any Hollywood thriller. Richard Freeman, a Harvard economist, coined this phrase to describe the growing number of recent college graduates who have entered the workforce since this great economic downturn only to find themselves underemployed, unemployed, still at home and more likely to be in poverty than at any time since World War II.

It gets worse. Today’s young people are continuing to delay marriage and purchasing homes, the bedrock of starting a life together. They are more prone to have children out of wedlock for reasons that escape me since fully 20% of them live in poverty. For this ever growing number of 20-somethings, the dream is fast becoming a nightmare. The promise of a meaningful career based upon a college degree has faded but their debt has not. Never before have the cost of education, and the subsequent debt that accrues, been more onerous and the prospect of obtaining relevant employment been more distant. The debt to opportunity ratio is approaching zero as wave after wave of young graduates come ashore each May.

For them, their fortunes have reversed. The stereotypical way of paying for tuition was to get a job as a waitress or barista. Now the young graduate is just as likely to be settling for such a job after graduation in order to pay off the college loan. Employment among those 16-29 is a mere 55.3 percent; teenage employment is only a startling 30 percent.

If this were a short term thing, a normal business downturn, it would be an insignificant blip on the radar. Instead, this protracted poor performing economy is likely to forever alter the job prospects of these graduate classes on the shoreline. Some will settle to be forever underemployed or sidetracked from their careers by their own choice. Others still will find themselves edged out by the fresher graduates several years down the road. Imagine the questions that employers will ask: how did you allow yourself to take your degree in sociology and parlay that into a gig at Starbucks? Hiring managers have short memories and unshared experiences.

Already, the calculus of the hiring equation is askew. The longer this downturn persists, the lower starting salaries will become and the slower will be the accumulation of wealth. It will take longer for couples to scrape together the down payment for their first home. Families will be smaller. Worse yet, expectations will be forever diminished.

In short, those of Generation Y will likely have a better chance of living the American Dream by daydreaming about it in the comfy confines of their parents’ home than by seeking to make their own way in the world.

There is another twist to the equation. The number of immigrants- legal immigrants- in this country continues to increase. So does the number of illegals. In any case, the majority are unskilled. Let’s put aside the debate of whether or not their presence takes jobs away from Americans. The fact is that a bad economy is an equal opportunity squelcher of unrealized expectation. If our native born population cannot find work, those who cross the border in any manner will only add to the misery of those struggling to find meaningful work.

The true irony is that there exist in this country more than 2 million job openings that cannot be filled because of a growing mismatch of skill-sets versus opportunities as our educational system is not producing the correct mix of graduates for the workforce and our immigration policies favor the unskilled over the skilled.

There is work to be done in Washington. Just this week there is news about unscrupulous government spending: $600 million in Social Security paid to dead people; $500 million paid to SOLYDRA even though the Obama administration knew the company was hemorrhaging cash; $107 million in tax credits to a leading Missouri Obama fundraiser; and surely others too heinous to mention.

It is not about Left vs. Right. It is about right vs. wrong. Government can be the solution to our problem only if government stands aside. Please, you’ve done enough to help. In one respect, President Obama was correct in pointing out that many of the proposed remedies in his jobs program have been supported at one time or another by each party but throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks is not a solution.

Here is your solution: reform the tax code, focus regulatory burdens on safety and shared national interest, cut the growth in government spending and borrow less money. The economy will rebound and the revenues will increase to fund whatever society we wish to create.
In the meantime, there is a Lost Generation of Americans depending upon action in Washington, my children included. They are looking for leadership in Washington. Does anybody have the courage to lead?

Press on.

Leave a comment

Filed under Essay

The Tom Wesley and John Weston Review: September 17, 2011

Leave a comment

Filed under Essay, uStream

On the Rising Tide: Radio Essay for September 17, 2011

A year divisible by four is usually a leap year but is always a Presidential election year. We find ourselves on the cusp of both. It won’t actually be 2012 for a few more months but you could hardly tell given all the rhetoric and the posturing. We are knee deep in the Presidential season now and we cannot pull back from the edge even if we wanted to do so. Correct me if I am wrong but no matter on what side of the political divide you may fall, I bet you cannot wait for November 2012 to come. I do not normally wish away time but this beauty contest is going to go down to the wire and not much is likely to happen in the intervening months to make much of a difference to the average American citizen when it comes to the great economic calamity we face. I believe the Presidential decision in November 2012 will be between a semi-conservative and ultra-liberal. All things considered a pretty clear choice. And given events of recent days, I learn towards the conservative side prevailing.

If you were born in the year 1923, you would be 88 years old. Imagine what you would have experienced: the Roaring 20’s and the boring 50’s; Charles Lindberg in the Spirit of St. Louis and Neil Armstrong at Tranquility Base; the Stock Crash of 1929 and the Stock Crash of 2008; the Dustbowl and the Super Bowl; fascism and feminism; defense war bonds and Gary US Bonds; Jackie Robinson and Mrs. Robinson; Rosa Parks and Rosie O’Donnell; Osama in the dog house and Obama in the White House. There are a lot of unforeseen events that changed our society. But one thing that has not been seen since 1923 is a Republican Representative in what is now the Ninth Congressional District of New York.

Bob Turner is not a household name and may never become one. He is the newest Republican to enter Congress after the Awakening of 2010. If New York hacks have their way, his district will be gerrymandered out of existence before the next election but I think it will not matter.

My children and I used to play a game on the beach we called “castling.” We would build elegant sand castles along the ocean’s edge and attempt to forestall the inevitable rise of the tide with elaborate berms of sand and water diverting channels and even the use of the occasional prone body. The tide always won. And it will continue to win. Mr. Turner’s victory is a harbinger of discontent in the land. Mr. Turner is a retired businessman not a career politician.

Is anybody listening? Special elections are a unique breed of election. They disrupt the natural order of things. Open seats elections are sought after since the power of incumbency is neutralized. Nothing is at stake for a career politician challenger since they do not have to relinquish any seat they may hold. But special elections are often “come-as-you-are” affairs since they are unplanned and provide a chance for opportunistic wannabees. They have the ability to provide a snapshot of the body politic. It does not allow for the machine to fully get into gear. Funding is off cycle. They provide a rare glimpse into “pure” politics.

If we have learned one thing from the New York ninth it is this: stand by for heavy rolls. The electorate is mad-as-hell –and-won’t-take-it-anymore. “Take what,” you say? Business as usual. No one is immune from the wrath of the electorate. The true electorate are the people who vote, by the way. They are not the people who get polled by the New York Times or CNN. They are the people who work and pay taxes and wonder how they are going to meet next month’s bills in the face of declining income, impending unemployment, diminishing savings, and all sorts of uncertainties that the Political Class in Washington have not a clue about. Employment security for incumbent Congressmen is being called into question.

If I have to handicap the election 14 months out, the edge goes to the Republicans, especially those new ones who were elected within this decade. For anyone in their 10th term or beyond, in either party, it is time to justify ones existence. A wave of new citizen legislators is upon us. A careers worth of experience in politics is no longer an asset. It is a liability. Look for “career politicians” to humanize themselves and tell you that they feel your pain.
They don’t. It is your pain. Only someone who has walked a mile in your shoes can understand that. If you have been employed by Uncle Sam in Congress for 20 years, you do not qualify.

Press on.

Leave a comment

Filed under Essay

On Remembrance: A Radio Essay for September 10, 2011

Leave a comment

Filed under Essay, uStream