See, I would have been a lot happier if Obama's economic recovery plan forgave school loans (or at least a portion of them), instead of throwing money at bankers. But I guess there's a reason why I'm not in charge!
On Tuesday, the AFL-CIO released the results of a disturbing new Peter Hart survey, "Young Workers: A Lost Decade" that found that about a third of workers under 35 live at home with their parents, and they're far less likely to have health care or job security than they were ten years ago. Even then, in a 1999 survey, when they faced economic insecurity, they still had reasons to be hopeful.
Those days are long gone. A quarter of young workers say they don't earn enough to even pay their monthly bills, a 14% rise from the last survey. As Richard Trumka, the presumptive incoming president of the AFL-CIO, said in a press conference today:
We're calling the report "A Lost Decade" because we're seeing 10 years of opportunity lost as young workers across the board are struggling to keep their heads above water and often not succeeding. They've put off adulthood - - put off having kids, put off education - and a full 34 percent of workers under 35 live with their parents for financial reasons.
Thirty-five percent are significantly less likely to have health care than older workers, only 31 percent make enough money to pay their bills while putting anything aside in savings, and almost half are more worried than hopeful about their economic future.
That's one reason that Trumka and other labor leaders announced this week a new outreach campaign to recruit young workers -- and a stepped-up drive for the Employee Free Choice Act and health care reform. They're using the upcoming Labor Day, with the expected involvement of 100,000 union members in just the AFL-CIO alone in events and actions, as a launching pad to spur Congressional action.
Young people do need to find their collective voice, the way the AARP speaks for the middle-aged and elderly. Because what's happening to them isn't an accident. It's the result of corporate-centered policies.