Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Should young Americans feel confident about their economic prospects?

Wages of Young Americans (Source: The Atlantic)

Wages of Young Americans (Source: The Atlantic)

Graph: Young People’s Wages Have Fallen Across Industries Between 2007 and 2013.

Young Americans are taking longer to graduate and graduating with more debt, but that’s not all – they aren’t find jobs, and the jobs they do find typically don’t allow them to pay back their loans.

Here’s an article from The Atlantic, which leans left.

Excerpt:

American families are grappling with stagnant wage growth, as the costs of health care, education, and housing continue to climb. But for many of America’s younger workers, “stagnant” wages shouldn’t sound so bad. In fact, they might sound like a massive raise.

Since the Great Recession struck in 2007, the median wage for people between the ages of 25 and 34, adjusted for inflation, has fallen in every major industry except for health care.

These numbers come from an analysis of the Census Current Population Surveyby Konrad Mugglestone, an economist with Young Invincibles.

In retail, wholesale, leisure, and hospitality—which together employ more than one quarter of this age group—real wages have fallen more than 10 percent since 2007. To be clear, this doesn’t mean that most of this cohort are seeing their pay slashed, year after year. Instead it suggests that wage growth is failing to keep up with inflation, and that, as twentysomethings pass into their thirties, they are earning less than their older peers did before the recession.

The picture isn’t much better for the youngest group of workers between 18 and 24. Besides health care, the industries employing the vast majority of part-time students and recent graduates are also watching wages fall behind inflation. (40 percent of this group is enrolled in college.)

It’s not just that – the Democrats are doing a pretty good job of wrecking other parts of the economy, from energy development to health care to entitlement programs to college tuition, which rises higher as government throws more money into the system. They are doing everything they can to wreck the economy with higher taxes and burdensome regulations.

As a result of our headlong rush towards socialism, the U.S. economy has now fallen to number 2 in the worldbehind China.

Look:

We’re no longer No. 1. Today, we’re No. 2. Yes, it’s official. The Chinese economy just overtook the United States economy to become the largest in the world. For the first time since Ulysses S. Grant was president, America is not the leading economic power on the planet.

It just happened — and almost nobody noticed.

The International Monetary Fund recently released the latest numbers for the world economy. And when you measure national economic output in “real” terms of goods and services, China will this year produce $17.6 trillion — compared with $17.4 trillion for the U.S.A.

As recently as 2000, we produced nearly three times as much as the Chinese.

To put the numbers slightly differently, China now accounts for 16.5% of the global economy when measured in real purchasing-power terms, compared with 16.3% for the U.S.

This latest economic earthquake follows the development last year when China surpassed the U.S. for the first time in terms of global trade.

So things are bad for young people, and it’s going to get worse.

It’s important to check what major you are studying to make sure you get a return on your investment, and don’t be scared to study something you hate if it means that you can make your career work. Your education and career choices are not about fulfillment and thrills. You have to make hard choices in order to make ends meet so that you have freedom to do the things you ought to do, especially if you want to get married and start a family. Those marriage and family plans start the day you step into high school, in my opinion.

UPDATE: 17.7% Teen Unemployment in America – Still Above Rate of 6 Years Ago and Labor Force Participation Remains at 36-Year Low.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Harvard poll: majority of youth likely voters favor Republicans this election

I’m not sure if I really believe this Harvard Institute of Politics poll because young people seem to be so disinterested in moral issues, economics and national security these days. But I guess even young people know whether they have jobs, whether they like living with their parents and whether they want to have their heads chopped off. Right?

Right:

More than half – 51 percent – of America’s millennials who say they will “definitely be voting” in November prefer a Republican-run Congress, with only 47 percent favoring Democrat control, according to a Harvard Institute of Politics poll.

This marks a significant departure from the institute’s findings before the 2010 midterm elections, when America’s 18-29 year olds who were definitely voting favored Democrats 55 percent to 43 percent.

Institute director Maggie Williams described the youth vote as “politically up for grabs” and a potential “swing vote” for control of Congress in a conference call to announce the results.

“The message to political candidates is clear: Ignore millennial voters at your peril,” Williams said.

What’s more, the poll found that only 43 percent of millennials approve of President Obama’s job performance, while 53 percent disapprove. It is his second-lowest rating in the institute’s polls since he took office. The figures are only slightly worse for Obama among those who will “definitely be voting”: 42 percent approve, 56 percent disapprove.

The results showed a stark divide in presidential approval along racial and ethnic lines. Only three in 10 young whites approve of the president’s performance, while nearly eight in 10 young blacks approve. Hispanic youth approval fell to 49 percent, down from 60 percent just six months ago.

Director of Polling John Della Volpe described youth voters as “a little bit less Democratic” than during Obama’s first term, speaking on the conference call. Factoring in the voting likelihood of all millennials, more 18-29 year olds prefer a Democrat-controlled Congress than a Republican one (50 percent to 43 percent), Della Volpe said – but the age group has become less supportive of the party.

“A lot of it comes down to turnout,” Della Volpe said. “It seems that young Republicans are more likely to participate next week.”

And this, I really like:

The poll also surveyed voters about terrorism threats. More than six in 10 millennials say they are “a great deal” or “somewhat” worried about another terrorist attack, with young women (66 percent) more afraid than men (56 percent).

I guess my naive view of young, unmarried women is that they are all like the ones I see in my gym – watching the Bravo channel or game shows to see people with too much make say mean things to one another. But it turns out that they are actually concerned with the economy and national security, which is a very good thing. Welcome aboard, young ladies! It’s not a shame to have a fear of something if the fear is justified, and if you do something about it to make it go away.

And by the way, the men in the gym are just as bad about not paying attention to politics and the economy. The day of the terrorist attack in Ottawa, the men were all watching ESPN sports. Horrible! Even the muscle bound Christian guy changes the channel from Fox News to ESPN as soon as I leave. The only person who is responsible at all is the gay guy – he at least watches local news.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , ,

Apologetics helps young men to resist being shamed by their secular peers

A post by Nick Peters about young people and apologetics, at the Christian Apologetics Alliance blog.

Excerpt:

Now picture a teenage youth who is a Christian. Is he on the outs with his peers in any way? Well if he’s a good and observant Christian, he’ll be a virgin (since most teenagers in high school aren’t married). Will that lead to any shame to his peers? Yep. Especially since they consider “getting laid” to be a rite of passage and a sign that you are a real man or woman.

So what happens with a boy who’s seventeen and can drive and who is with the guys who are talking about their sexual exploits and the guy has nothing to contribute? If he is asked why he’s not “getting some” he replies that he is a Christian. Is that going to win him any friends? Nope. His “friends” there will most likely mock him for believing in antiquated ideas that science has disproven and tell him he needs to get with the times. Result? The young man is shamed.

Now imagine instead if he’s told the latter part about how his ideas are antiquated and instead, he’s able to make a rational case for the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Do you think he’ll be able to be shamed the same way? Sure, his friends can still mock him, but he can take the mockery as a sign that they cannot answer his arguments. The young boy has honor then, rather than shame. He might not be sleeping around, but he can hold his head high knowing he can stand up against his peers.

[…]No one wants to be embarrassed, and that includes youth, but if our young people think they can do something that none of their peers can do, it will help them to have that honor that they seek, and there is nothing wrong with seeking honor. Remember the parable where Christ told us to take a lowly position at a banquet so our host would say, “Move up to a better place” and we would be honored? He was saying that that is the proper way to receive honor. Don’t just go out and try to grab it. Let it be given to you.

There are many things that a young person can be ashamed of, but if they’re intellectually unprepared, being a Christian is something that they may be shamed for. In the face of temptation, they need a reason to be obedient rather than just, “The church says so” or “Mom and Dad say so.” Neither of those will be seen as honorable positions. They need to know for themselves why it is that they hold the stance that they do. If they are waiting until marriage, they need to know why. If they believe a man rose from the dead, they need to know why.

That youth are eating this stuff up should tell us something. Youth don’t want to be shamed in the eyes of their contemporaries. They won’t mind holding a different position as long as they can defend that position. If they cannot, then the tide of social pressure could be enough to get them to abandon that and if their emotions and wills start acting against Christianity, it is only a matter of time until the intellect follows.

That excerpt is basically a summary of my life – that’s how I started out as a teen – with apologetics. I’ve been a Christian the whole time in between then and now. I think many parents and churches are wondering how it is that you get a young man to stand up to the culture and peer pressure. The answer is apologetics, and I think integrating Christianity with every other area of knowledge helps as well. Winning arguments over and over is an excellent way to build a suit of armor against temptation and peer pressure.

And in speaking to young people who were raised as Christians then fell away, the common denominator is that they were uncomfortable claiming to be Christians in a secular environment. We have to have a plan to help our young people deal with pluralism and peer pressure. Apologetics is the best answer I can think of.

Filed under: Mentoring, , , , ,

Young people who voted for Obama are holding fewer and fewer jobs

Youth labor force participation

Youth labor force participation

Stephen Moore writes about Investors Business Daily.

Excerpt:

Economists are scratching their heads trying to figure out a puzzle in this recovery: Why are young people not working? People retiring at age 60 or even 55 in a weak economy is easy to understand. But at 25?

The percentage of adult Americans who are working or looking for work now stands at 62.8%, a 36-year low and down more than 3 percentage points since late 2007, according to the Labor Department’s May employment report.

This is fairly well-known. What isn’t so well-known is that a major reason for the decline is that fewer and fewer young people are holding jobs. This exit from the workforce by the young is counter to the conventional wisdom or the Obama administration’s official line.

The White House claims the workforce is contracting because more baby boomers are retiring. There’s some truth to that. About 10,000 boomers retire every day of the workweek, so that’s clearly depressing the labor market. Since 2009, 7 million Americans have reached official retirement age. The problem will get worse in the years to come as nearly 80 million boomers hit age 65.

But that trend tells only part of the story. The chart above shows the real problem: The largest decline in workforce participation has been those under 25.

[…]We do no favors to the young by teaching them that they can consume or have a good time without first earning the money they spend.

I think young people are often brainwashed at a young age to think that bashing the free enterprise system and voting for socialism isn’t going to take away their jobs. But if you vote to tax and regulate the businesses who may employ you later, you’ll find that they are too busy groaning under the strain of big government to employ you.

If young people were serious about getting jobs, they’d be voting to cut subsidies on universities to lower tuition costs, to lower corporate taxes, to cut environmental regulations, to repeal Obamacare, and so on. They would be more concerned that schools teach them actual skills instead of politically correct views, and so they would be voting for school choice and for right-to-work laws, to weaken the teacher unions who are not accountable to them. They should be voting against the minimum wage hikes that will price them out of an all-important first job. They should be voting against the (more than) doubling of the national debt in the 5.5 years under Obama. Job offers are not just there independent of the legal and economic environment. And just reaching a certain age doesn’t mean that you are qualified for a job.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , ,

J. Warner Wallace’s experience as a youth pastor

If you are a regular listener to Wallace’s podcast, as I am, you’ll have heard him talk about his experience as a youth pastor before. But if not, give this article a read.

Excerpt:

My first year as a youth pastor was a challenging year of self-evaluation. When I was initially offered the job, I wasn’t sure I could lead or teach high-schoolers; I’d been working with younger students and my own children were not yet teenagers. But I was ambitious and eager, so I accepted the position. I spent several months trying to decide what the teaching focus should be for my group. I surveyed some of the key seniors who had been in the ministry to see what they thought. We ended up doing a series on James and Ecclesiastes, and most of my energy that first year was expended on designing the Sunday service. I was concerned about “relevance” and spent a lot of time trying to understand how to communicate to this age group. I thought experience was as important as content. Actually, I thought experience was more important than content. My students got their money’s worth every Sunday. It was a musical, visual smorgasbord of video, images, interactive eclecticism and burning candles. It was ridiculous.

At the end of the first school year I could tell something was amiss. Most of my key seniors seemed disconnected and disinterested. I got through that first summer and the first semester of the next school year, striving continually to capture the imagination and attention of my student congregation. At Christmas break that year I had an epiphany. One of my key seniors from the prior year returned from Sonoma State where she had been attending her first year as a College freshman and announced to her parents that she was no longer a Christian. I got the call from her mother. I met with this student and she told me about her new life as an atheist. While I was frustrated and didn’t seem to be able to persuade her otherwise, I also wondered if she was the exception or the rule. I did some research on my other graduating seniors from the prior year. All but one had left Christianity, and they were only in their first semester as freshmen!

Don’t worry – the post has a happy ending. I wish more Christian leaders would allow themselves to accept that what they are doing now – avoiding apologetics because it is “divisive” and “prideful” – would learn from J. Warner Wallace. We need this. It works. What we are doing with young people now is not working.

Filed under: Mentoring, , , ,

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