O'Reilly: Time to learn about life, grads
There's a stack of resumes on my desk almost an inch thick. I no longer know what to do with them.
They are from young people -- recent college graduates mostly -- willing to work for next to nothing. Many have offered to work for free. And I can't help them.
For a time, I was meeting each of them. But when I did, I became impressed in some way with every one of them and felt a moral obligation to try to find them jobs. I don't have time to do that anymore. So I stopped meeting with them and the resumes are stacking up.
The Associated Press reported last month that 53.6 percent of recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed. That's a staggering statistic, but a believable one. A whole new batch of resumes is now arriving from the graduating class of 2012 -- and the economy is slowing again.
The only place I know to shovel resumes by the bundle is political campaigns, where slave labor is always in demand. Maybe that's the perfect place for these out-of-luck grads. They won't be bored, they can spend long days, nights and weekends with young folks just like them, and in electoral politics they'll get to learn that the older generations -- no matter what they say -- really don't care about them at all.
It's everyone for him or herself in America, just as it's always been. And the sooner young people learn this lesson the better off they'll be. The country is drowning in entitlement programs -- and borrowing 40 cents of every dollar to pay for them. Yet try discussing raising the age for Social Security benefits or limiting Medicare services. Seniors citizens eat candidates alive at the ballot box for even suggesting the concept. It is healthy for young people to see that dynamic in action -- they're the ones who will be stuck with the bill.
It's got to be disillusioning -- and a little bit infuriating -- coming out of college today. These students have paid massive tuitions for academic staffs larger than are probably needed at salaries higher than are probably warranted, and still they can't find upwardly mobile jobs. But at the end of the day, the universities don't really care about the $1 trillion in debt -- $25,000 per head -- these young people now hold. If they did, they'd change their ways.
The universities keep raising tuitions because they can. They'll get whatever price they charge -- the government guarantees it. It doesn't matter that 15 percent of college graduates defaulted on those loans between 2009 and 2011, according to the Department of Education. The bankers who loan the money don't care. They'll get paid regardless. The feds will bail them out if they get hurt -- with more borrowed money that these young people will have to cover later on in life.
Working for political campaigns, the grads will learn about smart-sounding, bipartisan, blue-ribbon commissions like Simpson-Bowles. That one was anointed under great fanfare to find solutions to the debt problem that could doom the economic future of our young people. And it did find them. The commission suggested raising the retirement age and reducing Medicare benefits.
American college students attain a lot of valuable information in school that will no doubt help them build fruitful careers, in time. But no degree is required for what they are learning in this awful economy: The only one looking out for you in life is yourself.
Bill O'Reilly is a corporate and political communications consultant who works on the Republican side of the aisle.