It seems appropriate that Obama’s 100th day falls at the same time that the class of 2009 finds itself struggling to get a footing in the so called “real world”. Without a doubt, the president has already made a number of progressive accomplishments - closing Guantanamo, proposing an impressive high-speed rail network and signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act - but at the end of the day, it’s the state of the economy that directly impacts a huge number of young people.
This may be the worst year for college graduates in recent memory, and it doesn’t require in-depth research or polling to figure that out. One week from today, a frightening number of my closest peers will be officially unemployed.
Last week Ben Adler highlighted Obama’s progress on issues surrounding college affordability and I applaud the president’s effort. Nevertheless, college affordability is becoming increasingly pressing because there are so few opportunities for new college graduates. Four and a half years ago, when my peers and I began applying to college, we were promised that as long as we went to a good university and worked hard that a great job would be waiting at the other end. We believed that we would be doing so well that paying back thousands in loans would be a non-issue. Broken promises hurt.
Obama made a lot of pledges on the campaign trail. He has prioritized some, but others have been moved to the back burner. I can’t fault the president for focusing on getting the economy back on track, no matter how unglamorous it may be.
As a student of economics, I’ve heard every praise and criticism of the Administration’s response to the economic crisis. As much as economists want to judge their discipline as a hard science like chemistry or mathematics, the diversity of opinions is staggering. We could put the ten smartest economists in a room and never get a single answer as to how to end the economic pain. Regardless, from where I’m sitting, Obama seems to have surrounded himself with some great minds. It might be months or years before we will know whether the administration’s response has been a success or not, but I have confidence that the president understands the significance of the situation. If some of his campaign proposals have to wait for better times, I can’t really complain.