Our Six-Million Disillusioned

and Disenfranchised Youth

Education and career decisions made during the late teens and early 20's establish the course of lifetime employment, earnings, and individual success.

For millions of youth these decisions will determine whether they will be productive members of society or a represent a lifelong drain on social resources.

Today, the United States has nearly six-million young people wandering around without diplomas, without jobs, and without prospects.

Through films and television, the six-million see others living in an affluence that's far beyond their reach.

Being denied the chance of being a part of this—or, for that matter, even a part of a decent life—many turn to gangs, drugs, prostitution, and violent crime.

Since this group doesn't don't vote or pay taxes, they tend to be ignored by the political process and shuffled aside in favor of the influential lobbying groups and the corporate agendas that dictate the political process.

According to The New York Times, a recent study titled "Left Behind in the Labor Market," found that joblessness among out-of-school youths between 16 and 24 had surged by 12 percent since the year 2000.

Washington's response to this burgeoning crisis has been to slash—and in some cases eliminate—the few struggling programs aimed at bolstering youth employment and training.

Even without the implications of such things as "compassionate conservatism" and viable homeland security, we have to wonder about a political system can so easily turn its back on such a key element in its own future.

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